People vs. Nazario, G.R. No.

L-44143,August 31, 1988 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, vs. EUSEBIO NAZARIO, accused-appellant. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Teofilo Ragodon for accused-appellant. SARMIENTO, J.: The petitioner was charged with violation of certain municipal ordinances of the municipal council of Pagbilao, in Quezon province. By way of confession and avoidance, the petitioner would admit having committed the acts charged but would claim that the ordinances are unconstitutional, or, assuming their constitutionality, that they do not apply to him in any event. The facts are not disputed: This defendant is charged of the crime of Violation of Municipal Ordinance in an information filed by the provincial Fiscal, dated October 9, 1968, as follows: That in the years 1964, 1965 and 1966, in the Municipality of Pagbilao, Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the owner and operator of a fishpond situated in the barrio of Pinagbayanan, of said municipality, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously refuse and fail to pay the municipal taxes in the total amount of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY TWO PESOS AND SIXTY TWO CENTAVOS (P362.62), required of him as fishpond operator as provided for under Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, as amended, inspite of repeated demands made upon him by the Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao, Quezon, to pay the same. Contrary to law. For the prosecution the following witnesses testified in substance as follows; MIGUEL FRANCIA, 39 years of age, married, farmer and resident of Lopez, Quezon — In 1962 to 1967, I resided at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon. I know the accused as I worked in his fishpond in 1962 to 1964. The fishpond of Nazario is at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon. I worked in the clearing of the fishpond, the construction of the dikes and the catching of fish. On cross-examination, this witness declared: I worked with the accused up to March 1964.

NICOLAS MACAROLAY, 65 years of age, married, copra maker and resident of Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon — I resided at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon since 1959 up to the present. I know the accused since 1959 when he opened a fishpond at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon. He still operates the fishpond up to the present and I know this fact as I am the barrio captain of Pinagbayanan. On cross-examination, this witness declared: I came to know the accused when he first operated his fishpond since 1959. On re-direct examination, this witness declared: I was present during the catching of fish in 1967 and the accused was there. On re-cross examination, this witness declared: I do not remember the month in 1962 when the accused caught fish. RODOLFO R. ALVAREZ, 45 years old, municipal treasurer of Pagbilao, Quezon, married — As Municipal Treasurer I am in charge of tax collection. I know the accused even before I was Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao. I have written the accused a letter asking him to pay his taxes (Exhibit B). Said letter was received by the accused as per registry return receipt, Exhibit B-1. The letter demanded for payment of P362.00, more or less, by way of taxes which he did not pay up to the present. The former Treasurer, Ceferino Caparros, also wrote a letter of demand to the accused (Exhibit C). On June 28, 1967, I sent a letter to the Fishery Commission (Exhibit D), requesting information if accused paid taxes with that office. The Commission sent me a certificate (Exhibits D-1, D-2 & D-3). The accused had a fishpond lease agreement. The taxes unpaid were for the years 1964, 1965 and 1966. On cross-examination, this witness declared: I have demanded the taxes for 38.10 hectares. On question of the court, this witness declared: What I was collecting from the accused is the fee on fishpond operation, not rental. The prosecution presented as part of their evidence Exhibits A, A-1, A-2, B, B-2, C, D, D-1, D-2, D-3, E, F, F-1 and the same were admitted by the court, except Exhibits D, D-1, D-2 and D-3 which were not admitted for being immaterial. For the defense the accused EUSEBIO NAZARIO, 48 years of age, married, owner and general manager of the ZIP Manufacturing Enterprises and resident of 4801 Old Sta. Mesa, Sampaloc, Manila, declared in substance as follows: I have lived in Sta. Mesa, Manila, since 1949. I buy my Residence Certificates at Manila or at San Juan. In 1964, 1965 and 1966, I was living in Manila and my business is in Manila and my family lives at Manila. I never resided at Pagbilao, Quezon. I do not own a house at Pagbilao. I am a lessee of a fishpond located at Pagbilao, Quezon, and I have a lease agreement to that effect with the Philippine Fisheries Commission marked as Exhibit 1. In 1964, 1965 and 1966, the contract of lease, Exhibit 1, was still existing and enforceable. The Ordinances Nos. 4, 15 and 12,

series of 1955, 1965 and 1966, were translated into English by the Institute of National Language to better understand the ordinances. There were exchange of letters between me and the Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao regarding the payment of the taxes on my leased fishpond situated at Pagbilao. There was a letter of demand for the payment of the taxes by the treasurer (Exhibit 3) which I received by mail at my residence at Manila. I answered the letter of demand, Exhibit 3, with Exhibit 3-A. I requested an inspection of my fishpond to determine its condition as it was not then in operation. The Municipal Treasurer Alvarez went there once in 1967 and he found that it was destroyed by the typhoon and there were pictures taken marked as Exhibits 4, 4-A, 4-B and 4C. I received another letter of demand, Exhibit 5, and I answered the same (Exhibit 5-A). I copied my reference quoted in Exhibit 5-A from Administrative Order No. 6, Exhibit 6. I received another letter of demand from Tomas Ornedo, Acting Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao, dated February 16, 1966, Exhibit 7, and I answered the same with the letter marked as Exhibit 7-A, dated February 26, 1966. I received another letter of demand from Treasurer Alvarez of Pagbilao, Exhibit 8, and I answered the same (Exhibit 8-A). In 1964, I went to Treasurer Caparros to ask for an application for license tax and he said none and he told me just to pay my taxes. I did not pay because up to now I do not know whether I am covered by the Ordinance or not. The letters of demand asked me to pay different amounts for taxes for the fishpond. Because under Sec. 2309 of the Revised Administrative Code, municipal taxes lapse if not paid and they are collecting on a lapsed ordinance. Because under the Tax Code, fishermen are exempted from percentage tax and privilege tax. There is no law empowering the municipality to pass ordinance taxing fishpond operators. The defense presented as part of their evidence Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 3-A, 4, 4-B, 4-B, 4-C, 5, 5-A, 6, 6A, 6-B, 6-C, 7, 7-A, 8 and 8-A and the same were admitted by the court. From their evidence the prosecution would want to show to the court that the accused, as lessee or operator of a fishpond in the municipality of Pagbilao, refused, and still refuses, to pay the municipal taxes for the years 1964, 1965 and 1966, in violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, as amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 15, series of 1965, and finally amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966. On the other hand, the accused, by his evidence, tends to show to the court that the taxes sought to be collected have already lapsed and that there is no law empowering municipalities to pass ordinances taxing fishpond operators. The defense, by their evidence, tried to show further that, as lessee of a forest land to be converted into a fishpond, he is not covered by said municipal ordinances; and finally that the accused should not be taxed as fishpond operator because there is no fishpond yet being operated by him, considering that the supposed fishpond was under construction during the period covered by the taxes sought to be collected. Finally, the defendant claims that the ordinance in question is ultra vires as it is outside of the power of the municipal council of Pagbilao, Quezon, to enact; and that the defendant claims that the ordinance in question is ambiguous and uncertain. There is no question from the evidences presented that the accused is a lessee of a parcel of forest land, with an area of 27.1998 hectares, for fishpond purposes, under Fishpond Lease Agreement No. 1066, entered into by the accused and the government, through the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources on August 21, 1959.

There is no question from the evidences presented that the 27.1998 hectares of land leased by the defendant from the government for fishpond purposes was actually converted into fishpond and used as such, and therefore defendant is an operator of a fishpond within the purview of the ordinance in question. 1 The trial Court 2 returned a verdict of guilty and disposed as follows: VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, as amended by Ordinance No. 15, series of 1965 and further amended by Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966, of the Municipal Council of Pagbilao, Quezon; and hereby sentences him to pay a fine of P50.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency at the rate of P8.00 a day, and to pay the costs of this proceeding. SO ORDERED. 3 In this appeal, certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals, the petitioner alleges that: I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT ORDINANCE NO. 4, SERIES OF 1955, AS AMENDED BY ORDINANCE NO. 15, SERIES OF 1965, AND AS FURTHER AMENDED BY ORDINANCE NO. 12, SERIES OF 1966, OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF PAGBILAO, QUEZON, IS NULL AND VOID FOR BEING AMBIGUOUS AND UNCERTAIN. II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ORDINANCE IN QUESTION, AS AMENDED, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING EX POST FACTO. III. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ORDINANCE IN QUESTION COVERS ONLY OWNERS OR OVERSEER OF FISHPONDS OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND NOT TO LESSEES OF PUBLIC LANDS. IV. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE QUESTIONED ORDINANCE, EVEN IF VALID, CANNOT BE ENFORCED BEYOND THE TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF PAGBILAO AND DOES NOT COVER NONRESIDENTS. 4 The ordinances in question are Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, Ordinance No. 15, series of 1965, and Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966, of the Municipal Council of Pagbilao. Insofar as pertinent to this appeal, the salient portions thereof are hereinbelow quoted: Section 1. Any owner or manager of fishponds in places within the territorial limits of Pagbilao, Quezon, shall pay a municipal tax in the amount of P3.00 per hectare of fishpond on part thereof per annum. 5 xxx xxx xxx

Sec. l (a). For the convenience of those who have or owners or managers of fishponds within the territorial limits of this municipality, the date of payment of municipal tax relative thereto, shall begin after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date said fishpond is approved by the Bureau of Fisheries. 6 xxx xxx xxx Section 1. Any owner or manager of fishponds in places within the territorial limits of Pagbilao shall pay a municipal tax in the amount of P3.00 per hectare or any fraction thereof per annum beginning and taking effect from the year 1964, if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964. 7 The first objection refers to the ordinances being allegedly "ambiguous and uncertain." 8 The petitioner contends that being a mere lessee of the fishpond, he is not covered since the said ordinances speak of "owner or manager." He likewise maintains that they are vague insofar as they reckon the date of payment: Whereas Ordinance No. 4 provides that parties shall commence payment "after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date said fishpond is approved by the Bureau of Fisheries." 9 Ordinance No. 12 states that liability for the tax accrues "beginning and taking effect from the year 1964 if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964." 10 As a rule, a statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application."11 It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targetted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But the act must be utterly vague on its face, that is to say, it cannot be clarified by either a saving clause or by construction. Thus, in Coates v. City of Cincinnati, 12 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an ordinance that had made it illegal for "three or more persons to assemble on any sidewalk and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to persons passing by." 13 Clearly, the ordinance imposed no standard at all "because one may never know in advance what 'annoys some people but does not annoy others.' " 14 Coates highlights what has been referred to as a "perfectly vague" 15 act whose obscurity is evident on its face. It is to be distinguished, however, from legislation couched in imprecise language — but which nonetheless specifies a standard though defectively phrased — in which case, it may be "saved" by proper construction. It must further be distinguished from statutes that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. In that event, such statutes may not be challenged whenever directed against such activities. In Parker v. Levy, 16 a prosecution originally under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice (prohibiting, specifically, "conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman"), the defendant, an army officer who had urged his men not to go to Vietnam and called the Special Forces trained to fight there thieves and murderers, was not allowed to invoke the void for vagueness doctrine on the premise that accepted military interpretation and practice had provided enough standards, and consequently, a fair notice that his conduct was impermissible.

prohibited discussion could cover the entire spectrum of expression relating to candidates and political parties. under which the court searches for alternatives available to the Government outside of statutory limits. in which less precision in analysis is required and in which the competence of the legislature is presumed. 31 While it appears that it is the National Government which owns them. amid challenges of vagueness and overbreadth on the ground that the law had included an "enumeration of the acts deemed included in the terms 'election campaign' or 'partisan political activity" 19 that would supply the standards. however. the balancing test finds a close kin. It is unmistakable from their very provisions that the appellant falls within its coverage. referred to as the "less restrictive alternative " 26 doctrine. The U. Robel. the indirect and modest scope of its restriction on the rights of speech and assembly. or for "less drastic means" 27 open to the State. In United States v. Castro would have the balance achieved in favor of State authority at the "expense" of individual liberties. if not totally set at rest. upon the extent of protection offered." 23 The Court likewise had occasion to apply the "balancing-of-interests" test. In the United States. banning members of the (American) Communist Party from working in any defense facility. economic rights. introduced fish fries into the fishponds. and the embracing public interest which Congress has found in the moderation of partisan political activity. the balance would have been struck in favor of individual liberties. the objection that may be raised as to vagueness has been minimized.It is interesting that in Gonzales v. 4880 penalizing "the too early nomination of candidates" 18 limiting the election campaign period." 20 In his opinion." 21 "As worded in R." 25 In that case. Commission on Elections. in nullifying the statute. be it as to the nature of the utterance ('simple expressions of opinion and thoughts') or the subject of the utterance ('current political problems or issues'). As the actual operator of the fishponds." 22 He was unimpressed with the "restrictions" Fernando's opinion had relied on: " 'Simple expressions of opinions and thoughts concerning the election' and expression of 'views on current political problems or issues' leave the reader conjecture. and prohibiting "partisan political activities"). It should be noted that it is in free expression cases that the result is usually close. which had ample impact on Castro's separate opinion. held that it impaired the right of association. he comes within the term " manager. 17 a divided Court sustained an act of Congress (Republic Act No. 30 or as in the Levy case. 29 In that event. It is said. In no way may the ordinances at bar be said to be tainted with the vice of vagueness.28 legislation was assailed. military affairs. and that in any case. to guesswork. Justice Sanchez would stress that the conduct sought to be prohibited "is not clearly defined at all. that the choice of the courts is usually narrowed where the controversy involves say.A 4880. Supreme Court. "As thus limited. lead us to the conclusion that the statute may stand consistently with and does not offend the Constitution. 24 insofar as the statute's ban on early nomination of candidates was concerned: "The rational connection between the prohibition of Section 50-A and its object. and had employed laborers to maintain them." He does not deny the fact that he financed the construction of the fishponds.32 the Government never shared in the profits they had . that would render the statute unnecessary. a screening process was available to the State that would have enabled it to Identify dangerous elements holding defense positions. however.S.

if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964." 35 is unequivocal about the date of payment. The fact that the appellant has been allegedly uncertain about the reckoning dates — as far as his liability for the years 1964. but hardly a vague law. 15. that is to say. To the Court. and as the recipient of profits brought about by the business. There is no merit to the claim that "the imposition of tax has to depend upon an uncertain date yet to be determined (three years after the 'approval of the fishpond' by the Bureau of Fisheries. And obviously. the same would have been at most a difficult piece of legislation. We agree with the trial court that the ordinances are in the character of revenue measures 33designed to assist the coffers of the municipality of Pagbilao. since it is not the Government that had been making money from the venture. and for new fishponds. 12. As the Solicitor General notes.generated. it cannot be said that the amendment (under Ordinance No. liability for the tax accrues on January 1." 36 does not give rise to any ambiguity. This is so since the amendatory act (Ordinance No. and its amendment by Ordinance No. 12 passed on September 19. they are visible from the intent of the said ordinances. With respect to new operators. in making the tax payable "after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date said fishpond is approved by the Bureau of Fisheries." 34Ordinance No. 4 and 15). 12). delinquent fishpond operators. for one thing. 12) merely granted amnesty unto old. on whom liability should attach. 1966. three years after their approval by the Bureau of Fisheries (Ordinance No. The next inquiry is whether or not they can be said to be ex post facto measures. 15 should still prevail. The appellant argues that they are: "Amendment No. 4 was passed on May 14. 1965. clearly provides that the payment of the imposed tax shall "beginning and taking effect from the year 1964. Neither are the said ordinances vague as to dates of payment. In addition. 1955.' In other words. which is not unfamiliar in this jurisdiction. 1964 for fishponds in operation prior thereto (Ordinance No. It is therefore only logical that he shoulders the burden of tax under the said ordinances. it cannot be the owner." 37 The Court finds no merit in this contention. the ordinances in question set forth enough standards that clarify imagined ambiguities. He cannot say that he did not have a fair notice of such a liability to make such ordinances vague. "Municipal Ordinance No. reckoning liability thereunder "beginning and taking effect from the year 1964 if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964 . the Government. Suffice it to say that as the actual operator of the fishponds in question. In either case. the appellant is clearly liable for the municipal taxes in question. but it does not make the ordinances vague. 1964 and even prior thereto. It did not repeal its mother ordinances (Nos. Ordinance No. also to be determined by an uncertain individual or individuals. and upon an uncertain event (if the fishpond started operating before 1964). 12) is being made to apply retroactively (to 1964) since the reckoning . As it stands. While such standards are not apparent from the face thereof. 38 Hence. 15). it penalizes acts or events occurring before its passage. the dates of payment have been definitely established. and 1966 is concerned — presents a mere problem in computation. then. upon the ancient principle that the Government is immune from taxes and for another.

v. more accurately. Inc. the power of the municipal council of Pagbilao to tax "public forest land. 12 and 15 are in the nature of curative measures intended to facilitate and enhance the collection of revenues the originally act. the Local Autonomy Act then in force. which is allowed under Republic Act No. although we have held them to the agricultural lands. 2264 likewise prohibited municipalities from imposing percentage taxes on sales. they would not have been taxes on forest products.. 39 Moreover. It does not mete out a penalty. 12 imposes a retroactive penalty. which would have offended the doctrine enshrined by Golden Ribbon Lumber. the appeal is DISMISSED. Ordinances Nos.) They are. . They are not charged against sales. no merit in the last objection.45 but rather on occupation. 4. the act (of non-payment of the tax).) First of all. The appellant assails." 44 (Accordingly.period is 1955 (date of enactment). made punishable. a large wood. privilege taxes on the business of fishpond maintenance. had been. Secondly. had prescribed. then. a retrospective one. fishponds are not forest lands. although the rate thereof is based on the area of fishponds ("P3. Costs against the appellant. much less. 2264. since 1955. (Republic Act No. and it cannot be said that Ordinance No.00 per hectare" 42). it operates to grant amnesty to operators who had been delinquent between 1955 and 1964. 43 By definition. Essentially. even if the challenged taxes were directed on the fishponds. "forest" is "a large tract of land covered with a natural growth of trees and underbush. WHEREFORE. 2264. As we have noted. Ordinance No." 40 In Golden Ribbon Lumber Co. finally. There is. 46 They are what have been classified as fixed annual taxes and this is obvious from the ordinances themselves. the tax in question is not a tax on property. City of Butuan 41 we held that local governments' taxing power does not extend to forest products or concessions under Republic Act No.

No. He was found guilty thus this petition. Also. the latter does not get any profit as it goes only to Nazario. Whether or not Ordinance 4. 2.Case Digest: People vs Nazario Facts: Eusebio Nazario was charged in violation of refusal and failure to pay his municipal taxes amounting to Php 362. Ordinance 4 was enacted in 1955 so it can’t be that the amendment under Ordinance 12 is being made to apply retroactively. and 1966. the coverage of the ordinance covers him as the actual operator of the fishpond thus he comes with the term “Manager”. as amended null and void for being ambiguous and uncertain 2. Series of 1955. Mesa Manila and just leases a fishpond located at Pagbilao. as amended. it is not ex post facto. Issues: 1. . Quezon with the Philippine Fisheries Commission. so despite only leasing it from the national government. He was the one who spent money in developing and maintaining it. Nazario did not pay because he was not sure if he was covered under the ordinance. 1965. the act of nonpayment has been made punishable since 1955 so it means Ordinance 12 is not imposing a retroactive penalty The appeal is DISMISSED with cost against the appellant. Series of 1955.62 because of his fishpond operation provided under Ordinance 4. The dates of payment are also clearly stated “Beginnin and taking effect from 1964 if the fishpond started operating in 1964”. He is a resident of Sta. No. The years in question of failure to pay was for 1964. Whether or not the ordinance was unconstitutional for being ex post facto Held: 1.

3. otherwise known . Judge Soriano and Patrolman Andrada from enforcing the ordinance. the Court of First Instance rendered the questioned decision holding that the ordinance was null and void and had been repealed by Republic Act No. After trial. that he had violated Municipal Ordinance No. Perez.1964 by the Municipal Council of Urdaneta. ET AL. plaintiff-appellee. defendants-appellants. Series of 1964. making the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued against the defendant. from enforcing the said ordinance all throughout Urdaneta. in its decision dated June 29. 3. Pangasinan. Felix D. 4136. Jr. Pangasinan. and further restraining the defendants. Suyat and Estanislao Andrada. Castillo & Macaraeg for appellants. this Court renders decision declaring Ordinance No. THE MUNICIPALITY OF URDANETA. 3. which was declared null and void by the Court of First Instance of Lingayen. L-26702 October 18. Juan Augusta B. This incident took place about 200 meters away from a school building. Primacias plaintiff appellee.R. upon stopping. Ambrosio Padilla Law Offices for appellee. and a temporary operator's permit was issued to him. was driving his car within the jurisdiction of Urdaneta when a member of Urdaneta's Municipal Police asked him to stop. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Lorenzo G." The policeman then asked for plaintiff's license which he surrendered. 3. Primicias. Due to the institution of the criminal case. at Barrio Nancamaliran. to be null and void. DE CASTRO. Series of 1964. "and more particularly. J. enacted on March 13. defendants appealed to this Court. Mayor Perez. vs. a copy of which is Exhibit D-1. Series of 1964. 1979 JUAN AUGUSTO B. and ordering the said defendants to return to the plaintiff his drivers (sic) license CIN 017644. plaintiff Primicias initiated an action for the annulment of said ordinance with prayer for the issuance of preliminary injunction for the purpose of restraining defendants Municipality of Urdaneta.: The main issue in this appeal is the validity of Ordinance No. 1966. and to pay the costs of suit. Soriano definite and permanent. Series of 1964. a criminal complaint was filed in the Municipal Court of Urdaneta against Primicias for violation of Ordinance No..Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. PANGASINAN. 1965. PRIMICIAS. Urdaneta. Amadeo R. for overtaking a truck.1 From the aforecited decision. Police Chief Suyat. The writ was issued and Judge Soriano was enjoined from further proceeding in the criminal case. Thereafter. No.. The antecedent facts of this case are as follows:2 On February 8. He was told.

1964. holding that said ordinance is not clear and definite in its terms. to wit: Act Numbered thirty-nine hundred ninety-two (3992) as amended. the ordinance at bar is thus placed within the ambit of Republic Act No." Pursuant to Section 63. 3. ordinance. By this express repeal. defendants. and the general rule that a later law prevails over an earlier law. 4136. about three months after the questioned ordinance was approved by Urdaneta's Municipal Council. b(4) of Republic Act 4136. 4 of Act No. regulations or paints thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Act are repealed. allege that the lower court erred in: 3 1.That any person or persons caught driving any motor vehicle violating the provisions of this ordinance shall be fined P10.00 for the first offense. Republic Act No. requiring that said ordinance be approved by the Land Transportation Commissioner. 3.That the following speed limits for vehicular traffic along the National Highway and the Provincial Roads within the territorial limits of Urdaneta shall be as follows: a. P20. must therefore be determined vis-a-vis Republic Act No. 2. 3 (Series of 1964) of Urdaneta is null and void. or failure to pay the fine imposed. which became effective on June 20. appellants herein. the Land Transportation and 'Traffic Code. 6. being "patterned after and based on Section 53. Series of 1964. resolutions.00 for the third and succeeding offenses. 3992. 5 par. the "mother statute" so to speak. 4. duly marked with sign posts. appellants fail to note that Act No. issuing ex-parte a writ of injunction to restrain the proceedings in criminal case no. The ordinance in question provides: 4 SECTION 1 . Republic Act No. 3992. The validity of Ordinance No. SECTION 2 . The explicit repeal of the aforesaid Act is embodied in Section 63. 4136. he shall suffer a subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with law. 4136. holding that said ordinance is in conflict with section 35 par. the maximum speed limit allowable shall be 20 kph. as amended (Revised Motor Vehicle Law). and P30. 5. declaring that Municipal Ordinance No. 4136. . requiring the municipal council of Urdaneta in the enactment of said ordinance to give maximum allowable speed and to make classification of highways. 3140.00 for the second offense. 4136." In so arguing. which was in force at the time the criminal case was brought against Primicias for the violation of the said ordinance. executive orders. 3992 has been superseded by Republic Act No. Appellants contend that the Ordinance is valid. and all laws. passing school zones or thickly populated areas. and not Act No.as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. the Municipal Judge shall recommend the cancellation of the license of the offender to the Motor Vehicle's Office (MVO). Thru crowded streets approaching intersections at 'blind corners. Now. 6 appellants are in error in contending that "a later enactment of the law relating to the same subject matter as that of an earlier statute is not sufficient to cause an implied repeal of the original law.

38 contain the provisions material to its validity. 4136. whenever there is a conflict between an ordinance and a statute." 4.An essential requisite for a valid ordinance is. Chapter IV Traffic Rules). with light traffic. Article I (Speed Limits and Keeping to the Right). . Through crowded streets ap proaching intersection at "blind cor ners. . which took the place of Section 53. the statute." 8 Following this general rule. 9 Since the Ordinance is aimed at regulating traffic. with "blind corners" not closely bordered by habitation. when not designated "through streets. per hour 30 km. On city and municipal streets. to 38 of Republic Act No. particularly Sections 35. (4). that is "must not contravene . per hour 50 km. provides restrictions as to speed thus: MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE SPEEDS Passenger cars and motorcycle Motor trucks and buses 1. passing other vehicles which are stationary. with "no blind corners" when so designated." passing school zones. 4136. per hour 30 km. per hour . Act No." 7 for it is a "fundamental principle that municipal ordinances are inferior in status and subordinate to the laws of the state. 3. consisting of sections 35. per hour 40 km. On open country roads. the ordinance "must give way. clear of traffic. among others. 2. On through streets or boulevards. par. per hour 80 km. 3992. 36. or 30 km. Republic Act No. Section 35 (b).

" We agree with the Court a quo that when the Municipal Council of Urdaneta used the phrase "vehicular traffic" (Section 1. or through streets or boulevards. municipal board or city council shall provide appropriate signs therefor. after reading it. Thus.for similar circumstances. Considering that this is a regulatory ordinance. its clearness. contrary to the explicit requirement laid down by Section 38. was done with the approval of the Land Transportation Commissioner. the Ordinance "refers to only one of the four classifications mentioned in paragraph (b). The classifications which must be based on Section 35 are necessary in view of Section 36 which states that "no provincial. per hour 20 km. As observed by the trial court. all to be approved by the Land Transportation Commissioner. 3. and limits of all "through streets" designated as such by the provincial board. or city or municipal streets with light traffic. Section 35. Section 35. the provincial. first. (a). 4136. Series of 1964. definiteness and certainty are all the more important so that "an average man should be able with due care.. A look at the aforecited section and Section 1. To hold that the provisions of Section 38 are mandatory is sanctioned by a ruling 13 that statutes which confer upon a public body or officer ." 14 This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that nowhere in the Ordinance is "vehicular traffic" defined. Ordinance No. city. city and municipal secretary to certify to the Commissioner the names.Public highways shall be properly classified for traffic purposes by the provincial board or city council having jurisdiction over them. par. (b). Since it lacks the requirement imposed by Section 38. . per hour 20 km. which provides: Classification of highways. city or municipal authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution specifying maximum allowable speeds other than those provided in this Act." Regarding the contention that the lower court erred in holding that said "Ordinance is not clear and definite in its terms. (a) of the Ordinance shows that the latter is more or less a restatement only of number (4). and then mark them with proper signs." In this case. are generally. regarded as mandatory although the language is permissive only since the are construed as imposing duties rather than conferring privileges. . Under this section. the Ordinance becomes invalid. municipal board or council. on this very ground alone." 10 limiting the rates of speed for vehicular traffic along the national highway and The provincial roads within the territorial limits of Urdaneta to 20 kilometers per hour without regard to whether the road is an open country roads (six). par. Ordinance) it "did not distinguish between passenger cars and motor vehicles and motor trucks and buses. . however. a local legislative body intending to control traffic in public highways 12 is supposed to classify. to . locations. or municipal board or council is enjoined under Section 62 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code from "enacting or enforcing any ordinance or resolution in conflict with the provisions of this Act. It shall be the duty of every provincial. power to perform acts which concern the public interests or rights of individuals. par. subject to the approval of the Commissioner. Republic Act No. there is no showing that the marking of the streets and areas falling under Section 1. the Municipal Council of Urdaneta did not make any classification of its thoroughfares. 11 As also found correctly by the lower court. and said provincial board.

understand and ascertain whether he will incur a penalty for particular acts or courses of conduct. because the statute relied upon is unconstitutional or was held invalid. the general rule is that "ordinarily. "injunction has frequently been sustained in order to prevent a multiplicity of prosecutions under it. JUAN AUGUSTO B.(93 SCRA 462. to afford adequate protection to constitutional rights." 20 In view of the foregoing. Makasiar... stated that the rates of speed enumerated therein refer to motor vehicle. 11.. 4. G. On the issue of whether a writ of injunction can restrain the proceedings in Criminal Case No. At the same time. J.. the appealed decision is hereby affirmed. L-26702 18 OCTOBER 1979) Case Digest . the exception just cited obtains in this case. Teehankee. considering that "our law on municipal corporations is in principle patterned after that of the United States. Santos. Art. the lower court did not err in issuing the writ of injunction against defendants. Section 3 defines what a motor vehicle is and passenger automobiles are. Acting C." 17 Exceptions however are allowed in the following instances: 1.R. Aquino.. 4136 on which Section 1 of the Ordinance must be based. Separate Opinions ABAD SANTOS. for the orderly administration of justice. ET AL. 3140. to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner. concur. J. Antonio. criminal prosecution may not be blocked by court prohibition or injunction." 15 In comparison. 3. PRIMICIAS vs. 5. JJ. 2. 16 specifying the speed for each kind of vehicle. is on leave.PANGASINAN. concurring: The ordinance in question was in effect a speed trap for unwary motorists for which Urdaneta had become notorious. Section 35(b). Barredo. Hence. " 19 it would not be amiss for Us to adopt in this instance the ruling that to enjoin the enforcement of a void ordinance. Moreover. J. and Melencio-Herrera. Fernandez.J. to avoid multiplicity of actions. 18 The local statute or ordinance at bar being invalid. No. Republic Act No. took no part. Guerrero. to avoid vagueness. Concepcion Jr. THE MUNICIPALITY OFURDANETA. in proper cases.. SO ORDERED.

3. 3. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila . in thiscase. the Supreme Court ruled that subject ordinance has been repealed by the enactment of RA 4316 and has therefore. Pangasinan is null and void. Primiscias thereafter filed for the annulment of the subject ordinance with prayer for issuance of preliminary injunction to restrain defendants from enforcing the said ordinance. are inferior in status andsubordinate to the laws of the state an d whenever there isconflict between an ordinance and a statute. the ordinance mustgive way. a municipal ordinance. Series of 1964 after beingapprehended by a member of the Municipal Police for overtakinga truck. The Supreme Court further averred that local ordinances. 3. HELD:Yes. ISSUE:Whether or not Ordinance No.FACTS:A criminal complaint was filed against plaintiff Primiscias forviolation of Municipal Ordinance No. The Court of First Instance rendered Ordinance No. and repealed by RA 4136 also known asthe Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Appellant appealed thedecision.S-1964 as null and void. become null and void stating that a later law prevails over an earlier law. Series of 1964 enacted by theMunicipal Council of Urdaneta.

: An appeal interposed on June 23. stones or gravel from it or any other lots belonging to the Seller. "Ortigas & Company. Both the agreements (of sale on installment) and the deeds of sale contained the stipulations or restrictions that: 1. Branch VI. covering the said lots and issued in the name of Emma Chavez. Tañada. FEATI BANK AND TRUST CO. Hon. 1 On March 4. Andres Reyes presiding. No. and Augusto Padilla y Angeles and Natividad Angeles. are based on a stipulation of facts entered into by the parties are not disputed. in turn. 7706. SANTOS. (b) provided with modern sanitary installations connected either to the public sewer or to an approved septic tank. Mandaluyong. at Pasig.R. known as Lots Nos. entitled. defendant. which dismissed its complaint in Civil Case No. 3 Eventually.EN BANC G. and (c) shall not be at a distance of less than two (2) meters from its boundary lines. The parcel of land subject of this deed of sale shall be used the Buyer exclusively for residential purposes. is a corporation duly organized and existing in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. 101613 and 106092 issued in its name. Plaintiff is engaged in real estate business. Rizal. developing and selling lots to the public. Teehankee & Carreon for appellee. LIMITED PARTNERSHIP. 2 The above restrictions were later annotated in TCT Nos. Ortigas & Co. which. as vendees. (a) of strong materials and properly painted. Rizal. 101509 and 101511 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. plaintiff-appellant. the plaintiff executed the corresponding deeds of sale in favor of Emma Chavez. of the Highway Hills Subdivision. plaintiff. L-24670 December 14. 1952.. Limited Partnership. respectively and the building restrictions were also annotated . Madrigal y Cia") is a limited partnership and defendant Feati Bank and Trust Co. and she shall not be entitled to take or remove soil. with TCT Nos." for lack of merit. Upon completion of payment of the purchase price. Limited Partnership. 1979 ORTIGAS & CO. J. Plaintiff (formerly known as "Ortigas.. 5 and 6. defendant-appellee. 2. vs.. the said vendees transferred their rights and interests over the aforesaid lots in favor of one Emma Chavez. On July 19. The following facts — a reproduction of the lower court's findings. 5 and 6. from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. situated at Mandaluyong. Ramirez & Ortigas for appellant. Feati Bank and Trust Company. defendant-appellee acquired Lots Nos. All buildings and other improvements (except the fence) which may be constructed at any time in said lot must be. entered into separate agreements of sale on installments over two parcels of land. as vendor. 1965 by plaintiff-appellant. Block 31. plaintiff. particularly the Highway Hills Subdivision along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. 1962.. v.

5 while Lot No.. as the fundamental issue. and 106092 were imposed as part of its general building scheme designed for the beautification and development of the Highway Hills Subdivision which forms part of the big landed estate of plaintiff-appellant where commercial and industrial sites are also designated or established." In deciding the said case. 8 Defendant-appellee. 101719 in the name of Republic Flour Mills likewise contained the same restrictions. the trial court considered. supra. 5 and 6. Plaintiff-appellant claims that the restrictions annotated on TCT Nos. although defendant-appellee claims that Republic Flour Mills purchased the said Lot No. among other things. upon the other hand. among others. residential purposes. 101511. 4 Defendant-appellee bought Lot No. and it had accordingly obtained building and planning permits to proceed with the construction. 101719." Annex "E". but which defendant-appellee claims could also be devoted to. 11 On or about May 5. had been declared a commercial and industrial zone .." as stated in the Deed of Sale. 6 "in good faith. The following day. 5 and 6.. to be devoted to banking purposes. 101613. free from all liens and encumbrances. 27. The latter refused to comply with the demand. has been declared a commercial and industrial zone. 1963. Rizal. 6 TCT No.. The complaint sought. Annex "F" 7 between it and Emma Chavez. its agents. 13 The records do not show that a writ of preliminary injunction was issued. involved. prevailed over the building restrictions imposed by plaintiff-appellant on the lots in question. 5 directly from Emma Chavez. 7706... and stressed that private interest should "bow down to general interest and welfare. It predicated its conclusion on the exercise of police power of the said municipality. 1960 of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong. it upheld the classification by the Municipal Council of the area along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue as a . dated February 4. defendant-appellee began laying the foundation and commenced the construction of a building on Lots Nos. " In short. 27. and used exclusively for. 12 On the basis of the foregoing facts.. maintains that the area along the western part of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) from Shaw Boulevard to Pasig River. 1962 or more than two (2) years after the area . and those acting on its or their behalf from continuing or completing the construction of a commercial bank building in the premises . 101509. Civil Case No..therein. with the view to commanding the defendant to observe and comply with the building restrictions annotated in the defendant's transfer certificate of title. 6 was acquired from Republic Flour Mills through a "Deed of Exchange. was submitted in the lower court for decision. per Resolution No. as part of the commercial and industrial zone of the municipality. defendant-appellee having filed building and planning permit applications with the Municipality of Mandaluyong. the issuance of "a writ of preliminary injunction . contending that the building was being constructed in accordance with the zoning regulations. The trial court upheld the defendant-appellee and dismissed the complaint. "free from all liens and encumbrances as stated in Annex 'D'. whether or not the resolution of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong declaring Lots Nos. supra. 9 It alleges that plaintiff-appellant 'completely sold and transferred to third persons all lots in said subdivision facing Epifanio de los Santos Avenue" 10 and the subject lots thereunder were acquired by it "only on July 23. assigns. restraining and enjoining defendant. holding that the subject restrictions were subordinate to Municipal Resolution No. plaintiff-appellant demanded in writing that defendant-appellee stop the construction of the commerical building on the said lots.

its record on appeal. so that the appellate court upon appeal may determine whether or not such ruling was erroneous. and II. 15 On March 2. and a cash appeal bond. and is seeking no affirmative relief. the validity of the said resolution was never questioned before it. 14 The trial court decision further emphasized that it "assumes said resolution to be valid. 27." 20 On April 14.appellee "was duty bound to comply with the conditions of the contract of sale in its favor. 1965. Rizal declaring Lots Nos. " The only issues to be resolved. among others. and held that the same rendered "ineffective and unenforceable" the restrictions in question as against defendant-appellee. When it failed to consider whether or not the Municipal Council had the power to nullify the contractual obligations assumed by defendant-appellee and when it did not make a finding that the building was erected along the property line. 27 s-1960 is a valid exercise of police power.commercial and industrial zone. 17 It averred. series of 1960 of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong. 5 and 6. is valid because it did so in the exercise of its police power. are: (1) whether Resolution No. 1965. 22 Plaintiff-appellant alleges in its brief that the trial court erred — I. Castro 24 that "(I)t is not incumbent on the appellee. In the first place." It also invited the trial court's attention to its claim that the Municipal Council had (no) power to nullify the contractual obligations assumed by the defendant corporation. 27 as an exercise of police power is without merit. plaintiff-appellant filed a motion for reconsideration of the above decision. which conditions were duly annotated in the Transfer Certificates of Title issued in her (Emma Chavez) favor. and are within the issues framed by the parties. 26 The rule against . 23 The defendant-appellee submitted its counter-assignment of errors. 16 which motion was opposed by defendant-appellee on March 17. 25 The object of requiring the parties to present all questions and issues to the lower court before they can be presented to the appellate court is to enable the lower court to pass thereon. The contention that the trial court erred in sustaining the validity of Resolution No. and (2) whether the said Resolution can nullify or supersede the contractual obligations assumed by defendant-appellee. We already had occasion to hold in Relativo v. The requirement is in furtherance of justice in that the other party may not be taken by surprise. 1965 plaintiff-appellant filed its notice of appeal from the decision dismissing the complaint and from the order of March 26. therefore. in the motion for reconsideration that defendant. as part of the commercial and industrial zone. When it sustained the view that Resolution No. In this connection. the appeal was given due course 21 and the records of the case were elevated directly to this Court. when it should have been erected two meters away from said property line. who occupies a purely defensive position. The rule is that the question of law or of fact which may be included in the appellant's assignment of errors must be those which have been raised in the court below. considering that there is no issue raised by either of the parties as to whether the same is null and void. 1965." 18 The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration in its order of March 26. 19 On April 2. 1. to make assignments of error. since only questions of law are raised. 1965 denying the motion for reconsideration. among others.

No. The only controversy then as stated by the trial court was whether or not the resolution of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong . peace.. in the stipulation of facts below. As a matter of fact the same section declares that the power exists "(A)ny provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding . 33 for the municipality. assuming arguendo that it is not yet too late in the day for plaintiff-appellant to raise the issue of the invalidity of the municipal resolution in question. as a part of the commercial and industrial zone of the municipality. unjust or unreasonable.the practice of blowing "hot and cold" by assuming one position in the trial court and another on appeal will. 38 As this Court held through Justice Jose P. But. " An examination of Section 12 of the same law 34 which prescribes the rules for its interpretation likewise reveals that the implied power of a municipality should be "liberally construed in its favor" and that "(A)ny fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power should be interpreted in favor of the local government and it shall be presumed to exist. so as to give more power to local governments in promoting the economic conditions. there having been a denial of due process or a violation of any other applicable constitutional guarantee. Clearly. in the words of Elliot. that while non-impairment of contracts is constitutionally guaranteed. granting that Resolution No. clearly. when plaintiff-appellant did not dispute the same. 4 and 5 among others. the validity of the resolution was admitted at least impliedly. 27 is not an ordinance. otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act. 2264. We are of the opinion that its posture is unsustainable. and illimitable of powers" 36 and "in a sense. morals. et al. 'whimsical. Section 3 of R. 2. prevent deception. which declared lots Nos.. the greatest and most powerful attribute of government." The same section further mandates that the general welfare clause be liberally interpreted in case of doubt. The only exceptions under Section 12 are existing vested rights arising out of a contract between "a province. 27 For it is well-settled that issues or defenses not raised 28 or properly litigated 29 or pleaded 30 in the Court below cannot be raised or entertained on appeal.e. city or municipality on one hand and a third party on the other. 35 Invariably described as "the most essential. With regard to the contention that said resolution cannot nullify the contractual obligations assumed by the defendant-appellee – referring to the restrictions incorporated in the deeds of sale and later in the corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title issued to defendant-appellee – it should be stressed. the rule is not absolute. City of Davao.. social welfare and material progress of the people in the community." 32 empowers a Municipal Council "to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations". good order or safety and general welfare of the people.. do not apply in the case at bar. prevails over the restrictions constituting as encumbrances on the lots in question. it certainly is a regulatory measure within the intendment or ambit of the word "regulation" under the provision. insistent.. even if impliedly. Bengzon in Philippine Long Distance Company vs. In this particular case. The exceptions. 39 police power "is elastic and must be responsive to various social conditions.A. Therefore. since it has to be reconciled with the legitimate exercise of police power. "the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health. plaintiff-appellant cannot now change its position on appeal." in which case the original terms and provisions of the contract should govern. the law does not restrict the exercise of the power through an ordinance. education. i. it is . 37 the exercise of the power may be judicially inquired into and corrected only if it is capricious. 31 Having admitted the validity of the subject resolution below.

." We were even more emphatic in Vda. Davis 45 wherein Mr. noise and pollution are hardly conducive to the health. 238 49 L. the municipality of Mandaluyong. Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the nation What is critical or urgent changes with the times. become a menace to the public health and welfare. The lots themselves not only front the highway. Resolution No. was obviously passed by the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong. 42 (Emphasis. with an increasing desire on the part of the masses and of the government to look after and care for the interests of the individuals of the state. good order and general welfare of the people in the locality. 440). with property. de Genuino vs. industrial and commercial complexes have flourished about the place. justified under the circumstances. have brought within the police power many questions for regulation which formerly were not so considered. ed. especially where lots Nos. s-1960 declaring the western part of highway 54. stressed this Court. Williams et al. speaking for the Court. in order to secure the general comfort health and prosperity of the state 43 and to this fundamental aim of our Government. The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances. de los Santos Avenue (EDSA. Justice Cardozo. Los Angeles (195 US 223. and be required to yield to the public good. in passing the subject resolution.not. confined within narrow circumscriptions of precedents resting on past conditions. resolved the conflict "between one welfare and another. Pomar (46 Phil. 169). The development of civilization). for short) from Shaw Boulevard to the Pasig River as an industrial and commercial zone. now E. in order to promote the general welfare. safety or welfare of the residents in its route. 44 The need for reconciling the non-impairment clause of the Constitution and the valid exercise of police power may also be gleaned from Helvering v. supplied. and with business and occupations. a main traffic artery which runs through several cities and municipalities in the Metro Manila area. Having been expressly granted the power to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations.. the rights of the individual are subordinated. Rizal in the exercise of police power to safeguard or promote the health. it was observed that 'advancing civilization is bringing within the scope of police power of the state today things which were not thought of as being with in such power yesterday. 27. was reasonably. the state. if not perfectly. the growth of public opinion. Persons may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens. Judicial notice may be taken of the conditions prevailing in the area. 5 and 6 are located. 40 when We declared: "We do not see why public welfare when clashing with the individual right to property should not be made to prevail through the state's exercise of its police power. and a business lawful today may in the future. speaking thru Justice Laurel in the leading case of Calalang v. between particular and general. through its Municipal 'council.' And in People v. 46 . 'the right to exercise the police power is a continuing one. thus — Nor is the concept of the general welfare static. et al.) Thus. EDSA. because of changed situation. the growth of population or other causes. it must follow the legal progress of a democratic way of life. The Court of Agrarian Relations. supports an endless stream of traffic and the resulting activity. 41 ThusAs was said in the case of Dobbins v. peace. safety. may interfere with personal liberty. the rapidly increasing population.

the views set forth in American decisions and authorities are not per se controlling in the Philippines. One last observation. would impair the obligation of contracts in violation of the Constitution. 50 through Justice J. now Chief Justice. Now Chief Justice Fernando puts it aptly when he declared: "Police power legislation then is not likely to succumb to the challenge that thereby contractual rights are rendered nugatory. the non-impairment of contracts clause of the Constitution will not bar the municipality's proper exercise of the power. Magarian et al. the laws of which must necessarily be construed in accordance with the intention of its own lawmakers and such intent may be deduced from the language of each law and the context of other local legislation related thereto. states that "Equity will not.) Hence. but will. Such reliance is misplaced. Brown.appellees should be permitted. but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a postulate of the legal order. Thus — Not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix obligations as between the parties.e. v.. 55 two Of the cases cited by plaintiff-appellant. Section 23 of the zoning ordinance involved therein contained a proviso expressly . in such a case." 48 Furthermore.. v. Court of Industrial Relations...L. it claims. Again. restates the rule. unless clearly excluded therefrom in those cases where such exclusion is allowed. held that "restrictive covenants running with the land are binding on all subsequent purchasers . We restated in Philippine American Life Ins.B. to use the same for commercial purposes. Appellant has placed unqualified reliance on American jurisprudence and authorities 52 to bolster its theory that the municipal resolution in question cannot nullify or supersede the agreement of the parties embodied in the sales contract. and is read into. it was. Reparations Commission. and it being a " legitimate response to a felt public need. lend support to the conclusion reached by the trial court. In Burgess v. every contract." 47 not whimsical or oppressive.. 5 and 6 for strictly residential purposes. enforce a restriction upon the use of property by injunction where the property has so changed in character and environment as to make it unfit or unprofitable for use should the restriction be enforced. i. the law forms part of. as that. Dolan v. leave the complainant to whatever remedy he may have at law. 51 written for the Court by Justice Fernando. et al v." The decision in Maritime Company of the Philippines v. Inc. Auditor General 49 that laws and reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power are read into contracts agreed upon by the parties.The motives behind the passage of the questioned resolution being reasonable. " However. that . We can say that since it is now unprofitable. We held in Liberation Steamship Co. Co. the remedy of injunction in Dolan vs. In the first place. 57 Applying the principle just stated to the present controversy. Brown was denied on the specific holding that "A grantor may lawfully insert in his deed conditions or restrictions which are not against public policy and do not materially impair the beneficial enjoyment of the estate. Magarian. to use Lots Nos. 56 (Emphasis supplied. defendants.. et al. on the strength of the resolution promulgated under the police power of the municipality. as a rule. Reyes. nay a hazard to the health and comfort. that the municipal resolution supersedes/supervenes over the contractual undertaking between the parties. 53 and Burgess. The policy of protecting contracts against impairments presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile – a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society.

Santos commends itself for approval. the objection on non-impairment grounds automatically loses force. Guerrero. It would be worse if the same were to be left as residential and all around are already commercial. of the Municipality of Mandaluyong. 5 and 6. covenants or other agreement between parties. Separate Opinions BARREDO. therefore. 1 The ponente in that case was Justice Sanchez. Antonio. and later. 5 and 6 as residential. in the corresponding deeds of sale. for further reflection as to the respect to which they are entitled whenever police power legislation. 5 I stated: . Accordingly.. Jr. JJ. however. The observation. dismissing the complaint.. Fernandez.. Reference was made in the opinion of the Court to Philippine American Life Insurance Company v.J. 27. Concepcion. in yielding concurrence. the decision appealed from. 1. Teehankee * and Aquino.. FERNANDO. it may not be amiss to consider further the effect of such all-embracing attribute on existing contracts. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. Blaisdell. Before doing so. in the dissent of Justice Vicente Abad Santos relative to restrictive covenants calls. 101613 and 106092. which declare Lots Nos. the contractual obligations so assumed cannot prevail over Resolution No. and for that matter both the equal protection and due process clauses which equally serve to protect property rights. took no part. New York. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING.. A concurrence came from me. is assailed. is hereby AFFIRMED. 3 Nebbia v. Makasiar. Home Building and Loan Association v. J. the building restrictions. to my mind. adjustment or harmonization is called for.. Here. concur. the process of balancing. I feel no hesitancy. no such proviso is found in the subject resolution. 4 and Norman v. Auditor General.JJ. that at the mere invocation of the police power. concurring: I hold it is a matter of public knowledge that the place in question is commercial. It contained this qualification: "It cannot be said. which has validly exercised its police power through the said resolution. It is. as in other cases where governmental authority may trench upon property rights. without rendering nugatory the constitutional guarantee of non-impairment. 2 After referring to three leading United States Supreme Court decisions.declaring that the ordinance was not intended "to interfere with or abrogate or annul any easements. however." 58 In the case at bar. whether on the national or local level. in Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. SO ORDERED. cannot be enforced. C. concurring: The exhaustive and lucid opinion of the Court penned by Justice Guillermo S. De Castro and Melencio-Herrera. therefore. "without pronouncement as to costs. clear that even if the subject building restrictions were assumed by the defendant-appellee as vendee of Lots Nos.

Chief Justice Hughes likewise stated: 'It is manifest from this review of our decisions that there has been a growing appreciation of public needs and of the necessity of finding ground for a rational compromise between individual rights and public welfare. Towards this end. the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. the exercise of which might possibly be impugned if there be no attempt. however slight. This is not to say that there is a departure therefrom in the able and scholarly opinion of Justice Santos. whether of natural or of juridical persons.' Also to the same effect: 'Undoubtedly. on the other. case: "If emphasis be therefore laid. nor is the limitation to be construed to destroy the reserved power in its essential aspects."All of the above decisions reflect the view that an enactment of a police power measure does not per se call for the overruling of objections based on either due process or non-impairment based on either due process or non-impairment grounds. where there is a reliance on a constitutional provision. which is called for in litigations of this character: 'The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. For as explicitly provided by our present fundamental law: "The State shall promote social Justice to ensure the dignity. or adjustment. This principle of harmonizing the constitutional prohibition with the necessary residuum of state power has had progressive recognition in the decisions of this Court. at such an effort of adjusting or reconciling the respective claims of state regulatory power and constitutionally protected rights. But it does not follow that conditions may not arise in which a temporary restraint of enforcement may be consistent with the spirit and purpose of the constitutional provision and thus be found to be within the range of the reserved power of the State to protect the vital interests of the community. In litigations of this character then. perhaps much more so than in other disputes. welfare." 6 Nor did my concurrence stop there: "In the opinion of the Blaisdell case. It is rather to abide by what is compels. decision having been promulgated under the 1935 Charter. 'That is the only way by which the constitutional guarantees may serve the high ends that call for their inclusion in the Constitution and thus effectively preclude ally abusive exercise of governmental authority. the . " 7 This is the concluding paragraph of my concurrence in the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. or harmonization of the conflicting claims posed by an exercise of state regulatory power on the one hand and assertion of rights to property. leaves no doubt that the claim to property rights based on the non-impairment clause has a lesser weight. it is not to depart from what sound constitutional orthodoxy dictates. The reserve power cannot be construed so as to destroy the limitation. the judiciary cannot escape what Holmes fitly referred to as the sovereign prerogative of choice. 'They must be construed in harmony with each other. It is merely to stress what to my mind is a fundamental postulate of our Constitution. on the pressing and inescapable need for such an approach whenever a possible collision between state authority and an assertion of constitutional right to property may exist." 8 I adhere to such a view. as this concurring opinion does. and security of all the people. there was this understandable stress on balancing or harmonizing. This principle precludes a construction which would permit the State to adopt as its policy the repudiation of debts or the destruction of contracts or the denial of means to enforce them. whatever is reserved of state power must be consistent with the fair intent of the constitutional limitation of that power.' Further on. the present Constitution. penned by the then Chief Justice Hughes. The only point I would wish to add is that in the process of such balancing and adjustment. There must be that balancing.

that Resolution No. I do not here dispute the concept of police power as stated in Primicias vs. enjoyment. such covenants are an important means of ordering one aspect of property relationships.. concurring: . 80 Phil. not the city of man as envisioned by its Governor but a city of commerce and industry. # Separate Opinions BARREDO. 27. of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong. " 10 Through them people are enable to agree on how to order their affairs. cannot be described as promotive of the health. City of Davao. I vote for the reversal of the appealed decision. Through them. On the contrary.J. 27. they are not automatically entitled to judicial protection. in my view. morals." 11The parties. It will make Metro Manila. It is quite understandable why the law should ordinarily accord them deference.. It will set back all the efforts of the Ministry of Human Settlements to improve the quality of life especially in Metro Manila. J:. ownership. Rizal. etc. peace. and disposition of private property. FERNANDO. I do not believe that its enactment was by virtue of the police power of that municipality. like all mortal. turmoil and frenzy of commerce and industry. Fugoso. as ruled inPLDT vs. 77 (1948) for as a matter of fact I accept it. C. the parties adversely affected should realize that arrangements dealing with property rights are not impressed with sanctity. ABAD SANTOS. f fence my full and entire concurrence. 9 2. It does so. Oct. L-23080. concurring: I hold it is a matter of public knowledge that the place in question is commercial. But Resolution No. Clearly. series of 1960. 2-1 was not enacted in the legitimate exercise of police power. use. And I agree also that it is elastic and must be responsive to various social conditions. it has been said. To the extent that they ignore technological or economic progress. therefore. and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits. They could be utilized to govern their future conduct. accurately included by Hart and Sacks under the category of "private directive arrangements. 15 SCRA 244. its effect is the opposite. It is a well-known fact that the common law relies to a great extent on such private directive arrangements to attain a desirable social condition. In cases therefore where societal welfare calls for police power legislation. Now as to restrictive convenants. Considering. both on grounds of morality and utility. do not have the power of predicting the future with unfailing certainty. is valid until otherwise declared. they must "speak from one point of time to another. It would be worse if the same were to be left as residential and all around are already commercial. was the guiding principle of the opinion of the Court. Where there would be no industrial and noise pollution these bane of so-called progress would now pervade and suffocate the environment to the detriment of the ecology. it cannot impair the restrictive covenants which go with the lands that were sold by the plaintiff-appellant. 26. 1965. Nonetheless.State shall regulate the acquisition. there could be delimitation of land use rights. good order or safety and general welfare of the people of Mandaluyong. More specifically. peace and quite of a residential section would by the resolution be replaced by the chaos. For the serenity. J. That approach. To characterize the ordinance as an exercise of police power would be retrogressive. They could be utilized to govern their affairs. there are limits to the literal enforcement of their terms. dissenting: Although Resolution No. education.

4 and Norman v. Reference was made in the opinion of the Court to Philippine American Life Insurance Company v. 'They must be construed in harmony with each other. there was this understandable stress on balancing or harmonizing. nor is the limitation to be construed to destroy the reserved power in its essential aspects. therefore. New York. whether on the national or local level. or adjustment. Blaisdell. " 7 This is the concluding paragraph of my concurrence in the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. 3 Nebbia v. It contained this qualification: "It cannot be said. Home Building and Loan Association v. on the pressing and inescapable need for . however. as in other cases where governmental authority may trench upon property rights. the objection on non-impairment grounds automatically loses force. in the dissent of Justice Vicente Abad Santos relative to restrictive covenants calls. whatever is reserved of state power must be consistent with the fair intent of the constitutional limitation of that power. case: "If emphasis be therefore laid. Chief Justice Hughes likewise stated: 'It is manifest from this review of our decisions that there has been a growing appreciation of public needs and of the necessity of finding ground for a rational compromise between individual rights and public welfare. I feel no hesitancy." 6 Nor did my concurrence stop there: "In the opinion of the Blaisdell case. A concurrence came from me. This principle precludes a construction which would permit the State to adopt as its policy the repudiation of debts or the destruction of contracts or the denial of means to enforce them. it may not be amiss to consider further the effect of such all-embracing attribute on existing contracts. without rendering nugatory the constitutional guarantee of non-impairment. Auditor General.. But it does not follow that conditions may not arise in which a temporary restraint of enforcement may be consistent with the spirit and purpose of the constitutional provision and thus be found to be within the range of the reserved power of the State to protect the vital interests of the community. is assailed.' Also to the same effect: 'Undoubtedly. 2 After referring to three leading United States Supreme Court decisions. however. whether of natural or of juridical persons. There must be that balancing. adjustment or harmonization is called for. This principle of harmonizing the constitutional prohibition with the necessary residuum of state power has had progressive recognition in the decisions of this Court. Santos commends itself for approval.' Further on. 5 I stated: "All of the above decisions reflect the view that an enactment of a police power measure does not per se call for the overruling of objections based on either due process or non-impairment based on either due process or non-impairment grounds. the process of balancing.The exhaustive and lucid opinion of the Court penned by Justice Guillermo S. Here. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. as this concurring opinion does. 'That is the only way by which the constitutional guarantees may serve the high ends that call for their inclusion in the Constitution and thus effectively preclude ally abusive exercise of governmental authority. penned by the then Chief Justice Hughes. 1 The ponente in that case was Justice Sanchez. for further reflection as to the respect to which they are entitled whenever police power legislation. in yielding concurrence. that at the mere invocation of the police power. and for that matter both the equal protection and due process clauses which equally serve to protect property rights. or harmonization of the conflicting claims posed by an exercise of state regulatory power on the one hand and assertion of rights to property. 1. The reserve power cannot be construed so as to destroy the limitation. on the other. which is called for in litigations of this character: 'The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. Before doing so. to my mind. The observation.

Clearly. etc. " 10 Through them people are enable to agree on how to order their affairs." 8 I adhere to such a view. and security of all the people. In litigations of this character then. I do not here dispute the concept of police power as stated in Primicias vs. This is not to say that there is a departure therefrom in the able and scholarly opinion of Justice Santos. leaves no doubt that the claim to property rights based on the non-impairment clause has a lesser weight. there are limits to the literal enforcement of their terms. of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong. That approach. In cases therefore where societal welfare calls for police power legislation. J:. there could be delimitation of land use rights. It is quite understandable why the law should ordinarily accord them deference. the Philippine American Life Insurance Co. 26. They could be utilized to govern their future conduct." 11The parties. the State shall regulate the acquisition. at such an effort of adjusting or reconciling the respective claims of state regulatory power and constitutionally protected rights. series of 1960. cannot be described as promotive of the health. perhaps much more so than in other disputes. Fugoso. I do not believe that its enactment was by virtue of the police power of that municipality. use. peace. its effect is the opposite. 15 SCRA 244. they must "speak from one point of time to another. like all mortal. accurately included by Hart and Sacks under the category of "private directive arrangements. City of Davao. ownership. For the serenity. 80 Phil. 27. decision having been promulgated under the 1935 Charter. it is not to depart from what sound constitutional orthodoxy dictates. Now as to restrictive convenants. f fence my full and entire concurrence. welfare. and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits. For as explicitly provided by our present fundamental law: "The State shall promote social Justice to ensure the dignity. dissenting: Although Resolution No. and disposition of private property. On the contrary. it has been said. education. turmoil and . good order or safety and general welfare of the people of Mandaluyong. It is a well-known fact that the common law relies to a great extent on such private directive arrangements to attain a desirable social condition. the exercise of which might possibly be impugned if there be no attempt. Through them. To the extent that they ignore technological or economic progress. More specifically. in my view. as ruled inPLDT vs. But Resolution No. The only point I would wish to add is that in the process of such balancing and adjustment. And I agree also that it is elastic and must be responsive to various social conditions. morals. ABAD SANTOS.such an approach whenever a possible collision between state authority and an assertion of constitutional right to property may exist. Oct. Nonetheless. 27. 1965. do not have the power of predicting the future with unfailing certainty. both on grounds of morality and utility. It is rather to abide by what is compels. enjoyment. is valid until otherwise declared. They could be utilized to govern their affairs. they are not automatically entitled to judicial protection. 77 (1948) for as a matter of fact I accept it. where there is a reliance on a constitutional provision. the parties adversely affected should realize that arrangements dealing with property rights are not impressed with sanctity. L-23080. however slight. It does so. Rizal. It is merely to stress what to my mind is a fundamental postulate of our Constitution. the judiciary cannot escape what Holmes fitly referred to as the sovereign prerogative of choice. peace and quite of a residential section would by the resolution be replaced by the chaos. Towards this end. the present Constitution. was the guiding principle of the opinion of the Court. such covenants are an important means of ordering one aspect of property relationships. 9 2.

Considering. Where there would be no industrial and noise pollution these bane of so-called progress would now pervade and suffocate the environment to the detriment of the ecology. 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests. I vote for the reversal of the appealed decision. . NO. ORTIGAS VS. It will make Metro Manila.frenzy of commerce and industry. February 09. 14 DEC 1979] CASE DIGEST Monday. 2-1 was not enacted in the legitimate exercise of police power. therefore. Political Law Facts: Plaintiff is engaged in real estate business. To characterize the ordinance as an exercise of police power would be retrogressive. It will set back all the efforts of the Ministry of Human Settlements to improve the quality of life especially in Metro Manila. not the city of man as envisioned by its Governor but a city of commerce and industry. that Resolution No.L-24670. it cannot impair the restrictive covenants which go with the lands that were sold by the plaintiff-appellant. developing and selling lots to the public. FEATI BANK [94 SCRA 533.

that while non-impairment of contracts is constitutionally guaranteed. On July 19. Plaintiff demand to stop it. 1952. Plaintiff claims that restriction is for the beautification of the subdivision. 1962. Issue: Whether or Not non-impairment clause violated. in serious inquiry or in curious conjecture. We apply the law with justice for that is our mission and purpose in the scheme of our Republic. All buildings and other improvements (except the fence) which may be constructed at any time in said lot must be. Defendant began constructing a commercial bank building.particularly the Highway Hills Subdivision along EDSA. upholding police power. Lot 5 directly from Chavez and Lot 6 from Republic Flour Mills by deed of exchange. which forced him to file a case. vs. Motion for recon was denied. G.R. The parcel of land shall be used exclusively for residential purposes. The answer is that we do neither because we are a court both of law and of justice. peace. which was later dismissed. Health. Do we apply the law even if it is unjust or do we administer justice even against the law? Thus queried. J. entered into separate agreements of sale on installments over two parcels of land of the Subdivision. .: The question is sometimes asked. It should be stressed. 2. we do not equivocate. hence the appeal. (b) provided with modern sanitary installationsconnected either to the public sewer or to an approved septic tank. 1987 CARLOS ALONZO and CASIMIRA ALONZO. and she shall not be entitled to take or remove soil. Defendant claimed of the commercialization of western part of EDSA. EDSA. the said vendees transferred their rights and interests over the aforesaid lots in favor of one Emma Chavez. Both the agreements (of sale on installment) and the deeds of sale contained the stipulations or restrictions that: 1. noise and pollution are hardly conducive to the health. and (c) shall not be at a distance of less than two (2) meters from its boundary lines. a main traffic artery which runs through several cities and municipalities in the Metro Manila area. whether we are a court of law or a court of justice. Held: No. safety or welfare of the residents in its route. On March 4. (a) of strong materials and properly painted. 72873 May 28. Resolution is a valid exercise of police power. No. and Augusto Padilla and Natividad Angeles. since it has to be reconciled with the legitimate exercise of police power. as vendees. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and TECLA PADUA. supports an endless stream of traffic and the resulting activity. Upon completion of payment of the purchase price. plaintiff. CRUZ. Eventually said lots were bought by defendant. the rule is not absolute. as vendor. safety. stones or gravelfrom it or any other lots belonging to the Seller. respondents. This case is an illustration. petitioners. good order and general welfare of the people in the locality are justifications for this. the plaintiff executed the corresponding deeds of sale in favor of Emma Chavez. with same restrictions.

it was held that actual knowledge of the sales by the co-heirs satisfied the requirement of the law. Citing the same case of De Conejero v. provided they do so within the period of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by the vendor. which was done without objection on her part or of any of the other co-heirs. 5 On May 27. the petitioners and the private respondents were close friends and neighbors whose children went to school together. 8 Eustaquia herself. 1977. on April 22. Although there was no written notice. filed her own complaint invoking the same right of redemption claimed by her brother. another co-heir. the respondent . his sister. 10 It is highly improbable that the other co-heirs were unaware of the sales and that they thought. as they alleged. by both the petitioners and the private respondents. the petitioners occupied. now on the ground that the right had lapsed. any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale. is the correct interpretation and application of the pertinent law as invoked. In the circumstances just narrated. who had sold her portion. such actual notice as acquired by the co-heirs cannot be plausibly denied. including Tecla Padua. Tecla Padua. 1963. transferred his undivided share of the herein petitioners for the sum of P550. in an instrument denominated "Con Pacto de Retro Sale. Court of Appeals 11 applied by the trial court. In 1975. who later claimed redemption petition. sought to redeem the area sold to the spouses Alonzo. but his complaint was dismissed when it appeared that he was an American citizen . The other co-heirs. after the said sales. one of them. The only real question in this case. 7 In truth. Eustaquia Padua. 2 One year later.Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso shares a parcel of land registered in 'the name of their deceased parents under OCT No. an area corresponding to two-fifths of the said lot.00. 6 The trial court * also dismiss this complaint. that the area occupied by the petitioners had merely been mortgaged by Celestino and Eustaquia. 4 On February 25. however. lived on the same lot. Celestino Padua. 9 Moreover. 1088. it was impossible for Tecla not to know that the area occupied by the petitioners had been purchased by them from the other. 10977 of the Registry of Deeds of Tarlac. providing as follows: Art. Especially significant was the erection thereon of the permanent semi-concrete structure by the petitioners' son. which consisted of only 604 square meters. not having been exercised within thirty days from notice of the sales in 1963 and 1964. The vendees subsequently enclosed the same with a fence. 1964." for the sum of P 440. representing the portions sold to them. interestingly enough. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before the partition. including the portions sold to the petitioners . with their consent. the respondent court ** declared that the notice required by the said article was writtennotice and that actual notice would not suffice as a substitute. sold her own share to the same vendees. This is Article 1088 of the Civil Code. one of the five coheirs. 1 On March 15. their son Eduardo Alonzo and his wife built a semi-concrete house on a part of the enclosed area. was staying in the same house with her sister Tecla. In reversing the trial court. Mariano Padua. therefore. 1976. 3 By virtue of such agreements. co-heirs.00 by way of absolute sale.

according to Justice J.e. Unquestionably. yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its cause and consequence. In such a situation. The right of redemption of co-owners excludes that of the adjoining owners. unless accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor that he has given written notice thereof to all possible redemptioners. reading as follows: Art. in slavish obedience to their language. we are not automatons. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will. the law should never be interpreted in such a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent.court held that that decision.. the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the in tent of the lawmaker. conformably to a similar requirement under Article 1623. Thus. As judges. who was the ponente of the Court. "So long. to wit. and that notice must be deemed exclusive. stressed the need for written notice although no particular form was required. while generally valid. in seeking the meaning of the law. and likewise. or by the vendors." he declared. as the case may be. "Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law. 12 " the Court. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the Registry of Property.L. Reyes. It is a cardinal rule that.B. As "it is thus apparent that the Philippine legislature in Article 1623 deliberately selected a particular method of giving notice. Article 1088 can lead to only one conclusion. Law and justice are inseparable. "the thirty days for redemption start running. Strictly applied and interpreted. we may add. is to render justice." the Court held that notice given by the vendees and not the vendor would not toll the running of the 30-day period. But as has also been aptly observed. The right of legal pre-emption or redemption shall not be exercised except within thirty days from the notice in writing by the prospective vendor. that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed. " In the earlier decision of Butte v. as the latter (i. emphasized that the written notice should be given by the vendor and not the vendees. we test a law by its results. much less expired in 1977. for we presume the good motives of the legislature. therefore. 1623. Thus. to apply them just the same. because only of our nature and functions. in fact. The petition before us appears to be an illustration of the Holmes dictum that "hard cases make bad laws" as the petitioners obviously cannot argue against the fact that there was really no written notice given by the vendors to their co-heirs. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded. by its purposes. the redemptioner) is informed in writing of the sale and the particulars thereof. that in view of such deficiency. we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance with justice. To be sure. interpreting a like rule in Article 1623. there are some laws that. and we must keep them so. furnishing the coheirs with a copy of the deed of sale of the property subject to redemption would satisfy the requirement for written notice. may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. speaking through the same learned jurist. An indispensable part of that intent. the 30 day period for redemption had not begun to run. UY. we are not bound." so we are .

and a thing which is within the letter of the statute is not within the statute unless within the intent of the lawmakers. when the first complaint for redemption was filed.warned. . we nevertheless have the power to interpret the law in such a way as to reflect the will of the legislature. The purpose is clear enough: to make sure that the redemptioners are duly notified. While we may not read into the law a purpose that is not there. although not in writing. in other words. would there be any question that the 30-day period for redemption had expired long before the complaint was filed in 1977? In the face of the established facts. In doing so. hence." 13 While we admittedly may not legislate. as a general rule. Now. we cannot accept the private respondents' pretense that they were unaware of the sales made by their brother and sister in 1963 and 1964. assuming of course that there was a valid notice that tolled the running of the period of redemption. By 1977." to give effect to the law maker's will. rather than the letter of a statute determines its construction. The instant case presents no such problem because the right of redemption was invoked not days but years after the sales were made in 1963 and 1964. "where these words import a policy that goes beyond them. The complaint was filed by Tecla Padua in 1977. when Tecla Padua filed her complaint. the right of redemption had already been extinguished because the period for its exercise had already expired. of the sales made in 1963 and 1964. The spirit. 14 In requiring written notice. would such notice be necessary in this case? Assuming there was a valid notice although it was not in writing. Stated differently. we defer not to "the letter that killeth" but to "the spirit that vivifieth. thus exalting the letter of the law over its purpose. a thing which is within the intent of the lawmaker is as much within the statute as if within the letter. We are satisfied that in this case the other brothers and sisters were actually informed. we do say that sometime between those years and 1976. By requiring written proof of such notice. Was there a valid notice? Granting that the law requires the notice to be written. the other co-heirs were actually informed of the sale and that thereafter the 30-day period started running and ultimately expired. thirteen years after the first sale and fourteen years after the second sale. to pinpoint the precise date it is supposed to begin. The delay invoked by the petitioners extends to more than a decade. to obviate any problem of alleged delays. For what is within the spirit is within the letter but although it is not within the letter thereof. a statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. we would be closing our eyes to the obvious truth in favor of their palpably false claim of ignorance. Considering the shortness of the period. sometimes consisting of only a day or two. by Justice Holmes again. we nevertheless have the right to read out of it the reason for its enactment. when none of the co-heirs made a move to redeem the properties sold. Article 1088 seeks to ensure that the redemptioner is properly notified of the sale and to indicate the date of such notice as the starting time of the 30-day period of redemption. it is really necessary. when did the 30-day period of redemption begin? While we do not here declare that this period started from the dates of such sales in 1963 and 1964. and that such notice was sufficient. and that which is within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. This could have happened any time during the interval of thirteen years.

It took all of thirteen years before one of them chose to claim the right of redemption. who were not among them. . without the co-heirs exercising their right of redemption. It is so ordered. without any pronouncement as to costs. which the respondent court understandably applied pursuant to existing jurisprudence. Melencio-Herrera Gutierrez. the same as if he had known the facts. Teehankee. Justinian defined justice "as the constant and perpetual wish to render every one his due. Gancayco. What we are doing simply is adopting an exception to the general rule. none of the co-heirs saw fit to object or at least inquire. and this should be clearly stressed. JJ. More than twenty centuries ago. In fact. which were readily available. May 28.J. in view of the peculiar circumstances of this case. respondents. The co-heirs in this case were undeniably informed of the sales although no notice in writing was given them. we ourselves are not abandoning the De Conejero and Buttle doctrines. The said court acted properly as it had no competence to reverse the doctrines laid down by this Court in the above-cited cases. No. he will be chargeable with laches.R. Thus when the facts warrants. And there is no doubt either that the 30-day period began and ended during the 14 years between the sales in question and the filing of the complaint for redemption in 1977. The decision of the respondent court is REVERSED and that of the trial court is reinstated. Paras. Justice is always an essential ingredient of its decisions. Yet. Jr. we are deviating from the strict letter of the law. Sarmiento and Cortes. yet if the circumstances were such as should have induced inquiry. vs.." 16 That wish continues to motivate this Court when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision.The following doctrine is also worth noting: While the general rule is. petitioners. to begin with. Yap. to ascertain the facts. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and TECLA PADUA. Narvasa. We realize that in arriving at our conclusion today. Intermediate Appellate Court and Padua (G. So we have done in this case. that to charge a party with laches in the assertion of an alleged right it is essential that he should have knowledge of the facts upon which he bases his claim. and the means of ascertaining the truth were readily available upon inquiry.. L-72873.. 1987) 16APR CARLOS ALONZO and CASIMIRA ALONZO. These are the justifications for this exception. the petition is granted. we interpret the law in a way that will render justice. This certainly looked like an act of ownership. C. but then it was already too late. 15 It was the perfectly natural thing for the co-heirs to wonder why the spouses Alonzo. should enclose a portion of the inherited lot and build thereon a house of strong materials. that the law be dispensed with justice. Padilla. given this unseemly situation. presuming that it was the intention of the lawmaker. concurred Alonzo vs. Bidin. WHEREFORE. but the party neglects to make it. This definitely was not the act of a temporary possessor or a mere mortgagee.

And there is no doubt either that the 30-day period began and ended during the 14 years between the sales in question and the filing of the complaint for redemption in 1977. In doing so. Although there was no written notice. Respondent court reversed the decision of the Trial Court. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. his sister sold her share in a “Con Pacto de Retro Sale”. One of them transferred his undivided share by way of absolute sale. Another coheir filed her own complaint invoking the same right of redemption of her brother. representing the portions sold to them. Ponente: CRUZ FACTS: Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso shares a parcel of land registered in ‘the name of their deceased parents. HELD: YES. ISSUE: Whether or not actual knowledge satisfied the requirement of Art. without the co-heirs exercising their right of redemption. Decision of respondent court was reversed and that of trial court reinstated. after the said sales. not having been exercised within thirty days from notice of the sales. RATIO: The co-heirs in this case were undeniably informed of the sales although no notice in writing was given them. One of the five coheirs sought to redeem the area sold to petitioners but was dismissed when it appeared that he was an American citizen. The vendees subsequently enclosed the same with a fence.R. Luis R. Trial court dismissed the complaint. Alonzo for petitioners. the petitioners occupied. Reyes for private respondent. 1986 . their son Eduardo Alonzo and his wife built a semi-concrete house on a part of the enclosed area. with their consent. By virtue of such agreements. L-69809 October 16. While [courts] may not read into the law a purpose that is not there. A year later. [courts] defer not to “the letter that killeth” but to “the spirit that vivifieth. No. it was held that actual knowledge of the sales by the co-heirs satisfied the requirement of the law.” to give effect to the law maker’s will.Perpetuo L. an area corresponding to twofifths of the said lot. on the ground that the right had lapsed.B. 1088 of the New Civil Code. These are the justifications for this exception. [courts] nevertheless have the right to read out of it the reason for its enactment.

(a) the P5. JR. According to the request. (f) Allow Manuel Montebon to continue teaching at the Don Bosco Technical School. Laconico on the Maltreatment case earlier filed against Manuel Montebon at the Cebu City Fiscal's Office. Laconico before the Cebu City Fiscal's Office. on the issue of whether or not an extension telephone is among the prohibited devices in Section 1 of the Act. GAANAN. whereas Montebon's affidavit of desistance on the Direct Assault Case against Atty. Appellant heard complainant enumerate the following conditions for withdrawal of the complaint for direct assault. 1981. 4200. (Exhibit 'D'. tsn.000. (c) Pl. went on a business trip.00 to be given to the Don Bosco Faculty club. Pintor himself in persuading his client to withdraw the case for Direct Assault against Atty.00. Leon Gonzaga. Tito Pintor and his client Manuel Montebon were in the living room of complainant's residence discussing the terms for the withdrawal of the complaint for direct assault which they filed with the Office of the City Fiscal of Cebu against Leonardo Laconico.000.EDGARDO A. otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act. to come to his office and advise him on the settlement of the direct assault case because his regular lawyer. vs. to wit: (a) P5. appellant went to the office of Laconico where he was briefed about the problem. such that its use to overhear a private conversation would constitute unlawful interception of communications between the two parties using a telephone line.000. and that the figure had been increased to P8.000. Atty.: This petition for certiorari asks for an interpretation of Republic Act (RA) No. complainant made a telephone call to Laconico (tsn. Laconico to another school or another section of Don Bosco Technical High School. Laconico requested appellant to secretly listen to the telephone conversation through a telephone extension so as to hear personally the proposed conditions for the settlement. (d) transfer of son of Atty. (b) Public apology to be made by Atty. who is a lawyer. In the morning of October 22. After they had decided on the proposed conditions. 1975.00 had been made together with other demands. 1982. The facts presented by the People and narrated in the respondent court's decision are not disputed by the petitioner..00 was no longer acceptable.00 no longer for the teacher Manuel Montebon. GUTIERREZ. (e) Affidavit of desistance by Atty. pp. 4-5). INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Laconico to be filed later. petitioner. J. complainant Atty. When complainant called up. but for Atty. That same morning. .000. August 26. Laconico before the students of Don Bosco Technical High School. pp. respondents. 3-5). Laconico telephoned appellant. April 22. A breakdown of the P8.

2-12). Act No. the petitioner assails the decision of the appellate court and raises the following issues. Laconico who earlier alerted his friend Colonel Zulueta of the Criminal Investigation Service of the Philippine Constabulary. The two were each sentenced to one (1) year imprisonment with costs. the lower court. Complainant called up again and instructed Laconico to give the money to his wife at the office of the then Department of Public Highways. covered by Rep. disc record. found both Gaanan and Laconico guilty of violating Section 1 of Republic Act No. Act No. in a decision dated November 22. complainant charged appellant and Laconico with violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Act. Act No. or however otherwise described: It shall be unlawful for any person. 1984. (h) P2. 47-48).(g) Not to divulge the truth about the settlement of the Direct Assault Case to the mass media. After trial on the merits. be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized in the next preceeding sentence. (b) whether or not an extension telephone is covered by the term "device or arrangement" under Rep. Act No. that the petitioner overheard such communication without the knowledge and consent of the complainant. wire record. to tap any wire or cable or by using any other device or arrangement. 4200. 4200. It shall be unlawful for any person. should be construed in favor of the petitioner. 1982. (a) whether or not the telephone conversation between the complainant and accused Laconico was private in nature. Appellant executed on the following day an affidavit stating that he heard complainant demand P8. 1981. Pintor. 1983. August 26. therefore. Laconico answered 'Yes'. In this petition for certiorari.000. pp. the petitioner appealed to the appellate court. March 10. Not satisfied with the decision. Section 1 of Rep. the Intermediate Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the trial court. or . (c) whether or not the petitioner had authority to listen or overhear said telephone conversation and (d) whether or not Rep.00 for the withdrawal of the case for direct assault. 1982. Twenty minutes later. 4200. pp.000. 4200 is ambiguous and. March 10.00 attorney s fees for Atty. Complainant then told Laconico to wait for instructions on where to deliver the money. 26-33). (tsn. and that the extension telephone which was used by the petitioner to overhear the telephone conversation between complainant and Laconico is covered in the term "device' as provided in Rep. pp. complainant called up again to ask Laconico if he was agreeable to the conditions. complainant was arrested by agents of the Philippine Constabulary. therefore. Laconico attached the affidavit of appellant to the complainant for robbery/extortion which he filed against complainant. 4200. 4200 provides: Section 1. When he received the money at the Igloo Restaurant. Since appellant listened to the telephone conversation without complainant's consent. (tsn. Act No. On August 16. holding that the communication between the complainant and accused Laconico was private in nature and. (tsn. to knowingly possess any tape record. or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder. insisted that complainant himself should receive the money. intercept. not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word. to secretly overhear.

000. The issue is whether or not the person called over the telephone and his lawyer listening to the conversation on an extension line should both face prison sentences simply because the extension was used to enable them to both listen to an alleged attempt at extortion." Is an extension of a telephone unit such a device or arrangement as would subject the user to imprisonment ranging from six months to six years with the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification for a public officer or deportation for an alien? Private secretaries with extension lines to their bosses' telephones are sometimes asked to use answering or recording devices to record business conversations between a boss and another businessman. of any communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the manner prohibited by this law. Surely the law was never intended for such mischievous results. either verbally or in writing. or annoying the call may be. would not have discussed the alleged demand for an P8. We rule for the petitioner. The main issue in the resolution of this petition. or to communicate the contents thereof. criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in Section 3 hereof. It would be the word of the caller against the listener's. telephone users often encounter what are called "crossed lines".00 consideration in order to have his client withdraw a direct assault charge against Atty. There is no question that the telephone conversation between complainant Atty. to any other person: Provided. The issue is not the admissibility of evidence secured over an extension line of a telephone by a third party. or to furnish transcriptions thereof. Would transcribing a recorded message for the use of the boss be a proscribed offense? or for that matter. Laconico filed with the Cebu City Fiscal's Office if he knew that another lawyer was also listening. criminal. An unwary citizzen who happens to pick up his telephone and who overhears the details of a crime might hesitate to inform police authorities if he knows that he could be accused under Rep. that the use of such record or any copies thereof as evidence in any civil. We have to consider.any other such record. in effect. Pintor and accused Atty. mean that a caller by merely using a telephone line can force the listener to secrecy no matter how obscene. shall not be covered by this prohibition. Act 4200 of using his own telephone to secretly overhear the private communications of the would be criminals. We are confronted in this case with the interpretation of a penal statute and not a rule of evidence. complainant Pintor. a member of the Philippine bar. Because of technical problems caused by the sensitive nature of electronic equipment and the extra heavy loads which telephone cables are made to carry in certain areas. It is also undisputed that only one of the parties gave the petitioner the authority to listen to and overhear the caller's message with the use of an extension telephone line. Obviously. or copies thereof. that affirmance of the criminal conviction would. however. or to replay the same for any other person or persons. would a "party line" be a device or arrangement under the law? . whether complete or partial. revolves around the meaning of the phrase "any other device or arrangement. Laconico was "private" in the sense that the words uttered were made between one person and another as distinguished from words between a speaker and a public. however.

attributing to the doubtful ones that sense which may result from all of them taken jointly. 9 (later Rep." The omission was not a mere oversight. Telephone party lines were intentionally deleted from the provisions of the Act. dictagraph or the other devices enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. intercept. He maintains that in 1964. or recording the communication.120). The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use of a "device or arrangement" for the purpose of secretly overhearing.' Similarly. It is a separate device and distinct set of a movable apparatus consisting of a wire and a set of telephone receiver not forming part of a main telephone set which can be detached or removed and can be transferred away from one place to another and to be plugged or attached to a main telephone line to get the desired communication corning from the other party or end. intercepting. The respondent People argue that an extension telephone is embraced and covered by the term "device" within the context of the aforementioned law because it is not a part or portion of a complete set of a telephone apparatus. or record the spoken words. Esso Estandard Eastern. detectaphone or walkie talkie or tape recorder or however otherwise described. but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts. xxx xxx xxx Consequently. It is a rule in statutory construction that in order to determine the true intent of the legislature. In the case of Empire Insurance Com any v. they shall not be understood to comprehend things that are distinct and cases that are different from those upon which the parties intended to agree. There must be either a physical interruption through a wiretap or the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement in order to overhear. we ruled: Likewise. nor do they belong to the same class of enumerated electronic devices contemplated by law. Act No. Whether or not listening over a telephone party line would be punishable was discussed on the floor of the Senate. no mention was made of telephones in the enumeration of devices "commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph. An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same category as a dictaphone. Rufino (90 SCRA 437. The telephone extension in this case was not installed for that purpose. Article 1374 of the same Code provides that 'the various stipulations of a contract shall be interpreted together. probably the most popularly known communication device. 443-444).The petitioner contends that telephones or extension telephones are not included in the enumeration of "commonly known" listening or recording devices. when the bill was finalized into a statute. It just happened to be there for ordinary office use.. Yet. 4200 as the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the wire or cable of a telephone line. 4200) was being considered in the Senate. The rule that . 66 SCRA 113. Inc. when Senate Bill No. (see Commissioner of Customs v. the particular clauses and phrases of the statute should not be taken as detached and isolated expressions. telephones and extension telephones were already widely used instruments. the phrase 'all liabilities or obligations of the decedent' used in paragraph 5(c) and 7(d) should be then restricted only to those listed in the Inventory and should not be construed as to comprehend all other obligations of the decedent. Article 1372 of the Civil Code stipulates that 'however general the terms of a contract may be.

the penal statute must be construed as not including an extension telephone. cited in Francisco. and the discretion of the court limited. one element of 605. United States (355. interception. Jennings v. the phrase "device or arrangement" in Section 1 of RA No. Ed.. 44 L Ed 780. instruments the use of which would be tantamount to tapping the main line of a telephone. 177 US 305. 20 A 2d 737. the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would be safe. they are not of common usage and their purpose is precisely for tapping.. 180-181). 562. it is a general rule that penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the accused. Each party to a telephone conversation takes the risk that the other party may have an extension telephone and may allow another to overhear the conversation. Hence. Co. Rev. etc. An extension telephone is an instrument which is very common especially now when the extended unit does not have to be connected by wire to the main telephone but can be moved from place ' to place within a radius of a kilometer or more. 115 NW 383. we explained the rationale behind the rule: American jurisprudence sets down the reason for this rule to be the tenderness of the law of the rights of individuals. As was held in the case of Rathbun v." (State v. all cited in 73 Am Jur 2d 452). 603. The purpose is not to enable a guilty person to escape punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise definition of forbidden acts. . State. (Hoffman v. 69 NE2d.. Harris. intercepting or recording a telephone conversation.'particularization followed by a general expression will ordinarily be restricted to the former' is based on the fact in human experience that usually the minds of parties are addressed specially to the particularization. In the same case. 20 S Ct 609. 109 VA 821. although not exclusive to that enumerated therein. Commonwealth. Revised Rules of Court (Evidence). and that the generalities. 1973 ed. 107. though broad enough to comprehend other fields if they stood alone. 607. has not occurred. are used in contemplation of that upon which the minds of the parties are centered. Caudill v. Furthermore. in case of doubt as in the case at bar.S. In the case of People v. on whether or not an extension telephone is included in the phrase "device or arrangement". the Court further ruled that the conduct of the party would differ in no way if instead of repeating the message he held out his hand-set so that another could hear out of it and that there is no distinction between that sort of action and permitting an outsider to use an extension telephone for the same purpose. When such takes place there has been no violation of any privacy of which the parties may complain. Consequently. (United States v.63 SE 1080. quoted in Martin's Handbook on Statutory Construction. by their very nature. pp. Virgin Islands (CA3) 26 F2d 646. that is. pp. 86 SCRA 542. A person should safely presume that the party he is calling at the other end of the line probably has an extension telephone and he runs the risk of a third party listening as in the case of a party line or a telephone unit which shares its line with another. 4200. Zazzaro. U. 2 L Ed 2d 137-138): Common experience tells us that a call to a particular telephone number may cause the bell to ring in more than one ordinarily used instrument. Purisima. 134 Wis. Braffith v. 183-184). should be construed to comprehend instruments of the same or similar nature. 224 Ind 531. Thus. Eastern Wisconsin R. It refers to instruments whose installation or presence cannot be presumed by the party or parties being overheard because.

Your Honor. therefore. With this amendment.In the same case of Purisima. xxx xxx xxx Senator Diokno. It can be readily seen that our lawmakers intended to discourage. in order to be punishable must strictly be with the use of the enumerated devices in RA No. p. with an agent outside listening in. But what this bill intends to prohibit is the use of tape record and other electronic devices to intercept private conversations which later on will be used in court. neither party could record and. 33. Senator Diokno. A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records will show that not only did our lawmakers not contemplate the inclusion of an extension telephone as a prohibited device or arrangement" but of greater importance. 1964). blackmail or gain some unwarranted advantage over the telephone users. 33. as experienced lawyers. No. III. p. and the government officials and the person in fact would have the right to tape record their conversation. March 12. . (Congressional Record. the police officers or the defendant?" In these cases. No. 628. Another possible objection to that is entrapment which is certainly objectionable. 4200 or others of similar nature. the primary rule is to search for and determine the intent and spirit of the law. who is more credible. it would be the government. In case of entrapment. we know that the Court go with the peace offices. I would feel that entrapment would be less possible with the amendment than without it. In the same way. 111. Senator Tañada. because with the amendment the evidence of entrapment would only consist of government testimony as against the testimony of the defendant. March 12. they were more concerned with penalizing the act of recording than the act of merely listening to a telephone conversation. the mere act of listening. Vol. then the chances of falsifying the evidence is not very much. xxx xxx xxx Senator Tañada. If we could devise a way by which we could prevent the presentation of false testimony. It is made possible by special amendment which Your Honor may introduce. persons such as government authorities or representatives of organized groups from installing devices in order to gather evidence for use in court or to intimidate. The point I have in mind is that under these conditions. we also ruled that on the construction or interpretation of a legislative measure. the court would be limited to saying: "Okay. through punishment. this bill is not intended to prevent the presentation of false testimony. Senator Tañada. 1964. We are of the view that an extension telephone is not among such devices or arrangements. But if you allow him to record or make a recording in any form of what is happening. Consequently. Senator Diokno. Your Honor. they would have the right. it would be wonderful. under this provision. (Congressional Record. Vol. he could falsify the testimony and there is no way of checking it. 629).

WHEREFORE. 1984 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. dictagraph. Gaanan listened to the telephone conversation without complainant''s consent. is included in the phrase "device or arrangement" the penal statute must be construed as not including an extension tel. blackmail or gain some unwarranted advantage over the tel. Furthermore. The petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of violation of Rep. by their very nature. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act. complainant charged Gaanan and Laconico with violation of the Anti. through punishment.000 from him. The decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court dated August 16. users. cannot be placed in the same category as a dictaphone. 120715 March 29. Atty. Gaanan v. Since Atty. they are not of common usage and their purpose is precisely for tapping. ISSUE: W/N an extension telephone is among the prohibited devices in Sec. A perusal of the Senate Congressional Record shows that our lawmakers intended to discourage. 1996 . 4200. It just happened to be there for ordinary office use. Pintor was subsequently arrested in an entrapment operation upon receipt of the money. Pintor and Montebon offered to withdraw the complaint for direct assault they filed against Laconico after demanding P8. IAC. Act No. No. in order to be punishable must stricly be with the use of the enumerated devices in RA 4200 or others of similar nature. 1 of the law as the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the wire or cable of a telephone line. or other devices enumerated in Sec. the petition is GRANTED. the mere act of listening . 1 of RA 4200 such that iuts use to overhear a private conversation would constitute an unlawful interception of communication between 2 parties using a telephone line. Consequently. or recording a tel. HELD: NO An extension tel. extension in this case was not installed for that purpose. 145 SCRA 112 (1986) CASE DIGEST F: Complainant Atty.R. The tel. This demand was heard by Atty. Gaanan through a telephone extension as requested by Laconico so as to personally hear the proposed conditions for the settlement. it is a general rule that penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the accused. Thus in the case of doubt as in this case. conversation. persons suchj as government authorities or representatives of organized groups from installing devices in order to gather evidence for use in court or to intimidate. SO ORDERED. This section refers to instruments whose installation or presence cannot be presumed by the party or parties being overheard because. on WON an extension tel. intercepting.Wiretapping Act (RA 4200).

the phrase "Sazon.R. and (3) lack of the required notice to the homeowners. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Inc. the PML-Homemaker. petitioner. The private complainant then notified his co-homeowners about this development and requested them to attend a general meeting with the representatives of the EMO-HFC which was to be held before the referendum. He was likewise elected by the new board as president of the homeowners' association. an association of homeowners of PML Homes.FERNANDO SAZON y RAMOS. respondents. Metro Manila. (PML-BLCA). on January 16. 1984.R. The relevant antecedents are not disputed. On December 11. nasaan ang pondo ng simbahan?" was seen boldly written on the walls near the entrance gate of the subdivision. several copies of a leaflet called the "PML Scoop" were received by the homeowners. Branch 161 of Pasig City. of which the petitioner was the editor. the PML-BLCA held an election for the members of its board of directors. 1983. 13777 which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court. C. Unable to accept defeat.. the private complainant. No. the private complainant wrote his co-homeowners explaining to them his election protest and urging them not to recognize the petitioner and the other members who won in the election. On January 18."' obviously referring to the affirmative action taken by the EMO-HFC in connection with the private respondent's election protest. in Criminal Case No. convicting the petitioner of the crime of libel. the EMO-HFC ordered-the PML-BLCA to conduct a referendum to be supervised by the EMO-HFC. J. HON. The petitioner was elected as a director. in response to the election protest. (2) the absence of a quorum. The leaflet was entitled "Supalpal si Sazon. Soon after the general meeting. The association had a monthly newsletter. He alleged that the election was a nullity because of: (1) the lack of authority of the petitioner to call for such an election. HERMOSISIMA. . Among those who ran in the election were the private complainant and the petitioner. 58939. however. There was no proof. Petitioner Fernando Sazon and private complainant Abdon Reyes were both residents of the PML Homes in East Drive. as to who was responsible for these writings. Meanwhile. vs. They were likewise members of the PML-Parang Bagong Lipunan Community Association. The private complainant lost in said election.:p Before us is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals (Special Third Division) in CA-G. JR. At about the same time. wrote a letter to the Estate Management Office of the Home Financing Corporation (EMO-HFC) protesting the election of the petitioner as a director and president of the homeowners' association. Parang Marikina. 1984.

kasama na ng Board Secretary at Pangulo. Mag-iingat po tayo sa panlilinlang ng mga taong gaya ni Abdon at Vangie. 1984 issue of the PML-Homemakers of the following article: "USAPAN NG BOARD v. Nitz Rodriguez at Dra. Gng. ITO AY MABUBUWAG LANG KUNG INYONG NANAISIN. ABDON NAG COLLAPSE SA ESTATE MANAGEMENT OFFICE. Matagal na po tayong niloloko ng magkasamang Abdon at Evangeline Lopez. Auditor. ng simbahan. ang meeting na ginaganap sa EMO kaninang umaga ay nag collapse nang malaman na may ikinalat na liham ang mandurugas. Sazon. and circulating newsletters to his co-homeowners. na nagsasabing di umano ay hindi tutoo ang ibinabalita ng "Homemaker" na siya ay turned-down sa HFC. Sila rin ang mastermind sa paninirang puri sa Pangulo sa pamamagitan ng pag-susulat ng panira sa mga pader natin. petitioner Sazon started writing. Gng. Dala ng mahigpit na pakiusap ng Estate Management Office (EMO) na gawin ang lahat na nararapat upang magkaroon ng katahimikan at pagkakaisa ang mga tiga PML Homes. UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL LET'S UNITE AND FIGHT EVIL!!! E. ipinipilit pa rin nitong ang Board sa PML Parang ay binubuo pa rin nuong mga taong inilukluk ng developer na nag 1-2-3. Sazon ay nagpaunlak na pagbigyan ang kahilingan ng ating kasama na si Abdon Reyes. ang Board Secretary. Diumano'y itinatanong daw nila kung saan dinala ang pondo. Ang mga nagsipagbigay suporta sa Pangulo at Board Secretary ay sina Gng. Dahil sa patuloy na kabulastugan ni Abdon. Kung di dahil sa pakiusap nina Messr'rs. Dahil sa tagal ay alam na tuloy natin kung papaanong maipapatigil ang kanilang kabulastugan. Pacis at President F:R. Bakit hindi sila tumungo sa kinauukulan: Treasurer. at iba pang officials. UPHELD PO ANG ATING BOARD. culminating in the appearance in the February 10. malamang ay nagulpi sana ang mandurugas. ABNER PACAIGUE at HOMER AGNOTE. Cavarosa. SAZON — Editor 1 . publishing. Halos pag-pupukpukin ng bag ng mga kababaihang nagsisama sa miting ang ating pobreng super kulit na walang pakialam sa mga taga atin.R. Triffie Ladisla. Ang kahilingan: Anyayahan ang EMO-HFC na magconduct ng Plebiscite or Referendum para sa possibility ng isa pang halalan ng Board of Directors. Mr. Sa meeting na dinaluhan ni Abdon Reyes na nagdala ng isang camera man at may kasamang pagyayabang at kaunting pang-golpe de gulat (na tila baga puro tanga yata ang akala niya sa mga kausap).Thinking that only private complainant was capable of these acts.

omission. real or imaginary. with the accessory penalties provided by law. the trial court rendered its decision finding the petitioner guilty of the crime charged. . IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE WORDS IN CONTROVERSY ARE NOT DEFAMATORY. Definition of libel. 353. FOUR (4) months and ONE (1) day of prision correccional as maximum. 2 The petitioner appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals. and to pay a fine of P200. or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor. 4. . the private complainant initiated the necessary complaint against the petitioner. IN NOT LIMITING THE PENALTY IMPOSED UPON HIM TO FINE ALONE WITHOUT IMPRISONMENT . SO ORDERED. . 1984. We rule in the affirmative. thus: WHEREFORE. PROTECTED AND NOT ACTIONABLE. status. 355 of the Revised Penal Code. the principal issue posited in this petition is whether or not the questioned article written by the petitioner is libelous. 2. the accused is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of FOUR (4) months and ONE (1) day of arresto mayor as minimum to TWO (2) years. 353. Hence. .00 in accordance with Art. . IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE QUESTIONED ARTICLE DID NOT CAUSE DAMAGE TO PRIVATE COMPLAINANT'S REPUTATION. an Information was filed before the trial court charging the petitioner with libel. Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code defines libel in this wise: Art. . the following requisites must concur: (a) it must be defamatory. foregoing considered. and in seeking a reversal of the challenged decision. OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT AS THEY ARE NON-ACTIONABLE EPITHETS WRITTEN WITHOUT MALICE. the appellate court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court. discredit.3 In fine. . or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.Aggrieved by the aforequoted article. 3. GRANTING ARGUENDO THAT ACCUSED-PETITIONER'S CONVICTION IS WARRANTED. . or any act. With costs against the accused. 1992. he claims that the Court of Appeals. 1995. IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE QUESTIONED ARTICLE (EXHIBIT "A") IS IN THE NATURE OF A PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION AND HENCE. . petitioner brought the present action. in relation to Art. . — A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime. (b) it must be malicious. . erred: 1. and on May 25. . or contempt of a natural or juridical person. . On March 18. condition. For an imputation then to be libelous. . and accordingly sentenced him. On June 19. . or of a vice or defect.

7 This test was satisfied in the case at bench. A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the person or persons against whom they were uttered were guilty of certain offenses. As far as petitioner is concerned. petitioner. but what the words used by him mean. 6 Jurisprudence has laid down a test to determine the defamatory character of words used in the following manner. correct in holding that "these words and phrases ("mandurugas.) are indisputably defamatory for they impute upon the private complainant a condition that is dishonorable and shameful. 4 Petitioner concedes the existence of the third and fourth requisites in the case at bench." et al.(c) it must be given publicity. The general rule laid down in Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code provides that: ." "mag-ingat sa panlilinlang. the defamatory character of the words used by the petitioner are shown by the very recitals thereof in the questioned article. or to hold the person or persons up to public ridicule. Ironical and metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. ." et al. Consequently. they do not mean to reflect adversely on private complainant's reputation. virtue. or reputation. or are sufficient to impeach their honesty. thus. Petitioner used the following words and phrases in describing the private complainant: "mandurugas. Petitioner insists that the allegedly offensive words found in the subject article are not actually defamatory." "ang ating pobreng super kulit. the question is not what the writer of an alleged libel means. the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving malice on the part of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt." etc. Branding private complainant Reyes "mandurugas. ." (Emphasis Ours). Respondent Court of Appeals is. In libel cases." "may kasamang pagyayabang. According to. and (d) the victim must be identifiable. only the first and second elements need to be discussed herein. viz: Words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more effective to destroy reputation than false charges directly made. the word "mandurugas" and other words and phrases used in the questioned article do not impute to private complainant any crime." "mastermind sa paninirang puri. the descriptive words and phrases used should be considered as mere epithets which are a form of non-actionable opinion." "matagal na tayong niloloko. We are not persuaded. much less erase. since they tend to describe him as aswindler and/or a deceiver. No evidence aliunde need be adduced to prove it. . vice or defect which would be injurious or damaging to his name and reputation." "patuloy na kabulastugan. 8 Petitioner also maintains that there was no malice in this case. No amount of sophistical explanation on the part of petitioner can hide. most certainly exposed him to public contempt and ridicule. the negative impression already created in the minds of the readers of the libelous material towards private complainant. Accordingly. He argues that the prosecution failed to present evidence demonstrating that the accused was prompted by personal ill-will or spite or that he did not act in response to duty but acted merely to cause harm to private complainant. We do not agree. because while they may express petitioner's strong emotional feelings of dislike. 5 Here.

however. . imposes an additional requirement. Court of Appeal 9 we held that: As a rule. legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature. but must be proved as a fact (malice in fact). petitioner alleges that the subject article likewise constitutes a fair and true report on the actuations of a public official falling under the second exception of Article 354. Unfortunately. or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions. 354 Requirement of publicity. which comes to his notice. — Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal. A fair and true report. in response to some moral. to those charged with supervision over them. as in this case. He did it therefore. the prosecution need not prove malice on the part of the defendant (malice in fact). petitioner miserably failed to discharge this burden in the case before us. even if it be true. The burden is on the side of the defendant to show good intention and justifiable motive in order to overcome the legal inference of malice. Such a communication is qualifiedly privileged and the author is not guilty of libel. for the law already presumes that the defendant's imputation is malicious (malice in law). social or civic duty as he was at that time the President of their homeowners' association and editor of its newsletter. . Moreover. Petitioner avers that he wrote the article not to malign the private complainant. 10 as what the petitioner did in this case. Hence. The rule on privilege. or power to redress the grievance or has some duty to perform or interest in connection therewith. viz: 1. since private complainant was a public relations consultant in the Department of Trade and Industry at the time the allegedly libelous article was published on February 10.Art. moral or social duty. 1984. a written letter containing libelous matter cannot be classified a privileged when it is published and circulated among the public. In the instant case. when the imputation is defamatory. if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. 11 On this point. but merely to correct the misinformation being circulated by Reyes and some quarters within the community about the petitioner and the association he heads. or of any statement. it is the right and duty of a citizen to make a complaint of any misconduct on the part of public officials. In Daez v. the rule is that defamatory remarks and comments on the conduct or acts of public officers which arerelated to the discharge of their official duties will not constitute libel if . none of the homeowners for whom the newsletter was published was vested with the power of supervision over the private complainant or the authority to investigate the charges made against the latter. In his final attempt to come under the protective mantle of privileged communication. report or speech delivered in said proceedings. Prescinding from this provision. . of any judicial. and 2. the article falls under the first exception of Article 354. since the questioned article is a privileged communication covered under the two exceptions as enumerated under Article 354. without any comments or remarks. The argument has no basis. made in good faith. Petitioner however submits that malice should not be presumed in the instant case. Such complaints should be addressed solely to some official having jurisdiction to inquire into the charges.

exception number two (2) which refers to "any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions. However. vs. or that there was rivalry or ill-feeling between them which existed at the date of the publication of the defamatory imputation or that the defendant had an intention to injure the reputation of the offended party as shown by the words used and the circumstances attending the publication of the defamatory imputation. the penalty to imposed upon the petitioner shall be a fine of Three Thousand (P3.R." earlier circulated among the homeowners as well as the writings near the entrance gate of the subdivision. It cannot therefore fall under the protective coverage of privileged communication. . It is well to note that the existence of malice in fact may be shown by extrinsic evidence that the defendant bore a grudge against the offended party. Furthermore. The article attacked solely the private character of the complainant and delved on matters completely unrelated to his official functions. No. 13 The circumstances under which the subject article was published by the petitioner serve to buttress the inference that petitioner was animated solely by revenge towards the private complainant on account of the leaflet entitled "Supalpal si Sazon. all of which petitioner believes to be the handiwork of the private complainant.the defendant proves the truth of the imputation. This is certainly indicative of malice in fact on the part of the petitioner. A perusal of the petitioner's article reveals that it has no reference whatsoever to the performance of private complainant's position as a public relations consultant in the Department of Trade and Industry. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.000. this does not still negative the presence of malice in the instant case. But any attack upon the private character of the public officer on matters which are not related to the discharge of their official functions may constitute libel. G. the words used in the questioned article were mostly uncalled for. petitioner. ESTRELLA S. L-51201 May 29. ex gratia argumenti. 1980 IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME OF MARIA ESTRELLA VERONICA PRIMITIVA DUTERTE. ALFON. 12 This is clear by express provision of Article 354.00) PESOS with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. in lieu of imprisonment and fine. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. even assuming. that petitioner's article qualifies under the category of privileged communication. the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that. strongly sending the message that petitioner's objective was merely to malign and injure the reputation of the private complainant. respondent. ABAD SANTOS.

Alfon (Exhibits E. She has been enrolled in the grade school and in college using the same name. From the testimonial and document evidence presented. represented the office of the Solicitor General. Metro Manila for twenty-three (23) years. Her scholastic records from elementary to college show that she was registered by the name of Estrella S. Yulo Street corner Ideal Street. She has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name. She has continuously used the name Estrella S. Branch XXIII. After graduating from high school she enrolled at the Arellano University and finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Exhibit E-4). she was baptized as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte at the St. Hospital (Exhibit A). 1978 and a copy thereof together with a copy of the petition was furnished the Office of the Solicitor General (Exhibits C. Upon motion of counsel for the petitioner. Her parents are Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte has been taken cared of by Mr.R. She attended her first grade up to fourth year high school at Stella Maris College using the name Estrella S. Petitioner has advanced the following reasons for filing the petition: She has been using the name Estrella Alfon since her childhood. Rosauro Alvarez. Manila (Exhibit B). the Deputy Clerk of Court was appointed commissioner to receive the evidence and to submit the same for resolution of the Court. G2. G-1. she used the name Estrella S. 1978. 1978. have been residing at 728 J. E-1. C1.£îhqw⣠This is verified petition filed on April 28. Suyat. August 5 and 11. Rosauro Alvarez appeared for the petitioner and Fiscal Donato Sor. Alfon. Petitioner has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name (Exhibit D). When petitioner started schooling. 5440 to review an Order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. it appears that petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte was born on May 15. C-2 and C-3). G-3 and G-4). Alfon. which partially denied petitioner's prayer for a change of name. She has not committed any felony or misdemeanor (Exhibits G. 1978 at 8:30 o'clock in the morning was published in the Times Journal in its issues of July 28. Anthony de Padua Church Singalong. Alfon.S. Petitioner and her uncle.T. Rule 103 of the Rules of Court provides: . 1978 by petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte through her counsel. Mandaluyong. praying that her name be changed from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella S. Jr. Hector Alfon. without objection on the part of Fiscal Suyat. 1952 at the U. She was registered at the local Civil Registrar's Office as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte On June 15. and Mrs. Section 5. At the hearing of the petition on December 14. Hector Alfon. Atty. dated December 29. Atty.This is a petition filed pursuant to Republic Act No. Only a question of law is involved and there is no controversy over the facts which are well-stated in the questioned Order as follows: têñ. E-2 and E-3). 1952. Alfon since her infancy and all her friends and acquaintances know her by this name. The notice setting the petition for hearing on December 14.

Vol. No.R. Petitioner likewise admitted this fact in her testimony. 364 of the Civil Code. 1966. among others. In the case at bar. all her friends call her by this name. and (3) when the change is necessary to avoid confusion Tolentino. Article 364 of the Civil Code provides: Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. Civil Code of the Philippines. this Court in Haw Liong vs. Let copy of this order be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig. The birth certificate clearly shows that the father of petitioner is Filomeno Duterte. such as when a natural child is acknowledged or legitimated. p. (2) when the request for change is a consequence of a change of' status. The fact that petitioner has been using a different surname and has become known with such surname does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to legally authorize and change her surname to Alfon. the petition insofar as the first name is granted but denied with respect to the surname. The only reason why the lower court denied the petitioner's prayer to change her surname is that as legitimate child of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon she should principally use the surname of her father invoking Art. 1953 ed. the court shall if proper and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petitioner adjudge that such name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition. The evidence submitted shows that the change of name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon is not proper and reasonable with respect to the surname. and she exercised the right of suffrage likewise under this . To allow petitioner to change her surname from Duterte to Alfon is equivalent to allowing her to use her mother's surname. The lower court should have fully granted the petition. Metro Manila pursuant to Section 3. Republic. Rule 103 of the Rules of Court. since childhood. G. 16 SCRA 677. 660). Moreover. If another purpose of the petitioner is to carry the surname of Alfon because her uncle who reared her since childhood has the surname "Alfon" then the remedy is not a petition for change of name. as proper or reasonable causes that may warrant the grant of a petitioner for change of name. (1) when the name is ridiculous. L-21194. she finished her course in Nursing in college and was graduated and given a diploma under this name. or is extremely difficult to write or pronounce. tainted with dishonor. Alfon although her birth records and baptismal certificate show otherwise. 679. said: têñ. 1. WHEREFORE. it has been shown that petitioner has.Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that such order has been published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true. borne the name Estrella S. But the word "principally" as used in the codal provision is not equivalent to "exclusively" so that there is no legal obstacle if a legitimate or legitimated child should choose to use the surname of its mother to which it is equally entitled.£îhqw⣠The following may be considered. Petitioner is authorized to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon Duterte. Alfon. April 29. she was enrolled in the schools from the grades up to college under the name Estrella S..

Culture and Sports Onofre D. equipment necessary for the construction and completion of Phase I of the Home Technology Building for the Alangalang Agro-Industrial School of Alangalang. SO ORDERED. MELCHOR. to avoid confusion.e. however. J. materials. The contract was approved by the then Minister of Education. the Order appealed from is hereby modified in that. and unless otherwise provided. (thief accountant of the school. Philippine Currency. issued a certificate of availability of funds to cover the construction cost. the CONTRACTOR.name. the petitioner is allowed to change not only her first name but also her surname so as to be known as ESTRELLA S. at his own proper cost and expense willfully and faithfully perform all works. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.. Melchor. petitioner Mario R. furnish all labor. 968. Corpuz. petitioner. On July 15. 1991 MARIO R. respondent.00).000. vs. No. JR. failed to sign as a Witness to the contract.000.R. Narido. COMMISSION ON AUDIT. entered into a contract with Cebu Diamond Construction (hereinafter referred to as contractors for the construction of Phase I of the home Technology Building of said school for the price of P488. The relevant parts of the contract are quoted below: That for and in consideration of the sum of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY EIGHT THOUSAND PESOS (P488. There is therefore ample justification to grant fully her petition which is not whimsical but on the contrary is based on a solid and reasonable ground. Leyte. in his capacity as Vocational School Administrator of Alangalang Agro-Industrial School of Alangalang. Leyte to be . 95398 August 16. Pablo Narido. No costs. i. 1983. ALFON.:p Is the petitioner personally liable for the amout paid for the construction of a public school building on the ground that the infrastructure contract is null and void for want of one signature? The facts are uncontroverted. Polistico Law Office for petitioner GUTIERREZ. contrarily to the requirement of Section I of Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. WHEREFORE.

Damole who in a third Indorsement dated April 8. as well as those contained in the Notice to Bidders. advanced the view that "the approval of the police escalation rests on the Minister or head of the agency concerned. Cesar A.. Acting Assistant Regional Director ' MECS Regional Office No.. . the contractor had been paid the total amount of P515. 1984. to the availability of funds and the imprimatur of the Resident Auditor of the School.305. 1964. p. 1983. Instruction to Bidders Tenderers. Tenderers or Advertisement. requesting the latter to advise the former on whether to pursue condoning the contract or institute a legal action for breach of contract against the contractor. VIII. Ramos referred the matter to COA Regional Director in Tacloban City. the COA Regional Office No. requested the approval by the COA Regional Director in Tacloban City of the contractor's request for adjustment of the cost of the contract.88. 1985. VIII. The petitioner in said letter asked for approval of the contractor's additional charge. conditions and instructions contained in the general and special conditions of contract. in a second Indorsement dated November 22. including the permission of Administrative Order No. the petitioner referred the contractor's request for additional charge to the Regional Director. In a letter dated November 17.26 represented the extra work done by the contractor which was found necessary.60. Dela Cruz. Our participation in this regard shall be on the post-audit of transactions as emphasized under COA Circular No.60 in post-audit on the ground that the contract was null and void for lack of signature of the chief accountant of the school as witness to it. 25) While the construction of Phase I was under way." Meanwhile. Jr. On its part. 82195.003. among other things. anticipating that it could not meet the deadline for the project. In turn. Consequently.. 1984. Gilda Ramos. The petitioner. for which reason the petitioner was made personally liable for the amount paid to the contractor. 1983 addressed to Melchor. Tacloban City. The excess paid on the value of the 61% accomplishment costing approximately P172. In an Indorsement dated November 17.completed in accordance with the plans and specifications and all terms. At the time the contractor ceased working on the project. directed Ms. Ramos to disallow the payment of P515. 1984 to Ms. Culture and Sports (MECS). which are made and acknowledged as Integral parts of this Agreement.305. by reference and/or Incorporation. 1983. pointing out that such additional charge shall be taken from the 1984 non-infrastructure capital outlay and part of the 1984 maintenance and operating expenses. Ministry of Education. Servillano C. and other essential related documents. approved the contractor's request for additional charge subject. Sopronio Flores. . on April 10.430. Bond Articles. the contractor. (Rollo. 81 of the President. in a letter dated November 8. dated January 17. it had accomplished only 61% of the construction work valued at P344. However. as of September 13. however.000 equivalent to 15% of the stipulated amount due to an increase in the cost of labor and construction materials. the petitioner wrote a letter dated September 19. 1983. increased cost of construction materials and labor. the contractor gave up the project mainly to save itself from further losses due to. COA Resident Auditor of the school. However. Supplemental Specifications. requested a series of extensions which the petitioner granted. Ms. Tacloban City. the contractor. sought an additional charge of P73. as required under Section 1 of LOI 968. through Regional Director.

1985. COA Regional Office No. 1979.430. Section 1 of LOI 968. Damole denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration. b) the petitioner did not exceed his authority because the contract was approved by the head of the agency concerned c) the Resident Auditor of the school who had been furnished a copy of the contract did not object to the contract because of that flaw.80 should be disallowed iii post-audit and the petitioner should be personally able for said amount.60 may be broken down into: 1) P344.305. Sections 85 and 86 as to the requirements in the execution of a government contract. The sole issue of this Court's consideration is whether or not petitioner Melchor should be held personally liable for the amount of P515. not included in the contract specifications.60. shall be signed by agency heads or other duly authorized official only when there are available funds. substantially complied with the requirement of LOI 968 that the signature of said accountant must be affixed as witness to the contract.430. The COA Head Office likewise denied the petitioner's requests for reconsideration. do not equal P515. maintenance contracts.003. All contracts for capital projects and for the supply of commodities and services. dated December 17.305. The petitioner sought reconsideration on the following grounds: a) the Certificate of Availability of Funds signed by the chief accountant of the school. At any rate. the contending parties do not question the correctness of these amounts.430. The amounts of P344. COA Regional Director of Tacloban City. petitioner Melchor appealed to the COA Head Office which dismissed his appeal for lack of merit. of the contract. Respondent COA maintains that the contract entered into by the petitioner with Cebu Diamond Construction is null and void since the chief accountant did not affix his signature to the contract.206 — representing payment for extra work orders. The records do not explain the reason for the discrepancy. then the amount of P344. In a first Indorsement dated July 17. This P515. Immediately. since there was no compliance with the above provision. which were incurred to make the building structure strong.60 paid to the contractor. The Chief Accountant of the contracting agency shall sign such contracts as witness and contracts without such witness hall be considered as null and void. and other agreements requiring payments which are chargeable to agency current operating or capital expenditure funds.80 — representing 6l% of equivalent payment for the work done by the contractor within the contract specifications. . the petitioner wrote a letter addressed to the Regional Director.. 1445 (otherwise known as "The Government Auditing Code of the Phils. VIII. 1985. Cesar A. and 2) P172.60 to the contractor. this petition. being an integral part. Hence.26.305. According to COA.003. seeking reconsideration of his directive to the Resident Auditor of the school to disallow the payment of P515. specifically. Tacloban City. provides: 1. including equipment.305. and d) the petitioner religiously complied with the provisions of P."). when added together.80 and P172.On May 3. in violate on of the requirements of LOI 968.D.

no contract involving the expenditure of public fund by any government agency shall be entered into or authorized unless the proper accounting official of the agency concerned shall have certified to the officer entering into the obligation that funds have been duly appropriated for the purpose and that the amount necessary to cover the proposed contract for the current fiscal year is available for expenditure on account thereof. Petitioner Melchor urges that the issuance by the chief accountant of a "Certificate of Availability of Funds" compensates for the latter's non-signing as a contract witness since under Section 86 of PD 1445. But since Section 86 states that the certificate shall be attached to and become an integral part of the proposed contract. the petitioner should not be made to personally pay for the building already constructed. shall be attached to and become an integral part of the proposed contract. He cites Section 86 of PD 1445. Under Sections 85 and 86 of PD 1445. the chief accountant of the government agency. and the sum so certified shall not thereafter be available for expenditure for any other purpose until the obligation of the government agency concerned under the contract is fully extinguished. auditor who verified it. The certificate. 1988. The uniform intent of these provisions is to ensure that government contracts are signed only when supported by available funds. The contract moreover provided that "other essential related documents xxx are made and acknowledged as integral parts of . the Court finds that the contract executed by the petitioner and Cebu Diamond Construction is enforceable and. before a government agency can enter into a contract involving expenditure of government funds there must be an appropriation for such expenditure and the proper accounting official must certify that funds have been appropriated for the purpose. the certificate is attached to and becomes an integral part of the contract. Moreover the petitioner contends that assuming arguendo that the contract is null and void.R. the contractor was allowed by the Court to be compensated on a quantum meruit basis. No. Under LOI 968. Under the circumstances of this case. despite the absence of a specific covering appropriation as required under COA Resolution No. In that case. In the case before us. Article VI. substantial compliance with the mandate of LOI 968. G. LOI 968 and Sections 85 and 86 of PD 1445 implement and reinforce the constitutional mandate that "No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law" (Constitution. the chief accountant issued a certificate of availability of funds but failed to sign the contract as witness. Commission on Audit. then the failure of the chief accountant to affix his signature to the contract was somehow made up by his own certification which is the basic and more important validating document. 86-58. Section 29 [1]). November 22.. as the verifier of the availability of funds.The petitioner reasons that the absence of the accountant's signature as witness to the contract should not militate against its validity. He cites this Court's resolution in Royal Trust Corporation v. signed by the proper accounting official and the. which states: Certificate Showing Appropriation to Meet Contract — . he should still not be made personally accountable for the amount paid to the contractor. 84202. in effect. subject to verification. modification by the auditor concerned. He argues that there was. must sign such contracts as witness.. therefore.

It is a rule of statutory construction that the court may consider the spirit and reason of a statute where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity. not his signature as a contract witness. injustice or would defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers. within 5 days from receipt of a copy of the contract. Additionally. The rationale for LOI 968.1976. 83-101-J (dated June 8. He has not been charged under some regulations governing negligence in not going over auditing and accounting rules more carefully. However. the accountant's signature shall have the effect of a certification. respondent COA does not deny the petitioner's claim that it was furnished copies of the contract. But even assuming some kind of administrative responsibility for not being more careful. under COA Circular No. which is to ensure that there are available funds to finance a proposed project. the COA is required to call the attention of management regarding defects or deficiencies of the contract and suggest such corrective measures as are appropriate and warranted to facilitate the process of the claim upon presentation.000 and the 15% price escalation of P73. from which such contract shall be ultimately payable. What further bolsters the contract's validity is the fact that the original contract for P488. Culture and Sports. as duly evidenced by programmed appropriations released by the Ministry of Budget and received by the agency. Section 2 of LOI 968 provides: 2. Moreover. Purisima 86 SCRA 542 (1978). CIII of the Implementing Rules of PD 1594. (People v. under the above proviso. . (Emphasis Supplied) Since. together with supporting documents. His signature shall be considered as constituting a certification to that effect. Manantan 5 SCRA 684 [1962]) For this Court to draw a narrow and stringent application of LOI 968 would be to lose sight of the purpose behind its enactment. In this case. 1983) and the Implementing Rules of PD 1594. then it may be inferred that the accountant's certification. 76-34 dated July 15. under the peculiar circumstances of this case. Under COA Circular 83-101-J. by reference and/or incorporation. If the respondent had complied with this requirement. the Minister is empowered to approve contract price escalation not exceeding 18% of the original contract price. contradiction. Under Section III. No less compelling than the foregoing reasons is the undisputed fact that the construction of the Home Technology Building had long been completed and that the building is now being utilized as part of the Alangalang Industrial School. a few days after approval thereof by the Minister of Education. is the more reliable indicium of fund availability.000 bore the approval of the Minister of Education. Culture and Sports as required by COA Circular No." This is not to say that the heads of government offices or institutions should not read carefully the fine print of official regulations governing contracts. he should not be made to pay for a school building already constructed and serving an urgent need in his province. COA was also negligent.this agreement. then the absence of the accountant's signature as a witness to the contract could have been remedied. the Minister of Education. It shall be the responsibility of the Chief Accountant to verify the availability of funds. we agree with the petitioner's view that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of LOI 968 in the execution of the contract. Culture and Sports has the authority to approve infrastructure projects not exceeding P2 Million. In People v. was already served by the chief accountant's issuance of a certificate of fund availability.

was null and void because no supplemental agreement was executed. 80-122. Under COA Circular 83-101-J. For a failure to show the approval by the proper authority and to submit the corresponding appropriation. to shoulder the construction cost of the building when it is not he. A separate supplemental agreement may be entered into for all change orders or extra work orders if the aggregate amount exceeds 25% of the escalated original contract price. who had substantially complied With the mandate of LOI 968. Section 87 of PD 1445 states: Any contract entered into contrary to the requirements of the two immediately preceding sections shall be void. since the word "may" was used in the Decree then the requirement of a supplemental agreement under all circumstances may not always be mandatory. The respondent cites the implementing rules and regulations of PD 1594 which provide: 5. it is subject to the restrictions imposed by Sections 85 and 86 of PD 1445 and LOI 968-COA Circular No. However. (Emphasis supplied) . In this case. being more than 25% of the escalated original contract price. dated January 15. the Minister of Education.88. which is reaping benefits from it. Culture and Sports has the authority to approve extra work orders or other variation orders not exceeding 50% of the original contract price or P1 Million whichever is less.003. (Fernandez. there is no showing that the extra work order was approved by the Minister. 115-116 [1985]) As such. evil and injurious consequences. the petitioner has not presented proof of an appropriation to cover the extra work order. In the present case we consider it highly inequitable to compel the petitioner.we held that there exists a valid presumption that undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative measure.26 paid by the petitioner to the contractor for extra work done. which will avoid all objectionable.) (Emphasis supplied). We declare the contract for extra works null and void. mischievous.003. The Court therefore rules that respondent COA erred in disallowing in audit the amount of P344. and that a construction of which the statute is fairly susceptible is favored. Again. we adjudge that respondent COA is not without legal basis in disallowing the P172. and the officer or offices entering into the contract shall be liable to the government or other contracting party for any consequent damage to the same extent as if the transaction had been wholly between private parties. wrongful. supra. With respect to the remaining P12. Moreover. indefensible.26 payment for the extra work orders. A Treatise on Government Contracts under Philippine Law. There is no need to go into any possible exceptions because we find the rule applicable in this case. likewise ensures that an extra work order is approved only when supported by available funds. Under the facts of this case.430. but the government. a variation order (which may take the form of a change order. the COA reasons that the extra work done. (III CI paragraphs 5. 1980. extra work or supplemental agreement) is a contract by itself and involves the expenditure of public funds to cover the cost of the work called for thereunder.

the petition is GRANTED. SO ORDERED. Respondent COA is likewise directed to determine on a quantum meruit basis the value of the extra works done. WHEREFORE. however. Dr.26. 471 [1982]) Although the two cases mentioned above contemplated a situation where it is the contractor who is seeking recovery. 89745. allowed payment to the contractor on a quantum meruit basis despite the absence of a written contract and a covering appropriation. No. if any. that the petitioner should be held personally liable and automatically ordered to return to the government the full amount of P172. 1990 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. supra. Respondent COA is directed to allow in post-audit the payment of P344. 1991. The petitioner shall be personally liable for any such excess payment. (Tantuico. we find that the principle of payment by quantum meruit likewise applies to this case where the contractor had already been paid and the government is seeking reimbursement from the public official who heads the school.R. the Court held that "to deny payment to the contractor of the two buildings which are almost fully completed and presently occupied by the university would be to allow the government to unjustly enrich itself at the expense of another. State Audit Code of the Philippines Annotated. As previously discussed.003. The decision of the respondent COA denominated as 11th Indorsement dated November 11. 1988 and its resolution dated July 31. In a more recent case. G. Commission on Audit. made by the petitioner to the contractor. Eslao v. it would be unjust to Order the petitioner to shoulder the expenditure when the government had already received and accepted benefits from the utilization of the building. Commission on Audit. and after such determination. If.80. in the interest of substantial justice and equity.430. . the Court. the Court directed payment to the contractor on a quantum meruit basis despite the petitioner's failure to undertake a public bidding. April 8. cited by the petitioner. to disallow in post-audit the excess payment. Rufino O. then petitioner Melchor shall be liable only for such excess payment. In that case.This does not mean. In Royal Trust Construction v. Where payment is based on quantum meruit the amount of recovery would only be the reasonable value of the thing or services rendered regardless of any agreement as to value. after COA determines the value of the extra works computed on the basis of quantum meruit it finds that the petitioner made an excess or improper payment for these extra works.