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[G.R. No. 135805. April 29, 1999] At this point, we have necessarily to resolve the
CSC vs. DACOYCOY question of the party adversely affected who may
take an appeal from an adverse decision of the
FACTS: Pedro Dacoycoy was charged with appellate court in an administrative civil service
habitual drunkenness, misconduct and disciplinary case. There is no question that
nepotism. After the fact-finding investigation, respondent Dacoycoy may appeal to the Court of
the CSC Regional Office Tacloban City, Appeals from the decision of the Civil Service
found a prima facie case against respondent Commission adverse to him.
and issued the corresponding formal charge
against him. Accordingly, the CSC conducted He was the respondent official meted out the
a formal investigation and the CSC penalty of dismissal from the service. On appeal
promulgated its resolution finding no to the Court of Appeals, the court required the
substantial evidence to support the charge of petitioner therein, here respondent Dacoycoy, to
habitual drunkenness and misconduct. implead the Civil Service Commission as public
respondent as the government agency tasked
However, CSC found respondent Dacoycoy with the duty to enforce the constitutional and
guilty of nepotism on two counts as a result of statutory provisions on the civil service.
the appointment of his two sons, Rito and
Ped, as driver and utility worker, respectively, Subsequently, the Court of Appeals reversed the
and their assignment under his immediate decision of the Civil Service Commission and
supervision and control as the Vocational held respondent not guilty of nepotism. Who
School Administrator Balicuatro College of now may appeal the decision of the Court of
Arts and Trades, and imposed on him the Appeals to the Supreme Court? Certainly not
penalty of dismissal from the service. the respondent, who was declared not guilty of
the charge. Nor the complainant George P.
Respondent Dacoycoy filed a motion for Suan, who was merely a witness for the
reconsideration. However CSC denied the government.
motion. Respondent Dacoycoy filed with the
Court of Appeals a special civil action for Consequently, the Civil Service Commission has
certiorari with preliminary injunction to set become the party adversely affected by such
aside the Civil Service Commission’s ruling, which seriously prejudices the civil service
resolutions. system. Hence, as an aggrieved party, it may
appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals to
CA reversed and set aside the decision of the the Supreme Court.
CSC, ruling that respondent did not appoint
or recommend his two sons Rito and Ped, By this ruling, we now expressly abandon and
and, hence, was not guilty of nepotism. The overrule extant jurisprudence that “the phrase
Court further held that it is “the person who ‘party adversely affected by the decision’ refers
recommends or appoints who should be to the government employee against whom the
sanctioned, as it is he who performs the administrative case is filed for the purpose of
prohibited act.” Hence, this appeal. disciplinary action which may take the form of
suspension, demotion in rank or salary, transfer,
RULING: We agree with the CSC that removal or dismissal from office” and not
respondent Pedro O. Dacoycoy was guilty of included are “cases where the penalty imposed
nepotism and correctly meted out the penalty is suspension for not more then thirty (30) days
of dismissal from the service. or fine in an amount not exceeding thirty days

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salary” or “when the respondent is submitted his findings to GM and recommended

exonerated of the charges, there is no the dismissal of private respondents. Adopting
occasion for appeal.” the findings and recommendation of the
investigating officer, GM issued a Notice of
In other words, we overrule prior decisions Termination to private respondents.
holding that the Civil Service Law “does not
contemplate a review of decisions Private respondents filed a complaint for illegal
exonerating officers or employees from dismissal against petitioner. They alleged that
administrative charges” enunciated in they were dismissed without just or authorized
Paredes v. Civil Service Commission; cause and without due process. The complaint
Mendez v. Civil Service Commission; prayed for reinstatement plus payment of
Magpale v. Civil Service Commission; backwages and mid-year bonus.
Navarro v. Civil Service Commission and
Export Processing Zone Authority and more LA ruled in favor of private respondents. He held
recently Del Castillo v. Civil Service that petitioner failed to prove by clear and
Commission convincing evidence that private respondents
[G.R. No. 128345. May 18, 1999] committed serious misconduct. However,
PNCC vs. NLRC instead of ordering their reinstatement, the Labor
Arbiter ordered the payment of separation pay
FACTS: A complaint was formally aired to because of strained relations. He also ordered
the Tollway General Manager (GM) about the petitioner to pay private respondents their
“mulcting activities” of some security backwages and mid-year bonus.
personnel at the North Luzon Tollway. The
investigating team staged an entrapment. On appeal, NLRC modified the decision of the
The jeepney was then carrying a cargo of LA. It held that private respondents’ act of
dogs destined for Baguio City. receiving a sum of money and a dog from
motorists constituted bribery which was a
Before reaching the Plaza Santa Entry, the sufficient ground for their dismissal. The NLRC
jeepney was stopped by private respondent nonetheless ordered petitioner to pay private
Angeles who was on duty at that time. He respondents their separation pay on the ground
allegedly suspected them of illegally of equity. It also retained the award of private
transporting dogs. Angeles approached the respondents’ mid-year bonus for 1994.
driver, asked for his driver’s license and told
him to park at the shoulder of the road. After Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it
the jeepney had parked, the driver alighted was denied by the NLRC for lack of merit. Hence
and talked to the guards on duty. The this petition for certiorari.
members of the investigating team saw
private respondents accept cash and a sack RULING: The petition was filed on March 13,
containing a dog, after which they allowed the 1997. At that time, the prevailing rule was that
jeepney to leave. petitions for certiorari may be filed within
reasonable time from receipt of the resolution
As private respondents walked toward the toll denying the motion for reconsideration. There
plaza, they were accosted by the members of was no fixed standard to determine the
the investigating team. Upon verification, the reasonableness of the period, but the Court
team found that these were the same bills generally considered the period of three (3)
they had previously marked. After the formal months to be reasonable.
investigation, the investigating officer

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The records show that petitioner received the the employer and the grant thereof is a
resolution of the NLRC denying its motion for management prerogative. Petitioner may not be
reconsideration on December 16, 1996 and compelled to award a bonus to private
the petition at bar was filed two (2) months respondents whom it found guilty of serious
and twenty-seven (27) days later. We thus misconduct.
find that the instant petition was filed on time.
We further held in Metro Transit Organization,
We now go to the primary issue in this case – Inc. vs. NLRC that a bonus becomes a
whether private respondents are entitled to demandable or enforceable obligation only when
separation pay and mid-year bonus. We rule it is made part of the wage or salary or
in the negative. compensation of the employee, thus:

An employee who is dismissed for just cause “The general rule is that a bonus is a gratuity
is generally not entitled to separation pay. In or an act of liberality which the recipient has
some cases, however, the Court awards no right to demand as a matter of right. A
separation pay to a legally dismissed bonus, however, is a demandable or
employee on the grounds of equity and social enforceable obligation when it is made part of
justice. This is not allowed, though, when the the wage or salary or compensation of the
employee has been dismissed for serious employee. Whether or not a bonus forms
misconduct or some other cause reflecting on part of wages depends upon the
his moral character. circumstances and conditions for its
payment. If it is additional compensation
In the case at bar, private respondents were which the employer promised and agreed to
caught in the act of accepting bribe in the give without any conditions imposed for its
form of cash and a dog from a motorists who payment, such as success of business or
was suspected of illegality transporting dogs. greater production or output, then it is part of
As tollway guards, private respondents had the wage. But if it is paid only if profits are
the duty to maintain peace and order at the realized or if a certain level of productivity is
North Luzon Expressway and to ensure that achieved, it cannot be considered part of the
tollway rules and regulations are followed. wage. Where it is not payable to all but only
But private respondents did the contrary by to some employees and only when their labor
yielding to bribery. They were the first to becomes more efficient or more productive, it
violate the rules they were tasked to enforce. is only an inducement for efficiency, a prize
Undoubtedly, private respondents’ act therefor, not a part of the wage.”
constituted serious misconduct which
warranted their dismissal from service. It is Private respondents in this case neither alleged
for this reason that we find private nor adduced evidence to show that the bonus
respondents undeserving of the comparison they are claiming is a regular benefit which has
accorded by the law to workers who are become part of their compensation. Thus, the
bound to join the ranks of the unemployed. presumption is that it is not a demandable
obligation from the employer and the latter may
Likewise, private respondents are not entitled not be compelled to grant the same to
to the mid-year bonus they are claiming. We undeserving employees.
do not agree with the Solicitor General’s
contention that private respondents have [G.R. No. 123910. April 5, 1999]
already earned their mid-year bonus at the UNILONGO, ET. AL., vs. CA, ET. AL.
time of their dismissal. A bonus is a gift from

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FACTS: Sto. Niño de Cul de Sac ISSUE: Whether it is the ordinary courts or the
Neighborhood Association, Inc. (SNSNAI), Home Insurance and Guarantee Corporation
was incorporated and registered by which has jurisdiction over the corporate
petitioners (hereafter referred to as the controversy between the contending groups both
Unilongo group) as a non-stock corporation of which claim to be the rightful officers of a
with the Securities and Exchange homeowners association.
Commission (SEC). Petitioners comprised
SNSNAI's original Board of Trustees. RULING: It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over
the subject matter is determined by the
An issue as to who is the rightful Board of allegations in the complaint. Jurisdiction cannot
Trustees of the said association ensued be made to depend upon the pleas and defenses
between the petitioners (the Unilongo group) set up by the defendant in a motion to dismiss or
and the private respondents(the Diño Group). answer otherwise jurisdiction would become
Private respondents filed a complaint for Quo dependent almost entirely upon the defendant.
Warranto with Damages against petitioners
before the RTC of Makati (Branch 63). RTC On the basis of the foregoing undisputed facts,
denied after hearing. the controversy between the parties is intra-
corporate and, therefore, not cognizable by the
Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the ordinary courts of justice. The dispute between
aforequoted order. The trial court denied. the contending parties for control of the
Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and corporation manifestly falls within the primary
prohibition with the CA raising practically the and exclusive jurisdiction of the SEC in whom
same issues set forth in their motion to the law has reserved such jurisdiction as an
dismiss. administrative agency of special competence to
deal promptly and expeditiously therewith.
CA dismissed. Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioners maintain the view that private Furthermore, the intent to remove from the
respondents' complaint primarily concerns regular courts jurisdiction over actions against
matters pertaining to their homeowners persons who usurp corporate offices and quo
association, so that it is the Home Insurance warranto actions against corporations is
and Guarantee Corporation (HIGC) which crystallized in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
has jurisdiction over the dispute and not the as amended. Section 2, Rule 66 of the old rules
regular courts pursuant to RA 580, conferring is deleted in its entirety, Section 1 (a), Rules 66
upon the said administrative agency, among of the amended rules no longer contains the
others, the power to regulate and supervise phrase “or an office in a corporation created by
the activities and operations of homeowners authority of law” found in the old section.
associations. Section 1, Rule 66 of the new rules now reads:

Private respondents, on the other hand, claim SECTION 1. Action by Government against
that the regional trial court properly took individuals.-- An action for the usurpation of a
cognizance of their quo warranto complaint in public office, position or franchise may be
accordance with Rule 66 of the Rules of commenced by a verified petition brought in
Court and Sec. 21(1) of B.P. No. 129 which the name of the Republic of the Philippines
vests the RTC with original jurisdiction to against:
issue writs of quo warranto. (a) A person who usurps, intrudes into, or
unlawfully holds or exercises a public office,
position or franchise;

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(b) A public officer who does or suffers an court was already half-way through when the
act which, by the provision of law, latter raised the issue of jurisdiction.
constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of
his office; or This is not true. Records bear out that the
(c) An association which acts as a individual petitioners through their counsel had in
corporation within the Philippines without fact filed a motion to dismiss in the Regional Trial
being legally incorporated or without Court on the ground, among others, that the
lawful authority so to act. regular courts lack jurisdiction over intra-
corporate matters. The trial court, however, did
Explaining the changes in the aforequoted not act on the motion. Instead, it proceeded to
provision, Justice Jose Y. Feria states: trial. In fact, the allegations in the petition for
certiorari and prohibitions filed by petitioners in
This rule is now limited to actions of quo the Court of Appeals were substantially a
warranto against persons who usurp a reiteration of those contained in the said motion
public office, position or franchise; public to dismiss.
officers who forfeit their office; and
associations which act as corporations
without being legally incorporated. [G.R. No. 125931. September 16, 1999]
Actions of quo warranto against corporations,
or against persons who usurp an office in a FACTS: Ms. Go was appointed as Assistant to
corporation, fall under the jurisdiction of the the President and Administrative and Personnel
Securities and Exchange Commission and Manager by the Board. She claimed she had
are governed by its rules. gone on leave to avoid further clashes between
her and Ms. Cua, the Vice-President/Treasurer.
However, the jurisdiction of the SEC over However, Mr. Cua wrote private respondent a
homeowners associations has been letter advising her that he was accepting her
transferred to the HIGC by EO 90 and resignation. Insisting that she did not resign and
exercise all the powers, authorities and hence, an acceptance of her resignation could
responsibilities that are vested on the not be possible, Ms. Go then filed a complaint for
Securities and Exchange Commission with constructive/illegal dismissal with the Labor
respect to home owners association. Arbiter. LA rendered his decision dismissing the
private respondent’s complaint. Dissatisfied, Ms.
In this case, the entities involved are Go appealed the LA’s decision to the NLRC.
homeowners associations. Although the
SNSNAI is registered with the SEC as a non- In their Reply/Opposition, petitioners initially
stock, non-profit corporation, the purposes for argued that she was not dismissed, but had
which this neighborhood association was voluntarily resigned and abandoned her
established correspond to the requirements employment. However, in their Supplemental
laid down in the HIGC rules. Reply, petitioners switched tracks. They now
contended that she was a corporate officer who
Finally, private respondents have also raised had been elected/appointed to the position of
the issue that petitioners are now estopped Assistant to the President/Administrative and
from assailing the jurisdiction of the courts Personnel Manager by the UMC Board of
over the intra-corporate controversy because Directors. Any issue relating to her removal from
the trial of the case before the regional trial the said posts was therefore an intra-corporate
dispute. As such, jurisdiction over the action did

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not lie with the NLRC but rather with the Under Section 23 of the Corporation Code,
SEC. directors are thus charged with the control and
management of their corporation. It is settled
NLRC reversed LA’s decision. Petitioners that they may appoint officers and agents and as
filed a motion for reconsideration. Said incident to this power of appointment, they may
motion was denied by the NLRC. Petitioners discharge those appointed.
filed the instant petition for certiorari and/or
prohibition. From all the foregoing, it becomes clear that the
charges filed by Ms. Go against petitioners
RULING: In the present case, we once again partake of the nature of an intra-corporate
face the tug-of-war between the jurisdiction of dispute. Similarly, the determination of the rights
the NLRC and the SEC. It is the private of Ms. Go and the concomitant liability of the
respondent’s stand that she is but mere petitioners arising from her ouster as a corporate
employee of the petitioner corporation. A officer, is an intra-corporate controversy. For the
high-ranking employee, but an employee SEC to take cognizance of a case, the
nonetheless, who was illegally dismissed. controversy must pertain to any of the following
Hence, no grave abuse of discretion was relationships:
committed by the NLRC when it assumed
jurisdiction over her case. Petitioners, (a) between the corporation, partnership or
however, vehemently insist that she was a association and the public;
corporate officer who had been ousted from (b) between the corporation, partnership or
office. association and its stockholders, partners,
members, or officers (italics for emphasis);
Thus, private respondent’s dismissal squarely (c) between the corporation, partnership, or
falls within the jurisdiction of the SEC as an association and the state so far as its
intra-corporate dispute. A proper resolution franchise, permit, or license to operate is
of this case thus entails determining whether concerned; and
the private respondent is a mere employee (d) among the stockholders, partners, or
(albeit high in rank) or a corporate officer. To associates themselves.
determine which body has jurisdiction over
this case requires considering not only the The instant case, in our view, is a dispute
relationship of the parties, but also the nature between a corporation and one of its officers. As
of the question that is the subject of their such, Ms. Go’s complaint is subject to the
controversy. jurisdiction of the SEC, and not the NLRC.
Interpreting Section 5 of PD 902-A, we have
The records clearly show that private consistently ruled that it is the SEC that has
respondent’s position as Assistant to the exclusive and original jurisdiction over
President and Personnel & Administrative controversies involving removal from a corporate
Manager is a corporate office under the by- office.
laws of UMC. We have held that one who is
included in the by-laws of an association in its Private respondent now faults petitioners for
roster of corporate officers is an officer of failing to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction by
said corporation and not a mere employee. the NLRC at the earliest possible time. She
Hence, the inescapable conclusion is that contends that since the petitioners actively
private respondent was an officer of petitioner participated in the proceedings before the Labor
UMC. Arbiter and the NLRC, they are now estopped
from assailing the jurisdiction of the NLRC.

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Private respondent’s reliance on the principle question. Herein petitioner, the Republic of the
of estoppel to justify the exercise of Philippines, was not made a party to that suit.
jurisdiction by the NLRC over her case is
misplaced. In her complaint, Zenaida Bustria claimed
absolute ownership and quiet and peaceful
The long-established rule is that jurisdiction possession of several lots under PSU-155696
over a subject matter is conferred by law. surveyed in the name of her father, Isidro
Estoppel does not apply to confer jurisdiction Bustria. She further asserted that said Porfirio
to a tribunal that has none over a cause of Morado maliciously applied for a fishpond permit
action. Where it appears that the court or with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
tribunal has no jurisdiction, then the defense Resources over Lot 3 thereof (the subject lot),
may be interposed at any time, even on well-knowing that said lot had always been
appeal or even after final judgment. occupied, possessed and worked by her and her
Moreover, the principle of estoppel cannot be predecessors-in-interest.
invoked to prevent this court from taking up
the question of jurisdiction. Porfirio Morado denied the allegations in the
complaint, claiming that the lot in question is part
To conclude, we find that the NLRC erred in of the public domain which he developed and
assuming jurisdiction over, and thereafter in converted into a fishpond. Due, however, to
failing to dismiss, the private respondent’s Porfirio Morado’s and his counsel’s failure to
complaint for illegal dismissal against appear at the pre-trial and subsequent court
petitioners, because the NLRC is without hearings, the trial court subsequently declared
jurisdiction on the subject matter of the Porfirio Morado ‘as in default.’
[G.R. No. 122269. September 30, 1999] Respondent Judge rendered a decision
REPUBLIC vs. CA, ET. AL., declaring the plaintiff as the exclusive and
absolute owner of the land in question. Petitioner
(REPUBLIC), filed with the CA a petition for the
FACTS: The parcel of land that is presently annulment of the trial court’s decision. Petitioner
the subject of the dispute in the instant case alleged that the land in question is within the
Lot 3 Portion forms part of the above- classified/zonified alienable and disposable land
mentioned parcel of land declared by this for fishpond development and that since the land
Honorable Court as belonging to the public formed part of the public domain, the BFAR has
domain, classified/zonified land available for jurisdiction over its disposition in accordance
fishpond development. with P.D. No. 704, §4. CA rendered a decision
dismissing the petition. Hence, this petition for
This lot has been leased to Mr. Porfirio review.
Morado by the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Secretary of Agriculture, The judgment rendered in a case may be
for a period of 25 years, or up to December annulled on any of the following grounds: (a) the
31, 2013, under Fishpond Lease Agreement. judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or for
lack of due process of law; or (b) it was obtained
On July 6, 1988, however, the late Zenaida through extrinsic fraud. The question in this case
Bustria [daughter of Isidro Bustria] filed a is whether the decision of the Regional Trial
complaint against Porfirio Morado in the Court is void on any of these grounds. The
Regional Trial Court of Alaminos, Pangasinan preliminary question, however, is whether the
for ownership and possession over the lot in government can bring such action even though it

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was not a party to the action in which the subject of foreclosure proceedings has a
decision sought to be annulled was rendered. sufficient interest to bring an action for
We shall deal with these questions in inverse annulment of the judgment rendered in the
order. foreclosure proceedings even though it was not
a party in such proceedings. It was held:
RULING: First, is the question whether
petitioner has personality to bring the action [A] person need not be a party to the
below. To begin with, an action to recover a judgment sought to be annulled. What is
parcel of land is in personam. As such, it is essential is that he can prove his allegation
binding only between the parties thereto, as that the judgment was obtained by the use of
this Court explained in Ching v. Court of fraud and collusion and he would be
Appeals, viz: adversely affected thereby.

An action to redeem, or to recover title to Private respondents do not deny that Isidro
or possession of, real property is not an Bustria, to whom they trace their ownership,
action in rem or an action against the previously filed a fishpond application with the
whole world, like a land registration BFAR over the disputed land. Neither do they
proceeding or the probate of a will; it is an deny that the disputed land formed part of the
action in personam, so much so that a public domain.
judgment therein is binding only upon the
parties properly impleaded and duly We agree with petitioner. The State clearly
heard or given an opportunity to be stands to be adversely affected by the trial
heard. Actions in personam and actions court’s disposition of inalienable public land. The
in rem differ in that the former are land involved in this case was classified as
directed against specific persons and public land suitable for fishpond development. In
seek personal judgments, while the latter controversies involving the disposition of public
are directed against the thing or property land, the burden of overcoming the presumption
or status of a person and seek judgments of state ownership of lands of the public domain
with respect thereto as against the whole lies upon the private claimant. Private
world. An action to recover a parcel of respondents have not discharged this burden.
land is a real action but it is an action in
personam, for it binds a particular The fact that the land in dispute was transformed
individual only although it concerns the into a “fully developed fishpond” does not mean
right to a tangible thing. that it has lost its character as one declared
“suitable for fishpond purposes” under the
The appellate court, holding that the decree. By applying for a fishpond permit with
proceedings before the trial court were in BFAR, Isidro Bautista admitted the character of
personam, ruled that since petitioner was not the land as one suitable for fishpond
a party to Civil Case No. A-1759, it is not a development since the disposition of such lands
real party-in-interest and, therefore, has no is vested in the BFAR. Consequently, private
personality to bring the action for annulment respondents, as his successors-in-interests, are
of the judgment rendered in that case. estopped from claiming otherwise.

The appellate court is in error. In Islamic It is settled under the Public Land Law that
Da’wah Council of the Phils. v. Court of alienable public land held by a possessor,
Appeals, this Court held that a party claiming personally or through his predecessor-in-interest,
ownership of a parcel of land which is the openly, continuously, and exclusively for 30

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years is ipso jure converted to private With the denial of its Motion for Reconsideration,
property by the mere lapse of time. However, NSC has come to this court via the present
only public lands classified as agricultural are petition.
alienable. Lands declared for fishery
purposes are not alienable and their RULING: Anent the issue of mistaken
possession, no matter how long continued, appreciation of facts and law of the case, the
cannot ripen into ownership. petitioner theorizes that the awards made by the
Since the disposition of lands declared Board were unsubstantiated and the same were
suitable for fishpond purposes fall within the a plain misapplication of the law and even
jurisdiction of the BFAR, in accordance with contrary to jurisprudence.
P.D. No 704, §4, the trial court’s decision is
null and void. The trial court has no If Petitioner seeks to refute such evidence, it
jurisdiction to make a disposition of should have done so before the Board of
inalienable public land. Arbitrators, during the hearings. To raise the
issue now is futile.
[G.R. No. 127004. March 11, 1999]
NATIONAL STEEL CORPORATION [G.R. No. 131039. December 8, 1999]

FACTS: Petitioner-defendant Edward Wilkom FACTS: Alberto Flores @ Amang Mangot and
Enterprises Inc. (EWEI for brevity) together Rodolfo Flores @ Rudy were accused to have
with one Ramiro Construction and killed one Michael Manlapig. Trial ensued after
respondent-petitioner National Steel accused-appellants pled not guilty to the charge.
Corporation (NSC for short) executed a
contract whereby the former jointly undertook The trial court convicted the accused-appellants.
the Contract for Site Development for the It relied heavily on the testimony of Marissa. It
latter's Integrated Iron and Steel Mills held that she has no reason to testify falsely
Complex to be established at Iligan City. against them. It observed that she testified
sincerely, candidly and was straightforward in
Differences arose thus their case was placed the witness stand. It accepted her explanation
in arbitration proceedings. After series of that she did not immediately identify the
hearings, the Arbitrators rendered the accused-appellants out of fear as they were then
decision which is the subject matter of these still at large. It ruled that the positive
present causes of action, both initiated identification of the accused negated their
separately by the herein contending parties, defense. The trial court further found that
substantial portion of which directs NSC to treachery attended the commission of the crime.
pay EWEI.
In support of these assignment of errors,
RTC rendered judgment declaring: the award accused-appellants cite the glaring
of the Board of Arbitrators to be duly inconsistencies made by Marissa in her sworn
AFFIRMED and CONFIRMED "en toto;" that statement at the police station and her testimony
an entry of judgment be entered therewith in court. In her sworn statement, she claimed
pursuant to (the Arbitration Law); and costs that she did not see how and who killed the
against respondent National Steel victim. She alleged that the victim was stabbed
Corporation. twice –“isa sa kanang sentido (right temple) at
isa sa kanang butas ng tainga (right ear).”
However, in her testimony, she claimed that she

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saw Rodolfo stab the victim. She declared FACTS: Petitioner Odelon T. Buscaino is the
that the victim was stabbed on his left temple Director of Fiscal Management Services of PUP.
nd left ear. Accused-appellants also insist His functions include signing disbursement
lack of motive to kill the victim. vouchers and certifying the availability of funds
and legality and propriety of supporting
RULING: We acquit. Jurisprudence documents. As such, petitioner is one of the
forewarns that when serious and inexplicable necessary PUP official signatories to every
discrepancies are present between a disbursement voucher of PUP before payment
previously executed sworn statement of a thereon can be made.
witness and her testimonial declarations with
respect to one's participation in a serious Auditor of PUP, disallowed in audit an aggregate
imputation such as murder, there is raised a amount of P993,933.32, involving overpriced
grave doubt on the veracity of the witness’ purchases of various office and school supplies
account. In the case at bar, it is difficult to in violation of pertinent laws, applicable rules and
reconcile the inconsistencies made by regulations. A motion for reconsideration of the
Marissa in her sworn statement and aforestated disallowances was interposed by
testimony in court. It is even more difficult to former PUP President and the herein petitioner.
accept her explanation in committing these
inconsistencies. COA affirmed the subject disallowances ordered
by the PUP Auditor on the ground that there was
Equally perplexing is the absolute absence of “no public bidding and/or canvass resulting in
any action on the part of Marissa when she overpricing” in the purchase of the various office
saw the intruders before they killed the and school supplies in question and holding
victim. By her testimony, she did not even petitioner jointly and severally liable with Dr.
wake up the victim to warn him that there Pablo Mateo, and Dr. Juan E. Manuel, Jr.,
were intruders in their house. She did not former President and Vice-President of PUP,
call for help. Neither did she attempt to help respectively, for the said disallowances.
the victim while he was being attacked. Nor
did she make any move to protect her After a reevaluation, the motion for
children who were sleeping by her side. All reconsideration was denied in COA Decision.
these omissions do not enhance her Petitioner filed with this Court a petition for
credibility. certiorari.
The Court has no option but to acquit. This is
in keeping with the worn-out principle that the Before delving into the merits of the case, the
prosecution must rely on the strength of its timeliness of the petition must first be looked into
evidence and not on the weakness of the and passed upon. The thirty day period for filing
defense. So often has it been said that it is a petition for certiorari should be reckoned from
better for 100 criminals to go free than for the date subject decision was received by the
one innocent man to be convicted. Conviction petitioner. Our pivot of inquiry therefore is the
should be decreed only when the exacting true date petitioner received COA Decision.
standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt is
met. RULING: As evinced by the allegations of the
parties, the issue at bar is factual in nature.
[G.R. No. 110798. July 20, 1999] Normally, this Court does not rule on a question
BUSCAINO vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT of fact. However, since the factual issue
aforestated is relevant to the resolution of the

Danniel Ancheta Page 10 of 14 11/9/2009


issue of timeliness of filing of the petition, the grave abuse of discretion in handing down its
Court may rule on this question. assailed decision. The various disbursements
upon which petitioner’s liability is based have not
Respondent contends that subject decision been indubitably established as patently invalid
was received by petitioner, through his or irregular and the disallowances ordered by
secretary, on May 30, 1993. On the other COA were not substantiated by sufficient
hand, it is petitioner’s submission that he evidence on record.
received such decision on June 15, 1993,
when a copy thereof was sent to his The requirements of due process of law mandate
residence by PUP President Zenaida Olonan that every accused or respondent be apprised of
as he was then on official sick leave from the nature and cause of the charge against him,
PUP. and the evidence in support thereof be shown or
made available to him so that he can meet the
Petitioner’s allegation that he received the charge with traversing or exculpatory evidence.
decision only on June 15, 1993 finds support COA’s failure to furnish or show to the petitioner
in the evidence that he was, in fact, on official the inculpatory documents or records of
sick leave from PUP, as shown by Annex “A” purchases and price levels constituted a denial
- a medical certificate from Lyceum of due process which is a valid defense against
Northwestern General Hospital in Dagupan the accusation. Absent any evidence
City stating that petitioner was under the documentary or testimonial to prove the same,
hospital’s medical care, Annex “A-1” - the charge of COA against the herein petitioner
petitioner’s approved application for leave must fail for want of any leg to stand on.
from PUP for the period April 12 to May 31,
1993 and Annex “A-2” - petitioner’s approved We agree with petitioners that COA’s
application for leave for the period June 1-30, disallowance was not sufficiently supported by
1993. It is thus understandable that evidence, as it was premised purely on
petitioner received subject decision by undocumented claims, as in fact petitioners were
registered mail on June 15, 1993 and his denied access to the actual canvass sheets or
motion for extension of time sent in on July price quotations from accredited suppliers.
15, 1993 was filed on the thirtieth day, within
the 30-day reglementary period. It was incumbent upon the COA to prove that its
standards were met in its audit disallowance.
Assuming arguendo that the thirty days for The records do not show that such was done in
filing a petition for certiorari had already this case.
lapsed, this Court may still allow and, in fact, x x x absent due process and evidence to
has allowed some meritorious cases to support COA’s disallowance, COA’s ruling on
proceed despite the procedural defect or petitioner’s liability has no basis.”
lapse; in keeping with the principle that rules
of procedure are mere tools designed to Indeed, without the evidence upon which the
facilitate the attainment of justice and that charge of overpricing is anchored, apart from
strict and rigid application of rules which being a denial of due process, it would not be
would result in technicalities that tend to possible to attach liability to petitioner.
frustrate rather than promote substantial
justice must always be avoided. [G.R. No. 120236. July 20, 1999]
Going into the merits of the case, the Court
finds that the Commission on Audit acted with

Danniel Ancheta Page 11 of 14 11/9/2009


FACTS: Respondent Unisphere International, SEC en banc issued the Order dismissing such
Inc. (Unisphere) is the owner/occupant of for having been filed out of time. CA reversed the
Unit 301 of said condominium. Respondent SEC en banc’s Order. Hence, the instant petition
Unisphere’s Unit 301 was allegedly robbed of for review interposed by petitioners E.G.V.
valued at P6,165.00. The incident was Realty and CCC challenging the decision of the
reported to petitioner Cristina Condo. Corp CA.
(CCC). Another robbery allegedly occurred at
Unit 301 where the items carted away were RULING: Petitioners contend that assuming that
valued at P6,130.00, bringing the total value the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction, the
of items lost to P12,295.00. This incident assailed SEC en banc Order of February 23,
was likewise reported to petitioner CCC. 1990 had already become final and executory.

Respondent Unisphere demanded With respect to the second contention,

compensation and reimbursement from petitioners asseverate that the order of the SEC
petitioner CCC for the losses incurred as a en banc has already become final and
result of the robbery. As a consequence of unappealable, therefore can no longer be
the denial, respondent Unisphere withheld reversed, amended or modified. They maintain
payment of its monthly dues. Petitioner that respondent Unisphere received a copy of
E.G.V. Realty executed a Deed of Absolute said order on February 26, 1990 and that 10
Sale over Unit 301 in favor of respondent days thereafter, it filed its motion for
Unisphere. Thereafter, Condominium reconsideration. Said motion was denied by the
Certificate of Title was issued in respondent SEC on May 14, 1990 which was received by
Unisphere’s name bearing the annotation of a respondent Unisphere on May 15, 1990.
lien in favor of petitioner E.G.V. Realty for the
unpaid condominium dues in the amount of Consequently, they assert that respondent
P13,142.67. Unisphere had only the remaining 5 days or on
May 20, 1990 within which to file a notice of
Petitioners E.G.V. Realty and CCC jointly appeal. However, instead of appealing
filed a petition with the Securities and therefrom, respondent Unisphere filed a second
Exchange Commission (SEC) for the motion for reconsideration on May 25, 1990 with
collection of the unpaid monthly dues in the the SEC en banc. Petitioners contend that no
amount of P13,142.67 against respondent second motion for reconsideration is allowed by
Unisphere. SEC Rules unless with express prior to leave of
the hearing officer. Said second motion for
SEC Hearing Officer rendered a decision reconsideration was likewise denied on August
ordered to pay petitioner the sum of 21, 1990. Fifteen days later or on September 5,
P13,142.67. Both parties filed their respective 1990, respondent Unisphere filed its notice of
motions for reconsideration. Accordingly, the appeal.
decision is partially reconsidered to the effect
that petitioners are not made liable for the Section 8, Rule XII of the Revised Rules of
value of the items/articles burglarized from Procedure of the SEC provides that:
respondent’s condominium unit. Respondent SEC. 8. Reconsideration.-- Within 30 days from
Unisphere filed a notice of appeal with the receipt of the order or decision of the Hearing
SEC en banc questioning the above- Officer, the aggrieved party may file a motion for
mentioned decision. reconsideration of such order or decision
together with proof of service thereof upon the
adverse party. No more than one motion for

Danniel Ancheta Page 12 of 14 11/9/2009


reconsideration shall be allowed unless with Ms. Pingol sent a letter to Dr. Zenaida Olonan
the express prior leave of the Hearing Officer. asking for a copy of Conti’s MBA diploma or
transcript of records in order to verify an
Respondent Unisphere’s non-observance of “information” she had received to the effect that
the foregoing rule rendered the February 23, Mr. Conti was not a masteral degree holder.
1990 and the May 14, 1990 orders of the When furnished with a copy of the letter of Ms.
SEC en banc final and unappealable. Its Pingol, Conti sent a written reply contending that
failure to perfect its appeal in the manner and a masteral degree was not a requisite for the
within the period fixed by law rendered the position of Professor I.
decision sought to be appealed final, with the
result that no court can exercise appellate Hence, the Director IV of CSC-NCR formally
jurisdiction to review the decision. Contrary to charged Conti with dishonesty. CSC held Conti
petitioners’ view, the appeal to the Court of guilty of dishonesty. Conti moved for a
Appeals in this case should have been reconsideration of the CSC resolution. Still, the
perfected within 15 days from receipt of the CSC had not acted. On 23 February 1998, Conti
order denying the motion for reconsideration finally filed with SC a petition for certiorari,
on May 15, 1990. prohibition and mandamus.

But instead of appealing, respondent SC referred the petition to the Court of Appeals.
Unisphere filed a prohibited second motion In its now challenged resolution, the appellate
for reconsideration without express prior court dismissed the petition for certiorari,
leave of the hearing officer. Consequently, prohibition and mandamus for having been filed
when it subsequently filed its notice of appeal out of time.
on September 6, 1990, it was already eighty-
two (82) days late. Therefore, the appeal Conti sought reconsideration but it was to no
before the Court of Appeals could have been avail; hence, the instant recourse.
dismissed outright for being time-barred. Conti explains that his petition before the
Rules of procedure are intended to ensure appellate court for certiorari, prohibition and
the proper administration of justice and the mandamus is an original action under Rule 65 of
protection of substantive rights in judicial and the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure and not an
quasi-judicial proceedings. Blatant violation appeal under Rule 43 thereof.
of such rules smacks of a dilatory tactic which
we simply cannot countenance. RULING: The instant petition has merit, and it
must be granted. Before the advent of Revised
[G.R. No. 134441. May 19, 1999] Administrative Circular (“RAC”) No. 1-95 and the
CONTI vs. CA, ET. AL. eventual incorporation of its provisions in the
1997 Revised Civil Procedure under Rule 43
FACTS: In 1989, PUP appointed petitioner thereof, the established rule had been that a
Indalicio P. Conti from Assistant Professor IV decision, order, or ruling of the CSC, the single
to Professor I. On 01 July 1993, Dr. Zenaida arbiter of all contests relating to the civil service,
A. Olonan, President of PUP, issued an was unappealable subject only to this Court’s
appointment paper to Conti, confirming his certiorari jurisdiction. In other words, no appeal
promotional appointment with Dionisia P. could then lie from judgments of the CSC and
Pingol, Director II of CSFO-NCR, signing that a party aggrieved thereby should proceed to
below the name of Dr. Olonan for the CSC. the SC alone on certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court within thirty (30) days from receipt
of a copy thereof.

Danniel Ancheta Page 13 of 14 11/9/2009


the failure of justice without the writ, that should

RAC No. 1-95, made effective as of 01 June determine the propriety of certiorari.
1995, now mandates, however, that an
appeal from judgments, final orders or This Court has ruled that a recourse to certiorari
resolutions of quasi-judicial agencies, like the is proper not only where there is a clear
CSC, may be taken to the Court of Appeals deprivation of petitioner’s fundamental right to
by way of a petition for review within fifteen due process; but so also from where other
(15) days from notice of the assailed special circumstances warrant immediate
judgment, order or resolution. Regarding and more direct action. Conti’s motion for
cases still pending with this Court via reconsideration has been pending with the CSC
petitions for certiorari directed against CSC for more than two years since 13 December
prior to the effectivity of RAC 1-95 and those 1995 up until his petition with this Court on 28
that might have been filed soon thereafter. February 1998. Given the circumstances, it
should behoove the appellate court to resolve
Truly, an essential requisite for the availability the case on its merits.
of the extraordinary remedies under the
Rules is an absence of an appeal nor any
“plain, speedy and adequate remedy” in the
ordinary course of law, one which has been
so defined as a "remedy which (would)
equally (be) beneficial, speedy and sufficient,
not merely a remedy which at some time in
the future will bring about a revival of the
judgment x x x complained of in the certiorari
proceeding, but a remedy which will promptly
relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects
of that judgment and the acts of the inferior
court or tribunal" concerned.

Illustrative of such a plain, speedy and

adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law is a motion for reconsideration that has
thus often been considered a condition sine
qua non for the grant of certiorari.

As the Solicitor General so aptly points out,

the continuous failure of respondent CSC to
resolve Conti’s motion for reconsideration for
so long a time has virtually amounted to a
denial of his right to due process and right to
the speedy disposition of his case. In fact,
there is yet no indication on record that CSC
has already resolved Conti’s motion for
reconsideration. It cannot be gainsaid that it
is the inadequacy, not the total absence, of
all other legal remedies, and the danger of

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