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G.R. Nos. 98295-99.

April 10, 1996

INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES, INC. (ICTSI), petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (2nd Division), ADUANA SKILLED AND UNSKILLED UNION (ADSULU), LUZVIMIN INTEGRATED LABOR UNION (LISLU), JAMES SCHLOBOHM, ROMEO ROSAL, MARCELO S. VILLACARLOS, REYNALDO TOLENTINO, ARSENIO VILLASIN, PlO E. ACOSTA, ANTONIO CARINO, ROLANDO DE LA PAZ, JOSE USTERIA, RODOLFO DONES, DOMINGO PAANO, MIGUEL MACABUTAS, ERNESTO DOMINGO, ENRIQUE TORRES, ERNESTO ALCARAZ, GUILLERMO MARIANO, RICARDO SORIANO, EDUARDO PESIMO, BERNARDO BALZA, ORLANDO ESCUREL, EUSEBIO PACETE, HECTOR REYES, JOSE BONOAN, EDUARDO FORMACIL, RODOLFO ERMONETA, MARIO STA. ANA, ALBERTO TAYABAS, MANUEL ENSOMO, DANIEL ADIA, NARCISO FUERTES and ROMULO RAEL, respondents.

HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.: Facts: The Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) is owned and operated by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), a government agency under the Department of Transportation and Communications. It is engaged in the cargo-handling service. On May 19, 1988, PPA awarded the management and operation of MICT to International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), herein petitioner. On June 12, 1988, ICTSI then took over the operation and management of MICT. Thereafter, PPA and petitioner entered into a contract wherein ICTSI shall utilize and employ PPAs present employees as maybe needed in the cargo-handling operations. However, said contract is subject to the condition that petitioner will conduct individual screenings to enable it to determine the workers it will retain under its employ. It was also agreed upon, that petitioner shall enter into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with one labor union representing the labor force and said CBA shall not extend beyond the term of the arrastre and stevedoring contract. In compliance therewith, petitioner conducted individual screenings of the workers presently employed to determine who are qualified and who will be re -employed as its new probationary employees. As a result, more than 600 workers of the MICT under the PPA were not absorbed by petitioner when it took over the operation on June 12, 1988. Thereafter, petitioner, in compliance with the contract, turned to the Associated Port Checkers and Workers Union (APCWU), the labor union representing the existing workers, for a CBA negotiation. However, when the parties were about to conclude their CBA, the Aduana Skilled & Unskilled Labor Union (ADSULU), together with Luzviminda Integrated Stevedoring Labor Union (LISLU), filed on July 13, 1988 with the NCR-BLR,[1] a petition for certification election which resulted in the temporary suspension of the negotiation.

The said unions claimed that their officers and general membership banded together under the umbrella of ADSULU to file the petition because there was no existing CBA in the ICTSI. This is due to the fact that the CBA between the Metrostar(ICTSI s predecessor -operator) and the Associated Port Checkers and Workers Union (APCWU), had already expired when PPA did not ren ew Metrostars permit to operate. On August 4,1988, ADSULU, and LISLU whose members were not employed by petitioner, jointly filed with the Department of Labor and Employment a Notice of Strike against petitioner Petitioner then filed a petition with the Secretary of Labor, to certify the case to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration. The Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), in its Resolution dated October 12, found out that ADSULULISLU is not a registered alliance as required by E.O. No. 111 and that, as stated in their respective constitution and by-laws, their area of operation is at the South Harbor, Port Area, Manila, and ICTSI which is located at the North Harbor, is beyond their place of operation. The BLR also ratiocinated that there is an existing CBA between APCWU and PPA which ICTSI impliedly recognizes and which bars any petition for certification election. When ADSULU-LISLU threatened to declare a strike, the Secretary of Labor issued an order certifying the labor dispute to NLRC for compulsory arbitration. On February 2, 1989, ADSULU again filed a Notice of Strike against ICTSI and actually staged a strike on petitioners establishment on March 1, 2 and 3, 1989. As a result thereof, petitioner filed on March 13, 1989 a complaint to declare illegal the two strikes, viz: the first strike dated August 16 and 17, 1988 and the second strike dated March 1, 2 and 3, 1989. On March 31, 1989 ADSULU and its 21 individual members filed a complaint against petitioners for illegal dismissal and unfair labor practice with the NCR Arbitration Branch. NLRC rendered a Resolution stating the strikes were illegal but ordering the reinstatement of the union members who were constructively dismissed. Petitioner assails as grave abuse of discretion the NLRCs findi ng that in extending the services of the twenty three PPA-MICT employees and paying their wages, it was deemed to have absorbed said employees and their subsequent termination without cause is tantamount to a constructive dismissal. Petitioner further claims that public respondent disregarded the PPA memorandum, showing that it was the PPA-MICT general manager who extended the services of the workers and that payment of their wages by petitioner was a mere delivery on behalf of PPA-MICT.[9]

Issue: Whether the NLRC decision is rendered with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Ruling: The SC ruled in the negative. Petitioner did not present evidence that respondents were agitating, cajoling or leading others to join the strike. We can only conclude that at the very least, they were merely members of the union. The act of private respondents in failing to heed the order of their superior from joining the picket line is only

tantamount to insubordination which cannot be considered as an illegal or unlawful act committed during the strike to justify their dismissal from employment. Jurisprudence is replete with the rule that findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are accorded not only with respect but even finality if they are supported by substantial evidence. [15] Therefore, the veracity or the falsehood of alleged facts is not for this Court now to re-examine.

G.R. No. 174674 October 20, 2010 NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC. and NESTLE WATERS PHILIPPINES, INC. (formerly HIDDEN SPRINGS & PERRIER, INC.), petitioners vs UNIWIDE SALES, INC.,UNIWIDE HOLDINGS, INC., NAIC RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, UNIWIDE SALES REALTY AND RESOURCES CLUB, INC., FIRST PARAGON CORPORATION, and UNIWIDE SALES WAREHOUSE CLUB, INC., respondents

CARPIO, J.:

The Facts

Respondents filed in the SEC a petition for declaration of suspension of payment, formation and appointment of rehabilitation receiver, and approval of rehabilitation plan. Subsequently, the newly appointed Interim Receivership Committee filed a rehabilitation plan in the SEC. The plan was anchored on return to core business of retailing; debt reduction via cash settlement and dacion en pago; loan restructuring; waiver of penalties and charges; freezing of interest payments; and restructuring of credit of suppliers, contractors, and private lenders.

The Interim Receivership Committee then filed in the SEC an Amended Rehabilitation Plan (ARP). The ARP took into account the planned entry of Casino Guichard Perrachon, envisioned to infuse P3.57 billion in fresh capital which the SEC approved.

The Interim Receivership Committee again filed in the SEC a Second Amendment to the Rehabilitation Plan (SARP) in view of Casino Guichard Perrachon's withdrawal. SEC approved the SARP. Petitioners, as unsecured creditors of respondents, appealed to the SEC praying that the Order approving the SARP be set aside and a new one be issued directing the Interim Receivership Committee, in consultation with all the unsecured creditors, to improve the terms and conditions of the SARP. However, the SEC denied, prompting the Petitioners to file with the Court of Appeals a petition for review. Again, CA denied the same for lack of merit the petition for review filed by petitioners, thus: In reviewing administrative decisions, the findings of fact made therein must be respected as long as they are supported by substantial evidence, even if not overwhelming or preponderant; that it is not for the reviewing court to weigh the conflicting evidence, determine the credibility of the witnesses, or otherwise substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of the evidence; that the administrative decision in matters within the executive jurisdiction can only be set aside on proof of grave abuse of discretion, fraud, or error of law. Hence, this petition. The Issue Whether the SARP should be revoked and the rehabilitation proceedings terminated. The Court's Ruling The SC ruled in the negative. Petitioners contend that the transfer of respondents' supermarket operations to Suy Sing Commercial Corporation has made the SARP incapable of implementation. Petitioners point out that since the SARP may no longer be implemented, the rehabilitation case should be terminated pursuant to Section 4-26, Rule IV of the SEC Rules of Procedure on Corporate Recovery. Petitioners claim that the terms and conditions of the SARP are unreasonable, biased in favor of respondents, prejudicial to the interests of petitioners, and incapable of a determination of feasibility. Respondents maintain that the SARP is feasible and that the SEC Hearing Panel did not violate any rule or law in approving it. Respondents stress that the lack of majority objection to the SARP bolsters the SEC's findings that the SARP is feasible. Respondents insist that the terms and conditions of the SARP are in accord with the Constitution and the law.

The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that from the time of the filing in this Court of the instant petition, supervening events have unfolded substantially changing the factual backdrop of this rehabilitation case. In light of supervening events that have emerged from the time the SEC approved the SARP on 23 December 2002 and from the time the present petition was filed on 3 November 2006, any determination by this Court as to whether the SARP should be revoked and the rehabilitation proceedings terminated, would be premature. Undeniably, supervening events have substantially changed the factual backdrop of this case. The Court thus defers to the competence and expertise of the SEC to determine whether, given the supervening events in this case, the SARP is no longer capable of implementation and whether the rehabilitation case should be terminated as a consequence. Under the doctrine of primary administrative jurisdiction, courts will not determine a controversy where the issues for resolution demand the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience, and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.[10] In other words, if a case is such that its determination requires the expertise, specialized training, and knowledge of an administrative body, relief must first be obtained in an administrative proceeding before resort to the court is had even if the matter may well be within the latter's proper jurisdiction.[11] The objective of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is to guide the court in determining whether it should refrain from exercising its jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some question or some aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court.[12] It is not for this Court to intrude, at this stage of the rehabilitation proceedings, into the primary administrative jurisdiction of the SEC on a matter requiring its technical expertise. Pending a decision of the SEC on SEC En Banc Case No. 12-09-183 and SECEn Banc Case No. 01-10-193, which both seek to resolve the issue of whether the rehabilitation proceedings in this case should be terminated, we are constrained to dismiss this petition for prematurity. G.R. No. 156109 November 18, 2004

KHRISTINE REA M. REGINO, Assisted and Represented by ARMANDO REGINO, petitioner, vs. PANGASINAN COLLEGES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, RACHELLE A. GAMUROT and ELISSA BALADAD, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.: The Facts Petitioner was a first year computer science student at PCST. Reared in a poor family, Regino went to college mainly through the financial support of her relatives. During the second semester of school year 2001-2002, she enrolled in logic and statistics subjects under Respondents Rachelle A. Gamurot and Elissa Baladad, respectively, as teachers. In February 2002, PCST held a fund raising campaign dubbed the "Rave Party and Dance Revolution," the proceeds of which were to go to the construction of the school's tennis and volleyball courts. Each student was required to pay for two tickets at the price of P100 each. The project was allegedly implemented by recompensing students who purchased tickets with additional points in their test scores; those who refused to pay were denied the opportunity to take the final examinations. Financially strapped and prohibited by her religion from attending dance parties and celebrations, Regino refused to pay for the tickets. Thereafter, the two respondent teachers disallowed petitioner from taking the final exam and ejected her from the class. On April 25, 2002, petitioner filed, as a pauper litigant, a Complaint 5 for damages against PCST, Gamurot and Baladad. On May 30, 2002, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss6 on the ground of petitioner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. According to respondents, the question raised involved the determination of the wisdom of an administrative policy of the PCST; hence, the case should have been initiated before the proper administrative body, the Commission of Higher Education (CHED). RTC dismissed the Complaint for lack of cause of action noting that the instant controversy involved a higher institution of learning, two of its faculty members and one of its students. It added that Section 54 of the Education Act of 1982 vested in the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) the supervision and regulation of tertiary schools. Thus, it ruled that the CHED, not the courts, had jurisdiction over the controversy.7 Aggrieved, petitioner filed the present Petition on pure questions of law. 8 Issues Whether principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies applies in a civil action exclusively for damages based on violation of the human relation provisions of the Civil Code, filed by a student against her former school. Whether there is cause of action on the part of the petitioners. The Court's Ruling The Petition is meritorious. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Petitioner deposed that the doctrine finds no relevance to the present case since she is praying for damages, a remedy beyond the domain of the CHED and well within the jurisdiction of the courts. 11 Petitioner is correct. First, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies has no bearing on the present case. In Factoran Jr. v. CA,12 the Court had occasion to elucidate on the rationale behind this doctrine: "The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is basic. Courts, for reasons of law, comity, and convenience, should not entertain suits unless the available administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities have been given the appropriate opportunity to act and correct their alleged errors, if any, committed in the administrative forum. x x x.13" Petitioner is not asking for the reversal of the policies of PCST. Neither is she demanding it to allow her to take her final examinations; she was already enrolled in another educational institution. A reversal of the acts complained of would not adequately redress her grievances; under the circumstances, the consequences of respondents' acts could no longer be undone or rectified. Second, exhaustion of administrative remedies is applicable when there is competence on the part of the administrative body to act upon the matter complained of. 14 Administrative agencies are not courts; they are neither part of the judicial system, nor are they deemed judicial tribunals. 15 Specifically, the CHED does not have the power to award damages.16 Hence, petitioner could not have commenced her case before the Commission. Third, the exhaustion doctrine admits of exceptions, one of which arises when the issue is purely legal and well within the jurisdiction of the trial court.17 Petitioner's action for damages inevitably calls for the application and the interpretation of the Civil Code, a function that falls within the jurisdiction of the courts.18 Cause of Action Sufficient Causes of Action Stated in the Allegations in the Complaint As a rule, every complaint must sufficiently allege a cause of action; failure to do so warrants its dismissal.19 A complaint is said to assert a sufficient cause of action if, admitting what appears solely on its face to be correct, the plaintiff would be entitled to the relief prayed for. Assuming the facts that are alleged to be true, the court should be able to render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer in the complaint.20 A motion to dismiss based on lack of cause of action hypothetically admits the truth of the alleged facts. In their Motion to Dismiss, respondents did not dispute any of petitioner's allegations, and they admitted that "x x x the crux of plaintiff's cause of action is the determination of whether or not the assessment of P100 per ticket is excessive or oppressive."21They thereby premised their prayer for dismissal on the Complaint's alleged failure to state a cause of action. The allegations in the complaint show two causes of action; first, breach of contract; and second, liability for tort. Reciprocity of the School-Student Contract

The school-student relationship is also reciprocal. Thus, it has consequences appurtenant to and inherent in all contracts of such kind -- it gives rise to bilateral or reciprocal rights and obligations. The school undertakes to provide students with education sufficient to enable them to pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the students agree to abide by the academic requirements of the school and to observe its rules and regulations.27 The terms of the school-student contract are defined at the moment of its inception -- upon enrolment of the student. Standards of academic performance and the code of behavior and discipline are usually set forth in manuals distributed to new students at the start of every school year. Further, schools inform prospective enrollees the amount of fees and the terms of payment. In practice, students are normally required to make a down payment upon enrollment, with the balance to be paid before every preliminary, midterm and final examination. Their failure to pay their financial obligation is regarded as a valid ground for the school to deny them the opportunity to take these examinations. The foregoing practice does not merely ensure compliance with financial obligations; it also underlines the importance of major examinations. Failure to take a major examination is usually fatal to the students' promotion to the next grade or to graduation. Examination results form a significant basis for their final grades. These tests are usually a primary and an indispensable requisite to their elevation to the next educational level and, ultimately, to their completion of a course. Thus, students expect that upon their payment of tuition fees, satisfaction of the set academic standards, completion of academic requirements and observance of school rules and regulations, the school would reward them by recognizing their "completion" of the course enrolled in. The obligation on the part of the school has been established in Magtibay v. Garcia, 28 Licup v. University of San Carlos29 and Ateneo de Manila University v. Garcia,30 in which the Court held that, barring any violation of the rules on the part of the students, an institution of higher learning has a contractual obligation to afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the course they seek to pursue. We recognize the need of a school to fund its facilities and to meet astronomical operating costs; this is a reality in running it. Crystal v. Cebu International School31 upheld the imposition by respondent school of a "land purchase deposit" in the amount of P50,000 per student to be used for the "purchase of a piece of land and for the construction of new buildings and other facilities x x x which the school would transfer [to] and occupy after the expiration of its lease contract over its present site." In the present case, PCST imposed the assailed revenue-raising measure belatedly, in the middle of the semester. It exacted the dance party fee as a condition for the students' taking the final examinations, and ultimately for its recognition of their ability to finish a course. The fee, however, was not part of the school-student contract entered into at the start of the school year. Hence, it could not be unilaterally imposed to the prejudice of the enrollees. Academic Freedom In their Memorandum, respondents harp on their right to "academic freedom." We are not impressed. According to present jurisprudence, academic freedom encompasses the independence of an academic institution to determine for itself (1) who may teach, (2) what may be taught, (3) how it shall teach, and (4) who may be admitted to study.36 In Garcia v. the Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology,37 the Court upheld the respondent therein when it denied a female student's admission to theological studies in a seminary for prospective priests. The Court defined the freedom of an academic

institution thus: "to decide for itself aims and objectives and how best to attain them x x x free from outside coercion or interference save possibly when overriding public welfare calls for some restraint." 38 In Tangonan v. Pao,39 the Court upheld, in the name of academic freedom, the right of the school to refuse readmission of a nursing student who had been enrolled on probation, and who had failed her nursing subjects. These instances notwithstanding, the Court has emphasized that once a school has, in the name of academic freedom, set its standards, these should be meticulously observed and should not be used to discriminate against certain students.40After accepting them upon enrollment, the school cannot renege on its contractual obligation on grounds other than those made known to, and accepted by, students at the start of the school year. G.R. No. 137862 November 11, 2004

ALFREDO ESTRADA, RENATO T. CANILANG and MANUEL C. LIM, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND BACNOTAN CEMENT CORPORATION (BCC), respondents. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: The facts Petitioners, as concerned citizens and taxpayers, filed on July 31, 1996, before the RTC, a complaint for Injunction and Damages with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order against Bacnotan Cement Corp. (BCC), Wawandue Fishing Port, Inc. (WFPI), Jeffrey Khong Hun as President of WFPI, Manuel Molina as Mayor of Subic, Zambales, and Ricardo Serrano as Regional Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The complaint alleges that: WFPI and the Municipality of Subic entered into an illegal lease contract, which in turn became the basis of a sub-lease in favor of BCC; the sub-lease between WFPI and BCC is a violation of the first lease because the cement plant, which BCC intended to operate in Wawandue, Subic, Zambales, is not related to the fish port business of WFPI; and BCCs cement plant is a nuisance because it will cause pollution, endanger the health, life and limb of the residents and deprive them of the full use and enjoyment of their properties. The plaintiffs prayed that an order be issued: to restrain and prohibit BCC from opening, commissioning, or otherwise operating its cement plant Defendants WFPI/Khong Hun and BCC filed separate motions to dismiss, both alleging that the complaint states no cause of action. BCC, in its motion, added that: the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies before going to court; that the complaint was premature; and that the RTC has no jurisdiction on the matter. Respondent Serrano of the DENR also filed a motion to dismiss stating that there was no cause of action insofar as he is concerned since there was nothing in the complaint that shows any dereliction of duty on his part.4 RTC granted the prayer for the preliminary injunction of the petitioners. However, BBC petitioned with the CA which granted the same. Issues Whether exhaustion of administrative remedies is indispensable in the instant case. Ruling

The court answered in the positive. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies requires that resort be first made with the administrative authorities in the resolution of a controversy falling under their jurisdiction before the same may be elevated to a court of justice for review.20 If a remedy within the administrative machinery is still available, with a procedure pursuant to law for an administrative officer to decide the controversy, a party should first exhaust such remedy before going to court. A premature invocation of a courts intervention renders the complaint without cause of action and dismissible on such ground. 21 The reason for this is that prior availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies. Comity and convenience also impel courts of justice to shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with. 22 While the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is flexible and may be disregarded in certain instances, such as: (1) when there is a violation of due process, (2) when the issue involved is purely a legal question, (3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, (4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned, (5) when there is irreparable injury, (6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears [sic] the implied and assumed approval of the latter, (7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable, (8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim, (9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings, (10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy, (11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention, (12) when no administrative review is provided by law, (13) where the rule of qualified political agency applies, and (14) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot. 25 we find, however, that the instant case does not fall under any of the recognized exceptional circumstances.

Petitioners claim that their action before the trial court, without going to the DENR first, is justified because they are in danger of suffering grave and irreparable injury from the operation of respondents cement repacking plant and the DENR does not have the power to grant them the relief they are praying for. We do not agree. Republic Act No. 3931, An Act Creating the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission, was passed on June 18, 1964 to maintain reasonable standards of purity for the waters and air of the country with their utilization for domestic, agricultural, industrial and other legitimate purposes. It created the NPCC which had the power, to issue, renew, or deny permits, for the prevention and abatement of pollution.26 P.D. No. 984 also empowered the commission to issue ex parte orders directing the discontinuance or temporary suspension or cessation of operation of an establishment or person generating sewage or wastes without the necessity of prior public hearing whenever it finds a prima facie evidence that the discharged sewage or wastes are of immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life, or exceed the allowable standards set by the commission. 27 In 1987, Executive Order No. 192 was passed, reorganizing the DENR. It transferred the power of the NPCC to the Environmental Management Bureau28 and created the PAB, under the Office of the Secretary, which assumed the powers and functions of the NPCC with respect to the adjudication of pollution cases under R.A. No. 3931 and P.D. No. 984. 29 In Pollution Adjudication Board vs. Court of Appeals,30 we stated that the PAB is the very agency of the government with the task of determining whether the effluents of a particular industrial establishment comply with or violate applicable anti-pollution statutory and regulatory provisions. Clearly, the claim of petitioners that their immediate recourse to the regular courts is justified because the DENR is powerless to grant them proper relief is without basis.

G.R. No. 122089. August 23, 2000

MELITON ZABAT and MARYLOU ZABAT, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE, Branch 114, Pasay City, THE NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY and ALEJANDRA & GUILLERMO MAURI, JR., respondents. QUISUMBING, J.:

The facts: This controversy traces its beginning to the contest between plaintiffs-appellants, spouses Meliton and Marylou Zabat (plaintiffs-appellants, for brevity) and defendants-appellees Alejandra and Guillermo Mauris (Mauris, for brevity) over a piece of land particularly designated as Lot 8, Block 7, Phase I-a in the Tramo/F Victor upgrading project of the National Housing Authority (NHA, for brevity), with an area of sixty (60) square meters. In 1977, the NHA conducted a census of residents and discovered that two (2) structures, one owned by plaintiff-appellant Marylou Zabat and the other by the Mauris, were constructed on the controverted lot. Nonetheless, Marylou Zabat was included in the census as owner of a structure and given a tag number for the purpose. Subsequently, in 1981 a census verification was conducted again by the NHA which found that the structure owned by the plaintiffs-appellants was being rented out to a certain Conrado Briones and on the basis thereof, plaintiffs-appellants were declared as absentee structure owners and under Section 1 (a) of Memo Circular No. 13 issued by the NHA, an absentee structure owner is disqualified from a lot award. The lot was subsequently awarded to the Mauris. Marylou Zabat raised the matter on appeal to the Awards and Arbitration Committee (AAC, for brevity) of the NHA. The AAC decided to reconsider the status of Mrs. Zabat and declared her as a project beneficiary, but of another lot in view of the fact that the controverted lot has already been allocated to the Mauris per resolution No. 85-14 dated March 5, 1985. A motion to reconsider that Order was filed by Zabat but was denied by the AAC on August 16, 1985. Subsequently, the plaintiffs-appellants filed Civil Case before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City to enjoin the defendants-appellees from proceeding with their eviction. In the course of the proceedings before the trial court, the City Hall of Pasay City was gutted by fire destroying the Court records therein including those of Civil Case of the parties involved herein. Thereby, the plaintiffs-appellants filed a motion for reconstitution of the records of the case and for the resumption of proceedings which was denied by the trial court in its Order dated October 22, 1992 for being filed beyond the reglementary period. Plaintiffs-appellants again filed Civil Case, likewise for Injunction with Prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the defendants-appellees from demolishing the structure of the plaintiffsappellants. The prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction by the plaintiffs-appellants was denied in view of their failure to establish a clear and positive right over the lot in dispute. Petitioners appealed in the CA but was denied. Issue: Whether Exhaustion of administrative remedies should be observed, if so, whether petitioner has exhausted administrative remedies.

Ruling: The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. We find applicable the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. Before a party may seek the intervention of the court, it is a pre-condition that he should first avail of all the means afforded by administrative processes.[20] A party aggrieved must not merely initiate the prescribed administrative procedure to obtain relief, but must also pursue it to its appropriate conclusion before seeking judicial intervention in order to give that administrative agency an opportunity to decide the matter by itself correctly and prevent unnecessary and premature resort to court. [21] In this case, after their motion for reconsideration was denied by the AAC in 1985, petitioners should have elevated their case to the NHA General Manager, pursuant to NHA Circular No. 13. [22] The latter provides that all decisions of the AAC shall be subject to review and approval by the General Manager of the NHA.[23] There being no such review instituted by petitioners, the NHA subsequently awarded the lot to the Mauris on August 24, 1985, as well as the contract to sell said lot. [24] From the award of the lot and the execution of the contract to sell by the NHA, petitioners should have appealed to the Office of the President, pursuant to Executive Order No. 19.[25] Under the provisions thereof, appeals from awards of contracts by government-owned or controlled corporations, such as the NHA, as well as other appeals of similar nature not governed by special laws, shall be taken to the Office of the President by private parties adversely affected.[26] None of these administrative remedies were resorted to by petitioners, thus foreclosing on their right to seek judicial relief. Administrative disputes must end sometime, just as much as public policy demands that finality be written in judicial controversies.[27] For failure to avail of the administrative processes of the NHA to resolve their plaint, substituting resort to judicial relief after much delay at that we are constrained to rule that petitioners may not avail of the injunctive remedy they seek.

G.R. No. 129169 November 17, 1999 NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION (NIA), petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (4th Division), CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ARBITRATION COMMISSION, and HYDRO RESOURCES CONTRACTORS CORPORATION, respondents. DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: Facts: In a competitive bidding held by NIA in August 1978, Hydro Resources Contractors Corporation (hereafter HYDRO) was awarded Contract MPI-C-2 for the construction of the main civil works of the Magat River Multi-Purpose Project. The contract provided that HYDRO would be paid partly in Philippine pesos and partly in U.S. dollars. HYDRO substantially completed the works under the contract in 1982 and final acceptance by NIA was made in 1984. HYDRO thereafter determined that it still had an account receivable from NIA representing the dollar rate differential of the price escalation for the contract. 2 After unsuccessfully pursuing its case with NIA, HYDRO filed with the CIAC a Request for Adjudication of the aforesaid claim. NIA filed its Answer wherein it questioned the jurisdiction of the CIAC alleging lack of cause of action, laches and estoppel in view of HYDRO's alleged failure to avail of its right to submit the dispute to arbitration within the prescribed period as provided in the contract. At the

preliminary conference, NIA through its counsel manifested that it could not admit the genuineness of HYDRO's evidence since NIA's records had already been destroyed. NIA requested an opportunity to examine the originals of the documents which HYDRO agreed to provide. 5 NIA then filed a Motion to Dismiss 7 alleging lack of jurisdiction over the disputes. NIA contended that there was no agreement with HYDRO to submit the dispute to CIAC for arbitration considering that the construction contract was executed in 1978 and the project completed in 1982, whereas the Construction Industry Arbitration Law creating CIAC was signed only in 1985; and that while they have agreed to arbitration as a mode of settlement of disputes, they could not have contemplated submission of their disputes to CIAC. NIA further argued that records show that it had not voluntarily submitted itself to arbitration by CIAC. CIAC ruled that it has jurisdiction over the HYDRO's claim over NIA pursuant to E.O 1008 and that the hearing should proceed as scheduled and it rendered the decision in favour of HYDRO. NIA filed with the Court of Appeals an original action of certiorari and prohibition with prayer for restraining order and/or injunction, seeking to annul the Orders of the CIAC for having been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction. CA denied the same and the subsequent motion for reconsideration. Issue: I. II. Ruling: I The SC ruled in the negative. At the outset, we note that the petition suffers from a procedural defect that warrants its outright dismissal. The questioned resolutions of the Court of Appeals have already become final and executory by reason of the failure of NIA to appeal therefrom. Instead of filing this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, NIA should have filed a timely petition for review under Rule 45. There is no doubt that the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 filed before it by NIA. The original jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over special civil actions for certiorari is vested upon it under Section 9(1) of B.P. 129. This jurisdiction is concurrent with the Supreme Court 15 and with the Regional Trial Court. 16 Thus, since the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction over the petition under Rule 65, any alleged errors committed by it in the exercise of its jurisdiction would be errors of judgment which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by a special civil action of certiorari. 17 If the aggrieved party fails to do so within the reglementary period, and the decision accordingly becomes final and executory, he cannot avail himself of the writ of certiorari, his predicament being the effect of his deliberate inaction. 18 In the instant case, the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 24 February 1997 denying the motion for reconsideration of its Resolution dated 28 June 1997 was received by NIA on 4 March 1997. Thus, it had until 19 March 1997 within which to perfect its appeal. NIA did not appeal. What it did was to file an Whether petition for certiorari under Rule 65 was the proper remedy of the petitioner. Whether CIAC has jurisdiction.

original action for certiorari before this Court, reiterating the issues and arguments it raised before the Court of Appeals. For the writ of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to issue, a petitioner must show that he has no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law against its perceived grievance. 22 A remedy is considered "plain, speedy and adequate" if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment and the acts of the lower court or agency. 23 In this case, appeal was not only available but also a speedy and adequate remedy. Obviously, NIA interposed the present special civil action of certiorari not because it is the speedy and adequate remedy but to make up for the loss, through omission or oversight, of the right of ordinary appeal. It is elementary that the special civil action of certiorari is not and cannot be a substitute for an appeal, where the latter remedy is available, as it was in this case. A special civil action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court will not be a cure for failure to timely file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 24 Rule 65 is an independent action that cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal, including that under Rule 45, 25especially if such loss or lapse was occasioned by one's own neglect or error in the choice of remedies. 26 Although there are exceptions to the rules, none is present in the case at bar. NIA failed to show circumstances that will justify a deviation from the general rule as to make available a petition for certiorari in lieu of taking an appropriate appeal. II The SC ruled in the affirmative. Contrary to the claim of NIA, the CIAC has jurisdiction over the controversy. Executive Order No. 1008, otherwise known as the "Construction Industry Arbitration Law" which was promulgated on 4 February 1985, vests upon CIAC original and exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising from, or connected with contracts entered into by parties involved in construction in the Philippines, whether the dispute arises before or after the completion of the contract, or after the abandonment or breach thereof. The disputes may involve government or private contracts. For the Board to acquire jurisdiction, the parties to a dispute must agree to submit the same to voluntary arbitration. 28 The complaint of HYDRO against NIA on the basis of the contract executed between them was filed on 7 December 1994, during the effectivity of E.O. No. 1008. Hence, it is well within the jurisdiction of CIAC. The jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law in force at the time of the commencement of the action. 29 Under the present Rules of Procedure, for a particular construction contract to fall within the jurisdiction of CIAC, it is merely required that the parties agree to submit the same to voluntary arbitration. Unlike in the original version of Section 1, as applied in the Tesco case, the law as it now stands does not provide that the parties should agree to submit disputes arising from their agreement specifically to the CIAC for the latter to acquire jurisdiction over the same. Rather, it is plain and clear that as long as the parties agree to submit to voluntary arbitration, regardless of what forum they may choose, their agreement will fall within the jurisdiction of the CIAC, such that, even if they specifically choose another forum, the parties will not be precluded from electing to submit their dispute before the CIAC because this right has been vested upon each party by law, i.e., E.O. No. 1008. 31 Moreover, it is undeniable that NIA agreed to submit the dispute for arbitration to the CIAC. NIA through its counsel actively participated in the arbitration proceedings by filing an answer with

counterclaim, as well as its compliance wherein it nominated arbitrators to the proposed panel, participating in the deliberations on, and the formulation of, the Terms of Reference of the arbitration proceeding, and examining the documents submitted by HYDRO after NIA asked for the originals of the said documents. 32 G.R. No. 83369 October 2, 1992 PACITA J. BAGUIORO, petitioner, vs. HON. MARIANO Y, BASA, JR. Presiding Judge, Branch 56, Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental, San Carlos City, and ROMEO ESPINOSA, respondents. DAVIDE, JR., J.: Facts: Prior to April 1982, petitioner and private respondent were the Elementary Head Teacher and Elementary School Principal I, respectively in the Schools Division of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. They were both considered for promotion to the position of General Education Supervisor I (Music and Arts) in the said Division when the same became vacant sometime in April 1982. On 12 April 1982, the Division Promotion Board decided in favor of the petitioner and recommended her appointment to the said vacancy. In September of 1982, the Regional Promotion Board of Region VI of the then Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (MECS), now Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), to which the Schools Division of San Carlos City belongs, ruled in favor of the petitioner; hence, the Regional Director decreed the petitioner's appointment to the contested position. Private respondent moved for its reconsideration. On 21 November 1983, the Regional Director reversed himself and declared the private respondent better qualified; consequently, the latter was appointed to the contested position. Petitioner appealed this adverse decision to the then Minister of the MECS. Because of the delay in the disposition of her appeal, petitioner filed a petition for Quo Warranto with mandamus and Damages against the MECS Director of Region VI, the Schools Division Superintendent of San Carlos City and the private respondent with Branch 57 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Carlos City. Upon motion of the defendants, the court dismissed the case on the ground of prescription. Petitioner moved for its reconsideration. During its pendency, then Minister Jaime C. Laya of MECS wrote a letter, dated 17 April 1985, to the Regional Director of Region VI transmitting to the latter the Memorandum-Report of the Complaints Committee of the Ministry, dated 17 April 1985, which found the decision of 21 November 1983 to be irregular and which recommended the affirmance of the 23 September 1982 regional decision favoring the petitioner. Minister Laya also informed said Regional Director therein of his (Laya's) concurrence with said findings and recommendation. On 23 October 1985, the trial court issued an Order denying petitioner's 11 June 1985 motion for reconsideration on the ground that the case had already become moot and academic in view of the aforementioned letter of Minister Laya and the fact that pursuant thereto, the appointment of petitioner had been prepared and that she had actually assumed the position. In the meantime, however, private respondent filed with SC a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction against Minister Laya, the Regional Director of MECS, Region VI, the Schools Division Superintendent of San Carlos City and the petitioner.

In the Resolution, SC dismissed the petition for lack of merit. A motion to reconsider it was denied with finality. 3 After his defeat in this Court, private respondent filed with the RTC of San Carlos City a complaint for Quo Warranto with Injunction and Damages 4 against the DECS Regional Director of Region VI, the Civil Service Commission Regional Director of Region VI, the Schools Division Superintendent of San Carlos City (Negros Occidental), the Administrative Officer of DECS, Region VII and the petitioner. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss said Civil Case No. 162 on grounds of (1) res judicata, (2) prescription; and (3) lack of cause of action. 5 On 26 April 1988, respondent Judge Mariano Basa, Jr. of Branch 58 of the court below handed down an Order denying the motion to dismiss Unable to accept the order, which she impugns to have been issued without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on 10 May 1988. Issue: Whether petition is tenable. Ruling: The petition is impressed with merit. The essential requisites of res judicata are: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and second actions identity of parties, identity of subject matter and identity of causes of action. 9 The parties agree in their pleadings that the resolution of this Court had long attained finality before the institution of Civil Case. There can, as well, be no doubt that this Court acquired jurisdiction over the former case, and that the identities required under the fourth requisite of res judicata obtain between said resolution and Civil Case. Accordingly, private respondent cannot be allowed to re-litigate the causes of action or the issues he had raised. Private respondent and his counsel are equally guilty of forum-shopping. They tried to test what appears to be the friendly waters of the trial court full of hope that they could obtain a favorable verdict after having been spurned by this Court. This is malpractice on the part of counsel. 11 It is equally clear that private respondent had not exhausted the administrative remedies provided by law to set aside the promotion extended to the petitioner. In this regard, therefore, the complaint in Civil Case fails to state a cause of action. A dismissal on the ground of failure to exhaust administrative remedies is tantamount to a dismissal based on lack of cause of action. 12 What private respondent should have done was to appeal decision of the then MECS Minister Jaime Laya to the Merit Systems Board (now Merit System Protection Board). Under present procedure, a next-in-rank employee who is competent and qualified and feels aggrieved by the promotion of another may filed a protest with the department or agency head who shall render a

decision thereon within thirty (30) days from receipt of the protest. Such decision may be appealed by an aggrieved party within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof to the Merit Systems Protection Board which, in turn, shall render its decision thereon within sixty (60) days from the time the case is submitted for decision. The decision of the Board is final unless it involves a division chief or an official of higher rank; in such a situation, the decision may be appealed to the Civil Service Commission. On the other hand, decisions involving positions below division chief may be reviewed by the Commission. 14

G.R. No. 149422. April 10, 2003

DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, petitioner vs. APEX INVESTMENT AND FINANCING CORPORATION (now SM Investment Corporation), respondent. SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Facts: Respondent Apex Investment and Financing Corporation (now SM Investments Corporation), registered under the laws of the Philippines, owns several lots located at Barangay Paliparan, Dasmarias, Cavite, covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. T-72491, T-90474, T-90475, T90476, and T-90477. On August 24, 1994, the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of Dasmarias initiated compulsory acquisition proceedings over those lots pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. The MARO issued a Notice of Coverage informing respondent of the compulsory acquisition and inviting it to a meeting set on September 8, 1994; and Notice of Acquisition. Copies of these notices were sent to respondents office at 627 Echague Street, Manila. However, respondent denied having received the same because it was no longer holding office there. Respondent learned of the compulsory acquisition proceedings from the December 11, 1997 issue of the Balita stating, among others, that TCT No. T-90476, covering respondents lot consisting of 23,614 square meters, has been placed under the compulsory acquisition program. Forthwith, petitioner sent respondent a copy of the Notice of Land Valuation and Acquisition dated July 24, 1997, offering to pay itP229,014.33 as compensation for the lot covered by TCT No. T-90476. On January 12, 1998, respondent filed with the PARO a Protest rejecting the offer of compensation and contending that its lands are not covered by R.A. No. 6657 because they were classified as residential even prior to the effectivity of the law. On March 27, 1998, respondent filed with the PARO a Supplemental Protest with (a) the Certification stating that respondents lots are not covered by any irrigation project; and (b) the Certification attesting that the same lots are within the residential zone based on the Land Use Plan of the Municipality of Dasmarias duly approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in its Resolution.

It was only on February 15, 1999, or more than one year after respondent filed its protest, that the PARO forwarded to petitioner DAR the said protest together with the records of the compulsory acquisition proceedings. Thereafter, respondent learned that on June 24, 1999, the Registry of Deeds of Cavite cancelled one of its titles, TCT No. T-90476, and in lieu thereof, issued TCT No. T-868471 in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. On July 26, 1999, respondent came to know that TCT No. T-868471 was cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. CLOA-2473 was issued in the name of Angel M. Umali, a farmer-beneficiary allegedly occupying the land. This prompted respondent to file with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari and prohibition praying that the compulsory acquisition proceedings over its landholdings be declared void and that TCT No. CLOA-2473 issued to Angel Umali be cancelled. In its comment, petitioner alleged that respondent failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing its petition. Hence, the same should be dismissed. The CA ruled in favor of respondent. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari.

Issue: Whether exhaustion of administrative should have been done by respondent.

Ruling: The SC ruled in the negative. This Court has consistently held that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a relative one and is flexible depending on the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual and circumstantial settings of a case.[3] Among others, it is disregarded where, as in this case, (a) there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention;[4] and (b) the administrative action is patently illegal and amounts to lack or excess of jurisdiction.[5] Records show that the PARO did not take immediate action on respondents Protest filed on January 12, 1998. It was only on February 15, 1999, or after more than one year, that it forwarded the same to petitioner DAR. Since then, what petitioner has done was to require respondent every now and then to submit copies of supporting documents which were already attached to its Protest. In the meantime, respondent found that the PARO had caused the cancellation of its title and that a new one was issued to an alleged farmer-beneficiary. In Natalia Realty vs. Department of Agrarian Reform,[6] we held that the aggrieved landowners were not supposed to wait until the DAR acted on their letter-protests (after it had sat on them for almost a year) before resorting to judicial process. Given the official indifference which, under the circumstances could have continued forever, the landowners had to act to assert and protect their interests. Thus, their petition for certiorari was allowed even though the DAR had not yet resolved their protests. In the same vein, respondent here could not be expected to wait for petitioner DAR to resolve its protest before seeking judicial intervention. Obviously, petitioner might continue to alienate respondents lots during the pendency of its protest. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not err in concluding that on the basis of the circumstances of this case, respondent need not exhaust all administrative remedies before filing its petition for certiorari and prohibition.

G.R. No. 162716

September 27, 2006

Honorable Secretary EMILIA T. BONCODIN of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), petitioner, vs. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION EMPLOYEES CONSOLIDATED UNION (NECU), respondent. PANGANIBAN, C.J.: The Facts "On [October 8, 2001], the Board of Directors of NAPOCOR issued Board Resolution No. 2001-113 amending Board Resolution No. 99-35 which granted the Seniority in Position Pay. Board Resolution No. 99-35 granted a step increment to all qualified NAPOCOR officials and employees who have been in their position for ten (10) years effective calendar year 1999. On the other hand, Board Resolution No. 2001-113 reduced the ten (10) year requirement to three (3) years. "On [November 12, 2001], then President of NAPOCOR, Jesus Alcordo, issued Circular No. 200151 providing for the implementing rules and regulations of Board Resolution No. 2001-113. On May 6, 2002, the NAPOCOR Officer-in-Charge, President and Chief Executive Officer, Roland Quilala, issued Circular No. 2002-22 providing for additional guidelines relative to the implementation of the step increment based on length of service in the position to qualified NAPOCOR officials and employees. "On [November 26, 2001], petitioner furnished a letter addressed to Mr. Alcordo informing the latter that NAPOCOR's request for clearance to implement Joint CSC-DBM Circular No. 1, s. 1990 which is the basis of Board Resolution No. 2001-113 cannot be given due course for lack of legal basis. In essence, petitioner holds that the grant of step increment based on length of service is an additional benefit under a different name since NAPOCOR has already been granting seniority pay based on the length of service as embodied in the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA). In addition, petitioner said that the grant of step increment is not applicable to the salary plan of NAPOCOR considering its higher salary rates [compared with that of the existing government pay plan]. Lastly, petitioner told Mr. Alcordo of the budget implication of the grant of said proposal which she estimated to cost as high as Eighty Four Million Pesos (P84,000,000.00). Corporate Auditor of NAPOCOR, Norberto Cabibihan, issued a Memorandum to Quilala enjoining him to suspend/stop payment of the step increment as embodied in NPC Circular No. 2001-51. He also requested the suspension of the implementation of NPC Circular No. 2002-22 which the same were complied with. "Believing that NPC Circular Nos. 2001-51 and 2002-22 are within the bounds of law and that they have already acquired a vested right in it, [respondent National Power Corporation Employees Consolidated Union (NECU) filed a Petition for Prohibition with Application for TRO/Preliminary Injunction before the RTC which granted the same. "Both parties moved for the reconsideration of the Resolution. Public respondent denied both motions in the second assailed Resolution dated [October 29, 2002]." 5 Through a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioner sought relief from the CA. She argued that the RTC had "failed to consider the principle of non-exhaustion of administrative

remedies and allowed the grant of seniority pay to NAPOCOR employees without any legal basis. CA denied the same. Issues Whether exhaustion of administrative remedies should have been first sought by the private respondent. Ruling The SC ruled in the negative. Initially, petitioner assails the trial court's jurisdiction to issue the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. She contends that the Petition for Prohibition filed by respondent is premature, because COA has yet to rule on whether or not to lift the suspension of the step increments granted in Napocor Board Resolution No. 2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51. She adds that there is a need to follow the procedural requirements and processes mandated in COA's 1997 Revised Rules (COA Rules) as a condition precedent for a resort to the courts by respondent. She says further that it is not exempt from the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies on the basis merely of its general assertions of irreparable injury. We disagree. It should be noted that shortly after Corporate Auditor Cabibihan issued the suspension Order dated June 5, 2002, the Napocor board passed Resolution No. 2002-81 on July 24, 2002, to rectify its Resolution No. 2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51, which were issued earlier without authority from the DBM. This time, Resolution No. 2002-81, which was confirmed on August 14, 2002, bore the DBM's approval. Under the new resolution, the step increments mentioned in the previous Resolution No. 2001-113 were limited to a maximum of two steps, and the "roll back" of salaries of all the Napocor employees who received more than the two-step increments was set to be implemented on September 1, 2002. With the circumstances then obtaining, it would have been impractical, if not illogical, for respondent to "exhaust" administrative remedies before taking court action. Besides, the COA Rules do not clearly and explicitly prescribe the procedure for addressing respondent's Complaint against the implementation. Indeed, while Corporate Auditor Cabibihan has yet to rule on whether or not to lift the suspension order, as petitioner contends, the fact remains that Board Resolution No. 2002-81 has already modified the previous resolution, precisely to conform to COA Rules. Even assuming arguendo that the provision exists, the appeal mechanics under the COA Rules would not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy. A remedy is considered plain, speedy and adequate if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment or rule, order or resolution of the lower court or agency.10 A petition for prohibition is a preventive remedy and, as a rule, does not lie to restrain an act that is already fait accompli.11 The Petition for Prohibition instituted by respondent before the trial court assailed the validity not only of petitioner's May 8, 2002 Letter Memorandum and Corporate Auditor Cabibihan's Memorandum Circular (suspension order) but, more important, it assailed Napocor Board Resolution No. 2002-81, which was to be implemented in September 2002. Given the impending "roll back" of the salaries of the affected employees, there was an urgent need for judicial intervention. 12

Moreover, respondent's immediate resort to judicial action is justified because only legal issues are to be resolved, which are the validity of the step increments and the authority of the DBM vis--vis the questioned Napocor Circular and Resolution.13 All in all, the principle of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies is not an inflexible rule. 14 It may be dispensed with in the present case, because its application would not constitute a plain, speedy and adequate remedy. The issues here are purely legal, and judicial intervention has been shown to be urgent.

G.R. No. L-57665 July 2, 1990 ALEJA SIBAYAN VDA. DE PINEDA, CLARA SIBAYAN VDA. DE GADDI, and MIGUELA SIBAYAN RAMENTO,petitioners, vs. The HON. TEODORO PEA, MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES; The HON. JUANITO FERNANDEZ, DIRECTOR OF MINES & GEO-SCIENCES; and the KM. 21 MINING EXPLORATION CORPORATION; The BAGUIO GOLD MINING COMPANY, INC.; ELVIRA DE CARMELO and JOSEPH PALENGAOAN, respondents. CORTES, J.: Facts: The "Ped" mining claim was located by Pedro Sibayan in January, 1932. After Sibayan's death, his heirs Miguela and Aleja Sibayan executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement wherein they waived their rights and interest over the "Ped" claim, among others, in favor of co-heir Feliza Sibayan. Feliza then transferred said claims to Sofia Reyes. The "Ullmann" mining claim was located by Elvira Carmelo in February, 1932, and was subsequently transferred to Joseph Palengaoan. In 1962, Reyes, Palengaoan and several others formed the KM. 21 Mining Association, later converted into the KM. 21 Exploration Corporation, to which the members conveyed their respective mining claims, including the "Ped" and "Ullmann" claims. Ultimately, the claims were assigned to the Baguio Gold Mining Company for operation. During this time, an amended declaration of location for the "Ullmann" claim was registered. On November 23, 1972, petitioners instituted Civil Case No. Q-17136 against Feliza Sibayan, Sofia Reyes, KM. 21 Mining Exploration Corporation, et. al., with the Court of First Instance claiming that the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement from which private respondents derived their ownership and possession over the "Ped" claim was maliciously falsified and prayed for annulment of all subsequent transfers involving the mining claims. During the pre-trial, the parties entered into an amicable settlement, agreeing, among others, that: (1) private respondents will return to petitioners the disputed mining claims, including the "Ped" claim (3) private respondents shall execute the necessary documents to reconvey the mining claims to petitioners

Thus, the Court of First Instance rendered a decision on November 11, 1974 ordering the parties to comply with the above settlement . However, petitioners filed with the Bureau of Mines a lettercomplaint against private respondents for alleged overlapping and encroachment of the "Ullmann" claim over the "Ped" claim. On January 10, 1977, the Director of Mines rendered a decision declaring that there was no conflict between the "Ped" and "Ullmann" claims Since the protest case was filed after Pres. Decree No. 463 (Mineral Resources Development Decree of 1974) took effect on May 17, 1974, the provisions of the law were made applicable to petitioners. Pres. Decree No. 463 mandates compliance with certain requirements in order for subsisting mining claims, such as the "Ped" claim, to avail of the benefits granted under the Decree. Otherwise, mining rights to the claim will be lost. The requirements are embodied in Sections 100 and 101, and Section 180 of the implementing regulations. Finding that petitioners failed to comply with the above-cited provisions, respondent director declared its decision against petitioners. On appeal to the Minister of Natural Resources, petitioners argued that respondent Director was without jurisdiction or exceeded his jurisdiction in ruling that they have lost their rights over the "Ped" mining claim, since the case was only for overlapping or encroachment and the question of whether they complied with the provisions of Pres. Decree No. 463 was never placed at issue in the pleadings. This was dismissed as well as petitioners motion for reconsideration. Issue: whether or not public respondents have jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the "Ped" claim in a protest case of overlapping of mining claims Ruling: The SC ruled in the affirmative. Petitioners had filed the protest case pursuant to Pres. Decree No. 463 which vests the Bureau of Mines with jurisdiction over protests involving mining claims [Section 48, Pres. Decree No. 463]. Under the same Decree, Section 90 confers upon the Secretary of Natural Resources, upon recommendation of the Director of Mines, the authority to issue rules, regulations and orders necessary to carry out the provisions and purposes of the Decree. In accordance with the statutory grant of rulemaking power, the Department Secretary issued the Consolidated Mines Administrative Order Implementing Pres. Decree No. 463. It is established in jurisprudence that Congress may validly delegate to administrative agencies the authority to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given legislation and effectuate its policies [People v. Exconde, 101 Phil. 1125 (1957); Director of Forestry v. Munoz, G.R. No. L-24796, June 28, 1968, 23 SCRA 1183]. In order to be valid, the administrative regulation must be germane to the objects and purposes of the law, conform to the standards that the law prescribes [People v. Exconde, supra, citing Calalang v. Williams, 70 Phil. 727 (1940); Pangasinan Transportation v. Public Service Commission, 70 Phil. 221 (1940)], and must relate solely to carrying into effect the general provisions of the law [U.S. v. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil. 119 (1914)].

With these guidelines, Section 128 of the implementing rules invoked by public respondents as basis for their jurisdiction cannot be tainted with invalidity. First, it was issued by the Department Head pursuant to validly delegated rule-making powers. Second, it does not contravene the provisions of Pres. Decree No. 463, nor does it expand the coverage of the Decree. Section 128 merely prescribes a procedural rule to implement the general provisions of the enabling law. It does not amend or extend the provisions of the statute [People v. Maceren, G.R. No. L-32166, October 18, 1977, 79 SCRA 450, citing University of Santo Tomas v. Board of Tax Appeals, 93 Phil. 376 (1953)]. Neither can it be maintained that such an implementing rule results in a denial of procedural due process, for it is axiomatic in administrative law that what the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice, but the absolute absence thereof and lack of opportunity to be heard [Catura v. Court of Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-27392, January 30,1971, 37 SCRA 303, citing De Borja v. Tan, 93 Phil. 167 (1953)]. In this case, petitioners were afforded the opportunity to be heard on the validity of the "Ped" mining claim when they submitted rebuttal evidence on appeal. Section 128, being a valid implementing rule, has the force and effect of law. Thus, public respondents were duly empowered to inquire into the validity of the mining claims involved in the protest case, even if not raised in issue.

G.R. No. 125955. June 19, 1997

WILMER GREGO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and HUMBERTO BASCO, respondents.

ROMERO, J.: Facts: On October 31, 1981, Basco was removed from his position as Deputy Sheriff by SC upon a finding of serious misconduct in an administrative complaint lodged by a certain Nena Tordesillas. Subsequently, Basco ran as a candidate for Councilor in the Second District of the City of Manila during the January 18, 1988, local elections. He won and, accordingly, assumed office. After his term, Basco sought re-election in the May 11, 1992 synchronized national elections. Again, he succeeded in his bid and he was elected as one of the six (6) City Councilors. However, his victory this time did not remain unchallenged. In the midst of his successful re-election, he found himself besieged by lawsuits of his opponents in the polls who wanted to dislodge him from his position. One such case was a petition for quo warranto[3] filed before the COMELEC by Cenon Ronquillo, another candidate for councilor in the same district, who alleged Bascos ineligibility to be elected councilor on the basis of the Tordesillas ruling. At about the same time, two more cases were also commenced in the Office of the Ombudsman and in the Department of Interior and Local Government.[4] All these challenges were, however, dismissed, thus, paving the way for Bascos continued stay in office.

Despite the odds previously encountered, Basco remained undaunted and ran again for councilor in the May 8, 1995, local elections seeking a third and final term. Once again, he beat the odds by emerging sixth in a battle for six councilor seats. As in the past, however, his right to office was again contested. On May 13, 1995, petitioner Grego, claiming to be a registered voter filed with the COMELEC a petition for disqualification, praying for Bascos disqualification, for the suspension of his proclamation, and for the declaration of Romualdo S. Maranan as the sixth duly elected Councilor. The COMELEC conducted a hearing of the case on May 14, 1995, where it ordered the parties to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda. Before the parties could comply with this directive, however, the Manila City BOC proclaimed Basco on May 17, 1995, as a duly elected councilor for the Second District of Manila, placing sixth among several candidates who vied for the seats.[5] Basco immediately took his oath of office before the Honorable Ma. Ruby Bithao-Camarista, Presiding Judge, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch I, Manila. In view of such proclamation, petitioner lost no time in filing an Urgent Motion seeking to annul what he considered to be an illegal and hasty proclamation made on May 17, 1995, by the Manila City BOC. After the parties respective memoranda had been filed, the COMELECs First Division resolved to dismiss the petition for disqualification on October 6, 1995, ruling that the admin istrative penalty imposed by the Supreme Court on respondent Basco on October 31, 1981 was wiped away and condoned by the electorate which elected him and that on account of Bascos proclamation on May 17, 1965, as the sixth duly elected councilor of the Second District of Manila, the petition would no longer be viable. [6]

Issue:

I. II.

Whether Section 40 (b) of Republic Act No. 7160 apply retroactively to those removed from office before it took effect on January 1, 1992. Whether private respondents election to office as City Councilor of Manila in the 1988, 1992 and 1995 elections wipe away and condone the administrative penalty against him, thus restoring his eligibility for public office.

Ruling: I. The SC ruled in the negative.

Our refusal to give retroactive application to the provision of Section 40 (b) is already a settled issue and there exist no compelling reasons for us to depart therefrom. Thus, in Aguinaldo vs. COMELEC,[11] reiterated in the more recent cases of Reyes vs. COMELEC[12] and Salalima vs. Guingona, Jr.,[13] we ruled, thus: The COMELEC applied Section 40 (b) of the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) which provides: Sec. 40. The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local positions: xxx (b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case.

Republic Act 7160 took effect only on January 1, 1992.

The rule is: xxx x x x Well-settled is the principle that while the Legislature has the power to pass retroactive laws which do not impair the obligation of contracts, or affect injuriously vested rights, it is equally true that statutes are not to be construed as intended to have a retroactive effect so as to affect pending proceedings, unless such intent is expressly declared or clearly and necessarily implied from the language of the enactment. x x x (Jones vs. Summers, 105 Cal. App. 51, 286 Pac. 1093; U.S. vs. Whyel 28 (2d) 30; Espiritu v. Cipriano, 55 SCRA 533 [1974], cited in Nilo vs. Court of Appeals, 128 SCRA 519 [1974]. See also Puzon v. Abellera, 169 SCRA 789 [1989]; Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines v. Civil Service Commission, et al., G.R. No. 100599, April 8, 1992). There is no provision in the statute which would clearly indicate that the same operates retroactively. It, therefore, follows that [Section] 40 (b) of the Local Government Code is not applicable to the present case. That the provision of the Code in question does not qualify the date of a candidates removal from office and that it is couched in the past tense should not deter us from the applying the law prospectively. The basic tenet in legal hermeneutics that laws operate only prospectively and not retroactively provides the qualification sought by petitioner. A statute, despite the generality in its language, must not be so construed as to overreach acts, events or matters which transpired before its passage. Lex prospicit, non respicit. The law looks forward, not backward.[14] II. The SC ruled in the affirmative.

The issue of whether or not Bascos triple election to office cured his alleged ineligibility is actually beside the point because the argument proceeds on the assumption that he was in the first place disqualified when he ran in the three previous elections. This assumption, of course, is untenable considering that Basco was NOT subject to any disqualification at all under Section 40 (b) of the Local Government Code which, as we said earlier, applies only to those removed from office on or after January 1, 1992. In view of the irrelevance of the issue posed by petitioner, there is no more reason for the Court to still dwell on the matter at length. Anent Bascos alleged circumvention of the prohibition in Tordesillas against reinstatement to any position in the national or local government, including its agencies and instrumentalities, as well as government-owned or controlled corporations, we are of the view that petitioners contention is baseless. Neither does petitioners argument that the term any position is broad enough to cover without distinction both appointive and local positions merit any consideration. Contrary to petitioners assertion, the Tordesillas decision did not bar Basco from running for any elective position. As can be gleaned from the decretal portion of the said decision, the Court couched the prohibition in this wise: x x x AND WITH PREJUDICE TO REINSTATEMENT TO ANY POSITION IN THE NATIONAL OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING ITS AGENCIES AND INSTRUMENTALITIES, OR GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS. In this regard, particular attention is directed to the use of the term reinstatement. Under the former Civil Service Decree,[16] the law applicable at the time Basco, a public officer, was administratively

dismissed from office, the term reinstatement had a technical meaning, referring only to an appointive position. In light of these definitions, there is, therefore, no basis for holding that Basco is likewise barred from running for an elective position inasmuch as what is contemplated by the prohibition in Tordesillas is reinstatement to an appointive position.