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Laurel vs Desierto FACTS: 1.

Vice President Laurel was named as the chairman of the National Centennial Committee (NCC) and by virtue of his being the chairman, he also became the chairman of EXPOCORP. a. NCC - mandated "to take charge of the nationwide preparations for the National Celebration of the Philippine Centennial of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and the Inauguration of the Malolos Congress b. EXPOCORP - a corporation organized to undertake the Freedom Ring Project in relation to the centennial celebration 2. Senator Coseteng delivered a privilege speech in the Senate denouncing alleged anomalies in the construction and operation of the Centennial Exposition Project at the Clark Special Economic Zone a. Investigation was effected 3. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee filed with the Secretary of the Senate its Committee Final Report recommending for the prosecution by the Ombudsman/DOJ of Dr. Salvador Laurel, chair of NCC and of EXPOCORP for violating the rules on public bidding, in violation of the anti-graft law. 4. Office of the Ombudsman required Laurel to submit his counter affidavit 5. Laurel filed a motion to dismiss contending that the office of the ombudsman has no jurisdiction as NCC is not a public office MTD DENIED 6. Laurel filed a petition for certiorari ISSUE: W/N Laurel, being the chairman of NCC and EXPOCORP, is a public officer HELD: YES. NCC performs sovereign functions. It is, therefore, a public office, and petitioner, as its Chair, is a public officer RATIO: Ombudsmans Jurisdiction: The power to investigate and to prosecute granted by law to the Ombudsman is plenary and unqualified. It pertains to any act or omission of any public officer or employee when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient . It must be stressed that the powers granted by the legislature to the Ombudsman are very broad and encompass all kinds of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance committed by public officers and employees during their tenure of office. Definition of Public Officer: 1. Neither the Constitution nor the Ombudsman Act of 1989 defines who public officers are 2. A definition of public officers cited in jurisprudence is that provided by Mechem, a recognized authority on the subject: a. A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested is a public officer. 3. Laurel insists he is not a public officer because: a. He was not delegated any sovereign functions; b. He did not receive any compensation as chairman of NCC; c. His office has no security of tenure because the NCC is an ad hoc body which is coterminous upon the happening of the 1998 Centennial Celebration. 4. Mechem describes the delegation to the individual of some of the sovereign functions of government as "the most important characteristic" in determining whether a position is a public office or not. a. The most important characteristic which distinguishes an office from an employment or contract is that the creation and conferring of an office involves a delegation to the

individual of some of the sovereign functions of government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public; that some portion of the sovereignty of the country, either legislative, executive or judicial, attaches, for the time being, to be exercised for the public benefit. Unless the powers conferred are of this nature, the individual is not a public officer. 5. SC holds that NCC performs executive functions. a. The executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance." The executive function, therefore, concerns the implementation of the policies as set forth by law. b. it can be seen that the NCC was given executive functions, to wit: promote economic development particularly in Central Luzon to attract investors to mitigate the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, among others. Promotion of industrialization and full employment is a fundamental state policy. c. The office has the primary task of harnessing the multi-sectoral components from the business, cultural, and business sectors to serve as effective instruments from the launching and overseeing of this long-term project; 6. That he did not receive compensation is of no consequence. a. A salary is a usual but not a necessary criterion for determining the nature of the position. It is not conclusive. The salary is a mere incident and forms no part of the office. Where a salary or fees is annexed, the office is provided for it is a naked or honorary office, and is supposed to be accepted merely for the public good. Hence, the office of petitioner as NCC Chair may be characterized as an honorary office, as opposed to a lucrative office or an office of profit, i.e., one to which salary, compensation or fees are attached 7. It bears noting that under Section 3 (b) of Republic Act No. 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees), one may be considered a "public official" whether or not one receives compensation. a. "Public Officials" include elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service including military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount