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10-K-504) THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. GREGORIO G. SANCHEZ, JR., VICE GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU, HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO M. OCHOA, JR., THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, HON. SECRETARY MAR A. ROXAS, and THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Respondents. x ----------------------------------------------------- x MANIFESTATION With Supplemental Reply Petitioner GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, Governor of the Province of Cebu (“Governor Garcia”), by counsel, respectfully states: 1. On 10 January 2013, to present the factual and legal arguments of Governor Garcia’s application for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”), oral arguments were heard before Justices of the 12th Division of the Court of Appeals: Associate Justices Vicente Veloso, Aurora Jane Lantion and Eduardo Peralta. 2. During the said oral arguments, Justice Veloso impressed upon both parties that the Court of Appeals does not have the same powers as the Supreme Court, as outlined in Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution.1 It was mentioned that the Court of Appeals cannot
Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution states that: “[t]he judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
issue a TRO in the same way as the Supreme Court. Accordingly, Governor Garcia should have filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 in order to be granted a TRO, instead of a petition under Rule 43. 3. Petitioner’s counsel respectfully explained during the oral argument that there was no distinction between the power of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court insofar as their powers to issue a restraining order in cases similar to the present petition under Rule 43, especially since the Constitution and the relevant statutes that created the different courts DO NOT make such a distinction. 4. As a matter of fact, petitioner invites this Honorable Court’s attention to the fact there is jurisprudence to show that the Honorable Court of Appeals can issue a TRO to prevent the execution of a decision. In the administrative case decided by the Supreme Court en banc in Ramon C. Gonzales v. Court of Appeals,2 the proceedings before the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. S.P. No. 89358 were detailed. In this case, the Court of Appeals, pursuant to a Petition for Review under Rule 42, issued a TRO against the execution of the decision in the civil case.3 When the TRO expired, the Court of Appeals directed the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, which was thereafter issued on 11 July 2005.4 5. It is likewise most respectfully noted that the TRO issued in Gonzales was issued by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals at that time. One of the associate justices in the said Ninth Division currently sits in the present Court of Appeals 12th Division where the instant Petition is pending – Justice Vicente Veloso.5 6. In Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, et al. v. Honorable Office of the Ombudsman, et al.,6 the Court of Appeals issued a TRO pursuant to Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.” 2 Ramon C. Gonzales v. Court of Appeals Associate Justice Amelita G. Tolentino, A.M. No. CA-10-49-J, 28 January 2010. 3 Id. 4 Id. 5 The Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals was composed of Associate Justices Roberto A. Barrios, Vicente S.E. Veloso and Amelita Tolentino as ponente. 6 Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, et al. v. Honorable Office of the Ombudsman, et al., C.A. S. P. No. 113919, 28 January 2011.
a Petition for Review under Rule 43. In the said case, a TRO was issued against the Office of the Ombudsman, restraining the former from enforcing its Decision dated 21 April 2010 and Order dated 6 May 2010 in OMB M-A-09-061-B and OMB C-A-09-0269-F, respectively, finding petitioners Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, et al. guilty of simple neglect of duty and imposing upon them the penalty of suspension for six (6) months; and correcting the dispositive portion of the Decision dated April 21, 2010 to read that petitioners are guilty of simple misconduct. 7. In Enrico R. Echiverri, et al. v. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.,7 the Court of Appeals issued a TRO to enjoin the implementation of the Ombudsman’s Order placing Echiverri, Mayor of Caloocan City, et al. under preventive suspension. A writ of preliminary injunction was later issued through a Resolution promulgated on 21 July 2011. It was only after a finding of strong evidence of guilt to place the petitioners under preventive suspension, in consonance with the order of the Ombudsman, that the TRO was lifted. 8. From the foregoing, it is evident that the Court of Appeals can issue a TRO as an ancillary relief in petitions for review filed under Rule 42 and 43, as well as in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, without distinction. 9. The power of the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO is similar to the power of the Supreme Court to do the same. No such limitation exists on the power of the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO, as they are both empowered to grant provisional remedies in the respective cases pending before them. 10. During the oral arguments, the parties were repeatedly asked to refer to Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. Precisely, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court does not mention of any distinction between the power of the Supreme Court and the power of the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO, save for the distinction delineated in Section 5, Rule 58 on the effectivity of the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.8
Enrico R. Echiverri, et al. v. Office of the Ombudsman, et al., C.A.G.R. S.P. No. 120336, 2 January 2012. 8 The last paragraph of Section 5, Rule 58 states: “However, if issued by the Court of Appeals or a member thereof, the temporary restraining order shall be effective for sixty (60) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined. A restraining order issued
11. Even assuming that there was such a distinction as insisted during the oral arguments (which the petitioner respectfully submits there is none), petitioner respectfully submits that she was able to establish irreparable injury and that such irreparable injury outweighs the rights of the respondents sought to be restrained. 12. In fact, petitioner respectfully invited the Honorable Court’s attention to the fact that since it was the Honorable Court which set the hearing on petitioner’s application for a TRO, petitioner submitted the judicial affidavits of three of her witnesses who were all present for cross-examination, to prove the grave and irreparable damage the petitioner will suffer if the TRO were not issued. 13. Following this, we respectfully submit that Governor Garcia has fully established the urgency and the grave and irreparable injury, which entitles her to the issuance of a TRO by the Honorable Court. Among others, the petitioner reiterated that the invalid suspension order unlawfully and unjustly shortens the tenure of the petitioner as Governor of the Province of Cebu, which time will be forever lost and can no longer be recovered as she has a fixed term of office which ends on 30 June 2013, unduly deprives her of her right and mandate to serve as Governor of the Province of Cebu, having been duly elected as such, and causes great damage to her reputation. Hence, a TRO may be issued. 14. It appears from the oral arguments that the Honorable Court of Appeals was of the preliminary impression that the deprivation of tenure is not irreparable because, if the suspension is proven invalid, Governor Garcia may be fully compensated with full backwages during the period of her suspension. 15. Undersigned counsel respectfully disagreed with the Honorable Court’s position. Payment of full backwages as compensation for unjustified dismissal from employment is acceptable only in labor cases. To extend such an analogy to administrative cases involving public officers who were validly elected by the people in a democratic election is entirely misplaced. Public office is not simple salaried employment. Consequently, deprivation of public office is not identical to unjustified dismissal from employment. Perforce, there is no compensation for the invalid deprivation or shortening of the term of a duly elected public official.
by the Supreme Court or a member thereof shall be effective until further orders.”
15. In this case, the opportunity to serve the Province of Cebu cannot be quantified in monetary terms. Once this is lost, no amount of monetary compensation can restore to Governor Garcia the opportunity to exercise the mandate given to her by the people of the Province of Cebu. The moment in time when Governor Garcia enjoys the public trust and the mandate of the people, while placed in a position to serve the people can never be brought back; it can neither be quantified nor compensated. 16. The damage to Governor Garcia’s reputation is irreparable. By a single order not even rooted in law or evidence but carries with it the entire force of a government that does not take kindly to perceived opposition, the integrity and good name that Governor Garcia has built through years of hard work and tireless dedication to the people of Cebu, has been tarnished. Undoubtedly, this will leave an indelible stain on her record as Governor of Cebu. Moreover, Governor Garcia is running for a seat at the House of Representatives in one of the Congressional districts of Cebu City. The stigma that will be created by her unlawful and invalid suspension can adversely affect her candidacy. This was precisely why the petitioner showed the political motives behind this invalid and unjust suspension order issued by the respondents. 17. Governor Garcia has worked hard, honestly, and faithfully as a public servant through her long years in public service. Her reputation was slowly built through the days, nights, weeks, months, years of selfless service that have known no rest, which simply cannot be pegged to a price. Once irreparably damaged, backwages or any amount of damages cannot make her whole. Once illegally unseated, compensation or absolution cannot restore her lost term and cannot undo the erosion of the people’s will. 18. The overwhelming support and love for Governor Garcia by the people of the Province of Cebu, which was demonstrated by the attendance of Cebuanos totaling over 25,000 from the different towns and cities of the Province at prayer rallies held infront of the Cebu Provincial Capitol on 30 December 2012 and 9 January 2013, also indicates the potential danger of the Honorable Court of Appeal’s refusal to issue a TRO. 19. Had the Honorable Court of Appeals allowed the petitioner to present her witnesses, they could have testified on the imminent danger that has been posed by armed police and members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team upon Governor Garcia and her family, with their constant presence surrounding the Capitol and the Governor’s Office, and public statements threatening physical
removal of the Governor by force. Witnesses could have testified on the intimidation posed by police on the innocent civilians who have been marching to the Provincial Capitol to show their support to Governor Garcia, to ensure that their votes are not nullified by the invalid suspension order of the respondents. 20. It is respectfully submitted that a TRO by the Honorable Court of Appeals may ease the tension and most likely prevent the risk of bloodshed in the Province of Cebu in the event that the SWAT and/or armed police illegally force its way through the Office of the Governor to enforce an otherwise invalid suspension order while the Honorable Court of Appeals studies the merits of the petition. 21. The mere risk of loss of even just one life, petitioner respectfully submits, can never be compensated by the return of Governor Garcia’s backwages. Petitioner respectfully submits that the issuance of a TRO by this Honorable Court will surely prevent the risk of violence and bloodshed. 22. Against this canvass of irreparable damage to Governor Garcia, her family, and the Filipinos in the Province of Cebu, on one hand, and the Office of the President’s power TO DISCIPLINE local officials (as distinguished from the power to enforce an invalid and extremely harsh penalty of six months suspension), it is respectfully submitted that the Honorable Court of Appeals has only one option which is consistent with the justice and fairness it has sworn to uphold, regardless of the clearly political background of this case - issue a TRO during the pendency of the case. Makati City for Manila, 14 January 2013.
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