TEODULO M. PALMA, SR., petitioner, vs. HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, as Governor of Bukidnon, and THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF BUKIDNON, respondents. G.R. No.
L-59679 January 29, 1987
This is a petition for certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for Preliminary Injunction seeking: (a) to prohibit the respondents from continuing with the hearing and investigation of Administrative Case No. 2 filed by respondent Governor of Bukidnon against petitioner Mayor Teodulo M. Palma Sr. of the Municipality of Don Carlos, Province of Bukidnon and (b) to nullify Resolution No. 8287 passed by respondent Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon, suspending him from office. FACTS: On March 30, 1981, the Assistant Provincial Fiscal Vivencio P. Estrada of Bukidnon, at the instance of the offended parties Nelia Arandel Clerk-typist and Susan Palamine, Clerical Aide, both of the Office of the Mayor of the Municipality of Don Carlos, Province of Bukidnon, filed with the Court of First Instance of the same province, Criminal Cases Nos. 2795, 2796 and 2797 against petitioner Teodulo M. Palma, Sr., the duly elected and qualified Mayor of said Municipality. By virtue of the aforesaid three (3) separate cases, said offended parties in a sworn joint letter complaint requested respondent Provincial Governor for an immediate administrative investigation for the purpose of suspending Mayor Palma from office pending final determination of these cases. (Rollo, p. 6). Attached to said letter are: three (3) copies of the Information for Acts of Lasciviousness against the Mayor (Annexes "B", "C" and "D"; Petition, Rollo, pp. 7-9); the statements of the offended parties. The Mayor accepted his preventive suspension from office as shown in his Office Order dated February 15, 1982. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE FILING AND PENDENCY OF THE AFORESAID THREE (3) SEPARATE INFORMATION FOR "ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS" AGAINST AN ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIAL WOULD CONSTITUTE "MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 5 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 5185 WHICH MAY WARRANT THE FILING OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST HIM AND/OR HIS SUSPENSION FROM OFFICE.
HELD: There appears to be no controversy as to the filing of the criminal cases against the petitioner. The principal issue centers on the filing of the administrative case and consequent preventive suspension of petitioner based solely on the filing of the above-mentioned criminal cases. Petitioner contends that "Acts of Lasciviousness" although how numerous, do not fall within the category of "malfeasance and misfeasance" or "conduct in the office" contemplated in Section 5 of R.A. No. 5185, and therefore cannot be the basis of the filing of a separate administrative case against an elective official and the preventive suspension of the latter. Respondents, alleging otherwise, maintain that the lascivious acts of the petitioner constitute misconduct under Article XIII, Section 1 of the 1973 Constitution, re: "Accountability of Public Officers." As a general rule, dismissal of an administrative case does not necessarily follow the dismissal of a criminal case, the former requiring as it does, only preponderance of evidence while the latter requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. Misconduct has been defined as "such as affects his performance of his duties as an officer and not only as affects his character as a private individual. In such cases, it has been said at all times, it is necessary to separate the character of the man from the character of the officer. " (Lacson v. Roque, et al., 92 Phil. 456). Now, as to whether or not, such misconduct of petitioner affects his performance of his duties as an officer and not only his character as a private individual, has been laid to rest by the ruling of the Supreme Court in an analogous case where it was held that while "it is true that the charges of rape and concubinage may involve moral turpitude of which a municipal official may be proceeded against . . . but before the provincial governor and board may act and proceed against the municipal official, a conviction by final judgment must precede the filing by the provincial governor of the charges and trial by the provincial board." The replacement of petitioner Mayor by the Officer-in-Charge Fabian Gardones has rendered the issues of removal and suspension from office, moot and academic.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, complainant, vs. JUDGE JESUS V. MATAS, RTC, Branch 2, Tagum, Davao del Norte (acting Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 18, Digos Davao del Sur) and EDUARDO C. TORRES, JR., OIC, Clerk of Court, RTC, Tagum, Davao del Norte, respondents. A.M. No. RTJ-92-836 FACTS: In his Memorandum dated 26 February 1992, then Deputy Court Administrator, now Court Administrator, Ernani Cruz Paño informed the Court of a letter he received from Atty. Ma Dolores L. Balajadia, Deputy Clerk of Court, Third Division of the Sandiganbayan, notifying his office that Judge Jesus V. Matas and Eduardo C. Torres, Jr. were accused in Criminal Case No. 17378 of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. He then recommended that the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) be authorized to file the proper administrative charges against Judge Matas and Torres, provided that, pending the outcome of Criminal Case No. 17378, proceedings in the administrative case be suspended after the filing by the respondents of their comment. On 17 December 1992, the OCA received respondent Torres's motion to dismiss the complaint as against him on the ground of mootness because he had ceased to be employed in the judiciary and had been cleared of all his accountability with the Supreme Court as of 13 April 1992. The Court referred this motion on 26 January 1993 to Justice Imperial for inclusion in his investigation, report, and recommendation. It turned out, however, that the said motion had been filed with the Court of Appeals as early as 14 November 1992 and had already been denied by Justice Imperial in his resolution of 6 January 1993 in the light of this Court's ruling in Administrative Case No. 223-J (Perez vs. Abiera, 11 June 1975). The complainants then submitted to this Court an amended complaint adding the following grounds for administrative discipline, viz.: (a) (b) gross inexcusable negligence, and gross ignorance of law. August 2, 1995
ISSUES: Whether or not the respondent Judge acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of Miscellaneous Case No. 1626.
HELD: The respondent Judge argues that the parcels of land subject of Miscellaneous Case No. 1626 are located in Kapalong, Davao del Norte. The so-called Municipality of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, where the said parcels are claimed to be located never legally existed as a municipality because it was carved out of Kapalong and created into a separate municipality by then President Carlos P. Garcia and not by Congress. Justice Imperial adopts the ratiocinations of the Sandiganbayan in its denial of the respondent Judge's motion to quash the information in Criminal Case No. 17378 that at the time he committed the questioned acts in Miscellaneous Case No. 1626, the Municipality of Sto. Tomas was not yet declared non-existent, that this Court has yet to come up with a modification of Administrative Order No. 7 to effect the necessary amendment therein insofar as Sto. Tomas is concerned; and that, in any event, it is not impossible at all that this Court may decide to maintain the territorial jurisdiction of Branch IV of the RTC of Davao del Norte over the barrios of Kapalong which were converted into the municipality of Sto. Tomas. While it is true that Judge Matas acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of Miscellaneous Case No. 1626, it is likewise true that his mere acting without jurisdiction should not subject him to an administrative action for gross inexcusable negligence and/or ignorance of the law. In the case at bar, Judge Matas' act not being without basis whatsoever nor motivated by bad faith, it cannot be said with certainty that respondent Judge Matas acted with gross inexcusable negligence and/or gross ignorance of the law. Just because he believed, though erroneously, that the action was in personam or that he had jurisdiction over the four (4) properties, since one of the properties (OCT No. P-9855) was located at Kapalong and all the properties were included in one petition, should not be taken against him to the extent of being held liable administratively for gross inexcusable negligence and/or gross ignorance of the law. To hold otherwise would be to subject every Judge whose decision is reversed, to be charged with gross negligence or gross ignorance of the law. Jurisdiction is the power and authority to hear, try, and decide a case; it does not depend on the regularity of the exercise of that power. The instant complaint is DISMISSED, and respondents JUDGE JESUS V. MATAS and EDUARDO C. TORRES, JR. are hereby ABSOLVED of all the charges against them in the Amended Complaint.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
ELIEZA C. DADAP-MALINAO, complainant, vs. JUDGE JOSE H. MIJARES, Regional Trial Court, San Juan, Southern Leyte, Branch 26, respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-99-1475 December 12, 2001
FACTS: Complainant Elieza C. Dadap-Malinao filed a Sworn Letter-Complaint dated December 2, 1997, charging respondent Judge Jose H. Mijares, Presiding Judge of Branch 26, RTC of San Juan, Southern Leyte with gross ignorance of the law, knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, open disobedience to the final and executory decision of the Court of Appeals and causing undue injury to her in the discharge of judicial functions, relative to Special Civil Action No. R-400 entitled "elieza C. Dadap-Malinao v. Sofio Dagcutan, et al., "an action for Mandamus with Damages and Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. Complainant, a duly elected member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, filed a petition against Hinunangan Vice-mayor Sofio Dagcutan, Sangguniang Bayan members Samson Malaki, Alberto Teves, Diosdado Capas, Argricula Itom, Toto Piga, Vidal Constantino, Servillano Labrador, Municipal Secretary Florito Aviles and Municipal Treasurer Leonardo Loquinto, to restrain them from preventing her from discharging her functions as a SB member and from collecting the emoluments appurtenant to the office. In a Decision dated February 10, 1995, the appellate court upheld the validity of the compromise agreement as well as the propriety of the issuance of the writ of execution. Complainant, through counsel, filed a Motion for The Issuance of an Amended Writ of Execution11 which was granted by the trial court in an Order dated July 28, 1995. Respondent Judge branded as bereft of any factual and material basis the charge that he openly disobeyed the final and executory decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of the compromise agreement as well as the propriety of the issuance of the writ of execution. He averred that when complainant filed a motion for the issuance of an amended writ of execution, he immediately granted the same and directed the Branch Clerk of Court to issue the corresponding amended writ of execution.
HELD: The Supreme Court cannot be divested of its supervisory power to discipline errant members of the Judiciary as well as those employed therein through the mere expedience of a complainant's voluntary desistance in the pursuit of the administrative case. Anent the charge of gross ignorance of the law, it bears stressing that those who wield the judicial gavel have duty to study our laws and their latest wrinkles - they owe it to the public to be legally knowledgeable, for ignorance of the law is the mainspring of injustice.33 Indeed, "the ignorant judge is as great a bane to his people and country as the corrupt jurist, and the one who has not the strength and courage of his convictions is as great an evil as the one or the other.” Respondent Judge is hereby FINED Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar infractions complained of will be dealt with more severely.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas GUILLERMA D. CABAÑERO, complainant, vs. JUDGE ANTONIO K. CAÑON, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, HINATUAN-TAGBINA, HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR, respondent. A.M. No. MTJ-01-1369 September 20, 2001
FACTS: In a complaint dated September 16, 1999, Mrs. Guillerma D. Cabañero charged Judge Antonio K. Cañon, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Hinatuan-Tagbina, at Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur with partiality, issuance of unjust interlocutory orders and grave abuse of discretion relative to Criminal Case No. 4036-H, entitled, People vs. Jessie Cabañero, for qualified theft. Complainant alleged that a certain Jaime Cañal accused her son, Jessie D. Cabañero, of entering Cañal’s farmland and harvesting falcata trees valued at P3,191.00. Complainant alleged that respondent judge exhibited bias and partiality by asking leading questions to implicate her as co-accused in the criminal case. On October 1, 1998, Judge Cañon issued a warrant of arrest not only against Jessie Cabañero but also against complainant Guillerma D. Cabañero for covering up for her son. She alleged that considering the value of the property allegedly stolen, the bail required was excessive. Respondent judge explained that complainant was a principal by inducement and that the arrest of the complainant was based on his findings. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent’s administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in his service should be dismissed. HELD: No. The cessation from office of respondent judge due to death does not per se warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in the service. Since the instant administrative complaint was filed before respondent’s death on April 24, 2000, the Court retains authority to pursue the administrative complaint against him.
Respondent judge erred in ordering the arrest of the accused and complainant Guillerma D. Cabañero. She was not included as one of the respondents in the criminal case filed by the chief of police of Hinatuan. Respondent judge was aware of this fact. When the law transgressed is elementary, the failure to know or observe it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.
The Court cannot permit any act or omission which yanks public faith away from the judiciary. That is why, despite respondent’s death, we sanction his acts. Judges are expected to be competent and qualified for the position to which they were appointed. To be able to render substantial justice and to maintain public confidence in the legal system, judges must keep abreast of all laws and prevailing jurisprudence, consistent with the standard that magistrates must be the embodiments of competence, integrity and independence. Judge Antonio K. Cañon is hereby ordered to pay a FINE in the amount of P5,000.00, to be taken from his retirement benefits in view of his demise.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas ALDA C. FLORIA, Executive Assistant IV, Archives Section, Court of Appeals, complainant, vs. CURIE F. SUNGA, Supervising Judicial Staff Officer and ISIDRO A. APEROCHO, Assistant Information Officer, Information & Statistical Data Division, Court of Appeals, respondents. A.M. No. CA-01-10-P November 14, 2001
On August 5, 1999, one Mrs. Badilla filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a letter-complaint against Alda C. Floria alleging that she has an illicit relationship with Rodrigo Badilla, a former employee of the Court of Appeals, married to Celia Badilla, also a former employee of the same court. In a “Sworn Affidavit” dated September 22, 1999, likewise filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, one Rogelio Goyal charged Floria with falsification by indicating in her children’s certificates of live birth that she and Rodrigo Badilla were married on May 22, 1972 in Cabanatuan City. Both complaints were forwarded by the Office of the Ombudsman to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).
On September 8, 1999, Isidro Aperocho, Curie Sunga, Danny Constantino, Josefina Padilla, Mitos Santos, Sheila Casaclang, and Phil Calinga, all employees of the Court of Appeals Information and Statistical Data Division, filed a Manifesto with the OCA, docketed as OCA IPI No. 99-18-CA-P. They alleged therein that Floria committed immorality, falsification and misrepresentation by having an illicit relation with a married man; by causing false entries in the certificates of live birth of her children stating that she and Rodrigo Badilla were married on May 22, 1972; and by misleading the Court of Appeals Selection and Promotions Board that she is a graduate of Masteral Degree in Management from the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP). However, the TUP’s Certification dated September 6, 1999 states that while Floria completed the academic requirements for “Master in Management” as of March 1999, her application for graduation is still to be acted upon by the Board of Regents. The Manifesto also states that Celia Badilla and Rogelio Goyal have filed with the Office of the Ombudsman similar complaints against Floria.
Meanwhile, Floria filed with the OCA a complaint dated September 17, 1999 against Curie Sunga and Isidro Aperocho for “Conduct Unbecoming of a Court Employee,” docketed as OCA IPI No. 99-21-CA-P. Floria alleged that she is an Assistant Chief of Division assigned at the Archives Section of the Judicial Records Division of the Court of Appeals. On August 6, 1999, the position of Chief of the Information and Statistical Data Division was declared vacant due to the compulsory retirement of Maria Coronel. She stated that Curie Sunga, Assistant Chief of that Division, was interested to sit as Acting Chief of Division until December 1999 when she shall compulsorily retire. Among the four applicants, only she (Floria) and Isidro Aperocho, Assistant Information Officer in the same Division, were nominated for promotional appointment to the vacant position by the Selection and Promotions Board. Sunga and Aperocho, motivated by jealousy and malice and believing that no employee outside of the Division should apply for the vacancy, conspired to malign and destroy her through their Manifesto, designed to discredit and eliminate her from being nominated for the vacant position.
Whether or not respondent is liable for falsification of documents.
Yes. Her children’s certificates of live birth show that Floria and Badilla were married on May 22, 1972 in Cabanatuan City, which of course is not true. The certificate of live birth of Floria’s first child bears “Alda Calzado Floria” as the mother and “Rodrigo Garcia Badilla” as the father. The second child’s certificate of live birth bears the same entries. Indeed, the charge of falsification which is tantamount to dishonesty is clearly supported by evidence. The entry in the said documents that she is married to Rodrigo Badilla is certainly spurious. Why she has not taken any legal step to have it corrected clearly indicates her predilection to dishonesty. This Court cannot countenance such conduct.
The Supreme Court demands that every employee of the judiciary must adhere to the exacting standards of honesty, integrity, morality, and decency in his professional and personal conduct, thus:
“Every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty. Like any public servant, he must exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of his official duties but in his personal and private dealings with other people, to
preserve the court’s good name and standing. It cannot be overstressed that the image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who worked thereat, from the judge to the lowest of its personnel. Court personnel have been enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good name and integrity of the courts of justice.”
Alda Floria’s complaint for “conduct unbecoming of a court employee” against Curie Sunga and Isidro Aperocho is DISMISSED. Their complaint for immorality and dishonesty (falsification of certificates of live birth) against Floria is sustained. She is thus FINED in the sum of P 10,000.00 and is REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of similar conduct will be dealt with more severely.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
CYNTHIA A. FLORENDO, complainant, vs. EXEQUIEL ENRILE, respondent. Edgardo G. Villarin for complainant. A.M. No. P-92-695 December 7, 1994
In a sworn letter-complaint filed with the Office of the Court Administrator on 17 March 1992, the complainant charged the respondent deputy sheriff of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) at Cabanatuan City with the failure to enforce a writ of demolition notwithstanding his collection and receipt of P5,200.00. She averred that she was the plaintiff in Civil Cases Nos. 9241 to 9249, all for ejectment, and that in a joint decision rendered on 22 June 1987 by Branch 2 of the MTCC 1 the defendants were ordered to vacate the premises and to surrender the possession thereof to the complainant. The defendants appealed this decision to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) which in a joint decision of 18 August 1989 2 affirmed it in toto. On 19 January 1990, the MTCC issued a writ of execution.
The writ was assigned to the respondent for implementation. In view of the refusal of the defendants to vacate the premises, the complainant asked for the issuance of a writ of demolition, which the court granted pursuant to its order of 21 March 1990. 4 On 27 June 1990, it denied the defendant's motion for extension of time to execute the writ of demolition. 5 For the service and implementation of the writ of demolition, the respondent asked and received from the complainant and her lawyer the total sum of P5,200.00 purportedly as sheriff's fee. 6 The respondent issued no official receipt for this amount. His acknowledgment of the partial payment of P2,700.00 appears on the stationery of the complainant's lawyer, Atty. Edgardo G. Villarin, while that for the other payment of P500.00 is handwritten on the stationery of the Office of the City Legal Officer, who is the same Atty. Edgardo G. Villarin. The other payment of P2,000.00 was by check drawn by the complainant's counsel.
Whether or not respondent judge be dismiss in his position.
Yes. The respondent never denied that he received the sum of P5,200.00 from the complainant in connection with the writ of demolition. He did not issue any official receipt for the amount received. At the time the writ of demolition was placed on his hands for implementation, the basic amount that the complainant had to pay was only P8.00 pursuant to paragraph (g), Section 7, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. This was later increased to P100.00 per this Court's en banc resolution of 4 September 1990. 15 There are, of course, other sheriff's expenses that prevailing parties have to pay for the service or implementation of court processes, or the safeguarding of property levied upon, attached or seized, including kilometrage, guard's fees, warehousing and similar charges, in
an amount to be estimated by the sheriff. However, the approval of the court thereof is needed and upon such approval, the amount shall be deposited by the interested party with the clerk of court and ex-officio sheriff, who shall disburse the same to the deputy sheriff assigned to effect the process, subject to liquidation within the same period for rendering a return of the process. Any unspent amount shall be refunded to the party making the deposit. A full report shall be submitted by the deputy sheriff assigned with his return.
In the instant case, the respondent did not make any report on the amount he received from the complainant nor did he issue an official receipt therefor. It is then obvious that he asked for the amount not as lawful fees alone but as a consideration for the performance of his duty. Any portion of the P5,200.00 then in excess of the lawful fees allowed by the Rules of Court is an unlawful exaction which makes the respondent liable for grave misconduct and gross dishonesty.
It must be stressed that administrative cases involving misconduct, nonfeasance, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office of officers and employees in the judiciary are of paramount public interest as the respondents are involved in the administration of justice, a sacred and solemn task. Such cases must be resolved with reasonable dispatch to clear the name of the innocent and to punish forthwith the guilty whose stay in office, prolonged by delay, could further tarnish the image of and diminish the public's faith in the judiciary.
For grave misconduct, gross dishonesty, serious dereliction or neglect of duty, gross incompetence or inefficiency, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, respondent EXEQUIEL ENRILE, Deputy Sheriff of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Cabanatuan City, is ordered DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all benefits and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch of service of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations. This decision is immediately executory.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas WILFREDO F. ARAZA, complainant, vs. Sheriffs MARLON M. GARCIA and NICOLAS A. TONGA, respondents. A.M. No. P-00-1363 February 8, 2000
This administrative case arose from a letter-complaint dated July 2, 1997 filed by Wilfredo F. Araza charging sheriffs Marlon M. Garcia and Nicolas A. Tonga with grave misconduct, violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, gross ignorance of the law, gross neglect of duty, grave abuse of authority, oppression, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, gross inefficiency and incompetence, relative to the implementation of the writ of execution in Civil Case No. 4256 of the Municipal Trial Court, Legaspi City, entitled "Salvacion B. Araza and Wilfredo F. Araza, plaintiffs, vs. Lilia S. Agu, defendant" for a sum of money.
On September 19, 1997, Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo required respondents to comment on the charges within ten (10) days from notice. On June 30, 1999, the Court referred the administrative case to Judge Raymund M. Jacob, Executive Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Legazpi City, for investigation, report and recommendation. On October 27, 1999, Judge Jacob submitted his report.
On February 25, 1997, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, Legazpi City rendered a decision in Civil Case No. 4256, sentencing defendant Lilia S. Agu to pay plaintiffs spouses Wilfredo and Salvacion Araza the total sum of P93,904.62 excluding interest. The decision having become final, on April 15, 1997, the trial court issued a writ of execution, and assigned its implementation to respondent sheriff Marlon M. Garcia.
Whether or not respondent Garcia is liable.
Yes. With respect to the charges against respondent Marlon M. Garcia, Judge Jacob found sufficient evidence to hold him liable. As regards the fact that respondent Garcia asked from complainant one thousand (P1,000.00) pesos to be given to assisting sheriff respondent Nicolas A. Tonga, the evidence showed that complainant refused to give the amount demanded. However, complainant directly gave P1,000.00 to Rustom Galicia who prepared the inventory of materials seized. Such act of asking complainant for money intended for "assisting" sheriff Tonga was virtually an extortion. The sheriff assigned by the court was not authorized, on his own, to appoint an "assisting" sheriff or a "technical" adviser. Decidedly, it was in violation of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No 31-90.
As to the alleged violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, Judge Jacob found that respondent Garcia did not derive personal gain from the partial payments of the judgment debts. This is immaterial in cases of violation of the anti-graft act. The fact is that respondent Garcia gave the judgement debtor an unwarranted benefit by acts of manifest partiality. Besides, respondent Garcia deprived the government of lawful fees amounting to six hundred eighty (P680.00) pesos, which form part of the Judiciary Development Fund, pursuant to Administrative Circular No. 3190.
Respondent sheriff Marlon M. Garcia, was without doubt guilty of grave misconduct in the implementation of the writ of execution relative to Civil Case No. 4256.
"A sheriff is not required to give the judgment debtor some time to raise cash. If time be given, the property may be placed in danger of being lost or absconded." Records reveal that the hardware material delivered by the judgment debtor to the clerk of court are different from those subject of the inventory. Worse, from an estimated recoverable amount of P51,515.00, the hardware materials were sold at auction for the measly amount of P3,000.00.
The Court DISMISSES respondent sheriff Marlon M. Garcia from the service with forfeiture of retirement rights, if any, and with prejudice to reinstatement or re-employment in the government service, including government-owned and controlled corporations. With regard to respondent sheriff Nicolas A. Tonga, he is found guilty of serious misconduct and fined P5,000.00 for having "assisted" fellow sheriff Garcia in the implementation of the writ without authority of the issuing court. He is given a stern warning that a similar conduct in the future will be dealt with more severely.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
MAYOR ALVIN B. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. HON. ARTURO C. MOJICA, in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, VIRGINIA PALANCA-SANTIAGO, in his capacity as Director, Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), ALAN FRANCISCO S. GARCIANO, in his capacity as Graft Investigation Officer I, Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), and JESUS RODRIGO T. TAGAAN, respondents. G.R. No. 139043 September 10, 1999
On May 7, 1998, petitioner, in his capacity as Cebu City mayor, signed a contract with F.E. Zuellig for the supply of asphalt to the city. The contract covers the period 1998-2001, which period was to commence on September 1998 when the first delivery should have been made by F.E. Zuellig.
Respondent Jesus Rodrigo T. Tagaan, special prosecution officer of the Office of the Ombudsman, was assigned to conduct the inquiry, docketed as INQ-VIS-99-0132. After his investigation, he recommended that the said inquiry be upgraded to criminal and administrative cases against petitioner and the other city officials involved. Respondent Arturo C. Mojica, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, approved this recommendation.
In a memorandum dated June 22, 1999, respondent Allan Francisco S. Garciano, the graft investigating officer to whom the case was raffled for investigation, recommended the preventive suspension of petitioner and the others. Two days later, or on June 24, 1999, the affidavitcomplaint against petitioner was filed. The following day, on June 25, 1999, the Office of the Ombudsman issued the questioned preventive suspension order. On June 29, 1999, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of said order, which motion was denied in an order dated July 5, 1999.
What is the effect of the reelection of petitioner on the investigation of acts done before his reelection? Did the Ombudsman for the Visayas gravely abuse his discretion in conducting the investigation of petitioner and ordering his preventive suspension?
Petitioner contends that, per our ruling in Aguinaldo v. Santos, his reelection has rendered the administrative case filed against him moot and academic. This is because reelection operates as a condonation by the electorate of the misconduct committed by an elective official during his previous term. Petitioner further cites the ruling of this Court in Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, that
“. . . When the people have elected a man to 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 misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults or misconduct to practically overrule the will of the people.” Respondents, on the other hand, contend that while the contract in question was signed during the previous term of petitioner, it was to commence or be effective only on September 1998 or during his current term. It is the respondents’ submission that petitioner “went beyond the protective confines” of jurisprudence when he “agreed to extend his act to his current term of office.” Aguinaldo cannot apply, according to respondents, because what is involved in this case is a misconduct committed during a previous term but to be effective during the current term. The petition is hereby DENIED insofar as it seeks to declare that respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in conducting an inquiry on complaints against petitioner, and ordering their investigation pursuant to respondents’ mandate under the Constitution and the Ombudsman Law. But the petition is hereby GRANTED insofar as it seeks to declare that respondents committed grave abuse of discretion concerning the period of preventive suspension imposed on petitioner, which is the maximum of six months, it appearing that 24 days – the number of days from the date petitioner was suspended on June 25, 1999, to the date of our status quo order on July 19, 1999 – were sufficient for the purpose. Accordingly, petitioner’s preventive suspension, embodied in the order of respondent Deputy Ombudsman, dated June 25, 1999, should now be, as it is hereby, LIFTED immediately.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Aguinaldo vs Santos 212 SCRA 768 August 21, 1992
Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan. Shortly after the December1989 coup d'etat was crushed, the Secretary of Local Government sent a telegram and a letter, to petitioner requiring him to show cause why he should not be suspended or removed from office for disloyalty to the Republic, within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof. A sworn complaint for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was filed by Veronico Agatep, Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep, the mayors of the municipalities of Gattaran, Tuaoand Lasam, all in Cagayan, against petitioner for acts the latter committed during the coup.In his letter, petitioner denied being privy to the planning of the coup or actively participating in its execution, though he admitted that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers. The Secretary suspended petitioner from office for 60 days from notice, pending the outcome of the formal investigation. During the hearing, petitioner did not present any evidence and instead moved that the Secretary inhibit himself, which motion was denied. Later, the Secretary rendered a decision finding petition guilty as charged and ordering his removal from office. The Vice Governor, Melvin Vargas was installed as Governor. In this appeal, the power of the Secretary to suspend officials was repealed by the 1987Constitution and that the act of disloyalty committed by petitioner was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. While the case was pending before the SC, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Governor of Cagayan. Three petitions for disqualification were filed against him on the ground that he had been removed from office. The Comelec granted the petition. Later, this was reversed on the ground that the decision of the Secretary has not yet attained finality and is still pending review with the Court. As petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections, the resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan.
WON the Secretary has the power to suspend or remove local government officials as alter ego of the President
Yes. Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has rendered the administrative case pending before Us moot and academic. It appears that after the canvassing of votes, petitioner garnered the most number of votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan province. As held by this Court in Aguinaldo v. Comelec et al: ‘the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be todeprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.’ Clearly then, the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup. The power of respondent Secretary to remove local government of officials is anchored on both the Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative branch. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the President the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices and the power of general supervision over local governments, and by the doctrine that the acts of the department head are presumptively the acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. 4 The statutory grant found in B.P. Blg. 337 itself has constitutional roots, having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution, Section 2. A similar provision is found in Section 3, Article X of the 1987 Constitution. Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to enact a local government code, which provides for the manner of removal of local government officials, is found in the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution, then it can not be said that BP337 was repealed by the effectivity of the present Constitution. Moreover, in Bagabuyo et al. vs. Davide, Jr., BP 337 remained in force despite the effectivity of the Constitution, until such time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is approved. The power of he Secretary of the DILG to remove local elective government officials is found in Secs. 60 and 61 of BP 337. As to petitioner's argument of the want of authority of the Secretary to appoint Melvin Vargas as Governor, We need but point to Section 48 (1) of B.P. Blg. 337 to show the fallacy of the same. Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the RPC. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the RPC, but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Salalima v. Guingona 257 SCRA 55
This refers to the administrative complaint filed against Albay Governor Romeo Salalima,ViceGovernor Danilo Azafla, Albay Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members Juan Victoria, LorenzoReyeg, Jesus Marcellana, Arturo Osia, Clenio Cabredo, Ramon Fernandez, Jr., Masikap Fontanilla,Vicente Go, Sr., and Nemesio Baclao relative to the retainer contract for legal services entered into between the Province of Albay, on the one hand, and Atty. Jesus R. Cornago and the Cortes& Reyna Law Firm, on the other, and the disbursement of public fund in payment thereof. The complaint alleges that by entering into the retainer agreement with private lawyers and paying P7, 380, 410.31 to the said private lawyers, respondents violated several provisions of law which warrants the imposition of administrative penalties against them. It is to be noted that respondents Victoria, Reyes, Cabredo, Marcellana and Osia were not yet members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan when Resolution No. 129 was passed. However, the complaint alleges that these respondents were named in the complaint because they approved the supplemental budget/appropriation ordinances providing for the payment of the attorney’s fees.
WON respondents have incurred administrative liability in entering into the retainer agreement with Atty. Cornago and the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm and in making payments pursuant to said agreement for purposes of the case filed by NPC with the Supreme Court against the Province.
Yes. Sec. 481 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160) requires the appointment of a legal officer for the province whose functions include the following: Represent the local government unit in all civil actions and special proceedings wherein the local government unit or any official thereof, in his official capacity is a party; Provided, That, in actions or proceeding where a component city or municipality is a party adverse to the provincial government or to another component city or municipality, a special legal officer may be employed to represent the adverse party. The Supreme Court has ruled in Municipality of Bocaue, et al. v. Manotok, that local government units cannot be represented by private lawyers and it is solely the Provincial Fiscal who can rightfully represent them. This ruling applies squarely to the case at hand because Sec.481 of the Local Government Code is based on Sec. 1681 of the Revised Administrative Code which was the subject of interpretation in the case of Municipality of Bocaue, et al. v. Manotok. In hiring private lawyers to represent the Province of Albay, respondents exceeded their authority and violated the above quoted section of the Local Government Code and the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the entire transaction was attended by irregularities. First, the disbursements to the lawyers amounting to P7,380,410.31 were disallowed by the Provincial Auditor on the ground that these were made without the prior written conformity of the Solicitor General andthe written concurrence of the Commission on Audit (COA) as required by COA Circular No. 86-255 dated 2 April 1986. The respondents attempted to dispute this finding by presenting the Solicitor General’s conformity dated 15 July 1993. This conformity was, however obtained after the disbursements were already made in 1990 and 1992. What is required by COA Circular No. 86-255 is a prior written conformity and acquiescence of the Solicitor General. Another irregularity in the transaction concerns the lawyers. Resolution No. 0 1-90authorized the respondent Governor to sign and confirm a retainer contract for legal services with the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm at 202 E. Rodriguez Sr. Blvd., Quezon City. The retainer contract signed by respondent Governor was, however, not only with the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm but also with Atty. Jesus R. Cornago of Jamecca Building, 280 Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City. That Atty. Jesus R. Cornago and the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm are two separate entities is evident from the retained contract itself.
In entering into a retainer agreement not only with the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm but also with Atty. Jose R. Cornago, respondent Governor exceeded his authority under Resolution No. 0190.Complicating further the web of deception surrounding the transaction is the fact that it was only Atty. Cornago who appeared as collaborating counsel of record of the Province in the
Supreme Court case. Even the Solicitor General, in his letter to respondent Governor dated 15 July 1993,noted that the Province is represented in the Supreme Court by Attys. Ricafort Cornago and Glenn Manahan but not by the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm. Furthermore, the memorandum with the Supreme Court filed for the Province was signed by Atty. Cornago and not by the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm. Consequently, the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm was not counsel of record of the Province in G.R. No. 87479. And yet, six of the ten checks paid by the Province and amounting to more than P3.6 million were issued in favor of the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm through Atty. Antonio Jose Cortes. In other words, respondents disbursed money to the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm although the latter did not appear as counsel for the Province in the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 87479.Finally, the attorney’s fees agreed upon by respondent Salalima and confirmed by the other respondents are not only unreasonable but also unconscionable. The contingent fee of 18% of the ”P2l4 million” claim of the Province against NPC amounts to P38.5 million. The word “unconscionable,” as applied to attorney’s fee, “means nothing more than that the fee contracted for, standing alone and unexplained would be sufficient to show that an unfair advantage had been taken of the client, or that a legal fraud had been taken of the client, or that a legal fraud had been perpetrated on him.” The Province has a legal officer, Atty. Ricafort, who had already filed a comment on NPC’s petition against the Province. The comment filed by Atty. Ricafort already covers the basic issues raised in the petition. When Atty. Cornago filed an appearance and subsequently a memorandum for the Province, the petition was already been given due course by the Supreme Court and the only pleading to be filed by the parties before the Court would issue its decision was a memorandum. Surely, one memorandum could not be worth P38.5 million. Furthermore, the professional character and social standing of Atty. Cornago are not such as would merit a P38.5 million fee for the legal services rendered for the Province. During the hearing, respondent Governor admitted that he had hired Atty. Cornago because they were schoolmates at San Beda College of Law. It is evident that respondent Governor hired Atty. Cornago not on the basis of his competency and standing in the legal community but purely for personal reasons. Likewise, the standing of the Cortes & Reyna Law Firm is not such as would merit P38.5 million for one memorandum, which, in this case, it had not even filed because it was not the counsel of record. Hence, considering the labor and time involved, the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services and the professional character and social standing of the lawyers, the attorney’s fee of P38.5 million is unconscionable. By allowing such scandalously exorbitant attorney’s fees which is patently disadvantageous to the government, respondents betrayed a personal bias to the lawyers involved and committed abuse of authority.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas ELENO T. REGIDOR, JR., ANICETO T. SIETE, CAMILO B. ZAPATOS & RODULFO ENRIQUEZ, petitioners, vs. GOV. WILLIAM CHIONGBIAN, Vice Gov. FLORENCIO GARCIA, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Members MARIVIC SAGRADO, MORPHEUS AGOT, CONSTANCIO BALAIS, ALEGRIA CARIÑO, ERNESTO IRA, PACITA YAP, JULIO TIU and Sangguniang Panglunsod, ROBERT O. TACLOB, respondents. G.R. No. 85815 May 19, 1989
This petition for prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction was filed by the petitioners who are the duly elected city officials of Tangub City of Misamis Occidental. Eleno T. Regidor was elected City Mayor of Tangub City, the other petitioners, Aniceto T. Siete, Camilo B. Zapatos and Rodulfo Enriquez, are respectively the ViceMayor and members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Tangub City, who were elected in the January 18, 1988 local elections, were proclaimed in due course, and assumed office.
On November 3, 1988, respondents William Chiongbian and Florencio Garcia, Marivic Sagrada Morpheus Agot, Constancio Balais, Alegria Carifio, Ernesto Ira, Pacita Yap, and Julio Tiu, who are respectively the Provincial Governor, the Vice-Governor, and members of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, approved Resolution No. 340-88 recommending the suspension of the petitioners who failed to appear on November 18, 1988 at the hearing of a complaint for unspecified misconduct which respondent Robert O. Taclob filed against them in the office of the Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
The petition alleges that respondents Governor Chiongbian and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan acted without authority, and contrary to law, in issuing the Order of Preventive Suspension against the petitioners because under Section 63 of the Local Government Code, a provincial or city official may be preventively suspended by the Minister of Local Government, not by the Provincial Governor.
Whether or not the contention of the respondent is valid.
There is no merit in the respondents' contention that the order of preventive suspension issued by Governor Chiongbian was within the authority granted in Section 7, Rule 18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations to "the Minister of Local Government, provincial governor, or municipal mayor, as the case may be," to "preventively suspend an elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay official, respectively."
Respondents misread and misconstrued Section 7, Rule 18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations of the Local Government Code. The rule should be read in juxtaposition with Section 63 of the Code which provides that "preventive suspension may be imposed by the Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official, by the provincial governor if the respondent is an elective municipal official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official." In light of Section 63 of the Code, Section 7 of Rule 18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations should be interpreted to mean that the Minister of Local Government may preventively suspend an elective provincial or city official, the Provincial Governor may preventively suspend an elective municipal official, and the city or municipal mayor may preventively suspend an elective barangay official. This is as it should be for complaints against provincial or city officials are supposed to be filed with the Minister (now Secretary) of Local Government, hence, it is he (not the provincial governor) who would know whether or not the charges are serious enough to warrant the suspension of the accused elective provincial or city official.
No rule or regulation issued by the Secretary of Local Government may alter, amend, or contravene a provision of the Local Government Code. The implementing rules should conform, not clash, with the law that they implement, for a regulation which operates to create a rule out of harmony with the statute is a nullity (Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Vda. de Prieto, L13912, September 30, 1950). A rule or regulation that was issued to implement a law may not go beyond the terms and provisions of the law (People vs. Lim, 108 Phil. 1091).
The petition for certiorari is granted. The Resolution No. 340-88 of the Sangguniang Panglunsod, and the order of preventive suspension issued by respondent Governor William Chiongbian the appointment of Robert O. Taclob as OIC Mayor of Tangub City, the notices of hearing and subpoenas issued to the petitioners by the respondents are all annulled and set aside. The temporary restraining order which they issued on December 7, 1988, is hereby made permanent.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Ganzon vs Court of Appeals 2000 SCRA 271
Ganzon was the then mayor of Iloilo City. 10 complaints were filed against him on grounds of misconduct and misfeasance of office. The Secretary of Local Government issued a 600 day suspension against Ganzon based on the merits of the complaints filed against him. Ganzon appealed the issue to the CA and the CA affirmed the suspension order by the Secretary. Ganzon asserted that the 1987 Constitution does not authorize the President nor any of his alter ego to suspend and remove local officials; this is because the 1987 Constitution supports local autonomy and strengthens the same. What was given by the present Constitution was mere supervisory power.
Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government, as the President’s alter ego, can suspend and or remove local officials.
Ganzon is under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere supervisory powers, which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her control, which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because legally, “supervision” is not incompatible with disciplinary authority. The SC had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and supervision, are two different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. “In administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.” But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of supervision of the President over local government
officials does not include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires.
The Secretary of Local Government, as the alter ego of the president, in suspending Ganzon is exercising a valid power. He however overstepped by imposing a 600 day suspension.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas ACHILLES C. BERCES, SR., petitioner, vs. HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., CHIEF PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL COUNSEL ANTONIO CARPIO and MAYOR NAOMI C. CORRAL OF TIWI, ALBAY, respondents. G.R. No. 112099 February 21, 1995
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court with prayer for mandatory preliminary injunction, assailing the Orders of the Office of the President as having been issued with grave abuses of discretion. Said Orders directed the stay of execution of the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan suspending the Mayor of Tiwi, Albay from office.
Petitioner filed two administrative cases against respondent Naomi C. Corral, the incumbent Mayor of Tiwi, Albay with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay, to wit:
(1) Administrative Case No. 02-92 for abuse of authority and/or oppression for non-payment of accrued leave benefits due the petitioner amounting to P36,779.02.
(2) Administrative Case No. 05-92 for dishonesty and abuse of authority for installing a water pipeline which is being operated, maintained and paid for by the municipality to service respondent's private residence and medical clinic.
Consequently, respondent Mayor appealed to the Office of the President questioning the decision and at the same time prayed for the stay of execution thereof in accordance with Section 67(b) of the Local Government Code.
Petitioner claims that the governing law in the instant case is R.A. No. 7160, which contains a mandatory provision that an appeal "shall not prevent a decision from becoming final and executory." He argues that administrative Order No. 18 dated February 12, 1987, (entitle "Prescribing the Rules and Regulations Governing Appeals to Office the President") authorizing the President to stay the execution of the appealed decision at any time during the pendency of the appeal, was repealed by R.A. No. 7160, which took effect on January 1, 1991.
Whether or not the provisions of Section 68 of R.A. No. 7160 and Section 6 of Administrative Order No. 18 are irreconcillably inconsistent and repugnant.
No. The Supreme Court found that the provisions of Section 68 of R.A. No. 7160 and Section 6 of Administrative Order No. 18 are not irreconcillably inconsistent and repugnant and the two laws must in fact be read together.
The first sentence of Section 68 merely provides that an "appeal shall not prevent a decision from becoming final or executory." As worded, there is room to construe said provision as giving discretion to the reviewing officials to stay the execution of the appealed decision. There is nothing to infer there from that the reviewing officials are deprived of the authority to order a stay of the
appealed order. If the intention of Congress was to repeal Section 6 of Administrative Order No. 18, it could have used more direct language expressive of such intention.
The term "shall" may be read either as mandatory or directory depending upon a consideration of the entire provisions in which it is found, its object and the consequences that would follow from construing it one way or the other (cf. De Mesa v. Mencias, 18 SCRA 533 ). In the case at bench, there is no basis to justify the construction of the word as mandatory.
The Office of the President made a finding that the execution of the decision of the Sagguniang Panlalawigan suspending respondent Mayor from office might be prejudicial to the public interest. Thus, in order not to disrupt the rendition of service by the mayor to the public, a stay of the execution of the decision is in order.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Garcia vs. Mojica (1999) 314 SCRA 207
FACTS: Garcia, as Cebu City mayor, signed a contract with F.E. Zuellig for supply of asphalt to the city. Contract covers the period 1998-2001 which was to commence on September1998 when the first delivery should have been made by Zuellig.March1999, news reports came out regarding alleged anomalous purchase of asphalt by Cebu City, through the contract signed by Garcia – which prompted Office of Ombudsman (Visayas) to conduct an inquiry. Preventive suspension order was issued by the Office of the Ombudsman. Garcia assails validity of the order. HELD: There can be no question as to the power and authority of respondent Deputy Ombudsman Mojica to issue an order of preventive suspension against an official like Garcia – to prevent that official from using his office to intimidate or influence witnesses or to tamper with records that might be vital to the prosecution of the case against him. However, the said office cannot hold him administratively liable for acts committed prior to his present term of office. It has repeatedly held in a number of cases that a reelected local official may not be held administratively accountable for misconduct committed during his prior term of office. The rationale is that when the electorate put him back into office, it is presumed that it did so with full knowledge of his life and character, including his past misconduct. If, armed with such knowledge, it still reelects him, then such reelection is considered a condonation of his past misdeeds. That the people voted for an official with knowledge of his character is presumed, precisely to eliminate the need to determine, in factual terms, the extent of this knowledge. Such an undertaking is impossible. Rulings on the matter do not distinguish the precise timing or period when the misconduct was committed, reckoned from the date of the official’s reelection, except that it must be prior to said date.
[Salalima case applies – that sound policy dictates it. To rule otherwise would open the floodgates to exacerbating endless partisan contests between the reelected official and his political enemies, who may not stop to hound the former during his new term with administrative cases for acts alleged to have been committed during his previous term. In the case at bar, Garcia cannot anymore be held administrative liable for an act done during his previous term (his signing of contract with Zuellig).]
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas GOVERNOR AMOR D. DELOSO, petitioner, vs. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, respondents. G.R. No. 86899-903 May 15, 1989
This petition for certiorari seeks to annul and set aside the resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated February 10, 1989 in Criminal Cases Nos. 9200 to 9204 which preventively suspended petitioner Amor D. Deloso (accused in the criminal cases) pendente lite from his position as provincial governor of Zambales and from any office that he may be holding.
The petitioner was the duly elected mayor of Botolan, Zambales in the local elections of November 1971. While he occupied the position of mayor, a certain Juan Villanueva filed a letter complaint with the Tanodbayan accusing him of having committed acts in violation of the Anti-Graft Law (Republic Act 3019) in relation to the award of licenses to operate fish corrals in the municipal waters of Botolan, Zambales during the period 1976 to 1978 and the issuance of five (5) tractors of
the municipality to certain individuals allegedly without any agreement as to the payment of rentals.
The complaint with respect to the award of licenses to operate fish corrals was dismissed. As regards the other complaint, the Tanodbayan filed five (5) separate informations, all dated May 30, 1984 accusing the petitioner of violation of Section 3(e), of the Anti-Graft Law with the Sandiganbayan. The cases were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 9200-9204.
On February 17, 1989, the petitioner filed an urgent motion with the Sandiganbayan requesting that the execution and implementation of the February 10, 1989 suspension order be held in abeyance pending determination of the merits of the petition. The motion was denied prompting the petitioner to ask the Court for an earlier setting of the trial of the cases which was denied in an order dated February 22, 1989.
Whether or not the ruling in the Garcia case where the suspension was ordered by no less than the President of the Philippines is applicable to an elective official facing criminal charges under the Anti-Graft Law and suspended under Section 13, thereof. HELD:
Yes. The application of the Garcia injunction against preventive suspensions for an unreasonable period of time applies with greater force to elective officials and especially to the petitioner whose term is a relatively short one. The interests of the sovereign electorate and the province of Zambales cannot be subordinated to the heavy case load of the Sandiganbayan and of this Court.
The order dated February 10, 1989 suspending the petitioner without a definite period can not be sanctioned. We rule that henceforth a preventive suspension of an elective public officer under Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 should be limited to the ninety (90) days under Section 42 of Presidential Decree No. 807, the Civil Service Decree, which period also appears reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances of this case.
One last point. Should the purposes behind preventive suspensions such as preventing the abuse of the prerogatives of the office, intimidation of witnesses, etc., become manifest, the respondent court is not bereft of remedies or sanctions. The petitioner may still be suspended but for
specifically expressed reasons and not from an automatic application of Section 13 of the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The instant petition is GRANTED. The preventive suspension imposed on petitioner Amor D. Deloso by virtue of the February 10, 1989 resolution of the Sandiganbayan should be limited to only ninety (90) days after which Deloso will assume once again the functions of governor of Zambales, without prejudice to the continuation of the trial of the pending cases against him in the Sandiganbayan. This decision is immediately executory. No costs.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas LIBANAN VS. SANDIGANBAYAN 233 SCRA 163
Petitioner Libanan is the incumbent vice-governor of Eastern Samar and was a former member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan prior to the 1992 elections. He was charged in conspiring to other members to prevent and exclude Docena (Respondent), a qualified replacement of a deceased member, from exercising his rights and prerogatives as a member of the said body. In effect, the SANDIGANBAYAN issued a resolution suspending their respective public position and office for ninety(90) days. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging three grounds:  Order of Suspension if executed shall affront the petitioner’s right for due process;  the suspension would assault his covenant to the people of Samaras their vice-governor; and  the reasons sought to be prevented by the suspension no longer exist. Petitioner contends that the order of suspension, being predicated on his acts supposedly committed while still a member of the Sangguniang Bayan, can no longer attach to him now that he is the duly elected and incumbent Vice-Governor of Eastern Samar.
Whether or not the Order of Suspension given by the SANDIGANBAYAN is valid?
Yes. The Court ruled that the term "office" used in the law could apply to any office which the officer charged might currently be holding and not necessarily the particular office under which he was charged. The suspension order cannot amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law. Public office is "a public agency or trust, "and it is not the property envisioned by the Constitutional provision which petitioner invokes. Hence, SC dismissed the petition. SANDIGANBAYAN’s decision is affirmed
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
BAYOT VS. SANDIGANBAYAN 128 SCRA 383 NO.L-61776 TO NO.L-61861 23 MAR 1984
Bayot is one of the several persons who was accused in more than 100 counts of estafa thru falsification of Public documents before the Sandiganbayan. The said charges started from his alleged involvement as a government auditor of the commission on audit assigned to the Ministry of education and culture, with some other employees from the said ministry. The bureau of treasury and the teacher’s camp in Baguio City for the preparation and encashment of fictitious TCAA checks for the nom-existent obligations of the teacher’s camp resulting in damage to the
government of several millions. The 1st 32 cases were filed on july 25, 1987, while Bayot ran for municipal mayor of Amadeo Cavite and was elected on January 1980. but on May 1980 Sandiganbayan promulgated a decision convicting the accused together with his other co-accused in all but one of the thirty two cases filed against them. On March 16, 1982 Batas Pambansa Blg 195 was passed amending RA 3019.
Whether or Not it would be violative of the constitutional guarantee against an ex post facto law.
The court finds no merit in the petitioner’s contention that RA 3019 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg 195, which includes the crime of estafa through falsification of Public Documents as among crimes subjecting the public officer charged therewith with suspension from public office pending action in court, is a penal provision which violates the constitutional prohibition against the enactment of ex post facto law. Accdg to the RPC suspension from employment and public office during trial shall not be considered as a penalty. It is not a penalty because it is not a result of a judicial proceeding. In fact, if acquitted the official who is suspended shall be entitled to reinstatement and the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension. And does not violate the constitutional provision against ex post facto law.
The claim of the petitioner that he cannot be suspended because he is currently occupying a position different from that under which he is charged is untenable. The amendatory provision clearly states that any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under RA 3019 for any offense involving fraud upon the government or public funds or property or whatever stage of execution and mode of participation shall be suspended from office. The use of the word “office” applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding and not only the particular office under which he was charged.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas HON. EDUARDO NONATO JOSON, in his capacity as the Governor of the Province of Nueva Ecija, petitioner, vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RUBEN D. TORRES, the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, represented by
SECRETARY ROBERT Z. BARBERS and UNDERSECRETARY MANUEL R. SANCHEZ, MR. OSCAR C. TINIO, in his capacity as Provincial Vice-Governor of Nueva Ecija, and MR. LORETO P. PANGILINAN, MR. CRISPULO S. ESGUERRA, MS. SOLITA C. SANTOS, MR.VICENTE C. PALILIO, and MR. NAPOLEON G. INTERIOR, in their capacity as Provincial Board Members of Nueva Ecija, respondents. G.R. No. 131255. May 20, 1998
Private respondents filed a letter-complaint to the office of the president charging joson with grave misconduct and abuse of authority. According to the respondents, in one of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) meeting, Joson barged into the hall in order to harass them into approving the loan of 150 million pesos from the PNB. They did not approve the loan for there is still a pending obligation of 70 million pesos and they cannot afford to enter into another obligation. Thus, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Barbers summoned both parties to a settlement, but both did not comply with the compromise. DILG asked both parties to file their answers with regard to the non-settlement of the issue. Joson keeps on asking for an extension to file his answer for three times, and his request was granted for three times. However, even on the third time, he had not still filed his answer, and DILG declared that Joson deemed waived his right to file his answer by an order of Default by DILG.
However, he was reconsidered but same thing happened. Undersecretary Sanchez reinstated the order of default and directed private respondents to present their evidence ex-parte.
Petitioner, through counsel, filed a "Motion to Dismiss." Petitioner alleged that the letter-complaint was not verified on the day it was filed with the Office of the President; and that the DILG had no jurisdiction over the case and no authority to require him, to answer the complaint.
On recommendation of Secretary Barbers, Executive Secretary Ruben Torres issued an order, by authority of the President, placing petitioner under preventive suspension for sixty (60) days pending investigation of the charges against him. Secretary Barbers designated Vice-Governor Oscar Tinio as Acting Governor until such time as petitioner's temporary legal incapacity shall have ceased to exist.
Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals challenging the order of preventive suspension and the order of default. Undersecretary Sanchez issued an order denying petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss" and "Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Reconsideration."
Petitioner alleged that Vice-Governor Tinio was enraged at the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan who were in petitioner's party because they refused to place on the agenda the ratification of the proposed P150 million loan of the province. He said that like Vice-Governor Tinio, he was always accompanied by his official security escorts whenever he reported for work.
On September 11, 1997, petitioner filed an "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" of the order of August 20, 1997 denying his motion to dismiss. The "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" was rejected by Undersecretary Sanchez on October 8, 1997. Undersecretary Sanchez, however, granted the "Motion to Lift Default Order and to Admit Answer Ad Cautelam" and admitted the "Answer Ad Cautelam" as petitioner's position paper pursuant to the order of August 20, 1997.
Petitioner filed a "Motion to Conduct Formal Investigation." Petitioner prayed that a formal investigation of his case be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 and Rule 7 of Administrative Order No. 23. CA dismissed Joson's petition.
WHETHER OR NOT THE SUSPENSION OF PETITIONER EDUARDO JOSON AS GOVERNOR OF NUEVA ECIJA IS VALID.
The DILG denied petitioner's "Motion to Conduct Formal Investigation". SC issued TRO enjoining implementation of the order of Exec. Sec. Ruben Torres (about dun sa preventive suspension ni Joson). According to the respondents, however, the position of Joson was already vested by Sec. Barbers to VG Tinio, and the TRO had lost its purpose and effectivity.
Administrative disciplinary proceedings against elective local officials are governed by the Local Government Code of 1991, the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, and Administrative Order No. 23 entitled "Prescribing the Rules and Procedures on the Investigation of Administrative Disciplinary Cases Against Elective Local Officials of Provinces, Highly Urbanized Cities, Independent Component Cities, and Cities and Municipalities in Metropolitan Manila." A complaint against an elective provincial or city official must be filed with the Office of the President. A complaint against an elective municipal official must be filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan while that of a barangay official must be filed before the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan.
Petitioner contended that the letter-complaint submitted to the office of the Pres was not verified by the respondents.
Petitioner questions the jurisdiction and authority of the DILG Secretary over the case. He contends that under the law, it is the Office of the President that has jurisdiction over the lettercomplaint and that the Court of Appeals erred in applying the alter- ego principle because the power to discipline elective local officials lies with the President, not with the DILG Secretary.
The power of the President over administrative disciplinary cases against elective local officials is derived from his power of general supervision over local governments. The President's power of general supervision means no more than the power of ensuring that laws are faithfully executed, or that subordinate officers act within the law. Supervision is not incompatible with discipline.
The power to discipline evidently includes the power to investigate. As the Disciplining Authority, the President has the power derived from the Constitution itself to investigate complaints against local government officials. A.O. No. 23, however, delegates the power to investigate to the DILG or a Special Investigating Committee, as may be constituted by the Disciplining Authority. This is not undue delegation, contrary to petitioner Joson's claim. The President remains the Disciplining Authority. What is delegated is the power to investigate, not the power to discipline.
The procedure of requiring position papers in lieu of a hearing in administrative cases is expressly allowed with respect to appointive officials but not to those elected. Suspension and removal are imposed only after the elective official is accorded his rights and the evidence against him strongly dictates their imposition.
The Resolution of January 8, 1998 of the public respondent Executive Secretary is declared null and void and is set aside. No Cost.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Bolastig vs. Sandiganbayan 235 SCRA 103 August 4, 1994
Antonio M. Bolastig is the governor of the province of Samar. Information was filed against him and two others –Pedro Ason the provincial treasurer and Prudencio Macabenta the property officer of the province- for alleged overpricing of 100 reams of onion skin paper in violation of Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The Sandiganbayan acting upon the motion of the Special Prosecutor suspended the Petitioner for 90 days with the strength of the provision of sec. 13 of the Anti graft and corrupt practices act which provides for the preventive suspension of public officers if they are under criminal prosecution under valid information under the same act or under title 7, Book II of the RPC, or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property as basis. However, herein petitioner contends that his suspension was a mindless and meaningless exercise and it was imposed without regard to the spirit and intent of the law in which it is based. He further contends that his suspension may deprive his constituents of the services of an elected official elected by them. Sandiganbayan rejected the motion of the accused hence this petition.
Whether the Sandiganbayan is correct in suspending herein petitioner as Governor with the strength of Sec. 13 of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Yes, it is now settled that sec 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 makes it mandatory for the Sandiganbayan to suspend any public officer against whom a valid information charging violation of the law, Book II, Title 7 of the RPC, or any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property is filed. The fact that an elected official’s preventive suspension may deprive his
constituents of the official elected by them is not a sufficient basis for reducing what is otherwise a mandatory suspension provided by law.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
DINDO C. RIOS, petitioner, vs. THE SECOND DIVISION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, and THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF ROMBLON, respondents. G.R. No. 129913 September 26, 1997
That on or about May 16, 1994, in San Fernando, Romblon, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, a public officer, x x x while in the performance and taking advantage of his official functions, and with evident bad faith, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally cause the disposition of confiscated, assorted and sawn tanguile lumber consisting of 1,319 pieces without proper authority therefor, thus, causing undue injury to the Government.
Before his arraignment, petitioner filed a “Motion to Quash Information and Recall Warrant of Arrest,” dated August 4, 1996, on the ground that the information was invalid as there was no probable cause to hold him liable for violation of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019.
The Sandiganbayan overruled the argument in its resolution of October 14, 1996. Thereupon, petitioner filed a verified petition with this Court which was docketed as G.R. No. 126771. Among the issues raised was the alleged invalidity of the information. The Court resolved to deny this petition on December 4, 1996 on the ground that the Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion in rendering the questioned judgment.
Whether or not there is a probable cause in this case.
Yes. The first argument propounded by petitioner has already been passed upon by this Court when it held that the act of disposing of confiscated lumber without prior authority from DENR and the Sangguniang Bayan constituted a violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019. Therefore, there is probable cause to hold petitioner liable for such act, for which the information was validly filed. Although any further discussion of this issue would be unnecessary, the Sandiganbayan’s ruling is herein reiterated as a reminder to public officials of their crucial role in society and the trust lodged upon them by the people.
Petitioner maintains that the mere fact that he acted beyond the scope of his authority by selling the confiscated lumber without the prior approval of the DENR through its Community Environment and Natural Resources Office and without a resolution from the Sangguniang Bayan, does not constitute a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. What renders the disposition of lumber contrary to law is any resulting “undue injury” which, however, is absent in this case because the proceeds of the disposition went to the coffers of the Municipal Government. The court trying a case has neither discretion nor duty to determine whether preventive suspension is required to prevent the accused from using his office to intimidate witnesses or frustrate his prosecution or continue committing malfeasance in office.”This is based on the presumption that unless the public officer is suspended, he may frustrate his prosecution or commit further acts of malfeasance or both.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas HEIRS OF TEODORO DELA CRUZ represented by EDRONEL DELA CRUZ, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, PACIFICO MARQUEZ,€ FILOMENO€ and€ GREGORIO, both surnamed MADRID, respondents. G.R. No. 117384 October 21, 1998
On November 20, 1986, petitioners filed an action for re conveyance with damages against private respondents involving a parcel of land situated in Poblacion, San Mateo, Isabela with a total area of€ 3,277 square meters petitioners assert that the subject land was bought by their predecessor-ininterest from the private respondents, Madrid brothers, for P4,000.00 on May 18, 1959. Since then they have been in actual, physical, continuous and open possession of the property. However in October 1986, private respondents managed to obtain a Torrens Title over the said land, the Madrids denied having executed the said deed of sale and alleged that the document was fictitious and falsified. Meanwhile, Pacifico Marquez contends that he is an innocent purchaser for value of the property having bought the same from the Madrid brothers in 1976.During the trial, petitioners were unable to present the original deed of sale since it was lost.€They were constrained to offer, as Exhibit A, a photo copy of the purported original carbon copy of the deed of sale in an effort to prove the transaction, The trial court ruled that Exhibit A was inadmissible in evidence, for No proof was adduced that this remaining copy was lost or destroyed.. no attempt was done to produce the copies retained by the notary public although there is a possibility that the same still exist.. Neither was there any proof that the copy sent to the court as required by the notarial law is unavailable. The trial court dismissed petitioners complaint.. Declaring the defendants the lawful owners .. Ordering the plaintiffs.. to vacate the portions of Lots 7036-A-10-A,.. 70360A-10-B and
7036-A-10-C..Court of Appeals AFFIRMED the decision of the RTC rendering its judgment which ruled that Exhibit A was admissible in evidence for failure of the private respondents to object when it was offered during the trial, but it had no probative value to support the allegation of the petitioners that the disputed land was sold to them in 1959.Failing in their bid to reconsider the decision, the petitioners have filed the present petition.
Whether Exhibit A is admissible as evidence?
Exhibit A is admitted in evidence, we agree with the Court of Appeals that its probative value must still meet the various tests by which its reliability is to be determined. Its tendency to convince and persuade must be considered for admissibility of evidence should not be confused with its probative value. A cursory glance will immediately reveal that it was unsigned by any of the parties and undated as to when it was executed. In other words, Atty. Tabangay’s failure to determine the accuracy of the carbon copy requested by the petitioner’s predecessor-in-interest renders Exhibit A unreliable. Petitioner’s explanation that these copies were lost or could not be found in the National Archives was not even supported by any certification from the said office. It is a well-settled principle that before secondary evidence can be presented, all duplicates and/or counterparts must be accounted for, and no excuse for the non-production of the original document itself can be regarded as established until all its parts are unavailable. Whether their long possession of the land in question, bolstered by the construction of various improvements gives rise to the disputable presumption of ownership?
The records show that the disputed property has been in the possession of the petitioners since 1959. They have since been introducing several improvements on the land which certainly could not have escaped the attention of the Madrids. The construction of various infrastructure on the land - rice mill, storage house, garage, pavements and other buildings - was undoubtedly a clear exercise of ownership which the Madrids could not ignore. The Failure of the Madrids raise a restraining arm or a shout of dissent to the petitioners possession of the subject land in a span of almost thirty (30) years is simply contrary to their claim of ownership. Whether neither prescription nor laches can operate against the madrid because their title to the property is registered under the Torrens system and therefore imprescriptable? The Torrens system does not create or vest title. It has never been recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership, especially considering the fact that both the Madrids and Marquezes obtained their respective TCT’s only in October 1986,twenty-seven long (27) years after petitioners first
took possession of the land. They should have filed a judicial action for recovery of possession and not merely to have the land registered under their respective names. Lastly, Marquez claim that he is a purchaser in good faith and for value does not inspire any merit. Where a purchaser was fully aware of another person’s possession of the lot he purchased, he cannot successfully pretend later to be an innocent purchaser for value. Moreover, one who buys without checking the vendor’s title takes all the risks and losses consequent to such failure. The decision of the Court of Appeals REVERSED and SET ASIDE.€ Instead, petitioners are hereby declared as the legal owners of the subject land.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas RAMIR R. PABLICO, petitioner, vs. ALEJANDRO A. VILLAPANDO, respondent. G.R. No. 147870 July 31, 2002
On August 5, 1999, Solomon B. Maagad, and Renato M. Fernandez, both members of the Sangguniang Bayan of San Vicente, Palawan, filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan an administrative complaint against respondent Alejandro A. Villapando, then Mayor of San Vicente, Palawan, for abuse of authority and culpable violation of the Constitution. Complainants alleged that respondent, on behalf of the municipality, entered into a consultancy agreement with Orlando M. Tiape, a defeated mayoralty candidate in the May 1998 elections. They argue that the consultancy agreement amounted to an appointment to a government position within the prohibited one-year period under Article IX-B, Section 6, of the 1987 Constitution.
In his answer, respondent countered that he did not appoint Tiape, rather, he merely hired him. He invoked Opinion No. 106, s. 1992, of the Department of Justice dated August 21, 1992, stating that the appointment of a defeated candidate within one year from the election as a consultant does not constitute an appointment to a government office or position as prohibited by the Constitution.
On July 4, 2000, respondent instituted a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Court of Appeals seeking to annul: (1) the May 29, 2000 decision of the Office of the President; (2) the February 1, 2000, decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan; and (3) the June 23, 2000 order of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Branch 95.
On March 16, 2001, the Court of Appeals declared void the assailed decisions of the Office of the President and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan, and ordered petitioner to vacate the Office of Mayor of San Vicente, Palawan. A motion for reconsideration was denied on April 23, 2001. Hence, the instant petition for review.
Whether or not the local legislative bodies and/or the Office of the President, on appeal, validly impose the penalty of dismissal from service on erring elective local officials.
The pertinent portion of Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides:
Section 60. Grounds for Disciplinary Actions. – An elective local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from office on any of the following grounds: An elective local official may be removed from office on the grounds enumerated above by order of the proper court.
It is clear from the last paragraph of the aforecited provision that the penalty of dismissal from service upon an erring elective local official may be decreed only by a court of law. Thus, in Salalima, et al. v. Guingona, et al., we held that “[t]he Office of the President is without any power to remove elected officials, since such power is exclusively vested in the proper courts as expressly provided for in the last paragraph of the aforequoted Section 60.
As held in Salalima, this grant to the “disciplining authority” of the power to remove elective local officials is clearly beyond the authority of the Oversight Committee that prepared the Rules and Regulations. No rule or regulation may alter, amend, or contravene a provision of law, such as the Local Government Code. Implementing rules should conform, not clash, with the law that they implement, for a regulation which operates to create a rule out of harmony with the statute is a nullity. Even Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., the principal author of the Local Government Code of 1991, expressed doubt as to the validity of Article 124 (b), Rule XIX of the implementing rules.
It is beyond cavil, therefore, that the power to remove erring elective local officials from service is lodged exclusively with the courts. Hence, Article 124 (b), Rule XIX, of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code, insofar as it vests power on the “disciplining authority” to remove from office erring elective local officials, is void for being repugnant to the last paragraph of Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991. The law on suspension or removal of elective public officials must be strictly construed and applied, and the authority in whom such power of suspension or removal is vested must exercise it with utmost good faith, for what is involved is not just an ordinary public official but one chosen by the people through the exercise of their constitutional right of suffrage. Their will must not be put to naught by the caprice or partisanship of the disciplining authority. Where the disciplining authority is given only the power to suspend and not the power to remove, it should not be permitted to manipulate the law by usurping the power to remove. As explained by the Court in Lacson v. Roque:
“…the abridgment of the power to remove or suspend an elective mayor is not without its own justification, and was, we think, deliberately intended by the lawmakers. The evils resulting from a restricted authority to suspend or remove must have been weighed against the injustices and harms to the public interests which would be likely to emerge from an unrestrained discretionary power to suspend and remove.”
The instant petition for review is DENIED.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Malinao vs. Reyes 255 SCRA 616 (1996)
Malinao filed an administrative case against Mayor Red for abuse of authority and denial of due process with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque. On August 12, 1994, members of the Sanggunian, by a vote of 5 to 3, found Red guilty, vote signed only by presiding chairman. On September 5, the Sanggunian, voting 7 to 2, acquitted Red of the charges against him. This vote was embodied in a Decision which was signed by all the members. Malinao argued that the First Sanggunian Decision had already become final and executory for failure of Red to appeal.
Whether or not the second Decision is valid.
Yes. The second decision of acquittal is valid. In any case, this issue is already moot and academic as a result of the expiration of Red’s term during which the act complained of was allegedly committed, and further proceedings are barred by his reelection. [Sec 66(b) LGC].Reelection abates any administrative disciplinary proceedings against the local elective official.[Under Sec. 66 (b) of the LGC, the penalty of suspension cannot exceed the unexpired term of the official and any administrative disciplinary proceeding against said official is abated if in the meantime he is reelected because such re-election is a condonation of whatever misconduct he might have committed during his previous term. In order to render a decision in an administrative case involving elected local officials, the decision of the Sanggunian must be in writing, stating clearly the facts and the reasons for such a decision.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas GOVERNOR MANUEL M. LAPID, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, FACT-
FINDING INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (FFIB) of the Office of the Ombudsman, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, respondents. G.R. No. 142261 June 29, 2000
On the basis of an unsigned letter dated July 20, 1998, allegedly originating from the “Mga Mamamayan ng Lalawigan ng Pampanga,” addressed to the National Bureau of Investigation, the latter initiated an “open probe” on the alleged illegal quarrying in Pampanga & exaction of exorbitant fees purportedly perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals with the connivance of highranking government officials. The NBI Report was endorsed to the respondent Ombudsman and was docketed as OMB-1-98-2067.
On Oct. 26, 1998, a complaint was filed charging petitioner Gov. Manuel M. Lapid, ViceGovernor Clayton Olalia, Provincial Administrator Enrico Quiambao, Provincial Treasurer Jovito Sabado, Mabalacat Municipal Mayor Marino Morales and Senior Police Officer 4 Nestor Tadeo with alleged “Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service” for allegedly “having conspired between and among themselves in demanding and collecting from various quarrying operators in Pampanga a control fee, control slip, or monitoring fee of P120.00 per truckload of sand, gravel, or other quarry material, without a duly enacted provincial ordinance authorizing the collection thereof and without issuing receipts for its collection. They were also accused of giving unwarranted benefits to Nestor Tadeo, Rodrigo “Rudy” Fernandez & Conrado Pangilinan who are neither officials/employees of the Provincial Government. of Pampanga nor quarry operators by allowing them to collect the said amount which was over and above the P40.00 prescribed under the present provincial ordinance and in allowing Tadeo, Fernandez and Pangilinan to sell and deliver to various quarry operators booklets of official receipts which were pre-stamped with “SAND FEE P40.00.
On March 22, 2000 the Third Division of this Court issued a Resolution requiring the respondents to comment on the petition. That same day, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution denying the petitioner’s prayer for injunctive relief. The following day, or on March 23, 2000, the DILG implemented the assailed decision of the Ombudsman and the highest ranking Provincial Board Member of Pampanga, Edna David, took her oath of office as O.I.C.- Governor of the Province of Pampanga.
On March 24, 2000 a Motion for Leave to File Supplement to the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus and the Supplement to the Petition itself were filed in view of the resolution of the Court of Appeals denying the petitioner’s prayer for preliminary injunction. In addition to the arguments raised in the main petition, the petitioner likewise raised in issue the apparent pre-judgment of the case on the merits by the Court of Appeals in its resolution denying the prayer for preliminary injunction. In so doing, petitioner argued that the respondent court exceeded the bounds of its jurisdiction. Proceeding from the premise that the decision of the Ombudsman had not yet become final, the petitioner argued that the writs of prohibition and mandamus may be issued against the respondent DILG for prematurely implementing the assailed decision. Finally, the petitioner prayed for the setting aside of the resolution issued by the Court of Appeals dated March 22, 2000 and for the issuance of a new one enjoining the respondents from enforcing the said decision or, if it has already been implemented, to withdraw any action already taken until the issue of whether or not the said decision of the Ombudsman is immediately executory has been settled.
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner Manuel Lapid is subject to reinstatement.
After oral arguments before the Third Division of this Court on 5 April 2000, the Resolution subject of the instant Motions for Reconsideration was issued. The Resolution provides as follows:
“From the pleadings filed by the parties and after oral arguments held on April 5, 2000, the petitioner represented by Atty. Augusto G. Panlilio, the respondent Ombudsman represented by its Chief Legal Counsel, and the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of the Interior and Local Government represented by the Solicitor General, and after due deliberation, the Court finds that the respondents failed to establish the existence of a law mandating the immediate execution of a decision of the Ombudsman in an administrative case where the penalty imposed is suspension for one year. The immediate implementation of the decision of the Ombudsman against petitioner is thus premature.
The respondents are ordered to reinstate effective immediately the petitioner to the position of Governor of the Province of Pampanga. This case is hereby remanded to the Court of Appeals for resolution of the appeal in CA-GR. SP No. 564744 on the merits. Said court is hereby directed to resolve the same with utmost deliberate dispatch.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas REYNALDO O. MALONZO, in his capacity as City Mayor of Caloocan City, OSCAR MALAPITAN, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of Caloocan City, CHITO ABEL, BENJAMIN MANLAPIG, EDGAR ERICE, DENNIS PADILLA, ZALDY DOLATRE, LUIS TITO VARELA, SUSANA PUNZALAN, HENRY CAMAYO, in their capacities as Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan City, petitioners, vs. HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, HON. RONALDO V. PUNO, in his capacity as Undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, and EDUARDO TIBOR, respondents. G.R. No. 137718 January 28, 2000
On March 15, 1999, the Office of the President (OP) through Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, rendered a Decision the dispositive portion of which reads, viz.:
"WHEREFORE, herein respondents Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo, Vice-Mayor Oscar G. Malapitan and Councilors Chito Abel, Benjamin Manlapig, Edgar Erice, Dennis Padilla, Zaldy Dolatre, Susana Punzalan, Henry Cammayo, and Luis Tito Varela, all of Caloocan city are hereby adjudged guilty of misconduct and each is meted the penalty of SUSPENSION from office for a period of three (3) months without pay to commence upon receipt of this Decision. This Decision is immediately executory.
On March 22, 1999, petitioners Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo, Vice-Mayor Oscar G. Malapitan and councilors Chito Abel, Benjamin Manlapig, Edgar Erice Dennis Padilla, Zaldy Dolatre, Luis tito Varela, Susana Punzalan, and Henry Cammayo, all of the City of Caloocan, filed a petition assailing the OP decision.
Whether or not the respondents be suspended.
Respondents aver that in their Consolidated Answer which petitioners filed before the OP, petitioners admitted that the sum of P39,352,047.75 under Ordinance No. 0246, Series of 1997 was included in the P50,000,000.00 denominated in a general manner as "Expropriation of Properties" and classified under "Current Operating Expenditures" in the 1998 Budget of Caloocan City. Petitioners however allegedly only took a different position in their pleadings on appeal and during the oral argument before the Court as they clarified that the sum of P39,352,047.75 under Ordinance No. 0246 Series of 1997 is separate and distinct from and not part of the sum of P50,000,000.00 categorized as "Current Operating Expenditures" in the 1998 Budget of Caloocan City. Respondents insist that petitioners may not change their theory for the first time on appeal since their admissions before the OP bind them, and to do so would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play and justice.
The Court disagree. There is nothing in the records to indicate that the sum of P39,352,047.75 appropriated under Ordinance No. 0246, Series of 1997 is actually part of the P50,000,000.00 allotted for "Expropriation of Properties," under the "Current Operating Expenditures" of the 1998 Annual Budget of Caloocan City.
Respondents assert that assuming that the OP erred in its appreciation of the facts on record, no grave abuse of discretion correctible by a special civil action for certiorari may be attributed thereto.
But there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the OP. Its findings are totally devoid of support in the record. Hence, the Decision of respondent Executive Secretary, suspending the petitioners, on the basis of the said findings, constitutes grave abuse of discretion amounting to an act done in excess of jurisdiction.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Hagad vs Gozodadole 251 SCRA 242 December 12, 1995
Criminal and administrative complaints were filed against respondents (Mayor Alfredo Ouano, Vice-Mayor Paterno Cañete and Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Rafael Mayol, all public officials of Mandaue City, by Mandaue City Councilors Magno B. Dionson and Gaudiosa O.Bercede) by Mandaue City Councilors Magno B. Dionson and Gaudiosa O. Bercede with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas. The respondents were charged with having violated R.A No. 3019, as amended; Articles 170 and 171 RPC; and R.A. No. 6713. Councilors Dionson and Bercede averred that respondent officials, acting in conspiracy, had caused the alteration and/or falsification of Ordinance No. 018/92 by increasing the allocated appropriation therein from P3,494,364.57 to P7M without authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod of MandaueCity. Aside from opposing the motion for preventive suspension, respondent officials prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the Ombudsman supposedly was bereft of jurisdiction to try, hear and decide the administrative case filed against them since, under Section 63 LGC, the power to investigate and impose administrative sanctions against said local officials, as well as to effect their preventive suspension, had now been vested with the Office of the President. Dionson and Bercede argued that the LGC could not have repealed, abrogated or otherwise modified the pertinent provisions of the Constitution granting to the Ombudsman the power to investigate cases against all public officials and that, in any case, the power of the
Ombudsman to investigate local officials under the Ombudsman Act had remained unaffected by the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991. The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman denied the motion to dismiss and recommended the preventive suspension of respondent officials, except City Budget Officer Pedro M. Guido, until the administrative case would have been finally resolved by the Ombudsman. A petition for prohibition, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, was filed by respondent officials with the RTC. Acting favorably on the pleas of petitioning officials, respondent Judge issued a restraining order directed at petitioner, enjoining him from enforcing and/or implementing the questioned order of preventive suspension issued in OMB-VIS-ADM-92-015.
WON the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the present case
Ratio: The general investigatory power of the Ombudsman is decreed by Section 13(1,) ArticleX1, of the 1987 Constitution, while his statutory mandate to act on administrative complaints is contained in Section 19 of R.A. No. 6770. Section 21 of the same statute names the officials who could be subject to the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman. Taken in conjunction with Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, petitioner thus contends that the Office of the Ombudsman correspondingly has the authority to decree preventive suspension on any public officer or employee under investigation by it. Respondent officials, upon the other hand, argue that the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman over local officials must be deemed to have been removed by the subsequent enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991 which vests the authority to investigate administrative charges, listed under Section 60 thereof, on various offices In the case specifically of complaints against elective officials of provinces and highly urbanized cities. Thus, respondents insist, conformably with Section 63 of the Local Government Code, preventive suspension can only be imposed by: ". . . the President if the respondent is an elective official of a province, a highly urbanized or an independent component city; . . ."
There is nothing in the LGC to indicate that it has repealed, whether expressly or impliedly, the pertinent provisions of the Ombudsman Act. The two statutes on the specific matter in question are not so inconsistent, let alone irreconcilable, as to compel us to only uphold one and strike down the other. Well settled is the rule that repeals of laws by implication are not favored, and that courts must generally assume their congruent application. The two laws must be absolutely incompatible,
and a clear finding thereof must surface, before the inference of implied repeal may be drawn. The rule is expressed in the maxim, interpretare etconcordare leqibus esf optimus interpretendi, i e, every statute must be so interpreted and brought into accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. The fundament is that the legislature should be presumed to have known the existing laws on the subject and not to have enacted conflicting statutes. Hence, all doubts must be resolved against any implied repeal, and all efforts should be exerted in order to harmonize and give effect to all laws on the subject. Certainly, Congress would not have intended to do injustice to the very reason that underlies the creation of the Ombudsman in the 1987 Constitution which "is to insulate said office from the long tentacles of officialdom." Quite interestingly, Sections 61 and 63 of the present Local Government Code run almost parallel with the provisions then existing under the old code. The authority to conduct administrative investigation and to impose preventive suspension over elective provincial or city officials was at that time entrusted to the Minister of Local Government until it became concurrent with the Ombudsman upon the enactment of R.A No. 6770, specifically under Sections 21 and 24 thereof, to the extent of the common grant The Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A No. 7160), in fine, did not effect a change from what already prevailed, the modification being only in the substitution of the Secretary (the Minister)of Local Government by the Office of the President. Respondent local officials contend that the 6month preventive suspension without pay under Section 24 of the Ombudsman Act is much too repugnant to the 60-day preventive suspension provided by Section 63 of the Local Government Code to even now maintain its application. The two provisions govern differently. In order to justify the preventive suspension of a public official under Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, the evidence of guilt should be strong, and (a)the charge against the officer or employee should involve dishonestly, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) that charges should warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent's continued stay in office would prejudice the case filed against him. The Ombudsman can impose the 6-month preventive suspension to all public officials, whether elective or appointive, who are under investigation. Upon the other hand, in imposing the shorter period of sixty (60) days of preventive suspension prescribed in the Local Government Code of 1991 on an elective local official (at any time after the issues are joined), it would be enough that (a) there is reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of, (b) the evidence of culpability is strong, (c) the gravity of the offense so warrants, or (d) the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. The contention is without merit. The records reveal that petitioner issued the order of preventive suspension after the filing (a) by respondent officials of their opposition on the motion for preventive suspension and (b) by Mayor Ouano of his memorandum in compliance with the directive of petitioner Be that, as it may, we have heretofore held that, not being in the nature of a penalty, a preventive suspension can be decreed on an official under investigation after charges are brought and even before the charges are heard. Naturally, such a preventive suspension would occur prior to any finding of guilt or innocence. Moreover, respondent officials were, in point of fact, put on preventive suspension only after petitioner had found, in consonance with our ruling in Buenaseda vs. Flavier, that the evidence of guilt was strong. Finally, it does appear, as so pointed out by the Solicitor General that respondent officials' petition for prohibition, being an application for remedy against the findings of petitioner contained in his 21 September 1992 order, should not have been entertained by the trial court.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Aguinaldo vs Santos 212 SCRA 768 August 21, 1992
Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan. Shortly after the December1989 coup d'etat was crushed, the Secretary of Local Government sent a telegram and a letter, to petitioner requiring him to show cause why he should not be suspended or removed from office for disloyalty to the Republic, within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof. A sworn complaint for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was filed by Veronico Agatep, Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep, the mayors of the municipalities of Gattaran, Tuaoand Lasam, all in Cagayan, against petitioner for acts the latter committed during the coup. In his letter, petitioner denied being privy to the planning of the coup or actively participating in its execution, though he admitted that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers. The Secretary suspended petitioner from office for 60 days from notice, pending the outcome of the formal investigation. During the hearing, petitioner did not present any evidence and instead moved that the Secretary inhibit himself, which motion was denied. Later, the Secretary rendered a decision finding petition guilty as charged and ordering his removal from office. The Vice Governor, Melvin Vargas was installed as Governor. In this appeal, the power of the Secretary to suspend officials was repealed by the 1987Constitution and that the act of disloyalty committed by petitioner was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. While the case was pending before the SC, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Governor of Cagayan. Three petitions for disqualification were filed against him on the ground that he had been removed from office. The Comelec granted the petition. Later, this was reversed on the ground that the decision of the Secretary has not yet attained finality and is still pending review with the Court. As petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections, the resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan.
WON the Secretary has the power to suspend or remove local government officials as alter ego of the President.
Ratio: Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has rendered the administrative case pending before Us moot and academic. It appears that after the canvassing of votes, petitioner garnered the most number of votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan province. As held by this Court in Aguinaldo v. Comelec et al: ‘the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him there for. The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.’ Clearly then, the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him there for. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup. The power of respondent Secretary to remove local government of officials is anchored on both the Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative branch. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the President the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices and the power of general supervision over local governments, and by the doctrine that the acts of the department head are presumptively the acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. 4 The statutory grant found in B.P. Blg. 337 itself has constitutional roots, having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution, Section 2. A similar provision is found in Section 3, Article X of the 1987 Constitution. Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to enact a local government code, which provides for the manner of removal of local government officials, is found in the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution, then it can not be said that BP337 was repealed by the effectivity of the present Constitution. Moreover, in Bagabuyo et al. vs. Davide, Jr., BP 337 remained in force despite the effectivity of the Constitution, until such time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is approved. The power of he Secretary of the DILG to remove local elective government officials is found in Secs. 60 and 61 of BP 337. As to petitioner's argument of the want of authority of the Secretary to appoint Melvin Vargas as Governor, We need but point to Section 48 (1) of B.P. Blg. 337 to show the fallacy of the same. Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the RPC. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the RPC, but administratively with the end in view
of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
People v. Jalosjos 324 SCRA 689
The accused-appellant, Romeo Jalosjos, is a full-fledged member of Congress who is confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape and acts of lasciviousness is pending appeal. The accused-appellant filed a motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of a Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense on the basis of popular sovereignty and the need for his constituents to be represented.
Whether or not accused-appellant should be allowed to discharge mandate as member of House of Representatives
Election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. However, inspite of its importance, the privileges and rights arising from having been elected may be enlarged or restricted by law.
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of Representatives arises from a provision of the Constitution. The privilege has always been granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an exemption as a special privilege cannot be extended beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms. It may not be extended by intendment, implication or equitable considerations.
The accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from the operation of Sec. 11, Art. VI of the Constitution. The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than six years is not merely authorized by law, it has constitutional foundations. To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for 5 days or more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused-appellant’s status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas Rodolfo Llamas vs Exec Sec Orbos & Mariano Ocampo III 202 SCRA 844
Petitioner Rodolfo Llamas is the incumbent Vice-governor of Tarlac, and on march 1,1991, he assumed office by virtue of a decision of the Office of the President, the governorship. Private Respondent Mariano Ocampo III is the incumbent governor and was suspended from office due to having been found guilty of having violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Public respondent Oscar Orbos was the Executive Secretary at the time of the petition, and is being impleaded herein in that official capacity for having issued, by authority of the President, the assailed Resolution granting executive clemency to respondent governor thus, putting him back to his position as the governor of Tarlac. Petitioner contends that executive clemency could only be granted to criminal cases and not administrative cases; that there has been no final judgment of the private respondent's motion for reconsideration; and that his constitutional rights to due process were violated.
WON the president has the power to grant executive clemency in administrative cases.
WON there has been a final judgement.
WON the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated
1. Yes. The president can grant executive clemency based in Art. VII sec. 19 of the constitution. The petitioner's contention that the president may only grant executive clemency to criminal cases based on said provision is untenable because the Constitution does not distinguish between cases executive clemency may be exercised by the President, with the sole exclusion of impeachment cases. Ubi lexnon distinguit, necnos distinguire debemos. If the law does not distinguish, we must not distinguish. Also a number of laws impliedly or expressly recognize the exercise of executive clemency in administrative cases. One example of which is Sec. 43 of PD 807 which provides that in meritorious cases, the president may commute or remove administrative penalties or disabilities issued upon officers and employees in disciplinary cases. Moreover, the intent of the constitutional commission is to give the president the power to grant executive clemency and is not be limited in terms of coverage, except as already provided in the constitution.
2. Yes. There has been a final judgment because upon the acceptance of the presidential pardon, the grantee is deemed to have waived any appeal which he may have filed.
3. No. the petitioner's constitutional rights to due process was not violated because his being not notified of the subject of pardon is based on the fact that pardon is the private, though official, act of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended and not communicated officially to the court. Thus, said notice is unnecessary.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas G.R. No. L-28653 June 8, 1978
PAZ M. GARCIA, petitioner, vs.
HON. FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, Judge of the Court of First Instance, Branch VII, Pasay City, respondent.
G.R. No. L-28679
June 8, 1978
PAZ M. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. HON, FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, Judge of the Court of First Instance, Branch VII, Pasay City, respondent.
G.R. No. L-29403
June 8, 1978
PAZ M. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, LORENZO C. STA. ANA, LUIS M. DE GUZMAN, BELEN ROGACION and Pat. JOSE MANIQUIZ, ERNESTO REYES and Major DELFIN FRANCISCO, respondents.
G.R. No. L-29470
June 8, 1978
PAZ M. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. THE HON. FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, Judge of the Court of First Instance, Branch VII, Pasay City, MR. LORENZO STA. ANA, Clerk of Court and LUIS DE GUZMAN, Deputy Clerk, Court of First Instance, Pasay City, Branch VII, respondents.
G.R. No. L-30495
June 8, 1978
PAZ M. GARCIA, petitioner, vs.
HON. JUDGE FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, Branch VII, Court of First Instance of Pasay City, LORENZO C. STA. ANA, Clerk of Court, Court of First Instance, Pasay City, LUIS M DE GUZMAN, Deputy Clerk, Branch VII, Court of First Instance of Pasay City, respondents.
These cases were brought by Paz M. Garcia, a stenographer and assistant clerk of court of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasay City Branch VII, against the Presiding Judge thereof, Hon. Francisco de la Rosa.
In Paz M. Garcia filed on February 15, 1968 a petition for certiorari wherein she assailed two orders of Judge De la Rosa (1) holding her in direct contempt of court for quarrelling with the clerk of court while the. Judge was working in his chamber and fining her P200 and (2) charging her with indirect contempt for disobeying g The order requiring her to turn over to the clerk of court certain records.
On October 8, 1968 she filed a supplemental petition for Habeas corpus, seeking her release from her confinement in the Pasay city jail. On October 8, 1968 Paz M. Garcia was provisionally released on bail pursuant to a resolution of this Court.
In a decision of the Commissioner of Civil Service dated January 2, 1970 Paz M. Garcia was found guilty of gross misconduct and neglect of duty and was dismissed from the service. She assailed that decision in this Court by means of certiorari. Her petition was dismissed in the resolution of September 23, 1970 because her remedy was an appeal to the Civil Service board of Appeals (L31934).
The Civil Service Board of Appeals in a decision dated October 15, 1971 found that she was not guilty of gross misconduct. It found her guilty of neglect of duty and ordered her suspension for three months without pay.
Whether or not these cases have become moot and academic.
Yes. The respondents in a compliance dated March 22, 1978 stated that the petitions in these five cases may be treated as moot and academic" because, by reason of petitioner's dismissal and the fact that she is now abroad it would be futile to revive and continue the contempt proceedings against her.
The respondents, implying that the objective of the contempt proceedings had already been attained, cited the rule that the power to punish for contempt is exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle or on the corrective and-not on the retaliatory Idea of punishment.
Finding respondents' observations to be well-taken, these five cases are dismissed and considered closed.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas DANILO E. PARAS, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. G.R. No. 123169 November 4, 1996
Petitioner Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the last regular barangay election in 1994. A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. Acting on the petition for recall, public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the petition, scheduled the petition signing on October 14, 1995, and set the recall election on November 13, 1995. At least 29.30% of the registered voters signed the petition, well above the 25% requirement provided by law. The COMELEC, however, deferred the recall election in view of petitioner’s opposition. On December 6, 1995, the COMELEC set anew the recall election, this time on December 16, 1995. To prevent the holding of the recall election, petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City a petition for injunction, docketed as SP Civil Action No. 2254-AF, with the trial court issuing a temporary restraining order. After conducting a summary hearing, the trial court lifted the restraining order, dismissed the petition and required petitioner and his counsel to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for misrepresenting that the barangay recall election was without COMELEC approval.
Petitioner’s argument is simple and to the point. Citing Section 74 (b) of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, which states that “no recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official’s assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election”, petitioner insists that the scheduled January 13, 1996 recall election is now barred as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set by Republic Act No. 7808 on the first Monday of May 1996, and every three years thereafter. In support thereof, petitioner cites Associated Labor Union v. Letrondo-Montejo, 237 SCRA 621, where the Court considered the SK election as a regular local election. Petitioner maintains that as the SK election is a regular local election, hence no recall election can be had for barely four months separate the SK election from the recall election.
Whether or not the petition filed by the petitioner is valid
No. It is a rule in statutory construction that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e., that every part of the statute must be considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment. The evident intent of Section 74 is to subject an elective local official to recall election once during his term of office. Paragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective local official may be subject of a recall election, that is, during the second year of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to petitioner’s interpretation of the phrase regular local election to
include the SK election will unduly circumscribe the novel provision of the Local Government Code on recall, a mode of removal of public officers by initiation of the people before the end of his term. And if the SK election which is set by R.A. No. 7808 to be held every three years from May 1996 were to be deemed within the purview of the phrase “regular local election”, as erroneously insisted by petitioner, then no recall election can be conducted rendering inutile the recall provision of the Local Government Code.
In the interpretation of a statute, the Court should start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective law, and the legislature is not presumed to have done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided under which a statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherwise expressed, nullified, destroyed, emasculated, repealed, explained away, or rendered insignificant, meaningless, inoperative or nugatory.
It is likewise a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution. Thus, the interpretation of Section 74 of the Local Government Code, specifically paragraph (b) thereof, should not be in conflict with the Constitutional mandate of Section 3 of Article X of the Constitution to “enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum .”
Moreover, petitioner’s too literal interpretation of the law leads to absurdity which we cannot countenance.
Recall election is potentially disruptive of the normal working of the local government unit necessitating additional expenses, hence the prohibition against the conduct of recall election one year immediately preceding the regular local election. The proscription is due to the proximity of the next regular election for the office of the local elective official concerned. The electorate could choose the official’s replacement in the said election who certainly has a longer tenure in office than a successor elected through a recall election. It would, therefore, be more in keeping with the intent of the recall provision of the Code to construe regular local election as one referring to an election where the office held by the local elective official sought to be recalled will be contested and be filled by the electorate.
The petition is hereby dismissed for having become moot and academic.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Afiado vs. COMELEC G.R. No. 141787
The Preparatory Recall Assembly passed Resolution No. 1 for the recall of Vice-Mayor Amelita Navarro. The issue is whether an elective official who became City Mayor by legal succession can be the subject of a recall election by virtue of a Preparatory Recall Assembly Resolution that was passed when said elective official was still the Vice-Mayor.
The assumption by legal succession of the petitioner as the new Mayor of Santiago City is a supervening event that rendered the recall proceeding against her moot and academic. A perusal of the said Resolution reveals that the person subject of the recall process is a specific elective official in relation to her specific office.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas Claudio vs Comelec 331 SCRA 388
May 4, 2000
Jovito Claudio was the duly elected mayor of Pasay City in the May 11, 1998. On May 19, 1999, several barangay chairs formed an ad hoc committee for the purpose of convening the PRA. Richard Advincula was designated chair. The members of the PRA adopted Resolution No. 01, S1999, initiating Claudio’s recall. The petition for recall was filed on the Office of the City Mayor. The Comelec also posted the petition on the bulletin boards of certain public places. Oppositions to the petition were filed by Jovito Claudio, Rev. Ronald Langub, and Roberto L. Angeles, alleging procedural and substantive defects in the petition, to wit:(1) the signatures affixed to the resolution were actually meant to show attendance at the PRA meeting; (2) most of the signatories were only representatives of the parties concerned who were sent there merely to observe the proceedings; (3) the convening of the PRA took place within the one-year prohibited period; (4) the election case, filed by Wenceslao Trinidad in this Court, seeking the annulment of the proclamation of petitioner Claudio as mayor of Pasay City, should first be decided before recall proceedings against petitioner could be filed; and (5) the recall resolution failed to obtain the majority of all the members of the PRA, considering that 10 were actually double entries, were not duly accredited members of the barangays, 40 sangguniang kabataan officials had withdrawn their support, and 60 barangay chairs executed affidavits of retraction. The Comelec granted the petition and dismissed the opposition. It ruled that the1,073 members who attended the May 29, 1999 meeting were more than necessary to constitute the PRA, considering that its records showed the total membership of the PRA was 1,790, while the statistics of the Department of Interior and Local Government(DILG) showed that the total membership of the PRA was 1,876. In either case, since only a majority is required to constitute the PRA, clearly, a majority had been obtained in support of the recall resolution. Hence, this petition.
WON Word "Recall" in Paragraph (b) of §74 of the Local Government Code Includes the Convening of the Preparatory Recall Assembly and the Filing by it of a Recall Resolution. WON the Phrase "Regular Local Election" in the Same Paragraph (b) of §74 of the LGC includes the Election Period for that Regular Election or Simply the Date of Such Election. WON the Recall RESOLUTION was Signed by a Majority of the PRA and Duly Verified
Ratio: We can agree that recall is a process which begins with the convening of the preparatory, recall assembly or the gathering of the signatures at least 25% of the registered voters of a local government unit, and then proceeds to the filing of a recall resolution or petition with the COMELEC, the verification of such resolution or petition, the fixing of the date of the recall election, and the holding of the election on the scheduled date However, as used in paragraph (b) of § 74, "recall" refers to the election itself by means of which voters decide whether they should retain their local official or elect his replacement. Several reasons can be cited in support of this conclusion. First, § 74 deals with restrictions on the power of recall. It is in fact entitled "Limitations on Recall." On the other hand, §69 provides that "the power of recall ...shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official belongs." Since the power vested on the electorate is not the power to initiate recall proceedings but the power to elect an official into office, the limitations in §74 cannot be deemed to apply to the entire recall proceedings. In other words, the term "recall" in paragraph (b) refers only to the recall election, excluding the convening of the PRA and the filing of a petition for recall with the COMELEC, or the gathering of the signatures of at least 25 % of the voters for a petition for recall. Thus, there may be several PRAs held or petitions for recall filed with the COMELEC - there is no legal limit on the number of times such processes may be resorted to. These are merely preliminary steps for the purpose of initiating a recall. The limitations in §74 apply only to the exercise of the power of recall which is vested in the registered voters. It is this - and not merely, the preliminary steps required to be taken to initiate a recall - which paragraph (b) of §74 seeks to limit by providing that no recall shall take place within one year from the date of assumption of office of an elective local official. The second reason why the term "recall" in paragraph (b) refers to recall election is to be found in the purpose of the limitation itself. There are two limitations in paragraph (b) on the holding of recalls: (1) that no recall shall take place within one year from the date of assumption of office of the official concerned, and (2) that no recall shall take place within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. The purpose of the first limitation is to provide a reasonable basis for judging the performance of an "The only logical reason which we can ascribe for requiring the electors to wait one year before petitioning for a recall election is to prevent premature action on their part in voting to remove a newly elected official before having had sufficient time to evaluate the soundness of his policies and decisions." The one-year limitation was reckoned as of the filing of a petition for recall because the Municipal Code involved in that case expressly provided that "no removal petition shall be filed against any officer or until he has actually held office for at least twelve months." But however the period of prohibition is determined, the principle announced is that the purpose of the limitation is to provide a reasonable basis for evaluating the performance of an elective local official. Hence, in this case, as long as the election is held outside the one-year period, the preliminary proceedings to initiate a recall can be held even before the end of the first year in office of a local official. Third, to construe the term "recall" in paragraph (b) as including the convening of the PRA for the purpose of discussing the performance in office of elective local officials would be to unduly restrict the constitutional right of speech and of assembly of its members. The people cannot just be asked on the day of the election to decide on the performance of their officials. The crystallization and formation of an informed public opinion takes time. To hold, therefore, that the first limitation in paragraph (b) includes the holding of assemblies for the exchange of ideas and opinions among
citizens is to unduly curtail one of the most cherished rights in a free society. Indeed, it is wrong to assume that such assemblies will always eventuate in a recall election. To the contrary, they may result in the expression of confidence in the incumbent. To sum up, the term "recall" in paragraph (b) refers to the recall election and not to the preliminary proceedings to initiate recall -1. Because §74 speaks of limitations on "recall" which, according to §69, is a power which shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit. Since the voters do not exercise such right except in an election, it is clear that the initiation of recall proceedings is not prohibited within the one-year period provided in paragraph(b);2. Because the purpose of the first limitation in paragraph (b) is to provide voters a sufficient basis for judging an elective local official, and final judging is not done until the day of the election; and
3. Because to construe the limitation in paragraph (b) as including the initiation of recall proceedings would unduly curtail freedom of speech and of assembly guaranteed in the Constitution. As the recall election in Pasay City is set on April 15, 2000, more than one year after petitioner assumed office as mayor of that city, we hold that there is no bar to its holding on that date. • Ratio:
The law is unambiguous in providing that "[n]o recall shall take place within . . .one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election." Had Congress intended this limitation to refer to the campaign period, which period is defined in the Omnibus Election Code, it could have expressly said so. Moreover, petitioner's interpretation would severely limit the period during which a recall election may be held. Actually, because no recall election may be held until one year after the assumption of office of an elective local official, presumably on June 30following his election, the free period is only the period from July 1 of the following year to about the middle of May of the succeeding year. This is a period of only nine months and 15 days, more or less. To construe the second limitation in paragraph (b) as including the campaign period would reduce this period to eight months. Such an interpretation must be rejected, because it would devitalize the right of recall which is designed to make local government units" more responsive and accountable."Indeed, there is a distinction between election period and campaign period. Under the Omnibus Election Code, unless otherwise fixed by the COMELEC, the election period commences ninety (90) days before the day of the election and ends thirty (30)days thereafter. Thus, to follow petitioner's interpretation that the second limitation in paragraph (b) includes the "election period" would emasculate even more a vital right of the people. To recapitulate the discussion in parts 1 and 2, §74 imposes limitations on the holding of recall elections. First, paragraph (a) prohibits the holding of such election more than once during the term of office of an elective local official. Second, paragraph(b) prohibits the holding of such election within one year from the date the official assumed office. And third, paragraph (b) prohibits the holding of a recall election within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. As succinctly stated in Paras v. COMELEC, "[p]aragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designatesthe period when such elective local official may be subject to recall election, that is,during the second year of office."
Ratio: Petitioner alleges other grounds for seeking the annulment of the resolution of the COMELEC ordering the holding of a recall election. He contends that a majority of the signatures of the members of the PRA was not obtained because 74 members did not really sign the recall resolution. According to petitioner, the 74 merely signed their names on pages 94-104 of the resolution to signify their attendance and not their concurrence. Petitioner claims that this is shown by the word "Attendance" written by hand at the top of the page on which the signatures of the 74 begin. This contention has no basis. To be sure, this claim is being raised for the first time in this case. It was not raised before the COMELEC. Although the word "Attendance" appears at the top of the page, it is apparent that it was written by mistake because it was crossed out by two parallel lines drawn across it. Apparently, it was mistaken for the attendance sheet which is a separate document. It is absurd to believe that the 74 members of the PRA who signed the recall resolution signified their attendance at the meeting twice. It is more probable to believe that they signed pages 94-104 to signify their concurrence in the recall resolution of which the pages in question are part. The other point raised by petitioner is that the recall petition filed in the COMELEC was not duly verified, because Atty. Nelson Ng, who notarized it, is not commissioned as notary public for Pasay City but for Makati City. As in the case of the first claim, this issue was not raised before the COMELEC itself. It cannot, therefore, be raised now.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Laurel V vs. CSC 203 SCRA 195
Petitioner, the duly elected Governor of the Province of Batangas, appointed his brother, Benjamin Laurel, as Senior Executive Assistant in the Office of the Governor, a non-career service position which belongs to the personal and confidential staff of an elective official. Upon the vacancy of the position of Provincial Administrator of Batangas, petitioner designated his brother as Acting Provincial Administrator. Then, he issued Benjamin Laurel a promotional appointment as Civil Security Officer which is a position which the Civil Service Commission classifies as "primarily confidential" pursuant to P.D. No. 868.
Does nepotism apply to designation?
Yes. The court ruled that petitioner could not legally and validly appoint his brother Benjamin Laurel to said position because of the prohibition on nepotism under Section 49 of P.D. No. 807. They are related within the third degree of consanguinity and the case does not fall within any of the exemptions provided therein. The exemption in the said section covering confidential positions cannot be considered since the said position is not primarily confidential for it belongs to the career service.
Petitioner’s contention that the designation of his brother is not covered by the prohibition cannot be accepted for by legal contemplation, the prohibitive mantle on nepotism would include designation, because what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. His specious and tenuous distinction between appointment and designation is nothing more than either a ploy ingeniously conceived to circumvent the rigid rule on nepotism or a last-ditch maneuver to cushion the impact of its violation. Section 49 of P.D. No. 807 does not suggest that designation should be differentiated from appointment. Reading the section with Section 25 of said decree, career service positions may be filled up only by appointment, either permanent or temporary; hence a designation of a person to fill it up because it is vacant, is necessarily included in the term appointment, for it precisely accomplishes the same purpose.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas Debulgado v. Civil Service Commission 237 SCRA 184
Rogelio R. Debulgado is the incumbent Mayor of the City of San Carlos, Negros Occidental. On October 1, 1992, petitioner Mayor appointed his wife, Victoria T. Debulgado, as General Services Officer, that is, as head of the Office of General Services of the City Government of San Carlos. Victoria was one of three (3) employees of the City Government who were considered for the position of General Services Officer. Before her promotion in 1992, she had been in the service of the City Government for about thirty-two (32) years. She joined the City Government on January 3, 1961 as Assistant License Clerk. Through the years, she rose from the ranks from being Asst. Chief of the Licenses & Fees Division until being a Cashier IV. On October 1, 1992, petitioner Victoria assumed the new post, and commenced discharging the functions, of General Services Officer of San Carlos City and receiving the regular salary attached to that position. On December 16, 1992, the Civil Service Commission received a letter from Congressman Tranquilino B. Carmona of the First District of Negros Occidental, calling attention to the promotional appointment issued by petitioner Mayor in favor of his wife. During the investigation, the CSC found that the appointee was the lawful wife of the Mayor. Acting on the investigation report, the CSC disapproved the promotion of Victoria to the position of General Services Officer of San Carlos City upon the ground that that promotion violated the statutory prohibition against nepotic appointments. The Debulgados moved for reconsideration, contending that the statutory prohibition against nepotism was not applicable to the appointment of Victoria as General Services Officer. They also asserted that the Commission had deprived Victoria of her right to due process by unilaterally revoking her appointment. MR denied.
Whether the prohibition against nepotic appointments is applicable only to original appointments and not to promotional appointments. Whether the CSC exercised due process in recalling/disapproving the appointment of Victoria.
The prohibitory norm against nepotism in the public service is set out in Section 59, Book V of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. A textual examination of Section 59 at on ce reveals that the prohibition was cast in comprehensive and unqualified terms. Firstly, it explicitly covers "all appointments", without seeking to make any distinction between differing kinds or types of appointments. Secondly, Section 59 covers all appointments to the national, provincial, city and
municipal government, as well as any branch or instrumentality thereof and all government owned or controlled corporations. Thirdly, there is a list of exceptions set out in Section 59 itself, but it is a short list which includes (a) persons employed in a confidential capacity; (b) teachers; (c) physicians; and (d) members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The list has not been added to or subtracted from for the past thirty (30) years. The list does not contain words like "and other similar positions." Thus, the list appears to us to be a closed one, at least closed until lengthened or shortened by Congress. Under Sec. 1, Rule VII of the Implementing Rules of the Admin Code, both an original appointment and a promotion are particular species of personnel action. The original appointment of a civil service employee and all subsequent personnel actions undertaken by or in respect of that employee such as promotion, transfer, reinstatement, reemployment, etc., must comply with the Implementing Rules including, of course, the prohibition against nepotism in Rule XVIII. To the extent that all personnel actions occurring after an original appointment, require the issuance of a new appointment to another position (or to the original position in case of reinstatement), we believe that such appointment must comply with all applicable rules and prohibitions, including the statutory and regulatory prohibition against nepotism. To limit the thrust of the prohibition against nepotism to the appointment issued at the time of initial entry into the government service, and to insulate from that prohibition appointments subsequently issued when personnel actions are thereafter taken in respect of the same employee, would be basically to render that prohibition meaningless and toothless. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that all appointments and other personnel actions in the civil service should be based on merit and fitness and should never depend on how close or intimate an appointee is to the appointing power.
No. The action was not the imposition of an administrative disciplinary measure upon petitioner Victoria, nor upon petitioner Mayor. There were no administrative charges in respect of which petitioner Victoria would have been entitled to notice and hearing. The Commission, in approving or disapproving an appointment, only examines the conformity of the appointment with applicable provisions of law and whether the appointee possesses all the minimum qualifications and none of the disqualifications. In any case, Victoria was afforded an opportunity to be heard when she filed a motion for reconsideration with the Commission and there challenged the disapproval by the Commission
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION V. DACOYCOY 306 SCRA 425
Dacoycoy, Vocational School Administrator, Balicuatro College of Artsand Trade, Northern Samar was charged with nepotism for the appointments of his 2 sons: Rito – as driver and Ped – as utility worker.CSC held him guilty. CA reversed; it was Mr. Daclag who recommended and appointed Rito and Ped.
Whether there was nepotism.
There was nepotism. To constitute violation of the law, there are 4situations covered, if an appointment is issued in favor of a relative within the 3rd degree of consanguinity or affinity of any of the ff.: 1.) Appointing authority; 2.) Recommending authority; 3.) Chief of the bureau of office; 4.) Person exercising immediate supervision over the appointee.
Nepotism is one pernicious evil impeding the civil service and the efficiency of its personnel. The prohibition against nepotism is a comprehensive one.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Nessia vs. Fermin GR 102918, 30 March 1993
Jose V. Nessia filed a complaint against Jesus M. Fermin and the Municipality of Victorias, Negros Occidental for recovery of damages and reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of his official duties as the then Deputy Municipal Assessor of Victorias. The complaint theorized that Fermin deliberately ignored and caused the non-payment of the vouchers in question because Nessia defied the former's request to all municipal officials to register and vote in Victorias in the 1980 local elections. In his answer with counterclaim, Fermin disputed the allegations in the complaint and countered that the claims of Nessia could not be approved because they exceeded the budgetary appropriations therefor. On its part, Victorias concurred with the arguments of Fermin, and added that Nessia was blamable for his predicament because he neither gave Fermin the justification for drawing funds in excess of the budgetary appropriations nor amended his vouchers to conform thereto. Issues having been joined, the parties presented their evidence, except for Victorias which was declared in default for non-appearance at the pre-trial conference. On 24 April 1987, judgment was rendered by the trial court in favor of Nessia. On the basis of the evidence, the trial court found that Fermin maliciously refused to act on Nessia's vouchers, bolstered by his inaction on Nessia's follow-up letters inquiring on the status thereof. Both Nessia and Fermin elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, Nessia praying for an increase in the award of moral and exemplary damages, and Fermin seeking exoneration from liability. The Municipality of Victorias did not appeal. On 19 July 1991, the appellate court dismissed Nessia's complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action because the complaint itself as well as Nessia's own testimony admitted that Fermin acted on the vouchers as may be drawn from the allegations that Fermin denied/refused the claims. Nessia appealed.
Whether the approval of certain vouchers, which are not supported by appropriations, may be compelled by mandamus.
In Baldivia v. Lota, the Supreme Court dismissed on appeal the petition to compel by mandamus approval of certain vouchers, even though the disapproval was politically motivated, on the basis that respondent Mayor was bound to disapprove vouchers not supported by appropriations. In the penultimate paragraph, We made the following pronouncement, "Indeed, respondent could have, and should have, either included the claim of petitioners herein in the general budget he is bound to submit, pursuant to section 2295 of the Revised Administrative Code, or prepared a special budget for said claim, and urged the municipal council to appropriate the sum necessary therefor. In any event, if the municipal mayor fails or refuses to make the necessary appropriation, petitioners may bring an action against the municipality for the recovery of what is due them and after securing a judgment therefor, seek a writ of mandamus against the municipal council and the municipal mayor to compel the enactment and approval of the appropriation ordinance necessary therefor." Herein, this is precisely what Nessia did; he filed a collection case to establish his claim against Fermin and the Municipality of Victorias, which Nessia satisfactorily proved.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, in his capacity as Solicitor General, petitioner vs. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division) and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents. G.R. No. 91391 January 24, 1991
The petitioner challenges the resolutions dated June 8, 1989 and November 2, 1989 of the Sandiganbayan issued in Civil Case No. 0033 which granted the motion of private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the defendants in the civil case, to implead the petitioner as additional party defendant in Enrile’s counterclaim in the same civil case and denied the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
On July 31, 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) with the assistance of Solicitor General Francisco Chavez filed with the respondent Sandiganbayan a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 0033 against Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, among others, for reconveyance, reversion and accounting, restitution and damages.
The propriety of impleading the petitioner as additional party defendant in the counterclaim filed by respondent Enrile in Civil Case No. 0033.
It may be noted that the private respondent did not limit himself to general averments of malice, recklessness, and bad faith but filed specific charges that then PCGG Chairman Jovito Salonga had already cleared the respondent and yet, knowing the allegations to be false, the petitioner still filed the complaint.
Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena correctly observed that there is no general immunity arising solely from occupying a public office.
The general rule is that public officials can be held personally accountable for acts claimed to have been performed in connection with official duties where they have acted ultra vires or where there is a showing of bad faith.
Moreover, the petitioner’s argument that the immunity proviso under Section 4(a) of Executive Order No. 1 also extends to him is not well-taken. A mere invocation of the immunity clause does not ipso facto result in the charges being automatically dropped. Immunity from suit cannot institutionalize irresponsibility and non-accountability nor grant a privileged status not claimed by any other official of the Republic.
Under the circumstances of this case, the SC ruled that the charges pressed by respondent Enrile for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code arising from the filing of an alleged harassment suit with malice and evident bad faith do not constitute a compulsory counterclaim. To vindicate his rights, Senator Enrile has to file a separate and distinct civil action for damages against the Solicitor General.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas SHAUF vs. COURT OF APPEALS 191 SCRA 713
Petitioner, Loida Shauf, a Filipino by origin and married to an American who is a member of the US Air Force, was rejected for a position of Guidance Counselor in the Base Education Office at Clark Air Base. She boasts of related working experience and being a qualified dependent locally available.
By reason of her non-selection, she filed a complaint for damages and an equal employment opportunity complaint against private respondents, Don Detwiler (civillian personnel officer) and Anthony Persi (Education Director), for alleged discrimination by reason of her sex (female), color (brown) and national origin (Filipino by birth).
Shauf was offered a temporary position as a temporary Assistant Education Adviser for a 180-day period with the condition that if a vacancy occurs, she will be automatically selected to fill the vacancy. But if no vacancy occurs after 180 days, she will be released but will be selected to fill a future vacancy if she’s available. Shauf accepted the offer. During that time, Mrs. Mary Abalateo’s was about to vacate her position. But Mrs. Abalateo’s appointment was extended thus, Shauf was never appointed to said position. She claims that the Abalateo’s stay was extended indefinitely to deny her the appointment as retaliation for the complaint that she filed against Persi. Persi denies this allegation. He claims it was a joint decision of the management & it was in accordance of with the applicable regulation.
Shauf filed for damages and other relief in different venues such as the Civil Service Commission, Appeals Review Board, Philippine Regional Trial Court, etc.
RTC ruled in favor of Shauf ordering defendants to pay $39,662.49 as actual damages + 20% of such amount as attorney’s fees + P100k as moral & exemplary damages.
Both parties appealed to the CA. Shauf prayed for the increase of the damages to be collected from defendants. Defendants on the other hand, continued using the defense that they are immune from suit for acts done/statements made by them in performance of their official governmental functions pursuant to RP-US Military Bases Agreement of 1947. They claim that the Philippines does not have jurisdiction over the case because it was under the exclusive jurisdiction of a US District Court. They likewise claim that petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies thus case should be dismissed. CA reversed RTC decision. According to the CA, defendants are immune from suit.
Shauf claims that the respondents are being sued in their private capacity thus this is not a suit against the US government w/c would require consent.
Respondents still maintain their immunity from suit. They further claim that the rule allowing suits against public officers & employees for criminal & unauthorized acts is applicable only in the Philippines & is not part of international law.
WON private respondents are immune from suit being officers of the US Armed Forces
Respondents ordered, jointly and severally, to pay petitioners the sum of P100K as moral damages, P20K for atty’s fees.
No, the respondents cannot rely on the US blanket of diplomatic immunity for all its acts or the acts of its agents in the Phils. Private respondents are personally liable in indemnifying petitioner Shauf.
While the doctrine of immunity is also applicable to complaints filed against state officials, it only contemplates acts done in their official capacity. This does not cover acts contrary to law & injurious to the rights of the plaintiff. When an official acts in a manner that invades or violates the personal & property rights of another, the aggrieved party may sue the official & such suit will not be a suit against the state. (Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications vs. Aligaen) The doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply where the public official is being sued in his private & personal capacity as an ordinary citizen.
The discrimination is very evident. Shauf was not considered for the position even if she was previously employed as a Guidance Counselor at the Clark Airbase. She was not granted an interview. The person appointed was not even qualified for that position and that person kept the position despite orders from the US Civil Service Commission for his removal. Extension of Abalateo’s services is another proof. She was not appointed even if US officials found her highly qualified for the position (letters from the Director of the US Civil Service Commission, Staff Judge Advocate of the Department of Air Force). Shauf has proven that discrimination did occur whereas respondents merely denied allegations.
The US Constitution assures everyone of equality in employment & work opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed. The Philippine Constitution has a similar provision. Persi & Detwiler violated Shauf’s constitutional right to earn a living, an integral aspect of her right to life. Thus, they should be accountable. Though Shauf is entitled to damages, she should not be paid for the supposedly unearned income had she been hired as a Guidance Counselor. She never acquired rights over that amount because she was never appointed.
Shauf followed the proper procedure in seeking relief for the defendants’ discriminatory acts. The Department of Air Force in Washington told her that one of her appeal rights would be to file a civil action if a final decision has not been rendered after 180 days from the dated of the initial appeal to the Commission. The appeal was lodged on Sept. 30, 1978 and it has not been decided up to the time SC has decided. Shauf is entitled to choose the remedy, not otherwise prohibited, which will best advance & protect her interests.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas OSMUNDO RAMA vs. COURT OF APPEALS No. L-44842 March 16, 1987
A resolution was passed by herein petitioner Rama, then Vice Governor or Cebu, with co-respondents Mandeola and Castillo, members Sangguniang Panlunsod of Cebu, to mechanize the maintenance and repair of all roads and bridges of the province, to economize in the expenditure of its Road and Bridges (R&B) Fund, etc. To implement such policy, the Provincial Board resolved to abolish around 30 positions and 200 employees were dismissed – the salaries of whom were derived from the R&B fund. The Local Government, however, bought heavy equipment worth 4 million pesos, hired around 1000 new employees, renovated the office of the provincial engineer and provided him with a Mercedes Benz.
Upon petition by herein respondents (dismissed employees), the then CFI of Cebu declared said Resolution null and void and ordered the reinstatements of 56 dismissed employees and pay their back wages. Upon appeal by both parties, then CA affirmed the lower court’s decision, plus an award of moral damages of P1000 for each of the employees, considering that the case involved quasi-delict. The CA found that the employees were dismissed because of their different political affiliations – that they were identified with the Liberal Party of Sergio Osmeña Jr.
Whether or not petitioners-public officials (Gov. Espina, Rama, Mendiola and Carillo) are personally liable for damages for adopting a resolution which abolished positions to the detriment of the occupants thereof.
In principle, a public officer by virtue of his office alone is not immune from damages in his personal capacity arising from illegal acts done in bad faith. A different rule sould sanction the use of public office as a tool of oppression. [Tabuena vs. CA, 8 SCRA 413,1961].
Thus, in Correa vs. CFI of Bulacan, 92 SCRA 312 (1979), a mayor was held liable for illegally dismissing a policeman even if he had relinquished his position. The SC in that case held that a public officer who commits a tort or other wrongful act, done in excess or beyond the scope of his duty is not protected by his office and is personally liable thereof like any private individual. This personal liability has been applied to cases where a public officer removes another officer or discharges an employee wrongfully, the reported cases saying that by reason of non-compliance with the requirements of law in respect to removal from office, the officials were acting outside their official authority.
The officials in these consolidated cases are personally liable for damages because their precipitate dismissal of provincial employees through an ostensibly legal means. Such act of the petitioners of dismissing employees who are of rival political party, to recommend their own protégées who even outnumbered the dismissed employees, reflected the petitioners’ malicious intent. Municipal officers are liable for damages if they act maliciously or wantonly, and if the work which they perform is done rather to injure an individual than to discharge a public duty. A public officer is civilly liable for failure to observe honestly and in good faith in the performance of their duties as public officers or for willfully or negligently causing loss or injury to another (Art. 20, CC) or for willfully causing loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good custom and/or public policy (Art. 21, CC).
Dismissed employees are entitled to damages because they suffered a special and peculiar injury from the wrongful act. The dismissed employees who were holding such positions as foreman, watchman and drivers belonged to a low-salaried group, who, if deprived of wages, would generally incur considerable economic hardships.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas ELISEO ALINSUGAY, PURITA VILLAFLOR, PAZ GANDIONGCO and CELSO REMO, petitioners, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, RENE ESPINA, OSMUNDO RAMA, PABLO GARCIA, REYNALDO MENDIOLA, VALERIANO CARILLO, THE PROVINCIAL TREASURER OF CEBU AND THE PROVINCIAL AUDITOR OF CEBU, respondents. G.R. No. L-48639 March 16, 1987
Petitioners Eliseo Alinsugay, Purita Villaflor, Paz Gandiongco and Celso Remo were appointed laborers in various offices of the provincial government of Cebu. After the then governor, Rene Espina, had signed their appointments, the same were submitted to the local office of the Civil Service Commission for attestation. Thereafter, the Cebu provincial auditor advised the provincial treasurer that the appointments of the four petitioners and forty-four others whose positions belonged to the unclassified civil service, should be approved by the provincial board pursuant to Section 2081 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 528, otherwise, their salaries would not be allowed in audit.
The provincial treasurer then indorsed the provincial auditor's advice to the governor. He also sent a letter to the provincial board requesting "approval or disapproval" of the appointments of the forty-eight laborers. Subsequently, the governor received a communication from the Civil Service Commission advising him that all appointments in the unclassified or non-competitive positions in the provincial service including that of the provincial board secretary, must be approved by the provincial board to be valid and effective. The governor was therefore constrained to submit the appointments to the provincial board (Tsn., September 28, 1972, p. 16). However, the action on the appointments was delayed because the provincial board did not meet as the governor was more concerned with the coming local elections.
After the elections, the governor decided to submit the appointments of the forty-eight laborers to the new provincial board. Some of the appointments were approved but others, including those of the petitioners, were disapproved (Exhs. 10 to 13-A). Petitioners sought the governor's reconsideration of the provincial board's resolution but the same was denied.
Alinsugay and his co-petitioners herein then filed a petition for mandamus and damages against the governor, the vice-governor, the members of the provincial board, the provincial treasurer and the provincial auditor. They prayed that the respondents be ordered to "continue all petitioners in their employment," to include them in the provincial plantilla or any supplemental budget, and to
appropriate the necessary funds to cover all the salaries due them. They also prayed that the members of the provincial board be ordered to pay jointly and severally each of the petitioner P5,000 as moral damages and P2,000 as attorney's fees plus exemplary, actual and consequential damages. ISSUE:
Whether or not the petition for mandamus and damages filed by the petitioners be dismissed.
Yes. In its decision, the Court of First Instance of Cebu dismissed the petition for lack of merit. It ruled that, to be complete and valid, the appointments should have been made in accordance with Section 2081 of the Revised Administrative Code which provides that appointments in the unclassified civil service should be submitted to and approved by the provincial board. It also held that the approval of the provincial budget and plantilla by the provincial board did not mean the approval of the appointments; that the appointments were not completed through their attestation by the Civil Service Commission; that the provincial board's disapproval of their appointments was lawful; and that mere acquisition of a civil service eligibility by the petitioners did not make their status permanent.
There is no compelling reason to depart from that ruling most especially because the aforecited case and this case arose from the same factual milieu. We should also add that the private respondents, who, as members of the Cebu provincial board, disapproved the petitioners' appointments, may not be held liable for such act. As correctly observed by the lower court, by force of logic, the power and authority conferred by law on a body to approve appointments, carries with it the corresponding power to disapprove. In the absence of proof of malice on the part of private respondents, they cannot be held liable for their official act.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Ynot vs. IAC 148 SCRA 659 1987
Petitioners'''' 6 carabaos were confiscated by the police for having been transported from Masbate to Iloilo in violation of EO 626-A. He brought an action for replevin, challenging the consitutionality of the EO. The trial court sustained the confiscation of the animals and declined to rule on the validity of the law on the ground that it lacked authority to do so. Its decision was affirmed by the IAC. Hence this petition for review.
(1) Under the provision granting the SC jurisdiction to "review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide final judgments of lower courts" in all cases involving the constitutionality of certain measures, lower courts can pass upon the validity of a statute in the first instance.
(2) There is no doubt that by banning the slaughter of these animals (except where there at least 7 yrs. old if male and 11 yrs old if female upon the issuance of the necessary permit) the EO will be conserving those still fit for farm work or breeding and preventing their improvident depletion. We do not see, however, how the prohibition of the interprovincial transport of carabaos can prevent their indiscriminate slaughter, considering that they can be killed any where, w/ no less difficulty in on province than in another. Obviously, retaining the carabao in one province will not prevent their slaughter there, any more than moving them to another province will make it easier to kill them there. As for the carabeef, the prohibition is made to apply to it as otherwise, so says the EO, it could be easily circumscribed by simply killing the animal. Perhaps so. However, if the movement of the live animals for the purpose of preventing their slaughter cannot be prohibited, it should follow that there is no reason either to prohibit their transfer as, not to be flippant, dead meat.
(3) In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by the police station commander, were returned to the petitioner only after he had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas bond w/c was ordered confiscated upon his failure to produce the carabaos when ordered by the trial court. The EO defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner and immediately imposed punishment, w/c was carried out forthright. The measures struck him at once and pounced upon the petitioner w/o giving him a chance to be heard, thus denying him elementary fair play. (4) It is there authorized that the seized prop. shall "be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit in the case of carabaos." The phrase may see fit is an extremely generous and dangerous condition, if condition it is.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas EUFEMIO T. CORREA, petitioner, vs.
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF BULACAN (BRANCH 11), CITY SHERIFF OF QUEZON CITY, MUNICIPALITY OF NORZAGARAY, BULACAN, HON. ARMANDO ENRIQUEZ, as the Incumbent Mayor of Norzagaray, Bulacan, CANDIDO P. CRUZ, ISABELO SAPLALA, TOMAS PALAD, ANTONIO SILVERIO, MELANIO ESTEBAN, ELIGIO PUNZAL, CELEDONIO PRINCIPE, ANTONIO ANCHETA, and JUANITO SARMIENTO, respondents. G.R. No. L-46096 July 30, 1979
On December 13, 1968, respondent Court rendered judgment in Civil Case No. 3621-M in favor of therein plaintiffs (private respondents herein) and adversely against therein defendants Eufemio T. Correa (petitioner herein) and Virgilio Sarmiento.
On April 22, 1977, respondent Court issued the Order denying the Motion to Quash Writ of Execution. Petitioner thus came to this Court, maintaining that he could no longer be required to pay the back salaries of the private respondents because payment on his part presupposes his continuance in office, which is not the case. He contends that it is the Municipality of Norzagaray that is liable for said payment, invoking Aguador v. Enerio and Sison v. Pajo Further, petitioner alleges that the fact that he is no longer municipal mayor of Norzagaray, constitutes a substantial change in the situation of the parties which makes the issuance of the writ of execution inequitable.
Petitioner prays, among others, that judgment be rendered declaring that the payment of back salaries of private respondents should be made by the incumbent mayor and by the municipality of Norzagaray, Bulacan, and that petitioner is no longer liable for the payment thereof; and annulling the Order dated April 22, 1977 of respondent court denying the motion to quash the writ of execution.
On August 1, 1977, private respondents filed their Comment maintaining that respondent court acted correctly and committed no abuse of discretion when it denied petitioner's motion to quash the writ of execution, (1) it being the ministerial duty of the trial court to issue a writ for the enforcement of a final and executory judgment; and (2) since the personal liability of the petitioner and his co-defendant to pay the back salaries of the private respondents as mandated in the decision sought to be executed cannot be shifted or transferred to the municipality of Norzagaray, Bulacan, for to do so would be to vary the terms of a final judgment. On August 12, 1977, this Court resolved to consider the Comment of respondents as answer to the petition and required the parties to file their respective memoranda, and thereafter the case was submitted for decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Court in denying the Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution acted with grave abuse of discretion or with lack or excess of jurisdiction.
It cannot be denied that both the judgments of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan and of the Court of Appeals categorically state that the liability of herein petitioner is personal. Thus, according to the trial court, "Eufemio T. Correa and Virgilio Sarmiento, municipal mayor and municipal treasurer of Norzagaray, Bulacan, respectively, should be ordered personally to pay the salaries which the plaintiffs failed to receive by reason of their illegal removal from office until they are actually reinstated." In affirming the decision of the trial court, the Court of Appeals 5 ruled that "The defendants are personally liable jointly and severally because they acted without justifiable cause.
In the discharge of govermental functions, "municipal corporations are responsible for the acts of its officers, except if and when and only to the extent that , they have acted by authority of the law, and in comformity with the requirements thereof."
A Public officer who commits a tort or other wrongful act, done in excess or beyond the scope of his duty, is not protected by his office and is personally liable therefor lie any private individual. This principle of personal liability has been applied to cases where a public officer removes another officer or discharges an employee wrongfully, the reported cases saying that by reason of non-compliance with the requirements of law in respect to removal from office, the officials were acting outside their official authority."
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas
Municipality of San Fernando vs Firme 195 SCRA 692 April 8, 1991
Petitioner is a municipal corporation existing under and in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. At about 7 am of December 16, 1965, a collision occurred involving a passenger jeepney driven by Bernardo Balagot and owned by the Estate of Macario Nieveras, a gravel and sand truck driven by Jose Manandeg and owned by Tanquilino Velasquez and a dump truck of the petitioner and driven by Alfredo Bislig. Several passengers of the jeepney including Laureano Baniña Sr. died as a result of the injuries they sustained and 4 others suffered physical
injuries. Private respondents instituted an action against Nieveras and Balagot before the CFI. The defendants filed a third party complaint against petitioner and Bislig. The complaint was then amended to implead petitioner and Bislig. Petitioner raised as defense lack of cause of action, non suability of the State, prescription and negligence of the owner and driver of the jeepney. The trial court rendered a decision ordering the petitioner and Bislig to pay the plaintiffs. The owner and driver of the jeepney were absolved from liability. Petitioner filed an MR which was dismissed for having been filed out of time.
WON the court committed grave abuse of discretion when it deferred and failed to resolve the defense of non-suability of the State amounting to lack of jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss.
Yes. Ratio: In the case at bar, the judge deferred the resolution of the defense of non-suability of the State until trial. However, the judge failed to resolve such defense, proceeded with the trial and then rendered a decision against the municipality and its driver. The judge did not commit GAD when it arbitrarily failed to resolve the issue of non-suability of the State in the guise of the municipality. However, the judge acted in excess of his jurisdiction when in his decision he held the municipality liable for the quasi-delict committed by its regular employee. The doctrine of nonsuability of the State is expressly provided for in Article XVI, Section 3 of the Consti, to wit: "the State may not be sued without its consent." Express consent may be embodied in a general law or a special law. The standing consent of the State to be sued in case of money claims involving liability arising from contracts is found in Act No. 3083. A special law may be passed to enable a person to sue the government for an alleged quasi-delict. Consent is implied when the government enters into business contracts, there by descending to the level of the other contracting party, and also when the State files a complaint, thus opening itself to a counterclaim. Municipal corporations are agencies of the State when they are engaged in governmental functions and therefore should enjoy the sovereign immunity from suit. Nevertheless, they are subject to suit even in the performance of such functions because their charter provided that they can sue and be sued. A distinction should first be made between suability and liability. "Suability depends on the consent of the state to be sued, liability on the applicable law and the established facts. The circumstance that a state issuable does not necessarily mean that it is liable; on the other hand, it can never be held liable if it does not first consent to be sued. Liability is not conceded by the mere fact that the state has allowed itself to be sued. When the state does waive its sovereign immunity, it is only giving the plaintiff the chance to prove, if it can, that the defendant is liable."Anent the issue of whether or not the municipality is liable for the torts committed by its employee, the test of liability of the municipality depends on whether or not the driver, acting in behalf of the
municipality, is performing governmental or proprietary functions (Torio vs. Fontanilla). According to City of Kokomo vsLoy(Indiana SC), municipal corporations exist in a dual capacity, and their functions are twofold. In one they exercise the right springing from sovereignty, and while in the performance of the duties pertaining thereto, their acts are political and governmental. Their officers and agents in such capacity, though elected or appointed by them, are nevertheless public functionaries performing a public service, and as such they are officers, agents, and servants of the state. In the other capacity the municipalities exercise a private, proprietary or corporate right, arising from their existence as legal persons and not as public agencies. Their officers and agents in the performance of such functions act in behalf of the municipalities in their corporate or individual capacity, and not for the state or sovereign power."It has already been remarked that municipal corporations are suable because their charters grant them the competence to sue and be sued. Nevertheless, they are generally not liable for torts committed by them in the discharge of governmental functions and can be held answerable only if it can be shown that they were acting in a proprietary capacity. In the case at bar, the driver of the dump truck of the municipality insists that "he was on his way to the Naguilian river to get a load of sand and gravel for the repair of San Fernando's municipal streets." In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the regularity of the performance of official duty is presumed pursuant
to Section 3(m) of Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Court. Hence, We rule that the driver of the dump truck was performing duties or tasks pertaining to his office. We already stressed in the case of Palafox, et. al. vs. Province of Ilocos Norte, the District Engineer, and the Provincial Treasurer that "the construction or maintenance of roads in which the truck and the driver worked at the time of the accident are admittedly governmental activities."After a careful examination of existing laws and jurisprudence, We arrive at the conclusion that the municipality cannot be held liable for the torts committed by its regular employee, who was then engaged in the discharge of governmental functions. Hence, the death of the passenger tragic and deplorable though it may be imposed on the municipality no duty to pay monetary compensation.
Digested by: Aurea Antonette T. Lucas