EN BANC G.R. No.

180236 January 17, 2012

GEMMA P. CABALIT, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT-REGION VII, Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 180341 FILADELFO S. APIT, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT (COA) Legal and Adjudication, Region VII, Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 180342 LEONARDO G. OLAIVAR, in his capacity as Transportation Regulation Officer and OfficerIn-Charge of Land Transportation Office, Jagna, Province of Bohol, Petitioner, vs. HON. PRIMO C. MIRO, in his official capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas, EDGARDO G. CANTON, in his capacity as Graft Investigator Officer, ATTY. ROY L. URSAL, in his capacity as Regional Cluster Director, Commission on Audit, Cebu City, Respondents. DECISION VILLARAMA, JR., J.: Three employees from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Jagna, Bohol were found by the Ombudsman to have perpetrated a scheme to defraud the government of proper motor vehicle registration fees. They now seek in the present consolidated petitions a judgment from this Court annulling the January 18, 2006 Decision1 and September 21, 2007 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) which affirmed with modification the Decision3 of the Office of the OmbudsmanVisayas dismissing them from government service. The facts follow: On September 4, 2001, the Philippine Star News, a local newspaper in Cebu City, reported that employees of the LTO in Jagna, Bohol, are shortchanging the government by tampering with their income reports.4 Accordingly, Regional Director Ildefonso T. Deloria of the Commission on Audit (COA) directed State Auditors Teodocio D. Cabalit and Emmanuel L. Coloma of the Provincial Revenue Audit Group to conduct a fact-finding investigation. A widespread tampering of official receipts of Motor Vehicle Registration during the years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 was then discovered by the investigators.

According to the investigators, a total of 106 receipts were tampered. The scheme was done by detaching the Plate Release and Owner’s copy from the set of official receipts then typing thereon the correct details corresponding to the vehicle registered, the owner’s name and address, and the correct amount of registration fees. The other copies, consisting of the copies for the Collector, EDP, Record, Auditor, and Regional Office, meanwhile, were typed on to make it appear that the receipts were issued mostly for the registration of motorcycles with much lower registration charges. Incorrect names and/or addresses were also used on said file copies. The difference between the amounts paid by the vehicle owners and the amounts appearing on the file copies were then pocketed by the perpetrators, and only the lower amounts appearing on the retained duplicate file copies were reported in the Report of Collections. 5 According to State Auditors Cabalit and Coloma in their Joint-Affidavit, the scheme was perpetrated by LTO employees Leonardo G. Olaivar, Gemma P. Cabalit, Filadelfo S. Apit and Samuel T. Alabat, and resulted in an unreported income totaling P169,642.50.6 On August 8, 2002, COA Regional Cluster Director Atty. Roy L. Ursal reported the tampering of official receipts to Deputy Ombudsman Primo C. Miro.7 According to Atty. Ursal, the irregularity is penalized under Article 217, in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code;8 Section 3(e)9 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and likewise violates Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713.10 In a Joint Evaluation Report, Graft Investigators Pio R. Dargantes and Virginia Palanca-Santiago found grounds to conduct a preliminary investigation.11 Hence, a formal charge for dishonesty was filed against Olaivar, Cabalit, Apit and Alabat before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, and the parties were required to submit their counter-affidavits. In compliance, Olaivar, Cabalit, Apit and Alabat submitted separate counter-affidavits, all essentially denying knowledge and responsibility for the anomalies. As to Olaivar, he maintained that the receipts were typed outside his office by regular and casual employees. He claimed that the receipts were presented to him only for signature and he does not receive the payment when he signs the receipts.12 Cabalit, for her part, claimed that her duty as cashier was to receive collections turned over to her and to deposit them in the Land Bank of the Philippines in Tagbilaran City. She claimed that she was not even aware of any anomaly in the collection of fees prior to the investigation.13 As to Apit, he admitted that he countersigned the official receipts, but he too denied being aware of any illegal activity in their office. He claimed that upon being informed of the charge, he verified the photocopies of the tampered receipts and was surprised to find that the signatures above his name were falsified.14 Alabat, meanwhile, claimed he did not tamper, alter or falsify any public document in the performance of his duties. He insisted that the initial above his name on Official Receipt No. 64056082 was Apit’s, while the initial on Official Receipt No. 64056813 was that of Olaivar.15 During the hearing before Graft Investigator Pio R. Dargantes, State Auditor Cabalit testified on the investigation he conducted in the LTO in Jagna, Bohol. He testified that he was furnished with the owner’s and duplicate copies of the tampered receipts. Upon comparison of the Owner’s copy with the Collector or Record’s copy, he noticed that the amounts shown in the original copies were much bigger than those appearing in the file copies. State Auditor Cabalit also declared that the basis for implicating Olaivar is the fact that his signature appears in all the 106 tampered official receipts and he signed as verified correct the Report of Collections, which included the tampered receipts. As to Apit and Cabalit, they are the other signatories of the official receipts. 16 In some official receipts, the Owner’s copy is signed by F.S. Apit as Computer Evaluator, G.P. Cabalit as Cashier, and Leonardo Olaivar as District Head, but their signatures do not appear on the file copies.17

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On February 12, 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas directed18 the parties to submit their position papers pursuant to Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 17, dated September 7, 2003, amending the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman.19 No cross-examination of State Auditor Cabalit was therefore conducted. Complying with the above Order, the COA submitted its position paper on March 18, 2004. Olaivar, Cabalit and Apit, for their part, respectively submitted their position papers on April 29, 2004, March 18, 2004 and March 15, 2004. In its position paper,20 the COA pointed out that the signatures of Cabalit, Apit and Olaivar were indispensable to the issuance of the receipts. As to Olaivar, the original receipts bear his signature, thereby showing that he approved of the amounts collected for the registration charges. However, when the receipts were reported in the Report of Collections, the data therein were already tampered reflecting a much lesser amount. By affixing his signature on the Report of Collections and thereby attesting that the entries therein were verified by him as correct, he allowed the scheme to be perpetrated. As to Cabalit, the COA pointed out that as cashier, Cabalit’s signature on the receipts signified that she received the registration fees. The correct amounts should have therefore appeared in the Report of Collections, but as already stated, lesser amounts appeared on the Report of Collections, which she prepares. In the same manner, Apit, as computer evaluator, also signed the subject receipts allowing the irregularities to be perpetuated.1avvphi1 In his position paper,21 Olaivar meanwhile insisted that he had no participation in the anomalies. He stressed that his only role in the issuance of the official receipts was to review and approve the applications, and that he was the last one to sign the official receipts. He argued that based on the standard procedure for the processing of applications for registration of motor vehicles, it could be deduced that there was a concerted effort or conspiracy among the evaluator, typist and cashier, while he was kept blind of their modus operandi. Cabalit, for her part, questioned the findings of the investigators. She stressed in her position paper22 that had there been a thorough investigation of the questioned official receipts, the auditors would have discovered that the signatures appearing above her name were actually that of Olaivar. She outlined the standard paper flow of a regular transaction at the LTO. It begins when the registrant goes to the computer evaluator for the computation of applicable fees and proceeds to the cashier for payment. After paying, the typist will prepare the official receipts consisting of seven (7) copies, which will be routed to the computer evaluator, to the district head, and to the cashier for signature. The cashier retains the copies for the EDP, Regional Office, Collector and Auditor, while the remaining copies (Owner, Plate Release and Record’s copy) will be forwarded to the Releasing Section for distribution and release. Cabalit insisted that on several occasions Olaivar disregarded the standard procedure and directly accommodated some registrants who were either his friends or referred to him by friends. For such transactions, Olaivar assumes the functions of computer evaluator, typist and cashier, as he is the one who computes the fees, receives the payment and prepares the official receipts. Olaivar would then remit the payment to her. As the cashier, she has to accept the payment as a matter of ministerial duty. Apit, meanwhile, stressed in his position paper23 that the strokes of the signatures appearing above his typewritten name on the official receipts are different, indicating that the same are falsified. He also explained that considering that the LTO in Jagna issues around 20 to 25 receipts a day, he signed the receipts relying on the faith that his co-employees had properly accomplished

the forms. He also pointed out that Engr. Dano admitted signing accomplished official receipts when the regular computer encoder is out, which just shows that other personnel could have signed above the name of F.S. Apit.lawphil On May 3, 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas rendered judgment finding petitioners liable for dishonesty for tampering the official receipts to make it appear that they collected lesser amounts than they actually collected. The OMB-Visayas ruled: WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is hereby resolved that the following respondents be found guilty of the administrative infraction of DISHONESTY and accordingly be meted out the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE with the accessory penalties of cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and disqualification from re-employment in the government service: 1. Leonardo G. Olaivar -Transportation Regulation Officer II/ Office[r]-In-Charge LTO Jagna District Office Jagna, Bohol; 2. Gemma P. Cabalit - Cashier II, LTO Jagna District Office Jagna, Bohol; 3. Filadelpo S. Apit - Clerk II, LTO Jagna District Office Jagna, Bohol; The complaint against respondent Samuel T. Alabat, presently the Head of Apprehension Unit of the Tagbilaran City LTO, is hereby DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence. The complaint regarding the LTO official receipts/MVRRs issued by the LTO Jagna District Office, which are not covered by original copies are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges upon the recovery of the original copies thereof. SO DECIDED.24 Petitioners sought reconsideration of the decision, but their motions were denied by the Ombudsman.25 Thus, they separately sought recourse from the CA. On January 18, 2006, the CA promulgated the assailed Decision in CA-G.R. SP. Nos. 86256, 86394 and 00047. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads, WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered by US DISMISSING the instant consolidated petitions. The assailed decision of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas dated May 3, 2004 in OMB-V-A-02-0415-H is hereby AFFIRMED with a modification that petitioner Olaivar be held administratively liable for gross neglect of duty which carries the same penalty as provided for dishonesty. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.26

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According to the CA, it was unbelievable that from 1998 to 2001, Cabalit and Apit performed vital functions by routinely signing LTO official receipts but did not have any knowledge of the irregularity in their office. With regard to Olaivar, the CA believed that the tampering of the receipts could have been avoided had he exercised the required diligence in the performance of his duties. Thus, the CA held him liable merely for gross neglect of duty. Petitioners sought reconsideration of the CA decision, but the CA denied their motions. they filed the instant petitions before the Court. In her petition, petitioner Cabalit argues that I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE OMBUDSMAN'S DECISION WHICH GAVE RETROACTIVE EFFECT TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 17 IN THE PROCEEDINGS BELOW THAT WAS ALREADY ON TRIAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 07. II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ALTHOUGH THE TRIAL TYPE HEARING UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 07 DID NOT PUSH THRU, PETITIONER WAS STILL ACCORDED HER RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS UNDER THE SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 17. III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE DECISION OF RESPONDENT OMBUDSMAN DESPITE HAVING FAILED TO MAKE A CATEGORICAL RULING ON THE ISSUE OF WHETHER THE QUESTIONED AND/OR FORGED SIGNATURES BELONG TO PETITIONER GEMMA CABALIT. IV. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE ON THE DOCTRINAL VALUE AND/OR APPLICABILITY OF THE TAPIADOR VS. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (G.R. [129124], MARCH 15, 2002) RULING HERE IN THE INSTANT CASE.28
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I. WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER LEONARDO G. OLAIVAR IS ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE FOR GROSS NEGLIGENCE. II. WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT PETITIONER LEONARDO G. OLAIVAR WAS NOT DENIED DUE PROCESS WHEN THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN VISAYAS FOUND HIM GUILTY FOR DISHONESTY AND METED OUT THE PENALTY OF DISMISSAL FROM SERVICE.30 On January 15, 2008, said petitions were consolidated.31 Essentially, the issues for our resolution are: (1) whether there was a violation of the right to due process when the hearing officer at the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas adopted the procedure under A.O. No. 17 notwithstanding the fact that the said amendatory order took effect after the hearings had started; and (2) whether Cabalit, Apit and Olaivar are administratively liable. As regards the first issue, petitioners claim that they were denied due process of law when the investigating lawyer proceeded to resolve the case based only on the affidavits and other evidence on record without conducting a formal hearing. They lament that the case was submitted for decision without giving them opportunity to present witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses against them. Petitioner Cabalit also argues that the Office of the Ombudsman erred in applying the amendments under A.O. No. 17 to the trial of the case, which was already in progress under the old procedures under A.O. No. 07. She stressed that under A.O. No. 07, she had the right to choose whether to avail of a formal investigation or to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the evidence on record. Here, she was not given such option and was merely required to submit her position paper. Petitioners’ arguments deserve scant consideration.

Hence,

Suffice to say, petitioners were not denied due process of law when the investigating lawyer proceeded to resolve the case based on the affidavits and other evidence on record. Section 5(b)(1)32 Rule 3, of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, as amended by A.O. No. 17, plainly provides that the hearing officer may issue an order directing the parties to file, within ten days from receipt of the order, their respective verified position papers on the basis of Meanwhile, Apit interposes the following arguments in his petition: which, along with the attachments thereto, the hearing officer may consider the case submitted for decision. It is only when the hearing officer determines that based on the evidence, there is a need I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN LIMITING ADMINISTRATIVE DUE PROCESS to conduct clarificatory hearings or formal investigations under Section 5(b)(2) and Section 5(b)(3) that such further proceedings will be conducted. But the determination of the necessity for further AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD ONLY. proceedings rests on the sound discretion of the hearing officer. As the petitioners have utterly failed to show any cogent reason why the hearing officer’s determination should be overturned, the II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THE DEFENSE OF determination will not be disturbed by this Court. We likewise find no merit in their contention PETITIONER APIT AS MERE DENIAL. that the new procedures under A.O. No. 17, which took effect while the case was already undergoing trial before the hearing officer, should not have been applied. III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS FAILURE TO RECONSIDER THE EVIDENCE THAT CLEARLY PROVED THAT THE SIGNATURES ABOVE THE NAME The rule in this jurisdiction is that one does not have a vested right in procedural rules. In Tan, Jr. OF PETITIONER APIT IN THE QUESTIONED RECEIPTS ARE ALL FORGED AND v. Court of Appeals,33 the Court elucidated: FALSIFIED.29 As for Olaivar, he assails the CA Decision raising the following issues: Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent. The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the litigants’ rights may not

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preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. Nor is the retroactive application of procedural statutes constitutionally objectionable. The reason is that as a general rule no vested right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws. It has been held that "a person has no vested right in any particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial of his case, whether civil or criminal, of any other than the existing rules of procedure. (Emphasis supplied.) While the rule admits of certain exceptions, such as when the statute itself expressly or by necessary implication provides that pending actions are excepted from its operation, or where to apply it would impair vested rights, petitioners failed to show that application of A.O. No. 17 to their case would cause injustice to them. Indeed, in this case, the Office of the Ombudsman afforded petitioners every opportunity to defend themselves by allowing them to submit counter-affidavits, position papers, memoranda and other evidence in their defense. Since petitioners have been afforded the right to be heard and to defend themselves, they cannot rightfully complain that they were denied due process of law. Well to remember, due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. It is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. More often, this opportunity is conferred through written pleadings that the parties submit to present their charges and defenses.34 But as long as a party is given the opportunity to defend his or her interests in due course, said party is not denied due process. 35 Neither is there merit to Cabalit’s assertion that she should have been investigated under the "old rules of procedure" of the Office of the Ombudsman, and not under the "new rules." In Marohomsalic v. Cole,36 we clarified that the Office of the Ombudsman has only one set of rules of procedure and that is A.O. No. 07, series of 1990, as amended. There have been various amendments made thereto but it has remained, to date, the only set of rules of procedure governing cases filed in the Office of the Ombudsman. Hence, the phrase "as amended" is correctly appended to A.O. No. 7 every time it is invoked. A.O. No. 17 is just one example of these amendments. But did the CA correctly rule that petitioners Cabalit and Apit are liable for dishonesty while petitioner Olaivar is liable for gross neglect of duty? Cabalit argues that the CA erred in affirming the decision of the Ombudsman finding her liable for dishonesty. She asserts that it was not established by substantial evidence that the forged signatures belong to her. Meanwhile, Apit contends that the CA erred in not considering evidence which proves that the signatures appearing above his name are falsified. However, we note that both Cabalit and Apit raise essentially factual issues which are not proper in petitions filed under Rule 45. Settled jurisprudence dictates that subject to a few exceptions, only questions of law may be brought before the Court via a petition for review on certiorari. In Diokno v. Cacdac,37 the Court held: x x x [T]he scope of this Court’s judicial review of decisions of the Court of Appeals is generally confined only to errors of law, and questions of fact are not entertained. We elucidated on our fidelity to this rule, and we said: Thus, only questions of law may be brought by the parties and passed upon by this Court in the exercise of its power to review. Also, judicial review by this Court does not extend to a

reevaluation of the sufficiency of the evidence upon which the proper x x x tribunal has based its determination. (Emphasis supplied.) It is aphoristic that a re-examination of factual findings cannot be done through a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court because this Court is not a trier of facts; it reviews only questions of law. The Supreme Court is not duty-bound to analyze and weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings below.38 Here, the CA affirmed the findings of fact of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas which are supported by substantial evidence such as affidavits of witnesses and copies of the tampered official receipts.39 The CA found that a perusal of the questioned receipts would easily reveal the discrepancies between the date, name and vehicle in the Owner's or Plate Release copies and the File, Auditor, and Regional Office copies. It upheld the factual findings of the Ombudsman that petitioners Cabalit and Apit tampered with the duplicates of the official receipts to make it appear that they collected a lesser amount. Their participation was found to have been indispensable as the irregularities could not have been committed without their participation. They also concealed the misappropriation of public funds by falsifying the receipts. Now, superior courts are not triers of facts. When the findings of fact of the Ombudsman are supported by substantial evidence, it should be considered as conclusive. 40 This Court recognizes the expertise and independence of the Ombudsman and will avoid interfering with its findings absent a finding of grave abuse of discretion.41 Hence, being supported by substantial evidence, we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the Ombudsman which are affirmed by the CA. As for Olaivar, he insists that the CA erred in holding him administratively liable for gross negligence when he relied to a reasonable extent and in good faith on the actions of his subordinates in the preparation of the applications for registration. He questions the appellate court’s finding that he failed to exercise the required diligence in t he performance of his duties.1avvphi1 While as stated above, the general rule is that factual findings of the CA are not reviewable by this Court, we find that Olaivar’s case falls in one of the recognized exceptions laid down in jurisprudence since the CA’s findings regarding his liability are premised on the supposed absence of evidence but contradicted by the evidence on record. 42 The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas found Olaivar administratively liable for dishonesty while the CA ruled that he may not be held liable for dishonesty supposedly for lack of sufficient evidence. The CA ruled that there was no substantial evidence to show that Olaivar participated in the scheme, but the tampering of the official receipts could have been avoided had he exercised the required diligence in the performance of his duties as officer-in-charge of the Jagna District Office. Thus, the CA found him liable only for gross neglect of duty. This, however, is clear error on the part of the CA. For one, there is clear evidence that Olaivar was involved in the anomalies. Witness Joselito Taladua categorically declared in his affidavit43 that he personally paid Olaivar the sum of P2,675 for the renewal of registration of a jeep for which he was issued Official Receipt No. 47699853. Much to his dismay, Taladua later found out that his payment was not reflected correctly in the Report of Collections, and that the vehicle was deemed unregistered for the year 2000.

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lack of honesty. 6770 intended that the implementation of the order be coursed through the proper officer. Court of Appeals. Section 15 (3) of R. xxxx 5 . untrustworthiness. She also revealed that Olaivar would ask her for unused official receipts and would later return the duplicate copies to her with the cash collections. and computed the fees. Office of the Ombudsman. he witnessed Olaivar type the data himself in the official receipts even if they have a typist in the office to do the job. No. We reiterated this ruling in Office of the Ombudsman v. lack of integrity. demote. suspension. Under Section 52. or defraud. Functions and Duties.52 this Court has already settled the issue when we ruled that the power of the Ombudsman to determine and impose administrative liability is not merely recommendatory but actually mandatory. in Office of the Ombudsman v. and shall. thus: The Court further explained in Ledesma that the mandatory character of the Ombudsman’s order imposing a sanction should not be interpreted as usurpation of the authority of the head of office or any officer concerned." Implementation of the order imposing the penalty is. He disclosed that the correct charges were typed in the Owner’s copy and the Plate Release copy of the official receipts. in turn. the Court affirmed the appellate court’s decision which had. he would verify the Report of Collections as correct. We held. demotion. the same Section 15(3) also states that the Ombudsman in the alternative may "enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21" of RA 6770. received payment and prepared the official receipts for those transactions. Bohol. censure. suspend. or any subdivision. fine. or prosecution.46 Neglect of duty implies only the failure to give proper attention to a task expected of an employee arising from either carelessness or indifference. censure. shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government. deceive. suspend. suspension. or prosecute an officer or employee is not merely advisory or recommendatory but is actually mandatory. in Ledesma v. In addition. demotion. However. which is defined as the concealment or distortion of truth in a matter of fact relevant to one’s office or connected with the performance of his duty. By stating therefore that the Ombudsman "recommends" the action to be taken against an erring officer or employee. censure or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be a ground for disciplinary action against said officer. She narrated in her position paper that on several times. Lowell A.49 Under Section 58. agency or instrumentality thereof. Recently. Motor Vehicle Inspector Engr. the facts of this case show more than a failure to mind one’s task.50 such penalty likewise carries with it the accessory penalties of cancellation of civil service eligibility. Cabalit pointed to Olaivar as the person behind the anomaly in the LTO-Jagna District Office. He asserted that Olaivar was responsible for tampering the official receipts.56 The duty and privilege of the Ombudsman to act as protector of the people against the illegal and unjust acts of those who are in the public service emanate from no less than the 1987 Constitution. fine. The Ombudsman and his Deputies. or enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21 of this Act: Provided. Dano) to sign. But be that as it may. Court of Appeals. Dano confirmed that in several instances. the records officer of the LTO in Jagna. – The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers. Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Laja. we held that the exercise of such power is well founded in the Constitution and R. affirmed an order of the Office of the Ombudsman imposing the penalty of suspension on the erring public official. Court of Appeals. to be coursed through the proper officer. the CA correctly imposed the proper penalty upon Olaivar. Engr. and ensure compliance therewith.51 the Office of the Ombudsman can only recommend administrative sanctions and not directly impose them. otherwise known as The Ombudsman Act of 1989.A. Consequently in Ledesma. typist and cashier. or integrity in principle. Powers. Section 12 of Article XI thereof states: Section 12.)53 Subsequently.44 Likewise.45 Moreover. This is because the power of the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute any illegal act or omission of any public official is not an exclusive authority but a shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged. is classified as a grave offense punishable by dismissal even if committed for the first time. Rather. forfeiture of retirement benefits and disqualification from re-employment in the government service. censure. Jacinto Jalop. illustrated how the official receipts were tampered. where we emphasized that "the Ombudsman’s order to remove.54 and Office of the Ombudsman v. as protectors of the people.’ (emphasis supplied. Court of Appeals. or prosecution of a public officer or employee found to be at fault in the exercise of its administrative disciplinary authority. No. the CA should have found Olaivar liable for dishonesty. In Office of the Ombudsman v. Later. fine. Olaivar personally brought the accomplished official receipts for him (Engr. notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof. 6770.48 Hence. That the refusal by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove. like gross neglect of duty. suspension. in appropriate cases. Olaivar directly accommodated some registrants and assumed the functions of computer evaluator. Dano added that after typing.55 the Court upheld the Ombudsman’s power to impose the penalty of removal. fine. the provisions in the Constitution and in Republic Act No. demote. It implies a disposition to lie. provides: SEC. Masing. cheat. 6770. 15. still. including government-owned or controlled corporations. they manifest that Olaivar committed acts of dishonesty. One final note.More. Cabalit contends that pursuant to the obiter in Tapiador v. but a much lower charge and an incorrect address were indicated in the other copies. demotion x x x" of government officials and employees.A.47 However. however. functions and duties: xxxx (3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law. we also held— ‘While Section 15(3) of RA 6770 states that the Ombudsman has the power to "recommend x x x removal. dishonesty. and recommend his removal. in Office of the Ombudsman v. probity.

quoted in full below: 18 February 1992 Ref No. 26035 to Unimarine in consideration for its services.. who signed his conformity to said letter. necessarily. 1992. or (6) Are otherwise irregular. integrity. and. PETER RODRIGUEZ. 2006 and Resolution dated September 21. conduct investigations. suspension. vs. though in accordance with law. the Ombudsman is given full administrative disciplinary authority.R. (Cebu Shipyard).: This is a petition for review on certiorari1 to reverse and set aside the January 29. it is settled that the Office of the Ombudsman can directly imposeadministrative sanctions.R. – The Ombudsman shall act on all complaints relating.850. Inc.: LL92/0383 UNIMARINE SHIPPING LINES.00. SP. 1992. wherein the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the February 10. These provisions cover the entire gamut of administrative adjudication which entails the authority to. formerly known as Cebu Shipyard and Engineering Works. but not limited to acts or omissions which: (1) Are contrary to law or regulation. 19.000. (2) Are unreasonable. contracted the services of Keppel Cebu Shipyard. Nos. public officers and employees must faithfully adhere to hold sacred and render inviolate the constitutional principle that a public office is a public trust. Gorordo Avenue. He is to conduct investigations. Petitioner Leonardo G. CBB-13447. Paul Rodriguez President/General Manager This is to confirm our agreement on the shiprepair bills charged for the repair of MV Pacific Fortune. Respondents. loyalty and efficiency. This includes the power to impose the penalty of removal. hold hearings. in Civil Case No. No. impose the said penalty. INC.A. which amounted to P4. ALBERT HONTANOSAS. Unimarine Shipping Lines. Branch 7. Administrative Complaints. His power is not limited merely to receiving. 86256. No. the M/V Pacific Fortune. With costs against petitioners.R. Cebu Shipyard issued Bill No.58 Thus.486. receive complaints.052. unfair. Inc. Cebu City Attention: Mr. On January 27. In the exercise of his duties. oppressive or discriminatory. processing complaints. and BETHOVEN QUINAIN. for dry docking and ship repair works on its vessel. summon witnesses and require production of evidence and place respondents under preventive suspension. 26035. (4) Proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts.Section 19 of R. (Unimarine). 2004 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. No. Inc. and must at all times be accountable to the people. our invoice no. (3) Are inconsistent with the general course of an agency’s functions. 6770 grants to the Ombudsman the authority to act on all administrative complaints: SEC. hold hearings in accordance with its rules of procedure. immoral or devoid of justification. SO ORDERED FIRST DIVISION G. By the very nature of their duties and responsibilities. determine the appropriate penalty imposable on erring public officers or employees as warranted by the evidence. The assailed Decision dated January 18. serve them with utmost responsibility. fine. demotion. We find it worthy to state at this point that public service requires integrity and discipline. J. place under preventive suspension public officers and employees pending an investigation. 166044 June 18. Hereunder are the undisputed facts as culled from the records of the case.A. or recommending penalties.5 On February 14. INC.1avvphi1 For this reason. 58001. PAUL RODRIGUEZ. public servants must exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and dedication to duty. summon witnesses and require the production of documents. 6770 taken together reveal the manifest intent of the lawmakers to bestow on the Office of the Ombudsman full administrative disciplinary authority. 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. CV No. 2004 Decision2 and October 28. 1992 letter to the President/General Manager of Unimarine. C/O Autographics. 6 . KEPPEL CEBU SHIPYARD. Lahug.57 The provisions in R. Petitioner. the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED. 2012 COUNTRY BANKERS INSURANCE CORPORATION. Olaivar is held administratively liable forDISHONESTY and meted the penalty of dismissal from the service as well as the accessory penalties inherent to said penalty. (5) Are in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose. The terms of this agreement were embodied in Cebu Shipyard’s February 18. 1997 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City.00. UNIMARINE SHIPPING LINES.6 Negotiations between Cebu Shipyard and Unimarine led to the reduction of this amount to P3.59 WHEREFORE. 86394 and 00047 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. inter alia. or censure of a public officer or employee. Paul Rodriguez. a corporation engaged in the shipping industry.

asked Unimarine if the payment could be picked up the next day. Unimarine Shipping Lines. ("the Debtor") of Gorordo Avenue. Unimarine executed a Contract of Undertaking in favor of Cebu Shipyard. agree to present CSEW surety bonds equal to 120% of the value of the credit extended. 1992. broken down as follows: Unimarine will deposit post-dated checks equivalent to the above amounts in Philippine Peso and an additional check amount of P385.00 excluding VAT. executors. Inc. Uni-Marine Shipping Lines.00 -------------------4. 1992 in the amount of P3. obtained another bond from Plaridel Surety and Insurance Co. We likewise hereby expressly waive whatever right of excussion we may have under the law and equity. we hereby unconditionally. Inc.000. Cebu Shipyard. representing 10% [Value Added Tax] VAT on the above bill of P3. within seven days from receipt of the letter. through the latter’s agent.00. Conforme: (SGD) PAUL RODRIGUEZ Unimarine Shipping Lines. G (16) 294198 (the surety bond) on January 15.000.000. Due Date This contract shall be binding upon Uni-Marine Shipping Lines. to confirm Paul Rodriguez’s promise that Unimarine will pay in full the P3. 1992. 1992. 331529 (the endorsement).850.850.486.052.11 30 Jun 1992 Because Unimarine failed to remit the first installment when it became due on May 30.00] in US Dollars to be fixed at the prevailing USDollar to Philippine Peso exchange rate at the time of payment.850. in US Dollars on July 1. was dishonored by the bank due to insufficient funds. Cebu Shipyard was constrained to deposit the peso check corresponding to the initial installment of P2. In addition to this. The payment terms to be extended to Unimarine is as follows: Installments 1st Installment 2nd Installment Amount P2. In the event that Unimarine fails to make full payment on the above due dates in US Dollars. Since Unimarine failed to deliver on the above promise. The expiration of this surety bond was extended to January 15. sent Unimarine a letter. and assigns and shall not be discharged until all obligation of this 30 May 1992 contract shall have been faithfully and fully performed by the Debtor.458. through Paul Rodriguez.00.620. 1992. This was followed by another faxed message on July 6. (CBIC). Unimarine in consideration of the credit terms extended by CSEW and the release of the vessel before full payment of the above debt. CEBU SHIPYARD & ENG'G WORKS. Bethoven Quinain (Quinain).235.000.000. 02381 189.859. on February 19.00. on July 2.00 (636.350. Cebu Shipyard again faxed15 Unimarine. successors.850. On August 24. administrators. G (16)-0036510 in the amount of P1. however. and reminding it to settle its account immediately. 1992. (Plaridel). Inc.000. wherein Cebu Shipyard reminded Unimarine of its promise to pay in full on July 28.00 Add: Interest/penalty charges: Debit Note No. to inform it that interest charges will have to be imposed on their outstanding debt. PSIC Bond No.052. Unimarine. On February 17.12 Cebu Shipyard faxed a message to Unimarine. INC. The pertinent portions of the contract read as follows: Messrs. 1992. which was later on attached to and formed part of the surety bond.000. Inc.000.000.00) -------------------3. Cebu City hereby acknowledges that in consideration of Cebu Shipyard & Engineering Works. Cebu Shipyard.000.888.00.7 In compliance with the agreement.000.00 Add: VAT on repair bill no.00.850.00.620. 1992. Cebu Shipyard will have to enforce payment against the sureties and take legal action.000. through Endorsement No.00) shall also become payable to CSEW. ("Unimarine") will pay the above amount of [P3.000. 1992. 16 demanding payment.13 On June 24. On November 18.350.000. (SGD) SEET KENG TAT Treasurer/VP-Admin.00 7 . and if it still fails to pay before August 28. irrevocably undertake to make punctual payment to Cebu Shipyard of the Moneys Payable on the terms and conditions as set out in part B of the Schedule. 1992. CBIC Surety Bond No. 26035 385.The shiprepair bill (Bill No. Inc.00 P1.00. ("Cebu Shipyard") at our request agreeing to release the vessel specified in part A of the Schedule ("name of vessel") prior to the receipt of the sum specified in part B of the Schedule ("Moneys Payable") B#26035 MV PACIFIC FORTUNE LESS: ADJUSTMENT: CN#00515-03/19/92 4. 26035) is agreed at a negotiated amount of P3.. 1992.00. informing it of the situation. Unimarine.00 payable in respect of certain works performed or to be performed by Cebu Shipyard and/or its subcontractors and/or material and equipment supplied or to be supplied by Cebu Shipyard and/or its subcontractors in connection with the vessel for the party specified in part C of the Schedule ("the Debtor"). its heirs. 1992. Yours faithfully. secured from Country Bankers Insurance Corp. the amount of P4.000. the post-dated checks will be deposited by CSEW in payment of the amounts owned by Unimarine and Unimarine agree that the 10% VAT (P385. The total bond amount shall be P4. The check.000. 1993. through its counsel. through a faxed letter. Cebu Shipyard again faxed a message14 to Unimarine.500.

The issuance of the surety bond was not reported.22 CBIC added that its liability was extinguished when. the fallo of which reads: Subsequently. as signatories to the Indemnity Agreement they executed in favor of CBIC. the issuing agent.19 on November 19. Furthermore. as authorized under the Special Power of Attorney and General Agency Contract of CBIC. as third party defendants. and alleged that his signature therein was forged. Rianzares added that she was not aware that an endorsement pertaining to the surety bond was also issued by Quinain. He further denied having any participation in the Indemnity Agreement executed in favor of CBIC. 8 . its liability should be limited to the face value of the bond and not for exemplary damages. and to ask them to fulfill their obligations as sureties. third party defendant Hontanosas filed his Answer with Counterclaim. He added that he did not bother to read the documents and he was not aware of the consequences of signing an Indemnity Agreement. and other government agencies.29 Various witnesses were presented by the parties during the course of the trial of the case. and Plaridel. Paul Rodriguez did not contradict the fact that Unimarine failed to pay Cebu Shipyard its obligation. CBIC claimed that Cebu Shipyard should have doubted the authority of Quinain to issue the surety bond based on the following: 1. as the agent who WHEREFORE.458. as stamped on the upper right portion of the face of the bond. as cross defendant. G (16) 29419. 1992.31 However. She also testified that while it was true that the proceeds of the sale of Unimarine’s vessel. National Power Corporation. the RTC was faced with the lone issue of whether or not CBIC was liable to Cebu Shipyard based on Surety Bond No. Ordering the defendants Unimarine Shipping Lines. 1993.859. to the Cross and Third Party Complaint. Her duties included the evaluation and approval of all applications for and reviews of bonds issued by their agents.458. without its knowledge and consent.000. to indemnify CBIC for any amount it may sustain or incur in connection with the issuance of the surety bond and the endorsement. to inform them of Unimarine’s nonpayment. He claimed that he signed the Indemnity Agreement because he trusted Quinain that it was a mere pre-requisite for the issuance of the surety bond. 02382 434. jointly and severally. Albert Hontanosas. was not reported to CBIC.00 but only in favor of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Ordering further defendant Unimarine to pay plaintiff the amount of P259. wherein he was authorized to solicit business and issue surety bonds not exceeding P500. CBIC. CBIC stated that Cebu Shipyard’s claim had already been paid or extinguished when Unimarine executed an Assignment of Claims23 of the proceeds of the sale of its vessel M/V Headline in favor of Cebu Shipyard.00. Rianzares testified that she only learned of the existence of CBIC Surety Bond No. she found out that the surety bond was not reported to CBIC by Quinain. The surety bond could only be issued in favor of the Department of Public Works and Highways.00 to complete its entire obligation of P4. attorney’s fees. Quinain. CBIC asseverated that if it were held to be liable.859. CBIC. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Cebu Shipyard & Engineering Works.34 On February 10.00 equivalent to the value of the surety bonds. This was docketed as Civil Case No.620. 2. M/V Headline.30 Paul Rodriguez admitted that Unimarine failed to pay Cebu Shipyard for the repairs it did on M/V Pacific Fortune. G (16) 29419 when she received the summons for this case.458. which provides that all bonds issued by the agent be reported to CBIC’s office within one week from the date of issuance. and costs of litigation. Incorporated and against the defendants: issued the surety bond and endorsement in excess of his authority. However. and the amount involved. He asseverated that his relationship to Unimarine was limited to his capacity as a lawyer.Debit Note No. in violation of their General Agency Contract. wrote the sureties CBIC18 on November 18. against Unimarine. in its Answer. Myrna Obrinaga testified for Cebu Shipyard. nothing was turned over to them. were assigned to Cebu Shipyard. in excess of his authority. Paul Rodriguez also alleged to not having noticed the limitation "Valid only in favor of DPWH" stamped on the surety bond. and so Cebu Shipyard filed a Complaint dated January 8.21 This stamp was covered by documentary stamps. 24 On August 23. director nor an officer of Unimarine. even the sureties failed to discharge their obligations. despite the extensions granted to Unimarine. and Peter Rodriguez.28 1. CBB-13447. Hontanosas claimed that he had no financial interest in Unimarine and was neither a stockholder. 1997. through counsel. Branch 18 of Cebu City. and the corresponding premiums were not remitted to CBIC.32 CBIC presented Dakila Rianzares. Incorporated.570.27 As for Quinain. Paul Rodriguez. Cebu Shipyard. She corroborated Cebu Shipyard’s allegations and produced in court the documents to support Cebu Shipyard’s claim. and to respond within seven days from receipt of the demand.000. being its retained counsel. 2. She further stated that the surety bond issued in favor of Unimarine was issued beyond Quinain’s authority.20 said that Cebu Shipyard’s complaint states no cause of action. and Plaridel. the Senior Manager of its Bonding Department. Country Bankers Insurance Corporation and Plaridel Surety and Insurance Corporation to pay plaintiff jointly and severally the amount of P4. before the RTC.0017 Due to Unimarine’s failure to heed Cebu Shipyard’s repeated demands. Upon investigation. CBIC alleged that the surety bond was issued by its agent. Albert Hontanosas. Cebu Shipyard and Unimarine novated their agreement several times. and Bethoven Quinain. CBIC filed a Motion to Admit Cross and Third Party Complaint 25 against Unimarine. Fina lly. She was the Chief Accountant in charge of the custody of the documents of the company. 3. 1992. 1993. the RTC rendered its Decision. CBIC alleged that he exceeded his authority as stated in the Special Power of Attorney. CBIC also averred that Cebu Shipyard’s claim had already prescribed as the endorsement that extended the surety bond’s expiry date. 33 After the trial. The nature of the bond undertaking (guarantee payment). and Peter Rodriguez executed an Indemnity Agreement.00 -------------------4. wherein they bound themselves. as he neither signed it nor appeared before the Notary Public who acknowledged such undertaking. 26 CBIC claimed that Paul Rodriguez.

in other words. therefore. On January 29. as it had summarized from the The RTC held that CBIC.00. The Court of Appeals dismissed CBIC’s contention of novation for lack of merit. Peter Rodriguez. 39[SC1 CBIC. Peter Rodriguez and Alber[t] Hontanosas: To indemnify jointly and severally. To pay plaintiff jointly and severally the amount of P100. 29419[. his liability to [the] creditor is said to be direct.000. Albert Hontanosas and ThirdParty Defendant Bethoven Quinain are liable by virtue of the Indemnity Agreement executed between them and Cross and Third Party Plaintiff CBIC. 29419 (Exh. Unimarine.3. and Albert Hontanosas jointly and severally liable thereunder. as CBIC’s agent. Third-Party Defendants-Appellants Paul Rodriguez. Paul Rodriguez. he is bound by the principal. This was. an act is deemed to have been performed within the scope of the agent’s authority. Whether or not Cross Defendant-Appellant UNIMARINE and Third-Party Defendants-Appellants Paul Rodriguez." 36 The RTC I.620. in its Appellant’s Brief. even if the agent has in fact exceeded the limits of his authority according to an understanding between the principal and the agent. held solidarily liable with CBIC under Article 1911 of the Civil Code. the Court of Appeals resolved the following issues.41 In its decision. Albert Hontanosas in turn reiterated that he did not sign the Indemnity Agreement. Peter Rodriguez. and prescription. which they tried to dodge by setting up defenses to release themselves from their obligation.47 CBIC48and Unimarine. "in its capacity as surety is bound with its principal jointly and severally to parties’ pleadings: the extent of the surety bond it issued in favor of [Cebu Shipyard]" because "although the contract of surety is in essence secondary only to a valid principal obligation. The RTC said: [A]s far as third persons are concerned.000. Incorporated and Third party defendants Paul Rodriguez. if such act is within the terms of the powers of attorney as written. 2004. 1997 is AFFIRMED with modification that Mr. 4. Whether or not Defendant-Appellant CBIC.000. V. Peter Rodriguez and Albert Hontanosas are hereby DENIED. and Country Bankers Insurance Corporation.35 WHEREFORE. primary[. CEB-13447 dated February 10. the Court of Appeals held Paul Rodriguez. payment. and if and when CBIC pays. Peter Rodriguez. Whether or not Plaintiff-Appellee [Cebu Shipyard] is entitled to the award of P100.45 Anent the liability of the signatories to the Indemnity Agreement.46 The Court of Appeals affirmed the award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses to Cebu Shipyard since it was able to clearly establish the defendants’ liability. Bethoven Quinain.] and absolute. the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision. Inc. "C"). however. a sum larger than the face value of CBIC Surety Bond No. and Albert Hontanosas argued that Unimarine’s obligation under Bill No. Cross-DefendantAppellant Unimarine Shipping Lines. The Court of Appeals rejected Hontanosas’s claim that his signature in the Indemnity Agreement was forged. as Cebu Shipyard had agreed to accept the proceeds of the sale of the M/V Headline as payment for the ship repair works it did on M/V Pacific Fortune. III. and. Whether or not the obligation of UNIMARINE to [Cebu Shipyard] has been extinguished by novation. as he was not able to prove it. Whether or not UNIMARINE is liable to [Cebu Shipyard] for a sum of money arising added: from the ship-repair contract.40 claimed that the RTC erred in enforcing its liability on the surety bond as it was issued in excess of Quinain’s authority. CBIC also questioned the RTC’s order.00 in attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.37 The RTC found CBIC’s contention that Quinain acted in excess of his authority in iss uing the surety bond untenable. CBIC’s agent is hereby held jointly and severally liable with CBIC by virtue of Surety Bond No. with the following dispositive portion: II. 29419 executed in favor of plaintiff-appellee CSEW. G (16) 29419.00 in attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. The Court of Appeals also did not allow CBIC to disclaim liability on the ground that Quinain exceeded his authority because third persons had relied upon Quinain’s representation. Inc. 2004 Resolution for lack of merit.42 The Court of Appeals held that it was duly proven that Unimarine was liable to Cebu Shipyard for the ship repair works it did on the former’s M/V Pacific Fortune. Solidary obligations on the part of Unimarine and CBIC having been established and expressly stated in the Surety Bond No.] IV. together with third party defendants-appellants49 filed their respective Motions for Reconsideration. allegedly being the Surety of UNIMARINE is liable under Surety Bond No.38 All the defendants appealed this Decision to the Court of Appeals.44 Quinain was. The RTC held that CBIC is bound by the surety bond issued by its agent who acted within the apparent scope of his authority. Paul Rodriguez and Peter Rodriguez added that such novation also freed them from their liability under the Indemnity Agreement they signed in favor of CBIC. holding it jointly and severally liable with Unimarine and Plaridel for the amount of P4. however. The decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. cross plaintiff and third party plaintiff Country Bankers Insurance Corporation whatever amount the latter is made to pay to plaintiff. in view of the foregoing. [Cebu Shipyard]. CBIC averred. 26035 had been extinguished by novation. the respective appeal[s] filed by Defendants-Appellants Unimarine Shipping Lines. its liability under such surety had been extinguished by reasons of novation. Moreover. For Cross defendant Unimarine Shipping Lines. denied by the Court of Appeals in its October 28. it can compel its co-defendant Unimarine to reimburse to it the amount it has paid. 9 .43 CBIC was held liable under the surety bond as there was no novation on the agreement between Unimarine and Cebu Shipyard that would discharge CBIC from its obligation. and why the RTC did not hold Quinain liable to indemnify CBIC for whatever amount it was ordered to pay Cebu Shipyard. is entitled to collect and enforce said obligation against any and or both of them.

the principal. 10 . and the principal does not ratify the contract. It held that CBIC could not be allowed to disclaim liability because Quinain’s actions were within the terms of the special power of attorney given to him. a person. CBIC. The fact or existence of the agency.54 To go a little further. In this case. 6. and the extent and limits of his authority with regard to businesses he can transact for and in behalf of to devise schemes to prevent fraudulent misrepresentations of its agents. C. in favor of Cebu Shipyard.6.52 Art. CBIC claims that the foregoing is true even if Quinain was granted the authority to transact in the business of insurance in general.R. Such power could not be simply assumed or inferred from the mere existence of an agency. in its Comment56 first assailed the propriety of the petition for raising factual issues.1. No. What has always been debated by the parties is the extent of authority or. In support. Pertinent to this case are the following provisions of the Civil Code: The crux of the controversy lies in CBIC’s liability on the surety bond Quinain issued to Unimarine."53 Thus. however. D. In a contract of agency. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING PETITIONER JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES IN THE AMOUNT OF P100. the question is not purely of law. the agent. in case the same is controverted: 6. Discussion ASSUMING THAT PETITIONER IS LIABLE UNDER THE BOND.00. exceeding the scope of his authority. CBIC said: This Court does not agree.000. The nature and extent of authority. CBIC added that it was incumbent upon Cebu Shipyard to inquire and look into the power of authority conferred to Quinain. where the agent acts for and in behalf of the principal on matters within the scope of the authority conferred upon him. By this legal fiction of representation. Cebu Shipyard claimed that the Court of Appeals’ application of Article 1911 of the Civil Code was founded on findings of facts that CBIC now disputes. it shall be void if the party with whom the agent contracted is aware of the limits of the powers granted by the principal. If the agent contracts in the name of the principal."55 Cebu Shipyard. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN APPLYING THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1911 OF THE CIVIL CODE TO HOLD PETITIONER LIABLE FOR THE ACTS DONE BY ITS AGENT IN EXCESS OF AUTHORITY. 61 CBIC. 166023. It argued that the Special Power of Attorney granted to Quinain clearly set forth supervise and monitor the acts of its agents. seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals’ decision and resolution on the following grounds: A.58 Such "acts have the same legal effect as if they were personally done by the principal. It based its decision on Article 1911 of the Civil Code and found CBIC CBIC avers that the Court of Appeals erred in interpreting and applying the rules governing the to have been negligent and less than prudent in conducting its insurance business for its failure to contract of agency. at the very least. is now before this Court.Unimarine elevated its case to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari. agency is based on representation. 50 The lone petitioner in this case. B. CBIC claims. x x x. docketed as G. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS NONETHELESS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE SOLIDARY LIABILITY OF PETITIONER BEYOND THE VALUE OF THE BOND. CBIC asserts that "Cebu Shipyard was charged with knowledge of the extent of the authority conferred on Mr.60 The Court of Appeals agreed that CBIC could not be permitted to abandon its obligation especially since third persons had relied on Quinain’s representations. CBIC said that the correct Civil Code provision to apply in this case is Article 1898.57 Thus. binds himself to represent another. 2005. A person who enters into a contract of suretyship with an agent without confirming the extent of the latter’s authority does so at his peril. that: [T]hird persons seeking to hold the principal liable for transactions entered into by an agent should establish the following. 1898. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT AN EXTENSION OF THE PERIOD FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF AN OBLIGATION GRANTED BY THE CREDITOR TO THE PRINCIPAL DEBTOR IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO RELEASE THE SURETY. The authority to bind a principal as a guarantor or surety is one of those powers which requires a Special Power of Attorney pursuant to Article 1878 of the Civil Code. to regulate the distribution of its insurance forms.51 Issue The fact that Quinain was an agent of CBIC was never put in issue. with the latter’s consent or authority.6. extended to Quinain by CBIC to transact insurance business for and in its behalf. as "the authority to bind the principal in a contract of suretyship could nonetheless never be presumed. which was denied in a Resolution dated January 19. Quinain by its failure to perform due diligence investigations. the agent is liable if he undertook to secure the principal’s ratification. the actual or legal absence of the principal is converted into his legal or juridical presence.2. Thus. apparent authority."59 The RTC applied Articles 1900 and 1911 of the Civil Code in holding CBIC liable for the surety bond.

Motor Car (Except Lancer). an act is deemed to have been performed within the scope of the agent’s authority. This Court finds that the terms of the foregoing contract specifically provided for the extent and scope of Quinain’s authority. and Quinain has indeed exceeded them. A third person with whom the agent wishes to contract on behalf of the principal may require the presentation of the power of attorney. and other government agencies. & other…. Art. now and hereinafter referred to as "the Company" hereby appoints BETHOVEN B. the principal is solidarily liable with the agent if the former allowed the latter to act as though he had full powers.66 Expounding on the concept and doctrine of ratification in agency. Bond. Private or secret orders and instructions of the principal do not prejudice third persons who have relied upon the power of attorney or instructions shown to them. 1902. BONDS: xxxx However.000. as written. or the instructions as regards the agency. Manila.Art. Personal Accident. manage. Thus. To accept. MARINE: xxxx e. the Special Power of Attorney accorded to Quinain clearly states the limits of his authority and particularly provides that in case of surety bonds. or any verbal instruction to Quinain. to wit: SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That.00 Corporation. Ordinarily. CBIC does not anchor its defense on a secret agreement. Even when the agent has exceeded his authority. G. Under Articles 1898 and 1910. QUINAIN with address at x x x to be its General Agent and Attorney-in-Fact. carry on and transact insurance business as usually pertains to a General Agency of Fire. underwrite and subscribe policies of insurance for and in behalf of the Company under the terms and conditions specified in the General Agency Contract executed and entered into by and between it and its said Attorney-in-Fact subject to the following Schedule of Limits: . It must be stressed though that only the principal. Art. Marine. to do and perform the following acts and things: 1. it can Surety Bond (in favor of Dept. even if done beyond the scope of his authority. 1900. mutual understanding. this Court said: Ratification in agency is the adoption or confirmation by one person of an act performed on his behalf by another without authority. which the principal must have knowledge of. a special power of attorney is necessary to obligate the principal as a guarantor or surety. written terms therein.SCHEDULE OF LIMITS a. if material facts were suppressed or unknown. Antonino Building.000. PERSONAL ACCIDENT: As for any obligation wherein the agent has exceeded his power. Our law mandates an agent to act within the scope of his authority. Works and only be issued in favor of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Ermita. In the case at bar. T. The principal must comply with all the obligations which the agent may have contracted within the scope of his authority. 1910. 63 Under Article 1878(11) of the Civil Code.M. COUNTRY BANKERS INSURANCE CORPORATION. 1911. can ratify the unauthorized acts. Kalaw Street. and the clear. and not the agent. the principal is not bound except when he ratifies it expressly or tacitly. 64 c. Art. 2.00. whether expressly or tacitly. even if the agent has in fact exceeded the limits of his authority according to an understanding between the principal and the agent. G (16) 29419 is deemed to have been performed within the written terms of the power of attorney he was granted. may bind the principal if he ratifies them. with head offices at 8th Floor. and for its own use and benefit. name and stead. if such act is within the terms of the power of attorney. CBIC’s stance is grounded on its contract with Quinain. Power Corp. So far as third persons are concerned. of Pub. FIRE: xxxx b. 11 . 500. To conduct. the principal must have full knowledge at the time of ratification of all the material facts and circumstances relating to the unauthorized act of the person who assumed to act as agent. a corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines. the amount of the surety bond is limited Government agencies)65 to P500. furthermore. an agent’s act. contrary to what the RTC held. MOTOR CAR: xxxx xxxx d. The substance of the doctrine is confirmation after conduct.F. the National Power Highways. 62 The scope of an agent’s authority is what appears in the written terms of the power of attorney granted upon him. CBIC could be held liable even if Quinain exceeded the scope of his authority only if Quinain’s act of issuing Surety Bond No. amounting to a substitute for a prior authority. for and in its place. Nat’l.

this principle does not apply if the principal’s ignorance of the material facts and circumstances was willful. ratification cannot be implied as against the principal who is ignorant of the facts. It states that the principal is solidarily liable with the agent even when the latter has exceeded his authority. under any circumstances.R. if they would hold the principal liable. In fact. 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. CBIC not only clearly stated the limits of its agents’ powers in their contracts. nowhere in the decisions of the lower courts was it stated that CBIC let the public. its company procedures. While Paul Rodriguez stated that he has done business with Quinain more than once. the following must be established: 1. blindly to trust the agents. 33152. the burden of proof is upon them to prove it. 73 Unimarine undoubtedly failed to establish that it even bothered to inquire if Quinain was authorized to agree to terms beyond the limits indicated in his special power of attorney. The principal manifested a representation of the agent’s authority or knowingly allowed the agent to assume such authority. Jr. on the other hand. In this case. and undisputed therefore. to ascertain not only the fact of agency but also the nature and extent of authority.. Neither was it shown that CBIC knew of the existence of the surety bond before the endorsement extending the life of the bond. However. statements as to the extent of his powers. He cannot charge the principal by relying upon the agent’s assumption of authority that proves to be unfounded. he must show that he was not misled through his own want of reasonable care and circumspection. or specifically Unimarine. Linsangan. the petitioners failed to discharge their burden. Eternit Corp. Paul Rodriguez signed it on Quinain’s mere assurance and without truly understanding the consequences of the terms of the said agreement. he is chargeable with knowledge of the agent’s authority and his ignorance of that authority will not be any excuse. such as reporting requirements.) Neither Unimarine nor Cebu Shipyard was able to repudiate CBIC’s testimony that it was unaware of the existence of Surety Bond No. 2004 Decision and October 28. in turn. 33152. CBIC cannot be faulted for Quinain’s deliberate failure to notify it of his transactions with Unimarine. 2. In the same case. needs proof that the representations predated the action taken in reliance. As this Court held in Litonjua. and 3. in the absence of circumstances putting a reasonably prudent man on inquiry. believe that Quinain had the authority to issue a surety bond in favor of companies other than the Department of Public Works and Highways. Paul Rodriguez did not even allege that he asked for documents to prove Quinain’s authority to contract business for CBIC. SECOND DIVISION 12 . In Manila Memorial Park Cemetery. may act on the presumption that third persons dealing with his agent will not be negligent in failing to ascertain the extent of his authority as well as the existence of his agency. Furthermore. this petition is hereby GRANTED and the complaint against CBIC is DISMISSED for lack of merit. v. and in case either is controverted. and in case either is controverted." 70 This Court cannot agree with the Court of Appeals’ pronouncement of negligence on CBIC’s part. For one to successfully claim the benefit of estoppel on the ground that he has been misled by the representations of another. both Unimarine and Paul Rodriguez could have inquired directly from CBIC to verify the validity and effectivity of the surety bond and endorsement. is based on the principle of estoppel. Nevertheless. The third person. which is necessary for the protection of third persons. However. petitioners are not entitled to damages from respondent EC. hence. he was not able to show that he was misled by CBIC as to the extent of authority it granted Quinain. and if they would hold the principal liable. Relying upon such representation.68 In Litonjua. Eternit Corp. Moreover. they blindly relied on the representations of Quinain. It is clear. this Court added: [T]he ignorance of a person dealing with an agent as to the scope of the latter’s authority is no excuse to such person and the fault cannot be thrown upon the principal.67 (Emphases supplied. The January 29. to ascertain not only the fact of agency but also the nature and extent of authority. the burden of proof is upon them to establish it. Moreover. 33152. such person must not act negligently but must use reasonable diligence and prudence to ascertain whether the agent acts within the scope of his authority. CBIC did not even receive the premiums paid by Unimarine to Quinain. relied upon such representation. it even stamped its surety bonds with the restrictions. that there can be no ratification in this case. It is also worthy to note that even with the Indemnity Agreement. show that it has designed a system to monitor the insurance contracts issued by its agents. such third person has changed his position to his detriment. The settled rule is that. v. This Court sees no need to dwell on the other grounds propounded by CBIC in support of its prayer. instead. the National Power Corporation. whether express or implied. requires proof of reliance upon the representations.75 In light of the foregoing. WHEREFORE. was issued to Unimarine. SO ORDERED. for an agency by estoppel to exist.74: A person dealing with a known agent is not authorized. The basis for agency is representation and a person dealing with an agent is put upon inquiry and must discover upon his peril the authority of the agent. which is similar to the doctrine of apparent authority. A person dealing with an agent assumes the risk of lack of authority in the agent. Article 1911. or that the principal chooses to act in ignorance of the facts. but. 58001 is MODIFIED insofar as it affirmed CBIC’s liability on Surety Bond No. this Court is constrained to release CBIC from its liability on Surety Bond No. G (16) 29419 and Endorsement No. and that. and other government agencies.72 this Court held: It is a settled rule that persons dealing with an agent are bound at their peril. If he does not make such an inquiry. CV No. The principal.71 It is apparent that Unimarine had been negligent or less than prudent in its dealings with Quinain. G (16) 29419 and Endorsement No. on the other hand.69 this Court said that "[a]n agency by estoppel. persons dealing with an assumed agent are bound at their peril. v. Inc.there can be no valid ratification and this regardless of the purpose or lack thereof in concealing such facts and regardless of the parties between whom the question of ratification may arise. G (16) 29419 and Endorsement No. in good faith. in order to alert the concerned parties. if the principal allowed him to act as though he had full powers. There were no allegations either that CBIC should have been put on alert with regard to Quinain’s business transactions done on its behalf. such as their contract of agency and power of attorney. Jr.

G.R. No. 151038

January 18, 2012

PETRON CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. Spouses CESAR JOVERO and ERMA F. CUDILLA, Spouses LONITO TAN and LUZVILLA SAMSON, and Spouses ROGELIO LIMPOCO and LUCIA JOSUE, being represented by PIO JOSUE, Respondents. DECISION SERENO, J.: The present case is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 filed by petitioner Petron Corporation. Petitioner assails the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City in consolidated Civil Case Nos. 19633, 19684, 20122, respectively filed by herein respondents. The facts of the case are as follows: On 25 April 1984, Rubin Uy entered into a Contract of Lease with Cesar J. Jovero over a property located at E. Reyes Ave., Estancia, Iloilo for the purpose of operating a gasoline station for a period of five (5) years. On 30 April 1984, petitioner, a domestic corporation engaged in the importation and distribution of gasoline and other petroleum products, entered into a Retail Dealer Contract 3 with Rubin Uy for the period 1 May 1984 to 30 April 1989. Under the dealership contract, petitioner sold its products in quantities as ordered by the dealer. It likewise obligated itself to deliver the products to the dealer at the places agreed upon by the parties. The dealer, meanwhile, obligated himself to exclusively maintain petitioner’s trademarks and brand names in his gasoline station. The parties also agreed that the dealer shall make good, settle and pay, and hold petitioner harmless against all losses and claims including those of the parties, their agents and employees – for death, personal injury or property damage arising out of any use or condition of the dealer’s premises or the equipment and facilities thereon, regardless of any defects therein; the dealer’s nonperformance of the contract; or the storage and handling of products on the premises. In order to comply with its obligation to deliver the petroleum products to the dealer, petitioner contracted the hauling services of Jose Villaruz, who did business under the name Gale Freight Services. The hauling contract4was executed in March 1988 for a period of three years, renewable for another three upon agreement of the parties. Under the hauling contract, Villaruz specifically assigned three (3) units of tank trucks exclusively for the hauling requirements of petitioner for the delivery of the latter’s products, namely tank trucks with the plate numbers FVG 605, FVG 581 and FVG 583. Delivery "includes not only transportation but also proper loading and unloading and delivery."5 The parties also agreed that Villaruz shall save petitioner from any and all claims of third persons arising out of, but not necessarily limited to, his performance of the terms and conditions of the contract. Furthermore, Villaruz obligated himself to be answerable to petitioner for damage to its plant, equipment and facilities, including those of its employees, dealers and customers, resulting from his negligence and/or lack of diligence.

Meanwhile, on 27 October 1988, Rubin Uy executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of Chiong Uy authorizing the latter to manage and administer the gasoline station. Chiong Uy and his wife, Dortina M. Uy, operated the gasoline station as agents of Rubin Uy. However, on 27 November 1990, Chiong Uy left for Hong Kong, leaving Dortina Uy to manage the gasoline station. On 3 January 1991, around ten o’clock in the morning, Ronnie Allanaraiz, an employee of the gasoline station, ordered from petitioner various petroleum products. Petitioner then requested the services of Villaruz for the delivery of the products to the gasoline station in Estancia, Iloilo. He, however, used a tank truck different from the trucks specifically enumerated in the hauling contract executed with petitioner. Petitioner nevertheless allowed the transport and delivery of its products to Estancia in the tank truck driven by Pepito Igdanis. During the unloading of the petroleum from the tank truck into the fill pipe that led to the gasoline station’s underground tank, for reasons unknown, a fire started in the fill pipe and spread to the rubber hose connected to the tank truck. During this time, driver Pepito Igdanis was nowhere to be found. Bystanders then tried to put out the flames. It was then that Igdanis returned to the gasoline station with a bag of dried fish in hand. Seeing the fire, he got into the truck without detaching the rubber hose from the fill pipe and drove in reverse, dragging the burning fuel hose along the way. As a result, a conflagration started and consumed the nearby properties of herein defendants, spouses Cesar J. Jovero and Erma Cudilla-Jovero, amounting to P1,500,000; of spouses Leonito Tan and Luzvilla Samson, amounting to P800,000; and of spouses Rogelio Limpoco and Lucia Josue Limpoco, amounting to P4,112,000. Herein respondents thereafter filed separate actions for damages against petitioner, Villaruz, Rubin Uy, and Dortina Uy, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 19633, 19684 and 20122 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City. The cases, having arisen from the same set of facts, were subsequently consolidated. Respondents alleged that the negligence of petitioner and its codefendants in the conduct of their businesses caused the fire that destroyed the former’s properties. In its separate Answer, petitioner Petron alleged that the petroleum products were already paid for and owned by Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy. Moreover, it alleged that Villaruz was responsible for the safe delivery of the products by virtue of the hauling contract. Thus, petitioner asserted, liability for the damages caused by the fire rested on Rubin Uy and Villaruz. Petitioner likewise filed a crossclaim against its co-defendants for contribution, indemnity, subrogation, or other reliefs for all expenses and damages that it may have suffered by virtue of the incident. It also filed a counterclaim against respondents herein. On 27 April 1998, after trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its Decision in favor of respondents and found petitioner and its co-defendants solidarily liable for damages. The dispositive portion of the Decision states: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, DECISION is hereby rendered: 1. Declaring defendants Petron Corporation, Jose Villaruz, Pepito Igdanis, Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy as being negligent in the conduct of their business activities, which led to the conflagration of January 3, 1991 at E. Reyes Avenue, Estancia, Iloilo, which resulted to (sic) the damages suffered by all the plaintiffs; Ordering all the aforenamed defendants to pay solidarily all the plaintiffs as follows:

2.

13

1.

2.

3.

In Civil Case No. 19633, plaintiffs-spouses Cesar J. Jovero and Erma CudillaJovero the amount ofP1,500,00.00 as actual damages; P2,000.00 as litigation expenses; P4,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and to pay the costs; In Civil Case No. 19684, to pay plaintiffs-spouses Leonito Tan and Luzvilla Samson the sum ofP800,000.00 as actual damages, P2,000.00 as litigation expenses; P4,000.00 as attorney’s fees and to pay the costs; In Civil Case No. 20122, to pay the plaintiffs-spouses Rogelio C. Limpoco and Lucia Josue Limpoco the amount of P4,112,000.00 as actual damages; P2,000.00 as litigation expenses; P5,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and to pay the costs.

Meanwhile, defendant Villaruz allegedly proved during trial that he had exercised diligence in the selection and supervision of his employees and, thus, he was not responsible for the damages caused by the fire. In addition, he alleged that Igdanis, whom respondents failed to implead as a defendant in the lower court, did not have a chance to defend himself. Since there was no showing that any act or omission of Igdanis was the proximate cause of the fire, Villaruz insisted that the latter himself could not be held liable for the acts of his employee, who was not even impleaded or proven to be negligent. Dortina Uy, in her appeal, alleged that she had no direct participation in the management or administration of the gasoline station. She also alleged that she was not the employer of Igdanis, the driver of the tank truck who had caused the fire to spread in the vicinity. Since defendant Rubin Uy failed to file his Appellant’s Brief within the reglementary period, the CA dismissed his appeal.7

The counter-claims of the defendants against all the plaintiffs are hereby dismissed. The cross-claims of the defendants against each other are likewise dismissed as they are all in "pari delicto". SO ORDERED.6

Respondents, meanwhile, maintained that petitioner Petron was negligent in selling and storing its products in a gasoline station without an existing dealer’s contract from May 1989 up to the time of the incident on 3 January 1991. They contended that petitioner, in effect, was itself operating the gasoline station, with the dealer as mere agent of the former. Respondents also insisted that The RTC held that Igdanis, as the driver of the tank truck, was negligent in the performance of his petitioner had the obligation to ensure that the gasoline station was safe and properly maintained, work when he left the tank truck while it was in the process of unloading the petroleum. He was considering the products stored and sold there. Likewise, they asserted that petitioner was also negligent when he drove the truck in reverse without detaching the burning fuel hose. The trial responsible for the safe delivery and proper storage of its goods in the gasoline station, and that court stated that defendant Villaruz failed to convince the court that he had exercised due diligence this responsibility would cease only when the goods had been sold to the end consumer. in the hiring and supervision of his employees. The RTC likewise held that petitioner was negligent in allowing Villaruz to use a tank truck that was not included among the trucks specifically enumerated under the hauling contract. Finally, the court ruled that the gasoline station was owned and operated by Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy at the time of the incident. Petitioner and co-defendants Dortina Uy and Rubin Uy thereafter filed their separate Notices of Appeal. Petitioner, in its appeal, insisted that it had already sold and transferred ownership of its petroleum products to the dealer, Rubin Uy, upon payment and receipt of these products at its depot. Thus, it asserted, it ceased to own the products even during transit and while being unloaded at the gasoline station. It also stated that the transportation, delivery, receipt and storage of the petroleum products were solely the responsibility of hauler Villaruz, who was neither an employee nor an agent of petitioner. It reiterated that liability rested on Rubin Uy and Villaruz pursuant to the respective contracts it had executed with them. Petitioner also alleged that the RTC erred in ruling that the former was negligent in allowing the use of a tank truck not specified in the hauling contract. Petitioner thus insisted that it had examined the tank truck and found it to be in good condition. It added that, since the fire did not originate from the tank truck, the proximate cause of the fire was not attributable to any defect in the truck. Finally, petitioner alleged that respondents failed to prove that the damages they suffered were the direct result of any culpable act or omission on its part. Additionally, respondents contended that petitioner Petron was also negligent when the latter allowed the use of an unaccredited truck in violation of its hauling contract with Villaruz. On 12 December 2001, the CA promulgated its Decision affirming that of the trial court, to wit: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeals are DISMISSED and the assailed consolidated Decision of the court a quo dated 27 April 1998 in Civil Case Nos. 19633, 19684 and 20122 is AFFIRMED in all respects. Costs against appellants. SO ORDERED.8 The appellate court upheld the findings of the RTC that petitioner Petron was negligent for having allowed the operation of the gasoline station absent a valid dealership contract. Thus, the CA considered the gasoline station as one run by petitioner itself, and the persons managing the gasoline station as petitioner’s mere agents. Even if a valid dealership contract existed, petitioner was still liable for damages, because there was as yet no complete delivery of its products. The fire had broken out while petroleum was being unloaded from the tank truck to the storage tank. The CA further held that petitioner was also negligent in allowing Villaruz to use an unaccredited tank truck for the transport and delivery of the petroleum at the time of the incident. With regard to the liability of Villaruz, the appellate court found him to be negligent in the conduct of his business. Thus, he was made liable for the damages caused by his employee in accordance with Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code.

14

Finally, with regard to Dortina Uy, the CA held that, as one of the operators of the gasoline station, she failed to submit evidence that she had exercised due diligence in the operation thereof. Dissatisfied with the CA’s ruling, petitioner is now before us with the present Petition for Review. Petitioner presents the following issues for the resolution of this Court: 1. Whether or not Petron may be considered at fault for continuing to do business with Rubin Uy, an independent petroleum dealer, without renewing or extending their expired dealership agreement; Whether or not a causal connection exists between Petron’s failure to renew or extend its dealership contract with Rubin Uy and the fire that inflicted damages on the buildings surrounding the latter’s gas station; Whether or not Petron is liable for the fire that occurred during the unloading by an independent hauler of the fuel it sold to an equally independent dealer at the latter’s gas station; and Whether or not a supplier of fuel can be held liable for the neglect of others in distributing and storing such fuel. 9

We first discuss the liability of petitioner in relation to the dealership contract. Petitioner, as an importer and a distributer of gasoline and other petroleum product, executed with a dealer of these products an exclusive dealership agreement for mutual benefit and gain. On one hand, petitioner benefits from the sale of its products, as well as the advertisement it gains when it broadens its geographical coverage in contracting with independent dealers in different areas. The products sold and the services rendered by the dealer also contribute to its goodwill. Thus, despite the transfer of ownership upon the sale and delivery of its products, petitioner still imposes the obligation on the dealer to exclusively carry its products. The dealer also benefits from the dealership agreement, not only from the resale of the products of petitioner, but also from the latter’s goodwill. However, with the use of its trade name and trademark, petitioner and the dealer inform and guarantee to the public that the products and services are of a particular standard or quality. More importantly, the public, which is not privy to the dealership contract, assumes that the gasoline station is owned or operated by petitioner. Thus, respondents, who suffered damages from the act or omission that occurred in the gasoline station and that caused the fire, may file an action against petitioner based on the representations it made to the public. As far as the public is concerned, it is enough that the establishment carries exclusively the name and products of petitioner to assume that the latter is liable for acts done within the premises. Second, respondents have a claim against petitioner based on the dealership agreement. The RTC and the CA ruled that, by virtue of the expiration of the dealership contract, the dealer was relegated to being petitioner’s agent. On this point, we agree with petitioner that the expiration or nonexistence of a dealership contract did not ipso facto transform the relationship of the dealer and petitioner into one of agency. As far as the parties to the dealership contract were concerned, the rights and obligations as to them still subsisted, since they continued to mutually benefit from the agreement. Thus, neither party can claim that it is no longer bound by the terms of the contract and the expiration thereof. We then judiciously reviewed the terms of the contract and found that petitioner is liable to respondents for the damages caused by the fire. As petitioner itself points out, it owns the equipment relevant to the handling and storage of gasoline, including the gasoline pumps and the underground tank. 10 It is also responsible for the delivery of the petroleum to the dealer. The incident occurred at the time the petroleum was being unloaded to the underground tank petitioner owned. Aside from failing to show the actual cause of the fire, it also failed to rebut the presumption that it was negligent in the maintenance of its properties and in the conduct of its business. Petitioner contends that under paragraph 8 of the dealership contract, the dealer’s liability is as follows: LOSSES AND CLAIMS. BUYER shall make good, settle and pay, and hold SELLER harmless against all losses and claims (including those of the parties, their agents and employees) for death, personal injury or property arising out of (1) any use or condition of BUYER’s premises or the equipment and facilities thereon, regardless of any defects therein (2) BUYER’s non performance of this contract, or (3) the storage and handling of products on the premises.

2.

3.

4.

In the present case, petitioner does not implead its co-defendants Villaruz, Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy. Neither does it assail the dismissal by the lower courts of the cross-claim or counterclaim it filed against its co-defendants and herein respondents, respectively. Nor is there any question on respondents’ right to claim damages. Petitioner merely prays for absolution from liability resulting from the fire by claiming that it had no direct participation in the incident. In support of the issues raised above, petitioner contends that, first, there was an implied renewal of the dealership contract – Rubin Uy remained as the operator of the gasoline station. It further contends that there is no law supporting the conclusion of the CA that, upon expiration of the contract, the dealer automatically became the supplier’s agent. Second, petitioner asserts that there was no rational link between its alleged neglect in renewing the dealership agreement and the act that caused the fire. Third, petitioner insists that ownership of the petroleum products was transferred when the dealer’s representative, Ronnie Allanaraiz, went to petitioner’s oil depot, bought and paid for the gasoline, and had Villaruz’s tank truck receive the products for delivery. Moreover, petitioner points out, neither Igdanis nor Villaruz was its employee and, thus, it cannot be held vicariously liable for the damages to respondents caused by Igdanis. Furthermore, it asserted that the tank truck transporting the petroleum – though not included in the enumeration in the hauling contract – had complied with the standards required of Villaruz. Petitioner also alleges that there was no evidence that the fire was attributable to its distribution and storage safety measures. Finally, petitioner states that both hauler and dealer must bear the costs of their acts and those of their employees, considering that this was an explicit provision in their respective contracts with it. The Petition has some merit.

15

While both parties to the contract have the right to provide a clause for non-liability, petitioner admits that they both share the maintenance of its equipment. Petitioner states that its responsibility extended to "the operating condition of the gasoline station, e.g. whether the fuel pumps were functioning properly."11 Moreover, it cannot be denied that petitioner likewise obligated itself to deliver the products to the dealer. When the incident occurred, petitioner, through Gale Freight Services, was still in the process of fulfilling its obligation to the dealer. We disagree with its contention that delivery was perfected upon payment of the goods at its depot. There was yet no complete delivery of the goods as evidenced by the aforementioned hauling contract petitioner executed with Villaruz. That contract made it clear that delivery would only be perfected upon the complete unloading of the gasoline. Thus, with regard to the delivery of the petroleum, Villaruz was acting as the agent of petitioner Petron. For a fee, he delivered the petroleum products on its behalf. Notably, petitioner even imposed a penalty clause in instances when there was a violation of the hauling contract, wherein it may impose a penalty ranging from a written warning to the termination of the contract. Therefore, as far as the dealer was concerned with regard to the terms of the dealership contract, acts of Villaruz and his employees are also acts of petitioner. Both the RTC and the CA held that Villaruz failed to rebut the presumption that the employer was negligent in the supervision of an employee who caused damages to another; and, thus, petitioner should likewise be held accountable for the negligence of Villaruz and Igdanis.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Manhole covers Manhole cover gasket Product level markers Manhole cover pins NIST Calibration and scale Discharge valves (quick closing) Front Fenders Door glasses ________ (illegible) glasses Windshield Wipers Horn Floor matting Ceiling Seats (Illegible) Air hose connector

To reiterate, petitioner, the dealer Rubin Uy – acting through his agent, Dortina Uy – shared the responsibility for the maintenance of the equipment used in the gasoline station and for making sure that the unloading and the storage of highly flammable products were without incident. As both were equally negligent in those aspects, petitioner cannot pursue a claim against the dealer Petitioner maintains that by virtue of the hauling contract, Villaruz must be held responsible for the for the incident. Therefore, both are solidarily liable to respondents for damages caused by the fire. acts of Igdanis, the driver of the tank truck. In this aspect, petitioner is correct. While it may be vicariously liable to third persons for damages caused by Villaruz, the latter is nevertheless liable to petitioner by virtue of the non-liability clause in the hauling contract. Under this provision, he Petitioner was likewise negligent in allowing a tank truck different from that specifically provided under its hauling contract with Villaruz. The enumeration and specification of particular tank trucks saved petitioner from any and all claims of third persons arising out of, but not necessarily limited to, his performance of the terms and conditions of this agreement. Petitioner even obligated him to in the contract serve a purpose – to ensure the safe transportation, storage and delivery of highly maintain an acceptable Merchandise Floater Policy to provide insurance coverage for the products flammable products. Under the hauling contract, these requirements are as follows: 12 entrusted to him; and a Comprehensive General Liability Insurance to cover any and all claims for damages for personal injury, including death or damages to property, which may arise from 1. Duly registered under the hired truck (TH) classification and subject to the rules and operations under the contract.15 regulations of Land Transportation Commission (LTC) and Board of Transportation (BOT). Thus, Villaruz is also liable to petitioner based on the hauling contract. Under Rule 6, Sec. 8 of the 2. Properly sealed and calibrated in accordance with the requirements of NSTA. Rules of Court, petitioner may enforce the terms of the hauling contract against him. However, 3. Equipped with safety and other auxiliary equipment as specified by PETROPHIL considering that it did not implead Villaruz in the present case, nor did it assail the Decision of the (Petron) as per attached Annex "8".13 CA in dismissing the cross-claim, petitioner can no longer go after him based on that cross-claim. 4. Provided with fire permits and other permits required by the government authorities. 5. In good working condition and in good appearance at all times, 6. Fully complying with the tank truck color scheme, standard truck number, bumper Nonetheless, this is not the same as saying that Villaruz is no longer solidarily liable to stripes, hauler’s name on cab door, and such other similar requirements for good respondents. appearance as may be required by PETROPHIL. Annex "B" attached to the contract, which refers to the tank truck safety and accessories equipment, likewise provides that the following are the specified safety equipment and other accessories for tank truck operations:14 1. Fire extinguisher, Type B & C As the employer of Igdanis, Villaruz was impleaded by herein respondents in the lower court and was found to be solidarily liable with his other co-defendants. Absent an appeal before this Court assailing the ruling of the lower court and the CA, Villaruz remains to be solidarily liable with petitioner and co-defendants Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy. Thus, petitioner may only claim contribution from him in accordance with Article 1217 of the Civil Code, and not by virtue of its

With respect to the claims of third persons, it is not enough for petitioner to allege that the tank truck met the same requirements provided under the contract; it must duly prove its allegations. This, petitioner failed to do. To reiterate, it was not able to prove the proximate cause of the fire, only the involvement of the tank truck and the underground storage tank. Notably, both pieces of equipment were under its responsibility. Absent any positive determination of the cause of the fire, a presumption exists that there was something wrong with the truck or the underground storage tank, or both. Petitioner, which had the obligation to ensure that the truck was safe, is likewise liable for the operation of that truck.

16

.17 we laid down the rules for the imposition of legal interest as follows: I. in view of the foregoing. in any case. to wit: If from the law. Finally. as well as the accrual thereof. Petitioner may not pursue its cross-claim against Rubin Uy and Dortina Uy. because it was not able to maintain the cross-claim filed against him. In the interest of substantial justice. The provisions under Title XVIII on "Damages" of the Civil Code govern in determining the measure of recoverable damages. is imposed.. we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals in Civil Case No. 1208. the contravenor can be held liable for damages. FIRST DIVISION G. 2012 MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL AND RESORT. Trojan Metal Industries. quasi-contracts. Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made. the rate of legal interest shall be 12% until the satisfaction of judgment. contracts. from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. regardless of its source. is breached. there are four (4) persons who are liable to pay damages to respondents. as follows: 1. WHEREFORE. respondents. neither the RTC nor the CA imposed legal interest on the actual damages that it awarded respondents. Art. where the demand is established with reasonable certainty. the hauler Villaruz.. or the nature of the wording of the obligations to which the preceding article refers the contrary does not appear.e. 1217 states: Payment made by one of the solidary debtors extinguishes the obligation. Notably. The CA Decision is. shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction. 17 . under the hauling contract. moreover. When an obligation. with the interest for the payment already made. an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. no interest for the intervening period may be demanded. and 12% from the time the judgment herein becomes final and executory up to the satisfaction of such judgment. These solidary debtors are petitioner Petron. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages. not constituting a loan or forbearance of money. shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Inc. law. 19684 and 20122 with the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City up to the time this judgment becomes final and executory. Supposedly.. the operator Dortina Uy and the dealer Rubin Uy. the rate of interest. He who made the payment may claim from his co-debtors only the share which corresponds to each. Almost 20 years have passed. yet. To determine the liability of each defendant to one another.R. v. above. Petitioner. Court of Appeals.e. the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. petitioner may require Villaruz to indemnify it for its share.e. vs. whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2. however. properties and livelihood. it shall be liable for its own share under Article 1208 and can no longer seek indemnification or subrogation from him under its dismissed cross-claim. (Emphasis supplied) The share. INC. meanwhile. i. 189998 August 29. Henceforth. i. pursuant to Article 1216 of the Civil Code. the credit of debt shall be presumed to be divided into as many equal shares as there are creditors or debtors. 60845 insofar as herein petitioner has been held solidarily liable to pay damages to respondents. the creditor may choose which offer to accept.hauling contract. 3. When the obligation is breached. who were innocent bystanders. they were all equally liable for the conflagration as discussed herein. a loan or forbearance of money. Accordingly. the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. If the payment is made before the debt is due. II. because the crossclaims against them were also dismissed. When an obligation. the incident occurred in 1992. the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art.16 enunciated in PCI Leasing & Finance Inc. the rate of legal interest. No interest. be on the amount finally adjudged. the amount of damages shall be divided by four. the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). However. SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied) To put it simply. this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit. Costs against petitioner. i. 1169. In the absence of stipulation. subject to the Rules of Court governing the multiplicity of suits. In Eastern Shipping Lines v. the rate of interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default. of solidary debtors is contained in Art. the credits or debts being considered distinct from one another. 19633. 2. delicts or quasi-delicts is breached.. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory. in the event that respondents decide to proceed against petitioner alone for the satisfaction of judgment. No. representing the share of each defendant. have not been compensated for the loss of their homes. If two or more solidary debtors offer to pay. and it consists in the payment of a sum of money. MODIFIED and the actual damages awarded to respondents shall be subject to the rate of legal interest of 6% per annum from the time of filing of Civil Case Nos. however. Furthermore. The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall. The latter may proceed against any one of the solidary debtors or some or all of them simultaneously. we deem it necessary to impose legal interest on the awarded actual damages at the rate of 6% per annum from the time the cases were filed with the lower court. based on the ruling of the lower courts.

Probably sensing trouble for himself.: The hotel owner is liable for civil damages to the surviving heirs of its hotel guest whom strangers murder inside his hotel room. he was stabbed to death by an (sic) still unidentified male who had succeeded to intrude into his room.. 1999.3 The police investigation actually commenced only upon the arrival in the hotel of the team of PO3 Carmelito Mendoza4 and SPO4 Roberto Hizon. On November 10.m. who asked for the customer’s passport upon suggestion of the credit card representative to put the credit cards on hold. a Caucasian male of about 30–32 years in age. Col. 2002. But the customer’s difficulty in answering the queries phoned in by a credit card representative sufficiently aroused the suspicion of saleslady Anna Liza Lumba (Lumba). The deceased was to check out and leave the hotel on November 6. 1999. Christian Harper came to Manila on a business trip as the Business Development Manager for Asia of ALSTOM Power Norway AS. It appears that at around 11:00 am of November 6. and RIGOBERTO GILLERA. and his hands and feet tied with a white rope. from which he found that Harper had entered his room at 12:14 a. he concluded from the several empty bottles of wine in the trash can and the number of cigarette butts in the toilet bowl that Harper and his visitors had drunk that much and smoked that many cigarettes the night before. He checked in at the Shangri-La Hotel and was billeted at Room 1428. an engineering firm with worldwide operations. and that the Caucasian male had come out at 5:46 a. of November 6. Sr. by a woman. entered the Alexis Jewelry Store in Glorietta. Alarcon and a security personnel went to Room 1428 at 11:27 a.m. 5’4" in height. Norway) led to the discovery. Norge Rosales (the hotel’s Executive Housekeeper). and had been followed into the room at 12:17 a. a Caucasian male.2 Respondents Ellen Johanne Harper and Jonathan Christopher Harper are the widow and son of Christian Harper. Bygdoy Terasse 16.00 with the use of two Mastercard credit cards and an American Express credit card issued in the name of Harper. he was murdered inside his hotel room by still unidentified malefactors. In his incident report..ELLEN JOHANNE HARPER. but in the early morning of said date. 1999. Alarcon.e. Rodrigo de Guzman (de Guzman).1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed with modification the judgment rendered on October 25. Mendoza subsequently viewed the closed circuit television (CCTV) tapes.m. respondents commenced this suit in the RTC to recover various damages from petitioner. and only the back of the head could be seen. How the crime was discovered was a story in itself. appeals the decision promulgated on October 21. The body was identified to be that of hotel guest Christian Fredrik Harper. and were shocked to discover Harper’s lifeless body on the bed. In the meanwhile. Makati City and expressed interest in purchasing a Cartier lady’s watch valued at P320. Lumba confirmed that the person who had attempted to purchase the Cartier lady’s watch on November 6. and Melvin Imperial (a security personnel of the hotel). The Case Petitioner..m . Harper’s family in Norway must have called him at his hotel room to inform him about the attempt to use his American Express card. 25 that the police investigation showed that Harper’s passport. DECISION BERSAMIN. the Duty Manager of the Shangri-La Hotel. 8. xxx 18 . Mendoza saw that the victim’s eyes and mouth had been bound with electrical and packaging tapes. initially investigated the murder. 2009. 2005 by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon City holding petitioner liable for damages for the murder of Christian Fredrik Harper. JONATHAN CHRISTOPHER HARPER. 0287 Oslo. Lifting the blanket. Mendoza entered Harper’s room in the company of De Guzman. credit cards. Norway (i.6pertinently alleging: xxx 7. clad in maroon long sleeves. Insp. that another person. the owner and operator of the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City (Shangri-La Hotel). Danilo Javier of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Makati City Police reflected in his Progress Report No. J. Ayala Center. 1999. Gami Holazo (the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager). Respondents.. They found Harper’s body on the bed covered with a blanket. 1999 had been the person whose picture was on the passport issued under the name of Christian Fredrik Harper and the Caucasian male seen on the CCTV tapes entering Harper’s hotel room. A routine verification call from the American Express Card Company to cardholder Harper’s residence in Oslo. while respondent Rigoberto Gillera is their authorized representative in the Philippines. He was due to check out on November 6. the lack of which owing to the acts or omissions of its employees was the immediate cause of the tragic death of said deceased. Not getting any response from the room.000. Makati City with the use of one of Harper’s credit cards. to check on Harper’s room. however. 1999. SPO1 Ramoncito Ocampo. Jr. his family requested Raymond Alarcon. laptop and an undetermined amount of cash had been missing from the crime scene. and that he had learned during the follow-up investigation about an unidentified Caucasian male’s attempt to purchase a Cartier lady’s watch from the Alexis Jewelry Store in Glorietta. that the woman had left the room at around 5:33 a. Ayala Center. the customer hurriedly left the store. Antecedents In the first week of November 1999. The murderer succeeded to trespass into the area of the hotel’s private rooms area and into the room of the said deceased on account of the hotel’s gross negligence in providing the most basic security system of its guests. interviewed Lumba about the incident in the Alexis Jewelry Shop. and left the three credit cards and the passport behind. while he was in his hotel room. During the interview. black denims and black shoes. a Norwegian national. In the early morning of that date.m. He was then 30 years old. the hotel’s Security Manager. On August 30. had entered Harper’s room at 2:48 a.m.

00 representing the expenses of transporting the remains of Harper to Oslo. III. 19 . Norway. AS THERE IS NO COMPETENT EVIDENCE ON RECORD SUPPORTING SUCH RULING.901. THERE BEING NO COMPETENT PROOF OF THE EARNING OF Petitioner still seeks the review of the judgment of the CA. PhP 250.078. 2005 is herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. 2009. as temperate damages. as actual and compensatory damages. SO ORDERED. namely: I.00. NORWAY. III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING TO THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES THE AMOUNTOF PHP43. PhP 739.000. CHRISTIAN HARPER TO OSLO. finding the defendant hotel to be remiss in its duties and thus liable for the death of Christian Harper. HARPER’S HEIRS.00. CHRISTIAN HARPER.000. Accordingly. WHETHER OR NOT THE APPELLEES WERE ABLE TO PROVE WITH COMPETENT EVIDENCE THE AFFIRMATIVE ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT THAT THERE WAS NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE APPELLANT AND ITS SAID NEGLIGENCE WAS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DEATH OF MR.7 xxx Ruling of the RTC On October 25. HARPER DURING HIS LIFETIME AND OF THE ALLEGATION THAT THE PLAINTIFFSAPPELLEES ARE MR. CHRISTIAN HARPER. as attorney’s fees. Defendant has prided itself to be among the top hotel chains in the East claiming to provide excellent service. REPRESENTING THE ALLEGED LOST EARNING OF THE LATE CHRISTIAN HARPER. II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE DEFENDANT-APPELLANT’SNEGLIGENCE WAS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DEATH OF MR.00.901.055. Ruling of the CA MR.8 viz: WHEREFORE. P 250. THERE BEING NO PROOF ON RECORD THAT IT WAS PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES WHO PAID FOR SAID COST. IV THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING TO THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES THE AMOUNT OF PHP739.50. OR IN NOT RULING THAT IT WAS MR. to wit: I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES ARE THE HEIRS OF THE LATE CHRISTIAN HARPER.10. CHRISTIAN HARPER’S OWN NEGLIGENCE WHICH WAS THE SOLE.702. REPRESENTING THE ALLEGED COST OF TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF MR. submitting the following issues for consideration and determination.00. WHETHER OR NOT THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES WERE ABLE TO PROVE WITH COMPETENT EVIDENCE THE AFFIRMATIVE ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT THAT THEY ARE THE WIDOW AND SON OF MR. the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated October 25.000.00 as and by way of actual and compensatory damages. this Court orders the defendant to pay plaintiffs the amount of: PhP 43.055. assigning to the RTC the following errors. the CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC with modification. SO ORDERED. and to pay the cost of suit. 2005. and to pay the costs of the suit.00 attorney’s fees. comfort and security for its guests for which reason ABB Alstom executives and their guests have invariably chosen this hotel to stay. THERE BEING NO PROOF ON RECORD SUPPORTING SUCH AWARD. defendant-appellant is ordered to pay plaintiffs-appellees the amounts of P 52. V THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COST OF SUIT TO THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES. II.075. P 25.9 as follows: WHEREFORE. PROXIMATE CAUSE OF HIS DEATH. HARPER.10 Issues Petitioner appealed. the RTC rendered judgment after trial.075. On October 21.

2. vice consul. Requirements for authentication of documents establishing respondents’ legal relationship with the victim as his heirs were complied with As to the first issue. the CA pertinently held as follows: The documentary evidence that plaintiffs-appellees offered relative to their heirship consisted of the following – 1. the Birth Certificate of Jonathan Christopher Harper. Likewise. 20 . whose signature was also authenticated by the Consul. offered in evidence. Marriage Certificate. consul general. it cannot be a competent evidence of the alleged fact that Ellen Johanne Harper is the widow of Christian Fredrik Harper. (b) Exhibit "Q" was labeled as Certificate of Marriage in plaintiffsappellees’ Formal Offer of Evidence. CHRISTIAN HARPER WAS HIS OWN NEGLIGENCE. Even assuming that it is an original Marriage Certificate. Consequently. Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm." The contents of Exhibit "Q-1" were translated by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway. was issued and signed by the Registrar of the Kingdom of Norway. defendantappellant asseverates that Exhibits "Q-1" and "R-1" as private documents. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court. that the copy is a correct copy of the original. I. offered in evidence. Tanja Sorlie. Exhibit "Q" . when it appears to be the Birth Certificate of the late Christian Harper. Ruling The appeal lacks merit. Christian Fredrik Harper. resultantly making them incompetent evidence. the legal custodian of parish records. Sweden. As for Exhibit "R-1". pursuant to the Best Evidence Rule. a private document. and 4. the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation. when it appears to be the Birth Certificate of the deceased. Exhibit "Q-1" . was also authenticated by the Consul. the said documents are not accompanied by a certificate that such officer has the custody as also required under Section 24 of Rule 132. are essentially hearsay in nature that have no probative value. it is considered as an exception to the hearsay rule. the Marriage Certificate of Ellen Johanne Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper. was issued by the Office of the Vicar of Ullern with a statement that "this certificate is a transcript from the Register of Marriage of Ullern Church. much less. Christian Fredrick Harper and listed Ellen Harper and Jonathan Christopher Harper as the heirs of Christian Fredrik Harper. whose signature was also authenticated by the Consul. while the document is indeed a translation of the certificate. and (c) Exhibit "R-1". If the record is not kept in the Philippines. (a) Exhibit "Q-1". as authenticated by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. WE rule for plaintiffs-appellees. Exhibit "R-1" . The Revised Rules of Court provides that public documents may be evidenced by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record. Defendant-appellant further adds that Exhibits "Q-1" and "R-1" were not duly attested by the legal custodians (by the Vicar of the Parish of Ullern for Exhibit "Q-1" and by the Judge or Clerk of the Probate Court for Exhibit "R-1") as required under Sections 24 and 25. Sweden to the effect that. (d) Exhibit "R" was labeled as Probate Court Certificate in plaintiffs-appellees’ Formal Offer of Evidence. Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm. which in turn. to wit. as the case may be. into English and authenticated by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.Marriage Certificate of Ellen Johanne Clausen and Christian Fredrik Harper. a written official act of a foreign sovereign country. Therefore.Birth Certificate of Jonathan Christopher Harper. it is an official certification. it is obvious that plaintiffs-appellees failed to prove that they are the widow and son of the late Christian Harper. son of Christian Fredrik Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper. duly confirmed by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway. The documents are accompanied by an Authentication by the Consul. it is not a public document that is admissible without the need of being identified or authenticated on the witness stand by a witness.Birth Certificate of Christian Fredrick Harper. they bear the official seal of the Ministry and signature of one. the original of which was not produced in court. Sweden. These documents have been authenticated by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Being a mere translation. Being a mere translation. the attested copy must be accompanied with a certificate that such officer has the custody. pursuant to the Best Evidence Rule. The attestation must state. was issued by the vicar or parish priest. 3. or a specific part thereof. Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm. viz. or if he be the clerk of a court having a seal. and authenticated by the seal of his office. through its authorized translator.Certificate from the Oslo Probate Court stating that Ellen Harper was married to the deceased. Sweden. The attestation must be under the official seal of the attesting officer. The documents involved in this case are all kept in Norway. in substance. They further argue that since Exhibit "Q-1". and (e) Exhibit "R-1" is a translation of the supposed Probate Court Certificate. Plaintiffs-appellees make the following counter arguments. Exhibit "R" . (a) none of the plaintiffs-appellees or any of the witnesses who testified for the plaintiffs gave evidence that Ellen Johanne Harper and Jonathan Christopher Harper are the widow and son of the deceased Christian Fredrik Harper. consul.WHETHER OR NOT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DEATH OF MR. its contents were lifted by the Government Authorized Translator from the official record and thus. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country. hence. as it appears to be a document issued by the Vicar of the Parish of Ullern and. (b) Exhibit "Q". Tanja Sorlie is duly authorized to legalize official documents for the Ministry. if there be any. the Probate Court Certificate was also authenticated by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. it is an incompetent evidence of the alleged fact that plaintiffs-appellees are the heirs of Christian Fredrik Harper. (c) Exhibit "Q-1" is a translation of the Marriage Certificate of Ellen Johanne Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper. Defendant-appellant points out that plaintiffs-appellees committed several mistakes as regards the above documentary exhibits. Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm. under the seal of such court. the original of which was not produced in court. or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept. the Probate Court Certificate. much less. which were not duly authenticated on the witness stand by a competent witness. son of Christopher Shaun Harper and Eva Harper.

naming Ellen Johanne Harper and Jonathan Christopher Harper as the heirs of the deceased Christian Fredrik Harper. Exhibits "Q-1". Philippine Consul Tirol explicitly certified to the capacity of Sorlie "to legalize official documents for the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. — Whenever a copy of a document or record is attested for the purpose of evidence. is the Marriage Certificate of Christian Fredrik Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper issued by the vicar of the Parish of Ullern while Exhibit "R-1" is the Probate Court Certificate from the Oslo Probate Court. Exhibit R and Exhibit R-1. 2004 by the signatures of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway as well as by the official seal of that office. born on December 4. under the seal of such court. Consul Marian Jocelyn R. with the official seal of that office. Although Exhibit Q.18 the Marriage Certificate of Ellen Johanne Clausen Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper. Add to this is the fact that compliance with the requirements on attestation and authentication or certification is no easy process and completion thereof may vary depending on different factors such as the location of the requesting party from the consulate and the office of the record custodian. 1996 in Ullern Church. 1968. Philippine Consul Tirol again expressly certified to the capacity of Sorlie "to legalize official documents for the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. and accompanied.11 Petitioner assails the CA’s ruling that respondents substantially complied with the rules on the authentication of the proofs of marriage and filiation set by Section 24 and Section 25 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court when they presented Exhibit Q. Oslo." It contends that respondents did not competently prove their being Harper’s surviving heirs by reason of such documents being hearsay and incompetent. explicitly certifying to the authority of Tanja Sorlie "to legalize official documents for the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record. Registrar. if there be any. WE must take into account the attendant reality that these overseas litigants communicate with their representative and counsel via long distance communication. the attestation must state. and corresponded to respondent Jonathan Christopher Harper and victim Christian Fredrik Harper. Nordal with the official seal of the Office of the Registrar of Oslo. the deviation was not enough reason to reject the utility of the documents for the purposes they were intended to serve. In addition. While they are not excused from complying with our rules. and authenticated by the seal of his office. to OUR minds. In turn. Proof of official record. Norway issued on March 23. with a certificate that such officer has the custody. 2000 through Morten Bolstad. wherein the former explicitly declares that Jonathan Christopher is the son of Christian Fredrik and Ellen Johanne Harper. and (b) the certificate was issued by the Office of the Vicar of Ullern on June 29. 1968. Exhibit Q and Exhibit R were authenticated on March 29."19 and further certified that the document was a true translation into English of a transcript of a Marriage Certificate issued to Christian Frederik Harper and Ellen Johanne Clausen by the Vicar of the Parish of Ullern on June 29. and said documents did not comply with the requirement under Section 24 of Rule 132 to the effect that if the record was not kept in the Philippines a certificate of the person having custody must accompany the copy of the document that was duly attested stating that such person had custody of the documents. vice consul. that the copy is a correct copy of the original. consul general. 1999. WE conclude that plaintiffs-appellees had substantially complied with the requirements set forth under the rules. or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept.12 Exhibit Q-1. namely: (a) the parties were married on June 29. on the other hand."17 Exhibit Q-1. respectively. Section 25. respectively.21 21 . Ayse B. or a specific part thereof. WE would also like to stress that plaintiffs-appellees herein are residing overseas and are litigating locally through their representative. attested by Tanja Sorlie and further certified by our own Consul. Sweden authenticated the signatures of Tanja Sorlie and the official seal of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway on Exhibit Q and Exhibit R. the volume of transactions in said offices and even the mode of sending these documents to the Philippines. was also authenticated by the signature of Tanja Sorlie and with the official seal of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. The documents are certified true translations into English of the transcript of the said marriage certificate and the probate court certificate. 1996. Norway on March 23. contained the following data. its Senior Executive Officer. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country. the latter states that said documents are the birth certificates of Jonathan Christopher Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper issued by the Registrar Office of Oslo. As with the other documents. 2000 to the effect that Christian Fredrik Harper. or if he be the clerk of a court having a seal. Section 24 and Section 25 of Rule 132 provide: Section 24. 16 Exhibit Q explicitly stated that Jonathan was the son of Christian Fredrik Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper. 2004. With these circumstances under consideration. Petitioner’s challenge against respondents’ documentary evidence on marriage and heirship is not well-taken. Exhibit Q-1 was similarly authenticated by the signature of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. Exhibit R-1. Y. Tirol of the Philippine Consulate in Stockholm. 2004 and signed by Y. In view of the foregoing. Exhibit Q-1. as the case may be.Exhibits "Q" and "R" are extracts of the register of births of both Jonathan Christopher Harper and the late Christian Fredrik Harper. Said documents bear the signature of the keeper. these questioned documents were duly signed by the officers having custody of the same.20 a Probate Court certificate issued by the Oslo Probate Court on February 18. while Exhibit R attested to the birth of Christian Fredrik Harper on December 4. 1996. which were further authenticated by Philippine Consul Marian Jocelyn R. Exhibit Q and Exhibit R were extracts from the registry of births of Oslo. the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation. because the legal custodian did not duly attest that Exhibit Q-1 and Exhibit R-1 were the correct copies of the originals on file.13 Exhibit R14 and Exhibit R-115 were not attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record or by his deputy in the manner required in Section 25 of Rule 132. Besides. Ayse B. and the authentication of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. if the record is not kept in the Philippines. consul. The attestation must be under the official seal of the attesting officer. in substance. had reportedly died on November 6. and because no certification accompanied the documents stating that "such officer has custody of the originals. Nordal. What attestation of copy must state. when admissible for any purpose. or by his deputy. there is every reason for an equitable and relaxed application of the rules on the issuance of the required attestation from the custodian of the documents to plaintiffs-appellees’ situation. Tirol. They were likewise signed by the authorized government translator of Oslo with the seal of his office. — The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19." and further certified that the document was a true translation into English of the Oslo Probate Court certificate issued on February 18.

At the minimum. therefore. is not a conclusive proof of filiation. substantial compliance and strict adherence are not always incompatible and do not always clash in discord. by its very nature. on this score. from Stockholm. Moreover. It cannot be denied that based on Philippine Consul Tirol’s official authentication. 18 February 2000. Thus. be sustained in the absence of strong. The principle of substantial compliance recognizes that exigencies and situations do occasionally demand some flexibility in the rigid application of the rules of procedure and the laws. offers prima facie evidence of filiation and a high degree of proof is needed to overthrow the presumption of truth contained in such public document. and the above substitute guardian has agreed to the private division of the estate. marriages. the volume of transactions in the offices concerned. Exhibit Q. to wit: The above names surviving spouse has accepted responsibility for the commitments of the deceased in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Probate Court Act (Norway). and the safe transmission of the documents to the Philippines). Tanja Sorlie was "on the date of signing. Exhibit R. 68 and the passage of Act No. the Court ultimately ruled that it was respondents’ failure to present the bi rth certificate. This is pursuant to the rule that entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. In US v. 30 Petitioner urges the Court to resolve the apparent conflict between the rulings in Heirs of Pedro Cabais v. indeed. more than anything else. It would be inequitable if the sincerity of respondents in obtaining and submitting the documents despite the difficulties was ignored. The power of the Court to suspend its own rules or to except any particular case from the operation of the rules whenever the purposes of justice require the suspension cannot be challenged. respondents’ compliance with the requirements on attestation and authentication of the documents had not been easy. Exhibit R. Harper This probate court certificate relates to the entire estate. the rules of procedure are intended to promote substantial justice. both because there is no conflict between the rulings in Cabais and Conti. being a public document.34 The Court sustained the Cabais petitioners’ stance that the RTC had apparently erred in relying on the baptismal certificate to establish filiation. the objective of ensuring the authenticity of the documents prior to their admission as evidence was substantially achieved. they had to contend with many difficulties (such as the distance of Oslo. stressing the baptismal certificate’s limited evidentiary value as proof of filiation inferior to that of a birth certificate. The Court held that the petition was meritorious.22 The official participation in the authentication process of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the attachment of the official seal of that office on each authentication indicated that Exhibit Q. In Cabais. 190 are no longer public writings. On the contrary. complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. is actually inadequate observance of the requirements of a rule or regulation that are waived under equitable circumstances in order to facilitate the administration of justice. jurisprudence is consistent and uniform in ruling that the canonical certificate of baptism is not sufficient to prove recognition. their place of residence. that lost them their case. and should not be applied in a very rigid and technical sense.24 There are. Consequently. an official or public document. a baptismal certificate is a private document. Truly. The Court has further said in Constantino-David v. For sure. or where the merits of a party’s cause are apparent and outweigh considerations of non-compliance with certain formal requirements. being hearsay. and deaths made subsequent to the promulgation of General Orders No. The evidentiary nature of such document must. Court of Appeals32 (Conti) establishing filiation through a baptismal certificate. nor are they kept by duly authorized public officials. stating that: "The unjustified failure 22 . there being no damage or injury caused by such flawed compliance.25 Their submission of the documents should be presumed to be in good faith because they did so in due course. in this jurisdiction. PangandamanGania. Exhibit Q-1 and Exhibit R-1 substantially met the requirements of Section 24 and Section 25 of Rule 132 as a condition for their admission as evidence in default of a showing by petitioner that the authentication process was tainted with bad faith. even procedural rules of the most mandatory character in terms of compliance are frequently relaxed.27 because substantial compliance does not equate to a disregard of basic rules.29 It is more in accord with justice that a party-litigant is given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his claim or defense than for him to lose his life. Exhibit Q-1 and Exhibit R-1 should be presumed to be themselves official documents under Norwegian law. liberty. Harper were Harper’s heirs. where the Philippine Consulate had its office. Evangelista. It does not have the same probative value as a record of birth. The following heir and substitute guardian will undertake the private division of the estate: Ellen Johanne Harper Christopher S. Court of Appeals31 (Cabais) and in Heirs of Ignacio Conti v. and declaring that the baptismal certificate did not attest to the veracity of the statements regarding the kinsfolk of the one baptized. not merely private documents. honor or property on mere technicalities. As the CA observed. this Court held that church registers of births. 26 That rules of procedure may be mandatory in form and application does not forbid a showing of substantial compliance under justifiable circumstances. not to defeat it.23 the Court has said that substantial compliance. the main issue was whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the decision of the RTC that had relied mainly on the baptismal certificate of Felipa C. Exhibit Q.33 Petitioner’s urging is not warranted. and admissible as prima facie evidence of the truth of their contents under Philippine law. and because neither Cabais nor Conti is relevant herein. In Constantino-David v. Nevertheless. the procedural rules should definitely be liberally construed if strict adherence to their letter will result in absurdity and in manifest injustice. Exhibit R.The Oslo Probate Court certificate recited that both Ellen Johanne Harper and Christopher S. which. Exhibit Q-1 and Exhibit R-1 were documents of a public nature in Norway. such equitable conditions attendant here. the foremost of which is that respondents had gone to great lengths to submit the documents." Without a showing to the contrary by petitioner. Oslo Probate Court. Similarly. Pangandaman-Gania that the focus in every inquiry on whether or not to accept substantial compliance is always on the presence of equitable conditions to administer justice effectively and efficiently without damage or injury to the spirit of the legal obligation. a certificate of baptism such as the one herein controversy is no longer regarded with the same evidentiary value as official records of birth. duly authorized to legalize official documents for the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. Sweden.28 In the interest of substantial justice. Buesa to establish the parentage and filiation of Pedro Cabais. stating: A birth certificate.

105 1914. when taken together. a baptismal certificate alone is not sufficient to resolve a disputed filiation. Ritter. Corroborated by the undisputed testimony of Adelaida Sampayo that with the demise of Lourdes and her brothers Manuel. in the form of certificates. In its defense.S."35 In Conti. whether of the Philippines. Such other proof of one’s filiation may be a baptismal certificate. They posit that defendant-appellant’s inaction constitutes negligence.. guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs. the marriage certificate of Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper. such baptismal certificates have acquired evidentiary weight to prove filiation. Unlike Cabais and Conti. this case has respondents presenting several documents. It is a relative or comparative. Col. is called quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter. As the action is predicated on negligence. The baptisms administered by the church are one of its transactions in the exercise of ecclesiastical duties and recorded in the book of the church during this course of its business. defendant-appellant was duly forewarned of its security lapses as pointed out by its Chief Security Officer. citing U. Such documentary evidence sufficed to competently establish the relationship and filiation under the standards of our Rules of Court. the only sibling left was Josefina Sampayo Reyes. of the entries contained therein. that Harper’s own negligence in allowing the killers into his hotel room was the proximate cause of his own death. de Vera (28 Phil. Luis and sister Remedios. or records of the official act of the sovereign authority. Such fault or negligence. The Supreme Court likewise ruled that negligence is want of care required by the circumstances. all of which were presumably regarded as public documents under the laws of Norway. the testimonies of witnesses and other kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. it reiterates that the proximate cause of Christian Harper’s death was his own negligence in inviting to his room the two (2) still unidentified suspects. xxx Under Art. absent the testimony of the officiating priest or the official recorder. as indicated therein. It may be argued that baptismal certificates are evidence only of the administration of the sacrament. The Conti petitioners disagreed. the number of which depends on the occupancy rate of the hotel. the documentary and testimonial evidence submitted xxx are competent and adequate proofs that private respondents are collateral heirs of Lourdes Sampayo. but in this case. was settled in People v. whether its negligence was the immediate cause of the death of Christian Harper. The CA resolved petitioner’s arguments thuswise: Defendant-appellant contends that the pivotal issue is whether or not it had committed negligence and corollarily. Rodrigo De Guzman. Altogether. Christian Harper. if there was no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties. By analogy. which states that – "Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another. who recommended that one roving guard be assigned on each floor of the hotel considering the length and shape of the corridors. not 23 . this method of proving filiation may also be utilized in the instant case. there were four (4) baptismal certificates which. This Court finds for plaintiffs-appellees. the Court affirmed the rulings of the trial court and the CA to the effect that the Conti respondents were able to prove by preponderance of evidence their being the collateral heirs of deceased Lourdes Sampayo. the filiation of legitimate children shall be proved by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. The entries made in the Registry Book may be considered as entries made in the course of business under Section 43 of Rule 130. common reputation respecting his pedigree.36 Obviously. there being fault or negligence. the liability of defendant-appellant is based upon the fact that it was in a better situation than the injured person. admission by silence. Conti did not treat a baptismal certificate. Josefina. Public documents are the written official acts. Agreeing with the CA. Plaintiffs-appellees in their Brief refute. or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. Reyes. to foresee and prevent the happening of the injurious occurrence. is obliged to pay for the damage done. Parish priests continue to be the legal custodians of the parish records and are authorized to issue true copies. v. The baptismal certificates presented in evidence by private respondents are public documents." Negligence is defined as the omission to do something which a reasonable man. 172 of the Family Code. Remedios and Luis had the same set of parents. on the contrary. in the absence of a record of birth or a parent’s admission of such legitimate filiation in a public or private document duly sig ned by the parent. a family Bible in which his name has been entered. II Petitioner was liable due to its own negligence Petitioner argues that respondents failed to prove its negligence. as sufficient to prove filiation.Conti expressly held that a baptismal certificate had evidentiary value to prove filiation if considered alongside other evidence of filiation.. thus: . the Court said: We are not persuaded. official bodies and tribunals.to present the birth certificate instead of the baptismal certificate now under consideration or to otherwise prove filiation by any other means recognized by law weigh heavily against respondents. (2) two CCTV monitoring cameras on each floor of the hotel and (3) roving guards with handheld radios. and public officers. standing alone. like the birth certificates of Harper and respondent Jonathan Harper. defendant-appellant mainly avers that it is equipped with adequate security system as follows: (1) keycards or vingcards for opening the guest rooms. arguing that baptismal certificates did not prove the filiation of collateral relatives of the deceased. The admissibility of baptismal certificates offered by Lydia S. As such. They maintain that there is no dispute that even prior to the untimely demise of Christian Harper. in that. or a foreign country. would do. uniformly show that Lourdes. which is an exception to the hearsay rule. and that hotels were not insurers of the safety of their guests. the relevant law is Article 2176 of the Civil Code. and the probate court certificate. a judicial admission.. Likewise.

Based on the Biology Report. He further opined that "even one guard in that hallway is not enough because of the blind portion of the hallway. under the circumstances obtaining that the malefactor/s gained entry into his room by simply knocking at Harper’s door and the latter opening it probably thinking it was hotel personnel. He testified that upon taking over the job as the chief of the security force of the hotel. It is for this reason that the hotel management did not heed the recommendation of Col. undoubtedly. The NBI Biology Report (Exh. The test of negligence is objective. a co-conspirator. There is no dispute that even prior to the untimely demise of Mr. Harper. he made an assessment of the security situation. it must be noted that Col. In his testimony. adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet pater familias of the Roman law. De Guzman was not satisfied with the security set-up and told the hotel management of his desire to improve it. WE rule in the negative. is whether or not defendant-appellant." Article 2176. jurisprudence has laid down the following test: Did defendant. Liability on the part of the defendant is based upon the fact that he was in a better situation than the injured person to foresee and prevent the happening of the injurious occurrence. in doing the alleged negligent act. if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties. He is a retired police officer and had vast experience in security jobs. The trained eyes of a security officer was (sic) looking at that deadly scenario resulting from that wide security breach as that which befell Christian Harper. De Guzman was particularly concerned with the security of the private areas where the guest rooms are. term and its application depends upon the situation of the parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably require. De Guzman testified that the security of the hotel was adequate at the go with the guest directly to the room. is called quasi-delict. The defense even suggests that the malefactor/s gained entry into the private room of Harper either because Harper allowed them entry by giving them access to the vingcard or because Harper allowed them entry by opening the door for them. Plaintiffs anchor its (sic) case on our law on quasi-delicts. coupled with the earlier recommendation of Col. no matter how sound the recommendation was. De Guzman to the hotel management to act on the security lapses of the hotel. Such fault or negligence. the Supreme Court defined negligence as: 24 . De Guzman. He qualified his testimony on the alleged female visitor belies the "theory of acquaintanceship". This. and whether the hotel is fully-booked or not. he noticed that there were few guards in the elevated portion of the hotel where the rooms were located. without an inkling that criminal/s could be in the premises. Col. Clearly. raises the presumption that the crime was foreseeable. under the attendant circumstances. The latter theory is more attuned to the dictates of reason. WE measure the act or omission of the tortfeasor with a perspective as that of an ordinary reasonable person who is similarly situated. Be that as it may. In determining whether or not there is negligence on the part of the parties in a given situation. "E") belie the defense theory of a joyous party between and among Harper and the unidentified malefactor/s. In any case. as applied to the extant case. defendant was duly forewarned of the security lapses in the hotel. Harper was found negative of prohibited and regulated drugs. He likewise testified that he recommended to the hotel management that at least one guard must be assigned per floor especially considering that the hotel has a long "L-shaped" hallway. Col. If indeed the female "visitor" is known to or a visitor of Harper. to wit: "Of the witnesses presented by plaintiffs to prove its (sic) case. The interval of three minutes in Harper’s entry and that of time the crime occurred because the hotel was not fully booked. De Guzman also testified that the reason why the hotel management disapproved his recommendation was that the hotel was not doing well. He was likewise a member of the elite Presidential Security Group. the usual gesture of a room occupant to his visitors. it is more likely. In finding defendant-appellant remiss in its duty of exercising the required reasonable care under the circumstances. He wanted not just one roving guard in every three or four floors. De Guzman testified that at the time he took over. In a case. the ghastly incident could have been prevented had there been adequate security in each of the hotel floors. The Toxicology Report likewise revealed that the deceased was negative of the presence of alcohol in his blood. While defendant’s theory may be true. It is most likely that the female direct in that his recommendation of one guard per floor is the "ideal" set-up when the hotel is fully"visitor" was the one who opened the door to the male "visitor". used that reasonable care and caution which an ordinary reasonable person would have used in the same situation. The theory of the defense that the malefactor/s was/were known to Harper or was/were visitors of Harper and that there was a shindig among [the] three deserves scant consideration. there being fault or negligence. The law. the court a quo reasoned-out. in effect. defendant’s inaction constitutes negligence or want of the reasonable care demanded of it in that particular situation. The test. use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not. such that one cannot see both ends of the hallway. Rodrigo De Guzman who was then the Chief Security Officer of defendant hotel for the year 1999. she should have entered the the room together with Harper. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another. is obliged to pay for the damage done.an absolute. the only one with competence to testify on the issue of adequacy or inadequacy of security is Col. "C" & "D") and the Toxicology Report (Exh. The existing security scheme then was one guard for 3 or 4 floors. It is quite unlikely that a supposed "visitor" would wait three minutes to be with a guest when he/she could On cross-examination. Col. It was a business judgment call on the part of the defendant. booked. He insisted there must be at least one in each floor considering the length and the shape of the corridors. the person is guilty of negligence.

in applying the premises liability rule in the instant case as it is applied in some it was disapproved as the hotel was not doing well and it was not fully booked so the existing jurisdiction (sic) in the United States. under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should. he was referring to one guard for every floor if the hotel is fully booked. The murder of Harper could have been entered Christian Harper’s room was never checked by any of the guards when he came inside avoided had the security guards of the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati dutifully observed this standard the hotel. not an absolute term. they admitted that nobody know that said man entered the hotel and it was only through the monitor that they became aware of his entry. Makati Shangri-La Hotel. but it was later on considered and approved on December 1999 because of the Centennial Celebration. or needless to state. As testified to by Col. was observed only later in November 1999 or When one registers (as) a guest of a hotel. Unfortunately. monitoring camera. These "minor" incidents may be of little significance to the hotel. Such act of the man showing wariness. It was even evidenced by the CCTV that before he walked to the room of the late Christian Harper. produces. the number of security guards was increased during the first part of December or about the degree of care is necessary. WE are reminded of the Supreme Court’s enunciation that the hotel business like the common carrier’s business is imbued with public interest. With confidence. although ideal when the hotel is fully-booked. in natural and continuous sequence. It is clear from the testimony of Col. The "reasonable care" that it must exercise for the safety and comfort of its guests should be commensurate with the grade and quality of the accommodation it offers. He further explained that his advice was observed only in the late premises to make the hotelkeeper liable. would alter the situation. should have aroused suspicion on the part of the roving Well settled is the doctrine that "the findings of fact by the trial court are accorded great respect by guard in the said floor. either immediately or by setting other events in motion." After a conscientious sifting of the records. He also qualified that as to his direct testimony on "ideal-set up"." guards. Unluckily for Christian Harper. the security was adequate. De Guzman that his recommendation was initially denied due to the fact that the business was then not doing well. In so concluding. is a five-star hotel. the record failed to show that at the time of the death of Christian Harper. 3 or 4 floors by one guard only on a roving manner. De Guzman confirmed that after he took over as Chief Security and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably impose. As per interview conducted by the initial investigator. More comprehensively. Catering to the public. If there is such a thing as "five-star hotel security". it speaks volume. and without which the result would not have occurred. one floor" recommended policy. it was exercising reasonable care to protect its guests from harm and danger by providing sufficient security commensurate to it being one of the finest hotels in the country. the guests at Makati Shangri-La surely deserves just that! It could be inferred from the foregoing declarations of the former Chief Security Officer of defendant-appellant that the latter was negligent in providing adequate security due its guests. the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as natural and probable incident happened. precaution and vigilance. It is a standard procedure of the management of the hotel apparent security lapses of defendant-appellant were further shown when the male culprit who to screen visitors who call on their guests at their rooms. proximate cause is that cause acting first and producing It could be gleaned from findings of the trial court that its conclusion of negligence on the part of the injury. for instance. as an ordinarily prudent and intelligent person. The his personal belongings during his stay. a high Officer. whereby such person suffers injury. after the murder of Christian Harper. Negligence is want of care required by the circumstances. and the degree of care On cross-examination. each having a close causal connection with its immediate on the failure to deploy sufficient security personnel or roving guards at the time the ghastly predecessor. defendantProximate cause is defined as that cause. yet relative to the instant case. considering that the hotel is L-shaped and the ends of the hallways cannot be seen. ignored. De Guzman. At the time he made the recommendation. PO3 Cornelio Valiente to the procedure. which the circumstances justly demand.The failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care. This should have served as a caveat that the hotel security has lapses. then made a recommendation that the ideal-set up for an effective security should be one guard for every floor. It is a relative or comparative. The "one guard. unbroken appellant fails to convince US to deviate from this doctrine. and its application depends upon the situation of the parties. or disregarded some fact or circumstances of sufficient weight or significance which. there was none at that appellate courts and should not be disturbed on appeal unless the trial court has overlooked. during the early therefrom. At the time he made his recommendation in the early part of 1999. be enforced when a guest died inside the hotel premises. He 25 . last week of November. time. the same was denied. "there were ‘minor’ incidents" (loss of items) before the happening of the instant case. have reasonable ground to A review of the testimony of Col. and before the incident happened. it is enough that guests are injured while inside the hotel security was adequate enough. if considered. result of the cause which first acted. added to the fact that his entry to the hotel was unnoticed. the injury. Moreover. The twin duty constitutes the essence of the business. at an unholy hour. It also bears stressing that there were prior incidents that occurred in the hotel which should have forewarned the hotel management of the security lapses of the hotel. it was repeatedly claimed by defendant-appellant that it is a five-star hotel. had there been any. he noticed that some of the floors of the hotel were being guarded by a few guards. Col. hotelkeepers are bound to provide not only lodging for hotel guests but also security to their persons and belongings. all constituting a natural and defendant-appellant is grounded mainly on the latter’s inadequate hotel security. to stress. Where the danger is great. part of 1999 to the early part of 2000. With great caution should the liability of the hotelkeeper November 1999 or the early part of December 1999. said male suspect even looked at the WE concur. more particularly continuous chain of events. by any efficient intervening cause. he makes the establishment the guardian of his life and in the early part of December 1999. which. De Guzman reveals that on direct examination he testified that at expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result the time he assumed his position as Chief Security Officer of defendant-appellant.

(c) When there is grave abuse of discretion. it is bound to provide adequate security to its guests.41 xxx ATTY COSICO: Q: So at that time that you made your recommendation. or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. 40 Probably realizing that his testimony had weakened petitioner’s position in the case. the same could have saved Christian Harper from a brutal death. Q: When was this? A: That was on December 1999 because of the Centennial Celebration when the hotel accepted so many guests wherein most of the rooms were fully booked and I recommended that all the hallways should be guarded by one guard. surmises or conjectures. are conclusive on the Court. and that he had recommended to management to post a guard for each floor. which. especially when affirmed by the CA. ergo. (h) When the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. 38 None of the exceptional circumstances obtains herein. (d) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. such as the following: (a) When the findings are grounded entirely on speculation. Q: Would you agree with me that even if the hotel is half-filled. De Guzman soon clarified on cross-examination that petitioner had seen no need at the time of the incident to augment the number of guards due to the hotel being then only half-booked. Sir. (i) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent. A: Maybe. but his recommendation had been disapproved because the hotel "was not doing well" at that particular time. your recommendation is that each floor shall be maintained by one security guard per floors? A: Yes sir. As previously discussed. and (k) When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties. The Court concurs entirely with the findings and conclusions of the CA. is untenable. De Guzman revealed that the management practice prior to the murder of Harper had been to deploy only one security or roving guard for every three or four floors of the building. Had there been reasonable security precautions. (j) When the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. The testimony of Col. Q: And even if the hotel is half-filled. (f) When in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case. To reiterate. 26 . that such ratio had not been enough considering the L-shape configuration of the hotel that rendered the hallways not visible from one or the other end. Here is how his testimony went: ATTY MOLINA: I just forgot one more point. something fully contrary to its character as not a trier of facts. Witness. Was there ever a time. absurd or impossible. if properly considered. Accordingly. the Court cannot now review and pass upon the uniform findings of negligence by the CA and the RTC because doing so would require the Court to delve into and revisit the factual bases for the finding of negligence.Defendant-appellant’s contention that it was Christian Harper’s own negligence in allowing the malefactors to his room that was the proximate cause of his death. the Court cannot depart from or disturb the factual findings on negligence of petitioner made by both the RTC and the CA. (e) When the findings of facts are conflicting. the Court agrees with the CA that petitioner failed to provide the basic and adequate security measures expected of a five-star hotel. Moreover.37 Consequently. that your recommendation to post a guard in every floor ever considered and approved by the hotel? A: Yes. defendant-appellant failed to exercise such reasonable care expected of it under the circumstances. Col. In that regard. Your Honor please. and that its omission was the proximate cause of Harper’s death. the hotel was half-filled. which the Court regards to be thorough and supported by the records of the trial. would justify a different conclusion. there is no need to increase the guards because there were only few customers? A: I think so. (g) When the findings are contrary to the trial court. 39 Even so. Such negligence is the proximate cause which set the chain of events that led to the eventual demise of its guest. (b) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken. defendant-appellant is engaged in a business imbued with public interest. the Court will not review unless there are exceptional circumstances for doing so. Mr. the factual findings of the trial court that are supported by the evidence on record.

SUNTAY III. Concepcion Mendoza and Isabel Santos. De Guzman’s initial recommendation had Before anything else. Q: Now. Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay (Cristina).Petitioner. WHEREFORE.Q: So you will agree with me that each floor should be maintained by one security guard if the rooms are filled up or occupied? A: Yes sir. At the time of her death. That would be absurd. Q: So it would be correct to say that the security at that time in February was adequate? A: I believe so. In fine. Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay (Emilio I). Emilio I had two children out of wedlock. No. SECOND DIVISION G.42 visitors of the guests.: Unlike Pope Alexander VI1 who.M. namely: herein respondent. been rebuffed due to the hotel being only half-booked. Suntay (Federico). EMILIO A. married to Dr. the decedent. Margarita. the Court AFFIRMS the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Federico meant by his statement that "the hotel was not doing well" that the hotel was only half-booked. by two different women. SO ORDERED. Catering to the public. the hotel was fully booked? A: Yes sir. you even testified that from January 1999 to November 1999 thereof.4 reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Respondent. Emilio I was married to Isabel Cojuangco. faced with the impasse between Spain and Portugal. or more appropriately. predeceased both Cristina and Federico. Thereafter. Branch 78.44 Article 200145 and Article 200246of the Civil Code (all of which concerned the hotelkeepers’ degree of care and responsibility as to the personal effects of their guests).R. and Emilio II. (Emilio III) and respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay.M. 183053 June 16. Q: And it was your own recommendation? A: Yes. we hold that there is much greater reason to apply the same if not greater degree of care and responsibility when the lives and personal safety of their guests are involved. all too familiar tale of another family imbroglio over the estate of a decedent. 74949. we disentangle the facts. Bulacan. their only son. Isabel.3 This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. ISABEL COJUANGCO-SUNTAY. albeit. The twin duty constitutes the essence of the business. without being held liable should anything untoward befall the unwary guests. and they begot three children. vs. you testified on direct that the hotel posted one guard each floor? A: Yes sir. only minor incidents were involved? A: Yes sir. before the incident. In 1979. including herein petitioner Emilio A.2 we are confronted with the difficult. Q: In fact. 1990. Malolos. 2010 IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF CRISTINA AGUINALDO-SUNTAY. 117-M-95. deftly and literally divided the exploration. that there had been no urgency to adopt a one-guard-per-floor policy because security had been adequate at that time. security was adequate? A: Yes. died intestate. Emilio III and Nenita Suntay Tañedo (Nenita). because we are expecting that the hotel will be filled up. respectively. Emilio I’s marriage to Isabel Cojuangco was subsequently annulled. Suntay III We are not convinced. J. The hotel business is imbued with public interest. Cristina was survived by her husband.5 Petitioner would thereby have the Court believe that Col. and ORDERS petitioner to pay the costs of suit. the hotelkeepers would simply stand idly by as strangers have unrestricted access to all the hotel rooms on the pretense of being During his lifetime. the riches of the New World by issuing the Inter Caetera. CV No. DECISION NACHURA. hotelkeepers are bound to provide not only lodging for their guests but also security to the persons and belongings of their guests. Federico. 27 . the Court sees no reversible-error on the part of the CA. Q: Now. and several grandchildren. all surnamed Cojuangco-Suntay.R. Q: Even up to November when the incident happened for that same reason. assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and that he actually On June 4. something that no good law would ever envision. 43 Applying by analogy Article 2000. in Special Proceeding Case No. Otherwise.

and charge on the same. and (4) To perform all orders of the Court. Emilio III. the Intervenor. nine months old.] he was already the one who managed their conjugal properties. 1993. 89 years old. (2) To administer the estate and to pay and discharge all debts. Petitioner Isabel Cojuangco[-]Suntay is hereby appointed administratrix of the intestate estate of Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay. it was altogether stopped because of a manifestation filed by respondent Isabel. SO ORDERED. Tañedo. as administrator of the decedent’s estate on his behalf. or in his stead. Federico died. Nenita is an acknowledged natural child of Emilio I and was likewise brought up by the spouses Federico and Cristina."10 In the course of the proceedings. after a failed attempt by the parties to settle the proceedings amicably. 6 Consequently. Emilio III. Quezon City. that he is better situated to protect the integrity of the estate of Cristina as even before the death of his wife[. Corporations and Hagonoy Rural Bank.8 Disavowing the allegations in the petition of his grandchild. III is hereby appointed administrator of the estate of the decedent Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay. Margarita. Federico filed a Manifestation dated March 13. he is capable of administering her estate and he should be the one appointed as its administrator. Emilio A. (2) Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay. the decedent left no debts or obligation at the time of her death. Parenthetically. respondent filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration in her favor. a true and complete inventory. that the [decedent] left an estate of real and personal properties.E. nominating his adopted son. among others.Despite the illegitimate status of Emilio III. the marriage between Emilio I and Isabel was annulled. Cristina. 1995. 39 years old. Emilio III averred his own qualifications that: "[he] is presently engaged in aquaculture and banking. Federico filed a petition for visitation rights over his grandchildren: respondent Isabel. Province of Bulacan. and that as far as [respondent] knew.000. Additionally.C. legatees. After the testimonies of both parties’ witnesses were heard and evidence on their respective allegations were adduced. Let letters of administration be 28 . Suntay.] namely: Emilio III and Nenita S.000. that Isabel and her family had been alienated from their grandparents for more than thirty (30) years. Suntay III. and Emilio II. appointing herein petitioner. that as part owner of the mass of conjugal properties left by Cristina.M. and (4) Emilio Cojuangco-Suntay. (3) Margarita Cojuangco-Suntay. the assailed decision dated November 9. to wit: WHEREFORE. as administrator of decedent Cristina’s intestate estate. adopted their illegitimate grandchildren. legitimate granddaughter and a resident of x x x. in the event he would be adjudged as the one with a better right to the letters of administration.9 Meanwhile.000. and appointed respondent as administratrix of the intestate estate of the decedent. Cristina. that the probable value of the estate as stated in the petition was grossly overstated (sic). As previously adverted to. after the death of his spouse. the trial court granted Emilio III’s Motion for Leave to Intervene considering his interest in the outcome of the case. 2001.00. 36 years old. and that Isabel’s allegation that some of the properties are in the hands of usurpers is untrue. respondent and her siblings Margarita and Emilio II. the trial court rendered a decision on November 9. Federico. revoked the Letters of Administration issued to Emilio III. he was reared ever since he was a mere baby. surviving spouse and a resident of x x x.00. 1995. Bulacan in SPC No. the significant work experiences outside the family group are included in his curriculum vitae. the petition of Isabel Cojuangco[-]Suntay is DENIED and the Opposition[-]in[]Intervention is GRANTED. articulating her sentiments on the unwanted visits of her grandparents. ages and residences of the surviving heirs of the [decedent] are: (1) Federico C. which reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC. alleging that Federico.71avvphi1 On October 26. containing the following allegations: [A]t the time of [the decedent’s] death. on November 13. or on September 27. Regional Trial Court of Malolos. in view of all the foregoing. Cristina. and at any other time when required by the court. 35 years old. he must be accorded legal preference in the administration thereof. was better equipped than respondent to administer and manage the estate of the decedent. [she] was a resident of the Municipality of Hagonoy. that the names. Federico filed his opposition on December 21. after the death of Emilio I. or dividends thereon. Suntay. if any. Although the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Quezon City granted the petition and allowed Federico one hour of visitation monthly. 1999. he was employed by the oppositor [Federico] after his graduation in college with management degree at F.M. that: [B]eing the surviving spouse of Cristina. with a probable gross value of P29. Emilio III and Nenita. Emilio III filed his Opposition-In-Intervention. to wit: WHEREFORE. separately from their father and paternal grandparents.11 Aggrieved. lived with their mother on Balete Drive. Significantly. let Letters of Administration be issued in his favor. Subsequently. respondent filed an appeal before the CA. initially reduced to thirty minutes. legitimate grandson and a resident of x x x. Accordingly. 2000. Once the said bond is approved by the court. conditioned as follows: (1) To make and return within three (3) months. 117-M-95 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the letters of administration issued by the said court to Emilio A. he was trained by the decedent to work in his early age by involving him in the activities of the Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation which was established in 1979 in memory of her grandmother’s father. (3) To render a true and just account within one (1) year. are consequently revoked. that the enumeration of heirs in the petition was incomplete as it did not mention the other children of his son[. which essentially echoed the allegations in his grandfather’s opposition. Emilio III. legitimate granddaughter and a resident of x x x. alleging. 2001 of Branch 78. who shall enter upon the execution of his trust upon the filing of a bond in the amount of P200. by the spouses Federico and Cristina and was an acknowledged natural child of Emilio I. respondent Isabel. x x x.

cannot be appointed as the administrator of the decedent’s estate for the following reasons:15 1. respondent is as much competent as Emilio III to administer and manage the subject estate for she possesses none of the disqualifications specified in Section 1. a businessman with an established track record as a manager has a decided edge and therefore. it is clear to the court that when it comes to management of real estate and the processing and payment of debts. was akin to the normal relationship of legitimate relatives. 18 is quite the opposite scenario in the facts obtaining herein for the actual relationship between Federico and Cristina. No pronouncement as to costs. in order to give effect to the order of preference mandated by law. UNDER THE UNDISPUTED FACTS WHERE HEREIN PETITIONER WAS REARED BY THE DECEDENT AND HER SPOUSE SINCE INFANCY. the administrator should be one who is prepared. As between the legitimate offspring (respondent) and illegitimate offspring (Emilio III) of decedent’s son. who both acknowledged him as their grandchild. The root cause of which. IN THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE UNDER SECTION 6 OF RULE 78 OF THE RULES OF COURT. the CA glosses over several undisputed facts and circumstances: 1. For the benefit of the estate and its claimants. Emilio III. i. Mistakenly.issued in her favor upon her filing of a bond in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (P200. academically and by experience. [Emilio III].12 The motion for reconsideration of Emilio III having been denied. should not be imperiously set aside and insouciantly ignored. as between Emilio III and respondent. the CA pronounced that Emilio III. the RTC ratiocinated.000. from the viewpoint of the estate. WHETHER ARTICLE 992 OF THE CIVIL CODE APPLIES. The basis for Article 992 of the Civil Code. is not unqualified.M. The death of Federico before his appointment as administrator of Cristina’s estate rendered his nomination of Emilio III inoperative. Jurisprudence has consistently held that Article 99216 of the Civil Code bars the illegitimate child from inheriting ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. and Emilio III. The Court honestly believes that to appoint the petitioner would go against the wishes of the decedent who raised [Emilio III] from infancy in her home in Baguio City as her own child. absent any valid and justifiable reason. WHETHER ARTICLE 992 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE APPLIES SO AS TO BAR HIM FROM BEING APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DECEDENT’S ESTATE. Suntay III. The underlying philosophy of our law on intestate succession is to give preference to the wishes and presumed will of the decedent. he appeals by certiorari to this Court. be appointed administrator of the estate in the aboveentitled special proceedings. the CA zeroed in on Emilio III’s status as an illegitimate child of Emilio I and. 2. raising the following issues: A. the decedent.00) Pesos. the decedent. being the "next of kin" referred to by Section 6. as well as heirs. and her husband. Such nomination. Moreover. Federico’s appointment as administrator of the estate. and B.14 In marked contrast. What matters most at this time is the welfare of the estate of the decedent in the light of such unfortunate and bitter estrangement.17 Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. The appointment of Emilio III was subject to a suspensive condition. respondent is preferred. [respondent’s immediate] family and that of the decedent are apparently estranged. SO ORDERED.e. Emilio I. Cristina. and entitled to share in the distribution of Cristina’s estate as an heir. on the other. and 4. Thus. creditors. the latter is accorded preference as the surviving spouse under Sec 6(a). the nomination of [Emilio III] appear[s] intrinsically meritorious. barred from representing his deceased father in the estate of the latter’s legitimate mother.13 In ruling against the petition of herein respondent. on one hand. the court opines that it is to the best interest of the estate of the decedent and all claimants thereto. he vigorously opposed the appointment of the petitioner and instead nominated [Emilio III]. 3. both testimonial and documentary. Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. Contrary to the RTC’s finding. a practicing physician. cannot be preferred over respondent in the administration of the estate of their grandmother. Rule 78. he being the surviving spouse of Cristina. is in a position to better handle the preservation of the estate. 3. We cannot subscribe to the appellate court’s ruling excluding Emilio III in the administration of the decedent’s undivided estate. On the basis of such preference. While [respondent]. As between [respondent] and the oppositor [Federico]. referred to as the iron curtain bar rule. 29 . Emilio III was reared from infancy by the decedent. for the demands and responsibilities of the position. who is barred from inheriting from his grandmother. thus. Federico. Rules of Court. and which nomination hinged upon the latter’s appointment as administrator of the decedent’s estate. who was merely nominated by Federico. that the Intervenor. Emilio A.. Based on the evidence and demeanor of the parties in court. 2. is better qualified to act as administrator of the decedent’s estate. The pivotal issue in this case turns on who. is not for this court to ascertain nor is this the right time and the proper forum to dwell upon. his grandchild and adopted child. On the whole. thus: Evidence objectively assessed and carefully evaluated. even after the oppositor [Federico] has passed away. Certainly. the decedent. absent a valid and effective will. it would go against the wishes of the surviving spouse x x x who nominated [Emilio III] for appointment as administrator.

because her share in the conjugal partnership. Reyes: In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within the legitimate family. the principal consideration is the interest in the estate of the one to be appointed. In the case of Uy v. and thus contribute to the welfare of humanity. When and to whom letters of administration granted. Cristina’s properties forming part of her estate are still commingled with that of her husband. so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an illegitimate child can not inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father and mother. 998) our Code allows the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants. Similarly. specially in cases where justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of the estates. i. and 6. it is said. or both. then the ascendants. estate. was actually treated by the decedent and her husband as their own son. albeit terminated upon her death. the attendant facts and circumstances of this case necessitate. We are not unmindful of the critiques of civilists of a conflict and a lacuna in the law concerning the bone of contention that is Article 992 of the Civil Code. or next of kin. 992 must be suppressed. joint administration of the subject estate.e. As Federico’s adopted son. we declared in Delgado Vda. Rule 78 of the Rules of Court lists the order of preference in the appointment of an administrator of an estate: SEC. requests to have appointed. remains undetermined and unliquidated. Nenita Tañedo. be incompetent or unwilling. 24 However. and eventually legally adopted by decedent’s husband. In the same vein. The first solution would be more in accord with an enlightened attitude vis-à-vis illegitimate children. including another illegitimate grandchild of Cristina and Federico. at the least.19 Jurisprudence has long held that the selection of an administrator lies in the sound discretion of the trial court. This difference being indefensible and neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for administration or to unwarranted. 992 prevents the illegitimate issue of a legitimate child from representing him in the intestate succession of the grandparent. and. but with fine inconsistency. the successional bar between the legitimate and illegitimate relatives of a decedent. and the two (2) siblings of respondent Isabel. in the Code of the Philippines apparently adhered to this principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the discretion of the court. Counsel for petitioner meticulously argues that Article 992 of the Civil Code. Manresa explains the basis for the rules on intestate succession: The law [of intestacy] is founded… on the presumed will of the deceased… Love. we are puzzled why the CA resorted to a strained legal reasoning – Emilio III’s nomination was subject to a suspensive condition and rendered inoperative by reason of Federico’s death – wholly inapplicable to the case at bar. Emilio I. Federico claimed half of the properties included in the estate of the decedent. or the executor or executors are incompetent. more of the principal creditors. first descends. the (b) If such surviving husband or wife. in subsequent articles (990. illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. educated and trained in their businesses. we are impelled to move in only one direction. The Civil (a) To the surviving husband or wife. beginning with the eminent Justice J.4. the original oppositor to respondent’s petition for letters of administration. aside from his share in the conjugal partnership. or a person dies intestate. Cristina. in the future revision of the Civil Code we shall have to make a choice and decide request that administration be granted to some other person. – If no executor is named in the will. Court of Appeals. the order of preference is not absolute for it depends on the attendant facts and circumstances of each case. or next of kin. 5. an illegitimate grandchild of the decedent. Emilio III’s interest in the estate of Cristina is as much apparent to this Court as the interest therein of respondent. on the assumption that the deceased would have done so had he manifested his last will… Lastly. the subject estate in this case calls to the succession other putative heirs. as the case may be. The order of preference does not rule out the appointment of coadministrators. Margarita and Emilio II. reared from infancy. Section 6. From the foregoing. it is in accordance with his presumed will that his property be given to charitable or educational institutions. or the person selected by them. not simply representing his deceased illegitimate father.. or next of kin. spreads sideways. then ascends." Thus. if competent and willing to serve. administration shall be granted: creditor of the decedent’s estate. does not apply in this instance where facts indubitably demonstrate the contrary – Emilio III. Thus. and finally the collaterals. finally. as the case may be. who was likewise a 30 . [Federico]. 995 and kin. the law first calls the descendants. Emilio III is a legally adopted child of Federico. entitled to share in the distribution of the latter’s estate as a direct heir. considering that the CA even declared that "under the law. in default of anyone called to succession or bound to the decedent by ties of blood or affection. always preferring those closer in degree to those of remoter degrees.21 we upheld the appointment by the trial court of a coadministration between the decedent’s son and the decedent’s brother. in which case Art. but who was likewise adopted by Federico. 992. it is patently clear that the CA erred in excluding Emilio III from the administration of the decedent’s estate. or to such person as such surviving husband or wife. One final note. refuse the trust. and the unliquidated conjugal partnership of Cristina and Federico which forms part of their respective estates. Federico. if competent and willing to serve. a situation which obtains here.L. or next of Spanish Code in its own Art. So that while Art. as forming part of their conjugal partnership of gains during the subsistence of their marriage. or fail to give bond. being the surviving spouse. considering the conflicting claims of the putative heirs. whether legitimate or illegitimate. Cristina’s.23 (c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve. it may be granted to one or either that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases the right of representation.20 In the main. or contrariwise maintain said article and modify Articles 995 and 998. In all. a joint administration by both respondent and Emilio III of their grandmother’s. de Damian22 that: [i]n the appointment of an administrator. would have the right of succession over a portion of the exclusive property of the decedent. one degree from Federico. or if the husband or widow. it may be granted to such other person as the court may select. Heirs of Marciana Rustia Vda. de De la Rosa v. 6.B.

1990 which Robert presented. Malolos.e. legally raised the status of Emilio III from an illegitimate grandchild to that of a legitimate child. It is further directed to settle the estate. the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. WHEREFORE. or any of them. The Facts and the Case [T]he declaration of heirs made by the lower court is premature. They acquired during their lifetime the Sta. and Lydia Ramirez. 2002 Eleuterio. 1998. 1995 the RTC issued letters of administration appointing Eleuterio as Rosita’s estate administrator. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 1995 petitioner Eleuterio P. Teresita General Hospital that respondent Robert Ramirez 74949 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. overthrow the legal presumption in Article 992 of the Civil Code that there exist animosity and antagonism between legitimate and illegitimate descendants of a deceased.4 Robert claims. as administrator of Rosita’s estate.R.M. The Regional Trial Court. Robert opposed the Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment by each of a bond to be set by the Regional Trial Court. did not distinguish between her legitimate and illegitimate grandchildren. 2005 administrator Eleuterio moved for the joint settlement in the same case of the estates of Rosita and her husband. On April 18. The peculiar circumstances of this case. 1996 he filed in his capacity as administrator a motion with the court to compel the examination and production of documents relating to properties believed to be a part of her estate. namely. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law. in Special Proceeding Case No. issuance of the subpoena. moved for the revival of the proceedings and requested anew the production and examination of documents in Robert’s possession relating to Rosita’s estat e. No. Federico. 189697 June 27. Section 1. Adolfo6 considering that the spouses’ properties were conjugal. considering that the question on who will administer the properties of the long deceased couple has yet to be settled. 117-M-95. Raymond. i. Robert agreed to the joint settlement of the estate of the deceased spouses but insisted that the court also probate the deceased Adolfo’s will of October 10. love first descends. for the decedent. Rosita died in September 1990. the factual antecedents of this case accurately reflect the basis of intestate succession. followed by her husband Adolfo in December 1993.5 Four years later or on May 16. On February 7. 1. who allegedly died without a will and with no direct ascendants or descendants. suspending heirs of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay according to the actual factual milieu as proven by the the proceedings in the case pending the resolution of a separate case involving the properties of parties. Robert. Petitioner. Branch 78. the petition is GRANTED. together with Raymond Ramirez (Raymond) and Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay shall issue to both petitioner Emilio A. – x x x. painstakingly pointed out by counsel for petitioner. Malolos. Suntay III and respondent Lydia Ramirez (Lydia). being the son of her brother Federico.Indeed. Teresita General Hospital and other properties. Our holding in Capistrano v. No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations above mentioned has been made or provided for. Respondents. ROBERT RAMIREZ and RAYMOND RAMIREZ. 31 . Nonetheless. and the proceeding has not as yet reached the stage of distribution of the estate which must come after the inheritance is liquidated. Bulacan.: This case is about a court’s adjudication of non-issues and the authority of the administrator to examine and secure evidence from persons having knowledge of properties allegedly belonging to the decedent’s estate. The estate had hardly been judicially opened.3On September 6. the estate of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay with dispatch. it must be pointed out that judicial restraint impels us to refrain from making a final declaration of heirship and distributing the presumptive shares of the parties in the estates of Cristina and Federico. Nadurata25 on the same issue remains good law: ELEUTERIO RIVERA. the RTC issued an order on March 26. J. 2012 Meantime. give a bond.R. unless the distributees. as Administrator of the Intestate Estate of Rosita L. foremost of which was the Sta. conditioned for the payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs. vs. The RTC apparently never got to act on the motion. in fact. 1995 Eleuterio submitted an initial inventory of her properties. on March 25. although the evidence sufficiently shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. THIRD DIVISION G. however. On March 28. Branch 78. Eleuterio expressed willingness to co-administer the late spouses’ estate with Adolfo’s heirs. When order for distribution of residue is made. CV No. The spouses Adolfo Ramirez (Adolfo) and Rosita Rivera (Rosita) were married in 1942. Neither did her husband. Their only child died in infancy. Letters of Administration over the estate of decedent (Robert) had been managing. RiveraRamirez. Eleuterio submitted to the intestate court a list of the names of the decedent’s other nephews and nieces all of whom expressed conformity to Eleuterio’s appointment as administrator of her estate. Rule 90 of the Rules of Court does not depart from the foregoing admonition: Sec. and all other persons with legal interest in the subject estate. Rivera (Eleuterio) filed a petition for issuance of letters of administration with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City covering the estate of Rosita. 1 Eleuterio claimed2 that he was Rosita’s nephew.. SO ORDERED. in a sum to be fixed by the court. Bulacan is likewise directed to make a determination and to declare the On joint motion of the parties. DECISION ABAD. Cristina. No costs. who. that they were children of Adolfo by another woman.

The CA held that based on the article Women Physicians of the World9 found in the record of the case before it. What is more. The RTC also declined to inhibit Atty. or fraudulently conveyed. legatee. however. Thus: Section 6. the late Rosita. Antonio Pacheo to represent him in the estate case. Indeed. On February 17. designed as an economical and efficient mode of discovering properties of the estate. and other documents relating to the operations of the Sta. Pacheo from the case. a physician. or other individual interested in the estate of the deceased. reiterated his motion to compel examination and production of the hospital’s documents in Robert’s possession. or claim of the deceased to real or personal estate. had no right to institute the petition for the settlement of her estate or to seek the production and examination of the hospital’s documents. as administrator of Rosita’s estate. He has to file an ordinary action for recovery of the properties. the noninhibition of Atty. had no standing to request production of the hospital’s documents or to institute the petition for the settlement of her estate. On July 17. et al. On February 12. interest. which had a distinct personality. The CA affirmed. This being the case. Pacheo as Raymond’s counsel. Pacheo to represent him in the case. subsequently retained the services of Atty. Pacheo from the case. to file a petition for the settlement of Rosita’s estate were never raised and properly tried before the RTC. As for the right of the administrator of Rosita’s estate to the production and examination of the specified documents believed to be in Robert’s possession. But the issues regarding the late Rosita’s supposed judicial adoption of Raymond as her child and the consequent absence of right on the part of Eleuterio. had adopted Raymond as her child. and his answers thereto. the CA gravely abused its discretion in adjudicating such issues and denying Eleuterio and his relatives their right to be heard on them. Rule 87 of the Rules of Court provides that these can be allowed based on the administrator’s belief that the person named in the request for subpoena has documents in his possession that tend to show the decedent’s right to real or personal property. Issues Presented The case presents two issues: 1. shall be in writing and shall be filed in the clerk’s office. that court has no authority to decide the question of whether certain properties belong to the estate or to the person sought to be examined. et al. embezzled. 11 In fact. or that such person has in his possession or has knowledge of any deed. The relevant issue before the RTC was only whether or not the duly appointed administrator of Rosita’s estate had the right to the production and examination of the documents believed to be in Robert’s possession. – If an executor or administrator. embezzled. The procedure is inquisitorial in nature. or conveyed away any of the money.As a side issue. the CA ruled that Eleuterio and Rosita’s other collateral relatives were not her heirs since she had an adopted child in Raymond and that. Essentially. or the last will and testament of the deceased. Proceedings when property concealed. as administrator only of Rosita’s estate. conveyance. financial statements. the court may punish him for contempt. 7 imputing grave abuse of discretion by the RTC for allowing the production and examination of the subject documents and for not inhibiting Atty. said the CA. consequently. But Robert and Atty. that the hospital did not form part of Rosita’s estate. or knowledge of properties suspected of belonging to the estate of the deceased. and that Eleuterio. had no right to inspect and have access to Adolfo’s estate. Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that Eleuterio. Raymond. if after the examination the court has good reason to believe that the person examined is in possession of properties that belong to the deceased.8 annulling the RTC’s orders insofar as they granted the production and examination of the hospital’s documents. and if the person so cited refuses to appear. 2007 the RTC granted the administrator’s motion and ordered Robert to bring to court the books of account. 2007. Consequently. one of the reasons Robert brought the special civil action of certiorari before the CA is that Eleuterio had no right to inspect the requested documents and have access to Adolfo’s estate when Eleuterio’s authority as administrator extended only to Rosita’s estate. is deemed a legitimate child of the adopter. Pacheo soon had a parting of ways. whether or not the late Rosita had judicially adopted Raymond as her child is a question of fact that had neither been considered nor passed upon by the RTC in a direct challenge to the claim of Eleuterio and Rosita’s other collateral relatives that they have the right to inherit from her. The lawyer had previously counseled for the late Adolfo and the hospital. title. therefore. Robert filed a special civil action of certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA). Robert initially retained the services of Atty. and 2. Two. creditor. 2006 Eleuterio.13 32 . But the RTC denied Robert’s motion on June 19. Raymond’s presence barred Eleuterio and Rosita’s other collateral relatives from inheriting intestate from her. (Emphasis supplied) The production and examination is nothing to be afraid of since the intestate court has no authority to decide who the decedent’s heirs are in connection with such incident which is confined to the examination of documents which may aid the administrator in determining properties believed to belong to the decedent’s estate. who did not see eye to eye with his brother Robert. contract or other writing which contains evidence of or tends to disclose the right. had no standing to subpoena the specified documents in Robert’s possession. et al. Robert moved to quash the subpoena on the grounds that the documents belonged to the hospital. the administrator cannot detain the property. 2009 the CA rendered judgment. bond. or to answer on such examination or such interrogatories as are put to him.12 The purpose of the production and examination of documents is to elicit information or secure evidence from persons suspected of having possession of. Eleuterio’s motion for reconsideration having been denied. Teresita General Hospital. Ruling of the Court One.10 A further consequence is that they also did not have the right to seek the production and examination of the documents allegedly in Robert’s possession. the Court may cite such suspected person to appear before it and may examine him on oath on the matter of such complaint. heir. An adopted child. The interrogatories put to any such person. he filed the present petition for review. The Court understands the CA’s commendable desire to minimize multiple appeals. But. Section 6. This created an issue because Robert wanted the lawyer inhibited from the case considering that the latter would be working against the interest of a former client. Eleuterio. goods or chattels of the deceased. Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that Eleuterio and his relatives were not Rosita’s heirs and. resulting in the dismissal of the lawyer. and may commit him to prison until he submits to the order of the court. complains to the court having jurisdiction of the estate that a person is suspected of having concealed.

Inc. SO ORDERED. It then posited that the claimed marriage could not be registered under Act No. In other words. Martin C. No. PROC. The petition for late registration was filed by Rolando Cabellon. and that there was failure to show cause for the delay in registration. Basilisa Cabellon-Moreno. Section 2(c) of the Rules of Court pertaining to appeals involving pure questions of law. regardless of which party is successful. Rolando Cabellon. be it of whatsoever character it may. or at least like those representing the same interest in both actions. the first petition (SP. Respondents. Jr. 2012 On the other hand. and REINSTATES the February 12. Inc. Petitioner United Abangan Clan is an association comprised of members who are supposedly the collateral relatives and nearest intestate heirs of Anastacia. 16180-CEB) pertains to a cancellation of entry in the civil register. Respondents Yolanda C. REVERSES the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Inc. involving the alleged marriage of Anastacia Abangan (Anastacia) to Raymundo Cabellon (Raymundo). Edith T. They then averred that it failed to exhaust administrative remedies. The petition assails the 6 February 2009 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). No. involved the same parties and concerned vs. Martin C. The trial court explained that any decision on the first Yolanda C. refers to a situation in which another action is pending between the same parties for the same cause of action. Romualdo C. such that the judgment that may be rendered in the pending case would.R. Discussion Litis pendentia. while the main issue in the present one (SP. Basilisa Cabellon-Moreno. Finally. According to the trial court. They next asserted that the United Abangan Clan was estopped from questioning the late registration of the marriage. On 19 May 2008.WHEREFORE. No. who were allegedly the true legal heirs and descendants of Anastacia and Raymundo. if a final judgment in the prior action. Finally.5 In order to successfully invoke the rule. PROC. Issue The sole issue before this Court is whether or not the instant petition was properly dismissed on the ground of litis pendentia. the relief being founded on the same facts. otherwise not. Furthermore. which were both initiated by petitioner.. the RTC issued a Resolution4 dismissing the Petition for cancellation of the entry in the Register of Marriages (second petition) on the ground of litis pendentia. the RTC declared that the present petition was still premature. 16171-CEB. Tabura. v. Tabura. 16180-CEB). and (c) the identity of the two (2) cases. PROC. and Imelda T. RESOLUTION SERENO. On 6 February 2009. the movant must prove the existence of the following requisites: (a) the identity of parties. Cebu City. SP 100203 dated February 17. petitioner contended that it was not Anastacia and Raymundo who had filed the application for the late registration of their marriage. and the the second petition was to assert heirship and the right of succession over the inheritance left by honorable city civil registrar of Cebu City. Ernesto Tiro. Represented by Cristituto F. Ernesto Tiro. (b) the identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for.. They were allegedly married on 18 February 1873 at the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish in El Pardo. PROC. represented by Rolando Cabellon. J. Casas. Casugay. SECOND DIVISION G. 16171-CEB) and the second petition (SP. the same issues and reliefs prayed for. 2006. because it had ostensibly taken place before 27 February 1931.. the two suits may be considered identical. the United Abangan Clan filed a Petition seeking the cancellation of the entry in the Register of Marriages. the Court GRANTS the petition.R. Petitioner. they claimed that the marriage of Anastacia and Raymundo had been established by means of an ancient document found in the church records of the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish. The present case stemmed from the registration of the purported marital union between the late Anastacia and Raymundo. Northcott & Co. 3753. Sabellano-Sumagang. we ruled: "One of the recognized tests of such identity is to discover whether a judgment in the prior action would be conclusive as to the liability sought to be enforced in the second and would operate as a bar to the latter. respondents argued3 that petitioner was engaged in forum shopping. Abangan.: Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed under Rule 45 in relation to Rule 41. and a Certificate of Marriage issued sometime in September 2007 or 134 years after their purported matrimonial bond. The United Abangan Clan. Docketed as SP.6 The crucial consideration in litis pendentia is the identity and similarity of the issues under litigation. (United Abangan Clan) for the cancellation of the entry in the Register of Marriages of the City Civil Registrar of Cebu City (Civil Registrar). and the second action becomes unnecessary and vexatious. An action for declaration of heirship (declaracion de herederos) refers to a special proceeding in which a person claiming the status of heir seeks prior judicial declaration of his or her right to inherit from a decedent. Anastacia. would support the plea of res judicata in the second.. the case involved a petition for the judicial declaration of the heirs of decedent Anastacia (first petition). and Rolando Cabellon (Cabellon Descendants) are the purported grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Anastacia and Raymundo. 2009. since the fact of marriage between Anastacia and Raymundo was an important issue to be resolved in another case. because petitioner should have first brought the issue to the attention of the Civil Registrar pursuant to the doctrine of primary administrative jurisdiction. No. 1 which dismissed the action of United Abangan Clan. 16171-CEB) involves a judicial declaration of heirship. which was the date of effectivity of the law. Tabura. 9 On the 33 . Villa-Abrille. No. 186722 June 18. petition would necessarily constitute res judicata in the present case. Sabellano-Sumagang. 2007 order of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in Special Proceedings Q-95-22919 granting petitioner Eleuterio P.7 As early as in J. It averred2 that Anastacia died single and without issue. No. Tabura. Rivera’s motion to compel examination and production of document dated July 17.1âwphi1 The action in the prior Petition (SP. as it did not appeal the decision of the Civil Registrar to a higher office. which petitioner had failed to contest after the publication of the Notice of Delayed Registration. Romualdo C. A delayed registration of the marriage was entered in the records of the Civil Registrar. amount to res judicata in the other. as a ground for the dismissal of an action. PROC." 8 There is no identity and similarity between the first and the second petitions with respect to the issues under litigation. since the ultimate purpose of Jr.

NERI. conveying themto the late spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy (spouses Uy)for a consideration of P 80. 2010 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Visminda D. in his personal capacity and as natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas. Visminda. SO ORDERED. DECISION PERLAS-BERNABE. No. Anunciacion died intestate. while changes in the entries in the civil register do not in themselves settle the issue of succession. Neri (Douglas). assailing the validity of the sale for having been sold within the prohibited period. holding that as co-owners. and registrability of an event affecting the status or nationality of an individual. namely: Eutropia and Victoria. did not preclude the excluded heirs from recovering their legitimes from their co-heirs. what is established is a party’s right of succession to the decedent. NERI. CV No. EUTROPIA D. the sale is still void because Eutropia and Victoria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial authority to sell the shares of his minor children. 1962 and July 7. On June 11. 2004. 194366 October 10. (P-14608) P-51536 and P20551 (P-8348)7issued on February 15. Alicia.: In this Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. among those settled are the issues of nationality. were not bound by it. paternity. vs. and Vismindaexecuted an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale8 on July 7. 1996. Throughout the marriage of spouses Enrique and Anunciacion. ILLUT-PIALA. it rejected the defenses of laches and prescription raised by spouses Uy. Rosa D. Neri-Mondejar (Alicia). and thereafter. Davao del Norte. an action for cancellation of entry in the civil register refers to a special proceeding whereby a substantial change affecting the civil status of a party is sought through the amendment of the entry in the civil register. they have the right to dispose of their respective shares as they consider necessary or fit. filiation. On September 21. Respondents. the heirs of Uy countered that the sale took place beyond the 5-year prohibitory period from the issuance of the homestead patents. 1967. entered a new one dismissing petitioners’ complaint for annulment of sale. Anunciacion Neri (Anunciacion) had seven children. petitioners Napoleon D. Enrique. ROSA D. A judicial declaration of heirship is inconclusive on the fact of occurrence of an event registered or to be registered in the civil register.00. DOUGLAS D. who claimed possession of the subject properties for 17 years. they were deemed to have ratified the sale whenthey failed to question it NAPOLEON D. and five (5) from her second marriage with Enrique Neri (Enrique).R. Eutropia D.96-28. and interposed further the defenses of prescription and laches.While recognizing Rosa and Douglas to be minors at that time.555 square meters located in Samal. two (2) from her first marriage with Gonzalo Illut (Gonzalo). the CA declared the extrajudicial settlement and the subsequent saleas valid and binding with respect to Enrique and hischildren. the CA found it unconscionable to permit the annulment of the sale considering spouses Uy’s possession thereof for 17 years.000. 16180-CEB) to the RTC for a trial on the merits. legitimacy of the marital status. NERI-MILLAN. 16180-CEB is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. while Eutropia and Victoria had no knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement and sale of the subject properties and as such. 1957. It. together with Napoleon. The RTC Ruling On October 25. among others. SECOND DIVISION G. the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale.R. NERI-CHAMBERS. Neri (Napoleon). Alicia D. PROC. docketed as Civil Case No. In their amended answer with counterclaim. Douglas D. It held that. and thatEutropia and Victoriabelatedlyfiled their actionin 1997. Her husband. Similarly. Illut-Piala (Victoria) seek to reverse and set aside the April 27. 01031-MIN which annulled the October 25. Petitioners. Thecomplaint was later amended to include Eutropia and Victoriaas additional plaintiffs for having been excluded and deprived of their legitimes as childrenof Anunciacion from her first marriage. NERI-MONDEJAR. WHEREFORE. Davao del Norte and instead. 2004 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Panabo City. Neri-Millan (Rosa). (P-7998) P-21285. and Victoria D.10 In the former. The 6 February 2009 Resolution of the Cebu City RTC in SP. VISMINDA D. August 27. PROC. ormore than two years fromknowledge of their exclusion as heirs in 1994 when their stepfather died. The CA Ruling On appeal. HEIRS OF HADJI YUSOP UY AND JULPHA* IBRAHIM UY.other hand. Consequently. ALICIA D. holding that co-ownership rights are imprescriptible. respectively. J. the RTC rendered a decision ordering. any decision that may be rendered in one of them cannot constitute res judicata in the other. 1979. however. Douglas and Rosa. No. Because the respective subject matters in the two actions differ. damages and attorney’s feesagainst herein respondents heirs of spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy (heirs of Uy). in the latter. ILLUT-COCKINOS AND VICTORIA D. 1977. They also denied knowledge of Eutropia and Victoria’s exclusionfrom the extrajudicial settlement and sale of the subject properties. Illut-Cockinos (Eutropia). the CAreversed and set aside the ruling of the RTC in its April 27. It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond the 5-year prohibitory period. No. adjudicating among themselves the said homestead properties. 2012 embraced by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) Nos. the children of Enrique filed a complaint for annulment of saleof the said homestead properties against spouses Uy (later substituted by their heirs)before the RTC. Rosa and Douglas. 2010 Decision2 and October 18. Alicia. The Facts During her lifetime. the Petition is GRANTED. 2010 Decision and dismissed the complaint of the petitioners. namely: Napoleon. 34 . Neri-Chambers (Visminda). they acquired several homestead properties with a total area of 296. We hereby order the REMAND of the case (SP.

respectively. and III.9 entitling them to their pro indiviso shares in her whole estate. If the property is worth more than two thousand pesos. WHEN IT DID NOT NULLIFY OR ANNUL THE "EXTRA JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE WITH ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE" WITH RESPECT TO THE SHARESOF ROSA AND DOUGLAS. are entitled to inherit from her in equal shares. Enrique was merely clothed with powers of administration and bereft of any authority to dispose of their 2/16 shares in the estate of their mother. WHEN IT FOUND THAT LACHES OR PRESCRIPTION HAS SET IN. The partition in the present case was invalid because it excluded six of the nine heirs who were entitled to equal shares in the partitioned property. THEREBY DEPRIVING THEM OF THEIR INHERITANCE. a total nullity. 980. Anunciacion. Napoleon. their natural guardian and father. the father or mother shall give a bond subject to the approval of the Court of First Instance. as follows: Enrique Eutropia Victoria 9/16 (1/2 of the conjugal assets + 1/16) 1/16 1/16 Rosa Douglas 1/16 1/16 Hence. represented them in the transaction. in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of spouses Uy. Section 1. Segura. pursuant to Articles 979 and 980 of the Civil Code which read: ART.It cannot be denied that these heirs have acquired their respective shares in the properties of Anunciacion from the moment of her death11and that. dividing the inheritance in equal shares. The father.12 With respect to Rosa and Douglas who were minors at the time of the execution of the settlement and sale. upon the death of Anunciacion on September 21. 320. (Underscoring added) The effect of excluding the heirs in the settlement of estate was further elucidated in Segura v. as owners thereof. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants. while the settlement of the estate is null and void. the subsequent sale of the subject propertiesmade by Enrique and his children. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs.Italso found laches to have set in because of their inaction for a long period of time. Articles 320 and 326 of the Civil Code. it was not correct for the trial court to hold that their right to challenge the partition had prescribed after two years from its execution… However. Rule 74 of the Rules of Court provides: SECTION 1. It bears to stress that all the petitioners herein are indisputably legitimate children of Anunciacion from her first and second marriages with Gonzalo and Enrique. Considering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then minors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right. the settlement was not valid and binding uponthem and consequently. on the basis of the laws prevailing at that time. Under the rule "no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof. However. Alicia and Visminda. 979. and consequently. WHEN IT UPHELDTHE VALIDITY OF THE "EXTRA JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE WITH ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE" AS FAR AS THE SHARES OF EUTROPIA AND VICTORIA WERE CONCERNED. Enrique." As the partition was a total nullity and did not affect the excluded heirs. the laws in force at the time of the execution of the settlement and sale. they can very well sell their undivided share in the estate.10 thus: It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in question which was null and void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. xxx ART. The rule covers only valid partitions. and even if they should come from different marriages. in favor of the respondents isvalid but only with respect to their proportionate shares therein. THEREBY DEPRIVING THEM OF THEIR INHERITANCE. petitioners imputeto the CA the following errors: I. Napoleon 1/16 Alicia 1/16 Visminda 1/16 35 . or in his absence the mother. is the legal administrator of the property pertaining to the child under parental authority. but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof. The Issues In this petition. II. As such.upon reaching the age of majority. provide: ART. all the heirs of Anunciacionshould have participated. – x x x The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the next succeeding section. The Ruling of the Court The petitionis meritorious. without distinction as to sex or age. her children and Enrique acquired their respective inheritances. 1977.

17 as it has a retroactive effect. show that Rosa had ratified the extrajudicial settlement of the estate with absolute deed of sale. Victoria and Douglas under an implied constructive trust for the latter’s benefit. exceeds the limits of administration. They were deemed to be holding the 3/16 shares of Eutropia." (Underscoring supplied) Clearly. before it is revoked by the other thereto. 326.00 be returned to spouses Uy with legal interest. When the property of the child is worth more than two thousand pesos. The same. On the issue of prescription. expressly or impliedly such as when the person knowingly received benefits from it. with the duties and obligations of guardians under these Rules. and he may therefore alienate. Parents as Guardians. 1403. which provides: A contract entered into in the name of another by one who has no authority or legal representation. thus. 1979. as the natural guardian of the minor under parental authority. Section 7.ART. the foregoing statements constitutedratification of the settlement of the estate and the subsequent sale. No one may contract in the name of another without being authorized by the latter or unless he has by law a right to represent him. or any reduction in the substance of the patrimony of child. without the necessity of court appointment. 7. expressly or Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining impliedly. or who has acted beyond his powers." As such. not binding on Eutropia. is not true with respect to Douglas for lack of evidence showing ratification. does not have the power to dispose or encumber the property of the latter. c onformably with Article 1456 of the Civil Code which states:"if property is acquired through mistake or fraud. the contract is cleansed from all its defects from the moment it was constituted. Rule 93 of the Rules of Court also provides: SEC. spouses Uy or their substituted heirs became pro indiviso co-owners of the homestead properties with Eutropia. it is only fair. Contrary to the ruling of the CA. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. or is authorized to sell and the buyer can as a consequence acquire no more than what the sellercan legally transfer. When the property of the child is worth more than two thousand pesos. the prescriptive period of 2 years provided in Section 1 Rule 74 of the Rules of 36 . in its enjoyment. only the shares ofEnrique. Such power is granted by law only to a judicial guardian of the ward’s property and even then only with courts’ prior approval secured in accordance with the proceedings set forth by the Rules of Court. Alicia. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage. however. It is this voluntary choice. which amounts to a ratification of what was theretofore unauthorized. 14 Consequently. In Napoleon and Rosa’s Manifestation18 before the RTC dated July 11. we both confirmed that the same was voluntary and freely made by all of us and therefore the sale was absolutely valid and enforceable as far as we all plaintiffs in this case are concerned. Consequently. 1997 Joint-Affidavit. unless it is ratified. the father or the mother. Administration includes all acts for the preservation of the property and the receipt of fruits according to the natural purpose of the thing. or who has acted beyond his powers. For good reasons. Considering. Article 493 of the Civil Codeis relevant. just and equitable that the amount paid for their shares equivalent to P 5. shall be his legal guardian. subject to the duties and obligations of guardians under the Rules of Court. assign or mortgage it. 1997. a father or mother. with respect to the co-owners. Any act of disposition or alienation. who retained title to their respective 1/16 shares. Enrique Neri concurred in and conformed to by us and our other two sisters and brother (the other plaintiffs). 13 Thus. unless they are ratified: (1) Those entered into the name of another person by one who has been given no authority or legal representation. the court may. however. purging all the defects existing at the time of its execution and legitimizing the conveyance of Rosa’s 1/16 share in the estate of Anunciacion to spouses Uy. Napoleon. 16 Once ratified. 1317. appoint another suitable persons. unless ratified by them upon reaching the age of majority. and shall file the petition required by Section 2 hereof. that the extrajudicial settlement with sale is invalid and therefore. Records.000. The following contracts are unenforceable. however. the person obtaining it is.19 Napoleon and Rosa also alleged: "That we are surprised that our names are included in this case since we do not have any intention to file a case against Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy and their family and we respect and acknowledge the validity of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale dated July 7. the father or the mother shall be considered guardian of the child’s property. the father or mother shall be considered a guardian of the child’s property. and becomes the authorized act of the party so making the ratification. shall be unenforceable. thus. 15 is unenforceable in accordance with Articles 1317 and 1403(1) of the Civil Code which provide: ART. by the person on whose behalf it has been executed.000. except when personal rights are involved. in favor of Hadji Yusop Uy and his spouse Hadja Julpa Uy on July 7. which without his sanction would not be binding on him." (Underscoring supplied) In their June 30. – When the property of the child under parental authority is worth two thousand pesos or less. Visminda and Rosa in the homestead properties have effectivelybeen disposed in favor of spouses Uy.0021 each or a total of P 15. the disputed sale entered into by Enrique in behalf of his minor children without the proper judicial authority. "A person can only sell what he owns."20 On this score. Victoria and Douglas. knowingly made. and even substitute another person contracting party. xxx Ratification means that one under no disability voluntarily adopts and gives sanction to some unauthorized act or defective proceeding. Corollarily. the Court agrees with petitioners that the present action has not prescribed in so far as it seeks to annul the extrajudicial settlement of the estate. 1979. considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes.they stated: "Concerning the sale of our parcel of land executed by our father. ART. Victoria and Douglas. by force of law.

The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows: In September 1990. NeriMillan VALID. Illut-Piala and Douglas D. 2.00. MIAA issued Administrative Order No. refund of its monthly rentals with interest at the time that it was denied access to the area being rented as well as attorney's fees.00. In its Answer with Counterclaim. facilities and services within the airport complex. while the CA Resolution denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. its employees were denied access to the leased premises from July 1. Victoria and Douglas in the total amount of P 15. Declaring Eutropia D. 3. 180168 February 27. AFIC was wrong in claiming that MIAA took the law into its own hands in denying AFIC and its employees access to the leased premises. 1990. with a monthly rental of P6. 1994. THIRD DIVISION G. 1990 until August 31. an "action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe" in accordance with Article 1410 of the Civil Code. seeking the reversal and setting aside of the June 19. MIAA did not require AFIC to pay the new rental fee. in case MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY. AFIC has rental arrears in the amount of P347. 2010 Decision and October 18. recovery of actual and exemplary damages. After the expiration of the contract. Enrique. Branch 224. 1994. Hence. MIAA sought recovery of the difference between the increased rental rate and the original rental fee amounting to a total of P347. 2007 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.996. Neri-Chambers and Rosa D. (P-7998) P-2128. WHEREFORE. The contract was for one (1) year. Visminda D.50. AFIC continued paying its rentals. Alicia D. in Civil Case No. notwithstanding. Neri-Mondejar. Eutropia.000. wherein MIAA allowed AFIC to use specific portions of land as well as facilities within the Ninoy Aquino International Airport exclusively for the latter's aircraft repair station and chartering operations. Declaring the Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of the late spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy as regards the 13/16 total shares of the late Enrique Neri. Neri-Chambers and Rosa D. 23 In this case. MIAA informed AFIC. the action to recover property held in trust prescribes after 10 years from the time the cause of action accrues. the monthly rentals due from AFIC was increased to P15. fees or assessments for the use of its properties. AFIC continued to use and occupy the leased premises giving rise to an implied lease contract on a monthly basis. charges.50 beginning September 1.00. Nonetheless. AVIA FILIPINAS INTERNATIONAL.50. because under the lease contract. AFIC paid the increased rental fee. Respondent. 2012 PERALTA. 1991 and September 31.22 which is from the time of actual notice in case of unregistered deed.580.. and 4. the instant petition is GRANTED. Thus. 2007 Decision1 and the October 11. J. 79325. Victoria and Douglas claimed to have knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement with sale after the death of their father. through a billing statement dated October 6. herein petitioner Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) entered into a contract of lease with herein respondent Avia Filipinas International Corporation (AFIC). However. it refused to pay the lump sum ofP347. Declaring the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of Anunciacion Neri NULL and VOID. Napoleon Neri. as well as Napoleon Neri.966. No pronouncement as to costs. 1991. The Administrative Order was made effective on December 1. Series of 1990. (P-14608) P-5153 and P20551 (P-8348). Ordering the estate of the late Enrique Neri.R.300. vs. who were deprived of their lawful participation in the subject estate. The April 27.50 sought to be recovered by MIAA. 1. DECISION 37 . MIAA is allowed to either increase or decrease the monthly rental. This.300. Beginning October 1994. As a consequence. SO ORDERED.580. For the continued refusal of AFIC to pay the said lump sum. 1991. 1997 until March 11. Besides.50 covering thirtyseven (37) months between September 1.300. with legal interest at 6% per annum computed from the time of payment until finality of this decision and 12% per annum thereafter until fully paid. Neri as the LAWFUL OWNERSof the 3/16 portions of the subject homestead properties. AFIC then filed with the RTC of Quezon City a Complaint for damages with injunction against MIAA and its General Manager seeking uninterrupted access to the leased premises. Three years after the expiration of the original contract of lease. Neri-Millan to return to the respondents jointly and solidarily the amount paid corresponding to the 3/16 shares of Eutropia. AFIC was granted temporary access to the leased premises. 1998. beginning September 1. Petitioner. which is the date immediately following the expiration of the original contract of lease. that the monthly rental over the subject premises was increased to P15. Subsequently. AFIC kept on paying the original rental fee without protest on the part of MIAA.Court reckoned from the execution of the extrajudicial settlement finds no application to petitioners Eutropia.R. which revised the rates of dues. covered by Original Certificate of Title Nos. 2010 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment is entered: 1. NeriMondejar. Illut-Cockinos. CV No. Victoria and Douglas. Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Q-98-34395. it continued to pay the original fee of P6. No. MIAA contended that under its lease contract with AFIC. Visminda D. However. Victoria D. INC. the complaint filed in 1997 was well within the prescriptive period of 10 years. In December 1990. 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. Alicia D. in 1994 which spouses Uy failed to refute. The assailed CA Decision affirmed with modification the Decision3 dated March 21.

1997 to March 11. and (3) awarding actual and exemplary damages and attorney's fees. having in mind the intention of the parties and the purpose to be achieved.8 38 . b) the amount of P200.6 Petitioner MIAA contends that. Lastly. that the above-quoted provisions should not also be interpreted as having the effect of limiting the authority of MIAA to impose new rental rates in accordance with its authority under its charter." Moreover. 1998 shall earn interest of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of the filing of the complaint until the finality of this decision. the provisions of the lease contract being cited by the CA which provides that "any amendment. 2007. WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS CORRECTLY INTERPRETED THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEASE CONTRACT IN LINE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF On March 21. Article 1306 of the Civil Code provides that "[t]he contracting parties may establish such stipulations. Petitioner reiterates that it was merely exercising its right as the owner and administrator of the leased property and. premises considered.00 as actual damages. 1997 up [to] March 11. the dispositive portion of which reads. 1. considering that it was not compelled to litigate and incur expenses to protect its interest by reason of any unjustified act on the part of petitioner. as such.4 MIAA filed an appeal with the CA contending that the RTC erred in: (1) finding that MIAA is not entitled to apply the increase in rentals as against AFIC. (2) finding that MIAA is not entitled to padlock the leased premises or post guards to prevent entry of AFIC therein. 1998 with interest at twelve (12%) percent. e) cost of suit. 1 automatically incorporated in the lease contract. as such. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in Civil Case No. Article 1374 of the Civil Code clearly provides that "[t]he various stipulations of a contract shall be interpreted together.000. WHETHER RESPONDENT IS ENTITLED TO ATTORNEY'S FEES. its acts may not be deemed unwarranted. The award of attorney's fees stands.000. On June 19." Indeed. the contract shall become MIAA filed a Motion for Reconsideration. as an administrative agency possessed of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers as provided for in its charter. Petitioner also argues that it is not guilty of unjust enrichment when it denied respondent access to the leased premises. thus: WHEREFORE. d) the amount of P100. the stipulations in a contract and other contract documents should be interpreted together with the end in view of giving effect to all. Q-98-34395 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. provided they are not contrary to law. clauses. that its issuance of Administrative Order No. An interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum shall be imposed upon any unpaid balance from such finality until the judgment amount is fully satisfied. the RTC rendered its Decision. that by signing the lease contract. because there is nothing unlawful in its act of imposing sanctions against respondent for the latter's failure to pay the increased rental. 2003. but the CA denied it via its Resolution dated October 11. attributing to the doubtful ones that sense which may result from all of them taken jointly.000. in construing a contract. IT IS SO ORDERED. morals. the CA rendered its assailed Decision.00 as exemplary damages. lawful for MIAA or any person or persons duly authorized on its behalf to take possession of the property either by padlocking the premises or posting its guards to prevent the entry of any person.00 as attorney's fees. but in relation to each other and in their entirety so as to render them effective. follows: WHEREFORE. public order. automatically terminated and canceled without need of judicial action or process and it shall be 2007.000.of failure on the part of AFIC to pay rentals for at least two (2) months. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff [AFIC] and as against the defendants [MIAA] ordering the latter to pay plaintiff the following: a) the amount of P2. the provisions thereof should not be read in isolation. 7 In other words. respondent AFIC already agreed and gave its consent to any further increase in rental rates. petitioner avers that respondent is not entitled to attorney's fees. Series of 1990 is pursuant to the exercise of the abovementioned powers. unless and until made in writing and signed by the parties thereto" is deemed complied with because respondent already consented to having any subsequent amendments to Administrative Order No. the dispositive portion of which reads as THE CIVIL CODE AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE ON CONTRACTS. The petition lacks merit. The refund of monthly rental payments from July 1. c) to refund the monthly rental payments beginning July 1. or public policy. alteration or modification [of the lease contract] shall not be valid and binding. in view of the foregoing. The awards of actual/compensatory damages and exemplary damages are deleted. SO ORDERED. good customs. it is empowered to make rules and regulations and to levy fees and charges. the present petition for review on certiorari raising the following issues: MIAA prayed for the award of exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees and litigation expenses.5 WHETHER THE PRINCIPLE OF UNJUST ENRICHMENT IS APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE. Hence. terms and conditions as they may deem convenient.

equity and good conscience.S. unless and until made in writing and signed by the parties thereto.: 39 . DECISION PERALTA. 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.580. WHEREFORE. it is clear that petitioner failed to maintain respondent in the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the leased premises by unjustifiably preventing the latter access thereto. Petitioner. The same may not be said with respect to the questioned rental fees sought to be recovered by petitioner between September 1991 and September 1994 because no bill was made and forwarded to respondent on the basis of which it could have given or withheld its conformity thereto." G. 10-2000 which enjoins all judges of lower courts to observe utmost caution. RIZAL CEMENT COMPANY. and observe honesty and good faith. It may not be amiss to point out that during the abovementioned period. thus. Article 19 of the Civil Code provides that "[e]very person must. Consequently. No. shall be deemed incorporated herein and shall automatically amend this Contract insofar as the monthly rental is concerned. since it has been established that petitioner has no legal basis in requiring respondent to pay additional rental fees from September 1. Article 1235 of the Civil Code clearly states that "[w]hen the obligee accepts the performance knowing its incompleteness or irregularity. 2012 R. 1997 until March 11. The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. rules and regulation to this effect. attorney's fees may be granted on grounds of justice and equity. alteration or modification of th[e] Contract shall not be valid and binding. or when a person retains money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice. or any other means.14 In the instant case. INC. under the circumstances prevailing in the present case. Anent the second issue. it. follows that petitioner's act of denying respondent and its employees access to the leased premises from July 1. Paragraph 2. The June 19. there is no showing that respondent gave his acquiescence to the said amendment or modification of the contract. including but not limited to government/MIAA circulars.15 The Court likewise agrees with the CA that. 4. give everyone his due.13. TOMAS. 10-2000.00 without any reservations or protests from the latter. 79325 are AFFIRMED. Despite that.13 The principle of unjust enrichment essentially contemplates payment when there is no duty to pay." For failing to make any protest or objection. 16 Finally. Series of 1982. Paragraph 8.In the present case. prudence and judiciousness in the issuance of writs of execution to satisfy money judgments against government agencies and local government units." In accordance with jurisprudence."10 It is clear from the foregoing that the intention of the parties is to subject such amendment to the conformity of both petitioner and respondent. respondent still continued to pay the rental fees agreed upon in the original contract." Moreover. there is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of another. which will effect a decrease or escalation of the monthly rental or impose new and additional fees and charges.R. Article 1654 of the Civil Code.. and without expressing any protest or objection. Article 22 of the same Code also states that "[e]very person who through an act of performance by another.R. Rather. as correctly cited by the RTC. The situation is different with respect to the payments of the increased rental fee made by respondent beginning October 1994 because by then the amendment to the contract was made in writing through a bill sent by petitioner to respondent. 1998. act with justice. 1991 to September 30. the Court finds nothing repugnant to law with respect to the questioned provisions of the contract of lease between petitioner and respondent. it should be read together with the provisions of Article VIII. INC. It is true that Article II. the obligation is deemed fully complied with." Furthermore. the Court finds no error on the part of the CA in sustaining such award on the ground that petitioner's act of denying respondent and its employees access to the leased premises has compelled respondent to litigate and incur expenses to protect its interest. vs. which provide that "[a]ny amendment. is likewise unjustified. the lessor is obliged "[t]o maintain the lessee in the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the lease for the entire duration of the contract. Branch 224 isORDERED to comply with the directives of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. Article 1658 of the same Code provides that "[t]he lessee may suspend the payment of the rent in case the lessor fails to make the necessary repairs or to maintain the lessee in peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the property leased. Under Paragraph 3. respondent had no duty to make rent payments. acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground. shall return the same to him. the Court deems it proper to reiterate the provisions of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No.. Respondent. In the instant case.12 Neither did petitioner indicate in the official receipts it issued that the payments made by respondent constitute only partial fulfillment of the latter's obligations. in accordance with Article 1658 of the Civil Code. in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties. the Court agrees with the CA that the abovequoted provision of the lease contract should not be read in isolation.04 of the Contract of Lease states that "[a]ny subsequent amendment to Administrative Order No. 1âwphi1 With respect to attorney's fees. and the person who receives the payment has no right to receive it. respondent continued to pay and petitioner kept on receiving the original rental fee of P6. the petition is DENIED. 1994. J."9 However. CV No. Thus. petitioner is already estopped from seeking recovery of the amount claimed. SO ORDERED. it would be the height of inequity and injustice as well as unjust enrichment on the part of petitioner if the rental fees paid by respondent during the time that it was denied access to and prevented from using the leased premises be not returned to it. by reason of respondent's non-payment of the said additional fees.11 The fact that respondent subsequently settled the said bill proves that he acceded to the increase in rental fee. 173155 THIRD DIVISION March 21. 2007 Decision and October 11.

695.000..87 representing the amount incurred in excess of the cost of the projects as agreed upon. supervision. #P90-213 and to exclude J. #P-90-212 and J. Specifically. P294. 3ø Transformer to 4000 KVA. 7 For its part. 1991. for moral and exemplary & other damages. otherwise. It further sought that it be allowed to back out from J.000. The facts of the case. respondent and petitioner entered into a Contract 5 for the supply of labor. This discovery allegedly entailed price adjustment. petitioner requested for an extension of seventy-five (75) days within which to complete the projects because of the need to import some of the materials needed. On December 14. CV No. Inc.15 petitioner manifested its desire to complete the project as soon as possible to prevent further losses and maintain goodwill between the companies. against respondent Rizal Cement Company. (2) that plaintiff pays defendant the amount of P4.000. Wye with neutral secondary. Hence. Inc. 2. It explained that it relied in good faith on respondent’s representation that the transformer subject of the contract could still be rewound and converted but upon dismantling the core-coil assembly. it discovered that the coils were already badly damaged and the primary bushing broken. Petitioner requested for respondent’s assistance by facilitating the acquisition of materials and supplies needed to (3) P100.8 It was agreed upon that petitioner would be liable to respondent for liquidated damages in the amount of P29. On November 14. 2005 and Resolution2 dated June 6.O. petitioner requested for another 75 days extension for the completion of the transformer portion of the projects for failure of its supplier to deliver the materials.S.00 as liquidated damages. #P-90-212 – Wiring and installation of primary and secondary lines system. 2006 in CA-G.25 Therefore. #P-90-214. plus interest and attorney’s fees. #P-90-212 and J.This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioner R. and technical supervision of the following projects: 1. Petitioner thus requested respondent for additional time within which to complete the project and additional amount to finance the same. 1998 in favor of petitioner. For its part.458. it also asked for a price adjustment of P255. the RTC rendered a decision on June 5. #P-90-214 covering the rewinding and conversion of the SO ORDERED. #P-90-213 – Supply and installation of primary protection and disconnecting switch. After the presentation of the parties’ respective evidence. materials. equipment. 1991.5 KV/2. Respondent further notified petitioner 40 . finding defendant-contractor’s evidence more preponderant than that of the plaintiff.O.O. praying for the payment of the following: P493. Petitioner also insisted that the proximate cause of the delay is the misrepresentation of the respondent on the extent of the defect of the transformer.24 damaged transformer. 34.618. it undertook to supply the labor.000.19 but the same was denied by respondent in a letter20 dated January 14. It also demanded for the refund of the amount already paid to petitioner. (Geostar) for the completion of the projects commenced but not completed by petitioner for a total consideration of P3. the Complaint for Sum of Money21 filed by respondent against petitioner and Times Surety & Insurance Co. #P-90-214 – Rewinding and conversion of one (1) unit 3125 KVA. On June 14.5 KV/480V.6 Petitioner agreed to perform the above-mentioned job orders.O.944. Inc. respondent made an initial payment of P1.000. 61049. respondent agreed to pay the total sum of P2.618.9 To secure the full and faithful performance of all its obligations and responsibilities under the contract. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendant-contractor against the plaintiff and hereby orders: (1) that the instant case be DISMISSED. the court awarded damages in favor of the latter. #P-90-213 by directly paying the suppliers. J. P2. the dispositive portion of which reads: Wherefore.18 on January 8. The assailed decision reversed and set aside the Regional Trial Court3 (RTC) Decision4 dated June 5. as culled from the records.000.00 representing the amount which they owed respondent from the downpayment and advances made by the latter vis-à-vis the work accomplishment. complete J.458.440. petitioner denied23 liability and claimed instead that it failed to complete the projects due to respondent’s fault. respondent pointed out that amicable settlement is impossible. the Court dismissed petitioner’s financial status showed that it could no longer complete the projects as agreed upon.11 In a letter12 dated March 9. 3ø Delta Primary. 22 Times Insurance did not file any pleading nor appeared in court. 1990.00 per day of delay in the completion of the projects which shall be limited to 10% of the project cost. 34. J.550. Inc. petitioner obtained from Times Surety & Insurance Co.4 KV. 1991. the necessary action would be instituted.435. J. respondent. 1991.O.26 projects within 120 days from the effectivity of the contract.00. 3. Tomas.O.00 for attorney’s fees and cost of suit.O. (Times Insurance) a performance bond10 in an amount equivalent to fifty percent (50%) of the contract price or P1.000. In the same letter. that the former was terminating the contract.945.O.00 to cover the higher cost of materials. 1998 in Civil Case No. through counsel.18. Pursuant to the terms of the contract. 1992. respondent’s complaint. manifested its observation that but more on respondent’s misrepresentation and bad faith. The RTC held that the failure of petitioner to complete the projects was not solely due to its fault In response16 to petitioner’s requests. 92-1562. In the same letter. Petitioner undertook to complete the projects within one hundred twenty (120) days from the effectivity of the contract. petitioner reiterated its desire to complete J.00.472. 1991. assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated December 19. and materials as specified in the detailed scope of work.000.18 respondent entered into two contracts with Geostar Philippines.00 in consideration of the performance of the job orders.O.00 pursuant to the performance bond it issued.R. are as follows: On December 28. Inc. Since respondent was found to have committed deceit in its dealings with Respondent also informed petitioner that it was already in default having failed to complete the petitioner.13 In another letter14 dated March 27. 1991. Respondent sent another demand letter17 to Times Insurance for the payment of P1.

Petitioner tried to exempt itself from the consequences of said breach by passing the fault to respondent.510.43 there are recognized exceptions44 as when the findings of fact are conflicting. The trial court found that respondent indeed failed to inform petitioner of the true condition of the transformer which amounted to fraud thereby justifying the latter’s failure to complete the projects. the issue before us is whether or not there was breach of contract which essentially is a factual matter not usually reviewable in a petition filed under Rule 45. In its letter45 dated March 9. in fact.400. The case stemmed from an action for sum of money or damages arising from breach of contract.31 In addition to the refund of the excess payment.695. It is undisputed that petitioner and respondent entered into a contract for the supply of labor. The CA. concealment or misrepresentation on the part of respondent as to the true condition of the subject transformer. As agreed upon by the parties. respondent failed. the projects were to be completed within 120 days from the effectivity of the contract. Records show that petitioner indeed asked for price adjustment and extension of time within which to complete the projects. failed to complete the projects within the agreed period allegedly because of misrepresentation and fraud committed by respondent as to the true nature of the subject transformer. It claimed that more time and money were needed. Ultimately. It further held that petitioner was given the opportunity to inspect the transformer before offering its bid. petitioner informed respondent that the projects would be completed within the contract time table but explained that the delivery of the transformer would only be delayed. in the above letters. 42 While in general. the CA added that petitioner’s failure to avail of such opportunity is inexcusable.29 As to the condition of the subject transformer unit. bad faith.Respondent. This will take 90 days to deliver from January 1991. vis-à-vis its actual accomplishment. 38 This project was embodied in three (3) job orders. competent. We also find it difficult to source locally the replacement for the damaged high voltage bushing.35 (4) whether or not petitioner is liable for liquidated damages. Our supplier for copper sheets cannot complete the delivery until April 30. however.36 and (5) whether or not petitioner is liable for the cost of the contract between respondent and Geostar. 39 Petitioner. petitioner only requested respondent that payment to the first progress billing be released as soon as possible and without deduction. had a different conclusion and decided in favor of respondent. however. particularly the conversion of the transformer unit because the defects were worse than the representation of respondent. x x x48 Clearly.34 for the excess payment made to petitioner. Even in its letter49 dated May 25. 28 This being so. 3. there was no allegation of fraud. the appellate court found the testimony of petitioner’s president insufficient to prove that the same could no longer be rewound or converted.00 for the amount spent in contracting Geostar and P294. 1991. 32 Aggrieved. 2. The conflicting conclusions of the trial and appellate courts impel us to re-examine the evidence presented. Nowhere in said letters did petitioner claim that it could not finish the projects. The reasons advanced by petitioner to justify the delay are as follows: 1. however. all of which were awarded to petitioner who represented itself to be capable. we will be importing this material and it will take 60 days minimum time for its delivery. the CA also ordered the reimbursement of what respondent paid to Geostar for the unfinished projects of petitioner as well as the payment of liquidated damages as stipulated in the contract. It further proposed that respondent make a direct payment to petitioner’s suppliers. The delivery of power cable no. After a thorough review of the records of the case. 2. 41 . however.00 as liquidated damages. petitioner comes before the Court in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following issues: (1) whether or not respondent was guilty of fraud or misrepresentation as to the actual condition of the transformer subject of the contract. It explained that its failure to complete the project was due to the misrepresentation of the respondent. However. the Court inquires into the probative value of the evidence presented before the trial court. 1991. considering that it is a company engaged in the electrical business and the contract involved a sizable amount of money. the court deemed it necessary to require it to return to respondent the excess amounts.33 (2) whether or not the evidence presented by petitioner adequately established the true nature and condition of the subject transformer. credence. to complete the projects. and probative value of the evidence presented before the trial court. we will replace the secondary windings from rectangular type to copper sheet which is more accurate in winding to the required number of turns than using parallel rectangular or circular type of copper magnet wires. The appellate court reversed and set aside the RTC decision and awarded respondent P493. endeavors to convince us to determine once again the weight. and duly licensed to handle the projects. the CA found that petitioner failed to prove that respondent made fraudulent misrepresentation to induce the former to enter into the contract.46 Also in its letter47 dated March 27. and technical supervision primarily for the rewinding and conversion of one (1) unit of transformer and related works aimed at providing the power needs of respondent. 2/0 will also be delayed. which is obtaining in this case. Importation of HV Bushing will take approximately 45 days delivery per advice of our supplier. Is this defense tenable? We answer in the negative. not only to perform its part of the contract on time but. successfully obtained a favorable decision when its appeal was granted by the CA. To maximize the existing 3125 KVA to 4000 KVA capacity using the same core. we find no reason to depart from the conclusions of the CA. materials. The contract involved in this case refers to the rewinding and conversion of one unit of transformer to be installed and energized to supply respondent’s power requirements.27 Contrary to the conclusion of the RTC. because the condition of the subject transformer was worse than the representations of respondent. In other words. the findings of fact of the CA are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal to the Court because it is not a trier of facts.37 The petition is without merit. P508.41 Petitioner.34 (3) whether or not petitioner is guilty of inexcusable delay in the completion of the projects. these copper sheets are not readily available locally in volume quantities. indeed. and therefore. petitioner anchored its request for extension on the following grounds: 1.30 Considering that advance payments had been made to petitioner. 1991. Admittedly. petitioner justified its inability to complete the projects within the stipulated period on the alleged unavailability of the materials to be used to perform the projects as stated in the job orders. 1991.40 In resolving the issues.

This is especially true in this case since respondent had already made advance payments to petitioner. but there is no one to blame but petitioner for plunging into an undertaking without fully studying it in its entirety. 59 Fraud has been defined to include an inducement through insidious machination. petitioner did not complete the projects. fraud. 3. we also agree with the CA that petitioner failed to prove that respondent was guilty of bad faith. the bid submitted by petitioner may have been sufficient to be declared the winner but it failed to anticipate all expenses necessary to complete the projects. the other party was induced to give consent that would not otherwise have been given. petitioner had been remiss in its obligation to obtain as much information as possible on the actual condition of the subject transformer or at least it should have provided a qualification in its bid so as to make clear its right to claim contract price and time adjustment. the evidence presented by the parties lead to the following conclusions: (1) that the projects were not completed by petitioner. coupled with petitioner’s failure to raise the same at the earliest opportunity.54 However. 56 It is. Violation by Contractor of the terms and conditions of this Contract. or guilty of deceit and misrepresentation in dealing with petitioner. Tomas could have presented an independent expert witness whose opinion may corroborate its stance that the transformer unit was indeed incapable of being restored. with intent to deceive.57 The Court likewise notes that petitioner repeatedly asked for extension allegedly because it needed to import the materials and that the same could not be delivered on time. It is also defined as the failure. and 42 . however. and duly licensed to handle the projects. and that is why they are never presumed.1âwphi1 Petitioner in fact admitted that its representatives were given the opportunity to inspect the subject transformer before it offered its bid. It is. we quote with approval the CA conclusion in this wise: In the same vein. expected that petitioner would be responsible in paying its suppliers because respondent is not privy to their (petitioner and its suppliers) contract. As the Court sees it. For petitioner. (3) that petitioner failed to thoroughly study the entirety of the projects before it offered its bid. 51 In the same letter. This is contrary to petitioner’s representation that it was capable. (5) that the evidence presented by petitioner were inadequate to prove that the subject transformer could no longer be repaired. It appears. Insidious machination refers to a deceitful scheme or plot with an evil or devious purpose. As contractor.58 This lack of evidence. therefore. it should have demanded that the same be opened if it found it necessary before it offered its bid. This gives respondent the right to terminate the contract by serving petitioner a written notice. Petitioner also repeatedly requested that respondent make a direct payment to the suppliers notwithstanding the fact that it contracted with respondent for the supply of labor. As to the alleged damaged condition of the subject transformer.63 In sum. and that it is in need of financial assistance. R. deceit or misrepresentation.00 for the contract relating to J. without legal excuse. It can be inferred from the foregoing facts that there was not only a delay but a failure to complete the projects as stated in the contract. the contract entered into may have turned out to be an unwise investment. We cannot readily accept the testimony of Tomas that the transformer unit was severely damaged and was beyond repair as it was not substantiated with any other evidence. Undoubtedly. Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence. Assuming for the sake of argument that the subject transformer was indeed in a damaged condition even before the bidding which makes it impossible for petitioner to perform its obligations under the contract. belies petitioner’s claim that it could not com plete the projects because the subject transformer could no longer be repaired. (4) that petitioner failed to complete the projects because of the unavailability of the required materials and that petitioner needed financial assistance.O. we find that there was not only delay but non-completion of the projects undertaken by petitioner without justifiable ground.64 In the present case. 61 In this case. by reason of such omission or concealment. a breach of a known duty through some motive or interest or ill will that partakes of the nature of fraud. petitioner was aware that there was a need for complete replacement of windings to copper and of secondary bushings. the evidence presented is insufficient to prove that respondent acted in bad faith or fraudulently in dealing with petitioner.It was only in its June 14. that petitioner could not complete the projects because it did not have the materials needed. #P-90-214 based on limited information. (2) that petitioner was given the opportunity to inspect the subject transformer. Breach of contract is defined as the failure without legal reason to comply with the terms of a contract. The contract specifically stated that it may be terminated for any of the following causes: 1. Deceit exists where the party. further.52 More importantly. it imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong. 62 As aptly held by the CA.55 In other words. to perform any promise which forms the whole or part of the contract. the source and cost of materials were not seriously taken into consideration. petitioner repeated its request that direct payment be made by respondent to petitioner’s suppliers. To our mind. 60 These are allegations of fact that demand clear and convincing proof. petitioner is guilty of breach of contract. and (6) that there was no evidence to show that respondent was in bad faith. and technical supervision. that in offering its bid. therefore. it began requesting for price adjustment to cover the cost of high voltage bushing and difference in cost of copper sheet and rectangular wire. 53 When it incurred expenses it failed to foresee. improper for petitioner to ask for additional amount to answer for the expenses that were already part and parcel of the undertaking it was bound to perform. the scope of work presented by respondent specifically stated that the wires to be used shall be pure copper and that there was a need to supply new bushings for the complete rewinding and conversion of 3125 KVA to 4 MVA Transformer. 2. therefore. yet difficult to verify. acted fraudulently. that petitioner had a hard time in fulfilling its obligations under the contract that is why it asked for financial assistance from respondent. If indeed the transformer was completely sealed. 1991 letter50 when petitioner raised its observations that the subject transformer needed more repairs than what it knew during the bidding. petitioner admitted that it made a judgment error when it quoted for only P440. conceals or omits to state material facts and. Non-completion of the Work within the time agreed upon. Institution of insolvency or receivership proceedings involving Contractor.770. They are serious accusations that can be so conveniently and casually invoked. the testimony of Tomas is self-serving as it is easy to concoct. In view of the foregoing disquisitions. competent. its failure to conduct an inspection of the subject transformer is inexcusable.S. or upon the expiration of extension agreed upon. materials. It appears. considering that petitioner is a company engaged in the electrical business and the contract it had entered into involved a sizable amount of money.

: This case is about the proof required to establish the domicile of a reinstated Filipino citizen who seeks election as governor of a province. On motion for reconsideration..69 Since advanced payments had been made by respondent. good customs. 9225 and (2) the one-year residency requirement of the Local Government Code. the MCTC rendered a decision. the petition is hereby DENIED. Ipil. it is liable for damages that are the natural and probable consequences of its breach of obligation. DECISION ABAD. enjoining the COMELEC from enforcing its February 11.5 On appeal. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DAN ERASMO. Jr. he decided to return to the Philippines and lived with his brother. He failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his domicile in Ipil. The RTC decision became final and executory. SO ORDERED.R. 191970 April 24. Hence. Lim in Ipil a petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos’ name from the official voters list. resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration.. despite the lapse of eleven months from the time of the effectivity of the contract entered into between respondent and petitioner.. He migrated to Australia in 1981 when he was eight years old and there acquired Australian citizenship.A. respondent had to contract the services of another contractor. we do not find the same to be applicable in this case.00 per day of delay. Zamboanga Sibugay. In order to finish the projects. vs. 2010 to issue a status quo ante order. Thus. while Jalosjos had regained Philippine citizenship by complying with the requirements of R. Acting on the application. the percentage of work accomplishment was not adequately shown by petitioner. Acting on Jalosjos’ prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order. 2008. After hearing. in Barangay Veteran’s Village. 4 Undaunted. Moreover. for this reason. In this case.8 The Issue Presented The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that Jalosjos failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his domicile in Ipil. 1973. 2010 elections. he took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.A. Four days upon his return. SR. 1 On September 1. While we have reduced the amount of liquidated damages in some cases.00.) 9225. However. Undoubtedly. Other causes provided by law applicable to this contract. After hearing. He applied for registration as a voter in the Municipality of Ipil but respondent Dan Erasmo.66 petitioner is liable for liquidated damages in the amount of P29. Considering that petitioner was already in delay and in breach of contract. On November 22.400. 9225. petitioner failed to fulfill the same prompting respondent to engage the services of another contractor on November 14. which shall be limited to a maximum of 10% of the project cost orP294. public order or public policy. at age 35. Erasmo filed before the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Ipil-TungawanR.6 the Regional Trial Court (RTC) affirmed the MCTC decision. 2012 The Facts and the Case Petitioner Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October 26. 2005 and Resolution dated June 6. 2006 in CA-G. Ipil. On November 28. Zamboanga Sibugay. we apply the 10% liquidated damages. No. he cannot claim Ipil as his domicile.65 Consequently. the Second Division of the COMELEC ruled that. Jolosjos won the election and was proclaimed winner of the 2010 gubernatorial race in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay. 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay Province for the May 10. 2009 he renounced his Australian citizenship. The Court’s Ruling ROMMEL APOLINARIO JALOSJOS. premises considered. executing a sworn renunciation of the same 2 in compliance with Republic Act (R. 1991. the latter had not completed the projects. therefore. the Election Registration Board approved it and included Jalosjos’ name in the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC’s) voters list for Precinct 0051F of Barangay Veterans Village. Zamboanga Sibugay.R. denying the petition. EN BANC G. 2010 decision pending further orders. as agreed upon by the parties. petitioner may be held to answer for liquidated damages in its maximum amount which is 10% of the contract price.3 From the time of his return. 61049 are AFFIRMED. petitioner bound itself to complete the projects within 120 days from December 29. Naga.A.T. We. Meanwhile. Jalosjos acquired a residential property in the same village where he lived and a fishpond in San Isidro. Romeo. 43 . petitioner is bound to return the excess vis-à-vis its work accomplishments. 1990. we apply the general rule not to ignore the freedom of the parties to agree on such terms and conditions as they see fit as long as they are not contrary to law. CV No. all of which were not completed by petitioner. he failed to prove the residency requirement for a gubernatorial candidate. in addition to liquidated damages.67 because of partial fulfillment of the contract and/or the amount is unconscionable. Zamboanga Sibugay. Erasmo promptly filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel Jalosjos’ COC7 on the ground that the latter made material misrepresentation in the same since he failed to comply with (1) the requirements of R. Sr. ruling that Jalosjos had been a mere guest or transient visitor in his brother’s house and. find no reason to depart from the CA conclusion requiring the return of the excess payments as well as the payment of the cost of contracting Geostar. opposed the same.440. It must be recalled that the contract entered into by petitioner consists of three projects. Zamboanga Sibugay. the Barangay Captain of Barangay Veteran’s Village. morals.4. Petitioner.70 WHEREFORE. and pursuant to the agreement of the parties. th e Court resolved on May 7. J. The Court of Appeals Decision dated December 19. 68 Thus. the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the Second Division’s decision.

the state is duty-bound to give full effect to the wishes of the testator to distribute his estate in the manner provided in his will so long as it is legally tenable. Jalosjos is a registered voter of Ipil by final judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga Sibugay.13 It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that Jalosjos has met the residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga Sibugay. Guagua. from where he lived. LORENZO LAXA. Zamboanga Sibugay. VIRGILIO REGALA. It is sufficient that he should live there even if it be in a rented house or in the house of a friend or relative.11 There is no hard and fast rule to determine a candidate’s compliance with residency requirement since the question of residence is a question of intention. this does not prevent it from exercising its review powers to correct palpable misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant considerations. One. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil. gave up his Australian citizenship. to wit: 44 . when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay. By his acts. The COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in holding otherwise. Branch 52. 2010 that disqualified petitioner Rommel Jalosjos from seeking election as Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay. presented. Two. But this circumstance alone cannot support such conclusion. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved two things: actual physical presence in Ipil and an intention of making it his domicile. J. BALTAZAR. it must be Second Division dated February 11.The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of provincial governor to be a resident of the province for at least one year before the election. Pampanga in Special Proceedings No. 16 The evidence Jalosjos presented is sufficient to establish Ipil. Jalosjos forfeited his legal right to live in Australia. and (c) a person can have but one domicile at a time.10 meaning that a person must not only intend to reside in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. the Court has repeatedly held that a candidate is not required to have a house in a community to establish his residence or domicile in a particular place. vs. CV No. He showed correspondences with political leaders. SEBASTIAN M.R. No. Further. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by choice. Otherwise. that domicile remains until he acquires a new one. Four. G-1186. FIRST DIVISION G. The COMELEC concluded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his domicile in Ipil since he has merely been staying at his brother’s house. 174489 April 11. Petitioners. BALTAZAR. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prove that he successfully changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. 2010 and the Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc dated assumed that his domicile is either Quezon City or Australia. The COMELEC points out that. acquired Australian citizenship. To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboanga Sibugay despite the loss of his domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domicile of choice and by operation of law (Australia) would violate the settled maxim that a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere. But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos’ domicile of origin. it is not disputed that Jalosjos bought a residential lot in the same village where he lived and a fish pond in San Isidro. Indeed. he reacquired his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. It may be taken for granted that he effectively changed his domicile from Quezon City to Australia when he migrated there at the age of eight. (b) where once established. While the Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative bodies like the COMELEC. May 4. NENITA A. who just sporadically passed by the subject residence.1 Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari2 of the June 15. since he was unable WHEREFORE. the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the Resolution of the COMELEC to discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga Sibugay to be his rightful domicile. and lived in that country for 26 years. resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration.. JR. ROSIE M. 14 On the other hand. These adjoining neighbors are no doubt more credible since they have a better chance of noting his presence or absence than his other neighbors. 15 To insist that the candidate own the house where he lives would make property a qualification for public office. 2012 ANTONIO B. including local and national party-mates. the requirement of residence is synonymous with domicile. whose affidavits Erasmo SO ORDERED. He left Australia. PACHECO.R. it is evident that Jalosjos did so with intent to change his domicile for good.1âwphi1 Three. and RAFAEL TITCO. 2006 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. 80979 which reversed the September 30. as his domicile. attesting to his physical presence at his residence in Ipil. clearly proving that he gave up his domicile there. MATEO. The Court will respect the decision of the people of that province and resolve all doubts regarding his qualification in his favor to breathe life to their manifest will. In addition. ANTONIO L. DECISION DEL CASTILLO. Zamboanga Sibugay. 9 For purposes of the election laws. Respondent. The assailed CA Decision granted the petition for probate of the notarial will of Paciencia Regala (Paciencia). Naga. jurisprudence has laid down the following guidelines: (a) every person has a domicile or residence somewhere. the place of his birth. Jalosjos presented the affidavits of next-door neighbors. Moreover. Jalosjos won and was proclaimed winner in the 2010 gubernatorial race for Zamboanga Sibugay. 2003 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). and renounced his allegiance to that country. Zamboanga Sibugay. MANGALINDAN.12 Still.: It is incumbent upon those who oppose the probate of a will to clearly establish that the decedent was not of sound and disposing mind at the time of the execution of said will.

improper pressure and influence by Lorenzo or by some other persons for his benefit. 1981. Rosie M. 2 and 4 thereof. Mercado (Faustino). There. the RTC issued an Order on June 13. On said date. that the Laxa and Corazon F. that Paciencia was mentally incapable to make a Will at the time of its execution. SO ORDERED. Paciencia had no right to bequeath them to Lorenzo. Paciencia bequeathed all her properties to respondent Lorenzo R. Pampanga and it was she who raised and cared for Lorenzo since his birth. Francisco and Faustino. Childless and without any brothers or sisters. After which. NO. was read to Paciencia twice. Laxa and Corazon F. Baltazar. Lorenzo filed a petition14 with the RTC of Guagua. Laxa and their two children and I also command them to offer masses yearly signature of Paciencia on the Will was forged.21 The following day or on June 23. Francisco Garcia (Francisco) and Faustino R. Mateo (Rosie) and Antonio L. Six days after the execution of the Will or on September 19. Paciencia expressed in the presence of the instrumental witnesses that the document is her last will and testament. in her presence and of two other witnesses. his predecessor-in-interest. 1981.20 The judge can walk but can no longer talk and remember her name.23 Later still on September 26. he being a citizen and resident of the USA. There being no opposition to the petition after its due publication. x x x12 GRANTING the petition for the probate of the will of PACIENCIA REGALA. that the execution of the Will had been procured by undue and this last will and testament. petitioners filed an Amended Opposition28 asking the RTC to deny the probate of Paciencia’s Will on the following grounds: the Will was not executed and xxxx attested to in accordance with the requirements of the law. Paciencia left for the United States of America (USA). 25 Petitioners also opposed the issuance of Letters of Administration in Lorenzo’s favor arguing that Lorenzo was disqualified to be appointed as such. Limpin). I am also bequeathing and giving the same to the spouses Lorenzo R.27 The filial relationship of Lorenzo with Paciencia remains undisputed. the Will remained in the custody of Judge Limpin.WHEREFORE. 2000. I likewise command to fulfill the wishes of SP. Conversely. premises considered. 1996. Dra. Nenita A. Jr. 19 Questioned by the prosecutor regarding Judge Limpin’s present mental fitness. LAXA and their children. 2000. Laxa (Lorenzo) and his wife Corazon F. The Will.Should other properties of mine may be discovered aside from the properties mentioned in influence of fear or threats. G-1186 dated 30 September 2003. Limpin testified that her father had a stroke in 1991 and had to undergo brain surgery. Dra. Limpin testified that she was one of the instrumental witnesses in the execution of the last will and testament of Paciencia on September 13. LUNA LORELLA LAXA and KATHERINE LAXA. Virgilio Regala. 2000. The three attested to the Will’s due execution by affixing their signatures below its attestation clause10 and on the left margin of pages 1. Monica. Dra. 2000. Felix B. Laxa and their children Luna Lorella Laxa and Katherine Ross Laxa. it was obtained through fraud or trickery. Pacheco. 200015allowing Lorenzo to present evidence on June 22. for the repose of my soul and that of D[ñ]a Nicomeda Regala. executed in the house of retired Judge Ernestino G. paragraph 3 of the Civil Code.13 Paciencia lived with Lorenzo’s family in Sasmuan.16The Will was executed in her father’s (Judge Limpin) home office. presently residing at Barrio Sta. 2 and 4 thereof. 2000..In consideration of their valuable services to me since then up to the present by the spouses LORENZO LAXA and CORAZON F. is hereby SET ASIDE and a new one entered D[ñ]a Nicomeda Regala in accordance with her testament as stated in my testament. finding the appeal to be impressed with merit. G-1186. and the spouses Lorenzo R. that she was forced to execute the Will under duress or [Sixth] . 1981. CONVEY and GIVE all my properties enumerated in parcels 1 to 5 unto the spouses LORENZO R. I hereby BEQUEATH. LUNA LORELLA and KATHERINE ROSS LAXA. the decision in and with respect to the fishpond situated at San Antonio. Because of this. Barely a month after or on July 20. Flores. petitioner Antonio Baltazar (Antonio) filed an opposition22 to Lorenzo’s petition. Pampanga and their children. PROC. Filipinos. Limpin (Judge Limpin). LAXA. petitioners filed an Opposition and Recommendation29 reiterating their opposition 45 . Antonio. thus: xxxx Fourth . Limpin stated that her father can no longer testify in court. now joined by petitioners Sebastian M. LAXA and CORAZON F. More than four years after the death of Paciencia or on April 27. 2006 CA Resolution6 which denied the Motion for Reconsideration thereto.9 The witnesses to the Will were Dra.5 Also assailed herein is the August 31. that assuming the signature to be genuine. 17 Dra. 18 She likewise positively identified the signature of her father appearing thereon. docketed as Special Proceedings No. Rafael Titco. Laxa both of legal age. Epifania Regala and their spouses Simultaneously. Limpin positively identified the Will and her signatures on all its four pages. In the interim. Antonio averred that the properties subject of Paciencia’s Will belong to Nicomeda Regala Mangalindan. who are still not of legal age and living with their parents who would decide to bequeath since they are the children of the spouses. Lorenzo came to know and treated Paciencia as his own mother. she resided with Lorenzo and his family until her death on January 4. [Sasmuan]. Petitioners call us to reverse the CA’s assailed Decision and instead affirm the Decision of the RTC which disallowed the notarial will of Paciencia. Maria Lioba A. Factual Antecedents Paciencia was a 78 year old spinster when she made her last will and testament entitled "Tauli Nang Bilin o Testamento Miss Paciencia Regala"7 (Will) in the Pampango dialect on September 13.11 in the presence of Paciencia and of one another and of Judge Limpin who acted as notary public. 26Petitioners prayed that Letters of Administration be instead issued in favor of Antonio. that Paciencia did not intend the document to be her Will. She thereafter affixed her signature at the end of the said document on page 38 and then on the left margin of pages 1. hence. Pampanga for the probate of the Will of Paciencia and for the issuance of Letters of Administration in his favor. Lorenzo is Paciencia’s nephew whom she treated as her own son. and. Limpin (Dra. Mangalindan filed a Supplemental Opposition24 contending that Paciencia’s Will was null and void because ownership of the properties had not been transferred and/or titled to Paciencia before her death pursuant to Article 1049.

he lived in Sasmuan. and (b) disallows the notarized will dated September 13. 2006.50 According to him. violence. the CA reversed the RTC Decision and granted the probate of the Will of Paciencia. and he was already residing in the USA when the Will was executed.49 Antonio alleged that when the documents were shown to him. why will I sell all my properties?" Who is Lorenzo? Is he the only [son] of God? I have other relatives [who should] benefit from my properties. she remembered Paciencia instructing Faustino to first look for money before she signs them. 2000. Paciencia was a spinster without children. that her 46 . and without brothers and sisters.55 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On September 30. the relationship between him and Paciencia was like that of a mother and child since Paciencia took care of him since birth and took him in as an adopted son. the same were still unsigned. Further.57 The trial court gave considerable weight to the testimony of Rosie and concluded that at the time Paciencia signed the Will. she was no longer possessed of sufficient reason or strength of mind to have testamentary capacity. 45 On cross Hence. Paciencia left the documents with Antonio. Paciencia allegedly uttered the following words: "Why will I never [return]. 31 Aside from Dra. proceedings on the petition for the probate of the Will continued. Antonio kept the unsigned documents and eventually turned them over to Faustino on September 18. 1981. 46 and that it was Antonio who requested her to testify in court. Paciencia.33 Lorenzo positively identified the signature of Paciencia in three different documents and in the Will itself and stated that he was familiar with Paciencia’s signature because he accompanied her in her transactions. It ratiocinated that "the state of being ‘magulyan’ does not make a household from 1980 until Paciencia’s departure for the USA on September 19. in 1981 Paciencia went to the USA and lived with him and his family until her death in January 1996. Dra. Paciencia thought that the documents pertained to a lease of one of her rice lands. She served in the said when she executed the Will.51 and it was he who explained that the documents were actually a special power of attorney to lease and sell her fishpond and other properties upon her departure for the USA. Why should I die already?"53 Thereafter.47 In his direct examination. 1981. 1981 of Paciencia Regala. and the lack of photographs when the event took place. 35 On cross-examination. this court hereby (a) denies the petition dated April 24. son of Faustino. that she did not see what that "something" allegation that Paciencia was tricked or forced into signing the Will. 52 Upon hearing this. testified on his father’s condition. 48 He identified the Will and testified that he had seen the said document before because Paciencia brought the same to his mother’s house and showed it to him along with another document on September 16. The more I will not sign them. conclusion that Paciencia was "magulyan" was based on her personal assessment. Monico. Upon going home. Petitioners moved for reconsideration61 but the motion was denied by the CA in its 1981. Paciencia went to the house of Antonio’s mother and brought with her the said 43 44 Resolution62 dated August 31." 54 After which. 32 For his part. from morning until evening and that during the period of her service in the said household. at the time of Paciencia’s death. 1981. SO ORDERED. 2001. A medical certificate was presented to the court to support this allegation. throw them away or it is up to you. On January 29. the oppositors in the probate proceedings were not able to overcome the presumption that every On September 13.to the appointment of Lorenzo as administrator of the properties and requesting for the appointment of Antonio in his stead. Lorenzo clarified that Paciencia informed him about the Will shortly after her arrival in the USA but that he saw a copy of the Will only after her death. Meanwhile. Rosie claimed that she saw Faustino bring "something" for Paciencia to person is of sound mind." 59 Moreover. Rosie further testified that Paciencia was referred to as "magulyan" or "forgetful" because she would sometimes leave her wallet in the kitchen then start looking for it moments later. the RTC rendered its Decision56 denying the petition thus: WHEREFORE. According to him his father can no longer talk and express himself due to brain damage. Limpin. the Will was in the custody of Judge Limpin and was only given to him after Paciencia’s death through Faustino. no concrete circumstances or events were given to prove the 40 sign at the latter’s house. though.58 Ruling of the Court of Appeals For petitioners. intimidation. 1981. she did not suffer from any mental disorder and was of sound mind. Antonio advised Paciencia not to sign the documents if she does not want to. 2000. Lorenzo and Monico Mercado (Monico) also took the witness stand. coercion or trickery upon Paciencia to execute the Will as he was not in the Philippines when the same was executed. examination. the envelope was no longer with Paciencia. he could no longer be presented in court as he already died on May 21. however. Rosie testified that her mother and Paciencia were first cousins. 38 The appellate court did not agree with the RTC’s conclusion that Paciencia was of un sound mind Lorenzo’s wife and his children were staying in the same house. Lorenzo belied and denied having used force. 2003. was not blind. the RTC issued an Order30 denying the requests of both Lorenzo and Antonio to be appointed administrator since the former is a citizen and resident of the USA while the latter’s claim as a co-owner of the properties subject of the Will has not yet been established. deaf or mute. 60 41 was as same was placed inside an envelope. Limpin was recalled for cross-examination by the petitioners.42 A few days after or on September 16. Rosie admitted. Antonio stated that Paciencia was his aunt. to which the latter purportedly replied. She testified as to the age of her father at the time the latter notarized the Will of Paciencia. 39 person mentally unsound so [as] to render [Paciencia] unfit for executing a Will. the living arrangements of Paciencia at the time of the execution of the Will.37 She claimed to have helped in the household chores in the house of Paciencia thereby allowing her to stay therein On appeal. 34 Further. Pampanga with his family and his aunt. and a Will which would transfer her properties to Lorenzo and his family upon her death.36 As to Francisco. Lorenzo testified that: from 1944 until his departure for the USA in April 1980. it was established that Rosie was neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist. envelope. "I know nothing about those. this petition. However.

Faithful compliance with the formalities laid down by law is apparent from the face of the Will. it shall be interpreted to them. being of sound mind. other than a holographic will. If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses. unimpaired. or unshattered by disease. – No will shall pass either real or personal estate unless it is proved and allowed in the proper court. and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will. Paciencia. and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof.64 This is expressly provided for in Rule 75. under his express direction. 799. To be of sound mind. are all present and evident on the Will. each and every page thereof. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will. The burden to prove that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the execution of the will lies on the shoulders of the petitioners. Besides.67 We are not convinced. Art. even the petitioners acceded that the signature of Paciencia in the Will may be authentic although they question her state of mind when she signed the same as well as the voluntary nature of said act. freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. a careful examination of the face of the Will shows faithful compliance with the formalities laid down by law. which states: Rule 75 Art. 47 . injury or other cause. Petitioners. Subject to the right of appeal. Further. Section 1 of the Rules of Court. Every will. Section 1. through their witness Rosie. Conclusive as to execution. on the left margin. In fact. and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page. or file another with the Office of the Clerk of Court. The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. Production of Will. They likewise claimed in their Motion for Reconsideration66 filed with the CA that Paciencia was not only "magulyan" but was actually suffering from paranoia. Here. Article 799 of the New Civil Code states: Art. The signatures of the testatrix. as aforesaid. RULE 76 OF THE RULES OF COURT. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN MAKING CONCLUSIONS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD. and by his express direction. the attestation clause explicitly states the critical requirement that the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses signed the Will in the presence of one another and that the witnesses attested and subscribed to the Will in the presence of the testator and of one another. III. claim that Paciencia was "magulyan" or forgetful so much so that it effectively stripped her of testamentary capacity. except the last. or caused some other person to write his name. to wit: We agree with the position of the CA that the state of being forgetful does not necessarily make a person mentally unsound so as to render him unfit to execute a Will.Issues Petitioners come before this Court by way of Petition for Review on Certiorari ascribing upon the CA the following errors: I. and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONERS FAILED TO PROVE THAT PACIENCIA WAS NOT OF SOUND MIND AT THE TIME THE WILL WAS ALLEGEDLY EXECUTED63 The pivotal issue is whether the authenticity and due execution of the notarial Will was sufficiently established to warrant its allowance for probate. Allowance of Will Necessary. Due execution of the will or its extrinsic validity pertains to whether the testator. must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT ALLOWED THE PROBATE OF PACIENCIA’S WILL DESPITE RESPONDENT’S UTTER FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 11. II. 68 Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. such allowance of the will shall be conclusive as to its due execution. 806. it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. shall also sign. in the presence of the instrumental witnesses. Our Ruling We deny the petition. her instrumental witnesses and the notary public. Courts are tasked to determine nothing more than the extrinsic validity of a Will in probate proceedings. or that his mind be wholly unbroken. 805.65 These formalities are enshrined in Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code. Allowance necessary.

apart from the testimony of Rosie pertaining to Paciencia’s forgetfulness. undue and improper influence and pressure. It is in fact not unheard of in our culture for old maids or spinsters to care for and raise their nephews and nieces and treat them as their own children. She was well aware of how she acquired the properties from her parents and the properties she is bequeathing to LORENZO. there was no showing that Paciencia was publicly known to be insane one month or less before the making of the Will. (Emphasis supplied. the will may nevertheless. are not supported by concrete. pressure. Furthermore. These are grounded on the alleged conversation between Paciencia and Antonio on September 16. However and as earlier mentioned. The burden of proof that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of making his dispositions is on the person who opposes the probate of the will. in the absence of proof to the contrary. Petitioners claim that Paciencia was forced to execute the Will under duress or influence of fear or threats. The very fact that she cared for and raised Lorenzo and lived with him both here and abroad. that the execution of the Will had been procured by undue and improper pressure and influence by Lorenzo or by some other persons for his benefit. it was obtained through fraud or trickery. fraud. In this case. for even if a will has been duly executed in fact. An essential element of the validity of the Will is the willingness of the testator or testatrix to execute the document that will distribute his/her earthly possessions upon his/her death. and trickery which. It provides: RULE 76 Allowance or Disallowance of Will Section 11. all the subscribing witnesses. and that assuming Paciencia’s signature to be genuine. in the absence of any competent witnesses. before making his will was publicly known to be insane. "a purported will is not [to be] denied legalization on dubious grounds. to his wife CORAZON and to his two (2) children. Article 800 of the New Civil Code states: Art. or less. one month. the very institution of testamentary succession will be shaken to its foundation. the proper objects of his bounty. evidence shows the acknowledged fact that Paciencia’s relationship wi th Lorenzo and his family is different from her relationship with petitioners. we find more worthy of credence Dra. and the character of the testamentary act. As aptly pointed out by the CA: A scrutiny of the Will discloses that [Paciencia] was aware of the nature of the document she executed. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind. We are not persuaded. be allowed if the court is satisfied from the testimony of other witnesses and from all the evidence presented that the will was executed and attested in the manner required by law. undue and improper influence. if not based on concrete and substantial evidence cannot suffice to move the Court to uphold said allegations. aside from being factual in nature. and the death. 70 Bare allegations of duress or influence of fear or threats. This kind of relationship is not unusual.) 48 . or insanity of any of them must be satisfactorily shown to the court. but if the testator. or do not remember having attested to it. Otherwise. or are otherwise of doubtful credibility. If a holographic will is contested. medical or otherwise. the person who maintains the validity of the will must prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval. substantial and credible evidence on record.71 Furthermore. We take into consideration the unrebutted fact that Paciencia loved and treated Lorenzo as her own son and that love even extended to Lorenzo’s wife and children. and the notary in the case of wills executed under the Civil Code of the Philippines. even if the latter was already married and already has children. no substantial evidence was presented by them to prove the same. Such is a prevalent and accepted cultural practice that has resulted in many family discords between those favored by the testamentary disposition of a testator and those who stand to benefit in case of intestacy. the burden to prove that Paciencia was of unsound mind lies upon the shoulders of petitioners. the same shall be allowed if at least three (3) witnesses who know the handwriting of the testator explicitly declare that the will and the signature are in the handwriting of the testator. a testator is presumed to be of sound mind at the time of the execution of the Will and the burden to prove otherwise lies on the oppositor. A third child was born after the execution of the will and was not included therein as devisee. the proper objects of her bounty and the character of the testamentary act. and if the court deem it necessary. absence. expert testimony may be resorted to. whether x x x it will be probated would have to depend largely on the attitude of those interested in [the estate of the deceased]. In this case. if present in the Philippines and not insane. must be produced and examined. thereby warranting the CA’s finding that petitioners failed to discharge such burden. thus. Clearly. influence of fear or threats. "The testimony of subscribing witnesses to a Will concerning the testator’s mental condition is entitled to great weight where they are truthful and intelligent. highlights the special bond between them. If any or all of them testify against the due execution of the will. there is no substantial evidence.It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of. their deposition must be taken. This unquestioned relationship between Paciencia and the devisees tends to support the authenticity of the said document as against petitioners’ allegations of duress. that would show that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the execution of the Will. Subscribing witnesses produced or accounted for where will contested. If all or some of such witnesses are present in the Philippines but outside the province where the will has been filed."69 More importantly. On the other hand. Petitioners dispute the authenticity of Paciencia’s Will on the ground that Section 11 of Rule 76 of the Rules of Court was not complied with. we are convinced that Paciencia was aware of the nature of her estate to be disposed of. – If the will is contested. Here. fraud and trickery cannot be used as basis to deny the probate of a will."72 Court should be convinced by the evidence presented before it that the Will was duly executed. Limpin’s testimony as to the soundness of mind of Paciencia when the latter went to Judge Limpin’s house and voluntarily executed the Will. She specially requested that the customs of her faith be observed upon her death. no matter how forceful. 1981 wherein the former purportedly repudiated the Will and left it unsigned. 800. It is worth stressing that bare arguments.

1994. It is obviously just the person who has first acquired possession who should remain in possession pending this decision x x x. neither does it have to be necessarily allowed just because all the attesting witnesses declare in favor of its legalization. Valeriana Villondo (Valeriana). We note that the inability of Faustino and Judge Limpin to appear and testify before the court was satisfactorily explained during the probate proceedings. Because of this the probate of Paciencia’s Will may be allowed on the basis of Dra. if legally tenable."75 This. 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. harvested the root crops." 74 "The very existence of [the Will] is in itself prima facie proof that the supposed [testatrix] has willed that [her] estate be distributed in the manner therein provided. Carmen interposed that the alleged "Kasabutan" was never brought to her attention by her parents. Sinsin. Factual Antecedents In her Complaint4 for forcible entry with preliminary mandatory injunction before the MTCC in Cebu City. are still living."731âwphi1 Moreover." 1 In a legal battle for forcible entry. Judge Limpin. Faustino had a heart attack. thus preventing Valeriana and her family from entering the premises where they have always resided and depriving them of their harvest. suffered a stroke in 1991 and had to undergo brain surgery. It is well to note that at that point. Francisco. prevailed in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) but later lost her case before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) after it rejected her standing as the real party-in-interest. and banana. Cebu City. constrain us to tilt the balance in favor of the authenticity of the Will and its allowance for probate. respondents Adriano Alcantara and Marcelino Ebena. It is an established rule that "[a] testament may not be disallowed just because the attesting witnesses declare against its due execution. her father could no longe r testify. inter alia. And since the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the RTC's ruling. They destroyed the plants therein.00 as declared in a "Kasabutan". The Decision dated June 15. Lorenzo was able to satisfactorily account for the incapacity and failure of the said subscribing witness and of the notary public to testify in court. For her part. what is decisive is that the court is convinced by evidence before it. 5 Valeriana based her and her family's right of possession on Certificate of Stewardship No. SO ORDERED. Rufo and Constancia Bacalla. respondent Carmen Quijano (Carmen) and her farm laborers. intruded into her land with the help of three policemen and other barangay officials. We thus hold that for all intents and purposes. although they must testify. She claimed that Carmen's parents. CARMEN QUIJANO. ARDIANO ALCANTARA. coupled with Lorenzo’s established relationship with Paciencia. and in case of controverted right. it requires the parties to preserve the status quo until one of the other of them sees fit to invoke the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction upon the question of ownership. Valeriana averred that her family had prior possession of the land as her husband started tilling the same even before the war. petitioners neither interposed any objections to the testimonies of said witnesses nor challenged the same on cross examination. Valeriana claimed that in the morning of August 14. In any case.6 which she claimed to have been awarded to her nowdeceased husband whose actual name is 'Daniel P. DECISION 49 . To further support her claim of prior possession and Carmen's alleged intrusion. Limpin stated that given such condition. Dra. who attested that the Villondo family had been tilling the land since 1951.R. despite ample opportunity. WHEREFORE. Carmen's letters that sought police and barangay assistance in fencing the subject property.R. and MARCELINO EBENA. as well as on the proof of her handwriting. fenced off the area.000.51 hectare land in Taop. 2012 DEL CASTILLO. 2005 Decision2 and July 10. as opposed to the total lack of evidence presented by petitioners apart from their self-serving testimonies. the petition is DENIED. We cannot agree with petitioners. they continued to occupy and cultivate the land together with their five children. CV No. 80979 are AFFIRMED. Valeriana now comes to this Court to assail the March 31. Respondents.10 On the other hand. not necessarily from the attesting witnesses. Carmen tacked her possessory right to that of her parents Rufo and Constancia Bacalla who in 1948 purchased11from Liberato and Vicente Abellanosa a 4. Limpin’s testimony proving her sanity and the due execution of the Will. 146099 in the name of 'Daniel T. 173606 December 3. At that time. the purpose of the law is to protect the person who in fact has actual possession. When she married him in 1948. SP No. it is the mandate of the law that it is the evidence before the court and/or [evidence that] ought to be before it that is controlling. Thus.R. built a hut. a Bureau of Forestry employee and a Barangay Sinsin resident. were themselves aware that an ownership claim is worthless. Pardo.66-hectare government timberland in Udlom. One of the parties.: "In giving recognition to the action of forcible entry and detainer. and posted a "NO TRESPASSING" sign. Cebu VALERIANA VILLONDO. corn. As testified to by his son. Valeriana argued that Carmen can never assert ownership over the property because it is a government land. 2006 and the Resolution dated August 31. Villondo. it bears stressing that "[i]rrespective x x x of the posture of any of the parties as regards the authenticity and due execution of the will x x x in question. the evidence and the testimonies of disinterested witnesses.They insist that all subscribing witnesses and the notary public should have been presented in court since all but one witness. 70734. J. and it is incumbent upon the state that.7 her (Carmen) counsel's demand letter for Valeriana's son Esteban Villondo (Esteban) to leave the property. To prove this. Petitioner. Judge Limpin could no longer talk and could not even remember his daughter’s name so that Dra. vs. they ceded their plantations on the subject land to her husband Daniel Villondo (Daniel) for P2. such desire be given full effect independent of the attitude of the parties affected thereby. said witness presented the corresponding medical certificate. Villondo'. 2006 Resolution3 of the CA in CA-G. No. she submitted. she asserted that such allegation of Valeriana even supports her claim of prior possession. Limpin testified that her father. was already bedridden and could no longer talk and express himself due to brain damage.8 pictures of a collapsed house on the subject land that Valeriana claims to belong to one of her sons. SECOND DIVISION G. that the will was or was not duly executed in the manner required by law. two parties assert their alleged right to possess a 2. 1999.9 and an affidavit of Regino Habasa (Regino).' Said Certificate was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on February 14.

To support this. Carmen submitted to the court her tax declarations over the land. viz. this case is dismissible under Section 1. the herein appellee Valeriana Villondo. Thus.000.City covered by Tax Declaration No. is the real party-ininterest and thus should be the plaintiff in the suit and not Valeriana. contending that "Daniel T. who used the name of Daniel T. The dispositive portion of the said Resolution reads: WHEREFORE.27 Valeriana filed a Motion for Reconsideration28 but the same was denied in an Order29 dated March 12. who is using the name of Daniel T. 50 ."13 the named tiller in the Certificate of Stewardship No. 2002. 26 In any event. Villondo. 146099. was never established. the complaint should have been initiated by Romualdo Villondo. Hence. they asserted that Valeriana is misleading the court by making it appear that she has successional rights from her husband as steward. Villondo.00) Pesos. the court a quo should have dismissed the complaint since it does not state a cause of action. According to her.51 hectare land includes the disputed area which her parents also cultivated and developed. her two children Esteban and Trinidad. R-55788-5578919against Valeriana.12 The respondents also questioned Valeriana's legal personality to sue. Rule 16 of the Rules of Court because the herein appellee Valeriana Villondo is not the real party-in-interest but Romualdo Villondo. and (c) Litigation expenses in the amount of Ten Thousand (PhP10.18 Incidentally. respondents submitted the respective stewardship applications16 as well as other documents17 indicating that Daniel P. 146099 was issued over a land that constitutes a portion of Carmen's property.00) Pesos. It reasoned that Carmen herself alleged in the pending criminal cases for grave threats and grave coercion that she was prevented by the Villondos from entering the property and this presupposes that Valeriana and her family were in prior possession and occupation of the land in question. in its March 2. Carmen alleged that the four were armed with scythe. She therefore claimed that the RTC erred in dismissing her Complaint for the sole reason that she is not a real party-in-interest and likewise prayed for the issuance of a writ of execution/ possession.22 the MTCC ruled: WHEREFORE. She highlighted the fact that the RTC did not overturn the MTCC's factual finding of her actual possession of the disputed property. IT IS SO ORDERED. Respondents refuted Valeriana's claim that the named tiller in the Certificate refers to her husband "Daniel P.21 This thus disproved respondents' claim that Certificate of Stewardship No. Because of this fatal defect. the following: (a) Actual Damages in the amount of Twenty-Five Thousand (PhP25. and even threatened to kill her if she proceeds with the land survey. is actually Valeriana's son. Notably. Villondo and Daniel T. Carmen's attempt to have the land surveyed in June 1997 resulted in the filing before the MTCC of Cebu of criminal cases for grave threats and grave coercion docketed as Criminal Case Nos.00) Pesos.20 Ruling of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities After weighing the parties' respective evidence.: Based on the foregoing findings of the court a quo. Regino's Affidavit admits that Daniel T. Villondo. They claimed that "Daniel T. Villondo under whose name the Certificate of Stewardship was issued.000.000. 24 In its February 11. Jr. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of Valeriana and against the respondents ordering the latter to vacate and move out from the premises of the subject land and to restore Valeriana to the peaceful possession and occupation thereof and condemning them to pay Valeriana. the MTCC also concluded that respondents indeed deprived Valeriana and her family of the possession of the land. They also put in issue therein lack of cause of action since Valeriana is not the real party-in-interest. Romualdo. Villondo. 2001 Resolution. 92638. A supersedeas bond was likewise posted. (b) Attorney's fees in the amount of Fifteen Thousand (PhP15. said 4.15 Because of this. the Decision appealed from is hereby reversed in favor of the respondents since the petitioner Valeriana Villondo is not a real party-in-interest or beneficiary of the Certificate of Stewardship x x x but her son Romualdo Villondo. and a daughter-in-law. jointly and severally. The MTCC pointed out that the boundaries of the lot as reflected in Romualdo's Certificate of Stewardship are way different from the boundaries mentioned in Tax Declaration No. Noting that the ejectment case delves on possession de facto. Villondo" is actually Valeriana's son Romualdo Villondo (Romualdo).23 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court Dismayed with the judgment. Cost de officio. 92638 that Carmen has been relying upon. in view of the foregoing. because he is the real party-ininterest and not by his mother." 14 who was awarded by the government a Certificate of Stewardship over another parcel of land in 1983.25 the RTC found Valeriana's Complaint dismissible for lack of cause of action. In fact. a construction worker who had never even cultivated the subject land. the MTCC adjudged that the Daniel T. Ruling of the Court of Appeals When Valeriana elevated the case to the CA. and therefore the complaint does not state a cause of action. the RTC gave more credence to Carmen's tax declarations over Valeriana's assertion of long-time possession which to it.30 she proffered that the only issue that the courts should consider in forcible entry cases is actual possession. SO ORDERED. Villondo refers to Romualdo. Villondo are different persons. and pieces of wood when they prevented her from entering and surveying the property. There is also no showing that Romualdo Villondo is a minor or an incompetent who needs the assistance of his mother as guardian ad litem. bolo. 2001 Decision. the land covered by Romualdo's Certificate of Stewardship made no mention that it is bounded by Carmen's land or the land of her predecessors-in-interest. respondents appealed to the RTC of Cebu City and reiterated their claim of prior possession of the property.

possesses the right sought to be enforced. Her counsel wrote Valeriana's son Esteban and demanded that the subject land be vacated. 31 it ruled: Valeriana's allegation that she and her family were deprived of their possession. We emphasize that in 45 in forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases. even public lands can be the subject of forcible entry cases as it has already been held that ejectment proceedings may involve all kinds of land. or a mere incidental interest. Hence.34 ignored her plea for a reconsideration. she can file the action for forcible entry. not legal ejectment suits.35 Thus. vendor. With this in mind. cultivation and enjoyment of the subject land may be true. or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.x x x a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force. Regional Trial Court. Notably. i.36 Courts must resolve the issue of possession even if the parties to the ejectment suit are mere informal settlers. intimidation. Her "tax declarations are not conclusive proofs of ownership. Rule 70 of the Rules of Court specifies who may be the plaintiff in an action for forcible entry. viz: Section 1. 2005 Decision. or even of possession.1âwphi1 These circumstances are indicative of the Villondo family's possession of the premises. 2006 Resolution. the physical possession of a property. in its July 10." The MTCC correctly considered Valeriana as a real party-in-interest and correctly delved strictly with the issue of physical possession."41 They only constitute proofs of a claim of title over the declared property. the petition is DENIED. The strategy. the CA. other than dismissing the case for lack of 51 . (Emphasis supplied. In its March 31.37 Here. while the parties are fighting over the possession of a government land. for the restitution of such possession. to show that she has the right or interest to protect. in the case at bench. or stealth. Any judgment rendered by the courts below in the possession of the property and deprivation of the property by means of force. the provision clearly allows Valeriana to institute the action for the recovery of the physical possession of the property against For a court to restore possession. bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession. the courts below are not deprived of jurisdiction to render judgment thereon. or other person. This matter already delves into the character of her possession. are hereby AFFIRMED. at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession. two things must be proven in a forcible entry case: prior physical the alleged usurper. in order for her case to prosper. and when. The assailed February 11. Furthermore. were the ones occupying the subject property and who allegedly prevented her from conducting a land survey. Carmen had to seek help from the authorities in order to fence the lot. A "real party in interest" is one who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit. "A real party-in-interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit. threat.. Valeriana is one of those in prior physical possession of the land who was eventually dispossessed. vendee. One who has no right or interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as party-plaintiff in an action for it is jurisprudentially ordained that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor.e. This rule holds true regardless of the character of a party's possession. The Sole Issue Pleading before us for a review of the CA ruling. She has a right or interest to protect as she was the one dispossessed and thus. intimidation. 2002 Order of Branch 5. or stealth. or any person or persons claiming under them. is Valeriana the appropriate party to file a forcible entry case against the respondents? We rule that the CA has no reason to withhold the relief she prays for on the ground of a lack of cause of action.The CA however was not convinced. together with damages and costs. Cebu City. the central issue to be resolved is: Whether Valeriana is a real party-in-interest in the forcible entry case she filed. Valeriana underscores her rightful personality as plaintiff and stressed that the CA erred in affirming the RTC when it ruled that only Romualdo can be the plaintiff in the forcible entry case. xxxx WHEREFORE. vendor.33 Valeriana maintained that she is a real party-in-interest since she was one of those dispossessed of the property. provided that he has in his favor priority in time. by substantive law. Who may institute proceedings. another son and daughter-in-law. an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved. 'possession' refers to "physical possession. threat. express or implied. she herself acknowledged that Valeriana. vendee. it does not even matter if the party's title to the property is questionable. by filing criminal cases for grave threats and grave coercion. however. x x x" 39 As used entry case. by virtue of any contract. it is equally important. or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. forcible entry action will bind and definitely affect her claim to possess the subject property.42 Her acts betray her claim of prior possession. . may. x x x The action must be brought by the person who. 2002 Resolution and the March 12."43 As we have explained: 'Interest' within the meaning of the rules means material interest. However. 40 possession in the sense contemplated in civil law. or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession.) Sans the presence of the awardee of the Certificate of Stewardship. 32 In her Motion for Reconsideration. or a lessor. strategy. Our Ruling Notably. together with Esteban. x x x44 Section 1. the CA. We agree with the RTC that petitioner is not the real party in interest in the case at bench. A real party-in-interest is one who has a legal right. and not fact that Valeriana is not the holder of the Certificate of Stewardship is not in issue in a forcible possession de jure is the only issue in a forcible entry case.38"Possession de facto. Carmen failed to present evidence that she was in actual physical possession of the land she claims.

compensable. while the boat dropped anchor south of Nasr Oilfield and went on standby. the A/B watchman reported that Jacinto was recovered but despite efforts to revive him. or Mood Disorder Bipolar Type. he was already dead from drowning. 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. filed a complaint against petitioner Crewlink. which affirmed in toto the Decision5 dated February 12. the late Jacinto Teringtering suddenly jumped into the sea. Respondent alleged that her husband Jacinto entered into an overseas employment contract with Crewlink.00. 20034 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).00 and burial expenses in the amount of US$1. 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. which resulted to his jumping into the sea and his eventual death.m. petitioner Crewlink alleged that sometime on April 9. Philippines xxxx THIRD DIVISION G. spouse of deceased Jacinto Teringtering (Jacinto). Respondents.000. Absent any evidence of respondents' prior physical possession. as culled from the records. is entitled to stay on the property until she is lawfully ejected by others who can prove in a separate proceeding that they have a better right.m. (Crewlink). The Decision of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities in Cebu. 2005 Decision and July 10. respondent claimed from petitioners the payment of death compensation in the amount of US$50. the details of which are as follows: Duration of Contract Position Basic Monthly Salary Hours of Work Overtime Vacation Leave with pay Point of Hire : : : : : : : 12 months Oiler US $385. SP No. SP No. an embalming and sealing certificate was issued after which the remains of Jacinto was brought back to the Philippines. he was subjected to a preemployment medical examination wherein he was pronounced as "fit to work. 2012 Teringtering claimed that before her husband was employed. or terror. Respondent asserted that Jacinto was suffering from a psychotic disorder. Petitioners.R. CREWLINK. Around 11:00 p. After learning of the death of Jacinto. but the second engineer was able to recover him. for her behalf and in behalf of minor EIMAEREACH ROSE DE GARCIA TERINGTERING. around 8:20 p. violence.50 1 mo. DECISION PERALTA. a complaint was filed against the petitioners. Later on. burial assistance.000. 2002 of the Labor Arbiter. her husband joined his vessel of assignment and performed his duties as Oiler.000. one personnel was directed to watch Jacinto. for and in behalf of its foreign principal Gulf Marine Services. 79966. Inc. 52 . J.R.R. For its part.m. 2004 and Resolution2 dated January 17.cause of action. thus.. The facts. but was a result of a mental disorder. a death certificate was issued by the Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates wherein it was stated that Jacinto died on April 9. No. 2001.00 48 hrs/wk US $115. Hence. the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be thrown not by a strong hand. EDITHA TERINGTERING. Respondent further asserted that her husband’s death was not deliberate and not of his own will. SO ORDERED. Courts will always uphold respect for prior possession. Respondent claimed that in order for her husband's death to be compensable it is enough that he died during the term of his contract and while still on board. vs. and its foreign principal Gulf Marine Services for the payment of death benefits. Because of said incident. 2001.. who has cogently convinced us that she was dispossessed of the land by force. 166803 October 11. as well as additional death compensation in the amount of US$7.00. around 10:30 p. damages and attorney's fees. leave after 12 months Manila. Jacinto jumped off the boat again.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision1 dated July H. while at Nasr Oilfield. Inc. Branch 5. 70734 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Valeriana. On or about April 18. INC. Neither is the unlawful withholding of property allowed. benefit for minor child. and/or GULF MARINE SERVICES. for the minor Eimaereach Rose de Gracia Teringtering but was refused without any valid cause. 46 WHEREFORE. setting aside the Resolutions dated February 20. is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. 20033 and July 31. and in behalf of her minor child. However. The assailed March 31. are as follows: Respondent Editha Teringtering (Teringtering). 2001 due to asphyxia of drowning. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. did not seem to dispute the MTCC's fascual finding of Valeriana's prior physical possession." Thus. We then end by highlighting the principle behind ejectment proceedings: x x x Regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property.

2230 hrs. The Labor Arbiter held that. however. our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing errors of law in the absence of any showing that the factual findings complained of are devoid of support in the records or are glaringly erroneous. dismissed the case for lack of merit. 2001. respondent submitted Ship Captain Oscar C.00. Sudarto jump and recover Mr. before this Court. It argued that the rule that the employer becomes liable once it is established that the seaman died during the effectivity of his employment contract is not absolute. and an additional amount of US$7. Respondents Crewlink. Morado certify this report true and correct with the best of my knowledge and reserve the right.000. his death was the result of his deliberate or intentional jumping into the sea. Jacinto Tering Tering onboard the vessel and apply Respiration Kiss of life Mouth to Mouth.6 In a Decision dated February 12. accordingly. considering that the latter's death resulted from his willful act. The employer may be exempt from liability if he can successfully prove that the seaman's death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act. are directed to pay deceased Jacinto Teringtering's beneficiaries. AMONG OTHERS. Petitioner claimed that Jacinto's death is not compensable. while it is true that Jacinto Teringtering died during the effectivity of his contract of employment and that he died of asphyxiation. On July 8. WHICH WERE ESPECIALLY EMPHASIZED IN THE ASSAILED CA DECISION AND WHICH ACTUALLY REFERRED TO ACTS COMMITTED BY THE SHIPMATES OF THE DECEASED. A/side Nasr Complex boatlanding and the doctor on-board to check the patient. We recovered Mr. And the second Engr. THUS. 2003. According to the law.000.51 representing donations from the GMS staff and crew. Despite the non-entitlement.00 on May 21. premises considered. Jacinto Tering Tering. Teringtering was even given burial assistance in the amount of P35. Findings of fact of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial bodies. In a petition for review on certiorari. his death was directly attributable to him. 2003 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2300 hrs. M/V Raja 3404 still underway to Nasr Complex w/ 1 passenger. BUT POSITIVELY ATTRIBUTED TO PETITIONERS AND FOR WHICH THE LATTER ARE NOW BEING HELD LIABLE – ARE IN THE NATURE OF AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SOURCE OF OBLIGATION THAT IS PREDICATED ON QUASI-DELICT OR TORT AS PROVIDED UNDER OUR CIVIL LAWS AND. Jacinto Tering Tering. AS TO RENDER HIS DEATH NOT COMPENSABLE. modify. Then informed to GMS personnel about the accident. And that time the wind NW 10-14 kts. are generally accorded 53 . Inc. 2018 hrs. the CA reversed and set aside the assailed Resolution of the NLRC. 2004.00 and P13.800. AS FOUND AND SO RULED BY THE LABOR ARBITER AND NLRC. and strong current. because petitioner had nothing to do with her late husband's untimely demise as the same was due to his own doing. both at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of payment. Teringtering then appealed before the NLRC which affirmed in toto the ruling of the Labor Arbiter.7 Thus. the Philippine Currency equivalent to US$50. nevertheless. I Captain Oscar C. and Gulf Marine Services are hereby DECLARED jointly and severally liable and. HAS NO REFERENCE TO OUR LABOR CODE. and/or Gulf Marine Services. as in this case. dated February 20. the Labor Arbiter. And we informed to A/B on duty to watch Mr. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Teringtering filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the Court of Appeals and sought the nullification of the NLRC Resolution. SO ORDERED. jump to the sea with life ring to recover Mr. after hearing. III WHETHER THE DEATH OF SEAFARER IN THIS CASE WAS A RESULT OF A DELIBERATE/WILLFUL ACT ON HIS OWN LIFE. And proceed to Nasr Complex to take doctor. because Jacinto committed suicide. Morado's report on the incident. 2040 hrs. Inc. raised the following issues: I WHETHER A SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION OF CERTIORARI INCLUDES CORRECTION OF THE NLRC'S EVALUATION OF THE EVIDENCE AND FACTUAL FINDINGS BASED THEREON OR CORRECTION OF ERRORS OF FACTS IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE NLRC. Unsatisfied. Crewlink. The A/B watch man informed that Mr. Dropped anchor south of Nasr oilfield and standby. 2330 hrs. Petitioner likewise argued that Teringtering is not entitled to moral and exemplary damages. the Resolution dated February 20. namely respondent Editha Teringtering and her daughter Eimaereach Rose de Gracia. We find merit in the petition. We are not a trier of facts. II WHETHER THE NEGLIGENT ACTS OF SUPPOSEDLY FAILING TO TAKE SUCH MEASURES FOR THE COMFORT AND SAFETY OF THE DECEASED SEAFARER.Petitioner asserted that Teringtering was not entitled to the benefits being claimed. as petitioner. And the second Engr. Mr. and this applies with greater force in labor cases. Jacinto Tering Tering jump again to the sea. Thus. And that time informed to GMS personnel about the accident. ratify and/or enlarge this statement at any time and place. AND NO OTHER. 2320 hrs. 2002. Mr. A/side Nasr Complex boatlanding to drop 1 passenger At 2020 hrs. which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters. which we quote: At arround 2000 hrs. AN ACT DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE DECEASED. Jacinto Tering Tering suddenly jump to the sea. which affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s Decision dated February 12. Jacinto Tering Tering the oiler. She likewise received the amount of US$792. As per Nasr Complex Doctor the patient was already dead.273. As part of the record. 2002. while the boat cast off from Nasr Complex boatlanding.

The accident report of Captain Oscar Morado narrated in detail the circumstances that led to Jacinto's death. the petition Is GRANTED. No compensation shall be payable in respect of any injury. Establishing the insanity of an accused requires opinion testimony which may be given by a witness who is intimately acquainted with the person claimed to be insane. respondent Cirilo Oropesa (a widower). Considering the foregoing. Branch 260 in SP. Ronald Arroga. More so. As no man would know what goes on in the mind of another.R. Meanwhile. Even the A/B personnel. when there is no showing that said findings were arrived at arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence on record. This case is no different. respondent. 2008. for insanity is a condition of the mind not susceptible of the usual This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure of the Decision1 dated February 29. both rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Jacinto was determined and even shoved him and jumped anew which eventually caused his death. 2012 NILO OROPESA. The relationship between the petitioner and Jacinto is one based on contract of employment and not one of contract of carriage. 2003 and July 31. Proc. They are binding upon this Court unless there is a showing of grave abuse of discretion or where it is clearly shown that they were arrived at arbitrarily or in utter disregard of the evidence on record.. vs.8 No such evidence was presented to support respondent's claim. 2003 Resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCR OFW Case No. which dismissed petitioner Nilo Oropesa’s petition for guardianship over the properties of his father. the death of the employee should occur during the effectivity of the employment contract." The Court of Appeals’ issuances affirmed the Order3 dated September 27. the issue for resolution here is the obligation of the employer to its employee should the latter die during the term of his employment.9 WHEREFORE. No. The February 20. Case No.R. we do not find any reason to discredit the evidence presented as well as the findings of the Labor Arbiter. or who is qualified as an expert. while it is true that labor contracts are impressed with public interest and the provisions of the POEA-SEC must be construed logically and liberally in favor of Filipino seamen in the pursuit of their employment on board ocean-going vessels. incapacity. Otherwise slated. incapacity. or who has rational basis to conclude that a person was insane based on the witness’ own perception of the person. In the instant case. respectively. are hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. The Court commiserates with the respondent. Homesickness and/or family problems may result to depression. For precisely. CIRILO OROPESA. The employer may be exempt from liability if it can successfully prove that the seaman's death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act. dated July 8. testified that despite his efforts to prevent Jacinto from jumping again overboard. who was tasked to watch over Jacinto after his first attempt of committing suicide.R. the state or condition of a person’s mind can only be measured and judged by his behavior. lest an injustice be caused to the employer. The record does not even show when the alleged insanity of Jacinto did start. are generally accorded not only respect but even finality by the courts when supported by substantial evidence. 2006 and the Order4 dated November 14. witness. but the same does not necessarily equate to mental disorder. as summed in the assailed Decision. Settled is the rule that factual findings of labor officials. the amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. but absent substantial evidence from which reasonable basis for the grant of benefits prayed for can be drawn. SO ORDERED. is not absolute. however. however. This rule. Likewise. disability or death resulting from a willful act on his own life by the seaman.: Indeed. The circumstances of Jacinto's actions before and at the time of his death were likewise entered in the Chief Officer's Log Book and were attested to by Captain Morado before the Philippine Embassy. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the Court is left with no choice but to deny her petition. FIRST DIVISION G. (M) 01-061144-00. or any medical report was given to support her claim of Jacinto's insanity. provided. still the rule is that justice is in every case for the deserving. Under No. who are deemed to have acquired expertise in matters within their jurisdiction. 2004. The death of a seaman during the term of employment makes the employer liable to his heirs for death compensation benefits.e. Indeed. 04-0016. petitioner was able to substantially prove that Jacinto's death was attributable to his deliberate act of killing himself by jumping into the sea. 88449. 2002 Decision of the Labor Arbiter. Section C. in order to avail of death benefits. The issue of insanity is a question of fact. (Emphasis ours) means of proof. that the employer can prove that such injury. the applicable law. As found by the Labor Arbiter. entitled "NILO OROPESA vs. it is provided that: xxxx 6. no evidence. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. 2006 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Parañaque City. and its January 17. Respondent. Petitioner. 2005 Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 6. such as a psychiatrist. other than her bare allegation that her husband was suffering from a mental disorder. disability or death is directly attributable to him. SP No. CIRILO OROPESA. Jacinto's jumping into the sea was not an accident but was deliberately done. Jacinto jumped off twice into the sea and it was on his second attempt that caused his death. CV No. 184528 April 25. The facts of this case. Part II of the POEA "Standard Employment Contract Governing the Employment of All Filipino Seamen On-Board Ocean-Going Vessels" (POEA-SEC). and denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration thereof. follow: 54 . i. affirming the February 12. the provisions of the Code of Commerce are certainly inapplicable in this case. and existing jurisprudence.not only great respect but even finality. J. 2008. as well as the Resolution2 dated September 16. 79966. to be dispensed with in the light of established facts.

) The trial court granted respondent’s demurrer to evidence in an Order dated September 27. the dispositive portion of which reads: In an Order dated January 29. The case was docketed as SP Proc. the Court hereby affirms its earlier Order dated 27 September 2006. Oppositor’s Demurrer to Evidence is GRANTED. 2004. Pursuant to the abovementioned order. Ms. petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals but his appeal was dismissed Ma. the (respondent) Cirilo Oropesa. In the said petition. as well as to render any assistance that the ward may personally require. it is alleged among others that the (respondent) has been afflicted with several maladies and has been sickly for over ten (10) years already having suffered a stroke on April 1. particularly Ms. Thus. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but this was denied by the trial court in an Order dated November 14. in which one person. and the case is DISMISSED. premises considered the instant appeal is DISMISSED. A guardianship is designed to further the ward’s well -being. Cirilo O. he cannot. 2006 are AFFIRMED.On January 23. and directed the court social worker to conduct a social case study and submit a report thereon. though of sound mind but by reason of age. After presenting evidence. weak mind or other similar causes. 8 A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner but this was denied by the Court of Appeals in the similarly assailed Resolution dated September 16. guardianship indicates not only those responsibilities. the court a quo granted the (respondent’s) Omnibus Motion. the (petitioner) presented his evidence which consists of his testimony. 2006. 2003 and June 1. considering that the petitioner has failed to provide sufficient evidence to establish that Gen. the (petitioner) filed with the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City. and the (respondent’s) former nurse. showing signs of failure to manage his property properly. The assailed orders of the court a quo dated September 27. 2006 resting his case.10 we laid out the nature and purpose of guardianship in the following wise: A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred character. petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit. that due to his age and medical condition. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE. the Court Social Worker conducted her social case study. Thereafter. The dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Petitioner comes before the Court arguing that the assailed rulings of the Court of Appeals should be set aside as it allegedly committed grave and reversible error when it affirmed the erroneous decision of the trial court which purportedly disregarded the overwhelming evidence presented by him showing respondent’s incompetence. Unperturbed. and (3) To Grant leave to the Oppositor to File Demurrer to Evidence. we find the petition to be without merit. 2006. Hence. Luisa Agamata. a petition for him and a certain Ms. Thereafter. Rule 92 of the Rules of Court tells us that persons who.11 In a guardianship proceeding. On August 3. called a "guardian" acts for another called the "ward" whom the law regards as incapable of managing his own affairs. interviewing the (petitioner) and his witnesses. RULE 92 OF THE RULES OF COURT WHO SHOULD BE PLACED UNDER GUARDIANSHIP9 After considering the evidence and pleadings on record. 6 WHEREFORE. and that of his sister Gianina Oropesa Bennett. No. 2006 and November 14. are incapable of taking 55 . a court may appoint a qualified guardian if the prospective ward is proven to be a minor or an incompetent. his girlfriend. Petitioner submits the following question for consideration by this Court: WHETHER RESPONDENT IS CONSIDERED AN "INCOMPETENT" PERSON AS DEFINED UNDER SECTION 2. (2) To Expunge the Documents of the Petitioner from the Record. but those of one in loco parentis as well. 2004. The Court Social Worker subsequently submitted her report but without any finding on the (respondent) who refused to see and talk to the social worker. without outside aid. considering that the Court record shows that petitioner-movant has failed to provide sufficient documentary and testimonial evidence to establish that Gen. manage his property wisely. the (respondent) filed his Supplemental Opposition. disease. 04-0016 and raffled off to Branch 260. Alma Altaya. A reading of Section 2. not that of the guardian.7 lapses in memory and judgment. 5 (Citations omitted. the instant petition was filed. Louie Ginez to be appointed as guardians over the property of his father. and has become an easy prey for deceit and exploitation by people around him. Oropesa is incompetent to run his personal affairs and to administer his properties. the presiding judge of the court a quo set the case for hearing. It is intended to preserve the ward’s property. the (respondent) filed his "Omnibus Motion (1) to Declare the petitioner to have waived the presentation of his Offer of Exhibits and the presentation of his Evidence Closed since they were not formally offered. 2003. 2004. the (respondent) then filed his Demurrer to Evidence dated July 23. 2008. In Francisco v. 2004. 2008. 2006. 2006. Court of Appeals. Cirilo Oropesa is incompetent to run his personal affairs and to administer his properties. The (petitioner) failed to file his written formal offer of evidence. the (respondent) filed his Opposition to the petition for guardianship. It has been stated that while custody involves immediate care and control. through the now assailed Decision dated February 29. that his judgment and memory [were] impaired and such has been evident after his hospitalization. the (respondent) was observed to have had Accordingly. On July 6. the (petitioner) filed a manifestation dated May 29. In an Order dated July 14. that even before his stroke.

(AFPSLAI) for payment of his hospital bills.00 from a joint account under his name and his daughter’s without the latter’s knowledge or consent. x x x. During the time that respondent was hospitalized at the St. cannot. his documentary proof were comprised mainly of certificates of title over real properties registered in his. but by reason of age. and persons not being of unsound mind. the word "incompetent" includes fact. Even if we were to overlook petitioner’s procedural lapse in failing to make a formal offer of evidence. Luke’s Medical Center after his stroke. for although the report had negative findings regarding memory lapses on the part of respondent. In any event."18 56 . the said report. he had substantial amounts of money in various banks sufficient to cover his medical expenses. were insufficient to convince the trial court of petitioner’s cause of action and instead lead it to grant the demurrer to evidence that was filed by respondent. Likewise. According to respondent. he was able to render and read the correct time on the Clock Drawing Test. Respondent’s residence allegedly has been left dilapidated due to lack of care and management. These testimonies. was ambivalent at best. we had the occasion to rule that "where the sanity of a person is at issue. petitioner did not present any relevant documentary or testimonial evidence that would attest to the veracity of his assertion that respondent is incompetent largely due to his alleged deteriorating medical and mental condition. he purportedly requested one of his former colleagues who was visiting him to file a loan application with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Savings and Loan Association. but when the car had been sold. to and other similar causes. x x x.17 With the failure of petitioner to formally offer his documentary evidence. he enjoyed and participated meaningfully in conversations and could be quite elaborate in his responses on many of the test items. d. which did not include any expert medical testimony. as mentioned earlier. The full text of the said provision reads: We have held in the past that a "finding that a person is incompetent should be anchored on clear. as far as his children knew. therefore."15 were quoted by respondent in his lucid intervals. care of themselves and their property without outside aid are considered as incompetents who may properly be placed under guardianship. respondent points out that the only medical document presented by petitioner proves that he persons suffering the penalty of civil interdiction or who are hospitalized lepers. In Sec. Respondent withdrew at least $75. Respondent continuously allows his girlfriend to ransack his house of groceries and furniture. take care of themselves and manage their wit: property. despite protests from his children. even though they have document. disease. Meaning of the word "incompetent. Portions of the said dumb who are unable to read and write.14 General Oropesa spoke fluently in English and Filipino. g."12 We consider that evidentiary standard unchanged and." – Under this rule. He was able to correctly perform mental calculations and keep track of number sequences on a task of attention. Inc. deaf and is indeed competent to run his personal affairs and administer his properties. x x x.Respondent denied the allegations made by petitioner and cited petitioner’s lack of material evidence to support his claims.000. without outside aid. and receipts showing payment of real estate taxes on their co-owned properties. 2. tax declarations. Memorandum16 to illustrate that said report in fact favored respondent’s claim of competence. Respondent has been afflicted with several maladies and has been sickly for over ten (10) years already. c. He spoke in a clear voice and his articulation was generally comprehensible. his father’s and his sister’s names as co-owners. becoming thereby an easy prey for deceit and exploitation. Respondent allegedly instructed petitioner to sell his Nissan Exalta car for the reason that the former would be purchasing another vehicle. In support of his contention that respondent is incompetent and. f. should be placed in guardianship. respondent did not procure another vehicle and refused to account for the money earned from the sale of the old car. his proof of his father’s incompetence consisted purely of testimonies given by himself and his sister (who were claiming interest in their father’s real and personal properties) and their father’s former caregiver (who admitted to be acting under their direction). e. expert opinion is not necessary [and that] the observations of the trial judge coupled with evidence establishing the person’s state of mental sanity will suffice. The only medical document on record is the aforementioned "Report of Neuropsychological Screening" which was attached to the petition for guardianship but was never identified by any witness nor offered as evidence. petitioner raises in his Memorandum 13 the following factual matters: a. those who are of unsound mind. xxxx General Oropesa performed in the average range on most of the domains that were tested. xxxx x x x Reasoning abilities were generally intact as he was able to suggest effective solutions to problem situations. b. In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of the proposed ward was at issue. positive and definite evidence. h. must be applied in the case at bar. it also contained findings that supported the view that respondent on the average was indeed competent. when. The realty taxes for respondent’s various properties remain unpaid and therefore petitioner and his sister were supposedly compelled to pay the necessary taxes. prodigals. He did BEST in visuo-constructional tasks where he had to copy geometrical designs using tiles. weak mind. There was purportedly one occasion where respondent took a kitchen knife to stab himself upon the "orders" of his girlfriend during one of their fights. which do not in any way relate to his father’s alleged incapacity to make decisions for himself. thus. entitled "Report of Neuropsychological Screening.

89751 expressly prohibits any court. Following a thorough review of the bidders’ qualifications and eligibility. and are deemed final and conclusive on this Court when supported by the evidence on record. (2) is capable of mental calculations. to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law. Oppositor’s evidence includes a Neuropsychological Screening Report which states that Gen. prohibit or compel the Government. from: (a) acquiring. preliminary injunction. The said contract consisted of four (4) There was no error on the part of the trial court when it dismissed the petition for guardianship components. Section 1. will not be disturbed by this Court. as he would ordinarily have to do. alert and able. Oropesa does not have the mental. WHEREFORE. including private respondent [Nerwin]. Chairman. the trial court made known its own observation of respondent’s physical and men tal state. the qualified bidders submitted their financial bids where private respondent [Nerwin] emerged as the lowest bidder for all schedules/components of the contract. necessary for NEA’s without first requiring respondent to present his evidence precisely because the effect of granting a projected allocation for Luzon. Oropesa possesses intact cognitive functioning. DECISION BERSAMIN.21 however. they were informed that only those who relief. bidders. reasoning and orientation.000) pieces of woodpoles and twenty thousand (20. Visayas and Mindanao. 2006 which denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration on the trial court’s unfavorable September 27. "only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review on certiorari because the Court is not a trier of facts. executing. the plaintiff has shown no right to together with their technical proposals. FIRST DIVISION G. 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2004. and (3) can provide solutions to problem situations. we find them to be absent in the instant case. when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. premises considered. Thereafter. Respondents. only four (4) bidders. and physical capacity to manage his own affairs. except for mildly impaired abilities in memory. CV No. As a rule. clearing.000) pieces of crossarms needed in the country’s Rural Electrification Project. for the supply and delivery of about sixty thousand (60.R. or any person or entity."23 We have also held that a demurrer to evidence "authorizes a judgment on the merits of the case without the defendant having to submit evidence on his part. (d) terminating or rescinding any such contract or project. 88449 are AFFIRMED. except the Supreme Court. as a general rule. implementing. and ESTER R. whether true or not. 167057 April 11."241âwphi1 SO ORDERED. emotional. he shall have the right to present evidence. PIB and PIC or woodpoles and P3 or crossarms.R. or operating any such contract or project. PNOC-ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. If the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. upon the facts and the law. NEA then conducted a 57 . from issuing any temporary restraining order (TRO).19 (Citation omitted. 2008 as well as the Resolution dated September 16. the defendant may move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. qualified to participate in the bidding for the IPB-80 contract."20 We only take cognizance of questions of fact in certain exceptional circumstances. A demurrer to evidence is defined as "an objection by one of the parties in an action. namely: PIA. On the contrary. and (e) undertaking or authorizing any other lawful activity necessary for such contract or project. (1) performs on the average range in most of the domains that were tested. Bids and Awards Committee. to make out a case or sustain the issue. (b) bidding or awarding of a contract or project of the National Government. No. acting under the Government’s direction. evidently. J. or preliminary mandatory injunction to restrain. 2012 NERWIN INDUSTRIES CORPORATION."22 We therefore adopt the factual findings of the lower court and the Court of Appeals and rule that the grant of respondent’s demurrer to evidence was proper under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar. the trial court highlighted the fatal role that petitioner’s own documentary evidence played in disproving its case and. prosecuting. Antecedents The following antecedents are culled from the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated on October 22. likewise. GUERZON. were required to submit their application for eligibility from presenting his evidence since. 2006 ruling. whether public or private. If his motion is denied. It is the observation of the Court that oppositor is still sharp. would pass the standard pre-qualification would be invited to submit their financial bids. 80. if plaintiff’s evidence shows that he is not entit led to the relief sought. otherwise known as IPB No. Oropesa. such findings by the lower courts are entitled to great weight and respect. The assailed Decision dated February 29. emphasis supplied.) It is axiomatic that. vs.2 viz: In 1999. Accordingly. Demurrer to evidence. It is also long settled that "factual findings of the trial court. to wit: The Court noted the absence of any testimony of a medical expert which states that Gen. the National Electrification Administration ("NEA") published an invitation to pre-qualify and to bid for a contract. Rule 33 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 1. Cirilo O. In response to the said invitation. site or location of any National Government project.: Republic Act No. – After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence. it is significant that in its Order dated November 14. a Regional Trial Court (RTC) that ignores the statutory prohibition and issues a TRO or a writ of preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against a government contract or project acts contrary to law. (c) commencing. Petitioner. At the same time. and developing the right-of-way.Thus. The Report concludes that Gen. or any of its subdivisions or officials. demurrer to evidence other than dismissing a cause of action is. the petition is hereby DENIED. to preclude a defendant such as private respondent [Nerwin].

issued Requisition No. Respondents sought the dismissal of Civil Case No. for the foregoing considerations. Thus. On the other hand. Nerwin filed a civil action in the RTC in Manila. This order shall become effective only upon the posting of a bond by the plaintiffs in the amount of P200. SO ORDERED. Accordingly. DENYING the urgent motion for reconsideration. 80 on account of the following: a. FGJ 30904R1 or an invitation to pre-qualify and to bid for wooden poles needed for its Samar Rural Electrification Project ("O-ILAW project"). 03106921. to determine its capability to supply and deliver NEA’s requirements. Nerwin is the lowest complying and responsive bidder.872 pcs. citing alleged false or falsified documents submitted during the pre-qualification stage which led to the award of the IBP-80 project to private respondent [Nerwin]. upheld the eligibility and qualification of private respondent [Nerwin]. NEA’s Board of Directors passed Resolution No. On July 30. an order is hereby issued by this Court: 1. Datu Omar S. Paps from appearing as counsel for the defendants. of crossarms. and the corporate president had no authority to sign and file the complaint. Estrella III recommended to NEA’s Board of Directors the approval of award to private respondent [Nerwin] of all schedules for IBP No. FGJ 30904R1 for the O-ILAW Project. Dissatisfied. 2000. WHEREFORE.967 pcs. GRANTING the motion for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction. In the Recommendation of Award for Schedules PIA.36 million for the poles and $0. Upon learning of the issuance of Requisition No. prompting private respondent [Nerwin] to file a complaint for specific performance with prayer for the issuance of an injunction. approximately in the amount of $2. PNOC-Energy Development Corporation and Ester R.5 as follows: c. Furnish the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel copy of this order. and also to set aside the order of default and to admit their answer to the complaint. of poles and 20. the RTC granted a (lowest responsive and complying bidder) and the second lowest bidder in the amount of TRO in Civil Case No. 80 to another bidding. The price difference for the three (3) schedules between the bids of Nerwin and the Tri-State Pole and Piling. which injunctive application was granted by Branch 36 of RTC-Manila in Civil Case No. as Chairman. 80 "given the time limitations for the delivery of the materials. after Nerwin had filed its rejoinder to respondents’ reply. 2003.00.4 $1. 2000. However. let a writ of preliminary injunction issue enjoining the defendant PNOC-EDC and its Chairman of Bids and Awards Committee Esther R. In turn. Sinsuat and Mariano H. and praying that a TRO issue to enjoin respondents’ proposed bidding for the wooden poles. Notwithstanding. DECLARING defendants in default. FGJ 30904R1 was an attempt to subject a portion of the items covered by IPB No. the losing bidders Tri State and Pacific Synnergy appeared to have filed a complaint. the RTC issued an order. Private respondent [Nerwin] protested the said 50% reduction. 58 . it resolved to award the four (4) schedules of IBP No.000. stating that the complaint averred no cause of action. Let a copy of this order be immediately served on the defendants and strict compliance herein is enjoined. Bids and Awards Committee. 80 at a reduced number to private respondent [Nerwin]. 2003. xxx. NEA officials sought the opinion of the Government Corporate Counsel who.00 to answer for any damage or damages which the defendants may suffer should it be finally adjudged that petitioner is not entitled thereto. finding a way to nullify the result of the previous bidding. DISQUALIFYING Attys. of crossarms. NEA allegedly held negotiations with other bidders relative to the IPB-80 contract. Inc.475 million for the crossarms are equivalent to additional 12.000. Guerzon from continuing the holding of the subject bidding upon the plaintiffs filing of a bond in the amount of P200. Michael A.IBP No. docketed as Civil Case No. The price difference for the four (4) schedules between the bid of Nerwin Industries On June 27. NEA administrator Conrado M. 32 reducing by 50% the material requirements for IBP No. of poles and 20. on December 19. 4. Guerzon. 2003. alleging that the same was a ploy to accommodate a losing bidder. 03106921. alleging that Requisition No. The price difference is equivalent to 7. PIB. and with the loan closing date of October 2001 fast approaching".475 million for the crossarms. DENYING the motion to consolidate. The bidder and manufacturer are capable of supplying the woodpoles and specified in the bid documents and as based on the pre-award inspection conducted. 5. PNOC-Energy Development Corporation purporting to be under the Department of Energy. Medado. In the interim. 3. violated the rule that government infrastructure projects were not to be subjected to TROs. 80 [for the] Supply and Delivery of Woodpoles and Crossarms dated October 4. 01102000.47 million for the poles and $0. until final determination of the issue in this case by this Court. PIC and P3 . 03106921 entitled Nerwin Industries Corporation v. and d.pre-award inspection of private respondent’s [Nerwin’s] manufacturing plants and facilities. among others. 2. the said officials attempted to seek a revision of the earlier opinion but the Government Corporate Counsel declared anew that there was no legal impediment to prevent the award of IPB-80 contract to private respondent [Nerwin]. 3 b. contravened the mandatory prohibition against non-forum shopping. including its identified supplier in Malaysia. Respondents moved for the reconsideration of the order of July 30.948 pcs. is deemed substantial and extremely advantageous to the government.967 pcs.

shore protection. xxx This prohibition shall apply in all cases. preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government. on government projects. in fact. such that unless a temporary restraining order is issued. Allarde "As regards the definition of infrastructure projects." Thus. 03106921. and bridges. is DISMISSED for lack of merit. disputes or controversies instituted by a private party. thus: Prohibition on the Issuance of temporary Restraining Order. SO ORDERED. for that matter. The assailed Orders dated July 30 and December 29. and in disqualifying respondents’ counsel from representing them. the petition is GRANTED. except the Supreme Court. and to admit answer. Whether or not the CA erred in ordering the dismissal of the entire case on the basis of Rep. raising the following issues: I.On January 13. Preliminary Injunctions and Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions. 9 Issues Hence. railways. earlier upheld to have such a mandatory nature by the Supreme Court in an administrative case against a Judge. the Supreme Court had the same embodied in its Administrative Circular No. This prohibition shall not apply when the matter is of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue. 83144). that would justify respondent Judge’s blatant disregard of a "simple. thus. Salvador Silverio and Big Bertha Construction: The term ‘infrastructure projects’ means ‘construction. Accordingly. Pertinent is the ruling in National Housing Authority vs. xxx The said proscription is not entirely new. school buildings. 2004. 2004. the CA promulgated its decision. 2003 and December 29. and public utilities operated by. but the CA denied the motion on February 9. prohibit or compel the following acts: xxx (b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national government as defined under Section 2 hereof. whether public or private. acting under the government’s direction. vs. Ruling The petition fails. RA 8975 merely supersedes PD 1818 which earlier underscored the prohibition to courts from issuing restraining orders or preliminary injunctions in cases involving infrastructure or National Resources Development projects of. or any person or entity.7 On October 22. Civil Case No. shall issue any temporary restraining order. although expectedly. to set aside order of default. private respondent’s complaint for issuance of temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction before Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. to restrain. water supply and sewerage systems. except if issued by the Supreme Court. in issuing a preliminary injunction through the assailed order enjoining petitioners’ sought bidding for its O-ILAW Project. Moreover. Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the case on the basis of Rep. 2005. Act 8975 which prohibits the issuance only of a preliminary injunction but not injunction as a final remedy. 11-2000 which reiterates the ban on issuance of TRO or writs of Preliminary Prohibitory or Mandatory Injunction in cases involving Government Infrastructure Projects. grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise. in declaring respondents in default. Nerwin appeals. and worse. In its decision of October 22. – No court. 03106921. 59 . 2003 are hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE. improvement and rehabilitation of roads. 2004. Nerwin filed a motion for reconsideration. Section 3 of RA 8975 states in no uncertain terms. the CA explained why it annulled and set aside the assailed orders of the RTC issued on July 20.6 Thence. or even from the facts of the case. II. including but not limited to cases filed by bidders or those claiming to have rights through such bidders involving such contract/project.8 to wit: WHEREFORE. airports. Act 8975 prohibiting the issuance of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. or any of its subdivisions. 2003. seaports. Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the case considering that it is also one for damages. there is nothing from the law or jurisprudence. and why it altogether dismissed Civil Case No. the RTC denied respondents’ motions for reconsideration. or the earlier TRO. to show that the instant case falls under the single exception where the said proscription may not apply. The same is a palpable violation of RA 8975 which was approved on November 7. already existing at the time respondent Judge issued the assailed Orders dated July 20 and December 29." Respondent Judge did not even endeavor. power facilities. flood control and drainage. officials. This law was. in issuing the TRO in blatant violation of the Rules of Court and established jurisprudence. Respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in entertaining an application for TRO/preliminary injunction. hospital buildings and other related construction projects that form part of the government capital investment. communication facilities. III. 2003. alleging that the RTC had thereby committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding that Nerwin had been entitled to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction despite the express prohibition from the law and from the Supreme Court. the Court stressed in Republic of the Phil. irrigation. respondents commenced in the Court of Appeals (CA) a special civil action for certiorari (CA-GR SP No. national buildings. comprehensible and unequivocal mandate (of PD 1818) prohibiting the issuance of injunctive writs relative to government infrastructure projects. to bolster the significance of the said prohibition. as follows: It is beyond dispute that the crux of the instant case is the propriety of respondent Judge’s issuance of a preliminary injunction. the government. 2000.

A.D. (c) Commencement. nothing was left for the RTC to do except to enforce them and to exact upon Nerwin obedience to them. His claim that the said statute is inapplicable to his January 21.000. except the Supreme Court. Aproposare Gov. and (e) The undertaking or authorization of any other lawful activity necessary for such contract/project. The RTC could not have been unaware of the prohibition under Republic Act No. Hon. preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction issued in violation of Section 3 hereof is void and of no force and effect. if appropriate under the circumstances. – No court. Hidalgo. Hon. 2008 in view of his intervening retirement from the service. implementation. grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise. Preliminary Injunctions and Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions.M. As the CA explained in its above-stated Decision in the petition for certiorari. 8975 against a government infrastructure project.00 last August 6. in the first place. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders. Garcia v. 8975 considering that the Court had itself instructed all judges and justices of the lower courts. he should not have given due course to private respondent’s complaint for injunction. execution. constitutes grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice. 8975 for its seeking to enjoin the bidding out by respondents of the O-ILAW Project. 1997 Order extending the dubious TRO is but a contrived subterfuge to evade administrative liability. That sanction was meted on him in A. in an amount to be fixed by the court. when the matter is of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue. without prejudice to any liability that the guilty party may incur under existing laws. The text and tenor of the provisions being clear and unambiguous. which bond shall accrue in favor of the government if the court should finally decide that the applicant was not entitled to the relief sought. award the contract to the qualified and winning bidder or order a rebidding of the same. (b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national government as defined under Section 2 hereof. grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise. as well as of the Supreme Court Circulars enjoining strict compliance therewith. . This prohibition shall not apply when the matter is of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue. If after due hearing the court finds that the award of the contract is null and void. such that unless a temporary restraining order is issued. including but not limited to cases filed by bidders or those claiming to have rights through such bidders involving such contract/project.Any temporary restraining order. No. the court may. the branch to which Civil Case No.A. No. which the rural electrification project certainly was. No. Perforce. disputes or controversies instituted by a private party. Section 4. through Administrative Circular No. RTJ-08-2133 entitled Sinsuat v.11 where this Court stated: The Court finds that. Indubitably. and. shall issue any temporary restraining order. The RTC gravely abused its discretion. Nullity of Writs and Orders. to restrain. No. Section 3 and Section 4 of Republic Act No. This prohibition shall apply in all cases. they should exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules. Burgos and National Housing Authority v. 1818 expressly deprives courts of jurisdiction to issue injunctive writs against the implementation or execution of a government infrastructure project.D. In any case. the Presiding Judge of Branch 37 of the RTC. was in fact already found administratively liable for gross misconduct and gross ignorance of the law as the result of his issuance of the assailed TRO and writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction. 60 . 8975. Also. secondly. when it issued the TRO and the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction. Moreover. firstly. 11-2000. Hidalgo. Allarde wherein this Court stressed that P. clearance and development of the right-of-way and/or site or location of any national government project. He thereby likewise obstinately disregarded this Court’s various circulars enjoining courts from issuing TROs and injunctions against government infrastructure projects in line with the proscription under R. respondent failed to heed the mandatory ban imposed by P. to comply with and respect the prohibition against the issuance of TROs or writs of preliminary prohibitory or mandatory injunction involving contracts and projects of the Government. preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government. such that unless a temporary restraining order is issued. or any of its subdivisions. 8975 provide: Section 3.. this Court no longer sees the need to resolve the other grounds proffered by petitioners. the Court in Atty. acting under the government’s direction. prosecution. Caguioa v. when it entertained the complaint of Nerwin against respondents notwithstanding that Nerwin was thereby contravening the express provisions of Section 3 and Section 4 of Republic Act No. 1818 and R. the assailed orders were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. indeed. judges should endeavor assiduously to ascertain the facts and the applicable laws. whether public or private. they are expected to keep abreast of and be conversant with the rules and the circulars which the Supreme Court has adopted and which affect the disposition of cases before them. 03106921 had been raffled. operation of any such contract or project. Respondent Judge could not have legally declared petitioner in default because. 1818. respondent is liable for gross misconduct. Reiterating the prohibitory mandate of P. The applicant shall file a bond. Judge Laviña faulted a judge for grave misconduct for issuing a TRO against a government infrastructure project thus: xxx It appears that respondent is either feigning a misunderstanding of the law or openly manifesting a contumacious indifference thereto. The Court could only fine him in the amount ofP40. his disregard of the clear mandate of PD 1818. officials or any person or entity.10 The CA’s decision was absolutely correct. (d) Termination or rescission of any such contract/project.e.i. No. It is of great relevance to mention at this juncture that Judge Vicente A. No. In resolving matters in litigation. prohibit or compel the following acts: (a) Acquisition.D.

should be upon the grounds and in the manner provided by law. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The pronouncements in Caguioa apply as well to respondent. either for a limited period or perpetually. court.23 or to decide controverted facts. injunction must be issued only at the instance of a party who possesses sufficient interest in or title to the right or the property sought to be protected. It is proper only when the applicant appears to be entitled to the relief demanded in the complaint. Court of Appeals.16 Conclusive proof of the existence of the right to be protected is not demanded. Indeed.25 further injury. to be protected by injunction. or in requiring the performance of an act or acts. respondent is guilty of gross misconduct and gross ignorance of the law. 31 WHEREFORE. the Court notes that the RTC did not properly appreciate the real nature and true purpose of the injunctive remedy. or whose averments must in the minimum constitute a prima facie showing of a right to the final relief sought. As such. the conditions for the issuance of the injunctive writ are: (a) that the right to be protected exists prima facie. And while a clear showing of the right claimed is necessary.Although judges have in their favor the presumption of regularity and good faith in the performance of their judicial functions. that is.13 It is an ancillary or preventive remedy resorted to by a litigant to protect or preserve his rights or interests during the pendency of the case. to refrain from a particular act or acts. agency or a person is doing. its existence need not be conclusively established. In City Government of Butuan v. and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.1âwphi1 A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order. judges dealing with applications for the injunctive relief ought to be wary of improvidently or unwarrantedly issuing TROs or writs of injunction that tend to dispose of the merits without or before trial. IN FINE. which are serious charges under Section 8 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. and ORDERS petitioner to pay the costs of suit. 29 Foremost in their minds should be to guard against a change of circumstances that will hamper or prevent the granting of proper reliefs after a trial on the merits. the exercise of sound discretion by the issuing court in injunctive matters must not be interfered with except when there is manifest abuse. or a right which is merely contingent and may never arise. or (b) The commission.30 It is well worth remembering that the writ of preliminary injunction should issue only to prevent the threatened continuous and irremediable injury to the applicant before the claim can be justly and thoroughly studied and adjudicated. the exercise of such discretion must be sound. continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant. Thus. or is attempting to do. a blatant disregard of the clear and unmistakable terms of the law obviates this presumption and renders them susceptible to administrative sanctions.17 it is enough that: xxx for the court to act. the issuance of the writ. the maximum amount fixed under Section 11 of Rule 140 as an alternative sanction to dismissal or suspension. as the Court has held in Saulog v. which must aver the existence of the right and the violation of the right. the private respondent needs only to show that it has theostensible right to the final relief prayed for in its complaint xxx. the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals. or is procuring or suffering to be done. 61 .21 Moreover.20When that is done. viz: As with all equitable remedies. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of. or (c) A party. Only thereby may the grave misconduct committed in Civil Case No. however. threatening. 19 Nonetheless. He having retired from the service. agency or person. This failing of the RTC presses the Court to use this decision to reiterate the norms and parameters long standing jurisprudence has set to control the issuance of TROs and writs of injunction. and (c) that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. it is issued only when it is established that: (a) The applicant is entitled to the relief demanded. a right.22 for it is never the function of a TRO or preliminary injunction to determine the merits of a case. Consolidated Broadcasting System (CBS).14 The existence of a right to be protected by the injunctive relief is indispensable. Granting an application for the relief in disregard of that tendency is judicially impermissible. there must be an existing basis of facts affording a present right which is directly threatened by an act sought to be enjoined. This should really be so since our concern here involves only the propriety of the preliminary injunction and not the merits of the case still pending with the trial court. to be entitled to the writ of preliminary injunction. though discretionary. for.15 the Court elaborated on this requirement. and to now insist on conformity to them by all litigants and lower courts. Inc.26 and irreparable harm27or injustice28 until the rights of the parties can be settled. The Court Administrator shall disseminate this decision to the lower courts for their guidance. the evidence to be submitted to justify preliminary injunction at the hearing thereon need not be conclusive or complete but need only be a "sampling" intended merely to give the court an idea of the justification for the preliminary injunction pending the decision of the case on the merits. 12 Even as the foregoing outcome has rendered any further treatment and discussion of Nerwin’s other submissions superfluous and unnecessary. requiring a party or a court.. or to restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause of action.18 In this regard.24 It is but a preventive remedy whose only mission is to prevent threatened wrong. means a right clearly founded on or granted by law or is enforceable as a matter of law. some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding. or to prevent the perpetration of an act prohibited by statute. In fact. Accordingly. elementary and well-known rules which judges are expected to know and apply properly. 03106921 be avoided. Judges should thus look at such relief only as a means to protect the ability of their courts to render a meaningful decision. (b) that the act sought to be enjoined is violative of that right. a fine in the amount ofP40.000 is imposed upon him. An injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse. the Rules of Court grants a broad latitude to the trial courts considering that conflicting claims in an application for a provisional writ more often than not involve and require a factual determination that is not the function of the appellate courts. The questioned acts of respondent also constitute gross ignorance of the law for being patently in disregard of simple.

Galas.000. in her Answer. Pub. Other conditions set forth in Doc. he.000. Galas sold the subject property to Villar for One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P1. Villar alleged that Both mortgages were annotated at the back of TCT No.200. SP No. On May 23. with her daughter.00).SO ORDERED.00).16 property to Pablo P. the RTC issued a Pre-Trial Order18 wherein the parties agreed on the following No.200. Page No. 2003 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Pingol (Pingol). Pub. GARCIA. RT67970(253279) was cancelled and TCT No.14 Garcia alleged that when Villar purchased the subject property.17 claimed that the complaint stated no cause of action and that the second mortgage was done in bad faith as it was without her consent and knowledge. Page No. Both Villar’s and Garcia’s mortgages were carried over and annotated at the back of Villar’s new TCT. 1994. Galas. 1996. 2000. mortgaged the Garcia further claimed that when Villar purchased the subject property. Lourdes V. Book No.15 whose refusal compelled him to incur expenses in On October 10. N-16836111 was issued in the name of Villar. On July 6. 20 of the Not. consequently. Garcia further asserted that he had demanded payment from Villar. FIRST DIVISION G.R. Villar added that Garcia should seek recourse against Galas and Pingol. Villar to guarantee a principal obligation in the sum of P2. 03 of the Not.: This is a petition for review on certiorari1 of the February 27. Garcia (Garcia) to secure her loan of One Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P1. and declared in the Deed of Sale9 that such property was "free and clear of all liens and encumbrances of any kind whatsoever.5 On October 27.R. she acted in bad faith and with malice as she knowingly and willfully disregarded the provisions on laws on judicial and extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgaged property. again with Pingol as her co-maker. J. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. 158891 June 27. 2003 Decision2 and July 2.800. 821/T-RT-67970(253279) MORTGAGE – In favor of Pablo Garcia m/to Isabela Garcia to guarantee a principal obligation in the sum of P1. as the second mortgagee. Petitioner.6 status as first mortgagee.7 Villar.00). Other conditions set forth in Doc. of Diana P.00 mortgagee’s consent necessary in case of subsequent encumbrance or alienation of the property. Q-9939139.000. Garcia subsequently amended his petition to a Complaint for Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage with Damages.800. Galas (Galas) was the original owner of a piece of property (subject property) located at Malindang St. Garcia argued. Therefore. RT-67970 (253279). as co-maker.500. Galas was relieved of her subject property to Yolanda Valdez Villar (Villar) as security for a loan in the amount of Two Million contractual obligation and the characters of creditor and debtor were merged in the person of Villar. Branch 92 of Quezon City. with whom he had privity insofar as the second mortgage of property is Entry No. TCT No. which reversed the May 27. Respondent. of Azucena Espejo Lozada Date of Instrument: 10/10/94 Date of Inscription: 10/11/94 LRC Consulta No. 2002 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).. VI. 08. the Deed of Sale was registered and."10 On December 3. to wit: she only discovered the second mortgage when she had the Deed of Sale registered.mortgagee’s consent necessary in case of subsequent encumbrance or alienation of the property. Magpantay facts and issue: Date of Instrument: 7-6-93 Date of Inscription: 7-7-93 SECOND REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE STIPULATIONS OF FACTS/ADMISSIONS The following are admitted: 62 . 1999. YOLANDA VALDEZ VILLAR. VII. Garcia filed a Petition for Mandamus with Damages 13 against Villar before the RTC. Book No. Villar blamed Garcia for the controversy as he accepted the second mortgage without prior consent from her. 12 PABLO P.000. 2012 Entry No. was subrogated t o Villar’s original Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P2. 1996. 97. No. 1698 On November 21. She averred that there could be no subrogation as the assignment of credit was done with REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE neither her knowledge nor prior consent. Ophelia G. 1993. Branch 92 of Quezon City in Civil Case No. Quezon City. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. mortgaged the same subject filing an action in court. 72714. vs.000. 6537/T-RT-67970(253279) MORTGAGE – In favor of Yolanda Valdez Villar m/to Jaime concerned. which is the creditor with the right to foreclose. RT67970(253279). No.

the and in compliance with the RTC’s June 8. in his Memorandum. This motion was denied for lack of merit by the Court of Appeals in its July 2. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Garcia filed a Motion for Summary Judgment with Affidavit of Merit21 on the grounds that there was no genuine issue as to any of the material facts of the case and that he was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. the opportunity to satisfy their claims from the residue.28 Villar appealed29 this Decision to the Court of Appeals based on the arguments that Garcia had no valid cause of action against her. Garcia alleged that his equity of redemption Court of Appeals said that the sale of the subject property to Villar was valid as it found nothing in had not yet been claimed since Villar did not foreclose the mortgaged property to satisfy her claim. could still foreclose the mortgage after the subject property had been sold by Galas. the records that would show that Galas violated the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage prior to the sale. Garcia added that "the mortgage. in light of the restriction imposed by the first mortgage. 4. the decision appealed from is REVERSED and another one entered DISMISSING the complaint for judicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage with damages. as the one who gave the occasion for the commission of fraud.000. which was whether or not Garcia. Villar further asseverated that the second mortgage is a void and inexistent contract considering that its cause or object is contrary to law. the mortgage creditor."35 On March 20. 2002. Galas [had] been violated and that he [had] made a demand on the latter for the payment of the obligation secured by said mortgage prior to the institution of his complaint against Villar.31 reiterated his position that his equity of redemption remained "unforeclosed" since Villar did not institute foreclosure proceedings. however. Galas. and that Garcia."32 The Court of Appeals reversed the RTC in a Decision dated February 27. RT67970 of Lourdes V. In the same vein. and 5. that he was in bad faith when he entered into a contract of mortgage with Galas.26 In dismissing the complaint for judicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage with damages. 2000. to Villar. The defendant is further ordered to pay costs. On June 26.00 plus legal interest from October 27. Garcia and against the defendant Yolanda V. could not operate to deprive Garcia of his right as a second mortgagee. until discharged. 2. Villar. be sold at public auction in the manner and under the provisions of Rules 39 and 68 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure and other regulations governing sale of real estate under execution in order to satisfy the judgment in this case. xxxx ISSUE Whether or not the plaintiff.34 On August 13. the defendant admits the second mortgage annotated at the back of TCT No. the mortgage debtor. 2003. of his intention to file a Motion for Summary Judgment. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Pablo P. and that Villar. upon motion of the plaintiff. Garcia filed a Motion for Reconsideration36 on the ground that the Court of Appeals failed to resolve the main issue of the case.800. the first mortgagee.19 the RTC issued an Order20 directing the parties to simultaneously file their respective memoranda within 20 days. 2000. 3135 as amended. Villar filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Extension of Time to File Her Memorandum. 33 The Court of Appeals declared that Galas was free to mortgage the subject property even without Villar’s consent as the restriction that the mortgagee’s consent was necessary in case of a On June 28. upon Garcia’s manifestation. Villar should have foreclosed the subject property pursuant to Act No. to provide junior mortgagees like Garcia. This. to wit: WHEREFORE. insofar as she was concerned.25 On May 27. 63 . was liable for it. good customs. if any. 1994 shall. 1999 and upon failure of the defendant to pay the said amount within the prescribed period.27 The RTC held that the second mortgage constituted in Garcia’s favor had not been discharged. Galas with the qualification that the existence of said mortgage was discovered only in 1996 after the sale. 2003. at this point in time. 2000. 2000 Order. as the new registered owner of the subject property with a subsisting mortgage. the property subject matter of the 2nd Real Estate Mortgage dated October 10. The RTC said that upon Galas’s failure to pay her obligation. the plaintiff admits that defendant Yolanda Valdez Villar is the first mortgagee. the RTC added. and public order or public policy. was denied24 by the RTC in view of Garcia’s Opposition. 2000. the Court of Appeals held that Garcia had no cause of action against Villar "in the absence of evidence showing that the second mortgage executed in his favor by Lourdes V. in open court. On June 8. Garcia filed his Memorandum 22 in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment subsequent encumbrance was absent in the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage. the foregoing premises considered. moral.1. the RTC rendered its Decision. should suffer. could judicially foreclose the property in question. 3. of the foreclosure sale proceeds.30 Garcia. the defendant admits the existence of the annotation of the second mortgage at the back of the title despite the transfer of the title in the name of the defendant. would have resulted in the extinguishment of the mortgages. 2003 Resolution. the plaintiff admits that the first mortgage was annotated at the back of the title of the mortgagor Lourdes V. the sum ofP1.23 This. who is ordered to pay to the former within a period of not less than ninety (90) days nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days from entry of judgment. The RTC declared that the direct sale of the subject property to Villar. follows the property to whomever it may be transferred no matter how many times over it changes hands as long as the annotation is carried over. the plaintiff admits that by virtue of the deed of sale the title of the property was transferred from the previous owner in favor of defendant Yolanda Valdez Villar. as the second mortgagee.

address the following issues in seriatim: 1. This Court will. 2088. As this Deed became the basis for the annotation on Galas’s title. as it is not allowed under Article 2130 of the Civil Code. 3. In his Memorandum. While it is true that the annotation of the first mortgage to Villar on Galas’s TCT contained a restriction on further encumbrances without the mortgagee’s prior consent. which is violative of the prohibition on pactum commissorium. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. The subject property was transferred to Villar by virtue of another and separate contract. or to judicially foreclose the subject property to satisfy The power of attorney provision in the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage reads: the aforesaid debt. What it granted was the mere appointment of Villar as attorney-in-fact. with authority to sell or otherwise dispose of the subject property. viz: Art. as stated under Article 2088 of the Civil Code.500. Garcia’s insistence that Villar should have judicially or extrajudicially foreclosed the mortgage to satisfy Galas’s debt is misplaced. to collect rents. which is the Deed of Sale. stamped annotation placed on her title. with the same arguments he posited before the lower courts.37 he added that the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage contained a stipulation. or that the sale was simulated to cover up such automatic transfer.39 Villar’s purchase of the subject property did not violate the prohibition on pactum commissorium. The crux of the controversy before us boils down to the propriety of Garcia’s demand upon Villar to either pay Galas’s debt of P1. disposal or administration abovementioned maybe applied by assessments and other incidental expenses and obligations and to the payment of original indebtedness including interest and penalties thereon. or agreement that may be deemed convenient. Any amount received from the sale. 64 .000. It is also of the essence of these contracts that when the principal obligation becomes due. 4. which reads: Art. Power of Attorney of MORTGAGEE. the MORTGAGEE is likewise appointed attorney-in-fact of the MORTGAGOR with full power and authority to take actual possession of the mortgaged properties. Neither did this Deed proscribe the sale or alienation of the subject property during the life of the mortgages. and perform any other act which the MORTGAGEE may deem convenient for the proper administration of the mortgaged properties. the things in which the pledge or mortgage consists may be alienated for the payment to the creditor. and is in conformity with Article 2087 of the Civil Code. We agree with the Court of Appeals that both are valid under the terms and conditions of the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage executed by Galas and Villar. the mortgagee. The power herein granted shall not be revoked during the life of this Mortgage and all acts which may be executed by the MORTGAGEE by virtue of said power are hereby ratified. A stipulation forbidding the owner from alienating the immovable mortgaged shall be void. lease any of the mortgaged properties. to sell. Whether or not the sale of the subject property to Villar was valid. The Deed of Real Estate Mortgage merely provided for the options Villar may undertake in case Galas or Pingol fail to pay their loan. to wit: Art. 2. or dispose of them. 40 This provision is customary in mortgage contracts. lease. and (2) There should be a stipulation for automatic appropriation by the creditor of the thing mortgaged in case of non-payment of the principal obligation within the stipulated period.00 was well within the scope of her rights as the owner of the subject property. this Court would like to address the validity of the second mortgage to Garcia and the sale of the subject property to Villar. Whether or not Garcia’s action for foreclosure of mortgage on the subject property can prosper.38 The following are the elements of pactum commissorium: (1) There should be a property mortgaged by way of security for the payment of the principal obligation. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgage. its terms and conditions take precedence over the standard. is in violation of the prohibition on pactum commissorium. Prohibition on pactum commissorium 5. or to any other person. Discussion Validity of second mortgage to Garcia and sale of subject property to Villar At the onset.800. 2087. to execute deeds of sale. Whether or not the second mortgage to Garcia was valid. as the mortgagor’s attorney-infact. and in addition to the remedies herein stipulated. The payment of any expenses advanced by the MORTGAGEE in connection with the purpose indicated herein is also secured by this Mortgage. to make repairs or improvements on the mortgaged properties and to pay the same. Garcia never alleged that the transfer of the subject property to Villar was automatic upon Galas’s failure to discharge her debt. and to apply the proceeds to the payment of the loan. Nowhere was it stated in the Deed that Galas could not opt to sell the subject property to Villar. Issues Garcia claims that the stipulation appointing Villar.Garcia is now before this Court.00. however. If it were the intention of the parties to impose such restriction. they would have and should have stipulated such in the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage itself.000. Whether or not the sale of the subject property to Villar was in violation of the prohibition on pactum commissorium. this restriction was nowhere to be found in the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage. Such stipulation would have been void anyway. The power of attorney provision above did not provide that the ownership over the subject property would automatically pass to Villar upon Galas’s failure to pay the loan on time. Galas’s decision to eventually sell the subject property to Villar for an additional P1. to sell the property in case of default in the payment of the loan. – Effective upon the breach of any condition of this Mortgage. 2130.

The mortgagee. in case the principal obligor does not pay the mortgage debt. The Mortgage Law in force at the promulgation of the Civil Code and referred to in the latter. The creditor may claim from a third person in possession of the mortgaged property. even before quoting the same above portion in E. still the third possessor WHEREFORE. if he is so minded. 135 of the Mortgage Law of the Philippines of 1889. entitling the mortgagee to have the property foreclosed. GODOFREDO NOTARTE.Propriety of Garcia’s action for foreclosure of mortgage The real nature of a mortgage is described in Article 2126 of the Civil Code. Mortgage is merely an accessory payment of the part of the credit secured by the property which said third person possesses. 72714. The mere fact that the purchaser of an immovable has notice that the acquired realty is encumbered with a mortgage does not render him liable for the payment of the debt guaranteed by the mortgage. Garcia has no cause of action against Villar in the absence of evidence to mortgage or allow the subject property to be sold upon failure of the mortgage creditor to obtain show that the second mortgage executed in favor of Garcia has been violated by his debtors. to the fulfillment of the obligation for whose security it was constituted. 43 consent. Villar did not obligate herself to replace Galas and Pingol. However. it contained nothing indicating any change in the spirit of the law in this respect. Novation which consists in substituting a new debtor in the place of the original one. thus the purchaser or transferee is necessarily bound to acknowledge and respect the encumbrance. sold. in the absence of stipulation or condition that he is to assume payment of the mortgage debt. viz: might abandon the property mortgaged. the obligation to pay the mortgage indebtedness remains with the original debtors Galas and Pingol. REGALADO NOTARTE AND HEIRS OF FELIPE NOTARTE. to wit: Art. 2003 Decision and March 8.R. but not without the consent of the creditor. (Art. vs. may be made even without the knowledge or against the will of the latter.C. 168 of the Regulation. J.1âwphi1According to article 187946 of this Code.)47 This pronouncement was reiterated in Rodriguez v. payment from the principal debtor once the debt matures. in undertaking for the convenience and security of the mortgage creditor.e. Veloso and Serna45 is square on this point: The effects of a transfer of a mortgaged property to a third person are well determined by the Civil Code. the mortgage on the property may still be foreclosed despite the transfer. Respondent. 136 of the same law. yet been discharged. and in that case it is considered to be in the possession of the debtor.44The case of E.1âwphi1 "A registered mortgage lien is considered inseparable from the property inasmuch as it is a right in rem. the obligation to pay the debt secured by it. as is secured by the property in his possession. specifically that Garcia has made a demand on said debtors for the the debtor in the principal obligation. Reyes48 wherein this Court. in the manner and form established by the law. this Court hereby AFFIRMS the February 27. And even if these requirements were complied with. we find that said mortgage subsists and is still enforceable. a mortgage is a real right..) This clearly shows that the spirit of the Civil Code is to let the obligation of the debtor to pay the debt stand although the property mortgaged to secure the payment of said debt may have been transferred to a third person. for payment has been made by the creditor upon him. the apply the proceeds of the sale to the satisfaction of his credit. held: We find the stand of petitioners-appellants to be unmeritorious and untenable. of which he is the mortgagee. v. McCullough & Co. Article 1293 of the Civil Code provides: Art. (Art. 2012 LEONARDO NOTARTE. can waive the mortgage security and proceed to collect the principal debt by personal action against the original 49 While we agree with Garcia that since the second mortgage. i. the creditor may demand of the third person in possession of the property mortgaged payment of such part of the debt. the obligation of the new possessor to pay the debt originated only from the right of the creditor to demand payment of him. v.. it being necessary that a demand for payment should have previously been made upon the debtor and the latter should have failed to pay. which provides the substitution of the debtor by the third person in possession of the property. 42 In fact.: 65 . has not mortgagor. GUILLERMO NOTARTE. Villar. which follows the property. does not show this change and has reference to a case where the action is directed only against the property burdened with the mortgage."41 The sale or transfer of the mortgaged property cannot affect or release the mortgage. that the debtor should not pay the debt upon its maturity after judicial or notarial demand. provided. The maxim "caveat emptor" applies only to execution sales. Simply put. 2126. Payment by the new debtor gives him the rights mentioned in articles 1236 and 1237. (Art. Article 129 of this law. i. Therefore. The reason is plain: the mortgage is merely an encumbrance on the property. and Art. McCullough & Co. 180614 August 29.R. and could not do so in law without the creditor’s payment of the obligation secured by the second mortgage and they have failed to pay.. Veloso and Serna. While the Mortgage Law of 1893 eliminated these provisions. No. and this was not one such.) According to this.e. under Article 2129 of the Civil Code. SP No. SO ORDERED. and exists independently of terms and with the formalities which the law establishes. among other things. 2003 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. in buying the subject property with notice that it was mortgaged. even after subsequent transfers by the mortgagor. 2129. DECISION VILLARAMA. FIRST DIVISION G. only undertook to pay such In view of the foregoing. The mortgage directly and immediately subjects the property upon which it is imposed. 1293. for the purposes of the giving of notice.Petitioners.C. whoever the possessor may be. JR.

Godofredo described the property he acquired from Patrocenia. containing an area of 29. more or less. 1997. as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale7 she executed in his favor and describing the property sold as follows: A parcel of land.m. Godofredo bought from Patrocenia Nebril-Gamboa a parcel of land.m. 48098 which he acquired by purchase as early as 1951 and the latest in 1967. Alejandro Notarte.604-sq.120. by Leonardo Notarte. Godofredo claimed that all demands upon the petitioners to return the aforesaid portions and conciliations before the Barangay authorities failed. Subdivision Survey and Recovery of one hectare north of and adjacent to Leonardo’s one hectare.10(Emphases supplied. on the NE.00. was likewise admitted on September 16. portion of Felipe’s land being occupied by petitioners. Bounded on the N. Felipe and Alejandro are the sons of Juan Notarte.m. is the brother of Felipe. married to Maria Camba.R. the herein vendor. Paulino Notarte. Since petitioners are illegally defendants Leonardo and Regalado. no matter how long. situated in Quinaoayanan. Cirila and Fausto.m. Respondent further averred that the Possession With Damages" against Felipe and Guillermo (Civil Case No. one hectare of which was bought by Leonardo.m. the facts of this case follow: The properties subject of controversy form part of a 263. Assessed at P 6. The original registered owners with 1/7 share each are Vicenta Notarte. 48098.. Petitioners asserted that they have been in actual. as follows: A parcel of unirrigated riceland and pasture land situated in Quinaoayanan. indicating its area as 29. while Leonardo and Regalado jointly encroached over 8. and on the South by Guillermo Notarte and Leonardo Notarte. Vicenta. and various transfer certificates of title have been 10. on the S. m.272 sq. respondent argued that its alleged area is immaterial even if it were true protect his rights on the land he acquired from Patrocenia "pending the completion of all proper that he acquired 10 hectares because the fact is that he had not acquired any portion of documents for the segregation of separate portions of the whole parcel of land under aforesaid title Bernardo’s 1/7 share. 2004 of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Bani. As culled from the records. took possession of portions of his land thereby reducing it to barely 13. and covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. more or less on the western side. whereby the prayer for subdivision survey of the adjoining lots respectively occupied by issued. Turner was the 1/7 share of Juan Notarte. Juan Notarte. 48098 issued on November 6. In their Answer with Counterclaim. acquired from Turner but also the western portion of respondent’s land measuring almost Godofredo initially filed in the MTC a complaint for "Partition.. Fausto Notarte.604 sq. They claimed that their common ascendant.233-square meter land situated in Barrio Quinaoayanan. Felipe. 8341 in the name of the plaintiff. In his Reply. which is situated north of Bernardo’s 1/7 share. 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G . Thus.Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed under Rule 45 which seeks to set aside the Decision1 dated August 10. Pangasinan. there are 66 . share which belongs to respondent? Respondent also claimed that what Felipe acquired from 8 982 for the year 1985. 1997. 1984.12 respondent pointed out that he had purchased a portion with a definite area of 27. Petitioners knew about this because one of them (Leonardo) bought only one hectare of the said share. owned 10 hectares of the property covered by OCT No. consisting of pasture and unirrigated riceland.11 petitioners denied having encroached on respondent’s land. 5 The parties in this case are close relatives. (Emphases supplied. Juan. Bani.714 sq. with Guillermo occupying 6.m. the wife of Hilario Hortaleza.m. all surnamed Notarte..604. Bernardo. Declared under Tax Declaration No. containing an area of 27. by Guillermo Notarte." Thereafter. 2007 and Resolution2 dated November 14. why then did Felipe take possession of a western portion of Bernardo’s 1/7 OCT No. assessed in toto at P 1. more or less. and on the W. on the SE. which is within the 1/7 share of Bernardo Notarte. Petitioners also alleged that there are other co-owners of the whole undivided land covered by OCT No. petitioners are occupying not only the 37. Bounded on the North and West by Felipe Notarte.) Godofredo claimed that his land was acquired by Patrocenia from Procopio Gamboa and Desiderio Gamboa who acquired the same from Emiliano Gamboa who in turn acquired it from Bernardo Notartein separate transactions and conveyances in writing.604. and spouses Ricardo Namoca and Eusebia Ortaleza. possessing portions of that share which respondent as present owner wants to recover.900 under tax declaration No. was acquired by Felipe from James Turner by virtue of a Quitclaim Deed dated April 2. Pangasinan. married to Martina Natino. Godofredo declared the land in his name under Tax Declaration No. by Jose Nano.6 On October 15. 48098. Godofredo alleged that the above-described land used to be intact but the petitioners. the wife of Luis Castelo. An Amended Complaint for "Recovery of Possession With Damages" was admitted by the said court on January land covered by OCT No. Petitioner Felipe Notarte is the uncle of respondent Godofredo Notarte whose father. 48098who are indispensable for the final and complete determination of this case. Godofredo filed his Affidavit of Adverse Claim in the Registry of Deeds to to the property of Felipe. the controversy lies in the parties was abandoned.333 sq. by Nenita Notarte. The Second Amended Complaint which included as additional 9 the boundaries of said share minus the one hectare of Leonardo.000 sq. more or less on the southern side. Pangasinan. their possession of the encroached portion they do not own is illegal. which area adjoins respondent’s property on the west.482 sq. public and exclusive possession of their respective parcels for a very long time even before respondent bought his property from Patrocenia Gamboa. As On the same date.m. Pangasinan. being the son of Felipe. SP No. 92591 and to reinstate the Decision3 dated September 1. The CA affirmed the Decision4 dated March 21.) In his Second Amended Complaint. Paulino. 255 and 256 still in the name of Emiliano Gamboa who donated it to Procopio Gamboa and Desiderio Gamboa and in turn Desiderio and Procopio sold it to Antonio Gamboa and Patrocenia Nebril who has adjudicated the entire parcel of land unto herself. Bani. action and participation over the subject land in favor of Godofredo and/or his predecessors-in-interest. by Leonardo Notarte. married to Gregoria Castillo. Province of Pangasinan.714 sq. He likewise averred that the heirs of Bernardo have executed pertinent documents renouncing their interest. 1931. Bernardo Notarte.482 sq. 1951. contending that respondent instituted this complaint to increase the actual size of his land at the expense of the adjoining owners. Cirila Notarte. This is part of the land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Municipality of Bani. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Alaminos City. Petitioner Guillermo Notarte is the brother of Godofredo while petitioner Leonardo Notarte is their cousin. taking advantage of his absence. are brothers and sisters. which limits are indicated by fences on all sides. Branch 54 reversing the MTC judgment. 48098. This was part of Bernardo Notarte’s 1/7 share of the land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 36). on the East by Jose Nano. notorious. Since Bernardo’s 1/7 share was segregated in metes and bounds. Pangasinan dismissing respondent's complaint for recovery of possession and damages. The 37. 48098 is no longer undivided as it had been physically segregated into the designated shares of the registered owners. Petitioner Regalado Notarte is the son of Leonardo. married to Dorotea Orasa. Being a registered land. while Ricardo Namoca is their cousin.

she did not point to him the boundaries of his land and just handed him the document.18 On cross-examination. She likewiseconfirmed her signature in the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Godofredo but not as to the area stated. verified as Lot 1 PSU25967. Pamo. Leonardo through his son Regalado is also in possession of the land of Felipe on the western side. it may be that she had occupied less than what is stated in her documents but she did not complain. He affirmed that the well is situated about 100 meters west from the house of Guillermo and that one hectare of Bernardo’s share is already owned by Leonardo. however. She claimed that she has already donated to Guillermo the land he had been farming and presented a Deed of Donation dated February 21. These two parcels (1 ½ or 2 hectares) which she conveyed to Guillermo adjoin each other and are separated by a fence from that parcel she sold to Godofredo. 13 At the trial. He explained that when a property is subdivided. 48098 is still existing. which house still remains in the same place.19 The second witness for petitioners was Epefanio C. 20 Petitioner Leonardo Notarte testified that he knows the boundaries of the land bought by Godofredo from Patrocenia which adjoins his own property. a riceland which produces 15 sacks of palay a year valued at P5. and because there were dispositions already made.Felipe. the boundaries between these properties are also marked by coconuts (east) and bamboos (west). The shares of Juan and Paulino Notarte were foreclosed by Turner.no indispensable parties other than those who have taken possession of the encroached portion. 48098. As to the land she sold to Godofredo. the encroached areas were already fenced. There is a well that was dug up by Guillermo who uses it as a source of water. The share of Vicenta on the west is presently owned by Felipe and Nely Mendoza. she admitted on crossexamination that she did not secure a subdivision plan of Lot No. he was the one who tried to locate the boundaries of the land. When he occupied the land in 1985. Vicenta Notarte’s share went to Juan. Paulino’s share on the east was acquired by Manuel Urbano. there was no fence yet but upon returning from Pampanga. nor if the same was already subdivided. However. and thereafter proceeded to draw a sketch on yellow paper and described to the court the limits of his land. She remembered having sold her land separately to Godofredo and Guillermo. respondent testified that one hectare was sold to petitioner Leonardo while the remaining 27. Her own parcel still has no separate title from the mother title (OCT No. 4927 and 4928). The basis of the aforesaid certification are the tax declarations issued but he could not remember if there was proof of subdivision or partition on file with their office. The land under his possession pertains to the share of Bernardo. he said he could not recall having issued the same although it may have indeed been issued by him.14 On cross-examination. Respondent filed a motion for the conduct of survey on the disputed lands "to correct and remove overlapping of boundaries of the parties’ adjacent lots" which was opposed by the petitioners. It was in 1985 that he found out about the encroachment on his land by Guillermo and Leonardo. 48098). m. Respondent presented other documents evidencing the transfer from the original registered owner Bernardo to him as the present owner. 1995 executed in his favor by the heirs of Bernardo. Patrocenia confirmed that in 1984 she sold a parcel of land to Godofredo which is the same land she bought from Procopio and Desiderio Gamboa.m.Felipe.16 Respondent presented as witness Leila P. he constructed his house thereon (1968). and were later redeemed by Felipe and Manuel Urbano. land she donated to Guillermo lies on the western side near the property of Felipe. When Guillermo became her tenant on her land which she subsequently donated to him. it came from Bernardo Notarte. On the other hand. West . was bought by him. At the time he bought the land in October 1984. However. Jr. The MTC denied the motion stating that this would pre-empt the issues under contention because of the ongoing trial to determine the boundaries of the subject properties which are in dispute. of forest land on the western side of his land which are planted with madre cacao and tamarind trees that yields P 3. She described the metes and bounds of her property as follows: North . On May 8. respectively.233 sq. 48098. South .604 sq. She identified the said certification as well as 15 tax declarations covering various parcels of the land under OCT No. The boundaries of Godofredo’s land 67 . When presented with the Certification dated October 1.272 sq.00 while Leonardo and Regalado are occupying 8. he had the land surveyed but Felipe and Guillermo did not agree. However. She then clarified that the transaction in 1983 was a Deed of Absolute Sale. Cad.000.17 Petitioners’ first witness was Patrocenia NebrilGamboa who testified that Guillermo is the son of her cousin. Eriberto Notarte. and that OCT No. This 450-sq.on the southern portion of his land. The land she sold to Guillermo was acquired by her from Bienvenido Cortez who in turn bought the same from Cirila Notarte. Municipal Assessor of Bani. In 1984. he does not know who was the original owner.m. his brother Guillermo convinced him to buy the land that adjoins the riceland occupied by him (Guillermo) as a tenant of Patrocenia. as to the portion now owned by Jose Doctor. This property had already been subdivided as per the Certification issued by the Municipal Assessor listing several tax declarations obtained by the present owners. Leonardo encroached on his land. She testified on the status of the property covered by OCT No. East pathway. The present owners of the portion representing Cirila Notarte’s share are petitioner Guillermo and Lopercio Orilla. She also stated that there are many who erected their houses on the property and their respective areas were just pointed to them. 48098 since 1951.she forgot. Respondent added that a survey to determine the extent of his land based on the documents he would present will certainly solve the case with finality. 1999 regarding OCT No. they cannot resolve the matter because of several owners and she had no time. an employee of the Municipal Assessor’s Office. it was Patrocenia Gamboa who was in possession.000 harvest per year since 1985. He saw the land for the first time in 1951 when he was 15 years old. He does not know who are the present owners of the land covered by said title. Respondent affirmed that he had resided in Pampanga for more than 20 years from 1961 to 1985.. m. respondent admitted that the signatories to the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition With Quitclaim and Confirmation of Sale were some of the alleged heirs of Bernardo. it means there is already a tax declaration on file but without reference to a subdivision plan or instrument of partition. Guillermo’s house was erected about five meters away from this well. Previously. she donated two parcels to Guillermo in 1977 and 1983.their respective shares have been pointed to them by their father. Respondent likewise presented a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim and Confirmation of Sale dated April 28. As to Bernardo Notarte’s share. As to the precise area. Lot 6035. including the areas encroached by the respondents. Leonardo’s house was built on his father’s land and it is Leonardo’s son Regalado who is residing on the encroached portion. she maintained that there is no clear partition. The shares of Paulino and Fausto were already transferred in the name of Urbano (TCT Nos. 48098 in the names of various individuals. The whole land had been partitioned among the original owners even prior to 1951. Respondent stated that Guillermo encroached 6. 48098 had already been partitioned because his grandparents have been in possession of their share and they sold it. Respondent admitted that when he bought the land from Patrocenia. Felipe and Virgilio Tugas. respondent testified that he had known the land covered by OCT No. The western and northern sides of her land that adjoins the property of Felipe are ricelands with bamboos as boundary on the west. Manuel Urbano also bought the share of Fausto Notarte. 1985. Cornelio Gamboa acquired a portion of the share of Ricardo Namoca while another portion thereof went to Godofredo Namoca. Pangasinan. and has been working as her tenant since 1968. 1997. Camba. 6035 as there was none on file with their office and neither did she verify if there was such document on file with the Registry of Deeds. in excess of the said one hectare by removing the fence.15 He knew that the whole property covered by OCT No.

its western side adjoining Felipe’s property is a riceland.m. and East . and West . 1973 executed by Primitivo Notarte. 1948 executed by Emiliano Gamboa in favor of his son Procopio Gamboa covering 14. 68 .Nano. he told Godofredo to buy the remaining part of the land being tenanted by him (Guillemo). South – Godofredo Namoca.227 sq.pathway for carabao carts. Leonardo described it as follows: North . Four years after acquiring the parcel of land from James Turner. He identified his signature in the Deed of Confirmation of Donation in his favor dated February 21. South . Before Godofredo acquired the said land. Guillermo said that of the two parcels owned by Patrocenia.Escritura de Donacion Esponsalicia. 48098. 21 On cross-examination. 24 The last witness was petitioner Regalado Notarte who testified that the land he is occupying belongs to his grandfather Felipe which lies northwest of Godofredo’s land.26 Respondent made the following formal offer of evidence: Exhibit "A" . 1957 executed by Emiliano Gamboa in favor of his son Desiderio Gamboa covering 13. The boundary of the lands of Guillermo and Godofredo consists of bamboo.Guillermo.000 sq.25 On cross-examination. His father declared it for tax purposes before but he cannot locate it. West . Urbano II covering a segregated portion of 33.Leonardo. Almost a year after. Leonardo said that after buying one hectare from Bernardo in 1964.Felipe. Patrocenia donated one hectare of her land to him as his homelot before he accepted the tenancy in 1968. His father acquired the southwestern portion of the 2/7 parcel from Turner while the northern portion went to Celestino Ortaleza. He insisted that the whole 263. East – Guillermo. their respective areas of possession were just pointed to them.Felipe. while the second lot he bought has an area of 5. Exhibit "E" . fence (made by their "ancestors")." and madre cacao.m.are: North .22 Petitioner Guillermo Notarte testified that her aunt Patrocenia was his former landlord. When Godofredo returned from Pampanga looking for land to buy. madre cacao (in-between). Their lands are separated by bamboo and "bayog" (west). 1963 executed by Desiderio Gamboa and Procopio Gamboa in favor of Antonio Gamboa. he does not know the actual area of the land he is presently occupying. As to the other land he had acquired from his father which is north of Godofredo’s property.Escritura de Compra-venta. he admitted that they have not yet executed a document. wife of Antonio Gamboa over the parcels of land covered by Exhibit "D".Deed of Sale of Realty dated April 2.Nano.TCT No. He described the then visible boundary limits of the property as follows: North and South . As to his property adjoining that of Godofredo Notarte.fence made of bamboo." Exhibit "F" . 48098 was never partitioned. only the specific location because his house was constructed on the western part. 586 sq.TCT No. 1929 executed by Bernardo Notarte in favor of Emiliano Gamboa covering the land that was ultimately sold to Godofredo Notarte. 1997. he also owns another lot southwest which he bought from Bernardo Notarte. and its metes and bounds. although such portion presently owned by Godofredo used to be occupied by Feliciano Gamboa to whom Bernardo mortgaged the same. He believes that Godofredo wanted to get their land. However. This property was acquired by his father from James Turner as evidenced by a Deed of Quitclaim executed by Turner dated April 2. As to the boundaries of Godofredo’s property surrounded by a fence. Leonardo further claimed that Guillermo twice bought land from Patrocenia. Leonardo claimed he does not know who else acquired the remaining portion of Bernardo’s land aside from the 10. 4928 in the name of Manuel C.Guillermo and West . The portion that went to Celestino is now occupied by Manuel Urbano. Exhibit "G" . dated July 1. madre cacao and aludig. He insisted that the 1/7 share of Juan Notarte which was acquired by his father Felipe is not yet partitioned.741 sq. Leonardo testified that he knows it was bought by Guillermo from Patrocenia but he does not know how Guillermo was able to buy it. and East . surviving child of Bernardo Notarte.Deed of Donation Propter Nuptias dated April 17. These two parcels are adjoined on the north and south.000 was never partitioned.Leonardo. Exhibit "D" .650 sq. 4927 in the name of Manuel C.m. There was no extrajudicial or judicial partitionexecuted.m. 48098. He described the boundaries of the lot sold to him by Bernardo as follows: North – Felipe. He maintained that the original land covered by OCT No. and West – Narcisa Oblanca (now Mely Mendoza). On the land of Guillermo.Felipe. but he knows the second parcel to have been acquired by her from Cortez. the one she bought from Emiliano Gamboa was acquired first. South . Leonardo further claimed that his son Regalado had a dispute with Godofredo’s wife a long time ago about the cutting of the fence." Exhibit "H" . dug the well and planted coconut and star apple trees.737 sq." fence and bamboos. The parcel on the north was the one given to him in 1968 where he constructed his house. married to Patrocenia Nebril-Gamboa covering the lands under Exhibits "E" and "F. "bayog.m. He admitted that Bernardo originally owned the parcel of land that was eventually bought by Godofredo. However.TCT No. Leonardo said it is bounded on the west by "bayog. coconut and star apple trees.Jose Nano. Leonardo said he does not know the exact area occupied by him. He does not know from whom Patrocenia acquired the first parcel. star apple tree and dike (north). Exhibit "C" . 3517 in the name of Cornelio Gamboa covering a segregated portion of 15. Leonardo claimed that the land west of Godofredo’s land was given to him by his parents as "sab -ong". bamboo. his father Felipe and Celestino divided the same between themselves. East . He further claimed that he does not know the actual area of the property bought by Godofredo from Patrocenia. and another parcel in 1983. in favor of Patrocenia Nebril. Regalado admitted that it was his father Leonardo who told him to build his house on the land which he said is owned by Felipe. of the land under Exhibit "D".m. UrbanoII covering a segregated portion of 30.dike.684 sq. the sale to Godofredo of his parcel came first.Affidavit of Quitclaim dated April 30. He also bought from Patrocenia more than one hectare of land in 1977. it was Guillermo who was cultivating the same. of the land under Exhibit "D. He and Godofredo went around the land before the latter bought it. The land acquired from Cirila Notarte was exclusively possessed by Patrocenia. West .m. dated January 21. which is more than one and a half hectares 3 meters from his land on the north. his neighbors just told him about the boundaries of his land. 48098. he immediately took possession and declared it in his name. Said land is covered by a tax declaration in his name. East . The first lot he acquired from Patrocenia is covered by a tax declaration stating the area as 4. Exhibit "B" . While admitting that he was in possession thereof and already given to him by his father.m.Guillermo. of the parcel of land under OCT No. South . 1951. Patrocenia again instituted him as tenant on her second parcel of land. He constructed his house in 1990 on this land owned by Felipe and nobody then prevented him from doing so. coconut (east). he bought from Bernardo whose lots are not in one place. of the parcel of land under OCT No.23 On cross-examination.773 sq. The boundaries of the land purchased by Godofredo are as follows: North Felipe. of the parcel of land under OCT No.

(Exh. Exhibit "T-6" .Deed of Absolute Sale dated October 15. Gamboa covering the land under Exhibit "G".Exhibit "I" .The dug well on the southern side of Godofredo’s land.The Certification issued by the Municipal Assessor of Bani. Exhibit "N-3" . Exhibit "O" . Psu-25967 or Psd-4816 is identical to cadastral lot No.The visible limits of Godofredo Notarte’s land in all the cardinal directions. Exhibit "N" . Castillo’s TD No. 6035 and the same had been subdivided into several lots for various lot owners. Exhibit "R-7" . Exhibit"P" . x x x Exhibit "R" . Gamboa in favor of the plaintiff Godofredo Notarte covering the land that is the subject of Exhibits "D" to "J.The trail on the western side of Godofredo’s land. 7928 likewise covering a segregated portion. 1983 executed by Patrocenia N. 1983 executed by Patrocenia Nebril.Sketch made by Godofredo Notarte on the witness stand showing his land." xxxx Exhibit "L" . 48098.TD No.m.The Barangay Certification to file action.TD No. and registered it on March 23.The blue shaded portion north of Leonardo Notarte which is the portion encroached by Felipe. 1983. Exhibit "T-2" . N-3. Exhibit "N-4" . 8181 in the name of Charles and Clark Mendoza covering a segregated portion of the land under OCT No. effective 1952 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa covering the land he bought from Bernardo Notarte.TD No. Exhibit "J" . 8254 in the name of Godofredo Namoca covering another segregated portion. 8347 in the name of Leonardo Notarte also covering a segregated portion. 1995 executed by heirs of Bernardo Notarte whereby they confirmed the sale executed by Bernardo Notarte to Emiliano Gamboa.TD No. Exhibit "N-1" . N-1.The blue shaded elongated portion which is encroached by Guillermo Notarte. 255.TD No.The live madre cacao trees also on the northern side of Godofredo’s land. Exhibit "N-6" . The affidavit was registered on October 15. 1984 executed by Godofredo Notarte stating that he bought the portion of 29.The encircled portion in Exhibit "1" for the defendants. Exhibit "R-3" . Exhibit "S" .Affidavit of Adverse Claim dated March 10.TD No. effective 1974 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa covering the same land under Exh. Exhibit "R-6" . x x x covering the same land under Exhibit "N". the land claimed by Godofredo Notarte. 8354 in the name of Nenita Notarte covering another segregated portion. Exhibit "N-5" . "D") Exhibit "N-2" . 2981. Leonardo and Regalado. effective 1966 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa covering the same land under Exh.Patrocenia G. effective 2000 in the name of Godofredo Notarte covering the land he bought from Patrocenia Nebril. Exhibit "T-5" .Affidavit of Adverse Claim dated October 15. Pangasinan stating that Lot 1. Exhibit "R-2" . Exhibit "T-1" .TD No. 3953.TD No. 3449. and so on and so forth up to the sale in favor of x x x Godofredo Notarte.Co-owner’s Duplicate copy of OCT No.TD No.TD No. Exhibit "R-5" . of the land under OCT No. 1984 executed by Patrocenia N. N-5. then widow of Antonio Gamboa stating antecedent facts leading to their acquisition of Bernardo Notarte’s land under OCT No. effective 1980 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa covering the same land under Exh. 1984.The place marked "X" in Exh R-1 where the house of Regalado Notarte stands.TD No.Affidavit of Adjudication dated May 10. Exhibit "R-1" . Exhibit "M" .TD No. 48098 issued to Godofredo Notarte.Extrajudicial Settlement With Quitclaim and Confirmation of Sale dated April 28. 18884. Exhibit "K" . Exhibit "R-4" . Exhibit "T-4" . 98.effective 1985 in the name of Godofredo Notarte. Exhibit "P-1"to "P-6".TD No. Exhibit "Q" .The stamps of dead madre cacao trees on the northern side of Godofredo’s land. 48098. Exhibit "T" . 8765 in the name of Manuel Urbano II covering another segregated portion. 48098 of which she has an adverse claim. 8764 in the name of Manuel Urbano covering another segregated portion. It is within the portion encroached by Guillermo Notarte. Exhibits R and series are within Exhibit"1" of the defendants x x x. 237.483 sq. effective 1983 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa covering the land under Exh. Exhibit "T-3" . N-4. 69 .

from the 1/7 share of Bernardo Notarte. Petitioners emphasize that the issue of whether the whole parcel of land covered by OCT No. REGALADO NOTARTE AND FELIPE NOTARTE to vacate and surrender EIGHT THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO (8. In particular." there being no clear showing that these were formally identified in court and covers the land in question. (4) Exhibit "F" for lack of showing that the land donated is part of the land bought from Bernardo Notarte." "G.714 sq. 48098 has been legally partitioned is material to respondent’s claim that the portions of land allegedly encroached by petitioners belong to him." "T-1" to "T-4. and thereby sweeping aside all the material exhibits of respondent. Certainly. 48098." live trees and the like. the CA made the following observations: The statement of facts as presented herein is mainly culled from the decision of the MTC." for lack of showing of any written formal partition entered into by the registered owners and because the memorandum of encumbrances of OCT No.00." "H. 8343 in the name of Guillermo Notarte covering another separate portion.TD No.333 square meters of plaintiff’s land and to pay actual damages of P 40.TD No." "F. to wit: 1. The series of conveyances from the registered owner Bernardo Notarte up to Antonio and Patrocenia Gamboa were related by Godofredo in painstaking details. the extrajudicial settlement is more of a sworn statement. the MTC denied admission of the following documentary evidence and stating the reasons for its ruling: (1) Exhibits "A. Exhibit "T-13" . (8) Exhibit "M" for being hearsay. as bolstered by his documentary evidence." "T.Exhibit "T-7" .29 Petitioners elevated the case to the CA which dismissed their appeal. Exhibit "T-11" . "mojon.604 sq. 8346in the name of Helardo Notarte covering another separate portion. the MTC rendered judgment dismissing the complaint. On the other hand. 48098. complete with the demarcation of its boundaries as pertaining to the respective owners thereof by visible boundary limits such as dike." "N-3" to "N-6." "I" and "J" for being hearsay.m." "J." "I. Exhibit "T-14" ." "K" and "M.TD No. The fallo of the RTC Decision reads: WHEREFORE. the latter stood no chance at all in proving his claim. 2. 8335 in the name of Felipe Notarte covering a segregated portion. despite the stipulation of the parties at the pre-trial that the lands being referred to by the parties in the present case all form part of the big parcel of land covered by OCT No. 8341 covering a segregated portion.TD No." "E. Exhibit "T-9" . m. (10) Exhibits "D" to "M" which were already denied admission. The CA found that as early as 1951and even before the issuance of OCT No.TD No. 2000. petitioners point out that Exhibit "M" (Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement With Quitclaim and Confirmation of Sale) cannot be used as basis for an adverse ruling against them as said document was correctly determined by the MTC as a mere sworn statement and hearsay evidence. 48098. (2) Exhibit "D" as there is no showing that the land subject matter thereof is the same land owned by Bernardo Notarte covered by OCT No. 8334 in the name of Fausto Notarte covering another separate portion. (7) Exhibit "K" there being no proof that the land conveyed to Godofredo emanated from Bernardo Notarte and then to Emiliano Gamboa.000.TD No. IT IS SO ORDERED. 48098.604. Citing its nonadmission of Exhibits "D. 2004. ORDERING the defendants jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff attorney’s fees and litigation expenses of P 10. and this Honorable Court renders judgment. it found petitioners to have established their actual possession of their respective portions even long before respondent acquired his land.000. The CA held that it was a palpable mistake on the part of the MTC to conclude that no partition had been made by the registered owners and their successors-in-interest." the said court ruled that respondent has not proven his claim that he acquired 27. the appealed decision of the court a quo is Set Aside.00. Exhibit "T-8" . 3. Assessing the evidence on record." "B. described in his second amended complaint and identified his land with the statement of its metes and bounds and the visible limits thereof.TD No. (3) Exhibit "E" being in Ilocano dialect and carries no translation. ORDERING the defendant GUILLERMO NOTARTE to vacate and surrender the southern portion containing an area of 6. 8526 in the name of Lupercio Orilla covering another separated portion. On the face of the said decision.27 In its Order28 dated May 16. the RTC reversed the MTC. On September 1. 48098 does not show any previous partition to bind their transferees/assigns. petitioners are now before us alleging grave error committed by said court in affirming the RTC which rendered judgment based on exhibits that were denied admission by the MTC. respondent Godofredo testified clearly and graphically as to the location and physical description of the subject land. and on the basis of that conclusion denied admission of most of the material exhibits of respondent. On appeal by respondent. ORDERING the defendants LEONARDO NOTARTE.Godofredo Notarte’s TD No. Exhibit "T-12" . in relation to the big parcel of land covered by OCT No.30 Their motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA. the RTC said that the area of the adjoining parcels gains significance. Exhibit "T-10" . these are simply photocopies with no chance for comparison in the alleged original. all supported by documentary evidence. They argue that a partition must be a concerted 70 . 8342 in the name of Guillermo Notarte covering another segregated portion. (6) Exhibits "H.00. Petitioners reiterate that there was no legal formal partition of the whole parcel of land covered by OCT No. notwithstanding the clarity of his testimony. the affiants not having testified thereto. The trial court however precipitately concluded that the land being described in the said series of conveyances is not clearly referred to as the subject land. (5) Exhibit "G" in the absence of proof that the two lands were the same land earlier donated and subject matter of the case." "C. 8348 in the name of Leonardo Notarte covering another separate portion. 48098. by the said conclusion formed by the trial court." "S.272) square meters western portion of plaintiff’s land and to pay jointly and severally actual damages of P 20. the registered owners have effected an oral or informal partition of the big parcel of land.000. The RTC found that from the evidence it is convincingly clear that respondent owns the 27. Because there is overlapping of boundaries in this case. (9) Exhibits "N-1. They cite several entries in the said title which will show that the transactions referred to therein pertain to undivided portions of the entire land.

for the reason that their rejection places them beyond the consideration of the court. the original registered owners had either mortgaged or sold their respective 1/7 shares.And you remember now. Q . if they are thereafter found relevant or competent. and have also exercised acts of ownership thereon. On the first issue. He likewise named the present owners of adjoining lots pertaining to the shares of the other original registered owners. and (3) whether petitioners have encroached on respondent’s land. sir.So there were series of transactions could you still remember. as in fact three transfer certificates of title were issued separately to Manuel Urbano II and Cornelio Gamboa covering physically segregated areas with their respective technical descriptions. of the specific parcel (1/7 share in the property covered by OCT No.34The MTC further said these tax declarations do not show that they cover the subject land. That these respective shares of the original registered owners were merely designated orally – their individual portions having been simply pointed to them.Yes.33 (Emphasis supplied. Leonardo and Guillermo further testified on the visible boundaries of their respective lands which they have fenced. The relevance of those documents evidencing this series of conveyances from Bernardo to Emiliano Gamboa. The MTC thus erred in rejecting the formal offer of documentary evidence that is clearly relevant to respondent’s cause of action. 48098. the latter’s sale of the same lots to Antonio Gamboa. can easily be remedied by completely discarding them or ignoring them. 48098 had already been partitioned long before respondent purchased his lot. as well as that acquired by the respondent. m. The rest of the documentary exhibits of respondent were denied admission on the ground of absence of a formal partition of the property covered by OCT No.000 sq. 48098) from which Patrocenia acquired a portion. immaterial or incompetent. 48098. 35 On the second issue. petitioners poi nt out that respondent stated the reason behind the execution of Exhibit "M" which is the fact that "the chain of documents covering the transactions beginning with Bernardo Notarte to Emiliano Gamboa. Under Article 1082 of the Civil Code.The land that was sold to Godofredo Notarte came from Bernardo Notarte. the same reason it cited for denying admission to the previous documents of transfer. that the land she sold to respondent came from the share of Bernardo. indicating that the subject of foreclosure sale in favor of James Turner as 2/7 pro indiviso or undivided portion. 48098. every act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs is deemed to be a partition even though it should purport to be a sale. The existence of early annotations (Spanish) on OCT No.) The non-admission of copies of tax declarations in the name of Emiliano Gamboa was likewise erroneous because these were in factpresented and identified in court by respondent and his counsel during his direct testimony. sir. incompetency. to Antonio Gamboa and to Godofredo Notarte do not clearly identify the land in question as part of the registered land under OCT No. and that she had instituted Guillermo as tenant on her land in 1968. or admissibility. to Procopio Gamboa and Desiderio Gamboa.What I know is that. Although the deeds of conveyances and those early entries in OCT No. specific portions under 71 .we agree with the CA that most of the documentary exhibits not admitted by the MTC are material to respondent’s claim. Petitioner Leonardo. 2000 Order. testified that he has been residing on the land since he was a child. Thus: Q . one of the original registered owners. 48098 had been partitioned by the registered owners. 48098 indicated the portions being mortgaged or sold as pertaining to proindiviso shares. As aptly observed by the CA. and that he bought a hectare of land from Bernardo in 1964. Patrocenia admitted while testifying on cross-examination. It may be recalled that what respondent sought to establish is the previous ownership by Bernardo. still. but admitting them unless plainly irrelevant. the latter’s donation to his sons Procopio and Desiderio Gamboa. the land I sold to Godofredo came from Bernardo Notarte. this Court has held that: It is the safest policy to be liberal. the said owners’ successors-in-interest eventually took possession of the respective portions acquired by them beginning 1951 or thereabouts. (2) whether the 263. land covered by OCT No. on the other hand. which is again erroneous because what respondent sought to prove is an oral partition among the registered owners that may be inferred from various transactions on certain segregated portions as evidenced by those documents. their admission. cited by the MTC.37 Patrocenia herself testified that she took possession of her lots acquired from the shares of Bernardo and Cirila. it should have admitted the same subject to judicialevaluation as to their probative value. an exchange. x x x"31 The issues to be resolved are: (1) whether the MTC erred in not admitting most of the documentary exhibitsformally offered by the respondent as indicated in its May 16. based merely on the MTC’s impression that they do not clearly indicate it was the same parcel sold by her to respondent. if they turn out later to be irrelevant or incompetent. not rejecting them on doubtful or technical grounds. but why you cannot remember anymore transactions regarding to the acquisition of a parcel of land by Godofredo Notarte? A . respondent stood no chance of being able to establish his claim after the MTC precipitately denied admission to almost all his documentary evidence which are actually relevant and competent to prove his ownership and identity of his land.36 In this case.Now. do not support the petitioners’ contention that the property remains un-partitioned. Partition may thus be inferred from circumstances sufficiently strong to support the presumption. Citing a portion of respondent’s appellant’s brief filed before the RTC. husband of Patrocenia who later adjudicated unto herself all properties left by her husband – was thus plainly obvious. that Bernardo Notarte sold that land to Emeliano Gamboa? A .act of all the heirs and not only individual acts of each of the co-heirs. in whole or in part. as testified to by respondent and Patrocenia – is immaterial. In connection with evidence which may appear to be of doubtful relevancy. on his part. Evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law or the rules32 or is competent. was improper considering that the parties stipulated at the pre-trial that the lands involved in this controversy form part of the property covered by OCT No. is that right? A . Also. Besides. These transferees who are mostly relatives likewise introduced improvements on their respective lots. Even assuming that the MTC had reservations about the relevancy of some exhibits offered by the respondent. or any other transaction. Q . 48098. we sustain the RTC and CA in finding that the property covered by OCT No. This is because subsequent entries clearly show that theco-owners have either mortgaged or disposed specific portions of the land.The exclusion of previous documents of transfer executed by Patrocenia Gamboa’s predecessors-in-interest. sir. as well as the actual area of such portion acquired by Patrocenia.

where the parol partition has actually been consummated by the taking of possession in severalty and the exercise of ownership by the parties of the respective portions set off to each. 48098.172 sq.m. 48098 to be valid.714 sq. only. and a part performance.m. In any event.. or otherwise recognizing the existence of the partition.m.)..482 sq. The governing law is Article 434 of the Civil Code which provides: Art. contrary to the MTC’s stated reason for denying some documentary exhibits to prove partition.m.172 sq. In an action to recover. it has been held or stated in a number of cases involving an oral partition under which the parties went into possession. ownership by respondent was not disputed but only the exact area because the deeds presented by him showed only the area and location with respect to adjoining owners. Petitioners’ stance is unreasonable and seems to be more of an afterthought aimed solely at defeating respondent’s claim. Tax Declaration No. and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant’s claim.172 sq. we hold that respondent has established by preponderance of evidence the identity and his ownership of the subject land. 48098 was only partially cancelled and many of the present owners have not yet secured their own separate transfer certificates of title. Respondent sought to recover 27. as well as their own acts of ownership over those portions they have been occupying. from the 37. these portions were already declared in his name for tax purposes indicating therein the areas under their possession.38 It is not required. subsequently sold by Bernardo to Leonardo in 1964. if those lots have not been physically segregated. 48098 remains undivided and un-partitioned is contradicted by the documentary evidence and their own declarations. In an accion reinvindicatoria.e. recognize and enforce such parol partition and the rights of the parties thereunder. It has been held that where there was a partition in fact between tenants in common. 1999 issued by the Office of the Municipal Assessor. Clearly. as present owners and successors-in-interest of Juan Notarte.m.42 To prove the identity of the land he bought from Patrocenia. as this is the actual area acquired by Patrocenia from her predecessors-ininterest. the RTC correctly rejected the same.). However. the person who claims that he has a better right to the property must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by describing the location. which include petitioners. It is indeed unbelievable for the registered owners’ successors-in-interest. On this point.possession and claim of ownership by various persons are already covered by individual tax declarations as evidenced by the Certification dated October 1. Anent the second requisite. respondent submitted in evidence deeds of conveyances from the original sale made by Bernardo in 1929 in favor of Emiliano Gamboa.604 sq. The validity of an oral partition is already well-settled. such as the individual TCTs obtained by Manuel Urbano II and Cornelio Gamboa over portions they have acquired. Leonardo failed to show any document evidencing the supposed donation of his father and admitted he does not even know its exact area. and the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Patrocenia (29. on the other hand.). who are insisting that no partition had yet taken place merely because OCT No. up to the acquisition thereof by Patrocenia. equity will in proper cases. but did not describe the boundaries of the land sold in metes and bounds. which was only 27. As can be gleaned from the proceedings before the MTC. Guillermo. exercising acts of ownership with respect thereto. Regardless of whether a parol partition or agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at law.m.) On the third issue. that equity will confirm such partition and in a proper case decree title in accordance with the possession in severalty. a court of equity would have regard to enforce such partition agreed to by the parties.000 sq. the area and boundaries stated in the 1929 Escritura de Compra-Venta should control. and that he was occupying the said parcel. We note the discrepancies in the areas stated in the 1929 Escritura de Compra-Venta (27. this Court has ruled that: On general principle. to have taken possession of their respective portions for which they paid valuable consideration. petitioners are estopped from denying the existence of an oral partition.m. the rule is that a party can claim a right of ownership only over the parcel of land that was the object of the deed. However. claimed to have received 450-sq. Notably.). The first requisite: the identity of the land. i. 434. respondent is entitled to27. Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Desiderio and Procopio Gamboa (27.172 sq.m. 8449 in the name of Emiliano Gamboa was issued in 1962. deeds of donation executed by Emiliano Gamboa (total of 28. 39 In another case. As to the claims of Leonardo and Guillermo over certain portions in excess of the areas lawfully acquired by them from Bernardo and Patrocenia (pertaining to the portion she bought from the share of Cirila Notarte). Thus. the claimant’s title over the disputed area. A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the parties thereto have acquiesced in and ratified the partition by taking possession in severalty. any increase in the statement of the area in the subsequent deeds of conveyances executed by Bernardo’s successors-in-interest should not affect the area specified by Bernardo himself in the 1929 sale to Emiliano Gamboa. since respondent traces ownership of his land to Bernardo. with his father even donatingto him a portion as a wedding gift ("sabong") and another one hectare was bought by him from Bernardo. or have stated that a part performance is necessary.327 sq. that the partition agreement be registered or annotated in OCT No. area and boundaries thereof. we have held that after exercising acts of ownership over their respective portions of the contested estate. or otherwise partly performed the partition agreement. courts of equity have enforced oral partition when it has been completely or partly performed. independent and in spite of the statute of frauds. A number of cases have specifically applied the doctrine of part performance. Leonardo categorically testified that his father Felipe Notarte acquired the 1/7 share of Juan Notarte which was redeemed from James Turner. which corresponds to the actual area of Bernardo’s 1/7 share under OCT No. Thus.604.41 (Emphasis supplied. a figure he arrived at by deducting the 10.m. estoppel had set in as to bar petitioners as present owners from denying an oral partitionin view of acquiescence thereto by their predecessors-in-interest.m. exercised acts of ownership. from Patrocenia by 72 . as it is only petitioners. none of the original co-owners has disputed the fact of partition. the property must be identified. petitioners’ insistence that the whole parcel under OCT No. 40 Here. And a court of equity will recognize the agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of concluding the right of the parties as between each other to hold their respective parts in severalty. introduced improvements and paid the realty taxes due thereon. In numerous cases it has been held or stated that parol partition may be sustained on the ground of estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in common as to parts of land divided by parol partition as to which possession in severalty was taken and acts of individual ownership were exercised. to take a parol partition out of the operation of the statute of frauds.

a survey is necessary to ascertain the physical boundaries of the subject lands by metes and bounds. This case is hereby REMANDED to the Municipal Trial Court of Bani. A-2964 is MODIFIED. that in controversial cases where there appears to be an overlapping of boundaries. For this purpose. These portions.227 sq. PATRICK BAWING. vs. 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and REV. CHRISTINA GIAKAW.m. apparently unsurveyed. West . notwithstanding that the documentary evidence adduced by respondent established his ownership over a portion of Bernardo’s share. MAGDALENA RIMANDO. MONICO BACAGAN. AGNES BADONGEN.. represented by RT. However. The controversy then lies in the delineation of the physical boundaries of the subject properties by metes and bounds. ADELA ANGWAY. 2012 SPS. SAGOLO PADANG. is in order. As to the grant of actual damages in favor of respondent. 3. ESTEBAN CAPUYAN. as amended.Leonardo Notarte and Guillermo Notarte. BIAG TAMBIAC. subject to the outcome of the survey and resolution on the issue of overlapping boundaries. No pronouncement as to costs. Pangasinan. ROBERT LEE O. the actual size of the property gains importance. POLAT BOSAING. 171209 June 27.1âwphi1 Petitioners in their Answer with Counterclaim merely contended that respondent just wants to increase the actual area of his property. Branch 54 in Civil Case No.46 In this case. EDUARDO LIZARDO. In any case. THERESA SALAO. REV. The award of actual damages is DELETED. as enclosing the land and indicating its limits. it is not binding upon third parties like respondent who 1. Said court is directed to order the conduct of a survey of the properties involved in this case. For this purpose. are absolute and indispensable. PURITA ANGWAY. Respondents. The order to vacate the alleged areas encroached by petitioners is likewise SET ASIDE. but the boundaries therein laid down. GUITELEN OLAT. the boundaries thereof as described in the Second latter testified that this parcel she sold to Guillermo actually came from the 1/7 share of Cirila and Amended Complaint are as follows: North . were also not described in metes and bounds under their deeds of conveyances. the requirement as to form for contracts of donation to Alaminos City. this Court deems it just and proper to give himthe opportunity to prove the alleged encroachment by petitioners and the extent of such encroachment.43 The alleged prior oral donation by Patrocenia was thus void and ineffective.Felipe Notarte. the Decision dated August 10. it would be premature to affirm any pronouncement on damages resulting from encroachment being claimed by the respondent pending the resolution of the factual issue of overlapping boundaries. It is settled that what really defines a piece of land is not the area mentioned in its description. BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NORTHERN PHILIPPINES.45 As already stated. In any case. JUDITH MILLER.m. HENRY HAKCHOLNA. MARIANO GUITELEN. 48098.172 sq. PABLO AGPAD. SO ORDERED. FIRST DIVISION G. Jose Nano. 73 . remand of this case to the MTC for the conduct of a survey by qualified geodetic engineers. to the extent of 27. DILIGEN ALIBAN. JULIA DECALENG. Even assuming that the portions occupied by petitioners have already been surveyed. petitioners Leonardo and Guillermo could not tell the exact areas under their possession.m.R. TOBYED SOLANG. DOMINGA MAGUEN. 1997 mentioned a previous donation made in January 1983. The Decision dated March 21. virtue of an oral donation in 1968 when he was instituted as a tenant on her land. 2. SP No. a survey could have settled the issue of overlapping boundaries especially since the properties involved are all unregistered and. the location of respondent’s land is not in dispute because the adjoining owners are clearly identified. South . from Patrocenia but the covered by OCT No. The identity of the land sought to be recovered may be established through the survey plan of the property. Pangasinan for further proceedings. Hence. PAIT CAPUYAN. in an areaenclosed by specified adjoining lots/owners. CADAWENG LOPEZ. THOMAS KIWANG. PRISCA BACAGAN.R. such piece of evidence would be adverse to their claim. Respondent Godofredo Notarte is hereby declared the lawful owner of 27. but upheld the claims of petitioners based on the latter’s long possession and occupation of their portions. The MTC did not grant respondent’s motion for the conduct of a survey to correct the "overlapping boundaries" of the subject lots. AMBROSIO DECALENG (substituted by his heirs)1 and JULIA "WANAY" DECALENG. the 92591 isAFFIRMED in PART. Having ruled that respondent has established the identity and ownership of the land he acquired from Patrocenia with an area of 27. East different from the property she sold to respondent."However. TUDLONG. Rule 32 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. MARY B. JOHN BATNAG. LONGID. we find no legal or factual basis for such award. MALIDOM BAGNI. JAMES OMAWENG. consistent with our dispositions herein. the said court shall appoint commissioners and proceed in accordance with Sections 2 to 13. as follows: be valid and enforceable. BISHOP OF THE MISSIONARY DISTRICT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS OF PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. and not 1968.172 square purchased a definite portion of Patrocenia’s land in good faith. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court of Deed of Confirmation of Donation dated February 21.44 We have held. otherwise known as THE PHILIPPINE EPISCOPAL CHURCH.the MTC in its decision ruled that respondent has not established his cause of actionfor the reason that most of his documentary evidence were denied admission. for value and evidenced by a duly meters of the lot which is a portion of the 1/7 share of Bernardo Notarte in the property notarized deed of sale.Felipe Notarte. still unregistered land. Petitioners. CADIOGAN TOLEYAN. however.WHEREFORE. No. being based merely on respondent’s bare testimony in court. stating that it would "pre-empt the issues under contention.Guillermo also supposedly bought 4. And while petitioners insisted on the visible physical boundaries to mark the limits of respondent’s land. LUIS GANGA. HERMINIA BACAGAN. MARIA BAYANG. EDUARDO GUITELEN. ROSE BAYAO.172 sq. the non-presentation of any approved survey plan would raise a presumption that if presented. FELIPE MANODON. BETTY BINAYONG. x-----------------------x PATRICIO OBONAN BANIAGA. SEVERINO DAGACAN.

5. Mary the Virgin Parish in the municipality of Sagada. namely: Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP).S. meters more or less and declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. ARCHIE S. S. in accordance with Section 122 of Act No. 2005 and Resolution3 dated January 18.21 m. containing an area of TWENTY THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED NINETY-TWO SQUARE METERS (20. Kapiz. being N.6 otherwise known as the Land Registration Act. Branch 36. N.S. 339. by P.20 m. 15o 15’E. to point 7. ROBERT O. 484.L.]692 sq.) more or less. 15 of the Register of Deeds of Mountain Province. exercises missionary. Mt.. 304. Containing an area of thirty-four hectares. m. 1992.: Pending action before the Court is G. L. Approved November 27.1 m. and Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines. docketed as Civil Case No. point of beginning. and notoriously in en concepto de dueño since the American 74 .S.. 18 deg. 10’ E. According to PEC-EDNP.0m. Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines. Bounded on the NE. 4o 59’W. performing mission work in over 500 communities throughout the country. thence N.MARTHA BACAGAN. Mons. to point 1. 1. is a religious corporation duly organized and registered under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. the U. and sixty centares x x x. thence N. 49978. Sagada. Surveyed March 18-19. 86. Episcopal Church). 7 cm. 6o37’E. to point 4. 11477. LONGID. to point 5. thence N.. and Quezon. 153. from B.36 m. twenty-four ares. The Bishop of the Missionary District of the Philippine Islands of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. South by Mission Compound. 651. with the following technical description: Beginning at point marked 1 on plan Pi-115. marked B. 18 deg. to point 6. by property of Bartolome Gambican. by "X" on stone mon. located in areas commonly known as Ken-geka and Ken-gedeng. to point 3. on the S. Episcopal Church donated the Ken-geka property.9m to point 7. thence S. 06’ W. 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. of Bauko. 797. thence N. 50 deg. and 60 centares. J. Dist. Mpal. 13. Isabela. Ifugao. cross at top of limestone cliff. and point 6.9m to point 5. from Pulpit. 51o 11’W. Mountain Province. 3. in the name of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (U. and 7. on the SE. 6o 21’E. Procvince. 2. Ambrosio Decaleng entered and cultivated a portion of about 1. by property of Nicolas Imperial & Adriano Lizardo (joint owners). SUMEDCA. 68o 48’W.635 square meters of the Ken-geka property despite the protestations of PEC-EDNP representatives. Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines. PEC-EDNP filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bontoc. to the PEC by virtue of a Deed of Donation8 executed on April 24. Mt. cyl. Petitioners. 609. the Ken-geka property is covered by Certificate of Title No. Province. 79 deg. N.L. pastoral. Variation 0o 25’E. N. thence S. to point 4. bounded on the North by Tomas Muting & Kapiz Bacolong. points referred to marked on plan Pi-115.0m. 496. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.. 39.4 On February 18. AND BONIFACIO LOPEZ. According to Certificate of Title No. Bearings true. a Mon. 19’E. Bayang. to wit: Beginning at a point marked "1" on plan.07 m. ELIZA BAGINWET.L. PECEDNP. thence S. The Ken-geka property has an area of 34 hectares. 54 deg. to point 6. N. 18 deg. HAZEL S. 07’ E.82 m. S. 57. which has canonical jurisdiction over the provinces of Mountain Province. The PEC was previously comprised of five dioceses. Quirino.1m.. 101. otherwise known as the Philippine Episcopal Church (PEC). East by Bartolome Gambican.R.10 It is more particularly identified as Lot 3 in Survey Plan PSU-118424. REV.692 sq...S. MICHAEL SAUYEN. Aurora. 11 PEC-EDNP averred that it and its predecessors-in-interest occupied the Ken-gedeng property openly. PHILIPPINE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. continuously. by property of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. 4. No. a Complaint for Accion Reinvindicatoria and Accion Publiciana against Ambrosio Decaleng and Fabian Lopez (Lopez). 369. thence S. issued on February 18. Bounded on all sides by public lands. 1974. adversely. to point 2.R.9 The Ken-gedeng property is described in the complaint as: A certain parcel of land situated at sitio Poblacion. FAGYAN. 65 deg. Mountain Province. 1915.. Conc.. 72o 55’W.03 m. 02’ E. 1907. to point 2. Respondent. Apaling & Benito Gawaeng (joint owners). 171. 79o O6’E. 1. a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision2 dated August 26.. by properties of Nicolas Imperial & Adriano Lizardo (joint owners) and Tomas Moting. 87. vs. and administrative oversight of St. 39’ E.. to the point of beginning. 51’ E. Episcopal Church acquired the Ken-geka property by virtue of a sales patent issued by the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands also on February 18. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and marked on the ground as follows: points 1. 0 deg. 7 PEC-EDNP asserted that the U. among other real properties. 6306 in the name of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Church of the United States of America. PASITENG GAYAGAY. N. represented by RT.37 m. 1915.6m. and on the West by Nicolas Imperial and Lizardo Adriano with an area of 20[. 148. 171209. 01’ E. to point 3.M. Around the second quarter of 1989. Episcopal Diocese of Northern Luzon. Baculong. CV No. 24 ares.58 m.. PEC-EDNP alleged that it is the owner of two parcels of land in the Municipality of Sagada. and on the NW.Om. 1907.

Maguen (Maguen). Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez claimed peaceful and undisturbed possession of the subject properties until PEC-EDNP surreptitiously to be the owners of said portions. denied the Motion to Declare Defendants in Default23 filed by PEC-EDNP and ruled that the Answer to Amended Complaint of spouses Decaleng and Lopez shall be deemed to also be the answer of Madadsec and Bawing. 797 until the parties have conducted a relocation survey of the properties in question.13 Before Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez could file their answer to the complaint of PEC-EDNP. from whom she inherited one of the lots that bound the PEC-EDNP property. G) Finally [PEC-EDNP] prays for such other measures of reliefs and remedies just and equitable in the premises. 1 was inaccurate and depicted a parcel of land much bigger than that generally believed to be owned by PEC-EDNP.00 as necessary expenses of litigation. PEC-EDNP thus prayed of the RTC to render judgment: and P25. essentially reiterating the allegations in the earlier Answer filed by Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez. A) To declare the [PEC-EDNP] as the true and real owner of the aforesaid properties and for [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to perpetually desist from claiming ownership over the respective portion being occupied by them. P15.00 as actual damages. Lopez went ahead and purchased Portion 2 despite the warning of PEC-EDNP. to provide said trial court with a Geodetic Engineer to help in the re-survey of the area subject of the case. some of them requested the surveyor hired by [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to survey portions of the properties owned by [PECEDNP] which they respectively claim to be owned by them. 1947 and said survey was approved by the Director of Lands on June 15.000. since time PEC-EDNP contended that Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez refused to vacate the portions of Kenimmemorial. Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez sought the dismissal of the complaint of PEC-EDNP and the payment by PEC-EDNP in their favor of P50. Julia Wanay Decaleng. Julia Wanay Decaleng. adversely. received the property in Ken-gedeng. Sabangan. That when defendant Ambrosio Decaleng filed his answer. and his wife.00 as attorney’s fee. it came to the knowledge of [PEC-EDNP] that other parties are making adverse claim of ownership over subject properties.50 square meters (Portion 2).000.000. that the properties occupied by Ambrosio Decaleng were outside the properties of PEC-EDNP. The Ken-gedeng property was surveyed on August 22. B) To order [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to refrain from entering the property of [PEC-EDNP] subject of this case. 1992. as agreed upon in open court.00. in an Order22 dated April 27. and that PEC-EDNP should have pursued its complaint a long time ago when the concerned "boundary owners" were still alive. The RTC issued another Order15 of even date requesting the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office-Department of Environment and Natural Resources The relocation survey ordered by the RTC was conducted on September 17.17 The RTC admitted the amended complaint of PEC-EDNP in the Order18 dated February 16. and Patrick Bawing (Bawing) were impleaded as additional defendants and summoned to answer the amended complaint. Dominga D. 2. Consequently. but increasing their claim for reimbursement of litigation expenses to P85. notoriously. he alleged that subject portions of the properties are owned by his wife. gedeng property. Ambrosio Decaleng made matters worse by selling Portion 2 of the Ken-gedeng property to Fabian Lopez. one measuring 1.00 as appearance pay of counsel every time this case is called for hearing and P10. 1993. and cultivated and planted the same with plants of economic value. 1992. publicly.000. and in the concept of an owner. cut several matured pine trees within the aforementioned portions of the Ken-gedeng property. actually. Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez filed their Answer16 on April 27. Ambrosio Decaleng illegally and forcibly entered two portions of the Ken-gedeng property. in which she wrote that she was not interested to appear before the RTC for her deceased father. Julia "Wanay" Decaleng. Kapis. PEC-EDNP likewise challenged the sale of Portion 2 of Ken-gedeng by and that Lopez was a mere tenant of the spouses Decaleng who worked on Portion 2 of the KenAmbrosio Decaleng to Lopez for being unlawful and void. As a result. that Ambrosio Decaleng received the property in Ken-geka. Florentina Madadsec (Madadsec). certainly for more than 50 years. that the spouses Decaleng had been in geka and Ken-gedeng properties that they are occupying. Ambrosio Decaleng. as in fact.12 (CENRO-DENR). that Ambrosio Decaleng and Julia Wanay Decaleng (spouses Decaleng) and their predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the subject properties continuously.19 The spouses Decaleng and Lopez jointly filed their Answer to Amended Complaint 20 on March 1.00 as moral damages. 1993. removed the fence and two monuments found therein.000. On February 12. C) To order [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to vacate the premises of the subject portions of the aforedescribed land being illegally occupied by them.000. plus P500. 1992.00 as reimbursement of litigation expenses and attorney’s fees.Missionaries arrived in the Mountain Province in 1901. During the first quarter of 1987. Madadsec and Bawing did not submit any answer but the RTC. the RTC issued an Order14 dated March 20.00 as exemplary damages. 1992. but PEC-EDNP maintained that such claim is illegal and moved the existing perimeter fence and encroached upon 240 square meters of their properties. 75 . PEC-EDNP and its predecessors-ininterest have introduced valuable improvements on the Ken-gedeng property through the years. D) To order [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to pay the [PEC-EDNP] the amount of P20. 1993. 1993. 1948. 1993.000. That after the verification survey was conducted on September 17. PEC-EDNP filed a Motion to Admit Amended Complaint alleging: 1. P100. despite the vehement objections and conciliatory attitude of PEC-EDNP. baseless in fact and in law. E) To issue a temporary restraining order directing [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to desist from continuing to expand their aforesaid illegal occupation and to unlawfully enter the property subject of this case and thereafter to make it permanent. Mountain Province. and F) To sentence [Ambrosio Decaleng and Lopez] to pay the cost of the suit. from their parents as their inheritance on the occasion of their marriage in accordance with the local custom of ay-yeng or liw-liwa. or at least. suspending further proceedings in Civil Case No. Maguen filed her Answer to Summons/Complaint21 on March 2. They stated in their Answer that Certificate of Title No.650 square meters (Portion 1) and the other 419.

"D-5"). Not to mention the fact that the former lots have been all along in the adverse possession of the defendants. 79). and to pay the costs.. Jr. of the lots in question from the latter. While the case was pending before the Court of Appeals. Floyd P. Lalwet (Lalwet) entered their appearance as counsels for PEC-EDNP on March 28. 1996. Vol. 1 and Rule 133. 1995 of the Regional Trial Court. Penultimately. 299). Mountain Province is REVERSED and another one is ENTERED. The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s Decision reads: WHEREFORE. and exercised control over said parcels at any given time in the same manner as it developed the rest of the portions within the plans and tax declarations. Sec. Dismissing the instant suit. 433 and Art. "F" and "G") is insufficient and inc[onc]lusive to prove ownership ad/or possession of the proponent of the subject area (Acuña vs City of Manila. the Church is the exclusive and continuous possessor. either as an element of. To be sure. Hence. It cannot however be presumed. The Court of Appeals declared PEC-EDNP the true and real owner of the Ken-geka and Ken-gedeng properties. [9] Phil. "I") do not by themselves confer dominion of the proponent over the aforementioned parcels. Sagayo.635 square meters lot at Ken-geka (Exhs. 54 Phil. as follows: (1) Declaring the plaintiff as the true and real owner of the properties subject of this controversy. 225. 1995 finding that: The documentary and testimonial evidence as a whole. By itself. Atty. Civil Code.26 The PEC-ENDP filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision on February 21. PEC-EDNP filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA-G. 541. NCC. "X-1" to "X-6"). (b) p. Par. the judgment dated January 20. 712. 2005. "C-1" and "C-2"). Corollarily. and Mary Tudlong (Tudlong). 1963. the survey plans and tax declarations in the name of the plaintiff and predecessors in interest (Exhs. 1995. the plaintiff Church did not acquire ownership and/or possession of those disputed lots at Ken-gedeng. and to refrain from further encroaching upon the plaintiff’s properties. 1. In the Notice of Appearance28 and subsequent pleadings29 filed by Attys. 2. Rosales vs Director of Lands. 61 SCRA 284)25 The fallo of the RTC Decision reads: WHEREFORE. NCC). "B").16. This fact in conjunction with its said survey plans and tax declarations may prove ownership of the plaintiff of the premises mentioned (Alamo vs Ignacio. they included the following names as defendants: Simeon Dapliyan (Dapliyan). Feb. 1961). Costs to be paid by the defendants. Juana Ullocan (Ullocan). "G". Ordering the plaintiff to pay attorney’s fees and litigation expense in the reasonable sum of P120. Lopez v. does not reasonably confirm the fact of its absolute ownership of the said portion (Reyes vs Borbon. Sagada. dominion over the portion have not passed to the plaintiff by operation of law by virtue of long and actual possession as a title or a mode of acquiring ownership (Art. much less adjudged that the Church has constructive possession of the subject two separate parcels absent any showing that it materially occupied. overturning the appealed RTC Decision because it was based on misplaced premises and contrary to law and jurisprudence. (Sagayo) and Atty. 1981 Ed. "D-2". Ramos vs.31 76 . 51 Phil 502). Branch 16. 531. Paul P. "C"). Nolan v. viz: I. "DD". "H". "X". do not adequately and reliably support by greater weight of credibility. vis-à-vis. Province identified as the bone of contention in this suit. and (2) Ordering the defendants and all persons claiming under them to vacate the premises and surrender the peaceful possession thereof to the plaintiff or its duly authorized representative. 632). NCC. sans the original. Mt. 1 and Lot 3 covered by Survey Plan PSU-118424. the counter-vailing proof proffered by the defensive party (Article 434.30 Nicolas Imperial (Imperial). of the southeastern portion of the surveyed area where its building are erected and the surroundings thereof improved (Exhs. 49978. the mere supposed xerox copy of a reputed OCT No. In effect. "D-3". considering that said plaintiff never materially occupied or exercised control over the same and that it has been in the adverse possession of the Decalengs for quite sometime (Art. "E". Par. judgment is hereby rendered in accordance with the prayer of the defendants. II. or independent of ownership (Art. 428. Jaime. which said right it never had from the very beginning. nor possessions thereof. 23 Phil. allegedly registered in the name of the plaintiff Church (Exh. "A"). 2. 1962). it cannot be deemed to be in constructive possession of that portion now in question. substantially show that said plaintiff acquired dominion over that particular parcel in issue via gratuitous grant as a mode of acquiring ownership (Art. And that said Church has no right of possession of the subject parcels better than that of the defendants who are the present de facto possessors (Art. NCC. Neither does the purported xerox copy of a putative deed of donation (Exh. Sagayo and Lalwet. CV No. "D-4". 50 Phil. the parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Anent those two (2) separate parcels at Ken-gedeng (Exhs. the plaintiff’s survey plans of the premises coupled with its unpaid tax declarations (Exhs. 2217. Jalandoni. Rule 131. II.R. 28. the plaintiff Church is determined not the owner of those three (3) parcels of land situated at Sitio Ken-geka and Sitio Ken-gedeng. 712. Revised Rules on Evidence). "CC".After trial. the counterclaim for damages interposed by the defensive party is denied for lack of merit and on the principle that no penalty should be attached on the right to litigate (Art. "BB". 1 purportedly including the portion within its borders. Feb. Gayagay. by the same token. the RTC rendered its Decision24 on January 20. NCC. adduced by the [PEC-EDNP] on whose side the onus probandi lies. namely. Tuazon v. Sec. Re that 1. Franco.000. premises considered. Dadivas vs Bunayon. 92). 1995 but the RTC denied said motion in an Order27 dated May 11. Paras. Ramos. May 27. CAGR 26538-R. 26-786-R. New Civil Code. De consequente. albeit the same are included within the coverage of the documents. L16434. While it appears that the Church is the possessor for almost a century of the greater part of that tract of land embraced in its survey plan of P1-115 (Exh. 2. Par. "X". the former can neither recover ownership. The Court of Appeals rendered its Decision on August 26. NCC. probably since 1902.00. the [proponent’s] causes of action. by law.

the person who claims a better right to it must prove two things: first. and boundaries thereof.S. 14325 and 6306. area. Maguen. 1974. signed by 40 residents of Sagada. and employees. Episcopal Church and PECEDNP for real property tax purposes under Tax Declaration Nos.R. Episcopal Church under Certificate of Title No. Imperial. 171209. surmises or conjectures. AT BEST. his title action the letter dated February 12. only the spouses Decaleng’s Petition in G. 2006. their inclusion as party defendants in said case. and Tudlong questioned the Court of Appeals Decision dated August 26. the spouses Decaleng made the following assignment of errors: 1. It was conveyed by the U. No.44 1968. as the factual conclusions of the RTC and the In a Resolution37 dated July 17. It was declared by the U.50 PEC-EDNP’s officers.36 The letter dated February 12. and prayed that the same Decision be considered null and void.R. both documentary and testimonial. Episcopal Church to PEC through a Deed of Donation dated April 24. thereto. absurd or impossible.R. Longid vs. (4) when the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts. Episcopal Church and PEC-EDNP for real property tax purposes under Tax Declaration Nos. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE SUPPOSED ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO.S. Bawing. The Ken-geka property is covered by Certificate of Title No.. Robert O. 2006 were jointly docketed as UDK-13672 as they lack (1) proof of service and affidavit of service. Gayagay. Episcopal Church. Gayagay. Court of Appeals are in conflict with each other. and vegetable gardens thereon. 2006. 3. (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN CARINO VS.39 The Court finds that PEC-EDNP was able to successfully prove both requisites by preponderance of evidence.R. Decaleng is one of the signatories in UDK-13672 and at the same time. as well as the Sagada residents testified as to actual possession by PEC-EDNP of the Ken-geka and Ken-gedeng properties by the introduction of improvements such as permanent buildings. 34 In addition. 41 PHIL 935. if properly considered. is not a trier of facts and does not normally embark on a reexamination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during the trial of the case. (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion. 1 issued on February 18. the Court must necessarily return to the 171209 considering that both cases assail the same Court of Appeals Decision. Jr. 2006 in UDK-13672.41 The case at bar falls under one of the exceptions. 1915.43 Therefore.) dated February 24. The Ken-geka property was registered in the name of the U. and Tudlong. to wit: (1) [W]hen the findings are grounded entirely on speculation. 6307. (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. and second. through Assistant Court Administrator and Chief Public Information Officer Ismael G. Spouses Ambrosio Decaleng and Julia Wanay Decaleng. area. The spouses Decaleng (sans Lopez) then sought recourse before this Court via the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari. It was declared by the U. Prefatorily. 2006. FICTITIOUS. (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken. CV No.R. would justify a different conclusion.40 This rule. 2006 and Petition dated February 24. specifically. et al. subject matter of CAG. Ullocan. 171209 is still pending action by this Court.48 PEC-EDNP likewise proved its title to the Ken-geka and Ken-gedeng properties. likewise challenged the Decision dated August 26. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT IT DOES NOT EXIST AND IS. Dapliyan.49 Although not yet covered by any certificate of title. in a Resolution38 dated September 11. one of the petitioners in G. 2. fruit trees.S. however. which. that Julia Wanay evidence on record and make its own evaluation thereof. Meanwhile. No. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT HAS ESTABLISHED ITS OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OVER THE LOTS IN DISPUTE. No. 14326. (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court. pine trees. 77 .35 Mountain Province. AND OTHER RELATED CASES IN FAVOR OF THE PETITIONERS.46 199147 and 1993. the Court resolved to consolidate UDK-13672 with G. The location. 49978. addressed to then Supreme Court Justice Artemio V. CV No.Spouses Decaleng and Lopez timely filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing Decision but it was denied by the appellate court in a Resolution32 dated January 18. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT SAID LOTS WERE POSSESSED AND OCCUPIED BY THE PETITIONERS AND THEIR PREDECESSORS IN INTEREST.S. since the latter’s arrival in 1901. while the Ken-gedeng property is identified as Lot 3 of Survey Plan PSU-118424. 171209. 2006. 2006 and Petition dated February 24. docketed as G. The identity of the properties over which PEC-EDNP asserts ownership is well-established.R. admits of exceptions as recognized by jurisprudence. priests. Panganiban. and five of the signatories of the Petition dated February 24. and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties. Mountain Province. Philippines. the Court already resolved to note without land claimed by describing the location. 1. the U. New Civil Code provides that to successfully maintain an action to recover the ownership of a real property.R. 49978. INSULAR GOVERNMENT. and (3) payment of docket fees. entitled Philippine Episcopal Church represented by Rt. In their Petition. 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. a Petition (Re: Our lots in Sagada. 2006 in UDK-13672 An accion reinvindicatoria is an action to recover ownership over real property. 1. in a letter33 dated February 12.S. 49978 for awarding to PEC-EDNP their ancestral properties.45 1987. CV No. including Julia Wanay Decaleng. the identity of the However. Rev. (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent. it is already a well-established rule that the Court. (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting. or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. No.42 Article 434 of the were defendants-appellees in the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals. in the exercise of its power of review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (2) verification and certification on non-forum shopping. and A11179. Khan. and boundaries of said properties were verified by relocation surveys conducted in 1947. considering that the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the Court. Thus. 2005 in CA-G. (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. 2006. the Ken-gedeng property had been occupied under claim of title (en concepto de dueño) by PEC-EDNP and its predecessor-ininterest.

according to Ramos v. xxxx Furthermore. it has been repeatedly laid down as a rule of evidence that a protest or objection against the admission of any evidence must be made at the proper time. for. RT-71061 was absolutely correct. (See Arts. She was referring to the plaintiff’s building known as Doctor’s Quarters which was then occupied by Fr. although not proof of ownership. we are. which. 53 wherein it accepted in evidence a mere photocopy of the document: Petitioners’ asseveration that TCT No. RT-71061 (214949) in open court during the hearing held on April 13. The plaintiff’s testimonial evidence was equally formidable. Longid attested that he and his father had lived from 1928 to 1931 in a building called the Fox House. It is apt to observe that actual possession of an owner did not need to be the actual and physical possession and occupation of every inch or portion of the property. 1992 of Register of Deeds Angela Dailay-Papa (Dailay-Papa) of the Mountain Province. and even admitted that said photocopies appear to be faithful reproductions of the "purported" original documents. otherwise. clear and competent in establishing its absolute ownership and actual possession of the disputed areas which were within its properties.. such objection shall be considered as waived. Angeles-Hutalla. RT-71061 (214949) should not have been admitted into evidence because private respondents merely presented the photocopy thereof is also unmeritorious. the Court held thus: The established doctrine is that when a party failed to interpose a timely objection to evidence at the time they were offered in evidence. Civil Code. The survey plans. It is worthy to point out that PEC-EDNP presented and marked the photocopies of Certificate of Title No. Episcopal Church]. Retired Bishop Robert Lee O. As explained in Abrenica vs. Being public documents. were approved by the Director of Lands. 52 Relevant herein is the pronouncement of the Court in Caraan v. prepared upon the request of the plaintiff. 1990)]: 78 . or from the presentation of the proof. considering the fact that counsel for petitioners admitted that the photocopy of TCT No. such survey plans were entitled to great weight and credence as "evidence of the facts which gave rise to their execution. 1974 in the course of the testimony of Rev. Inc. but were already proof that the plaintiff had taken steps to assert and protect its ownership and possession of the premises. 2005: The plaintiff established its ownership and possession of the contested lots through the various documents under and in the name of its predecessor-in-interest. otherwise. peaceable. 1 and the Deed of Donation dated April 24. Even defendant Julia Decaleng admitted on cross-examination that there was a building owned by the plaintiff in one of the disputed lots. because it was provided by witnesses who were very knowledgeable and reliable.55 where the Court ruled that: Even if it were true that Exhibit K consisted of a mere photocopy and not the original of the petitioner’s letter. the defendants mainly relied on the supposed non-existence of OCT No." Moreover. 6307. sufficient to apprise the community and the world that the land was for his enjoyment. however. As to when an objection to a document must be made. A-11179. Even though the defense counsel stated for the record the defense’s position that Certificate of Title No. the Court ruled in Interpacific Transit. Fr. stipulated with private respondents' counsel that what will be marked and submitted to the trial court as Exhibit A is the photocopy. 1 that rested solely on the certification of Atty. the inadmissibility of the evidence is. Hence. were strong evidence of ownership for being coupled with possession for a period sufficient for prescription.The Court quotes with approval the following observations of the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated August 26. 1 does not exist based on the Certification dated July 20. 448. That is an impossibility. of the considered opinion that the same may be admitted by reason of private respondent's failure to interpose any timely objection thereto at the time they were being offered in evidence. Arthur Bosaing had resided in the property for almost 26 years. and notorious possession of a portion of the property. Director of Lands: "The claimant has color of title. the plaintiff’s tax declarations. Dulay-Papa of the Registry of Deeds-Mountain Province. the objection shall be treated as waived. which was located near the portion being claimed by the Decalengs. the [U. 14325 and 6306. no objection was raised by counsel for petitioners in their written opposition/comment to private respondents' offer of evidence regarding the fact that what was marked and submitted to the court was the photocopy. In sum. In Tison v. 1993 before the RTC. RT-71061 (214949) is a faithful reproduction of the original thereof. Court of Appeals.S. the plaintiff’s documentary evidence was overwhelming. or from the answer thereto. and (2) Certificate of Title No. he acted in good faith. v. . In contrast. might not be conclusive proofs of ownership.) Possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of ground before it can be said that he is in possession. The proper time is when from the question addressed to the witness. . standing alone. or may be inferred. and the lack of objection on such ground which is then deemed a waiver thereof. a failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform with the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. x x x. since the right to object is merely a privilege which the party may waive. 1974 by PEC-EDNP. In Blas vs. specifically: deed of donation. Gonda. 1 and the Deed of Donation dated April 24. 1 is non-existent. 1974 during the trial before the RTC. and the approved survey plan and owner’s copies of Tax Declaration Nos. Court of Appeals. it will be deemed to have been waived. such that his testimony that the disputed parcels were inside the mission lot where a building and other improvements of the plaintiff were found might not be disputed. approved plat of sales survey.54 Also instructive on this point is Quebral v. he did not make any objection to the presentation and marking of the photocopies of Certificate of Title No. the admission into evidence of the photocopy of TCT No. We consider the testimonial and documentary evidence of the plaintiff sufficient. x x x"51 The spouses Decaleng attempt to raise doubts as to the title of PEC-EDNP over the Ken-geka property by insisting that (1) PEC-EDNP failed to present the original copies of Certificate of Title No. 14326. Constructive possession is sufficient. 1 and the Deed of Donation dated April 24. Henry Hakcholna on June 10. the Supreme Court set out the applicable principle in the following terms: [F]or while the documentary evidence submitted by petitioners do not strictly conform to the rules on their admissibility. Court of Appeals. et al. 446. Thus. It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when an alleged inadmissible document is offered in evidence. Private respondents presented the original of TCT No. petitioner nevertheless failed to make timely objection thereto. 1994. Aviles [186 SCRA 385 (June 6. and he has had open. . Bosaing.

PEC-EDNP subsequently submitted to the RTC its original copies of Certificate of Title No. which can be used in evidence before Philippine courts in the same way as the original certificates in the registration book. 1. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. modified. and attorney’s fees. wrote a letter dated August 31. To show that no record of the original certificate of title in question existed requires a preponderance of proof petitioners failed to adduce. and all the parties to the case are considered amenable to any favorable or unfavorable effects resulting from the evidence. Consequently. giving the reason for the lack of records on the sales patent for the Ken-geka property and Certificate of Title No. the certificate of title is assailed as an incident in said action. the spouses Decaleng only sought the dismissal of the complaint of PEC-EDNP.) In fact. the Records Management Division Chief Jose C. hence. as well as the existence of Certificate of Title No. together with its Motion for Reconsideration The Court stresses that PEC-EDNP submitted to the RTC the owner’s duplicate certificate of of the RTC Decision dated January 20. we regret to inform you that we have no reconstituted records of pre-war sales application of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. and the seal of the court. Moreover. Court of Appeals61 : Petitioners’ submission that OCT 2553 is not in the records of the Registry of Deeds concerned and the xerox copy of subject title exhibited before the trial court was not a genuine and faithful reproduction of the original copy of said certificate of title does not merit serious consideration.Objection to the documentary evidence must be made at the time it is formally offered. As the Court held in Chan v. The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of the certificate. 1 does not appear in the record of registered titles does not necessarily mean that such certificate has never been issued. The spouses Decaleng. Episcopal Church: In reply to your letter dated August 25. 1974."57 In order to establish a system of registration by which recorded title becomes absolute. 1993 addressed to the counsel for PEC-EDNP. 496 placed all registered lands in the Philippines under the Torrens system. any copy thereof duly certified under the signature of the clerk. 1 is only incidental to their defense against the accion publiciana and accion reinvindicatoria instituted by PEC-EDNP. enacted on June 11. 1915. What really matters is the objection to the document at the time it is formally offered as an exhibit. The Torrens system requires the government to issue a certificate of title stating that the person named in the title is the owner of the property described therein. stolen. The identification of the document before it is marked as an exhibit does not constitute the formal offer of the document as evidence for the party presenting it. which the basis of the issuance of alleged Sales Patent No. 1 does not appear in the record of registered titles). 1 covered an area much larger than that actually owned by PEC-EDNP). The mere fact that the Registry of Deeds of the Province of Rizal does not have the original of a certificate of title does not necessarily mean that such title never existed because the same could have been lost. 1995. 1. In said complaint.59 A collateral attack is made when. the Court fully agrees with the Court of Appeals that the same constitutes a collateral attack of Certificate of Title No. Section 47 of Act No. known as the Property Registration Decree. A Torrens title cannot be attacked collaterally. the evidence not objected to became property of the case. 1 (by presenting Mountain Province Register of Deeds Dailay-Papa’s certification that Certificate of Title No. Act No. 14 on February 18. 1 does not exist. for the Director of Lands.58 Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. the original complaint filed by PEC-EDNP before the RTC is for accion publiciana and accion reinvindicatoria (for recovery of possession and ownership) of the Ken-geka and Kengedeng properties.) In contrast. and as to the existence of Certificate of Title No. 47. 1. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. indefeasible. subject to liens and encumbrances annotated on the title or reserved by law. It is a hornbook principle that "a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. and imprescriptible.63 (Emphasis supplied. in the present case. or of the register of deeds of the province or city where the land is situated. shall be received as evidence in all the courts of the Philippine Islands and shall be conclusive as to all matters contained therein except as far as otherwise provided in this Act. and also the owner’s duplicate certificate. In any case. which took effect on February 1. and they conspicuously did not pray for the annulment or cancellation of Certificate of Title No. but also questioned the validity of the certificate itself. It cannot be altered. 1993. 1529 provides: Section 48. but. – A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack." 56 plus the grant of their counterclaim for the payment of moral damages. in an effort to skirt the prohibition against collateral attack of certificates of title. 496 clearly states: As for the spouses Decaleng’s contention that Certificate of Title No. In the case at bench. 1. Presidential Decree No. the existence of such a certificate.62 (Emphasis supplied. 79 . 1978. The original certificate in the registration book. 1 issued to the U. Nevertheless. not earlier.S. 1. exemplary damages. 1529. x x x. rather. Objection to the identification and marking of the document is not equivalent to objection to the document when it is formally offered in evidence. the spouses Decaleng were unable to present convincing evidence to establish their rights of possession and ownership over the disputed properties superior to those of PEC-EDNP. the spouses Decaleng’s attack on the validity. the spouses Decaleng raised issues as to the validity of Certificate of Title No. Mariano. the legislature passed Act No. 1 (by asserting in their Answer that Certificate of Title No. SEC. Mountain Province Register of Deeds Dailay-Papa’s certification to the effect that Certificate of Title No. The Court notes that the spouses Decaleng did not only put in issue the purported non-existence of Certificate of Title No. litigation expenses. no such timely objection was ever made. amended and updated Act No. It may be informed further that all our pre-war records were burned and/or destroyed when the Oriente Building where the Bureau of Lands was then housed was razed by fire during the liberation of Manila. PEC-EDNP alleged ownership of the Ken-geka property as evidenced by Certificate of Title No. 1903. Evidently. In their defense. or removed from where said title was kept. in another action to obtain a different relief. 496. 1 and Deed of Donation dated April 24. 1.60 In this case. merely collateral. 496. argue that they are not attacking the validity of Certificate of Title No. and the issue on its validity can be raised only in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. Certificate of Title No.

orders and decrees promulgated by the Spanish Government in the Philippines. KESSAR DAMSIE ABDIL. As the Court previously found herein. 546. That was theory and discourse. USMAN. in his personal capacity. the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial. to call for the exhibition of grants.) Neither can the spouses Decaleng claim imperfect title to the properties in Ken-geka and Kengedeng for such can only be acquired by possession of lands of the public domain for the period required by law. The evidence submitted by the spouses Decaleng did not support either allegation. The assailed Decision dated August 26.S. Assuming as true that the spouses Decaleng received properties from their parents as part of the ay-yeng or liw-liwa custom. SAPI-E. JOHN ANTHONY L. when it seems proper. which means that the land never became public land at all. Insular Government.R. ASRIN TIMBOL JAIYARI. MUJIB M. Petitioners. while the second denotes an imperfect title acquired through the occupation of agricultural public land for the requisite period. 1754. Law 14 of the Recopilación de Leyes de las Indias. The fact was that titles were admitted to exist that owed nothing to the powers of Spain beyond this recognition in their books.. we do not discover such clear proof that it was bad by that law as to satisfy us that he does not own the land. for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest. 196271 October 18. All lands that were not acquired from the Government. Spain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants of the Philippines into trespassers or even into tenants at will. there is no way for the Court to determine whether or not said properties were still part of the public domain when occupied by the spouses Decaleng’s predecessors -in-interest. or by possessory information under the Mortgage Law (section 19. the Court can glean actual possession of the properties in Ken-geka and Ken-gedeng by the spouses Decaleng and their predecessors-in-interest only as far back as the 1920s. CV No. Episcopal Church ever since its arrival in the Mountain Province in 1901. 1915 and the Ken-gedeng property had been in the possession under claim of title by the U. (Carino vs. Although the spouses Decaleng were able to give the purported area measurements of said properties. In Cariño v. vs. It is true that it begins by the characteristic assertion of feudal overlordship and the origin of all titles in the King or his predecessors. INC. No. SO ORDERED. "Where such possessors shall not be able to produce title deeds.) The applicant does not come under the exception. if there is doubt or ambiguity in the Spanish law. While the spouses Decaleng testified that they inherited the properties in Ken-geka and Kengedeng from their parents who. as a valid title by prescription. either by purchase or by grant. x x x. ed. irrespective of any royal grant.S. certainly for more than 50 years. 2005 and Resolution dated January 18. Director of Lands67 : The applicant failed to show that he has title to the lot that may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act.65 From the testimonies of the spouses Decaleng and their witnesses. it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest. it shall be sufficient if they shall show that ancient possession. In other words. For instance." It may be that this means possession from before 1700. there is no showing that such properties thus given to them are actually the same as the ones they are now occupying. KALANG. for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880. there still remains the question as to how the spouses Decaleng’s predecessors -in-interest originally came into possession of the subject properties. These two allegations actually proffer two different bases for title: the first refers to a native title acquired through ancient possession of the land. as far back as testimony or memory goes. 80 . 212 U. 537. cited in 3 Philippine. at least. LIM. 171209 is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. inherited the same from their own parents.. Episcopal Church (the predecessor-in-interest of PEC-EDNP) on February 18. and never to have been public land.R. Insular Government. even against Crown lands. Act 496). As prescription. they could not give the exact location and boundaries thereof.. ALIH AL-SAIDI J. was recognized by the laws of Spain we see no sufficient reason for hesitating to admit that it was recognized in the Philippines in regard to lands over which Spain had only a paper sovereignty. perhaps. we ought to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt. 2011 DATU MICHAEL ABAS KIDA. under the laws. EN BANC G. Certainly in a case like this. 449. either by purchase or by grant. The spouses Decaleng were similarly vague as to the basis of their title.68 (Emphases supplied. In their Answer before the RTC. but at all events. If the applicant’s case is to be tried by the law of Spain. Prescription is mentioned again in the royal cedula of October 15. cited for a contrary conclusion in Valenton vs. 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Murciano. 3 Philippine. the Petition of the spouses Decaleng in G. ratiocinating thus: It might.66 This hardly constitutes possession since time immemorial judging by the standard set by the Court in Oh Cho v. the Ken-geka property was already covered by a Certificate of Title issued in the name of the U. title 12. the spouses Decaleng alleged possession of their properties from time immemorial or.R. while it commands viceroys and others.69 Because the spouses Decaleng failed to provide and prove the necessary details on how and when their predecessors-in-interest came to possess the disputed properties. WHEREFORE. No.S. the principle is admitted. be proper and sufficient to say that when.1âwphi1 He failed to show that he or any of his predecessors in interest had acquired the lot from the Government. belong to the public domain. and in representation of MAGUINDANAO FEDERATION OF AUTONOMOUS IRRIGATORS ASSOCIATION. Book 4. and BASSAM ALUH SAUPI. the older decrees and laws cited by the counsel for the plaintiff in error seem to indicate pretty clearly that the natives were recognized as owning some lands. directs them to confirm those who hold by good grants or justa prescripción. in turn. 49978 are AFFIRMED. The evidence for the spouses Decaleng do not establish how their predecessors-in-interest acquired the disputed properties and how long they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the same.The spouses Decaleng could not even establish the identity of the properties they claim to own. 53 Law. 594. ODIN. To begin with.64 the United States Supreme Court granted an Igorot’s application for registration of a piece of land in Benguet based on the latter’s possession of the land from time immemorial. HADJI MUHMINA J. JAMILON T.

. vs. 197282 ATTY... x . No. ROMULO B.. and the Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly. 2756 were challenged in petitions filed with this Court. PAQUITO N.-x BASARI D. Respondents.R. Respondents.. vs... COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. entitled "An Act Providing for the Synchronization of the Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the National and Local Elections and for Other Purposes" was enacted.. Republic Act (RA) No. JR... and PARTIDO DEMOKRATIKO PILIPINO LAKAS NG BAYAN (PDP-LABAN). OCHOA. x ... OCHOA.. vs..-x G. Section 15 states: Section 15. represented by its President JUAN PONCE ENRILE..-x G. cities... and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS.. and ROBERTO TAN." Even before its formal passage..R. The law reset the ARMM elections from the 8th of August 2011.. OCHOA.. FLORENCIO ABAD.. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N.... JR. in his capacity as Treasurer of the Philippines.... JR. PHILIPPINES.. in his capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives. No.... and FELICIANO BELMONTE. Petitioner. 197280 ALMARIM CENTI TILLAH.. 10153..-x G. Article X of the 1987 Constitution... DATU CASAN CONDING CANA.. in his capacity as Chairman of the Commission on Elections. JR.. INC.R... the Regional Vice-Governor... 10153 was passed. the bills that became RA No.. thru its Chairman. 4146 and Senate Bill No...... JR......-x G.. MAPUPUNO. in his capacity as Executive Secretary. x .. LAGMAN. JR..... who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office.. These petitions multiplied after RA No...R... The law as well granted the President the power to "appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) for the Office of the Regional Governor. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N.... EDCEL C. SIXTO BRILLANTES.. 10153 already spawned petitions against their validity... SIXTO BRILLANTES. JR. in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.. JR. Respondents. Factual Antecedents The State. HON. SIXTO BRILLANTES... thru SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE. Petitioner.-x G...... JUAN PONCE ENRILE. 197454 JACINTO V. House Bill No.. REP. JR. 2011. JR..R. OCHOA. Respondents... No.. JR. Secretary of Budget.... JR.. and geographical areas sharing common and 81 . PAQUITO N.. PACQUITO OCHOA. vs... There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces. MACALINTAL.... vs. FLORENCIO ABAD. PAQUITO OCHOA.. and HON.: On June 30........ mandated the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras.. DECISION BRION.. to coincide with the country’s regular national and local elections... through its Chairman. x ... Office of the President Executive Secretary....... vs.... in his capacity as Senate President. through Sections 15 to 22... Petitioner...Respondents. J.. Respondents.. TAN. Respondents-Intervenor. municipalities. Petitioner. in his capacity as the Executive Secretary. Petitioner. to the second Monday of May 2013 and every three (3) years thereafter..... Treasurer of the Philippines.R... in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. PARAS. ROBERTO B. HON. in his capacity as Executive Secretary.... COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS.. 197221 MINORITY RIGHTS FORUM......... Respondents. OCHOA. 197392 LUIS "BAROK" BIRAOGO.. through EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N.SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES. ABAD... HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.-x G.. No...... No.. x ... x . No... Petitioners. 196305 x .. FLORENCIO B. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS... and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS...

petitioner Basari Mapupuno in G. 196305 filed another petition4 also assailing the validity of RA No. 4146. 9054 was ratified in a plebiscite held on August 14. docketed as G. 4146. On July 26. the COMELEC stopped its preparations for the ARMM elections. on June 6. 1989 or two years after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal. 10153." A plebiscite was held on November 6. RA No. seeking the postponement of the ARMM elections scheduled on August 8. 197221. and RA No. and on the same date every 3 years thereafter. 10153 into law. 9054. 6734. Jr. 2011. thus fully establishing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). and Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement filed their own Motion for Leave to Admit their Motion for Intervention and Comment-in-Intervention dated July 18. No. 2011. 9054 (entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Congress acted through Republic Act (RA) No. 9333. It likewise set the plebiscite to ratify RA No. docketed as G. to coincide with the regular national and local elections of the country. Unlike RA No. Thereafter. 1990 as required by Section 18(2). and d) Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus8 filed by Jacinto Paras as a member of the House of Representatives against Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa. resetting the ARMM elections to May 2013. RA No. Ochoa. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. As mentioned. RA No. 2011. No. the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8. directed Congress to enact an organic act for these autonomous regions to concretely carry into effect the granted autonomy. 10153 came through a petition filed with this Court – G. 2001. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly. 2011. and the COMELEC. No. and on June 30. 2756). Jr. Thirteen (13) Senators voted favorably for its passage. the House of Representatives passed HB No. 6734 entitled "An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. On June 7. 9333 as well for non-compliance with the constitutional plebiscite requirement. 2011. 2001. Article X of RA No. 9054. Minority Rights Forum Philippines. 9333.R. 2756. 4146 and SB No. also filed a Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus9 against the COMELEC. 10153.distinctive historical and cultural heritage. 2756 (SB No. both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. But on June 30. This law provided further refinement in the basic ARMM structure first defined in the original organic act. and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. family and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. 9140. the early challenge to RA No. RA No. The province of Basilan and Marawi City voted to join ARMM on the same date. The initially assenting provinces were Lanao del Sur.R. 6734 and RA No. to November 26. 2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. 9333 was not ratified in a plebiscite.R. 1962713 . Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region. c) Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus. 2011.assailing the constitutionality of both HB No. 82 . This law reset the first regular elections originally scheduled under RA No. RA No. Senate Bill No. as Amended") was the next legislative act passed. Maguindanao. RA No. Subsequently. No. 10153 originated in the House of Representatives as House Bill (HB) No. Section 18. 10153 was enacted. 4146. 197392. to assail the constitutionality of RA No. 9333 and RA No. Jr. After the Senate received HB No. docketed as G. it adopted its own version. 91401 . and reset the regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second Monday of September 2001. SB No. With the enactment into law of RA No. b) Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition6 filed by Atty. 93332 was subsequently passed by Congress to reset the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of August 2005. Inc. the Court granted the motion.R. 2011. Edcel Lagman as a member of the House of Representatives against Paquito Ochoa.. Pursuant to RA No. Petitioners Alamarim Centi Tillah and Datu Casan Conding Cana as registered voters from the ARMM. 2001. The law gave rise as well to the filing of the following petitions against its constitutionality: a) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition5 filed by Rep. RA No. with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (a political party with candidates in the ARMM regional elections scheduled for August 8. The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose. 6734. the Court ordered the consolidation of all the petitions relating to the constitutionality of HB No. Section 18 of the Article. the House of Representative concurred with the Senate amendments. 2011. RA No. 10153. 2756. 197454. No. 6734 scheduled the first regular elections for the regional officials of the ARMM on a date not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after its ratification. No. Congress passed the next law affecting ARMM – RA No. On August 1. with one hundred ninety one (191) Members voting in its favor. 2011). On March 22.R. Sulu and Tawi-tawi. cities. and challenging the validity of RA No. Injunction and Preliminary Injunction7 filed by Louis "Barok" Biraogo against the COMELEC and Executive Secretary Paquito N.R. Romulo Macalintal as a taxpayer against the COMELEC. RA No. docketed as G. docketed as G. 4146. 9054 to not later than August 15. In the same Resolution. the President signed RA No. provided that only provinces. No. Anak Mindanao Party-List. (in his capacity as the Executive Secretary) and the COMELEC. entitled An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 9333. 197282. 197280. economic and social structures.R.on June 22. 2001. on the other hand.

2011. 10153 assert that these laws amend RA No. 2011: I. The first elections of Members of the Congress under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May. Whether the passage of RA No. The Senators. Does the requirement of a plebiscite apply only in the creation of autonomous regions under paragraph 2. The Arguments IV. in complete violation of Section 16. 10153 in toto. 2011 and August 16. Article X of the 1987 Constitution C. Synchronization as a recognized constitutional mandate The respondent Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) argues that the Constitution mandates synchronization. the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the implementation of RA No. the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six year and the remaining twelve for three years. Article XVII of RA No. The first local elections shall be held on a date to be determined by the President. which provides: Section 1. 9054 violate Section 1 and Section 16(2). Whether the proposal to hold special elections is constitutional and legal. 1992. We shall discuss these issues in the order they are presented above. 10153 violates the autonomy granted to the ARMM V. they also argue that the power of appointment also gave the President the power of control over the ARMM. Section 16. 1986 election is. 10153 violates Section 26(2). Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the corollary doctrine on irrepealable laws? C. The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice President elected in the February 7. Section 15. 10153 requires a supermajority vote and plebiscite A. 9094 in order to become effective. 9140. 9054? B. The petitions assailing RA No. Section 2. RA No. Article X of the Constitution. On September 13. the petitioners challenged the grant to the President of the power to appoint OICs to undertake the functions of the elective ARMM officials until the officials elected under the May 2013 regular elections shall have assumed office. Whether RA No. 1987. OUR RULING We resolve to DISMISS the petitions and thereby UPHOLD the constitutionality of RA No. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution III. Article X of the 1987 Constitution The petitioners assailing RA No. Members of the House of Representatives and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30. Article X of the 1987 Constitution? VI. 2011. Article VI of the Constitution. 2 and 5. Whether the passage of RA No. 83 . 10153 further maintain that it is unconstitutional for its failure to comply with the three-reading requirement of Section 26(2). cites Sections 1. 9333 and RA No. Section 18. Also cited as grounds are the alleged violations of the right of suffrage of the people of ARMM. hereby extended to noon of June 30. as well as the failure to adhere to the "elective and representative" character of the executive and legislative departments of the ARMM. 1992. the parties were instructed to submit their respective memoranda within twenty (20) days. Thereafter. xxx Section 5. Section 18. 2011. Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of the 1987 Constitution. Lastly. Article XVIII of RA No. Corrolarily.Oral arguments were held on August 9. The Issues From the parties’ submissions. have to comply with the supermajority vote and plebiscite requirements prescribed under Sections 1 and 3. It shall include the election of all Members of the city or municipal councils in the Metropolitan Manila area. Does the postponement of the ARMM regular elections constitute an amendment to Section 7. 10153 and ordering the incumbent elective officials of ARMM to continue to perform their functions should these cases not be decided by the end of their term on September 30. I. and in support of this position. which may be simultaneous with the election of the Members of the Congress. 9054 and thus. Of the Senators elected in the election in 1992. The first regular elections for President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May. Whether the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections II. 1992. for purposes of synchronization of elections. the following issues were recognized and argued by the parties in the oral arguments of August 9 and 16. Article X of the 1987 Constitution B. Does the requirement of a supermajority vote for amendments or revisions to RA No. Whether the grant of the power to appoint OICs violates: A.

The Court. 10153 for its alleged failure to comply with Section 26(2). done among others through the shortening the terms of the twelve winning senators with the least number of votes. Vol. This Court was not left behind in recognizing the synchronization of the national and local elections as a constitutional mandate. Derilo. Article VI of the Constitution18 which provides that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws.R. 5. 15 As this Court explained readings in the House of Representatives on the same day [May 14. No. in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. which provides: Section 1. That the election for Senators. 197280 also challenge the validity of RA No. It is likewise evident from the wording of the above-mentioned Sections that the term of synchronization is used synonymously as the phrase holding simultaneously since this is the precise intent in terminating their Office Tenure on the same day or occasion. 1992 and for all the following elections. and barangays. II. The exception is when the President certifies to the necessity of the bill’s immediate enactment. Thus. except when technical terms are with the Senate version. Members of the House of Representatives and the local officials (under Sec. sought to attain synchronization of elections. 10153 The petitioners in G. p. by deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials. date and year — noon of June 30. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces.13 These Constitutional Commission exchanges. 1992. as this concept permeates the consideration of the various issues posed in this case and must be recalled time and again for its complete resolution.14 we explained: It is clear from the aforequoted provisions of the 1987 Constitution that the terms of office of Senators. Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: [i] the bill has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is finally approved. The President’s Certification on the Urgency of RA No. In Osmeña v. Secretary of Finance. they must pass through three readings on separate days. was passed on second and third employed. the ARMM elections should be included among the elections to be synchronized as it is a "local" election based on the wording and structure of the Constitution. the local officials. Art. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao. From the perspective of the Constitution. in Tolentino v. Its words should be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. II. 17 Regional elections in the ARMM for the positions of governor. XVIII) is likewise evident from the x x x records of the proceedings in the Constitutional Commission. the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. in consolidation that they have in common use and given their ordinary meaning.] Although called regional elections. cities. its language certified by the President as urgent. We shall refer to synchronization in the course of our discussions below. XVIII) will have to be synchronized with the election for President and Vice President (under Sec. as evident from Article X of the Constitution entitled "Local Government. since they pertain to the elected officials who will serve within the limited region of ARMM. starting the second Monday of May. Members of the House of Representatives.12 This intention finds full support in the discussions during the Constitutional Commission deliberations. While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local elections. and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.19 explained the effect of the President’s certification of necessity in the following manner: The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days.16 "[a]s the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer’s document. autonomous regions are considered one of the forms of local governments. became Republic Act No.We agree with this position. VI. the bill defining the certiorari jurisdiction of this Court which. the requirement of three readings on separate days and of printing and distribution can be dispensed with is supported by the weight of legislative A basic rule in constitutional construction is that the words used should be understood in the sense practice. municipalities. That an autonomous region is considered a form of local government is also reflected in Section 1. [Emphasis supplied. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment. 1968] after the bill had been in People v.11 The objective behind setting a common termination date for all elective officials. Art." Autonomous regions are established and discussed under Sections 15 to 21 of this Article – the article wholly devoted to Local Government. we find the contention – that the synchronization mandated by the Constitution does not include the regional elections of the ARMM –unmeritorious. read with the provisions of the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution. the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the 84 . xxx That upon the certification of a bill by the President. Commission on Elections. 5440. vice-governor and regional assembly representatives obviously fall within this classification. is to synchronize the holding of all future elections – whether national or local – to once every three years. the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII) of the Constitution. often a community or minor political subdivision. 605). should be understood in the sense that it may have in common. This common termination date will synchronize future elections to once every three years (Bernas." in Art. all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional mandate to hold synchronized national and local elections. the word "local" refers to something that primarily serves the needs of a particular limited district." In the present case.1avvphil Understood in its ordinary sense. Article X of the Constitution. 2. For example. the President and the Vice-President have been synchronized to end on the same hour. etc.10 which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission.

RA No. it did not The petitioners. 10153 did in fact amend RA No.20 Following our Tolentino ruling. 9333 and RA No. The House of Representatives and the Senate – in the exercise of their legislative discretion – This view – that Congress thought it best to leave the determination of the date of succeeding gave full recognition to the President’s certification and promptly enacted RA No. the two-fold purpose that underlies the requirement for three readings on separate days of every bill must always be observed to enable our legislators and other parties interested in pending bills to intelligently respond to them. A need therefore existed for the Congress to fix the date of the subsequent ARMM regular elections. In this light. Obviously. 10153 – cannot be considered amendments to RA No. Hence. Consequently. RA No. 6734 – not only did not fix the date of the subsequent elections. Thereafter.26 RA No. The Second Organic Act – RA No. Consequently. 8746. RA No.24 leaving the date to be fixed in another action. 10153 has also been challenged because they did not comply with Sections 1 and 3. while the judicial department and this Court are not bound by the acceptance of the legislative enactment. In any case. 10153. nothing short of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the two houses of Congress can justify our intrusion under our power of judicial review. they were not by the Constitution. 10153 is not the first law passed that rescheduled the ARMM elections. no reason exists to nullify RA No. Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when approved by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose. Article XVII of RA No. 905432 has to be struck down for giving RA No.] Section 3. 10153 amends RA No. the new date of the ARMM regional elections fixed in RA No. which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment or revision. Article XVII of RA No. 9054 or supplemented the law by providing the date of the subsequent regular elections. 10153 without requiring compliance with the amendment prerequisites embodied in Section 1 and Section 3. 9054. Specifically. based on the records of the deliberations on the law. while RA No. 21 To recall. III. 10153 on the cited ground. there was no need to submit them to any plebiscite for ratification. 10153 are not amendments to RA No. Article XVII of RA No. 9054 The effectivity of RA No. however. VI. In the first place. we see the clear intention of Congress to treat the laws which fix the date of the subsequent ARMM elections as separate and distinct from the Organic Acts. the purpose with respect to Members of Congress is: (1) to inform the legislators of the matters they shall vote on and (2) to give them notice that a measure is in progress through the enactment process. 2001. the President’s certification exempted both the House and the Senate from having to comply with the three separate readings requirement. 85 . this law was not ratified through a plebiscite. 9054 only provides for the schedule of the first ARMM elections and does not fix the date of the regular elections. 6734. The First Organic Act – RA No. despite the President’s certification. 9054 the character of an irrepealable law by requiring more than what the Constitution demands. which it did by enacting RA No. 9054 in amending this law. A. 9054. 9054 as they did not change or revise any provision in the latter law. 9140 also scheduled the plebiscite for the ratification of the Second Organic Act (RA No. they merely filled in a gap in RA No. Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. Again. 9054. 9333 and thereafter. III. neither RA No. Under the ARMM elections to legislative discretion – finds support in ARMM’s recent history. 9054 the character of an irrepealable law Even assuming that RA No.ARMM elections with the national and local elections. prudent exercise of 8753. certainly should elicit a different standard of review. again we hark back to our ruling in Tolentino: The sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or declaration of martial law Art. or the existence of a national emergency justifying the delegation of extraordinary powers to the President under Art. Section 23(2) is subject to judicial review because basic rights of individuals may be of hazard.22 amendments to this latter law. 8176. But the factual basis of presidential certification of bills. the supermajority (2/3) voting requirement required under Section 1. 9140 was not among the provisions ratified in the plebiscite held to approve RA No. 9333 nor RA No. Congress passed RA No. 10153. These provisions require: Section 1. 9333 and RA No. this Organic Act may be reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. Thereafter. 9054). 9333 and RA No. which involves doing away with procedural requirements designed to insure that bills are duly considered by members of Congress. 31 which further reset the date of the ARMM regional elections. 9333 and RA No.25 RA No.27 RA No. Supermajority voting requirement unconstitutional for giving RA No. We find no merit in this contention. [Emphasis supplied. From these legislative actions. As an examination of these laws will show. VII. Congress only acted consistently with this intent when it passed RA No. 7647. 9054. 914030to reset the date of the ARMM elections. Section 18. 901229 were all enacted by Congress to fix the dates of the ARMM elections. Significantly. caution a stay of the judicial hand. failed to provide us with any cause or justification for this course of even fix the specific date of the first ARMM elections. On the follow-up contention that no necessity existed for the immediate enactment of these bills since there was no public calamity or emergency that had to be met. 9054 – which lapsed into law on March 31. President's certification by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.28 and RA No. that both advocates and the opponents of the proposed measure had sufficient opportunities to present their views. Congress passed RA No. RA No. these subsequent laws – RA No.23 We find. provided that the first elections would be held on the second Monday of September 2001. RA No. circumstances. 9333. B. our powers and respect due our co-equal branches of government in matters committed to them Since these laws did not change or modify any part or provision of RA No.

revise or repeal the laws it had passed. 7166 – as the forerunner of the current RA No. or (3) to authorize the President to appoint OICs. but enlarged as with the terms of those elected to expire when those elected in the synchronized elections assume well the plebiscite requirement. Article XVII of RA No. Perpetual infallibility is not one of the attributes desired in a legislative body. IV. 9054..e. pursuant to Section 3 of RA No. what RA No. Section 3. These amendments to the Organic Act are those that relate to: (a) the basic structure of the regional government. Clearly. Article XVII of that Act. or revisions of. (c) the grant and extent of the legislative powers constitutionally conceded to the regional government under Section 20. As we did on office. Every legislative body may modify or abolish the acts passed by itself or its predecessors. until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office. Article VI of the Constitution provides that a "majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business.Section 16(2). Article X of the Constitution. any change in the date of elections cannot be construed as a substantial amendment of the Organic Act that would require compliance with these requirements. an existing law in fact already exists – RA No. voting separately. and even while a bill is in its progress and before it becomes a law.. family. These options are: (1) to allow the elective officials in the ARMM to remain in office in a hold over capacity. it is a limitation in excess of what the Constitution requires on the passage of bills and is constitutionally obnoxious because it significantly constricts the future legislators’ room for action and flexibility. the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to resolve this problem. in choosing to grant the President the power to appoint OICs. and a legislature which attempts to forestall future amendments or repeals of its enactments labors under delusions of omniscience. as embodied in its Section 3. as long as majority of the members of the House of Representatives or the Senate are present. pursuant to Section 7(1). a vote of majority is generally sufficient to enact laws or approve acts. within its territorial jurisdiction. Thus. It cannot bind itself or its successors by enacting irrepealable laws except when so restrained. under Section 18.37 To achieve synchronization. 35 questions on the V. a violation of the Constitution. RA No. 7166 to be held in May 2013). and property law jurisdiction. Congress necessarily has to reconcile the schedule of the ARMM’s regular elections (which should have been held in August 2011 based on RA No. Article X of the Constitution to be excessive to point of absurdity and. we interpret the requirement to mean that only amendments to. while a supermajority is not a total ban against a repeal. The synchronization issue A state legislature has a plenary law-making power over all subjects. 10153 provides is an old matter for local governments (with the exception of barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan elections where the terms are not constitutionally provided) and is technically a reiteration of what is already reflected in the law. This legislature cannot bind a future legislature to a particular mode of repeal.e. exercising as they do the same plenary powers. Article XVII of RA No. Congress. C. In contrast. it would be noxious anathema to democratic principles for a legislative body to have the ability to bind the actions of future legislative body. Section 1. unless prohibited expressly or by implication by the federal constitution or limited or restrained by its own. 7166 already provides for the synchronization of local elections with the national and congressional elections. 9054 requires a vote of no less than two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate. During the oral arguments. 9054. considering that both assemblies are regarded with equal footing.34 (Emphasis ours. (b) the region’s judicial system. 10153. and served to restrain the plenary powers of Congress to amend. 10153 extent of the matters requiring ratification may unavoidably arise because of the seemingly general 86 . While the settled rule is that amendments to the Organic Act have to comply with the plebiscite requirement in order to become effective. 9054 excessively enlarged the plebiscite requirement found in Section 18. Article X of the Constitution As we discussed above. Therefore." In other words. these bodies have the quorum needed to conduct business and hold session. The Constitutionality of RA No. even assuming that the supermajority votes and the plebiscite requirements are valid. The Court’s pronouncement in City of Davao v. Section 18. we find the enlargement of the plebiscite requirement required also until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office. this 2/3 voting requirement is higher than what the Constitution requires for the passage of bills. Article X of the Constitution plainly states that "The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by the majority of the votes case by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose. Within a quorum. This power of repeal may be exercised at the same session at which the original act was passed. As will be abundantly clear in the discussion below. It cannot declare in advance the intent of subsequent legislatures or the effect of subsequent legislation upon existing statutes. On this point. III. and." With these wordings as standard. 36 The date of the ARMM elections does not fall under any of the matters that the Constitution specifically mandated Congress to provide for in the Organic Act. cities and geographic areas will be included in the autonomous regions. i. the Organic Act constitutionally-essential to the creation of autonomous regions – i. whether pertaining to persons or things.38 (2) to hold special elections in the ARMM. autonomous regions and for determining which provinces. 10153. Article VII of RA No.) Thus. 10153 as a completely Section 18. The requirements of RA No. GSIS33 on this subject best explains the basis and reason for the unconstitutionality: Moreover. in order to effectively amend RA No. Article X of the Constitution states that the plebiscite is required only for the creation of valid law. those aspects specifically mentioned in the Constitution which Congress must provide for in the Organic Act – require ratification through a plebiscite. the supermajority requirement. hence. synchronization of national and local elections is a constitutional mandate that Congress must provide for and this synchronization must include the ARMM elections. chose the correct option and passed RA No. 9333) with the fixed schedule of the national and local elections (fixed by RA No. given that regional elections are in reality local elections by express constitutional recognition. either to introduce new laws or repeal the old. xxx terms of the Constitution and the obvious absurdity that would result if a plebiscite were to be required for every statutory amendment. the special courts with personal. 9054 not only required an unwarranted supermajority.

51 In all these. the need for interim measures is dictated by necessity. Under these limitations. The Constitution’s Transitory Provisions themselves collectively provide measures for transition from the old constitution to the new46and for the introduction of new concepts. as expressed in the above-quoted Section 17 and in Section 15. Article X of the Constitution. The terms of these sections leave no doubt on what the Constitution intends – the idea of self-rule or self-government. failed to look far enough or deeply enough.A. its requirements and its parameters. except barangay officials. If their compelling force differs at all. however. and the third is on the concept of autonomy as recognized and established under the 1987 Constitution. consistent with the terms of the Constitution and its established supporting jurisprudence. 40 Any power. deemed to be legislative by usage and tradition. did Congress gravely abuse its discretion or violate the Constitution when it addressed through RA No. 10153 the concomitant problems that the adjustment of elections necessarily brought with it? B. The express limitations are generally provided in some provisions of the Declaration of Principles and State Policies (Article 2) and in the provisions Bill of Rights (Article 3). The implied limitations are found "in the evident purpose which was in view and the circumstances and historical events which led to the enactment of the particular provision as a part of organic law. The term of office of elective local officials. consecutive terms. i. too..e. unless the Constitution has lodged it elsewhere. the present problem is with us today. The proper understanding of the options as interim measures assume prime materiality as it is under these terms that the passage of RA No. Interim measures. vice-governor and members of the sangguniang panlalawigan although these positions are essentially elective in character. To return to the underlying basic concepts. economic and administrative matters. To succinctly describe the legal situation that faced Congress then. which shall be operates on and affects the whole country. But equally clear under these provisions are the permeating principles of national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic. the second is the constitutional mandate for the synchronization of elections. national government. [emphases ours] 87 ."43 The constitutional provisions on autonomy – specifically. In the creation of Quezon del Sur48 and Dinagat Islands. The problem. general and comprehensive. Basic Underlying Premises To fully appreciate the available options. reject the notion of imperium et imperio45 in the relationship between the national and the regional governments. Sections 15 to 21 of Article X of the Constitution – constitute express limitations on legislative power as they define autonomy. certain underlying material premises must be fully understood. in particular. The first is the extent of the powers of Congress to legislate. These underlying basic concepts characterize the powers and limitations of Congress when it acted on RA No. particularly into the problems that synchronizing regional autonomous elections would entail. "all powers and functions not granted by this Constitution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Government. these concepts shall serve as the guideposts and markers in our discussion of the options available to Congress to address the problems brought about by the synchronization of the ARMM elections. Other constitutional provisions (such as the initiative and referendum clause of Article 6. congressional and all other local elections (save for barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections) left it with the problem of how to provide the ARMM with governance in the intervening period between the expiration of the term of those elected in August 2008 and the assumption to office – twenty-one (21) months away – of those who will win in the synchronized elections on May 13. and with the respect due to the concept of autonomy. with one being as compelling as the other. thus limiting what is otherwise the unlimited power of Congress to legislate on the governance of the autonomous region. 39 The legislative body possesses plenary power for all purposes of civil government. Of particular relevance to the issues of the present case are the limitations posed by the prescribed basic structure of government – i. 10153. that the government must have an executive department and a legislative assembly. the appointive officials were to serve until a new set of provincial officials shall have been elected and qualified. Sections 1 and 32. The creation of local government units also represents instances when interim measures are required. synchronization Section 8. must not encroach on the legislative powers granted under Section 20. while regional autonomy – as the term suggests – determined by law. out-of-the-way arrangements and approaches were adopted or used in order to adjust to the goal or objective in sight in a manner that does not do violence to the Constitution and to reasonably accepted norms. This provision states: In relation with synchronization. Article X." The totality of Sections 15 to 21 of Article X should likewise serve as a standard that Congress must observe in dealing with legislation touching on the affairs of the autonomous regions. Article X. The grant of legislative power to Congress is broad. the choice of measures was a question of wisdom left to congressional discretion. its decision to synchronize the regional elections with the national. shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three directly carries a narrower regional effect although its national effect cannot be discounted. both of which must be elective and representative of the constituent political units. the difference is in their coverage. thus. properly understood as interim measures that Congress had to provide. 10153 should be measured. to be sure.42 The constitutional limitations on legislative power are either express or implied. legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to all matters of general concern or common interest.44 In other words. is not a strange phenomenon in the Philippine legal landscape. both autonomy and the synchronization of national and local elections are recognized and established constitutional mandates.47 As previously mentioned.50 A similar authority to appoint is provided in the transition of a local government from a sub-province to a province.. Conversely and as expressly reflected in Section 17. The adjustments. given the constitutional objective of synchronization that cannot legally be faulted. is necessarily possessed by Congress. the power to legislate on a wide array of social. the Constitution and the supporting jurisprudence. the adjustment of elective terms and of elections towards the goal of synchronization first transpired under the Transitory Provisions. in other words. and the autonomy provisions of Article X) provide their own express limitations. as they now stand. 2013.41 Except as limited by the Constitution. Holdover Option is Unconstitutional We rule out the first option – holdover for those who were elected in executive and legislative positions in the ARMM during the 2008-2011 term – as an option that Congress could have chosen because a holdover violates Section 8.e.49 the creating statutes authorized the President to appoint an interim governor. was for interim measures for this period. either expressly or impliedly.

salaries. Article VI. As this Court put in Osmeña v. term. the net result is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term.58 and Montesclaros v. this Court. if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly. Indeed.53 If at all.. 9054) in the past.] Independently of the Osmeña ruling. The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of suppressing the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No.62 except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results. [Emphasis ours] while Section 3. A necessary corollary is that none of the three branches of government can deviate from the constitutional mandate except only as the Constitution itself may allow. C. they are covered and bound by the three-year term limit prescribed by the Constitution. is not without examples of cases where the question of holdover was brought before.61 Congress. allowing no room for any implementing legislation with respect to the fixed term itself and no vagueness that would allow an interpretation from this Court. COMELEC. Because of their constitutionally limited term. to act in a way that would effectively extend the term of the incumbents. In American Jurisprudence it has been stated as follows: "It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot. their term has been fixed clearly and unequivocally. 197282 is for this Court to compel COMELEC to immediately conduct special elections pursuant to Section 5 and 6 of Batas Pambansa Bilang (BP) 881.59 where the Court ruled that the elective officials could hold on to their positions in a hold over capacity. applicable to the legislature. they cannot extend their term through a holdover.56 Hence. justice or expediency of legislation. refers to local elective officials – the ARMM Governor. and there had been statutory basis for it (namely Section 7. on the other hand. there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period. the following provisions of the Constitution: Section 8. The COMELEC has no authority to order special elections Another option proposed by the petitioner in G. the regular election of the Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. appointment and removal. Comelec. even though the successors fail to qualify within the time. may only interpret the mandate if an interpretation is appropriate and called for. particularly from Sambarani v. Thus. Congress cannot legislate an extension beyond the term for which they were originally elected. on local government. xxx Unless otherwise provided by law. i. 10153. the term of three years for local officials should stay at three (3) years as fixed by the Constitution and cannot be extended by holdover by Congress. holdover – whichever way it is viewed – is a constitutionally infirm option that Congress could not have undertaken.60 we have to remember that the rule of holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the contrary exists. by an act postponing the election to fill an office the term of which is limited by the Constitution. Article X of the Constitution. All these past cases refer to elective barangay or sangguniang kabataan officials whose terms of office are not explicitly provided for in the Constitution. this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom.Since elective ARMM officials are local officials. [Emphasis ours] Section 4(3). No. in passing RA No. Article VII of RA No. the ARMM Vice-Governor. The present case though differs significantly from past cases with contrary rulings. of course. the primacy of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land dictates that where the Constitution has itself made a determination or given its mandate. Comelec. and given the imprimatur of approval by. the regular election for President and VicePresident shall be held on the second Monday of May. then all laws would be illusory. and the members of the Regional Legislative Assembly – whose terms fall within the three-year term limit set by Section 8. Jurisprudence. the present case. This is effectively an act of appointment by Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional appointment power of the President. Article VII. Unless otherwise provided by law.R.55 Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of the position for the new term. The deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise of its plenary legislative powers. and exemplified by. Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible. on the other hand. powers and functions and duties of local officials[. it cannot apply where such contrary intent is evident. as evident from. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for xxx the qualifications." [Emphasis ours. this Court. Article X. extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution.] [Emphases ours] 88 .57 Adap v. election. with the same tenor but applicable solely to the President and VicePresident. If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by Congress. This view – like the extension of the elective term – is constitutionally infirm because Congress cannot do indirectly what it cannot do directly. Congress may only pass legislation filing in details to fully operationalize the constitutional command or to implement it by legislation if it is non-self-executing. COMELEC:52 It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term shall begin. then the matters so determined or mandated should be respected until the Constitution itself is changed by amendment or repeal through the applicable constitutional process. states: xxxx Section 4. provides: Section 3.54 In the case of the terms of local officials. provides: Section 8.e. 9054 by completely removing this provision.

on account of force majeure. elections. or more. COMELEC has no power to call for the holding of special elections unless pursuant to a specific statutory grant. we have to bear in mind that the constitutional power of the COMELEC. particularly. as shown when the Constitution shortened the terms of twelve Senators obtaining the least votes. . which can be exercised only in the case of barangay officials. loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records. on the basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing. Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011 elections and setting another date – May 13. In the present case. the postponement of the ARMM elections is by law – i. and (e) other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free.66 Clearly. In the first place. or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof.70 More particularly.68 and extended the terms of the President and the Vice-President69 in order to synchronize elections. Congress did grant. True. Section 6 of BP 881 applies only to those situations where elections have already been scheduled but do not take place because of (a) force majeure. or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the election not held. which all pertain to extralegal causes that obstruct the holding of elections.67 is specifically given to Congress. Congress itself has made a policy decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections. orderly and honest election should become impossible. call for the holding or continuation of the election not held. except when so provided by another Act of Congress. and after due notice and hearing. . Section 6 addresses instances where the elections do not occur or had to be suspended because of unexpected and unforeseen circumstances. orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision. By so doing. the result is at the cost of a violation of an express provision of the Constitution.R. Postponement of election.These provisions support the conclusion that no elections may be held on any other date for the positions of President. [Emphasis ours] A close reading of Section 5 of BP 881 reveals that it is meant to address instances where elections have already been scheduled to take place but have to be postponed because of (a) violence. Vice President. while synchronization is achieved. 197282 urges.When for any serious cause such as violence. These "analogous causes" are further defined by the phrase "of such nature that the holding of a free. 64 But our power rests on very narrow ground and is merely to annul a contravening act of Congress. 65 Statutorily.e.. (d) fraud. force majeure. and to set the date of. The settled rule is that terms fixed by the Constitution cannot be changed by mere statute. or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress may have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the details in the execution of that power. The Court has no power to shorten the terms of elective officials Even assuming that it is legally permissible for the Court to compel the COMELEC to hold special elections. By no stretch of the imagination can these reasons be given the same character as the circumstances contemplated by Section 5 or Section 6 of BP 881. neither Section 5 nor Section 6 of BP 881 can apply to the present case and this Court has absolutely no legal basis to compel the COMELEC to hold special elections. Based on the Constitution. This is what will happen – a term of less than two years – if a call for special elections shall prevail. than the constitutionally mandated three years71 as this tinkering would directly contravene Section 8. 2011 – for regional elections synchronized with the presidential. the Commission. in contrast with the power of Congress to call for. COMELEC with the power to postpone elections to another date.63 Notably. it is not to supplant the decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress itself should have done in the exercise of its legislative powers. Members of Congress and local officials. and can only be exercised within. In sum. to be sure. terrorism. in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a holdover. Article X of the Constitution as we ruled in Osmena. Under the principle of ejusdem generis.If. contrary to what the petition in G. or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting. (b) terrorism. the Court is not without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being unconstitutional or for having been exercised in grave abuse of discretion. and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election. via Sections 5 and 6 of BP 881. not even Congress and certainly not this Court. such election results in a failure to elect. Thus. fraud. To be sure. (c) terrorism. has the authority to fix the terms of elective local officials in the ARMM for less. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect. We quote: Section 5. This Court. However. or other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed. After Congress has so acted. terrorism. Section 6. Congress was not granted this same power. the specific terms and circumstances provided for in the law. such election results in a failure to elect. Thus. orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision." Similarly. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause for such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect. the Court is not empowered to adjust the terms of elective officials. the power to fix the term of office of elective officials. no legal basis likewise exists to rule that the newly elected ARMM officials shall hold office only until the ARMM officials elected in the synchronized elections shall have assumed office. Failure of election. the Commission shall. (c) loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records. Courts. or (e) other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed. Even Congress itself may be denied such power. is limited to enforcing and administering all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. by congressional policy – and is pursuant to the constitutional mandate of synchronization of national and local elections. this power is limited to. D. (b) violence. and other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free. violence. cannot enlarge the scope of a statute under the guise of interpretation. the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years that the Constitution itself commands. we cannot compel COMELEC to call for special elections. cannot make this call without thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating. neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. or had been suspendedbefore the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting. No. Furthermore. shall postpone the election therein to a date which should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held. the term "analogous causes" will be restricted to those unforeseen or unexpected events that prevent the holding of the scheduled elections. congressional and other local elections. 89 . nor include situations not provided nor intended by the lawmakers. (d) force majeure. As in Section 5 of BP 881. whereby all interested parties are afforded equal opportunity to be heard. motu proprio or upon a verified petition by any interested party.

provides only for synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile prevail. 10153. given the plain unconstitutionality of providing for a holdover and the unavailability of constitutional possibilities for lengthening or shortening the term of the elected ARMM officials. E. 9054) sets outs in terms of structure of governance. 9054 will govern unchanged and continuously.Neither we nor Congress can opt to shorten the tenure of those officials to be elected in the ARMM elections instead of acting on their term (where the "term" means the time during which the officer may claim to hold office as of right and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall succeed one another. This choice itself. from the rank of colonel or naval captain. the grant of the power to the President under other situations or where the power of appointment would extend beyond the adjustment period for synchronization would be to foster a government that is not "democratic and republican.74 Viewed from another perspective. 10153. the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under Section involved). those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint. [emphasis ours] This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. it falls under the third group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16. and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. As we have already established in our discussion of the supermajority and plebiscite requirements. 10153 should be read – in the manner it was written and based on its unambiguous facial terms. The President shall nominate and. in fact. and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. 73 The appointing power is embodied in Section 16. After fully examining the issue. however. officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President alone. or in the heads of departments. Thus." For then. with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office. we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent than real and becomes very real only if RA No." This power is far different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the abbreviated term ending on the assumption to office of the officials elected in the May 2013 elections. They would commit an unconstitutional act and gravely abuse their discretion if they do so. commissions. and other leaders to govern them may be said to be systemically withdrawn to the point of fostering an undemocratic regime. the appropriate question to ask is whether the interim measure is an unreasonable move for Congress to adopt. the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis.75 Aside from its order for synchronization. ambassadors. 10153 and the appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period pursuant to Sections 3. in other words. more importantly.77 These measures. synchronization will temporarily disrupt the election process in a local community. save only for the interim and temporary measures that synchronization of elections requires. or boards. 10153 did not amend RA No.72 As with the fixing of the elective term. The adoption of these measures. vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone. the terms of governance – both under Section 18. ambassadors. This is the grant that would frontally breach the "elective and representative" officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution. And this is how RA No. To repeat what has previously been said. Article VII of the Constitution. is no different from the exercise by 3 of RA No. it is purely and simply an interim measure responding to the adjustments that the synchronization requires. The President’s Power to Appoint OICs The above considerations leave only Congress’ chosen interim measure – RA No. Thus. other public ministers and consuls or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain. RA No. Article VII of the Constitution – an unconstitutional or unreasonable choice for Congress to make? Admittedly. law. the people’s right to choose the First. which states: Section 16. is the choice of the President’s power to appoint – for a fixed and specific period as an interim measure. RA No. 9054. does not in any way amend what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. In more concrete terms and based on the above considerations. however. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law. the heads of the executive departments. officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. too." This requirement indeed is an express limitation whose non-observance in the assailed law leaves the appointment of OICs constitutionally defective. At the outset. RA No. are used in light of the wider national demand for the synchronization of elections (considered vis-à-vis the regional interests If at all. and as allowed under Section 16. all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by But this conclusion would not be true under the very limited circumstances contemplated in RA No. Article X of the Constitution and RA No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and Since the President’s authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law that changes the elective and representative character of ARMM positions. the ARMM. governance requirement of Section 18. and the limitations on or qualifications to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed. neither Congress nor the Court has any legal basis to shorten the tenure of elective ARMM officials. Fourth. should be examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity. while the "tenure" represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds the office). the legal reality is that RA No. What RA No. Article VII of the Constitution. appoint the heads of the executive departments. and affected at all. 4 and 5 of this law – as the only measure that Congress can make. as well as the community’s choice of leaders. Article X of the Constitution. 10153. Second. by law. other public ministers and consuls. 90 . agencies. 9054 – will not systemically be touched nor Third. but this will take place under a situation of necessity and as an interim measure in the manner that interim measures have been adopted and used in the creation of local government units 76 and the adjustments of sub-provinces to the status of provinces. The Congress may. 10153 where the period is fixed and. with full effect in accordance with the Constitution. these limitations or qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. given the legal situation that the synchronization unavoidably brought with it. 10153 in fact only does is to "appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor. the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature. in the courts. These are: legislative officials to be "elective and representative of the constituent political units.

Autonomy in the ARMM It is further argued that while synchronization may be constitutionally mandated.: 79 It may be noted that under Commonwealth Act No.78 Thus. as above discussed. it was for a very specific and limited purpose – the synchronization of elections. et al. As between the President who has supervision over local governments as provided by law and the members of the board who are junior to the vice-governor. thus allowing him to replace elective officials with OICs. Even Congress. Thus. As the lessons of our Mindanao history – past and current – teach us. leaving the positions of ARMM Governor.. 10153 would set a dangerous precedent of giving the President the power to cancel elections anywhere in the country. Given that the incumbent ARMM elective officials cannot continue to act in a holdover capacity upon the expiration of their terms. or almost 2 years. in the absence of any contrary provision in the Local Government Code and in the best interest of public service. conflicting provisions should be reconciled and harmonized in a manner that may give to all of them full force and effect. [Emphasis supplied. to that extent. and cannot be transferred or applied to any other cause for the cancellation of elections. Petilla. the grant to the President of the power to appoint OICs to undertake the functions of the elective members of the Regional Legislative Assembly is neither novel nor innovative. and if one of them is incapacitated or absent.. 10153 – viewed in its proper context – is a law that is not violative of the Constitution (specifically. Any other localized cancellation of elections and call for special elections can occur only in accordance with the power already delegated by Congress to the COMELEC. Phrased in this manner. Vice Governor. To our mind. one would presume that there exists a conflict between two recognized Constitutional mandates – synchronization and regional autonomy – such that it is necessary to choose one over the other. concrete terms in the Appointment of OIC. as discussed above. In this regard. If RA No. the Manner and Procedure of Appointing OICs. the Court now has to deal with the dilemma of a vacuum in governance in the ARMM.) As in Menzon. etc. To emphasize the dire situation a vacuum brings. VI. 10153 cancelled the regular August 2011 elections. its autonomy provisions). it should not be forgotten that a period of 21 months – or close to 2 years – intervenes from the time that the incumbent ARMM elective officials’ terms expired and the time the new ARMM elective officials begin their terms in 2013. many developments. When viewed in this context. Necessarily. and this Court cannot compel the COMELEC to conduct special elections. a reasonable measure to take.80 (Emphasis ours.Congress of the inherent police power of the State. 4 and 5 of the assailed law. under Sections 3. 10153 and the support that the Court gives this legislation are likewise clear and specific. The respondents contend that the provincial board is the correct appointing power. an acting Vice-Governor and a fully functioning Regional Legislative Assembly can be done away with even temporarily. We find this to be an erroneous approach that violates a basic principle in constitutional construction – ut magis valeat quam pereat: that the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. it has been argued during the oral arguments that upholding the constitutionality of RA No.. can transpire in the country’s Muslim areas in this span of time in the way they transpired in the past. not for the President. only the "elective" aspect shall be supplanted by the appointment of OICs. may be hampered. RA No. A vacancy creates an anomalous situation and finds no approbation under the law for it deprives the constituents of their right of representation and governance in their own local government. to address. Castillo. the "representative" character of the chosen leaders need not necessarily be affected by the appointment of OICs as this requirement is really a function of the appointment process. RA No. and in responding to critical developments that may arise. is limited in what it can legislatively undertake with respect to elections. until the law provides otherwise. in the proper management of the affairs of the regional government. It was a temporary means to a lasting end – the synchronization of elections. the management of governmental affairs is. Significantly. the constitution must be interpreted as a whole. B.82 We refer to the Court’s declaration in Ang-Angco v. the appointment of OICs under the present circumstances is an absolute necessity. allowing the President in the exercise of his constitutionallyrecognized appointment power to appoint OICs is. we hold that RA No. Other Constitutional Concerns Outside of the above concerns. we see no cogent reason why the procedure thus outlined by the two laws may not be similarly applied in the present case. In a republican form of government. and their Qualifications. it would be reckless to assume that the presence of an acting ARMM Governor. there will be a consequent delay in the delivery of basic services to the people of Leyte if the Governor or the Vice-Governor is missing. Furthermore. and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly vacant for 21 months.] 91 . the President is empowered to make temporary appointments in certain public offices. and apparently. It is a power that falls within the powers of Congress in the exercise of its legislative powers. where one of the essential tests is the reasonableness of the interim measure taken in light of the given circumstances. et al. However. This claim apparently misunderstands that an across-the-board cancellation of elections is a matter for Congress. would clearly cause disruptions and delays in the delivery of basic services to the people. 588 and the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. This argument has no merit. We hark back to our earlier pronouncement in Menzon v.81 and one mandate should not be given importance over the other except where the primacy of one over the other is clear. we have no problem ruling in favor of the President. Based on these considerations.83 thus: A provision of the constitution should not be construed in isolation from the rest. it cannot be used to defeat or to impede the autonomy that the Constitution granted to the ARMM. Rather. Albeit both laws deal only with the filling of vacancies in appointive positions. the majority rules through their chosen few. in our judgment. in case of any vacancy that may occur. and one that is reasonable as well under the circumstances. 10153 significantly seeks to address concerns arising from the appointments by providing. some of them critical and adverse. etc.

To doubt is to sustain. including autonomous regions. the national government has not completely relinquished all its powers over local governments. we can only interpret and apply the law and. but rather an efficient working relationship between the autonomous region and the central government. are essentially asking us to venture into the realm of judicial legislation.] In other words. thus. Congress. On the general claim that RA No. the regional autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be used to exempt the region from having to act in accordance with a national policy mandated by no less than the Constitution. 88 Nor can the Court presume to dictate the means by which Congress should address what is essentially a legislative problem. 10153 which provides the measure to transit to synchronized regional elections with the least disturbance on the interests that must be respected. too. cannot repeal or amend it. we can only reiterate the established rule that every statute is presumed valid." Interestingly. the Court will be guilty of usurping the exclusive prerogative of Congress. the framers of the Constitution never equated autonomy with independence. Article X of the Constitution. Therefore. policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the President and Congress. the framers of the Constitution initially proposed to remove Section 17 of Article X. therefore. justice or expediency of legislation. Since the synchronization of elections is not just a regional concern but a national one. Aguirre86 which we quote: Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy. 10153. This presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments. the autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be invoked to defeat national policies and concerns. This argument leaves us far from convinced of its merits. This Court cannot question the manner by which Congress undertook this task. Conclusion Congress acted within its powers and pursuant to a constitutional mandate – the synchronization of national and local elections – when it enacted RA No. Particularly. has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality of its acts. As heretofore mentioned and discussed. it acted within due constitutional bounds and with marked reasonableness in light of the necessary adjustments that synchronization demands. the Judiciary does not and cannot pass upon questions of wisdom. cannot be accused of any evasion of a positive duty or of a refusal to perform its duty.87 As judges. change or modify its governing features. the programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a common national goal. acted strictly within its constitutional mandate. in the way that Congress did in RA No. which is abhorrent to one of the most basic principles of a republican and democratic government – the separation of powers.93 As this Court declared inGarcia v. Given an array of choices. Ople. Mr. in passing RA No.91 Congress. The ARMM as a regional entity thus continues to operate within the larger framework of the State and is still subject to the national policies set by the national government. 10153 is unconstitutional.Synchronization is an interest that is as constitutionally entrenched as regional autonomy. in asking this Court to compel COMELEC to hold special elections despite its lack of authority to do so. while autonomous regions are granted political autonomy. 10153. They are interests that this Court should reconcile and give effect to. the ARMM is subject to it. Elsewhere. Hon. not a separation. The petitioners allege.90 We find that Congress. But to enable the country to develop as a whole. that these are the limits of the powers of the autonomous government. The theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines. except in a very temporary manner and only as necessitated by the attendant circumstances. xxx We do not see here a complete separation from the central government. Those not enumerated are actually to be exercised by the national government[.]"85 Of note is the Court’s pronouncement in Pimentel. despite our doubts about its wisdom. Mr. [Emphasis ours. Article X of the Constitution. and by the express reservation under Section 1 of the same Article that autonomy shall be "within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. v. Bennagen. The purpose of the delegation is to make governance more directly responsive and effective at the local levels. a law has been 92 . regional autonomy will be respected instead of being sidelined.] This exchange of course is fully and expressly reflected in the above-quoted Section 17. once and for all. believing it to be unnecessary in light of the enumeration of powers granted to autonomous regions in Section 20. otherwise. As reflected during the constitutional deliberations of the provisions on autonomous regions: Mr. as the law does not in any way alter. Only administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political subdivisions. 10153. We see this as an effective partnership.92 Any reasonable doubt about the validity of the law should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality. save only for those specific areas reserved by the Constitution for regional autonomous determination. political and social development at the smaller political units are expected to propel social and economic growth and development. Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of the law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility. Thus. Romulo. and the party challenging the validity of a statute has the onerous task of rebutting this presumption. Executive Secretary:94 The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. 89 The petitioners. We thus find no reason to accord merit to the petitioners’ claims of grave abuse of discretion. the framers decided to reinstate the provision in order to "make it clear. It is not within the Court’s power to enlarge or abridge laws. In turn. Upon further reflection. it has also been argued that the ARMM elections should not be synchronized with the national and local elections in order to maintain the autonomy of the ARMM and insulate its own electoral processes from the rough and tumble of nationwide and local elections.84[Emphasis supplied. complete autonomy is not really thought of as complete independence. We define it as a measure of self-government within the larger political framework of the nation. economic. that we should act because Congress acted with grave abuse of discretion in enacting RA No. Jr.

PERALTA Associate Justice Filed by petitioners Datu Michael Abas Kida. amending for the purpose Republic Act No. John Anthony L. 2011. 2 See Dissenting Opinion ANTONIO T. Carpio JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice BIENVENIDO L. Kessar Damsie Abdil. 10153 for lack of merit. ARTURO D. amending for the purpose Republic Act No. Sapi-e. JR. to challenge the effectivity of RA No. Inc. Article VIII of the Constitution. WHEREFORE. 9054. Jamilon T. to appoint OICGovernor of ARMM PRESBITERO J. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.carefully studied and determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally enacted. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice LUCAS P. Associate Justice Entitled "An Act amending fixing the Date or Regular elections for Elective Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao pursuant to Republic Act No. 6734. JR. Velasco with respect to the appointment of the OIC Governor and vote to hold the law as unconstitutional RENATO C. 9333 is inoperative. premises considered. RENATO C. SO ORDERED. entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.] Given the failure of the petitioners to rebut the presumption of constitutionality in favor of RA No. A.95 [Emphasis ours. and Bassam Aluh Saupi. as amended" 3 I join the dissent of Justice Velasco TERESITA J. VELASCO. and UPHOLD the constitutionality of this law. 2011." and for other purposes. 9054. entitled ‘An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 6734 and setting the date of the regular elections for elective officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on the last Monday of November 2001. Carpio but disagree on the power of the Pres. I join the dissent of J. CARPIO Associate Justice I join the dissent of J. 2011. as Chairperson of COMELEC. 4 MARIANO C. Asrin Timbol Jaiyari. Velasco ROBERTO A. DEL CASTILLO Associate Justice MARTIN S. 2011. 7 With Prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order dated July 12. BERSAMIN Associate Justice I join the dissent of J. Lim.’ as amended. VILLARAMA. amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 5 With Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writs of Preliminary Prohibitive and Mandatory Injunction dated June 30. and in representation of Maguindanao Federation of Autonomous Irrigators Association. CORONA Chief Justice Footnotes 1 Entitled "An act fixing the date of the plebiscite for the approval of the amendments to Republic Act No. SERENO Associate Justice DIOSDADO M. Kalang. 9333 for not having been submitted to a plebiscite. 2011 was filed against Sixto Brillantes. CORONA Chief Justice ESTELA M. Carpio JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ Associate Justice MARIA LOURDES P. Since RA No. we DISMISS the consolidated petitions assailing the validity of RA No. 93 .. 6734. 10153. entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. REYES Associate Justice 6 With Extremely Urgent Application for the Issuance of a Status Quo Order and Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction dated July 1. entitled ‘An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. No costs. any other law seeking to amend it is also null and void. Odin. Hadji Muhmina Usman. Mujib M. in his personal capacity. PERLAS-BERNABE Associate Justice CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. we must support and confirm its validity. Alih Al-Saidi J. Associate Justice Petition for Prohibition with Very Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order dated April 11. ABAD Associate Justice I join the dissent of J. We likewise LIFT the temporary restraining order we issued in our Resolution of September 13. BRION Associate Justice WE CONCUR: I join the dissent of J.

and it would be very close to 1992. while Section 8. Commissioner Davide is recognized. And so my proposal is the only way to effect the first synchronized election which would mean. 1992. I will now read a section which we will temporarily indicate as Section 14. MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE LOCAL OFFICIALS FIRST ELECTED UNDER THIS CONSTITUTION SHALL SERVE UNTIL NOON OF JUNE 30. which may be simultaneous with the election of the Members of the Congress. TO EXPIRE AT NOON OF JUNE 1992. 13 MR. the terms of the incumbent local officials who were elected in January 1988. p." This was presented by Commissioner Davide. Rodrigo). Mr. the twelve Senators who obtained the lowest votes during the 1992 elections were made to serve only half the time of their terms. We could never attain. Commissioner de Castro is recognized. And if we also stagger the Senate. MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE LOCAL OFFICIALS ELECTED IN THE 94 . [emphasis ours] 11 To illustrate. So under my proposal we will be able to begin actual synchronization in 1992. and there will be an election for 12 Senators in 1990. since the term provided by the Commission for Members of the Lower House and for local officials is three years. It shall include the election of all Members of the city or municipal councils in the Metropolitan Manila area. 10 Section 1. 429-4. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary (1996 ed. the terms of the incumbent President and Vice President who were elected in February 1986 were extended to noon of June 30. So. Vol. MAAMBONG. the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six years and the remaining twelve for three years. Both Prohibitory and Mandatory dated July 1.. The Senators. so may we ask that Commissioner Davide be recognized. and consequently. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice President elected in the February 7. if their term is for six years. It reads: "THE SENATORS. The first regular elections for President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May. their election will be in 1993. Necessarily then. S. subsequently. MR. p." I proposed this because of the proposed section of the Article on Transitory Provisions giving a term to the incumbent President and Vice-President until 1992. which should have expired on February 2. 1992. if there will be an election in 1987. I am formulating a new proposal. under the above-quoted provisions. The later election will be limited to only 12 Senators and of course to local officials and the Members of the Lower House. 9 FIRST ELECTION SHALL SERVE FOR FIVE YEARS. xxx Section 5. therefore defeating the very purpose of the Commission when we adopted the term of six years for the President and another six years for the Senators with the possibility of staggering with 12 to serve for six years and 12 for three years insofar as the first Senators are concerned. Rodrigo). The first local elections shall be held on a date to be determined by the President. in 1992 and in 1993. Rodrigo). 2011. DE CASTRO. Presiding Officer. 1992. 1199. 1992. V. were fixed to expire at noon of June 30. 12 Joaquin Bernas. necessarily. consequently we will have elections in 1990. Members of the House of Representatives. The first elections of Members of the Congress under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May. But.J. Of the Senators elected in the election in 1992. MR. citing Records of the Constitutional Commission. hereby extended to noon of June 30. It will read as follows: "THE SENATORS. any synchronization of election which is once every three years.). I would only state that in view of the action taken by the Commission on Section 2 earlier. 1992. 1991. we should not have a local election or an election for Members of the Lower House in 1990 for them to be able to complete their term of three years each. But for the remaining 12 who will be elected in 1987. a bonus of two years to the Members of the Lower House and a bonus of two years to the local elective officials. 2011. 1987. definitely. thereafter we can never have an election once every three years. In the same vein. Section 2. for purposes of synchronization of elections. For purposes of identification. in order to synchronize the elections of the Senators. Before going to the proposed amendment. On the other hand. Article X of the Constitution fixes the term of office of elective local officials at three years. 1992. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. DAVIDE. 1986 election is. upon the first election it will result in an election in 1993 for the Senate alone.8 With Injunction and Preliminary Injunction with prayer for temporary restraining order dated July 11. What does the committee say? With Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and the Issuance of Writs of Preliminary Injunction. the next election for said officers will be in 1990. and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30. who have six-year terms.

is the election of the incumbent President and Vice-President in 1992. 235 SCRA 630. January 28. 19 G. G. In other words. xxx xxx xxx 17 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary Unabridged. from the President up to the municipal officials. MR.M. AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. Mr. MR. Inc. G. 1991. the same thing the Honorable Davide is now proposing. August 25. R. [emphasis ours] (V Record of the Constitutional Commission. July 30. pp. 15 J. Land Tenure Administration. no amendment thereto shall be allowed. Yes. as Speaker of the House of Representatives dated March 4.R. Jr. G. if we have to synchronize our elections every three years which was already approved by the body. From then on. Tuason & Co. Speaker House of Representatives Quezon City Dear Speaker Belmonte: MR. No. I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of House Bill No.1327 (1993). 20 A copy of the letter that the President wrote to Honorable Feliciano Belmonte. MR. therefore. and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter. we will again have national. 4146. which the body approved — the first national and local officials to be elected in 1987 shall continue in office for five years. 52265. DE CASTRO. Thank you. 1986) 14 Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI. in 1992. Presiding Officer.MR. During the discussion on the legislative and the synchronization of elections.. Mr. So from 1992. 199 SCRA 750. JR. 668 (1997). I was the one who proposed that in order to synchronize the elections every three years. Not the reverse. GUINGONA. Occena v. 192 SCRA 100 (1990). ENTITLED ‘AN ACT FIXING THE DATE FOR REGULAR ELECTIONS FOR ELECTIVE OFFICIALS OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO’. October 3. Thank you. 1970. 95 SCRA 755. and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage. entitled: "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE SYNCHRONIZATION OF THE ELECTIONS AND THE TERM OF OFFICE OF THE ELECTIVE OFFICIALS OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO (ARMM) WITH THOSE OF THE NATIONAL AND OTHER LOCAL OFFICIALS. 1994. assuming that the term of the President will be for six years and continue beginning in 1986. No. No. local and presidential elections. The attempt here is on the assumption that the provision of the Transitory Provisions on the term of the incumbent President and Vice-President would really end in 1992. 429-431. BELMONTE. That means they will all serve until 1992. FELICIANO R. 9333. Best wishes. DAVIDE. I will say that the proposition of Commissioner Davide is in order. MR. It works both ways. DAVIDE. and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal. Will the committee not synchronize the election of the Senators and local officials with the election of the President? MR. So. 100308. we shall have an election every three years. Commission on Elections. Upon the last reading of a bill.R. 16 271 SCRA 633. GUINGONA. v. DAVIDE. and to provide a mechanism to institutionalize electoral reforms in the interim. while the next 12 shall serve until 1995. Commission on Elections. Presiding Officer. and then the local officials elected in 1992 will serve until 1995. February 18. What will be synchronized. p. Nos. Ordillo v. 100417 and 100420. except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. to ensure that the on-going peace talks in the region will not be hindered. 758.R. 1980. 100318. AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" to address the urgent need to protect and strengthen ARMM’s autonomy by synchronizing its elections with the regular elections of national and other local officials. 2011 is reproduced below: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT of the Philippines Malacañang 14 March 2011 HON. 21064. peace and security of the region. 115455. all for the development. there will be a single election in 1992 for all. This time. Yes. GUINGONA. the President shall have a term until 1998 and the first twelve Senators will serve until 1998. 31 SCRA 413. 18 Section 26(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days. 95 . Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE Senate President Philippine Senate Pasay City Taken from: http://www. G. Regional ViceGovernor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and for other purposes". Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution.R. if we are going to amend this organic act. AQUINO III cc: HON.04. Entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 9054. what process will be followed? Entitled "An Act Providing for the Date of the Regular Elections of Regional Governor. 6734.R. pp. Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 29 Entitled "An Act Resetting the Regular Elections for Elective Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Second Monday of September 2001. scheduled on September 13. Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8746 and for other purposes". Entitled ‘An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’. No. 35 This has been established by the following exchange during the Constitutional Commission debates: FR. No. 36 (1915). 6734 and setting the date of the regular elections for elective officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on the Last Monday of November 2001. 9054. 6734." 25 Entitled "An Act Fixing the Date of Regular Elections for Elective Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Pursuant to Republic Act no. G. 24 Section 7. 6734 states: "The first regular elections of the Regional Governor. 127383." which fixed the date of the ARMM elections on the second Monday after the Muslim month of Ramadhan. Entitled ‘An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. which moved the regional elections to the second Monday of September and every three (3) years thereafter.gov. Statutes and Statutory Construction §10. Amending for the Purpose Section One of Republic Act Numbered Seventy-Six Hundred and Forty-Seven Entitled ‘An Act Providing for the Date of the Regular Elections for Regional Governor.pdf. House of Representatives.Very truly yours. of this organic act in relation to ordinary statutes and the Constitution? Finally. 26 Section 1.’ As Amended. October 30.. 8953". Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Further Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. citing Duarte v. the questions I have raised so far with respect to this organic act are: What segment of the population will participate in the plebiscite? In what capacity would the legislature be acting when it passes this? Will it be a constituent assembly or merely a legislative body? What is the nature. G. 467 SCRA 280. The Commission on Elections shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the conduct of said election. at 295-297. Dade. February 15. No. Last accessed on September 26. to the second Monday of September 2000. 33 G. Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative 96 . 1995. 2005. therefore. 7647 entitled ‘An Act Providing for the Date of Regular Elections for Regional Governor. Sutherland.’ as amended.) BENIGNO SIMEON C. 30 See Gutierrez v. 1. Tolentino v. So. as Amended." and For Other Purposes." 32 Entitled "An Act Providing for the Date of Regular Elections for Regional Governor. p. 193459. 21 Assembly for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and for other purposes. 1999. 115455." which rescheduled the ARMM regional elections scheduled for the last Monday of November 2004 to "the second Monday of August 2005. 2011. August 18. 28 Entitled "An Act Resetting the Regular Elections for the Elective Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Provided for Under Republic Act No. Article XIX of RA No.congress. 1993 and every three (3) years thereafter. Section 244. 2011. Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Assembly under this Organic Act shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the ratification of this Act. Entitled "An Act Changing the Date of Elections for the Elective Officials of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No.ph/download/congrec/15th/1st/15C_1RS-64b031611. Entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. this Organic Act may be reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. citing 1 J. which reset the May 2001 elections in ARMM to September 2001. Secretary of Finance. 22 Entitled "An Act Fixing the Date of the Plebiscite for the Approval of the Amendments to Republic Act No. which reset the regional elections. 456-457." 31 23 Tolentino. Lewis Southerland on Statutory Construction. 27 34 Id. BERNAS. Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and for other purposes. (Sgd. Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 32 Phil. which changed the date of the ARMM elections to the second Monday of March. id. and for other purposes".R. 282 (1972). Vol.

Laurel in Schneckenburger v. – (1) Terms of Office. p. 9355 and Section 52 of RA No. [Emphasis ours. 48 RA No. and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. at 266. 7160. therefore. Second. at 177. 9495. 77 Phil. and the provisional takeover orders of ill-gotten business enterprises. Whatever limits it imposes must be observed. 54 Fernando. and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage. Ople v. 15. 2008. economic and social structures. But with plebiscite again. (7) Educational policies.. 1970. and (9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. RA No. 175-176 (1974). 47 Section 20. RA No. 9355. Regional Vice Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years. III Record of the Constitutional Commission. only the people who are residing in the units composing the region should be allowed to participate in the plebiscite. 97 . embodied in Section 26 of the Transitory Provisions. and the validation of the power of the Presidential Commission on Good Government to issue sequestration." 146 Phil. 49 RA No. Constitutional Law. "The three departments of government in the discharge of the functions with which it is [sic] entrusted have no choice but to yield obedience to [the Constitution’s] commands. 46 Bernas. the organic act has the character of a charter passed by Congress. based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Laurel inSchneckenburger v. of Article VI of the Constitution). 41 Vera v. Supra note 14. 36 43 State ex rel. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter it. et al.]. Land Tenure Administration [No. 354 Phil. 266 (1936). First. 14-15.. (8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage. Joaquin. Constitutional Structure and Powers of Government Notes and Cases Part I. 42 In J. social. and property relations.) 44 Sec. Thus these are cases where the need for construction is reduced to a minimum. [emphasis ours] 39 52 53 In Mutuc v. supra note 40. August 11. Section 462. see concurring opinion of Justice Jose P. 45 An empire within an empire. Commission on Elections [146 Phil. Vol. please. Avelino. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces. but as an ordinary legislature and. speaking through former Chief Justice Enrique. Tuason & Co. The terms of office of the Regional Governor. family. 798 (1970). 798 (1970)] the Court held that. 37 Such as the addition of sectoral representatives in the House of Representatives (paragraph 2. L-21064. February 18. Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in effect until their successors are elected and qualified. (2) Creation of sources of revenues. its language as much as possible should be understood in the sense they have in common use. stated: As the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer’s document. Green v. Section 5. 212 (1946). v.MR. 1986. Section 50. 192. (4) Personal.182-183. citing the concurring opinion of Justice Jose P. Moran. (6) Economic. FR. 423]. Moran. 51 38 Section 7. in the light of what is now appearing in our report. the Court. The Philippine Constitution. cities and municipalities. Inc. 1249. 249. not as a constituent assembly. (5) Regional urban and rural planning development. the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: (1) Administrative organization. 63 Phil. BERNAS. (3) Ancestral domain and natural resources.. 39 Del 245. pp. 40 Id. Collison. 1 (2000 ed.M. 50 See discussions at pp. 2005 ed. cited in Defensor-Santiago. unless the Gentleman has another purpose. which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. the organic act will still be subject to amendments in the ordinary legislative process as now constituted. Torres. freeze orders. pp. NOLLEDO. 948 (1998). 9495 which created the Province of Quezon del Sur Province was rejected by the voters of Quezon Province in the plebiscite of November 13. and tourism development. May I answer that. 31 SCRA 413. it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people’s consciousness.

R. Alba. 56 69 Article XVIII. Sarmiento III v.R. p. Members of the House of Representatives. Joaquin. See CONSTITUTION. supra. plain and free from ambiguity. 1986 election is.R. 100 Phil. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in effect until their successors are elected and qualified. No. 70 Pimentel v. L-25349. L-30057. which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. Urro. 191618. 334 SCRA 738.55 Tawang Multi-Purpose Cooperative v. 12.. Ermita. 1992. it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. Regional Vice Governor. 81 Macalintal v. among others. 161984. 1965. December 3. 2007 edition. hereby extended to noon of June 30. Section 387. National Police Commission v. G.. The six-year term of the incumbent President and VicePresident elected in the February 7. citing Lapid v. 74 Guekeko v. 285. June 16. Id. Section 2(1). No. Lozano v. 1992. 2000. 57 481 Phil. October 13. 62 75 63 Ututalum v. citing Bernas. Presidential Electoral Tribunal. v. 2009. 505 SCRA 654. Alejandro S.R. 82 As noted under footnote 37. 58 Cruz. No. Commissioner. 2011. No. citing Sarmiento III v. January 31. October 27. Inc. v. G. 61 See Topacio Nueno v. 71 59 Ponencia. 79 274 Phil. March 22. et al. 2010. CA.) 768. November 23. Commission on Elections. 76 Phil. La Trinidad Water District. Article IX (C). citing Mechem. December 17. 2006. 2007. 159268. Aparri v. Luis Mario M. G. G.R. 187883. 77 65 78 66 Balagtas Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. Of the Senators elected in the elections in 1992. et al. No. G. 76 Supra notes 47 and 48. 142261. 2005. G. 152295. No. July 9. March 29. 683. No. 166471. for purposes of synchronization of elections. 523 (1991). June 29.R. Section 2. De Jesus v. General. 1992. 64 If a statute is clear.R. Article VIII. No. 72 60 Section 7. 21-22 (1946). November 29. G. and the on-going peace negotiations. Evangelista. G.G. No. Carlo. February 21. 812 (2003). and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years. the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six years and the remaining twelve for three years. The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary (1996 ed. at 532. No. 164978. Section 8. 26 SCRA 150. 661 (2004). The Law of Public Officers. 451 Phil. 29658. 76 Phil. 127 SCRA 231. Santos. 516 SCRA 403. L-79974. 191560. 237 (1946). 694 (1957). etc. 1968. See CONSTITUTION. 635 SCRA 783. 80 68 Article XVIII. are immediately past and present events that the nation has to vigilant about. The terms of office of the Regional Governor. Commission on Audit. G. 663. 1468 (1963). 2011. Mison.R. The Senators. Angeles. Nograles.R. Subido.. Court of Appeals. No. and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30. 2011. Hon. The first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May. 118 Phil. Section 1. 1984. Mison. Supra note 50. 73 Hon.156 SCRA 549. 1987. etc. Section 5. Article X. 21. 589 SCRA 356. Court of Appeals. 67 The after-effects of the Maguindanao massacre where the Ampatuans stand charged. No. the insurrection by the MILF and its various factions. 83 98 . p.R. 15 SCRA 465. quoting Morales v. CONSTITUTION. – (1) Terms of Office.

Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly x x x on the second Monday of September 2001. No.47 with two abstentions.. 6734 (RA 6734). The following day. the President signed the measure into law as Republic Act No.Arellano Law Foundation DISSENTING OPINION CARPIO. 82 SCRA 30. 162335 and 162605. 411. 574 SCRA 468. Inc. J. Soon after. 139 (1936). SB 2756 and RA 9333. etc. 9054 (RA 9054). et al. Id. City Mayor of Manila. mandated the holding of the "first regular elections for Governor. No. etc. however. After the President signed into law RA 10153. 187. 2010. No. 581.R. 6 The House of Representatives approved HB 4146 on 23 March 2011. et al. v.. 102 (2000). 1991.. supra. 99 . Electoral Commission. The affirmative votes were two votes short of 2/3 of the Senate membership (23). In a supplemental petition. petitioners in G. at 523. 9333 (RA 9333) fixing the date of the "regular elections" in the ARMM "on the second Monday of August 2005 [and] x x x every three years thereafter. etc. December 18. HB 4146 aimed to synchronize the ARMM elections with the local and national elections scheduled on the second Monday of May 2013. the House of Representatives adopted the Senate’s version. etc. 197221. No. 4146 (HB 4146). Republic Act No. 196271 joined these latter petitions in questioning the constitutionality of RA 10153. L-24693. L-47816. 225 SCRA 511 (1993). III. 9140 (RA 9140). however. RA 9333 and RA 101537 treat these laws as amending RA 9054 and charge Congress with failing to comply with the twin requirements prescribed in Sections 1 and 3. April 15. v. RA 9333 and RA 10153 do not provide for their submission to ARMM voters in a plebiscite. No. 343 Phil. 197280 also assail the constitutionality of RA 9140 and RA 9333. 95 The Lawphil Project . 560. supra. 196271 filed their petition assailing the constitutionality of HB 4146. modifying some parts of HB 4146 but otherwise leaving its core provisions intact. No. Reyes. 168796. 1967. etc.. III. approved its own version on 6 June 2011 by a vote of 13-7. Nos. 1986. Petitioners in G. Nos. L-47791 and L-47827. 210 Phil. July 31. p. After receiving HB 4146. 204 SCRA 516.R. Peralta v.R. Maglaya. 421 Phil. voting 191. No. The petitions against RA 10153 favor the holding of elections on the second 85 86 87 88 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Records of the Constitutional Commission. Commission on Elections. petitioners in G. 1978.84 Record of the Constitutional Commission. 2008. L-47767. supra. Hon. where a counterpart measure (Senate Bill No. 427 (1997) citing Pangilinan v. supra. 94 G. Santos. HB 4146 authorized the President to appoint officers-in-charge who would hold office from 30 September 2011 until 30 June 2013 when the officials elected in the May 2013 elections would have assumed office. 2756 [SB 2756]) was pending. 197392 and 197454 filed their petitions assailing the constitutionality of RA 10153. The petitions against RA 9140. for they differ on when the elections in the ARMM should take place..3 Before the September 2001 elections could take place. Heirs of Homer L. 196305 filed suit assailing the constitutionality of RA 9333. petitioners in G. et al. December 2. G. Article XVII of RA 90548for amending RA 9054. L-47771. After the House of Representatives approved HB 4146. several members of the House of Representatives jointly filed House Bill No. et al. Sandiganbayan. Reyes.R. v. the 13 affirmative votes in the Senate for SB 2756 fell two votes short of the 2/3 vote threshold. 91 Heirs of Juancho Ardona. August 11. 63 Phil. Peralta v. 20 SCRA 849." As the term of office of the then incumbent elective officials in the ARMM would expire on 30 September 2011.. the Senate. 197282. A few months before the ARMM elections on the second Monday of August 2011. et al. On 30 June 2011."5Elections in the ARMM took place on the second Mondays of August 2005 and August 2008 following RA 9333. March 11.: The Cases These are original actions1 assailing the validity of statutes and bills on the holding of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)."2 The elected officials would serve a three-year term beginning 30 September 2001. Congress moved the elections to 26 November 2001 by enacting Republic Act No. Hon. L-47803.R. Commission on Elections. Petitioners’ unanimity ends here. 93 Heirs of Juancho Ardona. p.R.. RA 9140. et al. and (2) submission of the amendments to ARMM voters in a plebiscite. Peralta v.. Ermita-Malate Hotel & Motel Operations Association. 197280. as amended by Republic Act No. Hon. 391 Phil. etc.R. v. 179. Vol. 618 SCRA 315. These twin requirements are: (1) approval by a 2/3 vote of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate voting separately. Reyes. 100883. 90 Ligeralde v. Patalinghug. Congress enacted Republic Act No. Nos.R. 290 (2001). 84. 89 Manotok IV v.4 Nearly four years later. Vol. Background The ARMM Organic Act. 10153 (RA 10153). Commission on Elections. G. Heirs of Juancho Ardona. although the 191 affirmative votes in the Lower House for HB 4146 satisfied the 2/3 vote threshold in RA 9054.. Barque. 92 See Estrada v. petitioner in G. moving the date of the elections to "the second Monday of May 2013 and x x x every three years thereafter. On the other hand. 207 (1983). Angara v.

However. (2) granting the President the power to appoint OICs unconstitutionally expands his power over the ARMM to encompass not only general supervision but also control. leave it to the Court to order special elections within a period "reasonably close" to the elections mandated in RA 9333.R. Violate Sections 15. and (2) the rule against the passage of 1. Sections 3. Article XVII of RA 9054 repugnant to Section 1 and Section 16(2). Thus. Article XVIII of the Constitution? I vote to declare RA 9333 constitutional. Article VI of the Constitution? plebiscite. the Court heard the parties in oral argument. The Issues The following are the issues for resolution: The petition in G. In defending the President’s authority under RA 10153 to appoint OICs. Article X of the Constitution?.10 or together with RA 9140 and RA 10153. 12 The petitions against RA 10153 further raise the following issues: (1) postponing the ARMM elections to the second Monday of May 2013 undermines the republican and autonomous nature of the ARMM. No. Section 1 of RA 9333 and Section 2 of RA 9140 constitute an amendment to Section 7. the Court authorized the then incumbent elective officials in the ARMM to continue in office in the event that the present petitions remain unresolved after the officials’ term of office expires on 30 September 2011. representing respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the other individual public respondents. and. The Lower House grounds its attack on two points: (1) save in exceptional cases not applicable to the present petitions. On 13 September 2011.Monday of August 20119 while those attacking RA 9333 only. Article XVII of RA 9054 apply only in the creation of autonomous regions under paragraph 2. narrowly construes the plebiscite requirement in RA 9054 to cover only amendatory laws creating or expanding the 2. Hence. 16. Another petition. Does Section 3. Save in newly created local government units prior to special or regular elections. Do Section 2 of RA 10153. the Senate gives a narrow construction to the plebiscite requirement in RA 9054. 13 II. elective officials of local government units like the ARMM cannot be appointed by the President but must be elected in special or regular elections. 197280. contending instead that it is analogous to Section 7. The Senate disagrees with the proposition that RA 9333 constitutes an amendment to RA 9054. irrepealable laws. Alternatively. 100 . Fall under Section 16. Meanwhile. the Senate and the House of Representatives pray for the dismissal of the petitions. The Senate and the House of Representatives uniformly contend that the question on the constitutionality of HB 4146 and SB 2756 is non-justiciable. In their separate Comments to the petitions in G. for the petition in G." The OSG rejects petitioners’ treatment of this authority as granting the President control over the ARMM. No. for failing to include a provision requiring the submission of the anticipated law to ARMM voters in a I.R.R. Repeal the second sentence of Section 7(1). amend or repeal laws. 196271 extends the reach of its attack to HB 4146 and SB 2756. Alternatively. Article VII of the Constitution authorizing the President to appoint "those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. Article VII of the Constitution?. authorizing the President for a limited period to appoint sectoral representatives in the House of Representatives. No. Article XVIII of the Constitution. Article VII of RA 9054? IV. respondent COMELEC should be ordered to hold special elections in the ARMM as soon as possible. limiting the plebiscite to cover amendatory laws affecting "substantive matters." as opposed to "administrative concerns" such as fixing election dates. and ARMM’s territory. which finds RA 10153 unconstitutional. Article XVIII of RA 9054? If in the affirmative – 1. the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from implementing RA 10153. 196271 and G. On 9 August 2011. and RA 10153 partly unconstitutional. the Senate finds irrelevant the twin requirements in RA 9054 in the enactment of the assailed laws. Section 18. Do Sections 3. Is Section 1.R. in enacting RA 10153. The Court granted intervention to four groups of parties who filed comments-in-intervention joining causes with respondents. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). the Constitution only requires a simple majority of a quorum in each House of Congress to enact. defectively waived the Constitution’s requirement for the separate reading of bills and the advance distribution of their printed copies because the President’s certification for the urgent passage of HB 4146 and SB 2756 was not grounded on public calamity or emergency. joined causes with the House of Representatives on the issue of the validity of the twin requirements in RA 9054 for the passage of amendatory laws. and 2. 4 and 5 of RA 10153 authorizing the President to appoint OICs in place of elective ARMM officials are unconstitutional. 4 and 5 of RA 10153 – 9054.11 seek the holding of elections on the second Monday of September 2011. Article VI of the Constitution and violative of the rule against the passage of irrepealable laws?. Article X of the Constitution? The House of Representatives accepts the amendatory nature of RA 9333 but attacks the constitutionality of the twin requirements in RA 9054 mandating a supermajority vote of each House of Congress and the approval by ARMM voters in a plebiscite for purposes of amending RA III. No. The synchronization of the ARMM elections with the national and local elections under RA 10153 is constitutional. treating RA 9333 as merely filling the void left by RA 9054 in failing to schedule the succeeding regular elections in the ARMM. in violation of the Constitution and RA 9054. purportedly following RA 9054. and 18. the OSG treats the authority as a species of legislation falling under Section 16. 3. Does RA 10153 implement Sections 2 and 5. Did the passage of RA 10153 violate Section 26(2). the House of Representatives. (3) Congress. 196305. like the Senate.

– The first regular elections of the Regional Governor. It is noteworthy that no member of the Senate saw fit to controvert the reality of the factual basis of the certification." This left open the scheduling of elections succeeding the "first regular elections. petitioners in G. namely. or the existence of a national emergency justifying the delegation of extraordinary powers to the President under Art. and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter." In the exercise of its plenary legislative power. claiming that this does not amount to a public calamity or emergency. lying beyond the pale of judicial review. attacks against their constitutionality are premature. the Senate accepted the President’s certification. Article VII of RA 9054 authorizing ARMM elective officials to hold over until the election and qualification of their successors. thus dispensing with the bills’ separate reading and advanced distribution. Secretary of Finance. Section 7. Until legislative bills become laws. that the amendments must be approved by a 2/3 vote of each House of Congress and submitted to ARMM voters in a plebiscite. VI. 197280 claim that Congress defectively passed RA 10153 for failing to comply with the requirement in the Constitution for the reading of bills on three separate days and the advanced distribution of their printed copies in final form under the second paragraph of Section 26. 197280 find the basis of the President’s certification. that members of Congress were denied the opportunity to examine HB 4146 and SB 2756 because of the President’s certification. Should such cert ification be now reviewed by this Court. Succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three years thereafter. by passing S. which provides: No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days. in passing RA 10153. 14 The President’s Certification on Urgency of Legislation Not Subject to Heightened Scrutiny Petitioners in G. 197280 do not allege. (Emphasis supplied) xxxx The ambit of Section 7 is narrow. may appoint an officer-in-charge in the office of the ARMM Governor. and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal. 1630 on second and third readings on March 24. Date of Election. In Tolentino v.R. under his general supervision over local governments. Such appointment is absolutely necessary and unavoidable to keep functioning essential government services in the ARMM. except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency." falling short of the Constitution’s requirement of public calamity or emergency.R. (Emphasis supplied) 101 . hence immediately dismissible. Regional ViceGovernor and members of the regional legislative assembly under this Organic Act shall be held on the second Monday of September 2001. Upon the last reading of a bill. because S. certainly should elicit a different standard of review.R. No. – The regular election for regional Governor and Regional ViceGovernor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be held on the second Monday of August 2005. On the other hand. The challenge against the constitutionality of HB 4146 and SB 2756 raises a non-justiciable question. (Emphasis supplied) As in Tolentino." as "flimsy. To the contrary. VII. The Court declined to strike down the President’s certification upon a showing that members of both Houses of Congress had the opportunity to study the bills and no fundamental constitutional rights were "at hazard": It is nonetheless urged that the certification of the bill in this case was invalid because there was no emergency. § 18.15 The Court has refused in the past to subject to heightened scrutiny presidential certifications on the urgency of the passage of legislative measures.17 RA 9333 and RA 10153 Supplement and do not Amend RA 9054 The petitions assailing RA 9333 and RA 10153 are united in their contention that these amendatory laws to RA 9054 are invalid for failure to comply with the twin requirements in RA 9054. namely. Article XVIII of RA 9054 on the holding of ARMM elections provides in part: First Regular Elections. No. especially when no evidence has been shown that." scheduled "on the second Monday of September 2001. is subject to judicial review because basic rights of individuals may be at hazard. Such hold over violates the fixed term of office of elective local officials under the Constitution. Section 1 of which provides: Section 1. 1994. No. confined to the "first regular elections. and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage. The Commission on Elections shall promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary for the conduct of said election. 1630 was taken up on second and third readings on the same day. found sufficient the factual bases for President Aquino’s certification of HB 4146 and SB 2756 as emergency measures. (Emphasis supplied) Although the President certified HB 4146 and SB 2756 as urgent measures. Congress filled this void by enacting RA 9333.Pending the assumption to office of the elected ARMM Governor. § 23(2). There is thus no basis to depart from Tolentino. the condition stated in the certification of a "growing budget deficit" not being an unusual condition in this country. I vote to declare unconstitutional the second sentence of Section 7(1). Congress. No. the President. and there is nothing on record to show.16 petitioners in that case questioned the sufficiency of the President’s certification of a "growing budget deficit" as basis for the urgent passage of revenue measures. Article VI. The underlying assumption of petitioners’ theory – that RA 9333 and RA 10153 amend RA 9054 – is legally baseless. the members of the Senate were deprived of the time needed for the study of a vital piece of legislation? The sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or declaration of martial law under Art. No. But the factual basis of presidential certification of bills. the "need to protect x x x ARMM’s autonomy x x x and provide mechanism to institutionalize electoral reforms. Petitioners in G. no amendment thereto shall be allowed. which involves doing away with procedural requirements designed to insure that bills are duly considered by members of Congress.

The Commission on Elections shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the conduct of said election. can enact. Section 7 reads in full: The first regular elections of the Regional Governor. Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Assembly under this Organic Act shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the ratification of this Act. Section 2 of which states: SEC. Regional ViceGovernor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be held on the second (2nd) Monday of May 2013. at least 189 votes in the House of Representatives and at least 15 in the Senate are needed to enact the same amendatory or repealing legislation. (Emphasis supplied) Had Congress intended RA 9054 to govern not only the "first regular elections" but also succeeding regular elections. a majority of each House suffices for Congress to hold sessions and pass. to review the validity of a functus officio law. it is repugnant to Section 16 (2)." to take place "not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days" after the ratification of RA 6743. a doctrine rooted on the plenary power of Congress to amend or repeal laws that it enacts. These requirements would have been left unreviewed were it not for the fact that respondents and intervenors vigorously insist on their invalidity.21 Second. Article VI of the Constitution requiring a mere majority of members of both Houses of Congress to constitute a quorum to do business. Needless to say. amend. RA 6734. it takes only 72 23votes in the Lower House and 724 votes in the Senate to pass amendments or revisions to RA 9054. This provision states: Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. it would have included in Section 7 of Article XVIII a provision stating to the effect that the succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three years thereafter. There is no reason to traverse this issue for the simple reason that Congress passed RA 9140 solely for the narrow purpose of fixing the date of the plebiscite for RA 9054 (Section 1) and the date of the first regular elections in the ARMM under RA 9054 (Section 2). unless the Constitution prescribes a qualified or supermajority in specific cases." The legislative practice of limiting the reach of the ARMM Organic Act to the first regular elections." Section 1. the date of the first elections in the ARMM under RA 9054 was moved to 26 November 2001. Thus. RA 9333 and RA 10153 are therefore separate. (Emphasis supplied) To fix the date of the succeeding regular elections. Section 16 (2). traces its roots in the ARMM’s first Organic Act. by uniformly providing that "[s]ucceeding regular elections shall be held" on the date indicated "every three years thereafter. Regular Elections. Hence. With the same provision in the statute books. Article XVII of RA 9054 requires a 2/3 supermajority vote of the members of each House of Congress to amend or repeal RA 9054. Under this provision. or a majority of a majority." sets the vote threshold for Congress to conduct its legislative work in plenary session. respectively. It is futile. a majority of a quorum. These electoral exercises took place on 14 August 2001 and 26 November 2001. The issue having been raised squarely.The regular elections for the Regional Governor. Succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three (3) years thereafter. RA 9140 became functus officio after 26 November 2001. First. which immediately preceded RA 9333.22 By providing that RA 9054 "may be reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. assuming a simple quorum in attendance in either House. Congress passed several measures. No. amend or repeal laws or approve acts requiring the affirmative action of Congress. which provides that " [a] majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business x x x. . Article XIX of RA 6734 fixed the date of the "first regular elections. consistent with the three-year term of office of elective officials in the ARMM. Article XVII of RA 9054. assuming the same simple quorum in either House. stand-alone statutes that do not amend any provision of RA 9054. 197280 attack Section 2 of RA 9140 also for its failure to comply with the twin requirements in amending RA 9054. this Organic Act may be reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. these Laws Remain Valid That RA 9333 and RA 10153 merely filled a void in RA 9054 would have sufficed to dispose of the argument that these laws are invalid for non-compliance with the twin requirements in RA 9054.18 Instead. moving the election day as it deemed proper. upon a vote of a majority of the members present who constitute a quorum. leaving the date of the succeeding regular elections for Congress to fix in a subsequent legislation. Granting that RA 9333 and RA 10153 Amend RA 9054. Section 7. In short. RA 9054 confines itself to the "first regular elections. the Court should pass upon it. without Section 1. Section 1.R. under Section 2 of RA 9140. COMELEC and individual officials assail this provision’s constitutionality on two grounds. the Constitution prevails. Article VI of the Constitution requires. it is only in Section 1 of RA 9333 and Section 2 of RA 10153 that Congress touched on the succeedingregular elections in the ARMM. RA 9140 Rendered Functus Officio after 26 November 2001 Elections Petitioners in G. The repugnancy between the statutory provision and the Constitution is irreconcilable. these enactments merely filled a void created by the narrow wording of RA 6734. Section 1.25 Section 1. Article XVII of RA 9054 erects a high vote 102 . in this case. Article XVII of RA 9054 raised the vote threshold necessary to amend RA 9054 to a level higher than what Section 16 (2).In the discharge of the same power. or repeal bills and resolutions. it violates the doctrine barring the passage of irrepealable laws.20 To recall. Article XVII of RA 9054 Requiring 2/3 Vote to Amend RA 9054 Unconstitutional Section 1. (Emphasis supplied) Respondents House of Representatives." Tellingly. 2.19 Like RA 9333 and RA 10153. Article XVII of RA 9054 also runs afoul of the inherent limitation on Congress’ power barring it from passing irrepealable laws. Article VI of the Constitution. Congress subsequently passed RA 10153.

is commonsensical. (Emphasis supplied) Section 18 of Article X is substantially similar to Section 10. Article VI of the Constitution. Section 3 of Article XVII directly contravenes Section 18. creating an office performing functions inconsistent with those created under the ARMM Organic Act. Article X of the Constitution. Article XVII of RA 9054 effectively ensures the near immutability of RA 9054. 27 Autonomy. prevails over the latter. The Constitution requires that territorial changes. Unless the Constitution itself mandates a higher vote threshold to enact. Congress’ Power to Synchronize National and Local Elections does not Encompass Appointment of OICs in Place of Elective Officials 103 . among others. obviously an obiter dicta. The Presidential veto is a power of the Executive to reject a law28 passed by Congress.26 each House of Congress can do so by simple majority of the members present who constitute a quorum. a supposed statutory implementation of the second paragraph of Section 18. Nor is the provision in Section 27(1). divided. No law can be passed fixing such a higher vote threshold because Congress has no power. merged. The Constitution’s rule allowing a simple majority of each House of Congress to do business evinces the framers’ familiarity with the perennial difficulty plaguing national legislative assemblies in constituting a quorum. or its boundaries substantially altered"29 unless. abolished. even if unrelated to the ARMM’s creation. affecting the jurisdiction. Article VI of the Constitution requiring a 2/3 vote for Congress to override a presidential veto an argument for the validity of Section 1. Article X of the Constitution requires the holding of a plebiscite in the autonomous region for the approval of its creation. The 2/3 vote threshold in Section 1. The Court anchored its negative answer. amend or repeal laws. the Court held in Disomangcop v. signed into law in January 2001. Article XVII of RA 9054 is an "additional safeguard[] to protect and guarantee" the autonomy of the ARMM. thus: The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose. means vesting of more powers and resources to the local or regional government units. Set the quorum requirement any higher and plenary legislative work will most likely slow down if not grind to a halt. 30 In sharp contrast to the narrow scope of Section 10 and Section 18 of Article X of the Constitution. but on the fact that RA 8999. (Emphasis supplied) Petitioners give a literal interpretation to this provision by applying it to all amendments to or revisions of RA 9054. Article XVII of RA 9054. Article X of the Constitution. effectively and unconstitutionally. There is no merit in the proposition that Section 1. Plebiscite Mandatory only in Approving Creation or Expansion of the ARMM The second paragraph of Section 18. Thus." enacted in March 2001. Article XVII of RA 9054 mandates the holding of a plebiscite in the ARMM to approve "[a]ny amendment to or revision of" RA 9054. income. Article X of the Constitution. by ordinary legislation. reduction or expansion. One Congress cannot limit or reduce the plenary legislative power of succeeding Congresses by requiring a higher vote threshold than what the Constitution requires to enact. 9054 repealed Republic Act No. furnishes no ground to support petitioners’ interpretation of Section 3. This associated power of Congress is not an independent power to prescribe a higher vote threshold to enact. not on the ground that RA 8999 was invalid for not having been approved in a plebiscite. By barring any change to RA 9054 from taking effect unless approved by ARMM voters in a plebiscite. mandating that no local government unit shall be "created. including the fixing of the date of elections in the ARMM that RA 10153 mandates. thus: Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when approved by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose. 119 functus officio. with the associated power of Congress to override such veto by a 2/3 vote. The veto-override provision neither negates the simple majority rule for Congress to legislate nor allows the passage of irrepealable laws. which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment or revision. What the Court resolved in Disomangcopwas whether RA 8999. Article XVII of RA 9054. 8999 (RA 8999) creating an engineering office within the ARMM is an "amendatory law which should x x x first obtain the approval of the people of the ARMM before it can validly take effect.31 True. with the issue of whether a law changing the date of elections in the ARMM should be submitted to ARMM voters in a plebiscite. amend or repeal laws. Section 3. an act which does not involve any Presidential veto but operates as an auto-limitation on the plenary power of Congress to legislate. The veto-override provision is a small but vital mechanism presidential systems adopt to calibrate the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislature. even of the expanded type prevailing in the ARMM. limiting the plebiscite to changes in the size of the unit’s territory. The veto-override provision cannot be used to immobilize future Congresses from amending or repealing laws by a simple majority vote as provided in Section 16(2). in derogation of Congress’ plenary power to amend or repeal laws.34 x x x x (Emphasis supplied) The Court was not confronted in Disomangcop. amend or repeal laws. as it is now. voters of the affected units approve the proposed measure in a plebiscite. To say that autonomy means shackling the hands of Congress in improving laws or passing remedial legislations betrays a gross misconception of autonomy. 8999 and rendered DPWH Department Order No."33 This statement. we ruled: WHEREFORE. "was repealed and superseded by RA 9054. the petition insofar as it seeks the writs of certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED.threshold for each House of Congress to surmount. to amend the Constitution. By requiring the holding of a plebiscite to approve "any amendment to or revision" of RA 9054. impermissibly expands the scope of the subject matter that the Constitution requires to be submitted to a plebiscite. Datumanong32 that Republic Act No. should not be left solely for politicians to decide but must be submitted for approval or rejection by the people affected. The narrow ambit of these constitutional provisions. considering that Republic Act No. in disposing of the case. It ensures the Executive a substantial voice in legislation by requiring the Legislature to surmount a vote threshold higher than the simple majority required to pass the vetoed legislation. Article XVII of RA 9054. and population of a local government unit. taking RA 9054 beyond the reach of Congress’ amendatory powers. Section 3.

4 and 5 of RA 10153 Authorizing the President to Appoint OICs in Elective Local Offices in the ARMM Unconstitutional Historically. Article X of the Constitution provides: The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces.41 Congress cannot fix the term of elective local officials in the ARMM for less. Article XVIII of the Constitution. the legislature has authorized the President to appoint OICs for elective local offices only as anincident to the creation of a new local government unit or to its transition from a subunit to a full-fledged political subdivision.The Constitution impliedly requires the synchronization of elections for President. the ARMM is a local government unit just like provinces. authorizing the President to appoint the interim governor. Where the law provides for the creation of a local government unit prior to the election of its local officials. Section 8. the statute creating the municipality of T’boli in South Cotabato authorized the President to "appoint the elective officials of the new Municipality who shall hold office until their successors shall have been duly elected in the general elections next following the issuance of this Decree. Section 3 of RA 10153 provides: Appointment of Officers-in-Charge. vice-governor and members of the sangguniang panlalawigan. absent an absolutely unavoidable necessity to keep functioning essential government services.42 Offices declared by the Constitution as elective must be filled up by election and not by appointment. With the passage of RA 10153. national and local elections simultaneously take place every second Monday of May in a three-year cycle starting 1992. 7065 in Osmeña for desynchronizing local and national elections. Clearly. a local government unit.43 On the other hand." In compliance with this provision. under RA 9333. including autonomous regions."47 The same authorization is found in the Local Government Code for sub-provinces. Sections 3. Article X of the Constitution. or (3) hold special elections in the ARMM. On the other hand. does not encompass the power to authorize the President to appoint officers-incharge in place of elective local officials. Congress faced a dilemma arising from the different schedules of the election cycles under RA 7166 and RA 9333. ARMM elective officials serve three-year terms under RA 9054. No. Congress subsequently passed Republic Act No. vice-presidential. and barangays. 196271 that the elections in the ARMM cannot be synchronized with the existing synchronized national and local elections is untenable. 39 Under Section 1. is a blatant violation of an express command of the Constitution. extending in the process the initial tenure of the members of Congress and local officials. congressional. 7166 (RA 7166) synchronizing elections for presidential. Section 1. however. which shall be determined by law. the OSG defends Congress’ choice under RA 10153 authorizing the President to appoi nt OICs who will hold office until 30 June 2013. cities. provincial. 38 The contention of petitioners in G. Two petitions favor partial hold over pending the holding of special elections. with the terms of those elected to expire on 30 June 2013. members of Congress and local officials after the end of their first term by simultaneously ending their tenure on 30 June 1992. elections in the ARMM take place every second Monday of August in a three-year cycle starting 2005. shall be three years x x x. municipalities. cities and municipalities. Sec. In authorizing the President to appoint OICs in the ARMM. Article X of the Constitution provides that "[t]he term of office of elective local officials. or more. Under RA 7166. elective officials of the ARMM are local officials because the ARMM is a local government unit. it becomes absolutely necessary and unavoidable for the legislature to authorize the President to appoint interim officials in elective local offices to insure that essential government services start to function. Petitioners advance the theory that elections in the ARMM are not "local elections" because ARMM officials are not "local officials" within the meaning of Sections 2 and 5.—The President shall appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor. Section 3 is supplemented by Section 4 which provides the manner and procedure of appointment49 while Section 5 states the qualifications for the OICs. as opposed to a newly 104 .50 It takes no extensive analysis to conclude that Section 3 is neither necessary nor unavoidable for the ARMM to function."37 After the Court struck down Republic Act No. (Emphasis supplied) The entire Article X of the Constitution is entitled "Local Government" because Article X governs the creation of. To hold otherwise is to sanction the perversion of the Philippine State’s democratic and republican nature. than three years. municipalities. all local government units. Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office. and barangays. vice-governor and members of the sangguniang panlalawigan while the sub-provinces are transitioning to the status of a province. The horn of the dilemma lies in how to fill up elective offices in the ARMM during this gap." Congress’ power to provide for the simultaneous holding of elections for nat ional and local officials. namely: (1) allow the elective officials in the ARMM to remain in office in a hold over capacity. a 21-month gap separates the two electoral cycles. There are three apparent ways out of this dilemma. who shall serve only until a new set of provincial officials have been elected and qualified. Options to Fill Vacancies in the ARMM Elective Offices After 30 September 2011 In desiring to include elections in the ARMM in the existing synchronized national and local elections. Commission on Elections:36 "[t]he Constitution has mandated a synchronized national and local election prior to June 30."46 Similarly. elective officials in the ARMM are "local officials" and elections in the ARMM.35 As the Court confirmed in Osmeña v. canceling in the process scheduled local elections. Thus.48 These legislative authorizations are rendered imperative by the fact that incipient or transitioning local government units are devoid of elective officials prior to special or regular local elections. The ARMM is an existing. (2) authorize the President to appoint OICs. Thus.40 Thus. except barangay officials. RA 10153 widens the ambit of the Constitution’s policy of synchronizing elections by including the ARMM into the loop of synchronized elections. cities. and the grant of powers to. Vice-President. just like provinces. are "local elections. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. only barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections are excluded from the synchronized national and local elections. 1992 or more specifically as provided for in Article XVIII. 5 – on the second Monday of May 1992.R. city and municipal officials. statutes creating the provinces of Quezon del Sur44 and Dinagat Islands45 uniformly authorized the President to appoint "an interim governor. To appoint officials to offices mandated by the Constitution to be elective.

authorizing the President to appoint OICs in place of elective officials in the ARMM. cannot be filled up through the appointment of OICs by the President without violating Section 18. however. which mandates that the "executive department and legislative assembly" of the ARMM "shall be elective and representative. The mass replacement of elective local officials following the EDSA uprising in 1986 was part of the then revolutionary government’s purging of the local government ranks of officials linked to the excesses of the previous regime. No one claims that it is impossible to hold special local elections in the ARMM to determine its next set of elective officials. however. statutory and contractual obligations. What Section 3 of RA 10153 approximates is the provision in the Freedom Constitution allowing "[a]ll elective x x x officials [to] continue in office until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment and qualification of their successors. Article VII of RA 9054. No. RA 6734. the President exercises "general supervision" over all local governments. respondents-intervenors60 consider the same provision unconstitutional for extending the term of office of ARMM officials beyond the three years mandated in Section 8. Article X of the Constitution. which applies suppletorily to the ARMM. Petitioner in G. The terms of office of the Regional Governor. Section 16. the ARMM will have an operational budget for the next fiscal year. However.created or transitioning.56 Even without OIC regional assembly members. Article X of the Constitution limits the term of office of elective local officials. Article X of the Constitution. except barangay officials. – (1) Terms of Office. after the ARMM’s creation and holding of regular local elections. elected officials occupied all the elective offices in the ARMM. by express mandate of the Constitution. There is no merit in the OSG’s argument that Section 3 of RA 10153 is similar to Section 7. In case it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable to keep functioning essential government services. all appointments made by the officer-in-charge shall terminate upon the assumption to office of the elected Governor. authorizing the President to appoint sectoral representatives in Congress pending the passage of legislation on party-list representation. 197221 adopts the same view. the appointment by the President of OICs in the ARMM under Sections 3. At the time of the passage of RA 10153. Aquino wielded executive and legislative powers unconstrained by any specific constitutional limitation. contravenes Section 18. implements Section 18. assume office. not absolutely necessary and unavoidable to appoint OICs in the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly because Section 22. The appointment of such officer-in-charge is absolutely necessary and unavoidable because someone must insure that essential government services continue to function in the ARMM. which provides: Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. under his power of general supervision over local governments. Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. It is. Article X of the Constitution. 197282 invokes the second sentence of Section 7(1). However. Article VII of the Constitution obviously refers only to appointive and not elective offices.R. Nor is Section 3 of RA 10153 a species of legislation falling under Section 16.53 Section 3 of RA 10153. Article X of the Constitution on the organic act of autonomous regions expressly requires the organic act to define the "[b]asic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly. appoint OICs where vacancies occur in existing elective local offices and the law does not provide for succession. 1986. under Section 4. 4 and 5 of RA 10153 is not authorized under the Constitution but is in fact in violation of the Constitution that the Filipino people ratified overwhelmingly. then President Corazon C. negates Congress’ implementation of the Constitution under RA 9054 by making the executive and legislative offices in the ARMM appointive. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in office until their successors are elected and qualified. Article VII of the Constitution authorizing the President to appoint "those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. On the other hand. and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year" are deemed reenacted. Article XVIII of the Constitution is authorized by the Constitution itself and thus can never be questioned as unconstitutional. Regional Vice-Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years. the Filipino people authorized the President to appoint sectoral representatives for a limited period. both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. Article X of the Constitution by mandating the popular election of its executive and legislative officials." Elective local offices in the ARMM. In making her appointments. elected in special elections. However.54 The filling of seats in the House of Representatives under Section 7. if such is made within a period of one year from February 25. are " elective and representative" offices. Article VII of RA 9054 Authorizing the Hold Over of ARMM Officials Unconstitutional Petitioner in G.58The officer-in-charge in the office of the ARMM Governor shall disburse funds from the reenacted budget in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Local Government Code and its implementing rules. Section 3 of RA 10153 negates the representative and democratic nature of the Philippine State and its political subdivisions such as the ARMM. However. This is not the situation in the present case."52 The ARMM’s Organic Act. The officer-in-charge shall exercise the powers and perform the functions of the ARMM Governor under RA 9054 and related laws until the assumption to office of the elected ARMM Governor. Article VII of RA 9054 provides for the automatic reenactment of the ARMM budget if the Regional Legislative Assembly fails to pass the appropriation bill for the ensuing fiscal year. In ratifying the Constitution. or where succession is inapplicable because the terms of elective officials have expired.51 Section 18. following the Local Government Code." This provision does not empower Congress to authorize the President to fill up by appointment positions that. an existing local government unit. to three years: 105 . Article X of the Constitution. No.59 (Emphasis supplied) as statutory authorization for ARMM elective officials at the time of the passage of RA 10153 to remain in office until their successors. Thus.R. the President may. the President may appoint an officer-in-charge in the office of the ARMM Governor pending the holding of special local elections in the ARMM. as amended by RA 9054. Second Sentence of Section 7(1). none of the respondents saw fit to invoke this provision as precedent. Clearly. Section 8." 55 Wisely enough. local government unit created more than two decades ago in 1989.57 "only the annual appropriations for salaries and wages of existing positions. which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. There is merit to this latter claim.

unless otherwise provided by law. or if the term of a public office created by Congress is fixed by the Constitution. extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution. if a public office is created by the Constitution with a fixed term. complies with Section 8. RA 9054. Thus. except barangay officials. VicePresident. The Court reviewed such a law in Osmeña and struck down the law. statutes which extend the term of an elective office as fixed in the Constitution – either by postponing elections.71 A ruling contrary to Osmeña would allow Congress to pass a law. Members of the House of Representatives. or authorizing the incumbent to remain in office until his successor is elected and qualified – are unconstitutional as it amounts to an appointment of an official by Congress to a constitutional office. 72 This is consistent with the constitutional provision fixing the term. The Local Government Code does not authorize the hold over of elective local officials. with a term of three years.69 4. Article X of the Constitution which provides that: The term of office of elective local officials. Senators. except barangay officials. Congressmen and elective local officials other than barangay officials to remain in office "until their successors are elected and qualified. 1992 and shall serve until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified." In doing so. Congress passed a law to that effect (Section 5 of Republic Act No. Congress refrained from passing laws allowing hold over of non-barangay elective local officials. mandating the President. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. these incumbent local officials shall hold over beyond June 30. Thus. with a term of six years beginning at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election. Local officials. except barangay officials which shall be determined by law shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.65 Such provisions. Vice-President. Article XVIII of the Constitution x x x provides that the local official first elected under the Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30. The absence in the Constitution of any provision allowing the hold over of national and non-barangay elective local officials or of any provision vesting on Congress the power to fix the terms of office of these officials means that any alteration in their terms of office can only be effected through a constitutional amendment. ensuring the holding of elections. 68 3. there is Section 8. x x x . without hold over. in the guise of ensuring the continuity of public service and preventing a hiatus in office. a power vested either in the Executive or in the electorate. President. holding that "it is not competent of the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the [C]onstitution has x x x prescribed the term": [S]ection 2. It has been held that: It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term shall begin. which are found in the 1987 Constitution. even though the successors fail to qualify with the time. First. But under Sec. 106 . by an act postponing the election to fill an office the term of which is limited by the Constitution. the power of Congress to fix the terms of public offices stems from (1) its inherent power to create such public offices or (2) a constitutionally delegated power to that effect. with a term of three years beginning at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election. Vice-President. . there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period. eligible for one reelection. are framed upon the belief that to ensure democratic values. 3 of RA 7056. which shall be determined by law.64 or a negation of the term of office fixed in the Constitution. Article X of the Constitution. namely: 1.67 2. Senators. Congress would have arrogated to itself the power to lengthen the terms of office of the President. and paving the way for the newly elected officials to assume office. constitutional provisions fixing the terms of elective officials serve the ends of democratic republicanism by depriving elective officials of any legal basis to remain in office after the end of their terms.70 and 5. With the exception of the hold over provision in RA 9054. Congressmen and non-barangay elective local officials in contravention of their terms as fixed in the Constitution. 9164 [RA 9164]) only for barangay and sangguniang kabataan officials which the Court reviewed and upheld in Sambarani v. there must be periodic electoral exercises. The wisdom of Osmeña is magnified when the evils it seeks to bar are applied to the elective officials whose terms of office the 1987 Constitution fixed. Senators. Congress is devoid of any power to change the term of that office."62 The question of whether a law may constitutionally mandate the "hold over" of local officials beyond the expiration of their term as fixed in the Constitution is not novel.63 (Boldfacing supplied. with a single term of six years. Regional Vice-Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years. with a term of six years beginning at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election. eligible for two consecutive reelections. . changing the date of commencement of term of the successor. Article X of the Constitution by providing that "[t]he terms of office of the Regional Governor. unless otherwise provided by law. The ARMM Charter. the framers of the 1987 Constitution guaranteed not only the elective nature of these offices 66 but also secured our democratic values. x x x x In American Jurisprudence it has been stated as follows: It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot. beginning at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election. eligible for two consecutive reelections. 1992. italicization in the original) Osmeña is grounded on reasons of power and public policy. Also. Second. By refusing to include hold over provisions in fixing the terms of elective national and non-barangay local officials. (Emphasis supplied) Elective ARMM officials are "local officials"61 within the meaning of Section 8. for a maximum of three consecutive terms. of all elective nonbarangay local officials. shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.The term of office of elective local officials.

By disenfranchising voters in the ARMM. It is the solemn duty of this Court to uphold the genuine autonomy of the ARMM as crafted by the framers and enshrined in the Constitution. faced with no choice but to leave office on the day their terms end. is done cleaning the ARMM government. recognized these causes and devised a solution by mandating the creation of an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao. denying them their fundamental right of electing their leaders and representatives. On the other hand. "Genuine regional autonomy. The postponement of the ARMM elections was an unavoidable result of the time lag legislative and judicial processes normally entail.79 Lying at the heart of this unprecedented empowerment is the Constitution’s guarantee that the executive and legislative offices of the autonomous region shall be "be elective and representative of the constituent political units. among others. Osmeña protects democratic values and assures public order. our Muslim brothers in the South who justifiably seek genuine autonomy for their region would find no peaceful solution under the Constitution. elective officials stand to gain nothing in sabotaging electoral processes to extend their stay in office. Section 7(1) contravenes the Constitution by extending the term of office of such elective local officials beyond the three year period fixed in Section 8. a policy the legislature can pursue even in the absence of a constitutional directive to synchronize all elections. it can also be done to other regions. it is a terribly dangerous precedent for this Court to legitimize the cancelation of scheduled local elections in the ARMM and allow the appointment of OICs in place of elected local officials for the purpose of reforming the ARMM society and curing all social. through the OICs. immediately putting at risk the promised reforms due to obvious conflict of interest. The certainty of departure from office that term endings and term limits bring carries with it the certainty of the holding of regular and periodic elections.77 In the first place. it is controlled. This Court cannot allow itself to be co-opted into such a social re-engineering in clear violation of the Constitution. ancilla ry remedy to ensure the continued functioning of essential government services in the ARMM. Electoral and Other Reforms Must be Consistent With Principles of Regional Autonomy and Representative Democracy Beyond the expressly stated policy in RA 10153 of synchronizing national and local elections. Article VII of RA 9054. and other relevant characteristics. BP 881 Basis for Holding of Special Elections The unconstitutionality of Section 7(1).73 The legislature’s passage of RA 9164 is in accord with the Constitution’s grant to Congress of the power to determine the term of barangay officials. Electoral reform is mentioned in the President’s certificat ion on the urgency of HB 4146 and SB 2756 but RA 10153 itself is silent on such policy goal. 4 and 5 of RA 10153 leaves the holding of special elections as the only constitutionally permissible option to fill up the offices of the ARMM Governor. is a cause analogous to the administrative mishaps covered in Section 5 of BP 881. A region is not autonomous if its leaders are not elected by the people of the region but appointed by the central government in Manila. allowing for the hold over of elective local officials in the ARMM. The only apparent reason for the enactment of RA 10153 is to synchronize the ARMM elections with the national and local elections. save those withheld by the Constitution and national laws. Article VII of RA 9054 and Sections 3. The OSG presents RA 10153 as the cure for the ills plaguing the ARMM. manifested in the symptoms of padded voters’ list. Indeed. the OICs to be appointed under RA 10153 are not even barred from running in the next ARMM elections. The Muslim problem in southern Mindanao is rooted on the Philippine State’s failure to craft solutions sensitive to the Filipino Muslims’ "common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage.74 None of these laws were challenged before the Court. rendering impossible the holding of elections on 8 August 2011 as scheduled under RA 9333. for the first time.75 Nor is the Court’s Resolution of 13 September 2011 authorizing the then incumbent ARMM elective officials to continue in office under Section 7(1).COMELEC. Vice-Governor and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly after 30 September 2011. the cancelation of elections under RA 10153 "speaks loudly why this entity [ARMM] is not autonomous. when the terms of office of elective national and local officials covered by the synchronized elections also expire. Beyond the question of power. all for the ostensible purpose of reforming society – a purpose that is perpetually a work-in-progress. including the validity of Section 7(1). Article VII of RA 9054. denial of the right of suffrage is always too high a price to pay in exchange for promised reforms to be undertaken by OICs with no mandate from the people."76 The tight timeframe in the enactment and signing into law of RA 10153 on 30 June 2011."80 The essence of an autonomous region is the untrammeled right of the people in the region to freely choose those who will govern them. nay dictated. and worse." in the OSG’s view. economic and social structures. provinces. starts upon the assumption to office of the newly elected officials on 30 June 2013."78 The framers of the 1987 Constitution. as amended. appoint OICs in place of elective officials. political and economic ills plaguing it. RA 10153 strikes at the heart of the Constitution’s project of creating autonomous regions. cities and municipalities. In the opinion of the biggest Islamic rebel group in the region. thus the Court had no occasion to pass upon their validity. it can even be done to the entire Philippines: cancel scheduled elections."81 Contrary to the OSG’s view. Section 5 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 (BP 881). authorizes respondent COMELEC to hold special elections "[w]hen for any serious cause such as x x x loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records x x x the holding of a free. and the filing of the present petitions shortly before and after the signing. a political accommodation radically vesting State powers to the region. One has to see the problem in the Muslim South in the larger canvass of the Filipino Muslims’ centuries-old struggle for self-determination. The Resolution of 13 September 2011 is a preliminary. In contrast. Implicit in the issuance of the Resolution of 13 September 2011 is the understanding that such was without prejudice to the resolution of the issues raised in these petitions. by Manila. when the national government. the OSG calls the Court’s attention to the government’s other policy goals in enacting RA 10153. In any event. It is immaterial that the laws Congress enacted in the past postponing elections in the ARMM all contained provisions for the hold over of the incumbents until the election of their successors. orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision x x x. rampant criminality and highly dynastic politics. Otherwise. Article X of the Constitution. securing the voters’ ri ght to elect the officials for the new term. finds no basis in the Constitution. these policy goals to reform the ARMM society are nowhere stated or even implied in RA 10153. The ARMM officials to be elected in the special ARMM elections shall hold office until 30 June 2013. If this can be done to the ARMM. Incidentally. Section 5. Section 7(1). Article VII of RA 9054 a prejudgment of the provision’s validity. even for a single electoral cycle. 107 .

The laudable ends of legislative measures cannot justify the denial. Section 7.R. 29. Section 3. which is envisioned by the 1987 Constitution. Article XVII of Republic Act No.R. called for the holding of special elections nearest to that schedule or at least this year." RA 9333 took effect upon its publication on 29 September 2004. on the one hand. must necessarily be deontological. Nos. the regular elections for the Regional Governor. Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be held on the second (2nd) Monday of May 2013. conceding the impracticality of holding elections on the second Monday of September this year as they initially espoused. the Court. . G. Article VII of RA 9054. 196271. Similarly.R. – For purposes of synchronization of elections. RA 9333 was validated by acquiescence. 196305. 4 Section 2 of RA 9140 provides: "First Regular Election. the Court would have faithfully performed its sworn duty to protect and uphold the Constitution without fear or favor. The solutions to these problems lie not in tinkering with democratic processes but in addressing their root causes. 197282. Succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three years thereafter. Succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three (3) years thereafter. 197282). not on the law’s supposed beneficial consequences.R. 2 Petition (G. 197280. the last cycle of which allegedly fell on the second Monday of September 2010. Article XVIII of RA 9054. 197221. if the Court were to strike down RA 9333. Nos. No. Nos. as soon as possible. Article VII and Sections 1 and 3.R. with the incumbent head of respondent COMELEC himself admitting that the COMELEC is now 65%-70% done with biometrics registration. even if temporal. Pending the holding of special elections and the assumption to office of the elected ARMM Governor. Vice-Governor and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly. p. 196271 and 196305. Accordingly. Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when approved by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose. 197392.R.R. – The regular election for regional Governor and Regional Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be held on the second Monday of August 2005. Article VI and Section 7. 9054 shall be held on November 26.The ARMM enjoys no monopoly of the evils the government now belatedly claims it wants to eradicate in passing RA 10153. I vote to GRANT in part the petitions in G. Nos." 7 G. 197221. The Court must determine the constitutionality of a law based on the law’s adherence to the Constitution. it is impossible to comply with the election scheduled under RA 9054. and 197454. In their Memoranda. Private armies and political dynasties litter the length and breadth of this archipelago and spurious voters’ registration has perennially polluted the national voters’ list. The officials elected in the special elections should hold office until 30 June 2013. of the sovereign people’s constitutional right of suffrage — to choose freely and periodically "those whom they please to govern them. as the last bulwark of democracy. I further vote to declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL the second sentence of Section 7(1). Respondent Commission on Elections should be ordered to hold. the government recently upgraded the country’s age -old manual elections into an automated system. The petitioner proceeds from the theory that although unconstitutional. Section 4."83 The Court should strike a balance between upholding constitutional imperatives on regional autonomy and republican democratic principles. the President may appoint an officerin-charge in the office of the ARMM Governor. and 197280. prohibition and mandamus. 197282. Vice-Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly under Republic Act No. CARPIO Associate Justice G. 4 and 5 of Republic Act No. 8 9 ANTONIO T. 197280. 197392 and 197454 and declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL Sections 3.R. Had it done so here. 10153. 196271. which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment or revision. G. 10 11 Footnotes 1 12 For the writs of certiorari. On the other hand. Nos. 197392 and 196271 (in a supplemental petition). These provide: Section 1. this Organic Act may be reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately. 197280. 197221.82 In reviewing legislative measures impinging on core constitutional principles such as democratic republicanism. No. No. Notably." 5 Section 1 of RA 9333 provides: "Date of Election. special elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the positions of Governor. 2001. G. ridding the elections of the fraud-prone manual system. 3 108 . the cleansing of the voters’ list is on track. 6 Section 1 of HB 4146 provides: "Regular Elections. the petitioners in G. Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. on the other hand. and the incumbent administration’s legislative initiative to synchronize elections. 9054. without skipping a single electoral cycle.The first regular election for Regional Governor.

R.R. Section 3(6). city. 197221). 25 November 2004. Tolentino’sexemption relates to "basic rights" put at hazard following the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or declaration of martial law under Art. No. amending Section 6. 22. 197280 on this issue. 32 19 See Republic Act No. 47. The petitioners in G. No province. however. No. 20 Memorandum (G.R. § 23(2) such as the right against illegal arrests and detentions. Brillantes.(Memorandum [G. 18-19). the petitioners G. 49. 24 March 2009. COMELEC. assembly and of the press. Article VI for the purpose. Section 11. Section 28(4). municipality. and right against torture. 25). G. supra at 405.R. Article VII (to break an impasse between the cabinet and the President on the latter’s capacity to discharge the powers and duties of his office).R. Inc. No. pp. the rule of a "majority of a majority" to enact. 8176. This is the majority of a quorum of 143. No. 24 14 Macalawi v. No. Article VI (to declare war). G. divided. At any rate. No. 235 SCRA 630. 197454. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Aguirre. No. arguing for the first time in their Memorandum that heightened scrutiny of the President’s certification is warranted because the right to suffrage is basic. 25 Asociacion De Agricultores De Talisay-Silay. 196270. 149848. 576 SCRA 416 [reviewing an ordinance prohibiting the certain business practices of motels and similar establishments]. 23 Comment (Senate). 247 (1979). The right to suffrage lies far afield from this core of fundamental rights the Constitution protects in times of national emergency. Although the House of Representatives has a total of 285 members. 196271].R. or its boundary substantially altered. Article VI of the Constitution provides: "No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of Congress. Section 21. For other cases requiring a qualified or supermajority of Congress. No. 22 Section 28(4). Republic Act No. No.R. The question whether the right to suffrage is fundamental for purposes of using strict scrutiny to review the sufficiency of the factual bases of executive and legislative acts has never been raised before the Court. the Court extended the plebiscite requirement in the downgrading of a city’s status from independent to component city. No.R. 444 SCRA 203. Article VI (to grant tax exemption)." Thus. 380 Phil. Article VI (to expel or suspend a member of either House of Congress). No. 115455. v. Memorandum [G. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. No.. (Memorandum [G. p. pp. Talisay-Silay Milling Co. Section 16(3).R. 18 Memorandum (G. war or national security crisis by requiring heightened judicial scrutiny of the assailed measure. 26 Rollo (G. revenue or tariff bill. p.R.R. abolished. 15 This is the majority of a quorum of 12. 177 Phil." Miranda v. 197280]. 8746. 28-30. 31 May 2011. 28 Or an item or items in an appropriation. White Light Corporation v. No.R. Article VI of the Constitution. relates to the amendment or repeal of the organic act of the autonomous regions [See Section 23(1). pp. VII. City of Manila. petitioners’ interpretation leads to preposterous scenarios. 197280 also adopt this view (Memorandum [G. Republic Act No. 30 In local governance. Inc.g. G.R. 122846. see note 26. The Senate currently has 23 members. 109 . 22). 76l. 197454. p. Similarly. p. 433 Phil. 386 (1999). Memorandum [G. 582 SCRA 254 [reviewing a statutory rule on the reimbursement of placement fees of overseas workers]) or state such rule as dicta (see e. § 18. 8953.R. thus falling under Tolentino’s exemption (Memorandum [G. will be subjected to the rigors and expense of a plebiscite. merged." In Miranda v. No. No.R. right to free speech. 27 16 17 Petitioners in G. Resolution dismissing for prematurity a petition questioning the validity of HB 4146 and SB 2756. who initially favored holding the elections on the second Monday of August 2011.R. Article XVII (to call a constitutional convention)]. No. 9012. 196305]. prayed in their Memoranda that the elections be held as soon as possible. 620 (2002). G. The smallest change to RA 9054 such as mandating its official promulgation (not just translation) into all native dialects widely spoken in the region. 25 August 1994. 373 Phil.R. Aguirre. or during the existence of a national emergency under Art. 29 "Section 10.R. 7647. Taken to its logical extreme. 197221]. p.. 196271]. and Republic Act No.g.R.R. Commission on Elections. 17-28. Section 3. Article VII (for the Senate to concur in treaty ratification). p. No. The 1987 Constitution requires a qualified or supermajority vote in certain instances. 197280]. Republic Act No. 31 Under Section 7. Article XI (for the Senate to impeach the President). the plebiscite is seen as a check "against the pernicious practice of gerrymandering. 197221 and G. pp. Republic Act No. 20 January 2009. 666. 197280). Montesclaros v. amend or repeal laws does not apply to the grant of tax exemptions. p. 5-7. See Section 27(2). Memorandum [G. 197280). 13 21 Section 16(2). or barangay may be created. none of which. No. Article VI of the Constitution. 780 (2000) [reviewing the constitutionality of a regulation prohibiting the conduct of exit polls]). Our jurisprudence merely advert to the rule in the United States treating such right as fundamental (see e. Article VII of RA 9054. Inc. 52. 196271 belatedly joined the petitioners in G. 8753. Serrano v. Gallant Maritime Services. VI. G. No. 167614. No. 46). only 284 is considered for quorum purposes..

Any vacancy occurring in the offices occupied by said incumbent elected officials.—No person shall be appointed officer-in-charge unless he or she complies with the qualifications for Regional Governor. 1992. p." (Emphasis supplied) 49 35 Under Section 2 ("The Senators. Automatic Reenactment. The appointees shall hold office until their successors shall have been elected in the regular local elections following the plebiscite mentioned herein and qualified. 20 and 21. 9355 (RA 9355). paragraph 3 of Republic Act No. x x x" 52 40 41 42 43 Paragraph 1. The provision states: "Until a law is passed. at 249. as provided in Republic Act No. 407. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal. and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. hereby extended to noon of June 30. 20. 18. Article X of the Constitution. as amended by Republic Act No. Article VII of RA 9054. all of whom shall likewise hold office until their successors shall have been elected in the next regular local elections and qualified. G. Id. 17. Section 5 of Article V1 of this Constitution." 56 This provides: "Budget Approval. Section 1. 199 SCRA 750. 7160 (RA 7160) provides: "The incumbent elected officials of the said subprovinces converted into regular provinces shall continue to hold office until June 30. Id. 16. 37 38 Under Section 8. Article II of the Constitution: "The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. 9495 (RA 9495). entitled: ‘An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.R. Article XVIII. shall be filled by appointment by the President.R. at 762. Expressed in Section 1. the Regional Assembly shall have failed to pass the regional appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal 110 . Presidential Decree No. 1992." 50 G. 34 governor of the newly-created province through appointment if none has yet been appointed to the same as hereinbefore provided.—There shall be created a screening committee. 30 July 1991. the President shall fill up the position of Section 2. 197221 and 197282. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly. and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30. 1986. Article III of the Freedom Constitution provides: "All elective and appointive officials and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall continue in office until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment and qualification of their successors. family. 46. After effectivity of such conversion."). Section 3 (emphasis supplied). 100318. by the end of a fiscal year. 54 Republic Act No. the President may fill by appointment from a list of nominees by the respective sectors. See Sections 15. 19. The first regular elections for the President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May." except for barangay officials whose term of office is fixed by law. If. Article X of the Constitution. Article VII of RA 9054. at 225. Article X of the Constitution provides: "The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. 196271 Supplemental Petition). 36 Section 4 provides: "Manner and Procedure of Appointing Officers-in-Charge. Section 50 of 9355 and Section 52 of RA 9495 (emphasis supplied). 9054." 55 47 48 Section 462. Regional Vice Governor or Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the ARMM. entitled: ‘An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’. 46 OSG Memorandum. Section 18.33 Id. The creation of Quezon del Sur Province was rejected by the voters of Quezon Province in the plebiscite of 13 November 2008. 1992." 53 44 Republic Act No. the seats reserved for sectoral representation in paragraph (2). Nos. both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. 1986 election is. 1992. for purposes of synchronization of elections. No. in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate President. 6734. if such is made within a period of one year from February 25. or resulting from expiration of their terms of office in case of a negative vote in the plebiscite results. Article VI and Sections 1 and 4. the persons who will be appointed as Officers-in-Charge. No."’ 51 Rollo (G. Members of the House of Representatives. whose members shall be appointed by the President. 39 Section 5 reads: "Qualifications. which shall screen and recommend. – The Regional Governor shall approve the budget of the autonomous region within one (1) month from its passage by the Regional Assembly. Article II of the Constitution. p. Section 7. 6734. "[t]he term of office of elective local officials x x x shall be three years. 45 Section 2.R.") and Section 5 ("The six-year term of the incumbent President and VicePresident elected in the February 7. Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. and shall also appoint a vice-governor and the other members of the sangguniang panlalawigan.

shall postpone the election therein to a date which should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held. and other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free. 438 SCRA 319. whose term of office is fixed by law. namely. and no other business may be taken up during such sessions. 5. the ordinance authorizing the appropriations of the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the ordinance authorizing the proposed appropriations is passed by the sanggunian concerned. offices. 763 (internal citations omitted).R. Article VII. Article VI. 73 A substantially similar provision is found in Section 8. the Regional Appropriations Act for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed automatically reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the regional appropriations bill is passed by the Regional Assembly. No. 67 Section 4. respectively)." (Emphasis supplied) 58 Section 7. reiterated in Adap v. No. G. 15 September 2004. Senatorial term commences on 30 June following the elections. statutory and contractual obligations. 9140.When for any serious cause such as violence.R. No. 160427. Inc. Inc." (under Sections 2074 and 2177. 438 SCRA 319 and Adap v. rel.E. . No. Under RA 7166. RA 9164 subsequently shortened the term of elective barangay officials to three years. terrorism. 177597. 7647. and. No. Congressional term commences on 30 June following the elections. Commission on Elections. The 1917 Revised Administrative Code authorized elective provincial and municipal officials to "hold over until a successor shall be duly qualified. Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement. 74 See Sema v. to officials. 640 (2002). municipalities. however. 8753. 161984.This Code shall apply to all provinces. 76 64 See Board of Elections for Franklin County v. Under RA 7166.. 100318. No. force majeure. Regional Vice Governor.R. Davide. when their term as punong barangays end under Republic Act No. loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records.R. These provisions were. 273. The extension of the ex officio term of these barangay officials.g. G. G. 109455.In case the sanggunian concerned fails to pass the ordinance authorizing the annual appropriations at the beginning of the ensuing fiscal year. 433 Phil. 72 The Code’s implementing rules (Section 210(d)(3)) extended the term of the heads of the barangay leagues as ex officio members of sanggunians until 31 May 1994. Article X. orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision." x x x x (Emphasis supplied) 59 Section 8." 60 E. barangays. However. Valencia. Paras v. G. motu proprio or upon a verified petition by any interested party." 111 . The provision reads in full: "Sec. 197282. 65 Id. and other political subdivisions as may be created by law. 6679 (RA 6679). cities. and after due notice and hearing. Schneider. Republic Act No. 558 SCRA 700. No. 160427. COMELEC. without additional remuneration for its members. to the extent herein provided. 620. not by the Constitution. 227 SCRA 728. 61 G. 357 (under Section 184). 66 This contrasts with some state constitutions in the United States which allow the hold over of elective officials. 71 Under the first paragraph of Section 323 of RA 7160 which provides: " Failure to Enact the Annual Appropriations. 516 SCRA 403.R. repealed by Commonwealth Act No. 8746. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause for such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect. Republic Act No. 63 The cases invoked by the petitioner in G. They all involve barangay officials. 516 SCRA 403. ." 57 68 Section 4. In Montesclaros v. 70 Under Section 4 of RA 7160. until such ordinance is approved. Commission on Elections. No. G. or agencies of the national government. and Republic Act No. and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and disbursement of funds shall be in accordance therewith. COMELEC. 69 Section 4. 56. 8953. 115 (1934).R. 30 July 1991. J. G. If the sanggunian still fails to enact such ordinance after ninety (90) days from the beginning of the fiscal year. Postponement of election. the Court dismissed a premature challenge against the legislative bills for RA 9164 as they relate tosangguniang kabataan members.R. 11 November 1993. the Commission. 161984. Republic Act No. which provides: "Scope of Application. . 21 February 2007. only the annual appropriations for salaries and wages of existing positions. Article XVIII of RA 9054 which provides: "The incumbent Regional Governor. State ex. whereby all interested parties are afforded equal opportunity to be heard. Sambarani v.year. 191 N. Article VII. which the Court upheld in Galarosa v. 16 July 2008. 128 Ohio St. was rendered necessary by the different length of terms of elective barangay officials under RA 6679 (five years starting 1 May 1989) and other elective local officials under the Code (three years starting 30 June 1992). are not in point. and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall continue in office pursuant to existing laws and until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified. 332 Phil. 199 SCRA 750. concurring. and Minority Rights Forum Philippines. 75 Section 7. it shall continue to hold sessions. 66 (1996). Article VI.R. Article VII of RA 9054. 62 Under Republic Act No. Commission on Elections. 21 February 2007. 15 September 2004. Commission on Elections.

the latest of which is Republic Act No. 5-6. Educational policies. 2. Term Limits. 50-58. 3. in violation of the Constitution and RA 9054. 8. Article X provides: "All powers. the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: 1. and responsibilities not granted by this Constitution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Government. Ancestral domain and natural resources. it is hereby declared the policy of the State to synchronize national and local elections. family. and tourism development. entitled: "An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms. 514 U. Authorizing Appropriations Therefor. (RA) 10153 entitled An Act Providing for the Synchronization of the Elections in the Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the National and Local Elections and for Other Purposes. and property relations. Inc. and 9. Personal. 475 (1998) citing U. v.1 the expanded organic law of ARMM.—In accordance with the intent and mandate of the Constitution and Republic Act No. Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. SEC. pp. The ponencia sustains the constitutionality of RA 10153 in toto. Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office.php? news _id=20110810014922 (last visited on 16 September 2011). Section 17. Regular Elections.: I join Justice Carpio’s dissent and agree that the "[C]ongress’ power to provide for the simultaneous holding of elections for national and local officials x x x does not encompass the power to authorize the President to appoint officers-in-charge in place of elective officials x x x. 82 OSG Memorandum. 467. while Justice Carpio’s dissent declares unconstitutional Sections 3. social. Economic. ordering instead the respondent COMELEC "to hold special elections in the ARMM as soon as possible. 4. DISSENTING OPINION 78 79 80 Section 18." and so sustain the holdover of the incumbent ARMM officials pending the election and qualification of their successors. 131 L. 6. Appointment of Officers-in-Charge. functions. Thornton. Regional urban and rural planning development. p. Pursuant thereto. and (2) granting the President the power to appoint OICs unconstitutionally expands his power over the ARMM to encompass not only general supervision but also control. 83 Borja v.77 OSG Memorandum. the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is hereby synchronized with the national and local elections as hereinafter provided. I am in full agreement with Justice Carpio’s dissent. in part: SECTION 1. JR.S. 356 Phil.Arellano Law Foundation Section 15. Article X of the Constitution. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.S. The petitions assailing the validity of RA 10153 argue that (1) the postponement of the ARMM elections to the second Monday of May 2013 undermines the republican and autonomous region of the ARMM. Declaration of Policy. 112 . Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be held on the second (2nd) Monday of May 2013. 7. 4.—The regular elections for the Regional Governor. thus: Section 20. Section 20. and 5 of RA 10153 authorizing the President to appoint OICs in place of elective ARMM officials. VELASCO. 7166." On this. The Lawphil Project . 5. Administrative organization. 6. Succeeding regular elections shall be held on the same date every three (3) years thereafter.2d 881 (1995)..—The President shall appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor. and for Other Purposes". Preservation and development of the cultural heritage. J.Ed. 3. Creation of sources of revenues. 81 "MILF To Fight For Self-Determination" reported in http://mindanaoexaminer. Commission on Elections. SEC." At bar are original actions assailing the validity of statutes and bills on the holding of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 2. Article X of the Constitution enumerates these powers. To hold otherwise is to sanction the perversion of the Philippine State’s democratic and republican nature. RA 10153 provides. 779.com/news. Article X of the Constitution.

But unlike Justice Carpio’s curious proposal that in the interregnum and pending the holding of special elections, the President has the power to appoint an OIC in the Office of the ARMM Governor, I differ and vote for the holding over of the incumbent pursuant to Sec. 7(1), Article VII of RA 9054, which states: Sec. 7. Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. – (1) Terms of Office. The terms of office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years, which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in effect until their successors are elected and qualified. (Emphasis supplied.)

Nonetheless, even assuming that the pronouncement in Osmeña v. COMELEC on the issue of holdover is not an obiter dictum, the facts of the present case do not justify a similar conclusion, since the rule of stare decisis et non quieta movere states that a principle of law laid down by the court as applicable to a certain state of facts will only be applied to cases involving the same facts.4

A comparison of the factual milieu in Osmeña and the instant petition reveals an ocean of dissimilarities. InOsmeña, RA 7065 provided for synchronization of the national and local elections in 1995 but it also prescribed that the national elections will be held in May, 1992 while the local elections will be held in November 1992. There is also no provision for the President to appoint OICs. Meanwhile, in RA 10153, the law provided for synchronization in May 2013 but suspended the elections scheduled in August, 2011 and authorized the President to appoint OICs. In view of the substantial and significant differences in the factual setting of the two cases, then it cannot be The ponencia holds that the foregoing provision is unconstitutional in accordance with our previous gainsaid that the Osmeña ruling is not a precedent to the instant petitions. ruling in Osmeña v. COMELEC.2 However, it must be noted that the issue in Osmeña on the power of local elective officials to hold on to their respective positions pending the election of their successors was not the very lis mota of the case. The main issue in Osmeña was the proposed Further, the Court in Osmeña opined that the holdover of elective officials espoused by RA 7065 desynchronization of the elections. Hence, the statement on the issue of holdover can be violated Sec. 2, Art. XVIII and Sec. 8, Art. X of the Constitution by adopting and applying certain considered a mere obiter dictum that cannot be held a binding judicial precedent. selected American jurisprudence. The assailed obiter dictum reads: To recall, in Osmeña, the Congress enacted RA 7056, entitled An Act Providing for the National and Local Elections in 1992, Paving the Way for Synchronized and Simultaneous Elections beginning 1995, and Authorizing Appropriations Therefor. Sec. 2 provided for two (2) separate elections in 1992 as follows: Section 2. Start of Synchronization. - To start the process of synchronization of elections in accordance with the policy herein before declared, there shall be held. (a) An election for President and Vice-President of the Philippines, twenty-four (24) Senators, and all elective Members of the House of Representatives on the second Monday of May 1992; and (b) An election of all provincial, city, and municipal elective officials on the second Monday of November 1992. (Emphasis supplied.) Hence, the Court struck down RA 7056 on the principal ground that it occasioned a desynchronized election, viz: With the clear mandate of the 1987 Constitution to hold synchronized (simultaneous) national and local elections in the second Monday of May, 1992, the inevitable conclusion would be that Republic Act 7056 is clearly violative of the Constitution because it provides for the holding of a desynchronized election. Stated differently, Republic Act 7056 particularly Sections 1 and 2 thereof contravenes Article XVIII, Sections 2 and 5 of the 1987 Constitution. (Emphasis supplied.) Clearly, the determination of the validity of RA 7056 in Osmeña relied mainly on the resolution of the issue of the postponement of elections, and the judicial opinion on the issue of holdover was not necessary for the disposition of the case. Since an opinion expressed by the Court in the decision upon a cause "by the way"––i.e., incidentally or collaterally, and not directly upon the question before it––is not a binding precedent,3 the obiter dictum of the Court in Osmeña on the issue of holdover is not a binding judicial doctrine material to the resolution of the issue on desynchronization. [T]here are other provisions of the Constitution violated by RA 7056. For one, there is Section 2, Article XVIII of the Constitution which provides that the local official first elected under the Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. But under Sec. 3 of RA 7056, these incumbent local officials shall hold over beyond June 30, 1992 and shall serve until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified. It has been held that: It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term, (citing State v. Clark 89 A. 172, 87 Conn537) and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term shall begin, there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period, even though the successors fail to qualify with the time. (See 67 CJS p.379, Citing Minn.- State v. McIntosh, 122 N.W. 462, Emphasis supplied) In American Jurisprudence it has been stated as follows: It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to fill an office the term of which is limited by the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution. (43 Am Jur., 152, page 13) citing Gemmer v. State, 71 NE 478 Also, there is Section 8, Article X of the Constitution which provides that: The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials which shall be determined by law shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms x x x. A closer look of the American cases on which the above quoted American Jurisprudence (Am Jur) and Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) passages were ultimately based, however, reveals that they do not justify the conclusions reached in Osmeña and so, with more reason, they are inapplicable to the present case.

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The passage quoted from CJS was based on State v. Clark5 and State v. McIntosh.6 The 1913 case of State v. Clark, however, does not have the same factual milieu as Osmeña or this case: the office involved in State v. Clark was not elective but appointive and a successor has already been appointed.7 More importantly, the pivotal issue of the case was whether an appointment for a period beyond the term set by the constitution vests the appointed official with a de jure, as opposed to a de facto, title to occupy the office beyond the constitutionally prescribed period. 8 That is not the issue of the present case. Similarly, State v. McIntosh is not squarely in point with either Osmeña or this case involving as it does the validity of an act performed by the outgoing members of the board of county commissioners less than two hours before their successors, who were already elected, were qualified to assume office.9 The principal doctrine laid down in State v. McIntosh was the limitation of the acts performed by outgoing officials to the closing up of pending matters and to matters of necessity, and not to matters naturally pertaining to the official year. The case did not preclude the possibility of a holdover when no successor has yet been elected. In fact, the case intimated that the rule is that in the absence of constitutional restrictions, outgoing officers are entitled to holdover until such time as their successors will qualify. 10 Thus, the cases of Clark and McIntosh cited in Osmeña are likewise not precedent to the instant petitions. Indeed, numerous American cases laid down the rule allowing holdover of officials beyond the term set by the Constitution as long as there is no constitutional proscription against it. This is obvious in the CJS passages omitted in Osmeña v. COMELEC. The annotation quoted from 67 CJS 379 in Osmeña on holding over is incomplete and the full and complete text reads: It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term shall begin, there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period, even though the successors fail to qualify with the time. (Quoted inOsmeña) When the legislature has the power to fix the commencement of the term, a provision for holding over under such circumstances is not in violation of a constitutional provision that the term of no officer shall be extended to a longer period than that for which he is elected or appointed, and such a provision, contained in an act creating an office, is not violative of a constitutional provision that the legislature shall not create any office, the tenure of which shall be longer than a prescribed number of years, when a like provision is in the constitution.11(Emphasis supplied.) Furthermore, on the specific topic of "holding over," the CJS provides:

has the power to fix the commencement of the term applies squarely to RA 9054, particularly its assailed Sec. 7, Art. VII which, to reiterate, reads: SEC. 7. Terms of Office of Elective Regional Officials. – (1) Terms of Office. The terms of office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and members of the Regional Assembly shall be for a period of three (3) years, which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter. The incumbent elective officials of the autonomous region shall continue in effect until their successors are elected and qualified. (Emphasis supplied.) It cannot be disputed that the Organic Act of Muslim Mindanao (RA 6734) did not provide for the commencement of the term of the Governor, Deputy Governor and the Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of ARMM. As such, it falls on the shoulders of Congress to fix the date of elections which power is concededly legislative in nature. In the exercise of this power, Congress enacted RA 9054 which set the elections of the ARMM officials on the second Monday of September 2001. In addition, said law, in the aforequoted Sec. 7, Art. VII of said law provided for the holdover of said officials until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified. Following the jurisprudence cited in CJS, then the provision of holdover in Sec. 7, Art. VII of RA 9054 is valid and does not offend the Constitution. To restate, "when the legislature has the power to fix the commencement of the term, a provision for holding over under such circumstances is not in violation of a constitutional provision that the term of no officer shall be extended to a longer period than that for which he is elected or appointed, and such a provision x x x is not violative of a constitutional provision that the legislature shall not create any office, the tenure of which shall be longer than a prescribed number of years x x x."14 Ergo, it is clear as day that the holdover provision in RA 9054 is valid and constitutional. More importantly, neither Sec. 2, Art. XVIII or Sec. 8, Art. X of the Constitution contain any provision against a holdover by an elective local official of his office pending the election and qualification of his successor. To recall, Sec. 2, Art. XVIII of the Constitution provides: Section 2. The Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and the local officials first elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992. Of the Senators elected in the elections in 1992, the first twelve obtaining the highest number of votes shall serve for six years and the remaining twelve for three years. (Emphasis supplied.) Similarly, the absence of any prohibition in Sec. 8, Art. X of the Constitution is clear:

The term "holding over" when applied to an officer, implies that the office has a fixed term, and the incumbent is holding over into the succeeding term. Since the public interest ordinarily requires that public offices should be filled at all times without interruption, as a general rule, in the absence of an express or implied constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary, an officer is entitled to hold his office until his successor is appointed or chosen and has qualified. 12 (Emphasis supplied.) As previously explained, the annotation that "it is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term"13 has no application to the instant petitions, because the cases of Clark and McIntosh upon which it is anchored are factually dissimilar to the herein petitions. I point out, however, that the second sentence in the annotation that a provision for holdover is not unconstitutional when the legislature

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. Thus, the Constitution does not bar a holdover situation. Accordingly, Congress may legislate what elective positions can be accorded holdover privilege of the incumbent officials. Also, besides the absence of a constitutional prohibition against a holdover, the legislature was conferred by the Constitution with (1) the power to create the executive and legislative offices in the ARMM, with the sole limitation that they be elective and representative, and therefore, (2) the

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authority to determine the commencement of the term of the ARMM local officials. Hence, in conformity with the foregoing American cases, the holdover clause in Sec. 7(1), Art. VII of RA 9054 is constitutional and must be respected as a valid legislative intent.

Even under the passage quoted by Osmeña from Am Jur, the same conclusion can be reached considering that it is not disputed in this case that the possibility of holdover by the ARMM officials is but incidental to the synchronization of the ARMM elections with the national elections. Hence, the holdover of the incumbent ARMM officials can be sustained. Read in full, the passages from the Am Jur provide that a holdover occasioned by a legislation postponing an election, which is not The majority is of the view that if a public office is created by the Constitution with a fixed term or if passed for the sole purpose of extending official terms but which merely effects an extension as an the term of a public office created by Congress is fixed by the Constitution, Congress is devoid of incidental result,15 is valid: any power to change the term of that office. Hence, the holdover of the incumbent officials which amounts to an appointment by Congress is unconstitutional. I beg to disagree. RA 9054, by providing a holdover of the incumbent officials did NOT extend the term of said officials. RA 9054 It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to fill an is clear and devoid of any equivocation. The law merely provided for a procedure in case the office the term of which is limited by the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the scheduled elections for one reason or another do not push through and COMELEC resets the period as limited by the Constitution. (Quoted in Osmeña). It has been declared, however, that elections pursuant to its power under Sec. 5 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. legislation postponing an election which is not passed for the sole purpose of extending official 881). The possibility of a vacuum in the performance of essential government services is terms, but which merely effects an extension as an incidental result, does not affect a legislative addressed by the holdover provision to avoid any uncertainty, as in this case, as to the procedure appointment of his successor. In this respect, however, a distinction is sometimes drawn between on how the gap is resolved in determining the interim official who will perform the functions of the constitutional and statutory offices. Postponement of an election by the legislature does not fly in incumbent. As aptly pointed out by Justice Carpio in his dissent, the necessity of providing for a the face of the Constitution so long as such postponement is reasonable and does not destroy the successor in the office contested in the last elections in case of failure of elections is "absolutely 16 elective character of the office affected. (Emphasis supplied.) necessary and unavoidable to keep functioning essential government services." The part quoted by Osmeña v. COMELEC does not apply to the case at bar, since the facts of the cases from which the quoted sentence was culled––Gemmer v. State,17 State ex rel. Hensley v. Plasters,18 and Commonwealth v. Gamble19 ––are not the same as either the facts of Osmeña v. COMELEC or the present case: in Gemmer v. State the holdover of the officials per se was not declared invalid, rather, since the date of election was specifically provided in the state’s constitution, the court found the postponement of the elections invalid and unconstitutional and so declared the holdover incidental to the postponement unnecessary and equally invalid; similarly, State ex rel. Hensley v. Plasters involved a nullification of the postponement of an election and, hence, the nullification of the incidental holdover; and Commonwealth v. Gamble principally involved the declaration of the abolition of a judicial office created by the constitution as an unwarranted intrusion by the legislature into judicial independence. Clearly, the passage from the Am Jur quoted by Osmeña v. COMELEC and the cases of Gemmer, Hensley, and Gamble cited in Am Jur cannot be considered applicable to the present case. Furthermore, it should be considered that a holdover is not technically an extension of the term of the officer but a recognition of the incumbent as a de facto officer, which is made imperative by the necessity for a continuous performance of public functions. In State v. Clark, the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut held: The claim of the respondent that it was his right and his duty to hold over and exercise the duties and functions of the office after the expiration of his term until his successor should be appointed may be conceded. The public interest requires that such officers shall hold over when no successor is ready and qualified to fill the office x x x. The rule has grown out of the necessities of the case, so that there may be no time when such offices shall be without an incumbent. But such hold-over incumbent is not a de jure officer. He is in for no term, but holds the office only temporarily until the vacancy can be filled by competent authority x x x.20 (Emphasis supplied.) Thus, considering the weight of authority and the circumstances of the present case, the incumbent ARMM officials have the right, as well as the duty, to continue in office under the And to reiterate a previous point, a holdover is not technically an extension of the term of a sitting officer but a recognition of the incumbent as a de facto officer made necessary to obviate a detrimental hiatus in public service. A scenario where Congress passes a law that provides holdover for all the elective officials (except barangay officials) from President down to the local officials is flawed in the sense that if the President does not qualify, Sec. 7, Art. VII of the Constitution kicks in. However, we can concede that Congress may so provide if the President is not elected. In this factual setting, it is claimed that the Congress has arrogated to itself the power to lengthen the terms of office of said officials in contravention of the Constitution. Again, I submit that the power of holdover in the imagined statute does NOT lengthen the prescribed terms of offices of said officials under the Constitution, unless said law also postpones the elections as in RA 10153. In such a case, I agree that the postponement of the elections and the attendant holdover provision are clear contraventions of the basic law. In RA 9054, however, the elections are fixed but with the corollary holdover provision in case elections are not held. To me, this is perfectly valid and constitutional. To reiterate, the holdover provision has no relevance to the prescribed terms of offices in the Constitution and is simply a temporary measure to avoid a vacuum in the office. Further, while the Local Government Code does not authorize the holdover of elective officials, there is nothing to prevent Congress from subsequently enacting a law that effectively amends the general law for local governments and empowers, pursuant to its law making power under the Constitution, local officials to hold over in case of failure of elections or in case all the elective officials failed to qualify. RA 9054 did not trench on the Constitution, because there is no prohibition in the Constitution against the holdover of elective officials. Consequently, Congress by law may provide for holdover as it did in RA 9054 and other laws postponing elections in the ARMM, namely, RA 7647, RA 8746, RA 8753, RA 8953 and RA 9140. Over the passage of time, these laws were not assailed as unconstitutional. Even up to the present time, these laws have not been challenged as void. As a matter of fact, it appears that not one of the petitioners sought the nullification of RA 9054 as unconstitutional. The Court, without such an issue being presented in

principle of holdover pending the holding of the special elections and the election and qualification of their successors. This is to prevent a vacuum in the government services. It is imperative that there shall be continuity in the vital services so as not to prejudice the public in general. In Adap v. COMELEC,21 it was held that "the application of the holdover principle preserves continuity in the transaction of official business and prevents hiatus in government pending the assumption of a successor into office." In Topacio Nuevo v. Angeles,22 the Court explained that cases of extreme necessity justify the application of the holdover principle.

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any of these fused petitions, should not declare the assailed portion of RA 9054 unconstitutional. However, even if the Court feels it proper to take the bull by the horns on that issue, the outcome will be in favor of the validity and constitutionality of Sec. 7, Art. VII of RA 9054. The alternative choice to allow the President to appoint the ARMM Governor pending the holding of the special elections is not only intrinsically infirm but also constitutionally invalid for violating the only limitation provided by the Constitution when it conferred on Congress the power to create the local offices of the ARMM. Sec. 18(1), Art. X of the Constitution provides: The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. (Emphasis supplied.) Considering the express requirement that the executive and legislative offices in the ARMM be both "elective and representative," it should not have even been contemplated to allow the President to substitute his discretion for the will of the electorate by allowing him to appoint, no matter how briefly, the ARMM Governor pending the holding of the special elections. As can be clearly gleaned from Sect. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution, the appointing power of the President is limited only to appointive offices. Consider: Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. (Emphasis supplied.) Hence, this Court cannot expand the appointing power of the President to encompass offices expressly required by the Constitution to be "elective and representative." The republican form of government can only be preserved by ensuring that elective offices can only be filled by persons voted by the electors. Even the ponencia recognizes that the grant of the power to appoint the ARMM officials to the President would trample on the democratic and republican nature of our government as "the people’s right to choose the leaders to govern them may be said to be systematically withdrawn to the point of fostering an undemocratic regime x x x. [It] would likewise frontally breach the ‘elective and representative’ governance requirement of Section 18 Article X of the Constitution." However, the ponencia evades the application of its own observation to the present case on the ground that "this conclusion would not be true under the very limited circumstances contemplated under RA

10153 where the period is fixed and, more importantly, the terms of governance x x x will not systematically be touched or affected at all." Clearly, the ponencia has discounted the consequences of this supposedly "limited" enroachment of the President into the very core of the "elective" and "representative" nature of the offices subject of the present petitions, which cannot be remedied by provisions setting the manner and procedure for the appointment of the OICs or their quaifications. The fact still remains that Secs. 3, 4, and 5 of RA 10153 deprive the ARMM electorate of their choice of governors and legislators. Meanwhile, the holdover provision will not affect the elective and representative nature of the contested offices. For one, the periodic elections are prescribed by law and must be implemented. Even if there is failure of elections on the scheduled dates, COMELEC can set another day when it will be held. With this power of the COMELEC, the elections will, as sure as day, be held. Thus, the assurance of having an election has no relevance or connection to the holdover provision. The mode of holdover is merely a stopgap solution whenever elections are not held and only for the period from the date of failed elections up to the eventual holding of the elections. If we are to ensure democratic values, then the holding over of a duly elected official is undeniably the proper remedial action than the appointment of OICs who were not elected by the people and were merely chosen by the President whose choices may be viewed, rightly or wrongly, as biased, he being the titular head of the administration political party. Indeed, the appointment of a person by the President thwarts the popular will by replacing the person who has been previously elected by the ARMM electorate to govern them. On the other hand, an approval of the holdover of the incumbents pending the election and qualification of their successsors is a ratification of the constitutional right of the people of the ARMM to select the their own officials. With more reason, the authority granted the President to appoint the ARMM Governor cannot be excused by an expanded interpretation of the President’s power of "general supervision" over local governments in Sec. 4, Art. X of the Constitution, as it is basic that "general supervision" does NOT authorize the President or any of his alter egos to interfere with local affairs. In Pimentel v. Aguirre,23 We explained the scope of the power of the general supervision, thus: Section 4 of Article X of the Constitution confines the President’s power over local governments to one of general supervision. It reads as follows: "Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. x x x" This provision has been interpreted to exclude the power of control. In Mondano v. Silvosa, the Court contrasted the President’s power of supervision over local government officials with that of his power of control over executive officials of the national government. It was emphasized that the two terms -- supervision and control -- differed in meaning and extent. The Court distinguished them as follows: "x x x In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside

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salary of 1. but only to conform to such rules. They each paid a P 15. The respondents alleged that the agency deployed them between March 29.R. 2008. MARINO M. Supervising officials merely see to it that the rules are followed. Era. ENJAMBRE and NOEL T. the President may not withhold or alter any authority or power given them by the Constitution and the law. Consequently. their employment was increased to three years at 1. "Supervisory power.: We resolve the present petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the decision2 dated May 9.. Modern Metal gave the respondents. (agency). They have no discretion on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed. which was far from their jobsite in Dubai. 2007. ARSENIO S. but they themselves do not lay down such rules. with a break of only one hour to one and a half hours. ERA. 2007 to work as aluminum fabricator/installer for the agency’s principal. 114353. By constitutional fiat. No. free and suitable housing (four to a room). Their sovereign powers emanate from the electorate. ARMANDO A. LUMANTA. the heads of political subdivisions are elected by the people. so long as their acts are exercised within the sphere of their legitimate powers. 117 . even temporarily and pending the holding of the special elections.. Nacino. On the other hand. not control. Arsenio S. free transportation. ORDOVEZ. They may not prescribe their own manner of execution of the act. Respondents. 2007 and May 12.4 which were approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). DECISION BRION. Associate Justice SECOND DIVISION September 5. Anipan. Modern Metal Solution LLC/MMS Modern Metal Solution LLC (Modern Metal) in Dubai. J. supervision does not cover such authority. Officers in control lay down the rules in the performance or accomplishment of an act.. nine hours a day. VII of RA 9054 and the nebulous unconstitutional exercise of the general supervision of the President to appoint the officers of ARMM. and for the holding of the special elections within three (3) months from the finality of the decision. we further stated that the Chief Executive wielded no more authority than that of checking whether local governments or their officials were performing their duties as provided by the fundamental law and by statutes. When they rendered overtime work. Inc. Under the letters of appointment. there was no potable water and the air was polluted. Jr. I join the dissent of Justice Carpio. In contrast.m. Lumanta. Petitioner. is the power of mere oversight over an inferior body.) Clearly. the President cannot fill the executive and legislative ARMM Offices by appointment. Art. pertinent laws. it does not include any restraining authority over such body. Their housing accommodations were cramped and were shared with 27 other occupants. they may order the work done or redone. Sandy O. The lodging house was in Sharjah.200 AED and food allowance of 200 AED. Art. and its President Romeo P.what a subordinate officer ha[s] done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.R. United Arab Emirates. Robelito S. vote to allow the holdover of the ARMM officials pending the holding of the special elections and the election and qualification of their successors. they are subject to the power of control of the President. the difference between control and supervision was further delineated.. He cannot interfere with local governments. The Antecedents On March 5. In other respects. appointment letters 6 with terms different from those in the employment contracts which they signed at the agency’s office in the Philippines. LOUIE M. or their actions and decisions changed. Louie M. to 6:30 p. so long as they act within the scope of their authority. SANDY 0. provided for a two-year employment. suspended or reversed. 7(1). If these rules are not followed. but also further violates the principle of local autonomy. Virgilio R. and anchored on relevant constitutional provision. (Emphasis supplied. Lim. they are subject to the President’s supervision only. Under our present system of government. PRESBITERO J. The respondents’ employment contracts.00 processing fee.000 to 1. ANIPAN." we said. In a more recent case. Vinuya. constitutional.350 AED with overtime pay. Alcantara. VII of RA 9054 is valid and constitutional. leaving them only three to four hours of sleep a day because of the long hours of travel to and from their place of work. at whose will and behest they can be removed from office. and contravenes the only limitation set by the Constitution––that the offices of the executive and legislative ARMM officials be "elective" and "representative. Enjambre and Noel T.." G. If the rules are not observed. INC. vs. 197528 In Taule v. ROBELITO S. in their discretion. except Era. ALCANTARA.5 On April 2. nullifies the will of the electorate. VELASCO.000. they were most of the time either underpaid or not paid at all. They were required to work from 6:30 a. and foreign and local jurisprudence.. JR. 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Santos. Ordovez. food allowance. as between the holdover provision per Sec. and free medical and dental services. order the act undone or redone by their subordinates or even decide to do it themselves. VINUY A. nor do they have the discretion to modify or replace them. By the same token. Sec. free laundry. SP No." Thus. The respondents claimed that they were shocked to find out what their working and living conditions were in Dubai. valid. I. Drilon v.. The members of the Cabinet and other executive officials are merely alter egos. Such action will not only be outside the scope of his constitutional authority to do so. VIRGILIO R. 2011 and the resolution3dated June 23. As such. therefore. they may. respondents Armando A. I submit that the holdover provision is undeniably superior. 7(1). executive power is vested in the President. JR. 2012 PERT/CPM MANPOWER EXPONENT CO. LADEA. Marino M. Ladea (respondents) filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against the petitioner Pert/CPM Manpower Exponent Co. when contrasted with control. to whom they are directly accountable.m.

they called up the agency and complained about their predicament. They raised the matter with the agency. Unfortunately. On August 5. a new Decision is hereby issued ordering the respondents PERT/CPM MANPOWER EXPONENTS CO. and MODERN METAL SOLUTIONS. Burdened by all the expenses and financial obligations they incurred for their deployment. as follows: WHEREFORE. On May 5.00 118 . Modern Metal required the respondents to sign new employment contracts. except Era. the NLRC ordered the agency. their supposed employment failed to materialize and they had to go home because they had already resigned from Modern Metal. Ancheta rendered a Decision10 dismissing the complaint. the respondents. They all returned to Manila in September 2007. despondent over their unbearable living and working conditions and by the agency’s inaction.7 except for Era who was made to sign later. He considered the POEA recourse a case of forum shopping. the respondents. they voluntarily resigned from their employment to seek a better paying job.) 8042. they were left with no choice but to sign the contracts. The agency assured them that their concerns would be promptly addressed. It thus argued that their claim for benefits. For its part.000.When the respondents received their first salaries (at the rates provided in their appointment letters and with deductions for placement fees) and because of their difficult living and working conditions. The respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). and (3) ruling that they violated the rule on non-forum shopping. Nacino and Modern Metal to pay. 2009. but nothing happened. 2007.000.000. INC. applied with another company which offered them a higher pay. It anchored its ruling on the new employment contracts they were made to sign in Dubai. damages and attorney’s fees is unfounded. finding that the respondents voluntarily resigned from their jobs. On May 12.. Out of fear. the agency countered that the respondents were not illegally dismissed. SANDY Lumanta.00 P 20. The contracts reflected the terms of their appointment letters. the complaint before the NLRC is one for illegal dismissal and money claims arising from employment. Except for Ordovez and Enjambre.00 P 20. (2) failing to consider that the compromise agreements they signed before the POEA covered only the refund of their airfare and not all their money claims. It pointed out that the POEA case involved pre-deployment issues. all the respondents shouldered their own airfare. that Modern Metal would not give them their salaries and release papers. Era. ARSENIO 150 x 6 = 900 AED 150 X 4 = 600 AED 350 x 4 = 1400 AED 150 x 5 = 750 AED 250 X 3 = 750 AED 150 x 4 = 600 AED 150 x 4 = 600 AED 250 x 5 = 1250 AED USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 USD 400 P 20. ARMANDO Alcantara VIRGILIO Era. It believed that the respondents executed the quitclaim documents under duress as they were afraid that they would not be allowed to return to the Philippines if they did not sign the documents.00 P 20.00 P 20. It claimed that the respondents. jointly and severally. The Compulsory Arbitration Rulings On April 30. the NLRC granted the appeal. The agency further alleged that the respondents even voluntarily signed affidavits of quitclaim and release after they resigned.00 P 20. It took the agency several weeks to repatriate the respondents to the Philippines. the labor tribunal disagreed with the labor arbiter’s opinion that the compromise agreement they executed before the POEA had effectively foreclosed the illegal dismissal complaint before the NLRC and that the respondents had been guilty of forum shopping. under Section 10 of Republic Act No. He also found that four of them – Alcantara. the respondents expressed to Modern Metal their desire to resign. 2008. Anipan and Lumanta – even executed a compromise agreement (with quitclaim and release) before the POEA. pay the complainants the following: Employee Underpaid Salary Placement fee Salary for the unexpired portion of the contract (1350 x 6 months) 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED 8100 AED Exemplary Damages Vinuya. cited personal/family problems for their resignation. 2007. as they put it. which again took no action. MARINO Ladea. ROMEO NACINO.00 P 20. especially those which provide benefits that are inferior to the POEAapproved contracts.000. the Decision dated 30 April 2008 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. ROBELITO Enjambre.000.000. Further. whereas.. NOEL Ordovez. 8 Era mentioned the real reason – "because I dont (sic) want the company policy"9 – for his resignation. Consequently. INC. which were mere photocopies of the originals and which failed to explain the circumstances behind their execution. Labor Arbiter Ligerio V.A. It ruled that the respondents had been illegally dismissed.000. to jointly and severally. while still working for Modern Metal. (R.00 P 20. LOUIE Anipan.000. They argued that the labor arbiter committed serious errors in (1) admitting in evidence the quitclaims and releases they executed in Dubai. The NLRC rejected the quitclaim and release executed by the respondents in Dubai. It stressed that it is illegal for an employer to require its employees to execute new 11 employment papers.

prompting the agency to seek recourse from the CA through a petition for certiorari. paragraph 5. The CA stressed that the filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal is inconsistent with resignation. on the contrary. contending that the CA erred in: 119 . pursuant to the Court’s ruling in Serrano v. "or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. it found nothing in the records to substantiate the agency’s contention that the respondents’ resignation was of their own accord. a reconsideration of the CA decision. Inc. It found no grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC’s rejection of the respondents’ resignation letters. on the other hand. LOUIE 2 years 3 April 2007 26 July 2007 21 months and 23 days The agency is now before the Court seeking a reversal of the CA dispositions. as enunciated in the Serrano case. thus negating forum shopping by the respondents. by adjusting the respondents’ salary award on the basis of the unexpired portion of their contracts.13 The NLRC denied the agency’s motion for reconsideration. moved for partial reconsideration. it modified its earlier decision and adjusted the respondents’ salary entitlement based on the following matrix: Enjambre. consistent with the Court’s ruling in Serrano. contending that the appeal was never perfected and that the NLRC gravely abused its discretion in reversing the labor arbiter’s decision. and the accompanying quitclaim and release affidavits. The agency moved for.800 AED P 400.00 Anipan. limiting the entitlement of illegally dismissed overseas Filipino workers to their salaries for the unexpired term of their contract or three months. the agency moved for reconsideration. The NLRC denied the motion. ARMANDO 2 years 29 March 2007 8 August 2007 19 months and 21 days Alcantara. Accordingly. ROBELITO 2 years 3 April 2007 8 August 2007 20 months and 5 days or their peso equivalent at the time of actual payment plus attorney‘s fees equivalent to 10% of the judgment award. VIRGILIO 2 years 3 April 2007 8 August 2007 20 months and 5 days Era. Lastly. additionally. Gallant Maritime Services. 8042. questioning the application of the Serrano ruling in the case because it was not yet final and executory.850 AED US$3. The ruling declared unconstitutional the clause. of R. reiterating its earlier arguments and. whichever is less. ARSENIO 2 years 29 March 2007 8 August 2007 19 months and 21 days15 Again.A." in Section 10.14 It sustained the respondents’ argument that the award needed to be adjusted. MARINO 2 years 12 May 2007 8 August 2007 21 months and 4 days Ladea. NOEL 2 years 29 March 2007 8 August 2007 19 months and 21 days Ordovez. but granted the respondents’ motion. The CA Decision The CA dismissed the petition for lack of merit. SANDY 2 years 29 March 2007 26 July 2007 20 months and 3 days Lumanta. the CA found nothing legally wrong in the NLRC correcting itself (upon being reminded by the respondents).000.16 It upheld the NLRC ruling that the respondents were illegally dismissed. as proof of their voluntary termination of employment. but failed to secure. It agreed with the NLRC’s conclusion that the agreements pertain to the respondents’ charge of recruitment violations against the agency distinct from their illegal dismissal complaint. maintaining that their salaries should have covered the unexpired portion of their employment contracts.The respondents. it considered the resignation letters "dubious for having been lopsidedly-worded to ensure that the petitioners (employers) are free from any liability."17 The appellate court likewise refused to give credit to the compromise agreements that the respondents executed before the POEA.TOTAL: 6. Moreover.200 64. particularly in relation to the payment of their salaries. 18 The Petition Employee Duration of Contract Departure date Date dismissed Unexpired portion of contract Vinuya.12 The agency moved for reconsideration. whichever is less.

pursuant to the Serrano ruling. breach of contract. with quitclaim and release. declared unconstitutional by the Court. nonissuance of receipts and placement misrepresentation. The ruling cannot be given retroactive application. moreover. a submission which the agency never refuted. R.1. of the NLRC and the CA. They point out that. as enunciated in Serrano.19Era20 and Alcantara21 signing a document each. Lastly. Modern Metal. the CA was correct in upholding the NLRC’s award of their salaries for the unexpired portion of their employment contracts. ultimately. Section 10 of R. otherwise. Finally. assails the conclusion that the respondents resigned under duress or that the resignation letters were dubious. the agency posits that the Serrano ruling has no application in the present case for three reasons. the agreement is not conditional as it pertains to all issues involved in the dispute between the parties.26 Further. unless the contrary is provided. First. as such. The Court’s Ruling The procedural question We deem it proper to examine the facts of the case on account of the divergence in the factual conclusions of the labor arbiter on the one hand. the compromise agreement (with qui tclaim and release) between the respondents and the agency before the POEA. the respondents ask the Court to also declare unconstitutional Section 7 of R. committed flagrant violations of the law on overseas employment.27 otherwise. Lumanta. actual or constructive. 10022. The respondents maintain that the agency cannot raise the issue for the first time before this Court when it could have raised it before the CA with its petition for certiorari which it filed on June 8.A. were not entitled to their money claims.29 To put the issue to rest. 2010. affirming the NLRC’s award to the respondents of their salaries for the unexpired portion of their employment contracts. while the Serrano ruling came out on March 24. 114353. for instance. as well as basic norms of decency and fair play in an employment relationship. which was enacted on March 8. underpayment of salaries and underpayment and nonpayment of overtime pay. the respondents voluntarily resigned from their jobs.A. betray its desperate attempt to escape its liability to them.R. 23 which the agency presented. it entered into with Vinuya. On the third issue. The agency. The merits of the case We find no merit in the petition. They dispute the agency’s insistence that they resigned voluntarily. and even executed affidavits of quitclaim and release. and. although it submitted evidence only for six of them. therefore. The CA committed no reversible error and neither did it commit grave abuse of discretion in affirming the NLRC’s illegal dismissal ruling. as a rule. 8042 which was struck down as unconstitutional in Serrano. their release papers and remaining salaries would not be given to them. in any event. the agency was discharged only with respect to the recruitment and pre-deployment issues such as excessive placement fees.A. as the law is an amendatory statute which is. the respondents argue that the agreements pertain only to their charge of recruitment violations against the agency. It. their right to due process will be violated. 2010. the respondents take exception to the agency’s contention that the Serrano ruling cannot. to resign from their jobs. Thenamaris Ship’s Management. and was duly and freely signed by the respondents. the affidavits are ready-made documents. and 3. Second.A. prospective in application.28 They further argue that RA 10022 cannot be applied in their case. should be given retroactive application as the Court declared in Yap v. as found by the NLRC. Ordovez. rather than of law. the agency never refuted their detailed narration of the reasons for giving up their employment. therefore. The Respondents’ Position In their Comment (to the Petition) dated September 28. It submits that as correctly found by the labor arbiter. The respondents maintain that the quitclaim and release affidavits. 10022 as it raised it before the CA in CA-G. Era. The agency insists that it is not liable for illegal dismissal. they mentioned a certain G & A International Manpower as the agency which recruited them — a fact totally inapplicable to all the respondents. the NLRC and the CA adjudged them to have been illegally dismissed because they were virtually forced to resign. The agency and its principal. They point out that the Serrano ruling is curative and remedial in nature and. the respondents maintain that since they were illegally dismissed. They stand firm on their submission that because of their unbearable living and working conditions in Dubai. they were left with no choice but to resign. The amendment restored the subject clause in paragraph 5. amending Section 10 of R. the respondents were not illegally dismissed and. Alcantara. Also. It points out that the agreement was prepared with the assistance of POEA Conciliator Judy Santillan. the respondents stated family concerns for their resignation. holding that the compromise agreements before the POEA pertain only to the respondents’ charge of recruitment violations against the agency.22 the respondents ask the Court to deny the petition for lack of merit. but not with respect to post-deployment issues such as illegal dismissal. on the other. restored the subject clause in Section 10 of R. the respondents filed the complaint in 2007. 8042. pushing the respondents to look for a better employment and. The agency raises the same argument with respect to the compromise agreements. would later claim that it is not barred by estoppel with respect to its reliance on R.30 The arbiter found no illegal dismissal in the respondents’ loss of employment in Dubai because they voluntarily resigned. 10022 on March 8. SP No.A.A. Third. On the agency’s second line of defense. They add that based on the agreements. Vinuya and Ladea signing one document. They contend that they had no choice but to sign the documents. Anipan and Lumanta before the POEA. 2.A. affirming the NLRC’s finding that the respondents were illegally dismissed. the respondents submit that the petition should be dismissed outright for raising only questions of fact. Anipan. whereas. Enjambre. 10022. in Lumanta’s24 and Era’s25 affidavits. Ladea. 2011. on the other hand. 8042. be applied in the present case in view of the enactment of R. read and considered entirely.A. 2009. The agency posits that the letters were duly proven as they were written unconditionally by the respondents. 120 . 2010 and which amended R. 8042. The respondents stress that the agency failed to controvert their contention that the agreements came about only to settle their claim for refund of their airfare which they paid for when they were repatriated.

Third. citing family problems as their common ground for resigning. Both the original contracts the respondents signed in the Philippines and the appointment letters issued to them by Modern Metal in Dubai provided for free housing and transportation to and from the jobsite. 35 defined "illegal recruitment" to include the following act: (i) To substitute or alter to the prejudice of the worker. we find the resignation letters "dubious. Second. to secure the respondents’ affidavits. far from the jobsite in Dubai." 34 Clearly. 34. 8042. a difference of 150 AED to 250 AED (not just 50 AED as the agency claimed) or an extended employment (from 2 to 3 years) at such inferior terms. given the facts of the case. which we find in order and hereunder quote: The acts of respondents of requiring the signing of new contracts upon reaching the place of work and requiring employees to sign quitclaims before they are paid and repatriated to the Philippines are all too familiar stories of despicable labor practices which our employees are subjected to abroad.31 with Modern Metal providing among others. "as to their claim for underpayment of salary. Obviously.200 AED.000 AED to 1. Article 34 of the Labor Code provides: Art. without potable water and exposed to air pollution. unreasonable or unlikely. We are of the opinion that the complainants-appellants executed the same under duress and fear that they will not be allowed to return to the Philippines. A reasonable mind would not approve of a substituted contract that pays a diminished salary — from 1350 AED a month in the original contract to 1. leaving them only three to four hours of sleep every workday because of the long hours of travel to and from their place of work. to 6:30 p. The NLRC itself had the same impression. We likewise find the affidavits40of quitclaim and release which the respondents executed suspect. The lodging house was in Sharjah. they were supposed to receive 1."39 not only for having been lopsidedly worded to ensure that the employer is rendered free from any liability. 42 This confusion is an indication of the employer’s hurried attempt to avoid liability to the respondents. however. On April 2. as earlier discussed. the agency and Modern Metal committed a prohibited practice and engaged in illegal recruitment under the law. the respondents were made to suffer substandard (shocking. the respondents’ continued employment with Modern Metal had become unreasonable.A.m.300 AED. In Modern Metal’s haste. and their overtime work was mostly not paid or underpaid. is that they cited family problems as reason out of fear that Modern Metal would not give them their salaries and their release papers. the respondents’ decision to resign is not surprising. We thus cannot accept the agency’s insistence that the respondents voluntarily resigned since they personally prepared their resignation letters38 in their own handwriting. with a meal break of one to one and a half hours. The truth."37 Without doubt. Further. The respondents entered into a POEA-approved two-year employment contract. effectively. The respondents’ position is well-founded. been confronted with urgent family problems so that they had to give up their employment and go home. It shall be unlawful for any individual. they were hired as "ordinary laborer. from 1. the affidavits were prepared as a follow through of the respondents’ supposed voluntary resignation. for a monthly salary of 1350 AED. While there was a difference of 50 AED monthly. the agency failed to refute their claim. While it is true that quitclaims are generally given weight. Aggravating the contract substitution imposed upon them by their employer. among other provisions. They must have been prepared by a representative of Modern Metal as they appear to come from a standard form and were apparently introduced for only one purpose — to lend credence to the resignation letters. employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment. The respondents complained with the agency about the contract substitution. entity. they did not check on the model they used. Modern Metal issued to them appointment letters32 whereby the respondents were hired for a longer three-year period and a reduced salary. Unlike the resignation letters.First.36 Although no description of the housing was made in the letters of appointment except: "Accommodation: Provided by the company. as the respondents maintain. Significantly. 2007." it is but reasonable to think that the housing or accommodation would be "suitable. it admitted that the contract substitution did happen when it argued." no longer aluminum fabricator/installer. not to mention that there was no potable water in the lodging house which was located in an area where the air was polluted. on May 5. Prohibited Practices. but the agency refused or failed to act on the matter. which includes allowance while in their Appointment Letters. or a "free and suitable" housing which is hours away from the job site. The agency and Modern Metal are guilty of contract substitution. With their original contracts substituted and their oppressive working and living conditions unmitigated or unresolved. except that this time.1âwphi1 On the contrary. their original contract mentioned 1350 AED monthly salary.200 AED in the appointment letters. Their living quarters were cramped as they shared them with 27 other workers. Only Era was bold enough to say the real reason for his resignation — to protest company policy.43 121 . as they put it) working and living arrangements. the same could no longer be claimed by virtue of their Affidavits of Quitclaims and Desistance.m. an entity totally unknown to the respondents." As earlier pointed out. the respondents were made to work from 6:30 a. Article 38 of the Labor Code. A constructive dismissal or discharge is "a quitting because continued employment is rendered impossible. licensee.100 AED to 1. an offer involving a demotion in rank and a diminution in pay. The original contract mentioned free and suitable housing. or holder of authority: xxxx (i) To substitute or alter employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the periods of expiration of the same without the approval of the Secretary of Labor. as amended by R. Thus. 2007. Lumanta’s affidavit41mentioned a G & A International Manpower as his recruiting agency. They were compelled by the dismal state of their employment to give up their jobs. the respondents had no hand in the preparation of the affidavits. cramped and crowded. Then.. The fact that the respondents’ contracts were altered or substituted at the workplace had never been denied by the agency. as. but also for the odd coincidence that all the respondents had. The respondents complained with the agency about the hardships that they were suffering. anchored on the ordeal that they went through while in Modern Metal’s employ. they were constructively dismissed. at the same time. but the agency failed to act on their reports. As the CA did. The agency and Modern Metal committed breach of contract. they were required to sign new employment contracts 33 reflecting the same terms contained in their appointment letters. however. the same thing is true for Era’s affidavit.

we cannot see how the compromise agreements can be considered to have fully settled the respondents’ claims before the NLRC — illegal dismissal and monetary benefits arising from employment. Fifth. Its argument that the ruling cannot be given retroactive effect. we believe that the agency paid them P 12. 2010. Under the heading "Post-Deployment. On the surface. this entitlement for each of the six. just like Era and Alcantara. 8042 declared unconstitutional — cannot be given retroactive effect. We thus find no reversible error nor grave abuse of discretion in the rejection by the NLRC and the CA of said agreements. 2008). (4) Vinuya. and JOSEFINA R. the amendment introduced by R. the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement "of" his placement fee and the deductions made with interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum. not only because there is no express declaration of retroactivity in the law. ABRIGO. the Serrano ruling has been nullified by R. is untenable. but not their other claims.A. while the Serrano ruling was handed down in March 2009. Whether or not R. such as what the respondents filed with the POEA ahead (filed in 2007) of the illegal dismissal complaint before the NLRC (filed on March 5. The issue."51 It argues that R.A. 10022 — restoring a provision of R. FIRST DIVISION G. the agency posits that in any event. ABUEVA. contained in Section 7 of R. premises considered. 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. HON. Laws shall have no retroactive effect. limiting to three months the payment of salaries to illegally dismissed Overseas Filipino Workers. CASIANO S. whichever is less. Let this Decision be brought to the attention of the Honorable Secretary of Labor and Employment and the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as a black mark in the deployment record of petitioner Pert/CPM Manpower Exponent Co.A. was intended by the agency as a settlement with the respondents and others with similar claims. Respondents. Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress. LICUANAN. Further Improving the Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers.A..52 (emphasis ours) This argument fails to persuade us. purportedly in satisfaction of the respondents’ claims arising from overseas employment. SO ORDERED.00 each.00 each.000. The amendment. Inc. 171182 August 23. and as a record that should be considered in any similar future violations. As Amended. BELLO. 114353 are AFFIRMED. Under the circumstances. 8042. No. entitled "An Act Amending Republic Act No. (2) Lumanta. and SERVILLANO DELA CRUZ.A. as the respondents correctly argue. the last two were not among those who filed the illegal intention of the legislature to give them a retrospective effect are expressly declared or are dismissal complaint). which explains the inclusion of the two (Nangolinola and Gatchalian) who were not involved in the case with the NLRC. including money claims with the NLRC. 1 0022 is constitutional is not for us to The agency agreed to pay them a total of P 72. EMMANUEL P. 10022.A. WILFREDO P. DECISION 122 .000. 2012 UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES. It points out. Branch 80. INC. 10022. DIZON. and (6) Zosimo Gatchalian (the last four signing All statutes are to be construed as having only a prospective application. Costs against the petitioner. DAVID. his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The agency’s objection to the application of the Serrano ruling in the present case is of no moment.00.Fourth. unless the purpose and on the left hand side of the document. In other words. Although there was no breakdown of the rule upon in the present case as this is an issue that is not squarely before us. The compromise agreement. (5) Jonathan Nangolinola.R. The compromise agreements (with quitclaim and release)44 between the respondents and the agency before the POEA did not foreclose their employer-employee relationship claims before the NLRC. and For Other Purposes.A.R.49 necessarily implied from the language used. salary differentials and other benefits. yet a closer examination of the documents would reveal their true nature.A." the agency agreed to pay Era47 and Alcantara48 P 12. but because retroactive application will result in an impairment of a right that had accrued to the respondents by virtue of the Serrano ruling entitlement to their salaries for the unexpired portion of their employment contracts. 8042. prepared in advance and readily made available to parties who are involved in disputes before the agency. RAUL P. Petitioners.. plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term. DE GUZMAN. paragraph 5 of R. Thenamaris Ship’s Managem ent. SP No.53 By its very nature. has been resolved in Yap v.46 Again. unless the contrary is provided.50 where the Court sustained the retroactive application of the Serrano ruling which declared unconstitutional the subject clause in Section 10. The uniform insubstantial amount for each of the signatories to the agreement lends credence to their contention that the settlement pertained only to their claim for refund of the airfare which they shouldered when they returned to the Philippines. RUBEN P. The respondents. this submission has not been refuted or denied by the agency. AGUSTIN S. (3) Ladea. the compromise agreements appear to confirm the agency’s position. ASPIRAS. that the respondents filed the complaint in 2007. Undaunted. No.. Otherwise Known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. we make no pronouncement on it. or any unauthorized deductions from the migrant worker’s salary. valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract. STERN BUILDERS. 10022. aver in this respect that they all paid for their own airfare when they returned home45 and that the compromise agreements settled only their claim for refund of their airfare.54 We thus see no reason to nullity the application of the Serrano ruling in the present case. in the meanwhile. The assailed Decision dated May 9. which lapsed into law (without the Signature of the President) on March 8. 2011 and the Resolution dated June 23. Alcantara. JOSE V. paragraph. but guided by the compromise agreement signed by Era and is an issue that awaits its proper day in court. apparently. vs. Section 10 of R. the petition is DENIED. reads as follows: In case of termination of overseas employment without just. consisting of unpaid salaries. except Ordovez and Enjambre. because it is curative and remedial. restored the subject clause in the 5th WHEREFORE. Copy of the compromise agreement is a standard POEA document. 8042. The last document was signed by (1) Anipan. in this respect.000.

Licuanan. pursuant to the rules. Q-93-14971 of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City (RTC). the UP failed to pay the billing.000. On January 16. 2002.9 and the sheriff of the RTC served the writ of execution and notice of demand upon the UP. prompting Stern Builders and dela Cruz to sue the UP and its co-respondent officials to collect the unpaid billing and to recover various damages. 25). the RTC rendered its decision in favor of the plaintiffs. Indeed. Ruben P. The UP countered that the notice of appeal was filed within the reglementary period because the UP’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLS) in Diliman.370. 2002. Nolasco filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid decision. 77395. jointly and severally. Obviously. As such. the RTC denied due course to the notice of appeal for having been filed out of time and granted the private respondents’ motion for execution. petitioners were not able to file their Notice of Appeal on May 23. 15 The UP sought a reconsideration.462. This is not an empty procedural rule but is grounded on fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice.1 They should bear in mind that the primary jurisdiction to examine. 6 the UP filed a notice of appeal on June 3. Emmanuel P. 346 SCRA 691. 2002. and to restrain the proceedings. P150. the UP assailed the denial of due course to its appeal through a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals (CA).12 On June 24. audit and settle all claims of any sort due from the Government or any of its subdivisions. the following. and Josefina R. "Settled is the rule that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period permitted by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional.00 in moral damages 4. 2002. 2002. thus. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants ordering the latter to pay plaintiff. 2002 as it was only filed on June 3. Wilfredo P.191.7 Stern Builders and dela Cruz opposed the notice of appeal on the ground of its filing being belated.: Trial judges should not immediately issue writs of execution or garnishment against the Government or any of its subdivisions. through its then President Jose V. Inc.10 The UP filed an urgent motion to reconsider the order dated September 26. and moved for the execution of the decision. agencies and instrumentalities to enforce money judgments. 696). This procedural caveat cannot be trifled with. 2002. Nolasco received a copy of the Order denying their motion for reconsideration on May 17. thus. 2002 (the remaining six (6) days) within which to file their appeal.00 in actual damages 3. and failure to perfect that appeal renders the challenged judgment final and executory. not even by the High Court. Costs of suit. for the construction of the extension building and the renovation of the College of Arts and Sciences Building in the campus of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB).729. Antecedents On August 30.2 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). No.716. the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari upon finding that the UP’s notice of appeal had been filed late. de Guzman. P10. additional accomplished work and retention money 2. 2001 and January 7. By reason of which. Atty. Despite the lifting of the disallowance.74 belonging to the UP to satisfy the writ of execution issued to enforce the already final and executory judgment against the UP.000. Aspiras. 1990. the decision of the lower court ipso facto became final when no appeal was perfected after the lapse of the reglementary period.729. Jose V. David.16 123 . represented by its President and General Manager Servillano dela Cruz. in the light of the foregoing.00 per appearance as attorney’s fees. p. Abueva. Nolasco received the order of denial of the Motion for Reconsideration on May 17. Dela Cruz v. they had until January 22.4 After trial. the decision dated November 28. 2005.R. entitled Stern Builders Corporation and Servillano R. Quezon City received the order of denial only on May 31. petitioners still had six (6) remaining days to file their appeal. the UP) is the decision promulgated on September 16. Abueva. Following the RTC’s denial of its motion for reconsideration on May 7. On September 26. In view of the said circumstances. 2004. agencies and instrumentalities pertains to the Commission on Audit (COA) pursuant to Presidential Decree No. docketed as CA-G. P5. 2004. on November 28. and 5. 2001. in Quezon City that directed the garnishment of public funds amounting to P16. 2002. The third billing worth P273. hence. on October 9. 5 viz: Wherefore. 2002 or after the lapse of nine (9) days. 2001 had already become final and executory.74 amount of the third billing. Abrigo.3 In the course of the implementation of the contract. 2002. The suit. The Case On appeal by the University of the Philippines and its then incumbent officials (collectively. 11 However.47 was not paid due to its disallowance by the Commission on Audit (COA). 2002. 2003. to wit: 1. As admitted by the petitioners in their petition (Rollo. 2003. the RTC denied the urgent motion on April 1.000. 2002.BERSAMIN. petitioners still has until May 23. 2002. but the CA denied the UP’s motion for reconsideration on April 19. Branch 80." (Ram’s Studio and Photographic Equipment. Raul P.13 On February 24.14 stating: Records clearly show that petitioners received a copy of the Decision dated November 28.00 and P1. We are of the belief and so holds that the Notice of Appeal filed by the petitioners was really filed out of time. SO ORDERED. Stern Builders submitted three progress billings corresponding to the work accomplished. the UP. 1445 (Government Auditing Code of the Philippines). petitioners through their counsel Atty. Atty. but the UP paid only two of the billings. the same having been filed seventeen (17) days late of the reglementary period. entered into a General Construction Agreement with respondent Stern Builders Corporation (Stern Builders). Casiano S. was docketed as Civil Case No. Bello.500. 2002 within which to file their appeal. vs. Court of Appeals. University of the Philippines Systems. 3003. 2002 but filed a Notice of Appeal only on June 3. to quash the writ of execution dated October 4. through its counsel. P503. 8 The RTC issued the writ of execution on October 4. J.

No. 2004. 2003 (although the RTC had already issued the writ of execution on October 4.21 On January 6. 2004. 2004. SO ORDERED.R. 2003. to wit:47 To enable the money represented in the check in question (No. the RTC granted the amended motion for sheriff’s assistance and directed the sheriff to proceed to the DBP to receive the check in satisfaction of the judgment. Agustin S. DBP filed a motion to consign the check representing the judgment award and to dismiss the motion to cite its officials in contempt of court. Commonwealth Branch. CV No. 2005. let the amount garnished be immediately released by the Development Bank of the Philippines. Rules of Court. 2003. the UP averred that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that there was no longer any legal impediment to the release of the garnished funds. 2004 directing DBP to release the garnished funds. respectively. 2003 and all the ensuing notices of garnishment. On March 22.370.45 noting that the DBP had already delivered to the sheriff Manager’s Check No. 2004.191.31 On December 21. Hon. 2003. The UP argued that government funds and properties could not be seized by virtue of writs of execution or garnishment. and granted Stern Builders and dela Cruz’s ex parte motion for issuance of a release order. the UP appealed to the Court by petition for review on certiorari (G. the disposition of the amount represented therein being subject to the final outcome of the case of the University of the Philippines et al. the sheriff served notices of garnishment on the UP’s depository banks.46 However. Dizon et al. and a motion to 24 quash the writ of execution dated May 9. Quezon City in favor of the plaintiff. 2005. 40 On October 14. On June 11. Stern Builders and dela Cruz filed their ex parte motion for issuance of a release day period of the TRO of the CA had already lapsed. Stern Builders and dela Cruz filed in the RTC their motions for execution despite their previous motion having already been granted and despite the writ of execution having already issued.29 the RTC granted the motion to release the garnished funds on March 16.. namely: Land Bank of the Philippines (Buendia Branch) and the On January 19. 2004.28 Despite the UP’s opposition. Stern Builders and dela Cruz filed in the RTC their amended motion for sheriff’s assistance to implement the release order dated December 21. 2004. 163501). 2002). 88125) before the Court of Appeals. premises considered. 2002 and June 3. the Court denied the petition for review. 2005. the RTC denied the UP’s urgent motion to quash. 2005. 2004 (CA-G. On June 23. the RTC granted another motion for execution filed on May 9. 2005. 43 On May 23. the CA issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) upon application by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).36 and citing Section 84 of Presidential Decree No. 41 The UP sought the reconsideration of the order of May 3.44 On July 8. 2004. Stern Builders and dela Cruz again sought the release of the garnished funds.R. 2004.R. 00008119411) to earn interest during the pendency of the defendant University of the Philippines application for a writ of injunction with the Court of Appeals the same may now be deposited by the plaintiff at the garnishee Bank (Development Bank of the Philippines). Ligot-Telan37 to the effect that the funds belonging to the UP were public funds.33 On May 3. the RTC directed in the same order that Stern Builders and dela Cruz should not encash the check or withdraw its amount pending the final resolution of the UP’s petition for certiorari. 2004.42 On May 16.38 23 garnishment through an urgent motion to quash the notices of garnishment.On May 11. 2003. 2003. 18 but the Court denied the motion on October 6. 2005. stating that the 60On their part. however.74 representing the garnished funds payable to the order of Stern Builders and dela Cruz as its compliance with the RTC’s order dated December 21. (CA G.20 In the meanwhile that the UP was exhausting the available remedies to overturn the denial of due course to the appeal and the issuance of the writ of execution.22 The UP assailed the UP. the UP presented a motion to withhold the release of the payment of the judgment award. as held in Department of Agriculture v.25 countered that the implementation of the release order be suspended.39 The UP opposed the amended motion and order. citing Section 4. National Labor Relations Commission. 88125). 811941 for P16. 2005.30 On April 20. 2004. 124 . which provided that the pendency of a timely motion for reconsideration stayed the execution of the judgment. the RTC.35 Aside from raising the denial of due process.19 The denial became final and executory on November 12. there being no more legal impediment for the release of the garnished amount in satisfaction of the judgment award in the instant case. 2004. Stern Builders and dela Cruz moved to cite DBP in direct contempt of court for its non-compliance with the order of release. authorized the release of the garnished funds of the UP.34 Thereupon. the RTC held in abeyance the enforcement of the writs of execution issued on October 4. 2005. the UP brought a petition for certiorari in the CA to challenge the jurisdiction of the RTC in issuing the order of December 21. through respondent Judge Agustin S. the RTC resolved all the pending matters.26 The UP moved for the reconsideration of the order of October 14. Rule 52. but the RTC denied the motion on November 7. 1445 to the effect that "revenue funds shall not be paid out of any public treasury or depository except in pursuance of an appropriation law or other specific statutory authority. Dizon. 2005. On June 23. 2003 and July 25.27 On January 12." and that the order of garnishment clashed with the ruling in University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. 2003. on January 10. The UP was served on January 3. 2005 with the order of December 21. vs.32 to wit: WHEREFORE.17 The UP moved for the reconsideration of the denial of its petition for review on August 29. Commonwealth Branch..

not disturb the same was said Court is not a trier of fact.R. except fiduciary funds. No. the CA promulgated its assailed decision dismissing the UP’s petition for certiorari. it will not attain finality yet until the highest court has rendered its own final judgment or resolution.R. with the UP holding the funds only in a fiduciary capacity. 88125 before the Court of Appeals) is that the judgment or resolution of said court has to be final and executory. there was already an appropriations earmarked for the said project. 99-6 4. Citing Department of Agriculture vs. being government funds. 2005 which states in part that the "disposition of the amount represented therein being subject to the final outcome of the case of the University of the Philippines. The said funds are retained by UP."49 After the CA denied their motion for reconsideration on December 23. defendants’ arguments that there was no sufficient appropriation for the payment of the judgment obligation must fail. Dizon et al. pending completion of the construction project. although it prays for the deletion of [sic] reduction of the award of moral damages. et. UP entered into a contract with private respondents for the expansion and renovation of the Arts and Sciences Building of its campus in Los Baños. It is observed that defendant U. With the end in view of seeing to it that the check in question is deposited by the plaintiff at the Development Bank of the Philippines (garnishee bank). On September 16. The way the Court sees it. Branch Sheriff Herlan Velasco is directed to accompany and/or escort the plaintiff in making the deposit of the check in question. University of the Philippines Board of Regents vs. in a fiduciary capacity. 2006. Agustin S. This shall apply to accounts payable of all funds. 2007. Reversion of Accounts Payable. in consideration of the UP’s intention to appeal to the CA. vs. Hon. 2006 had stated that: Let it be stated that what the Court meant by its Order dated July 8. It has nothing to do with the legality or propriety thereof. Being a finding of fact. provides that.52 averring that on January 3. Ligot-Telan.. It is observed that there is nothing more the defendant can do to escape liability. Dizon et al. 2001.50 stating: Since it appears that the defendants are intending to file a petition for review of the Court of Appeals resolution in CA-G. Decidedly. for if the same will still be elevated to the Supreme Court. System had already exhausted all its legal remedies to overturn. In this regard. the Department of Budget and Management issued Joint-Circular No. may not be released absent an appropriations bill from Congress. set aside or modify the decision (dated November 28. 88125 within the reglementary period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of resolution. 2005. Surely when the defendants and the plaintiff entered into the General Construction of Agreement there is an amount already allocated by the latter for the said project which is no longer subject of future appropriation. Such being the case. ordinarily. (CA G. No. 48 viz: Petitioners next argue that the UP funds may not be seized for execution or garnishment to satisfy the judgment award. and that the garnished funds could be the proper subject of garnishment because they had been already earmarked for the project. as long as the purpose for which the funds were created have not been accomplished and accounts payable under foreign assisted projects for the duration of the said project. validity and legality of the claim. was upheld by the Court of Appeals in its decision dated September 16. on January 22. While it is true that the former Presiding Judge of this Court in its Order dated January 30. that there was sufficient appropriation earmarked for the project. al. 2007.. 2005 which states in part that the "disposition of the amount represented therein being subject to the final outcome of the case of the University of the Philippines. SO ORDERED. No. 2001( rendered against it.Let it be stated herein that the plaintiff is not authorized to encash and withdraw the amount represented in the check in question and enjoy the same in the fashion of an owner during the pendency of the case between the parties before the Court of Appeals which may or may not be resolved in plaintiff’s favor.R. 125 . all 1995 and prior years documented accounts payable and all undocumented accounts regardless of the year they were incurred shall be reverted to the Cumulative Result of Operations of the National Government (CROU). Agustin S. 109 (Directing all National Government Agencies to Revert Certain Accounts Payable to the Cumulative Result of Operations of the National Government and for Other Purposes) Section 9. defendant U. Hon. Hon..P. the UP filed an Urgent Application for A Temporary Restraining Order and/or A Writ of Preliminary Injunction. it will not attain finality yet until the highest court has rendered its own final judgment or resolution. 2005. It must be emphasized that this Court’s finding. Matters Arising During the Pendency of the Petition On January 30. 88125 before the Court of Appeals) is that the judgment or resolution of said court has to be final and executory. the Supreme Court will. the allegation of the defendants that considering no appropriation for the payment of any amount awarded to plaintiffs appellee the funds of defendant-appellants may not be seized pursuant to a writ of execution issued by the regular court is misplaced. the Court believes that there is nothing more the defendant can do to escape liability. Let it be stated that what the Court meant by its Order dated July 8. petitioners contend that UP deposits at Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines. al. System’s petition before the Supreme Court concerns only with the manner by which said judgment award should be satisfied.3) Procedural Guidelines which provides that all accounts payable that reverted to the CROU may be considered for payment upon determination thru administrative process.. Executive Order No. Insofar as the payment of the [sic] judgment obligation is concerned. vs. NLRC. 2005.0 (4.53 to wit: It bears stressing that defendants’ liability for the payment of the judgm ent obligation has become indubitable due to the final and executory nature of the Decision dated November 28. Thus. ruling that the UP had been given ample opportunity to contest the motion to direct the DBP to deposit the check in the name of Stern Builders and dela Cruz. of the existence.. Judge Maria Theresa dela Torre-Yadao (who had meanwhile replaced Judge Dizon upon the latter’s appointment to the CA) had issued another order allowing Stern Builders and dela Cruz to withdraw the deposit. i. et.P.51 However. the petitioners appealed by petition for review.e. for if the same will still be elevated to the Supreme Court. Judge Dizon of the RTC (Branch 80) denied Stern Builders and dela Cruz’s motion to withdraw the deposit. the Court agrees with the defendants stand that the granting of plaintiffs’ subject motion is premature. The argument is specious. (CA G. Laguna. We agree with the trial Court [sic] observation on this score: "4.

System’s motion to redeposit the judgment amount. 2001. having been delivered to them by the Deputy Sheriff of this Court pursuant to par. was already owned by would have become final and executory. 56 and that DBP had become functus oficio. The Court honestly believes that if defendants’ petition assailing the Order of this Court dated December 31. At the time of the issuance of the Restraining Order. as well. Although the Court issued a TRO on January 24. even if the modification is the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court has become moot and academic meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. 2007. They also whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court alleged that the redeposit of the judgment award was no longer feasible as they have already of the land. What the Court granted in its Order dated January 3. These intervening developments impelled the UP to file in this Court a supplemental petition on 58 January 26. and e) the garnished amount had already been turned over to the plaintiffs and deposited in their account with DBP. and regardless of considering that the act sought to be restrained by it has already been performed. d) defendant U.57 Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court was received by this Court on February 2.P.P. The judgment debt was released to the plaintiffs on January 17.P. but it will also The UP filed a second supplemental petition59 after the RTC (Judge Yadao) denied the UP’s render this Court’s final executory judgment nugatory. It bears stressing. the same is hereby DENIED. System but denied the petition. In the first place. it appears that on January 16. if only to set the record straight. at that time. the Court is of the considered opinion that there is no legal basis to grant defendant U. premises considered. It must be recalled that the Court found plaintiff’s motion meritorious and. The Court also took into account the following factors: a) the Decision in this case had long been final and executory after it was rendered on November 28. that this Court did not – in its Order dated January 3. SO ORDERED. Issues The UP now submits that: I 126 . 2007. System has not prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. in its present petition for review before the Supreme Court. 2007 upon the sheriff’s service of the order of plaintiffs. System’s appeal was upheld by the Supreme Court. Section 9. nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it thereby becomes Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court. It may no longer be modified in any respect. System’s Urgent Motion to Redeposit Judgment Award praying that of judgment is grounded on fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice. Granting said motion is not only contrary to law.P. 2007. thereby rendering the said Order ineffectual. she had already directed the DBP to Anent the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court. 2007 (the implementation of which was restrained by the Supreme Court in its Resolution dated January 24. spent the same. After a careful and thorough study of the arguments advanced by the parties. Instead. (c). In fact. finding defendant U. WHEREFORE. 2007.54 b) the propriety of the dismissal of U. having been issued after the garnished amount had been released to the forthwith complied with the order on January 17. 2007. 2007. while the Judge Yadao. Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. 2007. The UP contended that Judge Yadao thereby effectively reversed the January 30. 2007 to enjoin Judge Yadao and all persons 55 acting pursuant to her authority from enforcing her order of January 3. the act sought to be restrained had already been done.P. 2005. the judgment obligation has already been fully satisfied as per Report of the Deputy Sheriff. In plaintiffs be directed to redeposit the judgment award to DBP pursuant to the Temporary fact. 2002) – direct that that garnished amount "be deposited with the garnishee bank (Development Bank of the Philippines)". System’s deposit with DBP was garnished pursuant to a lawful writ of execution issued by the Court. the Court of Appeals would have issued a writ of injunction enjoining the same. the Court doubts whether such writ is forthcoming.it should be noted that neither the Court of Appeals nor the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the release or withdrawal of the garnished amount. there was no need to order DBP to make such deposit.P. and it is essential to an effective administration of justice that once a judgment has become final the issue or cause involved therein should be laid to rest. Litigation must end and terminate sometime motion for the redeposit of the withdrawn amount on April 10. Moreover. This doctrine of finality This resolves defendant U. said appellate court not only refused to issue a wit of preliminary injunction prayed for by U. 2004 granting the motion for the release of the garnished amount was meritorious. as discussed in the Order dated January 16. Thus.P. alleging that the RTC (Judge Yadao) gravely erred in ordering the immediate release of the garnished amount despite the pendency of the petition for review in this Court. c) a writ of execution had been issued. Plaintiffs opposed the motion and countered that immutable and unalterable. U. the same has forthwith release the garnished amount to Stern Builders and dela Cruz. 2007 was plaintiff’s motion to allow the release of said deposit. or prior to the issuance of the TRO. as the garnished amount was already deposited in the account of plaintiffs with the DBP as early as May 13. 60 to wit: and somewhere. the plaintiffs. there was no restraining order or preliminary injunction from either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court which could have enjoined the release of plaintiffs’ deposit. System’s Urgent Motion to Redeposit Judgment Award devoid of merit. 2006 order of Judge Dizon disallowing the withdrawal of the garnished amount until after the decision in the case The garnished amount.

III IN THE ALTERNATIVE. V THE RTC-BRANCH 80 COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN ORDERING THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE JUDGMENT AWARD IN ITS ORDER DATED 16 JANUARY 2007 ON THE GROUND THAT PETITIONER UNIVERSITY STILL HAS A PENDING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ORDER DATED 3 JANUARY 2007. and had suffered untold miseries. and to delaying the satisfaction of the final judgment by the filing of its petition for review.R.553.000.25. 163501). due to its being unconscionable. SECTION 5(5) OF THE CONSTITUTION. the UP states that the awards of actual damages of P5. are not subject to garnishment The UP was founded on June 18. if not entirely deleted. that dela Cruz had even been constrained to sell his house. because the garnishment resulted in a substantial reduction of the UP’s limited budget allocated for the remuneration. philosophy. NLRC62 to the effect that government funds and properties could not be seized under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy judgment awards.64 the UP remains to be a "chartered institution"65 performing a legitimate government function. job satisfaction and fulfillment of the best available teachers. damages. ALLOWING IN EFFECT THE GARNISHMENT OF UP FUNDS. and to give professional and technical training to deserving students. 77395 and G. which stipulated that no deductions would be allowed for the payment of claims. the UP cited Article 12. the UP contends that the CA contravened Section 5.63 Despite its establishment as a body corporate.000. THERE IS NO NEED FOR FURTHER APPROPRIATIONS. CAG. UP’s funds.00 plus P1.000.500. and together with his family had been forced to live miserably because of the wrongful actuations of the UP. The decisive issues to be considered and passed upon are. The UP insists that the CA decision was inconsistent with the rulings in Commissioner of Public Highways v. IF NOT TOTALLY DELETE THE AWARD OF P10 MILLION AS MORAL DAMAGES TO RESPONDENTS. that the UP retained the funds allotted for the project only in a fiduciary capacity. an amount already more than sufficient to cover the judgment award. in case of any litigation arising out of the performance of the work. that Judge Yadao should have exhibited judicial courtesy towards the Court due to the pendency of the UP’s petition for review. I.729. that the UP was evidently resorting to forum shopping. The UP argues that the amount earmarked for the construction project had been purposely set aside only for the aborted project and did not include incidental matters like the awards of actual damages.00 and attorney’s fees of P150. humiliation and sleepless years. Furthermore.729. It is an institution of higher learning.338.e. Stern Builders and dela Cruz aver that the petition for review was fatally defective for its failure to mention the other cases upon the same issues pending between the parties (i. In contrast. discomfort. San Diego61 andDepartment of Agriculture v. therefore: (a) whether the funds of the UP were the proper subject of garnishment in order to satisfy the judgment award. IV THE RTC-BRANCH 80 COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN ORDERING THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE JUDGMENT AWARD IN ITS ORDER DATED 3 JANUARY 2007 ON THE GROUND OF EQUITY AND JUDICIAL COURTESY. 66 In enacting Republic Act No. losses and expenses. had been deprived of their source of income. THE UNIVERSITY INVOKES EQUITY AND THE REVIEW POWERS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT TO MODIFY. Article XIV of the Constitution by allowing the garnishment of UP funds. inequitable and detrimental to public service. VI THE RTC-BRANCH 80 COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN NOT ORDERING THE REDEPOSIT OF THE GARNISHED AMOUNT TO THE DBP IN VIOLATION OF THE CLEAR LANGUAGE OF THE SUPREME COURT RESOLUTION DATED 24 JANUARY 2007. AND THUS. that the contract price had been meanwhile adjusted to P22.2 of the General Construction Agreement.R No.THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN DISMISSING THE PETITION.00. including attorney’s fees. and that the RTC correctly declared the Court’s TRO to be already functus officio by reason of the withdrawal of the garnished amount from the DBP. II THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN ALLOWING GARNISHMENT OF A STATE UNIVERSITY’S FUNDS IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE XIV. Lastly. WHEN IT RULED THAT FUNDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN EARMARKED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. being government funds. San Diego had no application because there was an appropriation for the project. 9500 (The University of the Philippines Charter of 2008). moral damages of P10.716. that the UP’s prayer to reduce or delete the award of damages had no factual basis. Congress has declared the UP as the national university67 "dedicated to the search for truth and knowledge as well as the development of future leaders.00 per appearance could be granted despite the finality of the judgment of the RTC."68 127 . and that she should have also desisted from declaring that the TRO issued by this Court had become functus officio. because they had been gravely wronged. 1908 through Act 1870 to provide advanced instruction in literature.716. his equipment and the implements of his trade. In support of its argument. No.. not a corporation established for profit and declaring any dividends. and (b) whether the UP’s prayer for the deletion of the awards of actual damages of P5. the sciences. moral damages and attorney’s fees.00 and moral damages of P10 million should be reduced. and arts. that the ruling in Commissioner of Public Works v. Ruling The petition for review is meritorious.

2007 manifesting the full satisfaction agree with the RTC’s holding in the order issued on April 1.70 As a government instrumentality. La Union v. and subject to pertinent budgetary laws. Villasor. it can never be subdivisions. the Court said: It was of no moment that a final and executory decision already validated the claim against the UP. Section 26. anterior to the stage of execution" and that the power of the Courts ends when the judgment is rendered. an appropriation by Congress was required before the judgment that rendered the UP liable for moral and actual damages (including attorney’s fees) would be satisfied considering that such monetary liabilities were not covered by the "appropriations earmarked for the said project. and other self-governing boards. the RTC should have exercised utmost caution. including non giving the plaintiff the chance to prove."84 or that is received for the fulfillment of some obligation. agencies and instrumentalities.69 performing the State’s constitutional mandate of promoting quality and accessible education. The adverse judgment rendered against the COA. The said jurisdiction extends to all governmentheld liable if it does not first consent to be sued. audit. records.83 Indeed. because suability of the State did not necessarily mean its liability. or agencies of the Government. that the defendant is liable. prudence and judiciousness in dealing Disbursements of public funds must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by with the motions for execution against the UP and the garnishment of the UP’s funds. constitute a "special trust fund. as depository banks of the UP. as well as the examination. 1870 and Section 1 of Executive Order No. They include the income accruing from the use of real property ceded to the UP that may be spent only for the attainment of its institutional objectives. pursuance of an appropriation made by law. and (d) the order of April 10. 1445 defines a "trust fund" as a fund that officially comes in the The Constitution strictly mandated that "(n)o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in possession of an agency of the government or of a public officer as trustee.77Hence."76 II COA must adjudicate private respondents’ claim before execution should proceed The funds of the UP are government funds that are public in character. (b) the order Judge actual and moral damages (including attorney’s fees) was not validly made if there was no special Yadao issued on January 16. if it can. is based on obvious considerations of public policy. therefore. liability on the applicable law and the established facts. Stern Builders xxx The universal rule that where the State gives its consent to be sued by private parties either by and dela Cruz as the claimants had no alternative except to first seek the approval of the COA of general or special law. prudence and judiciousness in dealing appropriated by law. the UP administers special funds sourced from the fees and income enumerated under Act No. those required to pay levies or government share. and all its orders and issuances thereon were void and of no legal effect. it is only commissions. including any interest accruing from the deposit of such funds in any banking institution. . The RTC law. agent or administrator. The circumstance settlement of all debts and claims of any sort due from or owing to the Government or any of its that a state is suable does not necessarily mean that it is liable. as expanded in Republic Act No. the UP is a government instrumentality." the disbursement of which should always be aligned with the UP’s mission and purpose. 2007 deying the UP’s motion for the redeposit Congress to allocate and set aside the payment of the judgment awards was necessary because 128 . 2007 directing DBP to forthwith release the garnish amount to Stern appropriation by Congress to cover the liability. 81 Also. The settlement of the monetary claim was still subject to the primary jurisdiction of the COA despite the final decision of the RTC having already validated the claim. It was. including their subsidiaries. where the issuance of an alias writ of execution directed against the funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to satisfy a final and executory judgment was nullified. and by authorizing the withdrawal of the garnished funds of the UP. On its part. the keeping of the A marked distinction exists between suability of the State and its liability.71 and from the yearly appropriations. 72 All the funds going into the possession of the UP. the preservation of vouchers pertaining thereto for a period 80 stated inMunicipality of San Fernando. those funded by donations through the government. General jurisdiction. on the other hand. 2007 allowing The UP correctly submits here that the garnishment of its funds to satisfy the judgment awards of Stern Builders and dela Cruz to withdraw the deposited garnished amount." 82The CA and the RTC thereby unjustifiably ignored the legal restriction imposed on the trust funds of the Government and its agencies and instrumentalities to be used exclusively to fulfill the purposes for which the trusts were created or for which the funds were received except upon express authorization by Congress or by the head of a government agency in control of the funds. As the Court succinctly general accounts of the Government.85 As such." Presidential Decree No. and papers relating to those accounts. 714. and as herein prescribed. and those for which the government has put up a counterpart fund or those partly funded by the government.74 "there (were) already an appropriations (sic) earmarked for the said project. (c) the sheriff’s report of January 17. "Suability depends on the consent received or held by them in an accountable capacity. state has allowed itself to be sued. the funds subject of this action could not be validly made the The execution of the monetary judgment against the UP was within the primary jurisdiction of the subject of the RTC’s writ of execution or garnishment. When the state does waive its sovereign immunity. specifically: (a) the order Judge Yadao issued on January 3. This was expressly provided in Section 26 of Presidential Decree No. governmental entities subsidized by the government.73 and should always be subject to auditing by the COA. rules and regulations. the RTC acted beyond its jurisdiction. systems and controls. legally unwarranted for the CA to Builders and dela Cruz. By eschewing utmost caution. it may limit claimant’s action "only up to the completion of proceedings their monetary claim.Irrefragably. and the audit and settlement of the accounts of all persons respecting funds or property A distinction should first be made between suability and liability. in Republic v. since government funds and properties may not be seized under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy such judgments. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or had no authority to direct the immediate withdrawal of any portion of the garnished funds from the disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects. the examination and inspection of the books.The authority and powers of the Commission shall extend to and comprehend all matters relating to auditing procedures. with the execution and garnishment. Firme: of ten years. Liability is not conceded by the mere fact that the owned or controlled corporations. 2003 that no appropriation by of the writ of execution.75 A trust fund may be utilized only for the "specific purpose for which the trust was created or the funds received. 9500. 1445. to wit: UP in a suit to which it had impliedly consented was not immediately enforceable by execution 78 79 against the UP. to achieve the purposes laid down by Section 2 of Act 1870. and of the state to be sued.

2002. 163501). 227 SCRA 693. it is settled jurisprudence that upon determination of State liability. At stake in the Villasor. to wit: In order to prevent possible circumvention of the rules and procedures of the Commission on Audit. Nothing extenuated Judge Yadao’s successive violations of Presidential Decree No.370. 1445. Fresh-period rule announced in Neypes v. such property becomes subject to execution. Judges should bear in mind that in Commissioner of Public Highways v. Rejection of the claim will authorize trust funds. The Court is "The universal rule that where the State gives its consent to be sued by private parties either by disturbed that an experienced judge like her should look at public laws like Presidential Decree No. supra) or municipal ordinance (Municipality of be modified in any respect. Hence. If the public use is wholly abandoned. the prosecution. enjoining them "to observe utmost caution. NLRC. it is the general rule that such property may be seized and sold under execution against the corporation. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or Period of appeal did not start without effective disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects. 1445. 1. 1445. Municipal Council of Iloilo (49 Phil 52 1926. 23 SCRA 899 1968. No.D. 2. the Court executory and unappealable. 2000. 3. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of such execution to satisfy judgments recovered against such corporation.D." finality. this Court explicitly stated: of preliminary injunction to enjoin the release or withdrawal of the garnished amount. in order to reverse or modify the adverse judgment against it despite its finality. finality on February 24.R. as distinguished from its public or government capacity. in Viuda de Tan Toco v. Disbursements of public funds must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by III law. property not used or used for a public purpose but for quasi-private purposes. all litigations must at some time end. which the RTC declared on September 26. 2004. notwithstanding the rule that government properties are not subject to levy and execution unless otherwise provided for by statute (Republic v. 54 SCRA 84 1973). No. Where a municipal corporation owns in its proprietary capacity. Court of Appeals.89 Indeed. San Diego. enforcement or satisfaction thereof must still be pursued in accordance with the rules and procedures laid down in P. All money claims against the Government must first be filed with the UP’s plea for equity was the return of the amount of P16. Property held for public purposes is not subject to execution merely because it is temporarily used for private purposes. sue the State UP’s appeal.191.of the withdrawn amount. Palacio.86 issued on October 25. That she did anterior to the stage of execution’ and that the power of the Court ends when the judgment is so turned her court into an oppressive bastion of mindless tyranny instead of having it as a true rendered. the Court has. since government funds and properties may not be seized under writs of execution or haven for the seekers of justice like the UP. she did not need any writ of injunction from a superior court to compel her obedience to the law. Sh e was aware of Presidential Decree No. 1445. general or special law. and has admitted several exceptions. such orders and issuances should be struck down without exception. considering that the Court circulated to all judges its Administrative Circular No. and the Court itself denied the UP’s petition for review on that issue on May 11. This Administrative Circular shall take effect immediately and the Court Administrator shall see to it that it is faithfully implemented. otherwise known as the Government Auditing Code of the The UP next pleads that the Court gives due course to its petition for review in the name of equity Philippines (Department of Agriculture v. garnishment to satisfy such judgments. Thus. Although Judge Yadao pointed out that neither the CA nor the Court had issued as of then any writ 625 1970). public use.87 even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of Makati v. 190 SCRA 206 1990). 10-2000.88 Public policy dictates that once a judgment becomes final. San Diego (31 SCRA 617. 701-02 1993 citing Republic vs. among them: (a) the correction of clerical errors. prudence and judiciousness in the issuance of writs of execution to satisfy money judgments against government agencies and local government units. fact and law. Sections 49-50). appropriated by law. The following can be culled from Viuda de Tan Toco v. 2004. as service of decision upon counsel of record. as well as of the rules and procedures of the COA. the prevailing party should not be deprived of the fruits of victory by ruled that "where property of a municipal or other public corporation is sought to be subjected to some subterfuge devised by the losing party. The CA upheld the declaration of thereby (P. Court of Appeals can be given retroactive application Moreover. The denial became final on November 12. Properties held for public uses – and generally everything held for governmental purposes – are not subject to levy and sale under execution against such corporation. the question as to whether judgment sets at naught the role and purpose of the courts to resolve justiciable controversies with such property is leviable or not is to be determined by the usage and purposes for which it is held. (b) the so-called nunc pro 129 . judges are hereby enjoined to observe utmost caution. 2004 (G. and cannot Commissioner of Public Highways v. However. and whether the modification is made by the court that rendered it or by this Court as distinguished between government funds and properties for public use and those not held for the highest court of the land. it may limit claimant’s action ‘only up to the completion of proceedings 1445 dismissively instead of loyally following and unquestioningly implementing them. in various instances. It is true that a decision that has attained finality becomes immutable and unalterable. is based on obvious considerations of public policy. 1445. prudence and judiciousness in the issuance of writs of execution to satisfy money judgments against government agencies and local government units" precisely in order to prevent the circumvention of Presidential Decree No. Obstructing the plea is the finality of the judgment based on the supposed tardiness of the claimant to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court on certiorari and in effect. The same rule applies to funds in the hands of a public officer and taxes due to a municipal corporation.74 illegally garnished from its Commission on Audit which must act upon it within sixty days. even at the risk of occasional errors. Municipal Council of Iloilo: But the doctrine of immutability of a final judgment has not been absolute.

2002. Nolasco of the UPLB Legal motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. because the judgment in question was issued on November 28.98 viz: To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases. Accordingly. Nolasco was valid and effective. Rules of Court. (c) void judgments. The retroactive application of the fresh-period rule.101 It does not come within the legal conception Legal Office was invalid and ineffectual because he was admittedly not the counsel of record of of a retroactive law. That counsel was the OLS in Diliman. a procedural law that aims "to regiment or make the appeal period uniform. counted from receipt of the order dismissing a was defective considering that its counsel of record was not Atty. in Heirs of Maura So v. but is given retroactive effect in actions pending and undetermined at the time of its passage without violating any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. the date following the service on May 31. Quirino State College. service must be made upon such counsel. is set aside. the declaration of finality of the judgment of the RTC. absurdity. 2002 was well within the reglementary period to appeal. The rule is that it is on the counsel and not the client that the service should be made. 96 This is clear enough from Section 2. being devoid of factual and legal bases.95 Service on the party or the party’s employee is not effective because such notice is not notice in law. as equity delights in equality. They based their finding on the fact that only six days remained of the UP’s reglementary 15-day period within which to file the notice of appeal because the UP had filed a motion for reconsideration on January 16. 2002 within which to file the notice of appeal. For that reason. the UP had only until May 23. Office but the OLS in Diliman. 2002.93 statues. Verily. unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the court. and that the period of appeal should be reckoned from May 31. Secondly. 2001 as compared to the judgment in Neypes that was rendered in 1998. the service of the denial of the motion for reconsideration could only be validly made upon the OLS in Diliman.104 It is cogent to add in this regard that to deny the benefit of the fresh-period rule to the UP would amount to injustice and absurdity – injustice. Court of Appeals.97 We have further said that a procedural rule that is amended for the benefit of litigants in furtherance of the administration of justice shall be retroactively applied to likewise favor actions then pending. the Court is not precluded from brushing aside procedural norms if only to serve the higher interests of justice and equity. the CA and the RTC applied the rule contained in the second paragraph of Section 3.90 Moreover. and that because the denial of the motion for reconsideration had been served upon Atty. It is settled that where a party has appeared by counsel. to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial. Also. 103 Equity jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to adapt its judgments to the special circumstances of a case because of the inflexibility of its statutory or legal jurisdiction. This is because there are no vested rights in rules of procedure. in Gumaru v. impervious to any serious challenge. Nolasco file the notice of appeal in the Regional Trial Court. In so declaring the judgment of the RTC as final against the UP.105 130 . 2002.tunc entries that cause no prejudice to any party. Where one counsel appears for several parties. the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to The UP counters that the service of the denial of the motion for reconsideration upon Atty. the service of the denial of the motion for reconsideration upon Atty. 2002.102 We may even relax stringent procedural rules in order to serve substantial justice and in the exercise of this Court’s equity jurisdiction. the date when the OLS received the order. the CA and the RTC might not be taken to task for strictly adhering to the rule then prevailing." As such. of Rule 13. As such. 2002 timely and wel l within the remaining days of the UP’s period to appeal. even assuming that the service upon Atty. The fact that Atty. Rule 41 of the Rules of Court to the effect that the filing of a motion for reconsideration interrupted the running of the period for filing the appeal. 2002.91 we stated that despite the absence of the preceding circumstances. Felimon D. which was served with the denial only on May 31. which explicitly states that: "If any party has appeared by counsel. We rule that the UP’s plea for equity warrants the Court’s exerc ise of the exceptional power to disregard the declaration of finality of the judgment of the RTC for being in clear violation of the UP’s right to due process. the running of the remaining period of six days resumed only on June 1. second paragraph. 2002.94 rendering the filing of the UP’s notice of appeal on June 3. such that the remaining period for the UP to take a timely appeal would end by May 23. because parties receiving notices of judgment and final orders issued in the year 1998 would enjoy the benefit of the fresh-period rule but the later rulings of the lower courts like that herein would not."99 is We agree with the submission of the UP. service upon him shall be made upon his counsel or one of them. Nolasco of the UPLB Legal Office on May 17. Both the CA and the RTC found the filing on June 3. equity calls for the retroactive application in the UP’s favor of the fresh-period rule that the Court first announced in mid-September of 2005 through its ruling in Neypes v. 2002 vis-à-vis the RTC’s decision the UP received on January 7. and that the period resumed upon notice of the denial of the motion for reconsideration. it would still not be correct to find that the judgment of the RTC became final and immutable thereafter due to the notice of appeal being filed too late on June 3. and (d) whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision that render its execution unjust and inequitable. motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution. 2002 by the UP of the notice of appeal to be tardy. The UP submits that the filing of the notice of appeal on June 3. 2002.92 the Court nullified the proceedings and the writ of execution issued by the RTC for the reason that respondent state college had not been represented in the litigation by the Office of the Solicitor General. Nolasco was in the employ of the UP at the UPLB Legal Office did not render the service upon him effective. not from the date when the UP was notified. Quezon City. However. 2002. the period to appeal resumed only on June 1. Nolasco of the UPLB order that courts may be able to administer justice. and no other. 2002 upon the OLS in Diliman of the copy of the decision of the RTC.100 A law or regulation is procedural when it prescribes rules and forms of procedure in Firstly. Obliosca. Quezon City. he shall only be entitled to one copy of any paper served upon him by the opposite side. or is not subject of the general rule prohibiting the retroactive operation of the UP.

As Justice Isagani A. signed by him. all these considerations exposed the substantial amount of P10. Although the latter is the controlling part. the inevitable consequence of which was to render the award of moral damages incapable of attaining finality. the RTC violated the The importance of the findings of fact and of law cannot be overstated. The award was thus also speculative and whimsical. as an artificial person. the time shall not run until the next working day.000. fright. one without the other is ineffectual and useless. As such. Only thereby is the demand of due process therefore. Implementing the constitutional provision in civil actions is Section 1 of Rule 36. Rules of Court. Rendition of judgments and final orders.000. and similar injury. which then contravened Article 2199. The statement specified no detailed expenses or losses constituting the P5. the fresh period of 15-days counted from service of the denial of the motion for reconsideration would end on June 1. did not attain finality and should be deleted Section 14 of Article VIII of the Constitution prescribes that express findings of fact and of law should be made in the decision rendered by any court.716. In addition." IV Awards of monetary damages. social 111 The term findings of fact that must be found in the body of the decision refers to statements of fact. were speculative and whimsical. and what their rights and obligations are. There was also no clear and distinct statement of the factual and legal support for the award of moral damages in the substantial amount of P10.729.000. his moral and emotional sufferings as the President of Stern Builders were not the sufferings of Stern Builders. and attorney’s fees in the following terse manner.113 Moreover. a Sunday.Consequently. being devoid of factual and legal bases. The reason and purpose of basic principle that moral damages were not intended to enrich the plaintiff at the expense of the the Constitution and the Rules of Court in that regard are obviously to inform the parties why they defendant. No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor. The omission of such expenses or losses directly indicated that Stern Builders did not prove them at all. Taken together. For the UP. which holds that: "If the last day of the period. Unlike in pleadings where ultimate facts alone need to be stated.000. serious anxiety. The omission of either inevitably results in a judgment that violates the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and the Rules of Court. Without the clear and distinct findings of fact and law. within which to appeal. A decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is especially prejudicial to the losing party. when Atty. the award amounted only to anipse dixit on the part of the RTC. The court cannot simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any justification whatsoever for its action. wounded feelings. to wit: Section 14. falls on a Saturday. viz: xxx The Court is not unmindful that due to defendants’ unjustified refusal to pay their outstanding obligation to plaintiff. stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. and filed with the clerk of the court.106 the importance of the former is not to be lightly regarded because it is there where the court clearly and distinctly states its findings of fact and of law on which the decision is based. "CC") and BPI Bank just to pay its monetary obligations in the form of interest and penalties incurred in the course of the construction of the subject project" was only a conclusion of fact and law that did not comply with the constitutional and statutory prescription. (1a) The Constitution and the Rules of Court apparently delineate two main essential parts of a judgment. the UP had until the next working day.00 as moral Constitution and the Rules of Court require not only that a decision should state the ultimate facts damages. with an explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. the same suffered losses and incurred expenses as he was forced to remortgage his house and lot located in Quezon City to Metrobank (Exh. To state it differently.112 Assuming that in granting the substantial amount of P10. "CC") and BPI Bank just to pay its monetary obligations in the form of interest and penalties incurred in the course of the construction of the subject project. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. even if the reckoning started from May 17. conformably with Section 1 of Rule 22. the same suffered losses and incurred expenses as he was forced to re-mortgage his house and lot located in Quezon City to Metrobank (Exh. the sufferings. the grant of moral damages in that manner contravened the law that permitted the recovery of moral damages as the means to assuage "physical suffering. Civil Code. who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal. — A judgment or final order determining the merits of the case shall be in writing personally and directly prepared by the judge." The contravention of the law was manifest considering that Stern 107 Builders. Nolasco received the denial. if permitted. Rules of Court. then the RTC obviously disregarded his separate and distinct findings of fact. humiliation. a Monday. so he may appeal to a higher court. the actual damages allowed by the RTC. as thus computed. the RTC might have had in mind that dela Cruz had himself suffered mental anguish but also that it should specify the supporting evidentiary facts. Lastly. the UP’s filing on June 3.000. namely: thebody and the decretal portion. or a legal holiday in the place where the court sits. Court 108 of Appeals: 131 . was incapable of experiencing pain and moral not to conclusions of law. besmirched reputation. 2002 of the notice of appeal was not tardy within the context of the fresh-period rule. 2002. which entitled a person to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved.110 and did not attain finality. which was a Saturday.00 actual damages sustained by Stern Builders in relation to the construction project or to other pecuniary hardships. 2002.000. personality from that of Stern Builders. It is a requirement of due process that the parties to a litigation be informed of how it was decided. The losing party is entitled to know why he lost. 2002.00. the decision of the RTC justified the grant of actual and moral damages. the moral damages constituted another judicial ipse dixit. mental anguish. or June 3. viz: Section 1. Cruz explained in Nicos Industrial Corporation v. win or lose. If that was the case.109 The statement that "due to defendants’ unjustified refusal to pay their outstanding obligation to plaintiff. Hence. Here. the statutory basis for the award of actual damages. should he believe that the decision should be reversed. being bereft of factual support. for they are what are called the and anxiety. Like the actual damages.00 allowed as met as to the parties. but to restore the plaintiff to his status quo ante as much as possible. moral shock.

as well as of attorney’s fees.00.116 Nonetheless. Like the actual and moral damages.121 The grant was ineffectual for being contrary to law and public policy.500. its basis being improperly left to speculation and conjecture. and an Amended Quarterly VAT Return. such fees could be recovered only when there was a stipulation to that effect. Respondent.120 That the attorney’s fees granted to the private respondents did not satisfy the foregoing requirement suffices for the Court to undo them.10 Input VAT P1. but also to be unconscionable.00 per appearance.722.950."124 The other item granted by the RTC (i. (Accenture) is a corporation engaged in the business of providing management consulting.118 Stating the amounts only in the dispositive portion of the judgment is not enough. the award was a conclusion without a premise. Social Justice Society. it being clear that the express findings of fact and law were intended to bring the case within the exception and thereby justify the award of the attorney’s fees.79 P1.500.113.117 their amounts must be factually and legally justified in the body of the decision and not stated for the first time in the decretal portion. plus P1.455. was filed on 17 September 2002.80 P316. praying for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc (CTA En Banc ) dated 22 September 2009 and its subsequent Resolution dated 23 October 2009. These returns were amended on 9 January 2003.Capital Goods Domestic Purchases.20 P6.312.74 within 10 days from receipt of this decision. Devoid of such express findings. WHEREFORE. 2001 for being void only the awards of actual damages of P5. REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals under review. ANNULS the orders for the garnishment of the funds of the University of the Philippines and for the release of the garnished amount to Stern Builders Corporation and Servillano dela Cruz.122 Nonetheless.R. vs. plus P1. business strategies development.00 P64.74 Accenture filed its Monthly VAT Return for the month of September 2002 on 24 October 2002. which included the period 1 September 2002 to 30 November 2002 (2nd period). Accenture filed its Monthly VAT Return for the period 1 July 2002 to 31 August 2002 (1st period).00 per appearance. Inc. on 12 November 2002. and that for October 2002.716. 3 On 9 August 2002.868. with attorney’s fees being allowed in the concept of actual damages.789.90 P16. DECISION SERENO.114 Prior to the effectivity of the present Civil Code.809. which covers the 1st period.462. was filed on 17 December 2002. subject to the action of the COA as stated herein.000. Accenture’s Quarterly VAT Return for the first quarter of 2003.513.: This is a Petition filed under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. P503. the P150.e.586. It was only under the present Civil Codethat the right to collect attorney’s fees in the cases mentioned in Article 2208115 of the Civil Code came to be recognized..272. 190102 July 11. As the Court declared in Velarde v. the Court GRANTS the petition for review on certiorari. were based was a fatal flaw that invalidated the decision of the RTC only as to such awards.2 It is duly registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as a Value Added Tax (VAT) taxpayer or enterprise in accordance with Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code). and attorney's fees ofP150. on 18 June 2004. in favor of Stern Builders Corporation and Servillano dela Cruz.640. Petitioner.000.191. SO ORDERED.00. The Court ORDERS Stem Builders Corporation and Servillano dela Cruz to redeposit the amount ofP16.00.000.729.123 the failure to comply with the constitutional requirement for a clear and distinct statement of the supporting facts and law "is a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" and that "(d)ecisions or orders issued in careless disregard of the constitutional mandate are a patent nullity and must be struck down as void. and DELETES from the decision of the Regional Trial Court dated November 28.370.81 P9. SECOND DIVISION G. INC.478. 2012 ACCENTURE. The general rule is that a successful litigant cannot recover attorney’s fees as part of the damages to be assessed against the losing party because of the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate.000.4 The following are reflected in Accenture’s VAT Return for the fourth quarter of 2002: 5 1âwphi1 Purchases Domestic Purchases. on 21 June 2004. Its Quarterly VAT Return for the fourth quarter of 2002.74) shall stand.231. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE.34 P335.1 Accenture. and selling and/or licensing of software. indeed. moral damages of P10. The latter contains the following information:6 Purchases Amount Input VAT 132 .Goods other than capital Goods Domestic Purchases..507. J. granted as attorney’s fees were factually unwarranted and devoid of legal basis. No. the absence of findings of fact and of any statement of the law and jurisprudence on which the awards of actual and moral damages.119 a rendition of the factual and legal justifications for them must also be laid out in the body of the decision. inequitable and unreasonable.544.355.00.645.Services Total Input Tax Zero-rated Sales Total Sales Amount P12.moral damages not only to be factually baseless and legally indefensible. and the Amended Quarterly VAT Return. Costs of suit to be paid by the private respondents.

20 2. it argued that the reliance of the Division on Burmeister was misplaced19 for the following reasons: P572. Hence. (R. the latter filed a Petition for Review with the First Division of the Court of Tax Appeals (Division). The DoF did not act on the claim of Accenture.844.269. but the latter affirmed the Division’s Decision and Resolution.Domestic Purchases.682. the present Petition for Review29 under Rule 45.21 3.7 Out of the P37. 133 . In a 13 November 2008 Decision.00 P8.11 argued thus: 1. The issue involved in Burmeister was the entitlement of the applicant to a refund. Accenture filed with the Department of Finance (DoF) an administrative claim for the refund or the issuance of a Tax Credit Certificate (TCC).178.367.27 Resolute.70 P63.844. and not R."8 This allocated input VAT was broken down to P8.66 for the 1st period and P26.639.294. because its claim has not been fully substantiated or documented.820.178.80 P27.9 The excess input VAT was not applied to any output VAT that Accenture was liable for in the same Accenture also cited Commissioner of Internal Revenue v.765.21.758.542.15 Ruling that Accenture’s services would qualify for zero-rating under the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines (Tax Code) only if the recipient of the services was doing business outside of the Philippines.541. The sale by Accenture of goods and services to its clients are not zero-rated transactions. These VAT credits are in the amounts of P9.355. Inc. Hence. 22 The monthly and quarterly VAT returns of Accenture show that.16 the Division cited Commissioner of Internal Revenue v.076.459. only P35. notwithstanding its application of the input VAT credits earned from its zero-rated transactions against its output VAT liabilities. Accenture filed a Petition for Review with the CTA En Banc. it was of its position. The CTA En Banc concluded that Accenture failed to discharge the burden of proving the latter’s allegation that its clients were foreign-based.875. Claims for refund are construed strictly against the claimant.80 for the 1st period and P27. or a total of P37.178. The MR was denied by the Division in its 12 March 2009 Resolution. the recipient of the services should be doing business outside the Philippines.323.38 In resolving the sole issue of whether or not Accenture was entitled to a refund or an issuance of a TCC in the amount of P35. (Burmeister)17 as basis. Burmeister cannot be made to apply to this case. 24 carried forward to petitioner’s 2nd Quarterly VAT Return for 2003. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR).38 for the 2nd period.21.686.811.18.A. Having been promulgated on 22 January 2007 or after Accenture filed its Petition with the Division. 2.41 P13.13 Accenture appealed to the CTA En Banc.21 pertained to the allocated input VAT on Accenture’s "domestic purchases of taxable goods which cannot be directly attributed to its zero rated sale of services. Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor Mindanao.12 the Division denied the Petition of Accenture for failing to prove that the latter’s sale of services to the alleged foreign clients qualified for zero percent VAT.28 A subsequent MR was also denied in a Resolution dated 23 October 2009. praying for the issuance of a TCC in its favor in the amount of P35.844. and Accenture had successfully established that. and Accenture has failed to prove that it is entitled to a refund. the applicable law was the 1997 Tax Code.982. on 1 July 2004.10 P132. to qualify for zero-rating. in its Answer. Instead.809.18 In its P545. 10 Thus.18 MR.269.682.55 for the 2nd period. Burmeister emphasized that. P Accenture appealed the Division’s Decision through a Motion for Reconsideration (MR). because Section 108(B)(2) of the 1997 Tax Code was a mere reenactment of Section 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code.A.301. it still had excess or unutilized input VAT credits. 9337.529.) 9337.282. There it argued that prior to the amendment introduced by Republic Act No.68 1.18. 26 Still.054. 25 there was no requirement that the services must be rendered to a person engaged in business conducted outside the Philippines to qualify for zero-rating.14 the Division ruled that Accenture had failed to present evidence to prove that the foreign clients to which the former rendered services did business outside the Philippines. it ruled that even though the provision used in Burmeister was Section 102(b)(2) of the earlier 1977 Tax Code.Capital Goods Domestic Purchases. given that the recipient of its service was doing business in the Philippines. on 31 August 2004.459. The CTA En Banc agreed that because the case pertained to the third and the fourth quarters of taxable year 2002. the pronouncement therein requiring recipients of services to be engaged in business outside the Philippines to qualify for zero-rating was applicable to the case at bar. it was not an issue of failure of the applicant to present evidence to prove the fact that the recipient of its services was a foreign corporation doing business outside the Philippines.038.238.880.Goods other than capital Goods Domestic Purchases-Services Total Input Tax Zero-rated Sales Total Sales P80.17 P6. American Express (Amex)23 in support quarter when the amount was earned—or to any of the succeeding quarters.038.

however.D. which is also known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977. The provision reads: SEC.O. 4. 3.D. Section 108(B) referred to in the foregoing provision was first seen when Presidential Decree No.178. Whether or not Petitioner has carried over to the succeeding taxable quarter(s) or year(s) the alleged unutilized input VAT paid on its domestic purchases of goods and services for the period commencing from 1 July 2002 until 30 November 2002.21 P.21.21. .884. 102.O. — The following services performed in the Philippines by VAT-registered persons shall be subject to 0%: "(1) Processing. Value-added tax on sale of services and use or lease of properties. widened the tax base. The VAT system introduced in E. Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code—as amended by P. "(b) Transactions subject to zero-rate. Section 102 of the National Internal Revenue Code. further. or on 1 January 1988. is hereby further amended to read as follows: "SEC.30 Two years thereafter. 273 was restructured through Republic Act No.884.884. as amended. 273. the (B) Transactions Subject to Zero Percent (0%) Rate. That in the case of zerorated sales under Section 106(A)(2)(a)(1). where the services are paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).O.The following services performed in the Philippines by VAT. 7716—provides that if the consideration for the services provided by a VAT-registered person is in a foreign currency. it shall be purposes under Section 108(B)(2)(3) of the 1997 Tax Code. "(2) Services other than those mentioned in the preceding sub-paragraph.178." Essentially. 1994.A. even though it merely amended Title IV of represents unutilized input VAT paid on its domestic purchases of goods and services the 1977 Tax Code. That where the taxpayer is engaged in zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sale and also in taxable or exempt sale of goods of properties or services. apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund of creditable input tax due or paid attributable to such sales. to wit: (A) Zero-Rated or Effectively Zero-Rated Sales. (P. (R. Executive Order No. Whether or not petitioner’s claim for refund/tax credit in the amount of P35. (E. manufacturing or repacking goods for other persons doing business outside the Philippines which goods are subsequently exported. Several Decisions have referred to this as the 1986 Tax Code. 5. Has Accenture successfully proven that its clients are entities doing business outside the Philippines? Recipient of services must be doing business outside the Philippines for the transactions to qualify as zero-rated. Section 3 thereof reads: SECTION 3. which was approved on 5 May 1994. and the amount of creditable input tax 1.) 27333 further amended provisions of Title IV. Refunds or Tax Credits of Input Tax. the parties and the Division have agreed to submit the following issues for resolution: acceptable foreign currency exchange proceeds thereof had been duly accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP): Provided. whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated may. Whether or not Petitioner’s sales of goods and services are zero-rated for VAT due or paid cannot be directly and entirely attributed to any one of the transactions. . then this transaction shall be subjected to zero percent rate. allocated proportionately on the basis of the volume of sales. Accenture anchors its refund claim on Section 112(A) of the 1997 Tax Code.) 199431 amended Title IV of 32 2. The 1997 Tax Code reproduced Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code in its Section 108(B). 112. to the extent that such input tax has not been applied against output tax: Provided. representing the unutilized input VAT on domestic purchases of goods and services for the period commencing from 1 July 2002 until 30 November 2002.In a Joint Stipulation of Facts and Issues. 134 .Any VAT-registered person.registered persons shall be subject to zero percent (0%) rate. as alleged unutilized input VAT on domestic purchases of goods and services for the period covering 1 July 2002 until 30 November 2002 are duly substantiated by proper documents.34 This law. 273 by transferring the old Title IV provisions to Title VI and filling in the former title with new provisions that imposed a VAT. 1158. and R.O.178. Whether or not Petitioner’s claim for refund/tax credit in the amount of P35. E. x x x xxx xxx xxx For consideration in the present Petition are the following issues: 1. within two (2) years after the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made. except transitional input tax. the consideration for which is paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). E. (2) and (B) and Section 108 (B)(1) and (2). for the period commencing from 1 July 2002 until 30 November 2002. Whether or not Petitioner is entitled to the refund of the amount of P35. from its sales of services to various foreign clients.) 7716. and applied the same fully to its output VAT liability for the said period. which allows the refund of unutilized input VAT earned from zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales.D.A. Should the recipient of the services be "doing business outside the Philippines" for the transaction to be zero-rated under Section 108(B)(2) of the 1997 Tax Code? 2.

the Supreme Court’s pronouncements in the Burmeister case requiring that the recipient of the services must be doing business outside the Philippines as mandated by law govern the instant case. (2) Services other than those mentioned in the preceding paragraph. of the latter may be used in interpreting the former. Value-added Tax on Sale of Services and Use or Lease of Properties. however. 9337. manufacturing or repacking goods for other persons doing business outside the Philippines which goods are subsequently exported. where the services are paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). became effective. and b) the transaction paid for in acceptable foreign currency duly accounted for in accordance with BSP rules and regulations. which was the law effective when the subject transactions were entered into and a refund was applied for. A parallel approach should be accorded to the renumbered provisions of Sections 108(B)(2) and 108(B)(1) of the 1997 NIRC. 6. the requirement introduced by R. (B) Transactions Subject to Zero Percent (0%) Rate.The following services performed in the Philippines by VAT-registered persons shall be subject to zero percent (0%) rate: (1) Processing. did not declare that the requirement— that the client must be doing business outside the Philippines—can be disregarded. as amended. Section 108(B)(2) requires as follows: a) services other than processing.35 Required by Section 108(B). the same cannot be applied retroactively against the Petitioner because to do so will be prejudicial to the latter. Since Accenture has complied with all the conditions imposed in Section 108(B). if both the provider and recipient of service are doing business in the Philippines. even though Accenture’s Petition was filed before Burmeister was promulgated.39 to wit: x x x. this Court’s interpretation the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). in which this Court supposedly ruled that Section 108(B) reveals a clear intent on the part of the legislators not to impose the condition of being This Court upholds the position of the CTA en banc that. because Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax "consumed abroad" in order for the services performed in the Philippines to be zero-rated. any interpretation of the latter holds true for the former. to be zero-rated. the sale transaction is subject to regular VAT as explained in the Burmeister case x x x. Accenture still argues that the tax appeals courts cannot be allowed to apply to Burmeister this Court’s interpretation of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. it is entitled to the refund prayed for. "(2) Services other than those mentioned in the preceding paragraph rendered to a person engaged in business conducted outside the Philippines or to a nonresident person not engaged in business who is outside the Philippines when the services are performed. the Supreme Court harmonized both Sections 102(b)(1) and 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code. manufacturing or repacking rendered by VAT registered persons in the Philippines.37 pronouncements made in that case may be applied to the present one without violating the rule 135 . whose interpretation of the law is part of that law as of the date of its Philippines. x x x.A. Accenture cites Amex. Section 6 of R. prior to the enactment. 9337. and not Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax Code. We rule that the recipient of the service must be doing business outside the Philippines for the transaction to qualify for zero-rating under Section 108(B) of the Tax Code. because the Petition of Accenture had already been filed before the case was even promulgated on 22 January 2007. the consideration In refuting Accenture’s theory. This means that Section 108(B)(2) must be read in conjunction with Section 108(B)(1). In support of its claim. as amended. The Division ruled that this Court. The same provision made reference to Section 108(B)(1) further imposing the requisite c) that the recipient of services must be performing business outside of Philippines. viz: On 1 November 2005." (Emphasis supplied) In the Burmeister case.38 Assuming that the foregoing is true. . should be rendered to clients doing business outside the of the Supreme Court. where the services are paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). While the Burmeister case forms part of the legal system and assumes the same authority as the statute itself. the provision applied to the present case was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. is hereby further amended to read as follows: "SEC.40 The meat of Accenture’s argument is that nowhere does Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax Code The CTA en banc is of the opinion that Accenture cannot invoke the non-retroactivity of the rulings state that services. in Amex and Burmeister. the requirement is expressly provided in Article 108(2) of the Tax Code.36 Code is a verbatim copy of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. Otherwise. because this Moreover. the consideration for which is paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). x x x. xxx xxx xxx Clearly. Section 108 of the same Code. It reads: SEC. pertaining to zero-rated transactions.41 amendment. According to petitioner. Accenture questions the Division’s application to this case of the pronouncements made in Burmeister.A. the CTA En Banc ruled that since Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax for which is paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with Code was a mere reproduction of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. which amended the foregoing provision. 108. manufacturing or repacking goods for other persons doing business outside the Philippines which goods are subsequently exported.(1) Processing. is that the consideration for the services rendered be in foreign currency and in accordance with the rules of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

another essential condition for qualification for zerorating under Section 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code is that the recipient of the business be doing that business outside the Philippines. because the provision interpreted therein was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. an interpretation this Court cannot sanction. Thus. a reading of that case will readily reveal that the provision applied was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. which is doing business not outside. Thus. In Burmeister. However.1âwphi1Instead. It facilitated in the Philippines the collection and payment of receivables belonging to its Hong Kong-based foreign client. We ruled that it should. but merely interprets a preexisting one. Otherwise. the Court found that. The aforementioned case explains how the credit card system works. The obligation to collect from the card holders and to bear the loss—in case they do not pay—rests on the issuer of the credit card. In fact. to fully understand how Section 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code—and consequently Section 108(B)(2) of the 1997 Tax Code—was intended to operate. It is elementary that the interpretation of a law by this Court constitutes part of that law from the date it was originally passed.against retroactive application. it does not pass a new law. In clarifying that there is no conflict between this pronouncement and that laid down in Amex. when the provider and recipient of services are both doing business in the Philippines. the latter being a mere reproduction of the former. The issuance of a credit card allows the holder thereof to obtain. as this matter was never put in question. When this Court decides a case. As previously mentioned. remain the same under both subparagraphs. (Emphasis in the original)45 In Amex we ruled that the place of performance and/or consumption of the service is immaterial.44 The effect of the place of consumption on the zero-rating of the transaction was not the issue in Burmeister. much less is the place where the output of the service is ultimately used. An essential condition for entitlement to 0% VAT under Section 102 (b) (1) and (2) is that the recipient of the services is a person doing business outside the Philippines. Such interpretation removes Section 102 (a) as a tax measure in the Tax Code. (Philippine Branch). the recipient of the service was still an entity doing business outside the Philippines as required in Burmeister. the payment of foreign currency is irrelevant. However. As the Court held in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. this is a purely local sale or exchange of services subject to the regular VAT. an interpretation of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code is an interpretation of Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code. those subject to the regular VAT under Section 102 (a) can avoid paying the VAT by simply stipulating payment in foreign currency inwardly remitted by the recipient of services. This Court further finds that Accenture’s reliance on Amex is misplaced. the company issuing the credit card will pay for the purchases of the credit card holders by redeeming the drafts. having been performed in the Philippines. The requirements for zero-rating. The zero-rating of the services performed by respondent in Amex was affirmed by the Court." the legislative intent is that only the services are different between subparagraphs 1 and 2. because although the services rendered were both performed and consumed in the Philippines. Accenture invokes this Court’s pronouncements in Amex. The provider of services can choose to pay the regular VAT or avoid it by stipulating payment in foreign currency inwardly remitted by the payer-recipient. goods and services from certain establishments. In fact. That the recipient of the service should be doing business outside the Philippines to qualify for zero-rating is the only logical interpretation of Section 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code. We ruled in Amex that Section 102 of the 1977 Tax Code does not require that the services be consumed abroad to be zero-rated." Applied to services. In support of its position that Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code does not require that the services be rendered to an entity doing business outside the Philippines. the place where the recipient conducts its business does. nowhere in that case did this Court discuss the necessary qualification of the recipient of the service. usually resulting in the performer’s release from any past or future liability x x x. (Emphasis in the original)46 136 . and not Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code. the term means the performance or "successful completion of a contractual duty. this interpretation became part of the law from the moment it became effective. Indeed." The services rendered by respondent are performed or successfully completed upon its sending to its foreign client the drafts and bills it has gathered from service establishments here. If the provider and recipient of the "other services" are both doing business in the Philippines. on credit. As proof that this credit is extended by the establishment. A tax is a mandatory exaction. Inc. To interpret Section 102 (b) (2) to apply to a payer-recipient of services doing business in the Philippines is to make the payment of the regular VAT under Section 102 (a) dependent on the generosity of the taxpayer. In this case. Thereafter. we ruled thus: x x x. since this Court's construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that the interpreted law carried into effect. The Court explained how the services rendered in Amex were considered to have been performed and consumed in the Philippines. Amex does not conflict with Burmeister. not a voluntary contribution. xxx xxx xxx Further. American Express International. this Court addressed the squarely raised issue of whether the recipient of services should be doing business outside the Philippines for the transaction to qualify for zero-rating. to wit: Consumption is "the use of a thing in a way that thereby exhausts it. although the place of the consumption of the service does not affect the entitlement of a transaction to zero-rating. the two aforementioned cases should be taken together. the recipient of the services is the Consortium. are therefore also consumed in the Philippines. including the essential condition that the recipient of services is doing business outside the Philippines. the recipient of the service in Amex is a nonresident foreign client. but within the Philippines because it has a 15-year contract to operate and maintain NAPOCOR’s two 100-megawatt power barges in Mindanao. a credit card draft is issued. when Section 102 (b) (2) speaks of "services other than those mentioned in the preceding subparagraph. 43 Accenture questions the CTA’s application of Burmeister.42 When this Court interpreted Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code in Burmeister. the place of payment is immaterial. their transaction falls squarely under Section 102 (a) governing domestic sale or exchange of services. Its services. The service provided by respondent in Amex consisted of gathering the bills and credit card drafts from establishments located in the Philippines and forwarding them to its parent company's regional operating centers outside the country. unless of course the transaction falls under the other provisions of Section 102 (b). as we explained in Burmeister: This can only be the logical interpretation of Section 102 (b) (2).

47 it was able to establish the following circumstances: 1. The 22 September 2009 Decision and the 23 October 2009 Resolution of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc in C. (I) The term ‘nonresident foreign corporation’ applies to a foreign corporation not engaged in trade or business within the Philippines. which is likewise a foreign corporation with no "presence in the Philippines. Inc. Petitioner presented no evidence whatsoever that these clients were doing business outside the Philippines. 54 Accenture failed to discharge this burden. and inward remittance of the proceeds of these sales duly accounted for in accordance with BSP rules. Accenture Participations B. Accenture bills another corporation. such as the appointment of a local agent.1âwphi1 This fact does not automatically mean. the instant Petition is DENIED. Accenture argues that based on the documentary evidence it presented. receipt of foreign currency payments. There is no specific criterion as to what constitutes "doing" or "engaging in" or "transacting" business. We ruled thus in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Only those not doing business in the Philippines can be required under BSP rules to extent. 50 Accenture insists. are AFFIRMED. Definitions . Billing Statements. like tax exemptions. where the provider and recipient of services business organization. Intercompany Payment Requests. (APB). all of these were devoid of any evidence that the clients were doing business outside of the Philippines.49 In the CTA’s opinion. "In order that a foreign corporation may be regarded as doing business are both doing business in the Philippines.Lastly. the BSP cannot require any party to make within a State. no evidence was presented by Accenture to prove the fact that the foreign clients to whom petitioner rendered its services were clients doing business outside the Philippines. the Tax Code itself has provisions for a foreign corporation engaged in business within the Philippines and vice versa.R. dismissing the Petition for the refund of the excess or unutilized input VAT credits of Accenture. however. and inward remittance of the proceeds of such sales duly accounted for in accordance with BSP rules. receipt of foreign currency payments. rather. the Court-commissioned Independent Certified Public Accountant.When used in this Title: A taxpayer claiming a tax credit or refund has the burden of proof to establish the factual basis of that claim. and not one of a temporary character." xxx xxx xxx (H) The term "resident foreign corporation" applies to a foreign corporation engaged in trade or business within the Philippines. FIRST DIVISION G.A. unlike in Burmeister. The evidence presented by Accenture may have established that its clients are foreign. After all. that these clients were doing business outside the Philippines. 154213 August 23. that it was able to establish that it had rendered services to foreign corporations doing business outside the Philippines. and Bank Statements presented by Accenture merely substantiated the existence of sales. and in progressive prosecution of commercial gain or for the purpose and object of the Philippines. the performance of acts or works or the exercise of some of the functions normally incident pay in acceptable currency for their purchase of goods and services from the to. The records of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that Accenture’s clients have not established any branch office in which to do business in the Philippines. which allegedly involved a foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines. 2012 137 . EB No. 22. R. 477. it is not enough that the recipient of the service be proven to be a foreign corporation. there must be continuity of conduct and intention to establish a continuous payment in foreign currency.55 WHEREFORE.51 We deny Accenture’s Petition for a tax refund. to that 3.V.T. as found by both the CTA Division and the CTA En Banc. These documents show that these zero-rated sales were paid in foreign exchange currency and duly accounted for in the rules and regulations of the BSP. Memo Invoices-Payable. 2. in a domestic transaction. Each case must be judged in the light of its peculiar environmental circumstances. There is no specific criterion as to what constitutes "doing" or "engaging in" or "transacting" business. For these services.1âwphi1 Tax refunds. however. (Emphasis in the original) Consequently. to come within the purview of Section 108(B)(2). It alleged and presented evidence to prove only that its clients were foreign entities. it is worth mentioning that prior to the promulgation of Burmeister. He ascertained that Accenture’s gross billings pertaining to zero-rated sales were all supported by zero-rated Official Receipts and Billing Statements. British Overseas Airways Corporation:52 x x x. Congress had already clarified the intent behind Sections 102(b)(2) of the 1977 Tax Code and 108(B)(2) of the 1997 Tax Code amending the earlier provision." Accenture has failed to establish that the recipients of its services do business outside the Philippines. are construed strictly against the taxpayer.. to wit: SEC. the Official Receipts. As ruled by the CTA En Banc." 53 Accenture claims that these documentary pieces of evidence are supported by the Report of Emmanuel Mendoza. However. and contemplates.A.48 business. 9337 added the following phrase: "rendered to a person engaged in business conducted outside the Philippines or to a nonresident person not engaged in business who is outside the Philippines when the services are performed. it must be specifically proven to be a nonresident foreign corporation. the documents presented by Accenture merely substantiate the existence of the sales. Thus. however. No. Memo Invoices-Receivable. The term implies a continuity of commercial dealings and arrangements.

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN MARITIME LTD. AND AGEMAR MANNING AGENCY, INC., Petitioners, vs. EST ANISLAO SURIO, FREDDIE PALGUIRAN, GRACIANO MORALES, HENRY CASTILLO, ARISTOTLE ARREOLA, ALEXANDER YGOT, ANRIQUE BA TTUNG, GREGORIO ALDOVINO, NARCISO FRIAS, VICTOR FLORES, SAMUEL MARCIAL, CARLITO PALGUIRAN, DUQUE VINLUAN, .JESUS MENDEGORIN, NEIL FLORES, ROMEO MANGALIAG, JOE GARFIN and SALESTINO SUSA, Respondents. DECISION

On May 23, 1996, the POEA dismissed the complaint for disciplinary action. Petitioners received the order of dismissal on July 24, 1996.2 Relying on Section 1, Rule V, Book VII of the 1991 POEA Rules, petitioners filed a partial appeal on August 2, 1996 in the NLRC, still maintaining that respondents should be administratively sanctioned for their conduct while they were on board MT Seadance. On March 21, 1997, the NLRC dismissed petitioners’ appeal for lack of jurisdiction, 3 thus: We dismiss the partial appeal.

BERSAMIN, J.: On appeal is the decision the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated on December 21, 2001 affirming the resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) declaring itself to be without appellate jurisdiction to review the decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) involving petitioners’ complaint for disciplinary action against respondents. 1 Respondents were former crewmembers of MT Seadance, a vessel owned by petitioner Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. and manned and operated by petitioner Agemar Manning Agency, Inc. While respondents were still on board the vessel, they experienced delays in the payment of their wages and in the remittance of allotments, and were not paid for extra work and extra overtime work. They complained about the vessel’s inadequate equipment, and about the failure of the petitioners to heed their repeated requests for the improvement of their working conditions. On December 19, 1993, when MT Seadance docked at the port of Brofjorden, Sweden to discharge oil, representatives of the International Transport Federation (ITF) boarded the vessel and found the wages of the respondents to be below the prevailing rates. The ensuing negotiations between the ITF and the vessel owner on the increase in respondents’ wages resulted in the payment by the vessel owner of wage differentials and the immediate repatriation of respondents to the Philippines. Subsequently, on December 23, 1993, the petitioners filed against the newly-repatriated respondents a complaint for disciplinary action based on breach of discipline and for the reimbursement of the wage increases in the Workers Assistance and Adjudication Office of the POEA. During the pendency of the administrative complaint in the POEA, Republic Act No. 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) took effect on July 15, 1995. Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 vested original and exclusive jurisdiction over all money claims arising out of employer-employee relationships involving overseas Filipino workers in the Labor Arbiters, to wit: Section 10. Money Claims. – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages. The jurisdiction over such claims was previously exercised by the POEA under the POEA Rules and Regulations of 1991 (1991 POEA Rules). The Commission has no jurisdiction to review cases decided by the POEA Administrator involving disciplinary actions. Under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, the Labor Arbiter shall have jurisdiction over money claims involving employer-employee relationship (sec. 10, R.A. 8042). Said law does not provide that appeals from decisions arising from complaint for disciplinary action rest in the Commission. PREMISES CONSIDERED, instant appeal from the Order of May 23, 1996 is hereby DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. SO ORDERED. Not satisfied, petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the NLRC denied their motion. They received the denial on July 8, 1997.4 Petitioners then commenced in this Court a special civil action for certiorari and mandamus. Citing St. Martin Funeral Homes v. National Labor Relations Commission, 5 however, the Court referred the petition to the CA on November 25, 1998. Petitioners contended in their petition that: THE NLRC GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND/OR GRAVELY ERRED IN DISMISSING PETITIONERS’ APPEAL AND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WHEN IT REFUSED TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF PETITIONERS’ APPEAL DESPITE BEING EMPOWERED TO DO SO UNDER THE LAW.6 On December 21, 2001, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari and mandamus, holding that the inclusion and deletion of overseas contract workers from the POEA blacklist/watchlist were within the exclusive jurisdiction of the POEA to the exclusion of the NLRC, and that the NLRC had no appellate jurisdiction to review the matter, viz: Section 10 of RA 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, provides that: "Money Claims – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving

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Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages. xxxx Likewise, the Rules and Regulations implementing RA 8042 reiterate the jurisdiction of POEA, thus: "Section 28. Jurisdiction of the POEA. – The POEA shall exercise original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide: a) All cases, which are administrative in character, involving or arising out of violations of rules and regulations relating to licensing and registration of recruitment and employment agencies or entities; and b) Disciplinary action cases and other special cases, which are administrative in character, involving employers, principals, contracting partners and Filipino migrant workers." The petition for review lacks merit. Further, Sections 6 and 7 Rule VII, Book VII of the POEA Rules & Regulations (1991) provide: "Sec. 6. Disqualification of Contract Workers. Contract workers, including seamen, against whom have been imposed or with pending obligations imposed upon them through an order, decision or resolution shall be included in the POEA Blacklist Workers shall be disqualified from overseas employment unless properly cleared by the Administration or until their suspension is served or lifted. Sec. 7. Delisting of the Contract Worker’s Name from the POEA Watchlist. The name of an overseas worker may be excluded, deleted and removed from the POEA Watchlist only after disposition of the case by the Administration."

Issue Petitioners still appeal, submitting to the Court the sole issue of: WHETHER OR NOT THE NLRC HAS JURISDICTION TO REVIEW ON APPEAL CASES DECIDED BY THE POEA ON MATTERS PERTAINING TO DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST PRIVATE RESPONDENTS. They contend that both the CA and the NLRC had no basis to rule that the NLRC had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal only because Republic Act No. 8042 had not provided for its retroactive application. Respondents counter that the appeal should have been filed with the Secretary of Labor who had exclusive jurisdiction to review cases involving administrative matters decided by the POEA. Ruling

Petitioners’ adamant insistence that the NLRC should have appellate authority over the POEA’s decision in the disciplinary action because their complaint against respondents was filed in 1993 was unwarranted. Although Republic Act No. 8042, through its Section 10, transferred the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide money claims involving overseas Filipino workers from the POEA to the Labor Arbiters, the law did not remove from the POEA the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all disciplinary action cases and other special cases administrative in character involving such workers. The obvious intent of Republic Act No. 8042 was to have the POEA focus its efforts in resolving all administrative matters affecting and involving such workers. This intent was even expressly recognized in the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 promulgated on February 29, 1996, viz:

Thus, it can be concluded from the afore-quoted law and rules that, public respondent has no Section 28. Jurisdiction of the POEA. – The POEA shall exercise original and exclusive jurisdiction jurisdiction to review disciplinary cases decided by the POEA involving contract workers. Clearly, to hear and decide: the matter of inclusion and deletion of overseas contract workers in the POEA Blacklist/Watchlist is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the POEA to the exclusion of the public respondent. Nor has the latter appellate jurisdiction to review the findings of the POEA involving such cases. (a) all cases, which are administrative in character, involving or arising out of violations or rules and regulations relating to licensing and registration of recruitment and employment agencies or entities; and xxx In fine, we find and so hold, that, no grave abuse of discretion can be imputed to the public respondent when it issued the assailed Decision and Order, dated March 21, 1997 and June 13, 1997, respectively, dismissing petitioners’ appeal from the decision of the POEA. WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition not impressed with merit, the same is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.7 (b) disciplinary action cases and other special cases, which are administrative in character, involving employers, principals, contracting partners and Filipino migrant workers. Section 29. Venue – The cases mentioned in Section 28(a) of this Rule, may be filed with the POEA Adjudication Office or the DOLE/POEA regional office of the place where the complainant applied or was recruited, at the option of the complainant. The office with which the complaint was first filed shall take cognizance of the case. Disciplinary action cases and other special cases, as mentioned in the preceding Section, shall be filed with the POEA Adjudication Office.

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It is clear to us, therefore, that the NLRC had no appellate jurisdiction to review the decision of the POEA in disciplinary cases involving overseas contract workers. Petitioners’ position that Republic Act No. 8042 should not be applied retroactively to the review of the POEA’s decision dismissing their complaint against respondents has no support in jurisprudence. Although, as a rule, all laws are prospective in application unless the contrary is expressly provided,8 or unless the law is procedural or curative in nature,9 there is no serious question about the retroactive applicability of Republic Act No. 8042 to the appeal of the POEA’s decision on petitioners’ disciplinary action against respondents. In a way, Republic Act No. 8042 was a procedural law due to its providing or omitting guidelines on appeal. A law is procedural, according to De Los Santos v. Vda. De Mangubat,10 when it – Refers to the adjective law which prescribes rules and forms of procedure in order that courts may be able to administer justice. Procedural laws do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against the retroactive operation of statues ― they may be given retroactive effect on actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected, insomuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure. Republic Act No. 8042 applies to petitioners’ complaint by virtue of the case being then still pending or undetermined at the time of the law’s passage, there being no vested rights in rules of procedure.11 They could not validly insist that the reckoning period to ascertain which law or rule should apply was the time when the disciplinary complaint was originally filed in the POEA in 1993. Moreover, Republic Act No. 8042 and its implementing rules and regulations were already in effect when petitioners took their appeal. A statute that eliminates the right to appeal and considers the judgment rendered final and unappealable only destroys the right to appeal, but not the right to prosecute an appeal that has been perfected prior to its passage, for, at that stage, the right to appeal has already vested and cannot be impaired.12 Conversely and by analogy, an appeal that is perfected when a new statute affecting appellate jurisdiction comes into effect should comply with the provisions of the new law, unless otherwise provided by the new law. Relevantly, petitioners need to be reminded that the right to appeal from a decision is a privilege established by positive laws, which, upon authorizing the taking of the appeal, point out the cases in which it is proper to present the appeal, the procedure to be observed, and the courts by which the appeal is to be proceeded with and resolved.13 This is why we consistently hold that the right to appeal is statutory in character, and is available only if granted by law or statute.141âwphi1

agencies, the word "control" shall encompass supervision and control as defined in this paragraph. xxx. Thus, Section 1, Part VII, Rule V of the 2003 POEA Rules and Regulations specifically provides, as follows: Section 1. Jurisdiction. – The Secretary shall have the exclusive and original jurisdiction to act on appeals or petition for review of disciplinary action cases decided by the Administration. In conclusion, we hold that petitioners should have appealed the adverse decision of the POEA to the Secretary of Labor instead of to the NLRC. Consequently, the CA, being correct on its conclusions, committed no error in upholding the NLRC. WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the decision promulgated on December 21, 2001 by the Court of Appeals; andORDER the petitioners to pay the costs of suit. SO ORDERED. SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 165166 August 15, 2012

CHARLES GOTARDO, Petitioner, vs. DIVINA BULING, Respondent. DECISION BRION, J.:

We resolve the petition for review on certiorari, 1 filed by petitioner Charles Gotardo, to challenge the March 5, 2004 decision2 and the July 27, 2004 resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA GR CV No. 76326. The CA decision ordered the petitioner to recognize and provide legal support When Republic Act No. 8042 withheld the appellate jurisdiction of the NLRC in respect of cases to his minor son, Gliffze 0. Buling. The CA resolution denied the petitioner's subsequent motion for decided by the POEA, the appellate jurisdiction was vested in the Secretary of Labor in accordance with his power of supervision and control under Section 38(1), Chapter 7, Title II, Book reconsideration. III of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, to wit: FACTUAL BACKGROUND Section 38. Definition of Administrative Relationship. – Unless otherwise expressly stated in the Code or in other laws defining the special relationships of particular agencies, administrative relationships shall be categorized and defined as follows: Supervision and Control. – Supervision and control shall include authority to act directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; determine priorities in the execution of plans and programs. Unless a different meaning is explicitly provided in the specific law governing the relationship of particular On September 6, 1995, respondent Divina Buling filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Maasin, Southern Leyte, Branch 25, for compulsory recognition and support pendente lite, claiming that the petitioner is the father of her child Gliffze.4 In his answer, the petitioner denied the imputed paternity of Gliffze. 5 For the parties’ failure to amicably settle the dispute, the RTC terminated the pre-trial proceedings.6 Trial on the merits ensued.

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The respondent testified for herself and presented Rodulfo Lopez as witness. Evidence for the respondent showed that she met the petitioner on December 1, 1992 at the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, Maasin, Southern Leyte branch where she had been hired as a casual employee, while the petitioner worked as accounting supervisor. 7 The petitioner started courting the respondent in the third week of December 1992 and they became sweethearts in the last week of January 1993.8 The petitioner gave the respondent greeting cards on special occasions, such as on Valentine’s Day and her birthday; she reciprocated his love and took care of him when he was ill.9 Sometime in September 1993, the petitioner started intimate sexual relations with the respondent in the former’s rented room in the boarding house managed by Rodulfo, the respondent’s uncle, on Tomas Oppus St., Agbao, Maasin, Southern Leyte.10 The petitioner rented the room from March 1, 1993 to August 30, 1994.11 The sexual encounters occurred twice a month and became more frequent in June 1994; eventually, on August 8, 1994, the respondent found out that she was pregnant.12 When told of the pregnancy, the petitioner was happy and made plans to marry the respondent.13 They in fact applied for a marriage license.14 The petitioner even inquired about the costs of a wedding reception and the bridal gown.15 Subsequently, however, the petitioner backed out of the wedding plans.16 The respondent responded by filing a complaint with the Municipal Trial Court of Maasin, Southern Leyte for damages against the petitioner for breach of promise to marry. 17 Later, however, the petitioner and the respondent amicably settled the case. 18 The respondent gave birth to their son Gliffze on March 9, 1995. 19 When the petitioner did not show up and failed to provide support to Gliffze, the respondent sent him a letter on July 24, 1995 demanding recognition of and support for their child.20 When the petitioner did not answer the demand, the respondent filed her complaint for compulsory recognition and support pendente lite.21 The petitioner took the witness stand and testified for himself. He denied the imputed paternity,22 claiming that he first had sexual contact with the respondent in the first week of August 1994 and she could not have been pregnant for twelve (12) weeks (or three (3) months) when he was informed of the pregnancy on September 15, 1994.23 During the pendency of the case, the RTC, on the respondent’s motion, 24 granted a P2,000.00 monthly child support, retroactive from March 1995.25 THE RTC RULING In its June 25, 2002 decision, the RTC dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence proving Gliffze’s filiation. It found the respondent’s testimony inconsistent on the question of when she had her first sexual contact with the petitioner, i.e., "September 1993" in her direct testimony while "last week of January 1993" during her cross-testimony, and her reason for engaging in sexual contact even after she had refused the petitioner’s initial marriage proposal. It ordered the respondent to return the amount of support pendente lite erroneously awarded, and to pay P10,000.00 as attorney’s fees.26 The respondent appealed the RTC ruling to the CA.27 THE CA RULING

In its March 5, 2004 decision, the CA departed from the RTC's appreciation of the respondent’s testimony, concluding that the latter merely made an honest mistake in her understanding of the questions of the petitioner’s counsel. It noted that the petit ioner and the respondent had sexual relationship even before August 1994; that the respondent had only one boyfriend, the petitioner, from January 1993 to August 1994; and that the petitioner’s allegation that the respondent had previous relationships with other men remained unsubstantiated. The CA consequently set aside the RTC decision and ordered the petitioner to recognize his minor son Gliffze. It also reinstated the RTC order granting a P2,000.00 monthly child support.28 When the CA denied29 the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration,30 the petitioner filed the present petition for review on certiorari. THE PETITION The petitioner argues that the CA committed a reversible error in rejecting the RTC’s appreciation of the respondent’s testimony, and that the evidence on record is insufficient to prove paternity. THE CASE FOR THE RESPONDENT The respondent submits that the CA correctly explained that the inconsistency in the respondent’s testimony was due to an incorrect appreciation of the questions asked, and that the record is replete with evidence proving that the petitioner was her lover and that they had several intimate sexual encounters during their relationship, resulting in her pregnancy and Gliffze’s birth on March 9, 1995. THE ISSUE The sole issue before us is whether the CA committed a reversible error when it set aside the RTC’s findings and ordered the petitioner to recognize and provide legal support to his minor son Gliffze. OUR RULING We do not find any reversible error in the CA’s ruling. We have recognized that "[f]iliation proceedings are usually filed not just to adjudicate paternity but also to secure a legal right associated with paternity, such as citizenship, support (as in this case) or inheritance. [In paternity cases, the burden of proof] is on the person who alleges that the putative father is the biological father of the child."31 One can prove filiation, either legitimate or illegitimate, through the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, an admission of filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned, or the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate or illegitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.32 We have held that such other proof of one's filiation may be a "baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family bible in which [his] name has been entered, common reputation respecting [his] pedigree, admission by silence, the [testimonies] of witnesses, and other kinds of proof [admissible] under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court." 33

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according to you. petitioner Victor Rondina (Victor) assails the Decision1 dated July 24. when confronted for her contradictory 142 . 00185 which June 13. only that it occurred on a much later date than the respondent asserted. 2004 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA GR CV No." as follows: ATTY. WHEREFORE. the burden of evidence shifts to the putative father.45 Support consists of everything indispensable for sustenance. The petitioner.00 monthly child support.40 However. "In ascertaining the facts established by a witness.: Sadly. affirmative defenses. GO CINCO: When did the defendant.1âwphi1 The petitioner’s denial cannot overcome the respondent’s clear and categorical assertions. 37 In this case. the petitioner did not deny that he had sexual encounters with the respondent. made much of the variance between the respondent’s direct testimony regarding their first sexual contact as "sometime in September 1993" and her crosstestimony when she stated that their first sexual contact was "last week of January 1993. presumption of legitimacy. the amount of support is variable and.35 We explained that a prima facie case exists if a woman declares — supported by corroborative proof — that she had sexual relations with the putative father. 2012 COURT: What do you mean by accepting? A I accepted his offer of love. And by October you already had your sexual intercourse? Last week of January 1993. J.In Herrera v.46Thus. CR-HC No. a parent is obliged to support his child. having resulted from the failure of the respondent to comprehend the question posed. therefore. SO ORDERED. FIRST DIVISION And you accepted him? G. at this point. such that it was physically impossible for the respondent to have been three (3) months pregnant already in September 1994 when he was informed of the pregnancy. education and transportation. cannot be given credence for lack of evidentiary support. His allegations. 76326 are hereby AFFIRMED. support follows as a matter of obligation. 179059 Last week of January 1993. 41 We find that the contradictions are for the most part more apparent than real. the respondent explained that that portion of the transcript of stenographic notes was incorrect and she had brought it to the attention of Atty. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. dwelling. at the time of her conception. 47It may be reduced or increased proportionately according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to support. cross and redirect examinations must be calibrated and considered. 2004 decision and the July 27. but this misunderstanding was later corrected and satisfactorily explained. In this Petition for Review on Certiorari. we hereby DENY the petition for lack of merit. in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.44 Since filiation is beyond question. or (2) that the mother had sexual relations with other men at the time of conception. vs."43 Evidently. Indeed.38 Rodulfo corroborated her testimony that the petitioner and the respondent had intimate relationship. The March 5. no final judgment on the amount of support is made as the amount shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and the necessities of the recipient.42 Jurisprudence teaches that in assessing the credibility of a witness. The technique in deciphering a testimony is not to consider only its isolated parts and to anchor a conclusion based on these parts. 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. No. Costs against the petitioner. the petitioner failed to substantiate his allegations of infidelity and insinuations of promiscuity. medical attendance. VICTOR RONDINA. DECISION DEL CASTILLO.34 we stressed that there are four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action that parties have to face: a prima facie case. the respondent established a prima facie case that the petitioner is the putative father of Gliffze through testimony that she had been sexually involved only with one man. as the RTC did.36 We explained further that the two affirmative defenses available to the putative father are: (1) incapability of sexual relations with the mother due to either physical absence or impotency.391âwphi1 On the other hand. the totality of the respondent's testimony positively and convincingly shows that no real inconsistency exists. Petitioner.R. Gliffze. The respondent has consistently asserted that she started intimate sexual relations with the petitioner sometime in September 1993. Josefino Go Cinco (her former counsel) but the latter took no action on the matter. we sustain the award of P2.000. considering the needs of the child. whether legitimate or illegitimate. Respondent. 48 In this case. Alba. and physical resemblance between the putative father and the child. without prejudice to the filing of the proper motion in the RTC for the determination of any support in arrears. start courting you? statements. during the pendency of this case. the petitioner. for this reason. everything stated by him on direct. A Q A Q A Third week of December 1992. this is yet another case of a lass pitilessly stripped of her innocence. clothing.R. his testimony must be considered in its entirety instead of in truncated parts.

I. "AAA" immediately took off her panty and relieved herself.a sixteen (16) year old lass.16 When "BBB" had "AAA" examined by physicians. Fetal heart tone – not appreciated Quickening – noted December. 5548-0 finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. "AAA"4 . 1998 because during that time. "AAA" gave birth to a baby girl. Version of the Prosecution OB-GYNE NOTES Abdomen – soft. 1998 (1st week) Factual Antecedents EDC – April. The said toilet. It was located outside "AAA’s" house and was being used as a communal toilet by the occupants of nearby houses. at "DDD".present no inflammations .affirmed with modification the Judgment2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Once inside.m. the two of them went to their respective homes. suddenly entered the toilet with only a towel covering himself from the waist down.. did then and there wilfully. covered her mouth and threatened her by saying "[d]on’t ever tell anybody otherwise I will kill your parents." on May 1. "AAA" was not able to shout. "AAA" finally told her mother "BBB" that Victor raped her. 1998.5 On arraignment. Victor pleaded "not guilty" to the crime charged. G1 P0 LMP – July. uterus palpable with fundal height of 23 cms. 19 It was already around 5:30 p. constructed of hollow blocks with G. During the pendency of the proceedings and after about nine months from the date of the alleged incident. immediately proceeded to the toilet to defecate. against her will. 1999. He averred that he could not have raped "AAA" at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon of July 15. the above-named accused: VICTOR RONDINA. viz: 5 o’clock and 9 o’ clock positions Vaginal opening – admits two examining fingers freely Pelvic Ultrasound Result: Single live intrauterine pregnancy with mean AOG of 24 weeks and 2 days by BPD and FL. 143 . unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge [of] the complainant herein. However. your siblings including yourself. when Victor and his companions left Macabug. he and Alex headed to the public market of Ormoc City and bought viand. 1999 (2nd week) On March 29. she lived with her parents and siblings in a rented house located in "DDD. In 1998. forgetting to lock the door. Victor arrived home at around 6:00 p. with Alex Oliveros (Alex) and Ruben Bertulfo. Branch 35 in Criminal Case No. On July 15.12 After a while. at around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. she felt a liquid-like substance discharged from Victor’s penis. threat and intimidation. a neighbor.13When Victor had already satisfied his bestial desire.noted. He even gave part of his winnings to Alex for the latter to spend on his birthday. "AAA. "AAA" was a young girl of 16 who was in second year high school. Ormoc City. he again wrapped the towel around his waist14 and before getting out of the toilet uttered "do not tell your mother or else I will kill you. he was in a cockpit in Brgy. "AAA" was surprised when Victor. the City Prosecution Office of Ormoc City filed with the RTC an Information3 charging Victor as follows: That on or about the 15th day of July 1998. 1998 Visual Vulva Examination – pubic hair . 1999. "CCC. [Ormoc City]. had only a tie-wire as lock. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. hymen – with healed lacerations at the 3 o’clock. Macabug."15 "AAA" did not immediately tell anyone of her misfortune and just kept on crying. Victor was charged with the crime of rape.m. "AAA" was more or less six months pregnant. no fresh lacerations.m. being then armed with a knife and by means of force. 6 Pre-trial and trial thereafter ensued. Version of the Defense Victor interposed the defense of denial and alibi."8 Because her mouth was covered. From Macabug.17 Hence. Ormoc City.-sheet roofing. 9 Victor ordered "AAA" to stand against the wall with her hands on both sides 10 and forcefully inserted his penis into "AAA’s" vagina." Ormoc City. He went there at 2:00 p. The youngest and the only girl among a brood of four. Victor immediately removed the towel from his waist as well as his brief.m.11 "AAA" felt pain.18 He could still very well remember the cockfight on that particular day as same was held because of the approaching fiesta of Macabug on July 25 and also because he won.20 After that. it was discovered that aside from having healed hymenal lacerations. it came to the point where she could no longer keep silent so that a few months after the incident." upon arriving home from school at around 4:00 p.7 After washing her anus. He then poked a knife on "AAA’s" neck.

Assignment of Errors despite some inconsistencies in her testimony during trial. 144 . thus: 3. In resolving the case. narrated her travails at the hands of Victor in an earnest. except for the MODIFICATION in the award of civil indemnity as aforementioned.R. August 28. whether "AAA’s" claim that she was raped by Victor vis-à-vis the latter’s denial and alibi. After the elevation of the records of the case. also to acknowledge 2. 4. spontaneous and straightforward manner. the RTC declared the issue to be one of credibility. She was able to give all the core elements of rape in her narration. 2000 is hereby AFFIRMED as to all other respects.00 to P50.33 Our Ruling The petition is devoid of merit. SO ORDERED. As to the inconsistencies. after considering all the foregoing. is credible. the testimony of the complainant WHEREFORE. 149810. however. which would have prompted the latter to file false claims against the petitioner. The lower courts did not err in giving full faith and credence to "AAA’s" testimony. 2000. without any finding as to mitigating and aggravating circumstances. hereby sentences weakness of the evidence for the defense. it affirmed the trial court’s judgment in all other respects in a Decision31 dated July 24. premises considered.21 WHEREFORE. with the Court’s ruling in People v. 5. him to suffer imprisonment of Forty (40) years reclusion perpetua. serious error of law and grave abuse of discretion when it did not apply the ruling of this Honorable Supreme Court in PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. and (5) "AAA" was impelled by other motive in filing the charge against him. No. Victor comes to this Court to seek a reversal of his conviction. 2001. the trial court’s Decision dated June 7. RUALES 2000: [G.28 the case was subsequently transferred to the CA for appropriate action and disposition. (4) "AAA’s" testimony was full of inconsistencies. 29 Ruling of the Court of Appeals In his brief. the dispositive portion of its Judgment 23 dated June 7.00. The Honorable Court of Appeals and the Honorable Regional Trial Court committed itself convinced that the prosecution. was able to prove the guilt of the serious error of law and grave abuse of discretion when it did not apply the ruling of this accused beyond reasonable doubt. Honorable Supreme Court in PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs.27 Conformably. that is. 22 The RTC then declared 1. (3) it was unimaginable and improbable to commit the rape in the manner and position narrated by "AAA".00 as indemnity. such alibi could work to exculpate the petitioner as such alibi is the truth and is sufficiently corroborated. convincing and satisfactory as to hold the latter guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. this Court accepted the appeal on February 21. It gave much credence to "AAA’s" testimony since it observed that the latter. the RTC chose to brush them aside as Victor ascribes upon the lower courts the following errors: it found them to be minor inconsistencies which only tend to bolster rather than weaken the rape victim’s credibility as they show that her testimony was not contrived.24 Victor filed a Notice of Appeal25 which was granted by the RTC in its Order26 of June 28. The Honorable Court of Appeals and the Honorable Regional Trial Court committed serious error of law and grave abuse of discretion when it merely brushed aside the alibi of the petitioner not taking into account that while alibi may be considered a weak defense. Mateo. to pay the offended party the sum of P75. The Honorable Court of Appeals and the Honorable Regional Trial Court committed serious error of law and grave abuse of discretion when it rendered and affirmed a judgment of conviction despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The Honorable Court of Appeals and the Honorable Regional Trial Court committed the offspring [CCC] and to give her support. The Honorable Court of Appeals and the Honorable Regional Trial Court committed serious error of law and grave abuse of discretion when it declared that the petitioner x x x failed to show any improper motive on the part of the private complainant. by its own evidence. CRISPIN T.000. SO ORDERED.000. P50. Aside from reducing the award of civil indemnity from P75. The CA. however. 2003] to the effect that due to the nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved.30 Victor averred that the RTC should not have given full faith and credence to "AAA’s" testimony for the following reasons: (1) "AAA" reported the crime only after five months from its alleged occurrence.00 as moral damages. the Court finds the accused Victor Rondina must be scrutinized with extreme caution and that the evidence for the prosecution must GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape as charged in the information and.000. and costs. APAT [114 SCRA xxxx 620] which ruling is squarely applicable to the facts in the present case. 2007. (2) the rape could not have been committed in the said toilet because of the presence of the occupants of nearby houses.32 Hence. stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the accordingly.000.Ruling of the Regional Trial Court With two conflicting versions before it. found no compelling reason to depart from the RTC’s ruling. Hence. the court held that the prosecution was able to duly establish all the elements of rape.

the RTC directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to cause her to be subjected to a psychological examination. the DSWD submitted to the court the result of the Psychiatric Evaluation and Mental Status Examination39 performed upon "AAA" indicating that she was suffering from organic brain disease which is mental retardation. It is worthy to note that before "AAA" was put on the witness stand. and (c) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. 145 . (And the witness pointed to [the] left side of her neck. "the testimony of the complainant must A: Inside the toilet. A: Victor.] his insertion of his penis into your vagina? The Court had consistently acknowledged that "[a]t the core of almost all rape cases. Q: Did you see the weapon. the Court notes that she was still able to recount the details of her traumatic experience in a credible. sir. it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused. what did you do inside? A: I defecated. Q: Did you not resist x x x the sexual advances of the accused. She testified as follows: Q: You said that you were already inside the toilet. convincing and straightforward manner and therefore her testimony bears the ring of truth. xxxx Q: In what part of your body was the knife being poked? Q: While you were inside what happened? A: In my neck.) A: He inserted his penis [into] my vagina. sir. undergo trial albeit with assistance because of her sub-average general intellectual functioning. we have been guided by the following well-established principles: (a) an accusation of rape can be made with facility. Ruales. though innocent. 35 A: Yes. to disprove. however. Q: In what manner? A: He told me. A: I resist[ed].40 Notwithstanding "AAA’s" mental condition.Victor avers that the lower courts. in resolving the case. She could. failed to apply the Court’s pronouncement in People v. sir. In deciding rape cases. Q: To whom are you referring the pronoun "he"? A: Yes. whether the case results in conviction or in acquittal. We have carefully examined the records of this case and hold that the lower courts did not commit reversible error in according superior weight to "AAA’s" testimony. xxxx Q: Where [did] this incident [take] place[. "do not ‘kuan’ because [you’re still young and I’m old"]. Q: Will you please describe to us the length and the size of the weapon? Q: Are you referring to the accused in this case Victor Rondina? COURT INTERPRETER: Q: You mean to say that you were in the standing position? A: Yes. Q: Are you telling us that he went inside the toilet? A: Yes."36 Hence. when I was in the toilet. I was poked with a knife and I was not able to shout because my mouth was covered." 37 A: He made me lean against the wall. (b) due to the nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved. In compliance therewith. the credibility of the victim’s testimony is crucial in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime where only the participants therein can testify to its occurrence. be examined with extreme care for.38 This was due to the prosecution’s claim that "AAA" was then emotionally unstable. sir. the final outcome would almost invariably be dependent on what the victim declares and on how she has Q: What was your position when he inserted his penis [into] your female organ? stood and comported herself at the witness stand during questioning.34 viz. Q: What do you mean by saying the word "don’t"? A: What I mean is that. the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution.

it is hard to believe that her testimony had been rehearsed as Victor would want to put it. Victor implies that it was improbable for him to penetrate "AAA’s" vagina in a standing position considering that his two hands. Victor avers that the manner in which the rape was committed. sir. as shown above and except for a few minor inconsistencies and some difficulty in understanding the questions propounded to her. Q: [As a] preliminary to the ocular inspection. Q: Would you recall what [were] the utterances made by the accused? Q: Did you like it? A: No sir. sir. Illustrate how you were standing at the time that you were sexually molested. Q: So that size consist[s] only of the blade? A: Yes. COURT INTERPRETER: The witness illustrate[s] to the Court by standing [with] her back leaning against the wall with hands on both sides. "AAA" even readily made a physical illustration of the same: Q: You were in the straight standing position during the alleged sexual intercourse? A: "Don’t you ever tell anybody otherwise I will kill your parents. This is now [the] wall of the courtroom. Q: After you’ve noticed that he had already ejaculated. Apat45 where the Court pronounced as follows: A: No your honor. He calls attention to "AAA’s" testimony during cross examination that his left hand was covering her mouth while his right hand was poking the knife at her the entire duration of the alleged sexual intercourse." defies imagination. I just position[ed] myself like this. Q: What did you do [in] that instance that his penis was inside your female organ? A: It [felt] so different for me. he said that "do not tell your mother or else I will kill you. what else did he do? A: That is what I’ve told you sir. your siblings including yourself." were not free and that "AAA" was moving to resist the penetration." xxxx Q: While his male organ was inside yours. what else did he do? A: When he was about to get out. sir.The witness estimated the length at about 5 inches. Q: Were you not in a squatting position? A: [Felt] different. that wall is the wall of the toilet. the Court would like you to make the physical illustration as to your position. xxxx Q: Was there anything that you [felt]? A: Yes. 42 When asked by the trial court to demonstrate her position during the alleged sexual intercourse. as testified to by "AAA. (As the witness earlier demonstrated to the Court). Q: What? A: He inserted his penis [into] my vagina and there was some kind of "apple-apple" or a liquid like substance. Q: That excludes the handle? A: It does not. Q: Did he say anything when he poked the knife in your neck? A: Yes. is incredible and contrary to human experience. If such was the case. However. 146 . Given the circumstances. xxxx Q: What did you notice from his penis if any? 41 A: Yes. as narrated by "AAA.43 With her intelligence level. Victor thus invokes the case of People v.44"AAA" was still able to testify with definiteness on the material details of her harrowing experience at the hands of Victor. imagine that. your Honor. Q: Did you feel pain? A: Yes. "AAA’s" testimony would have eventually fallen apart. that he told me that [once] you tell anybody I’ll kill your parents. sir.

is that correct? A: Yes. whose findings are binding and conclusive on appellate courts. The manner by which the appellant allegedly raped Gregoria. But later on direct examination. 54 Furthermore.55 "Where a rape victim’s testimony is corroborated by the physical findings of penetration. an opportunity denied to the appellate courts which usually rely on the cold pages of the silent records of the case. it can be inferred that the covering of the mouth. the lower courts still chose to treat "AAA’s" testimony as gospel truth instead of considering her irreconcilable contradictions as sufficient grounds to create doubt in Victor’s favor. and perform the sexual intercourse.49 Upon inquiry by the Court. Q: Easily or forcefully? A: Forcefully. a rape victim cannot be expected to mechanically keep and then give an accurate account of the traumatic and horrifying experience she had undergone. she came home from school at 4:00 p. defies the imagination. Esperanza S." 57 Victor’s imputation of ill motive on the part of "AAA" and her family deserves scant consideration. it is something which causes deep psychological wounds and casts a stigma upon the victim.50 From AAA’s testimony. And as the pleas of "AAA’s" family to continue occupying the house were ignored. Q: Does it mean that his left hand was holding his penis in guiding it towards the inside of your vagina? A: Yes. was able to manage to remove the pantie of the woman."52 This also goes true with respect to the inconsistencies pointed out by Victor. her harrowing [experience] at [Victor’s] hands. Agudo testified that these lacerations could have been caused by sexual intercourse. 46 Victor likewise cites the following inconsistencies in "AAA’s" testimony: (1) "AAA" stated in her direct examination that on the day of the alleged rape. Hence. 147 . Q: Which hand did he [use] if you can recall? A: Left. she claimed that she was the one who removed her underwear and that Victor was wearing a towel and a brief. "AAA" answered "yes" when asked by the defense counsel if at the time Victor inserted his penis into her vagina. was made to vacate the same so that his family could occupy it instead. she testified that she just stayed home the whole day. your Honor. He claims that "AAA’s" family. For such an offense is not analogous to a person’s achievement or accomplishment as to be worth recalling or reliving. Dr. she stated that Victor was wearing shorts when he entered the toilet and that it was the latter who took off her underwear. Matters affecting credibility are best left to the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the elusive and incommunicable evidence of that witness’ deportment on the stand while testifying.48 In re-direct examination. charges were filed against him.53To reiterate."51 In this case. the Court gives deference to the well-settled rule "that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is best undertaken by a trial court. "AAA’s" testimony is corroborated by the doctors’ findings that she was pregnant and that her hymen has healed lacerations at 3 o’clock. and (2) in "AAA’s" Affidavit47 executed on January 29. Q: If you keep on moving. spread her legs. and sensitivity as she relives. "AAA" answered: COURT to the witness Q: In what manner did he [insert] his penis? Did he [use] his hands or what? A: Yes. as narrated by her. Ma. however. sir. there is sufficient basis for concluding that sexual intercourse did take place. The Court." 56 Thus. Despite all these. your Honor. he was also covering her mouth with one hand and poking a knife on her neck with the other. 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions.m. 1999. scarring her psyche for life and which her conscious and subconscious mind would opt to forget. She was also later found possessed of low level intelligence. it is not difficult to understand why "AAA" answered "yes" when asked by the defense counsel if Victor was covering her mouth and poking a knife at her neck when he inserted his penis into her vagina. Moreover. which the Court finds too flimsy and trivial to merit serious consideration. the poking of the knife and the insertion of Victor’s penis into her vagina were all happening at almost the same time. we must "accord to her greater understanding. consideration. We have gone over the records and observed that both on cross and re-cross examinations. while so positioned. is unconvinced. It may hardly be envisioned how a man can successfully consummate the sexual act on an unwilling woman with his left hand placed over her mouth (supposedly to prevent her from shouting for help) and with his right hand x x x holding a hunting knife pointed at the woman’s forehead and. "AAA" was just 16 years old when she was cruelly abused by Victor. Thus. rather. through her testimony. "AAA" testified as follows: Q: You told us earlier that you tried to keep on moving while the accused inserted his penis into your vagina if only to prevent [him] from penetrating you. how is it that he was able to penetrate you? A: He really penetrate[d] it and he insert[ed] it. On cross examination. however.3. it is not unnatural to find minor discrepancies in the testimony of a rape victim as she cannot be expected to remember every minute detail of her ordeal. there being no compelling reason to deviate from the lower courts’ appreciation of "AAA’s" testimony. who used to rent the house owned by the aunt of Victor’s wife. however. Victor contends that "AAA" and her family harbored a grudge against him. "[r]ape is a painful experience which is oftentimes not remembered in detail. unbutton his short pants. A fortiori.

Her account of the incident. Indeed. Hence. Macabug. the second requisite is not met. Hence. In the present case. "AAA. SECOND DIVISION G. resentment. not only in the presence of an aggravating circumstance. the Court of Appeals. He avers that proving that he was not at the place of the alleged incident when it happened is the most plausible defense against the charges hurled upon him. which clearly establishes the liability of the accused. exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good. civil indemnity of P50. With the passage of the Family Code.net/judjuris/juri2010/jan2010/gr_188561_2010. who was with him during that time. but also where the circumstances of the case show the highly reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender. his alibi that he was in Brgy.00. no ‘further positive act is required of the parent as the law itself provides for the child’s status’. CR-HC No. petitioner’s x x x flimsy allegation of ill motive is immaterial. Macabug and the place where the rape occurred is just three to four kilometers and that the same can be traversed by land transportation in just a few minutes."72 WHEREFORE. The lower courts did not err in convicting Victor of the crime of rape." in such amount and under such terms to be determined by the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City in a proper proceeding with support arrears to be reckoned from the finality of this Decision. Since parental authority is vested by Article 176 of the Family Code upon the mother and considering that an offender sentenced to reclusion perpetua automatically loses the power to exercise parental authority over his children. We subscribe to the same."Motives such as family feuds.61 Hence.00 in line with existing jurisprudence. the prosecution has sufficiently established that Victor had carnal knowledge of "AAA" against her will and consent."64 Moreover and most importantly. said defense is still unworthy of belief. hatred or revenge have never swayed this Court from giving full credence to the testimony of a rape victim.fnt15 Victor’s weak alibi cannot thus overcome "AAA’s" positive identification of him as her rapist. Victor contends that the lower courts erred in brushing aside his defense of alibi on the sole ground that it is inherently weak. Damages awarded The CA was correct in reducing the award of civil indemnity from P75. and comrades-in-arms and not by credible persons. 2) Interest at the rate of 6% per annum is imposed on all the damages awarded in this case from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid. 63 "[I]t has been held that alibi becomes more unworthy of merit where it is established mainly by the accused himself and his or her relatives. exemplary damages can be awarded. friends. as a vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured.000." 58 Besides. we note that the both the RTC and the CA failed to make an award for exemplary damages. All told. and this Court.68 Also. we hold that neither did the RTC err in finding Victor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape nor did the CA in affirming said conviction. "In order for the defense of alibi to prosper.html . As aptly declared by the appellate court.000. 3) Petitioner Victor Rondina is further ordered to give support to "AAA’s" offspring. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code. threatened to kill her and her family if she tells them of her ordeal. it is highly inconceivable that any family would willfully and deliberately corrupt the innocent mind of its minor member and put into her lips the lewd description of a carnal act just to satisfy a personal grudge or anger against the accused. 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the appellant was at a different place at the time the crime was committed.R. "Exemplary damages are intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings. Alex admitted that Victor was his employer62 and that he was testifying for Victor as he relied on him for livelihood. it is difficult to believe that "AAA’s" family would stoop so low as to subject her to physical hardship and disgrace that usually accompany the prosecution of rape just to relieve hurt feelings. two requisites must concur: first. Being corrective in nature. Besides. even if Victor’s alibi is corroborated by Alex.000."66 However. 2012 148 . especially by the rape victim. SO ORDERED. or as punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct. Ormoc City at the time of the alleged rape is corroborated by the testimony of Alex. Victor raped a minor."70 "The amount [and terms] of support shall be determined by the trial court after due notice and hearing in accordance with Article 20171 of the Family Code. the classification of acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction was eliminated and they now fall under the specie of illegitimate children. and second."65http://www. Victor himself testified that the distance between Brgy. No. as found by the RTC.R."60 In this case. 172471 November 12. Also. Victor should therefore pay AAA exemplary damages in the amount of P30. "denial and alibi are practically worthless against the positive identification made by the prosecution witnesses.000.lawphil.00 is automatically awarded without need of pleading or proof. "CCC. ill motives become inconsequential if there is an affirmative and credible declaration from the rape victim. was sincere and truthful. and even got her pregnant.00 as exemplary damages.000. b) acknowledgement of the offspring." with the use of a knife. "AAA" categorically identified [Victor] as the one who defiled her. "In cases of simple rape as in this case. 00185 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS as follows: 1) Petitioner Victor Rondina is ordered to pay "AAA" P30. it was not physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of the commission of the crime. "Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code provides for three different kinds of civil liability that may be imposed on the offender: a) indemnification. interest at the rate of 6% per annum is imposed on all damages awarded from the date of finality of this judgment until fully paid. and c) in every case to support the offspring. [Victor] should only be ordered to indemnify and support the victim’s child."67 Here.69 Support of the offspring "CCC" The RTC ordered Victor to acknowledge "AAA’s" offspring "CCC" and give her support. unless the law should prevent him from so doing. the Decision dated July 24. it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of its commission.59 Victor’s alibi cannot prevail over "AAA’s" positive identification of him as her rapist. Also.00 to P50.

filed before the RTC a Complaint6 for support against Antonio.34 When shown with Randy’s Certificate of Live Birth and asked whether he had a hand in the preparation of the same. Randy (collectively respondents). Mirasol answered that they were just sweethearts. 1983.ANTONIO PERLA. which was also the first time he saw Randy.44 Daisy Balmori Rodriguez (Daisy).39 Antonio came to know that he was being imputed as the father of Randy only when Mirasol charged him with abandonment of minor in 1994.32 Testifying as an adverse witness for the respondents. he is not a protestant and a laborer as indicated in said certificate. In his Answer with Counterclaim.16 She presented Randy’s Certificate of Live Birth17 and Baptismal Certificate18 indicating her and Antonio as parents of the child. Antonio testified as to several inaccuracies in the entries thereon. Although he admitted to having known Mirasol.22 Next to take the witness stand was Randy who at that time was just 15 years old. when Antonio landed a job as seaman. 96-3952. she knew of Mirasol’s and Antonio’s relationship because aside from seeing Antonio frequenting the house of Mirasol. Norma. And since Mirasol had been intimidating and pestering him as early as 1992 with various suits by insisting that Randy is his son. Antonio assured her that he would support her. 24 He recounted having met him for the first time in 1994 in the house of his Aunt Lelita. the "hilot" who assisted in Mirasol’s delivery of Randy. DECISION DEL CASTILLO. date and place of marriage. whom he met a few times told him about the child. Mirasol testified that from 1981 to 1983. 23 Randy claimed that he knew Antonio to be the husband of her mother and as his father. MIRASOL BARING and RANDY PERLA. where he was vacationing.21 Mirasol likewise confirmed that she is the same "Mirasol Perla" who signed as the informant therein.8 In the first week of January 1981. he abandoned them and failed to give any support to his son. Factual Antecedents Respondent Mirasol Baring (Mirasol) and her then minor son. J. 1981. and the intended name of the child. Antonio sought moral and exemplary damages by way of counterclaim from respondents. Antonio promised that he would support him. 2003 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo City.41 Anent Randy’s Certificate of Live Birth. 45 She narrated that her mother asked Mirasol the details to be entered in the child’s Certificate of Live Birth such as the names of the parents. 43 Antonio likewise alleged that Mirasol only made up the entries with respect to their marriage on October 28. went to his house to solicit the said information. 30 She further narrated that the two have a son named Randy31 and that Antonio’s mother even tried to get the child from Mirasol. 1981 because during that time. Mirasol testified that she and Antonio supplied the information in the said certificates. CV No. Aurora Ducay testified that she knew both Mirasol and Antonio as they were neighbors in Upper Bicutan.40 Prior to that.28 For her part. Antonio courted her9 and eventually became her first boyfriend.13 Eventually. for her part. 79312 which dismissed petitioner Antonio Perla’s (Antonio) appeal from the February 26."1 Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari2 is the March 31.12 When Mirasol became pregnant in 1983. 46 Her mother also told her that Mirasol’s son has no acknowledged father. They alleged in said Complaint that Mirasol and Antonio lived together as common-law spouses for two years. Antonio’s sister. However. Antonio answered in the negative. 1983. denied having fathered Randy. his middle initial is "E" and not "A" as appearing in the said certificate of live birth. Respondents thus prayed that Antonio be ordered to support Randy.15 On November 11.27 Randy further testified that during his one-week stay in his Aunt Lelita’s place.11 Upon clarificatory question by the court whether she and Antonio eventually lived together as husband and wife. Antonio denied having courted Mirasol on January 5. 47Daisy likewise claimed that Mirasol later left to her care the then infant Randy until Mirasol took him away without permission when the child was almost five years old. she asked Antonio about it.42 Also. Antonio started to evade her. Randy was born on November 11. however. Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while the latter hugged him.19 Antonio supplied his name and birthplace after Erlinda Balmori (Erlinda). Likewise assailed is the CA’s May 5. he denied having any relationship with Mirasol. 2005 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. she lived in Upper Bicutan. Petitioner. According to him.: "An order for x x x support x x x must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. Mirasol gave birth to Randy. ordering him to give monthly support to respondent Randy Perla (Randy).R.37 It was only in May 1981 or after his graduation that he came to Manila.29 According to her. Taguig where Antonio was a neighbor. who is now married and has a family of his own. He graduated from the Iloilo Maritime Academy in March of 198136 as shown by his diploma.38 He claimed that he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol only once which happened in the month of September or October of 1981. he was studying in Iloilo City.48 149 . Taguig.7 Antonio. neither Mirasol nor her sister.14 Mirasol last saw Antonio in 1983 but could not remember the particular month. he averred that she never became his common-law wife nor was she treated as such. testified that she came to know Mirasol through her mother Erlinda who was the "hilot" when Mirasol gave birth to Randy. During trial. Branch 71 in Civil Case No.25 During their encounter. Presently. As a result of said cohabitation.35 Testifying for himself. Antonio admitted having sexual intercourse with Mirasol in February and August33 of 1981. vs. 20Mirasol also claimed that it was Erlinda who supplied the date and place of marriage of the parents so that the latter can file the birth certificate. Further. Antonio is still her neighbor in the said place. the latter treated him as member of the family.10Antonio would then visit her everyday until 1982. Respondents.26 When Randy asked him for support. 2006 Resolution5denying the motion for reconsideration thereto.

An order for x x x support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. 2005. the CA upheld Randy’s illegitimate filiation based on the certified true copies of his birth certificate and of his baptismal certificate identifying Antonio as his father. It also noted that when the 15-year old Randy testified. the RTC rendered a Decision49 dated February 26. This is despite the fact that the said documents do not bear Antonio’s signature. Since respondents’ complaint for support is anchored on Randy’s alleged illegitimate filiation to Antonio.50 Antonio filed a Notice of Appeal51 which was given due course by the RTC.000. or Antonio filed a Motion for Reconsideration55 which was denied by the CA in its Resolution56 of May 5. this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation.58 As this case falls under these exceptions. Issue (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. Hence. shame and ridicule of public trial if her allegations were untrue. The rules for establishing filiation are found in Articles 172 and 175 of the Family Code which provide as follows: Article 172. Our Ruling There is merit in the petition. for Randy to be entitled for support. According to the appellate court."57 However. he categorically declared Antonio as his father. SO ORDERED. Although the appellate court. cited the applicable provision on illegitimate filiation. 2003 ordering Antonio to support Randy. it merely declared the certified true copies of Randy’s birth certificate and baptismal certificate both identifying Antonio as the father as good proofs of his filiation with Randy and nothing more. SO ORDERED. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads: WHEREFORE. Thus: WHEREFORE. his filiation must be established with sufficient certainty. while these documents do not bear the signature of Antonio. 150 . "Generally. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment.Ruling of the Regional Trial Court After trial. ordering the latter to give a reasonable monthly support of P5. as there was nothing to suggest that the RTC erred in such respects. The CA also affirmed the trial court’s findings on the credibility of the witnesses and its appreciation of facts. 2006.52 Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its Decision53 of March 31. surmises or conjectures or when the judgment of the CA is based on misapprehension of facts. The RTC ruled that Mirasol and Randy are entitled to the relief sought since Antonio himself admitted that he had sex with Mirasol. this Petition for Review on Certiorari. the Court is constrained to re-examine the factual findings of the lower courts. 54 The pivotal issue to be resolved in this case is whether the lower courts correctly ordered Antonio to support Randy. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Randy Perla and against the defendant Antonio Perla. Antonio’s counterclaim was denied due to the absence of bad faith or ill motive on the part of Mirasol and Randy. "Time and again. the appeal is DISMISSED and the appealed Decision is AFFIRMED. for its part. are binding on this Court."59 Respondents failed to establish Randy’s illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence. Respondents’ Complaint for support is based on Randy’s alleged illegitimate filiation to Antonio. The RTC opined that Mirasol would not have gone through the trouble of exposing herself to humiliation. imputed and identified father of Randy. factual findings of trial courts. they are proofs that Antonio is the known. Defendant’s counterclaim is DISMISSED. A re-examination of the factual findings of the RTC and the CA is proper in this case. A review of the Decision of the RTC would show that it is bereft of any discussion regarding Randy’s filiation.a good reason to disregard his denials. It highlighted Antonio’s vacillation in his testimony regarding the number of times he had sex with Mirasol and concluded that the same is a clear badge of his lack of candor . the lower courts should have first made a determination of the same.00 to Randy Perla for his sustenance and support to be given to him from the time of the filing of this Complaint. when affirmed by the CA. this rule admits of certain exceptions such as when the finding is grounded entirely on speculations.

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. xxxx Article 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. xxxx Respondents presented the Certificate of Live Birth of Randy identifying Antonio as the father. However, said certificate has no probative value to establish Randy’s filiation to Antonio since the latter had not signed the same.60 It is settled that "a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of said certificate." 61 We also cannot lend credence to Mirasol’s claim that Antonio supplied certain information through Erlinda. Aside from Antonio’s denial in having any participation in the preparation of the document as well as the absence of his signature thereon, respondents did not present Erlinda to confirm that Antonio indeed supplied certain entries in Randy’s birth certificate. Besides, the several unexplained discrepancies in Antonio’s personal circumstances as reflected in the subject birth certificate are manifestations of Antonio’s non-participation in its preparation. Most important, it was Mirasol who signed as informant thereon which she confirmed on the witness stand. Neither does the testimony of Randy establish his illegitimate filiation. That during their first encounter in 1994 Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while Antonio hugged him and promised to support him; or that his Aunt Lelita treated him as a relative and was good to him during his one-week stay in her place, cannot be considered as indications of Randy’s open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child under the second paragraph of Article 172(1). "[T]o prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must be evidence of the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity.1âwphi1 Such acts must be of such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also the apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in life, not accidentally, but continuously." 62 Here, the single instance that Antonio allegedly hugged Randy and promised to support him cannot be considered as proof of continuous possession of the status of a child. To emphasize, "[t]he father’s conduct towards his son must be spontaneous and uninterrupted for this ground to exist." 63 Here, except for that singular occasion in which they met, there are no other acts of Antonio treating Randy as his son.64Neither can Antonio’s paternity be deduced from how his sister Lelita treated Randy. To this Court, Lelita’s actuations could have been done due to charity or some other reasons. Anent Randy’s baptismal certificate, we cannot agree with the CA that the same is a good proof of Antonio’s paternity of Randy. Just like in a birth certificate, the lack of participation of the supposed father in the preparation of a baptismal certificate renders this document incompetent to prove paternity.65 And "while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public document, it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the date specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the child’s paternity. Thus, x x x baptismal certificate s are per se

inadmissible in evidence as proof of filiation and they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to prove the same."66 This Court cannot likewise agree with the RTC’s conclusion that Antonio fathered Randy merely on the basis of his admission that he had sexual encounters with Mirasol. Neither does it agree with the CA that the inconsistencies in Antonio’s testimony with regard to the number of times he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol are good reasons to disregard his denials and uphold the respondents’ claims. It is well to stress that as plaintiff, Mirasol has the burden of proving her affirmative allegation that Antonio is the father of her son Randy.67 She must rely on the strength of her evidence and not on the weakness of the defense.68 As Randy was born on November 11, 1983, it was incumbent upon Mirasol to prove that she had sexual intercourse with Antonio prior to the usual period of pregnancy or nine months before the birth of Randy. This crucial period therefore is during the early part of the first quarter of 1983. However, nothing from Mirasol’s testimony indicates that she had sexual intercourse with Antonio during that time. She merely testified that she last met with Antonio in 1983 but could not remember the particular month.69 Plainly, this hardly means anything not only because it was not established that the said meeting took place during that crucial period but also because Mirasol never mentioned that they had sexual contact during their meeting. Antonio’s admission of sexual intercourse with Mirasol does not likewise by any means strengthen respondents’ theory that he fathered Randy. When Antonio testified as an adverse witness for the respondents, he stated that he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol in February and August of 1981. Later testifying as witness for his own behalf, he mentioned that he had a one night affair with Mirasol which happened in the month of September or October of 1981. Assuming that he indeed had sexual contact with Mirasol on the dates mentioned, still, none of these sexual congresses could have led to the conception of Randy who was born two years later in 1983. All told, it is clear that respondents failed to establish Randy’s illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence, the order for Antonio to support Randy has no basis. WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated March 31, 2005 and Resolution dated May 5, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 79312 are REVERSED and SER ASIDE and the Decision dated February 26, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City, Branch 71, in Civil Case No. 96-3952 is VACATED. A new one is entered DISMISSING the Complaint for Support filed by Mirasol Baring and Randy Perla against Antonio Perla. SO ORDERED. SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 187521 March 14, 2012

F.F. CRUZ & CO., INC., Petitioner, vs. HR CONSTRUCTION CORP., Respondent. DECISION

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REYES, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioner F.F. Cruz & Co., Inc. (FFCCI) assailing the Decision1 dated February 6, 2009 and Resolution2 dated April 13, 2009 issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 91860. The Antecedent Facts Sometime in 2004, FFCCI entered into a contract with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of the Magsaysay Viaduct, known as the Lower Agusan Development Project. On August 9, 2004, FFCCI, in turn, entered into a Subcontract Agreement3 with HR Construction Corporation (HRCC) for the supply of materials, labor, equipment, tools and supervision for the construction of a portion of the said project called the East Bank Levee and Cut-Off Channel in accordance with the specifications of the main contract. The subcontract price agreed upon by the parties amounted to P31,293,532.72. Pursuant to the Subcontract Agreement, HRCC would submit to FFCCI a monthly progress billing which the latter would then pay, subject to stipulated deductions, within 30 days from receipt thereof. The parties agreed that the requests of HRCC for payment should include progress accomplishment of its completed works as approved by FFCCI. Additionally, they agreed to conduct a joint measurement of the completed works of HRCC together with the representative of DPWH and consultants to arrive at a common quantity. Thereafter, HRCC commenced the construction of the works pursuant to the Subcontract Agreement. On September 17, 2004, HRCC submitted to FFCCI its first progress billing in the amount of P2,029,081.59 covering the construction works it completed from August 16 to September 15, 2004.4 However, FFCCI asserted that the DPWH was then able to evaluate the completed works of HRCC only until July 25, 2004. Thus, FFCCI only approved the gross amount of P423,502.88 for payment. Pursuant to the Subcontract Agreement, FFCCI deducted from the said gross amount P42,350.29 for retention and P7,700.05 for expanded withholding tax leaving a net payment in the amount of P373,452.54. This amount was paid by FFCCI to HRCC on December 3, 2004.5 FFCCI and the DPWH then jointly evaluated the completed works of HRCC for the period of July 26 to September 25, 2004. FFCCI claimed that the gross amount due for the completed works during the said period wasP2,008,837.52. From the said gross amount due, FFCCI deducted therefrom P200,883.75 for retention andP36,524.07 for expanded withholding tax leaving amount of P1,771,429.45 as the approved net payment for the said period. FFCCI paid this amount on December 21, 2004.6 On October 29, 2004, HRCC submitted to FFCCI its second progress billing in the amount of P1,587,760.23 covering its completed works from September 18 to 25, 2004. 7 FFCCI did not pay the amount stated in the second progress billing, claiming that it had already paid HRCC for the completed works for the period stated therein.

On even date, HRCC submitted its third progress billing in the amount of P2,569,543.57 for its completed works from September 26 to October 25, 2004.8 FFCCI did not immediately pay the amount stated in the third progress billing, claiming that it still had to evaluate the works accomplished by HRCC. On November 25, 2004, HRCC submitted to FFCCI its fourth progress billing in the amount of P1,527,112.95 for the works it had completed from October 26 to November 25, 2004. Subsequently, FFCCI, after it had evaluated the completed works of HRCC from September 26 to November 25, 2004, approved the payment of the gross amount of P1,505,570.99 to HRCC. FFCCI deducted therefromP150,557.10 for retention and P27,374.02 for expanded withholding tax leaving a net payment of P1,327,639.87, which amount was paid to HRCC on March 11, 2005. 9 Meanwhile, HRCC sent FFCCI a letter10 dated December 13, 2004 demanding the payment of its progress billings in the total amount of P7,340,046.09, plus interests, within three days from receipt thereof. Subsequently, HRCC completely halted the construction of the subcontracted project after taking its Christmas break on December 18, 2004. On March 7, 2005, HRCC, pursuant to the arbitration clause in the Subcontract Agreement, filed with the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) a Complaint 11 against FFCCI praying for the payment of the following: (1) overdue obligation in the reduced amount of P4,096,656.53 as of December 15, 2004 plus legal interest; (2) P1,500,000.00 as attorney’s fees; (3) P80,000.00 as acceptance fee and representation expenses; and (4) costs of litigation. In its Answer,12 FFCCI claimed that it no longer has any liability on the Subcontract Agreement as the three payments it made to HRCC, which amounted to P3,472,521.86, already represented the amount due to the latter in view of the works actually completed by HRCC as shown by the survey it conducted jointly with the DPWH. FFCCI further asserted that the delay in the payment processing was primarily attributable to HRCC inasmuch as it presented unverified work accomplishments contrary to the stipulation in the Subcontract Agreement regarding requests for payment. Likewise, FFCCI maintained that HRCC failed to comply with the condition stated under the Subcontract Agreement for the payment of the latter’s progress billings, i.e. joint measurement of the completed works, and, hence, it was justified in not paying the amount stated in HRCC’s progress billings. On June 16, 2005, an Arbitral Tribunal was created composed of Engineer Ricardo B. San Juan, Joven B. Joaquin and Attorney Alfredo F. Tadiar, with the latter being appointed as the Chairman. In a Preliminary Conference held on July 5, 2005, the parties defined the issues to be resolved in the proceedings before the CIAC as follows: 1. What is the correct amount of [HRCC’s] unpaid progress billing? 2. Did [HRCC] comply with the conditions set forth in subparagraph 4.3 of the Subcontract Agreement for the submission, evaluation/processing and release of payment of its progress billings?

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3. Did [HRCC] stop work on the project? 3.1 If so, is the work stoppage justified? 3.2 If so, what was the percentage and value of [HRCC’s] work accomplishment at the time it stopped work on the project? 4. Who between the parties should bear the cost of arbitration or in what proportion should it be shared by the parties?13 Likewise, during the said Preliminary Conference, HRCC further reduced the amount of overdue obligation it claimed from FFCCI to P2,768,916.66. During the course of the proceedings before the CIAC, HRCC further reduced the said amount to P2,635,397.77 – the exact difference between the total amount of HRCC’s progress billings (P6,107,919.63) and FFCCI’s total payments in favor of the latter (P3,472,521.86). The CIAC Decision On September 6, 2005, after due proceedings, the CIAC rendered a Decision14 in favor of HRCC, the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the Claimant HR CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION and AWARD made on its monetary claim against Respondent F.F. CRUZ & CO., INC., as follows:

profit. He further admitted that it is only when DPWH approves its (Respondent’s) billings cover ing [HRCC’s] scope of work and pays for them, that [FFCCI] will in turn pay [HRCC] for its billings on the sub-contracted works. On clarificatory questioning by the Tribunal, [FFCCI] admitted that there is no "back-to-back" provision in the sub-contract as basis for this sequential payment arrangement and, therefore, [FFCCI’s] imposition thereof by withholding payment to [HRCC] until it is first paid by the project owner on the Main Contract, clearly violates said sub-contract. It [is] this unauthorized implementation of a back-to-back payment scheme that is seen to be the reason for [FFCCI’s] non-payment of the third progress billings. It is accordingly the holding of this Arbitral Tribunal that [FFCCI] is not justified in withholding payment of [HRCC’s] third progress billing for this scheme that [HRCC] has not agreed to in the sub-contract agreement x x x. xxx The total retention money deducted by [FFCCI] from [HRCC’s] three progress billings, amounts to [P]395,945.14 x x x. The retention money is part of [HRCC’s] progress billings and must, therefore, be credited to this account. The two amounts (deductions and net payments) total [P]3,868,467.00 x x x. This represents the total gross payments that should be credited and deducted from the total gross billings to arrive at what has not been paid to the [HRCC]. This results in the amount of [P]2,239,452.63 ([P]6,107,919.63 - [P]3,868,467.00) as the correct balance of [HRCC’s] unpaid billings.16 Further, the CIAC ruled that FFCCI had already waived its right under the Subcontract Agreement to require a joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works as a condition precedent to the payment of the latter’s progress billings. Hence: [FFCCI] admits that in all three instances where it paid [HRCC] for its progress billings, it never required compliance with the aforequoted contractual provision of a prior joint quantification. Such repeated omission may reasonably be construed as a waiver by [FFCCI] of its contractual right to require compliance of said condition and it is now too late in the day to so impose it. Article 6 of the Civil Code expressly provides that "rights may be waived unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs". The tribunal cannot see any such violation in this case. xxx [FFCCI’s] omission to enforce the contractually required condition of payment, has led [HRCC] to believe it to be true that indeed [FFCCI] has waived the condition of joint quantification and, therefore, [FFCCI] may not be permitted to falsify such resulting position. 17 Likewise, the CIAC held that FFCCI’s non-payment of the progress billings submitted by HRCC gave the latter the right to rescind the Subcontract Agreement and, accordingly, HRCC’s work stoppage was justified. It further opined that, in effect, FFCCI had ratified the right of HRCC to stop the construction works as it did not file any counterclaim against HRCC for liquidated damages arising therefrom.

[P]2,239,452.63 101,161.57 [P]2,340,614.20

as the balance of its unpaid billings and as reimbursement of the arbitration costs. Total due the Claimant

Interest on the foregoing amount [P]2,239,452.63 shall be paid at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of this Decision. After finality of this Decision, interest at the rate of 12% per annum shall be paid thereon until full payment of the awarded amount shall have been made x x x. SO ORDERED.15 The CIAC held that the payment method adopted by FFCCI is actually what is known as the "back-to-back payment scheme" which was not agreed upon under the Subcontract Agreement. As such, the CIAC ruled that FFCCI could not impose upon HRCC its valuation of the works completed by the latter. The CIAC gave credence to HRCC’s valuation of its completed works as stated in its progress billings. Thus: During the trial, [FFCCI’s] Aganon admitted that [HRCC’s] accomplishments are included in its own billings to the DPWH together with a substantial mark-up to cover overhead costs and

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FFCCI then filed a petition for review with CA assailing the foregoing disposition by the CIAC. The CA Decision On February 6, 2009, the CA rendered the herein assailed Decision denying the petition for review filed by FFCCI. The CA agreed with the CIAC that FFCCI had waived its right under the Subcontract Agreement to require a joint quantification of HRCC’s completed works. The CA further held that the amount due to HRCC as claimed by FFCCI could not be given credence since the same was based on a survey of the completed works conducted without the participation of HRCC. Likewise, being the main contractor, it ruled that it was the responsibility of FFCCI to include HRCC in the joint measurement of the completed works. Furthermore, the CA held that HRCC was justified in stopping its construction works on the project as the failure of FFCCI to pay its progress billings gave the former the right to rescind the Subcontract Agreement. FFCCI sought a reconsideration19 of the said February 6, 2009 Decision but it was denied by the CA in its Resolution20 dated April 13, 2009. Issues In the instant petition, FFCCI submits the following issues for this Court’s resolution: [I.] x x x First, [d]oes the act of [FFCCI] in conducting a verification survey of [HRCC’s] billings in the latter’s presence amount to a waiver of the right of [FFCCI] to verify and approve said billings? What, if any, is the legal significance of said act? [II.] x x x Second, [d]oes the payment of [FFCCI] to [HRCC] based on the results of the above mentioned verification survey result in the former being obliged to accept whatever accomplishment was reported by the latter? [III.] x x x Third, [d]oes the mere comparison of the payments made by [FFCCI] with the contested progress billings of [HRCC] amount to an adjudication of the controversy between the parties? [IV.]
18

x x x Fifth, [d]id the [CA] disregard or overlook significant and material facts which would affect the result of the litigation?21 In sum, the crucial issues for this Court’s resolution are: first, what is the effect of FFCCI’s non compliance with the stipulation in the Subcontract Agreement requiring a joint quantification of the works completed by HRCC on the payment of the progress billings submitted by the latter; and second, whether there was a valid rescission of the Subcontract Agreement by HRCC. The Court’s Ruling The petition is not meritorious. Procedural Issue: Finality and Conclusiveness of the CIAC’s Factual Findings Before we delve into the substantial issues raised by FFCCI, we shall first address the procedural issue raised by HRCC. According to HRCC, the instant petition merely assails the factual findings of the CIAC as affirmed by the CA and, accordingly, not proper subjects of an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It likewise pointed out that factual findings of the CIAC, when affirmed by the CA, are final and conclusive upon this Court. Generally, the arbitral award of CIAC is final and may not be appealed except on questions of law. Executive Order (E.O.) No. 100822 vests upon the CIAC original and exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising from, or connected with, contracts entered into by parties involved in construction in the Philippines. Under Section 19 of E.O. No. 1008, the arbitral award of CIAC "shall be final and inappealable except on questions of law which shall be appealable to the Supreme Court." 23 In Hi-Precision Steel Center, Inc. v. Lim Kim Steel Builders, Inc.,24 we explained raison d’ etre for the rule on finality of the CIAC’s arbitral award in this wise: Voluntary arbitration involves the reference of a dispute to an impartial body, the members of which are chosen by the parties themselves, which parties freely consent in advance to abide by the arbitral award issued after proceedings where both parties had the opportunity to be heard. The basic objective is to provide a speedy and inexpensive method of settling disputes by allowing the parties to avoid the formalities, delay, expense and aggravation which commonly accompany ordinary litigation, especially litigation which goes through the entire hierarchy of courts. Executive Order No. 1008 created an arbitration facility to which the construction industry in the Philippines can have recourse. The Executive Order was enacted to encourage the early and expeditious settlement of disputes in the construction industry, a public policy the implementation of which is necessary and important for the realization of national development goals.

x x x Fourth, [d]oes the failure of [FFCCI] to interpose a counterclaim against [HRCC] for liquidated Aware of the objective of voluntary arbitration in the labor field, in the construction industry, and in damages due to the latter’s work stoppage, amount to a ratification of such work stoppage? any other area for that matter, the Court will not assist one or the other or even both parties in any effort to subvert or defeat that objective for their private purposes. The Court will not review the factual findings of an arbitral tribunal upon the artful allegation that such body had [V.] "misapprehended the facts" and will not pass upon issues which are, at bottom, issues of fact, no matter how cleverly disguised they might be as "legal questions." The parties here had recourse to

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In resolving the dispute as to the proper valuation of the works accomplished by HRCC. however. Construction Industry and Arbitration Commission. fraud or other undue means. However. Factual findings of construction arbitrators are final and conclusive and not reviewable by this Court on appeal. The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts.72) inclusive of Value Added Tax x x x. If the contract is determined to be ambiguous. Inc. admits of certain exceptions. the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control. The process of interpreting a contract requires the court to make a preliminary inquiry as to whether the contract before it is ambiguous. Once it is clear that the issue invites a review of the evidence presented. Where the written terms of the contract are not ambiguous and can only be read one way.arbitration and chose the arbitrators themselves. it should be stressed that where an interpretation of the true agreement between the parties is involved in an appeal.29 Moreover.32(Emphasis supplied and citation omitted) Article 4 of the Subcontract Agreement. The terms of the Subcontract Agreement should prevail. this Court may only pass upon questions of law. thus: We reiterate the rule that factual findings of construction arbitrators are final and conclusive and not reviewable by this Court on appeal. the main question advanced by FFCCI is this: in the absence of the joint measurement agreed upon in the Subcontract Agreement. xxx 4. or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy. contained the following stipulations: ARTICLE 4 SUBCONTRACT PRICE 4. the question posed is one of fact. we are not called upon to examine the probative value of the evidence presented before the CIAC. (3) the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing upon sufficient cause shown.26 we laid down the instances when this Court may pass upon the factual findings of the CIAC. they must have had confidence in such arbitrators. Goldloop Properties. In Spouses David v. (2) there was evident partiality or corruption of the arbitrators or of any of them. the court will interpret the contract as a matter of law.. its interpretation necessarily involves a question of law. On the other hand. to resolve the ambiguity in the light of the intrinsic evidence.1 The total SUBCONTRACT Price shall be THIRTY ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED NINETY THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO PESOS & 72/100 ONLY ([P]31. A contract provision is ambiguous if it is susceptible of two reasonable alternative interpretations. For a question to be one of law. (4) one or more of the arbitrators were disqualified to act as such under section nine of Republic Act No. the instant petition appears to merely raise factual questions as it mainly puts in issue the appropriate amount that is due to HRCC. in cases assailing the arbitral award rendered by the CIAC. First Substantive Issue: Effect of Non-compliance with the Joint Quantification Requirement on the Progress Billings of HRCC Basically. except when the petitioner proves affirmatively that: (1) the award was procured by corruption. the primordial consideration should be the terms of the Subcontract Agreement. or (5) the arbitrators exceeded their powers. x x x27 (Citation omitted) Issues on the proper interpretation of the terms of the Subcontract Agreement involve questions of law.31 we stressed that: A court’s purpose in examining a contract is to interpret the intent of the contracting parties. Rather.3 Terms of Payment FFCCI shall pay [HRCC] within thirty (30) days upon receipt of the [HRCC’s] Monthly Progress Billings subject to deductions due to ten percent (10%) retention. the instant issue calls for a determination as to which of the parties’ respective valuation of accomplished works should be given credence. the appeal is in effect an inquiry of the law between the parties. and any other sums that may be 155 . x x x25 (Citation omitted) Thus. This rule.532. or so imperfectly executed them. It is basic that if the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties. while there is a question of fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. 876 and willfully refrained from disclosing such disqualifications or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been materially prejudiced. Otherwise stated. how will the completed works of HRCC be verified and the amount due thereon be computed? The determination of the foregoing question entails an interpretation of the terms of the Subcontract Agreement vis-à-vis the respective rights of the parties herein. that a mutual. FFCCI claims that its valuation should be upheld since the same was the result of a measurement of the completed works conducted by it and the DPWH. in part.30 In Abad v. 28 On the surface. FFCCI primarily seeks from this Court a determination of whether amount claimed by HRCC in its progress billing may be enforced against it in the absence of a joint measurement of the former’s completed works. what is actually sought from this Court is an interpretation of the terms of the Subcontract Agreement as it relates to the dispute between the parties. then the interpretation of the contract is left to the court. HRCC maintains that its valuation should be upheld on account of FFCCI’s failure to observe the joint measurement requirement in ascertaining the extent of its completed works. final and definite award upon the subject matter submitted to them was not made. as objectively manifested by them.293. the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. On this point. a more thorough analysis of the issues raised by FFCCI would show that it actually asserts questions of law.

and the principle is recognized that everyone has a right to waive. kaya lang ho . In People of the Philippines v. It bears stressing that the joint measurement contemplated under the Subcontract Agreement should be conducted by the parties herein together with the representative of the DPWH and the consultants. and does not contravene public policy. J. Aganon. and without detriment to the community at large. or the intentional doing of an act inconsistent with claiming it. Ngayon po. TADIAR: He admitted that earlier. Additionally. and agree to waive. by a capable person. although wala sa papel na nag-witness and [HRCC] still the same po. the same being essential to the valuation of the amount that FFCCI would pay to HRCC. and any alienable right or privilege of which he is the owner or which belongs to him or to which he is legally entitled. the advantage of a law or rule made solely for the benefit and protection of the individual in his private capacity. Aganon. The parties further agreed that the extent of HRCC’s completed works that would be indicated in the monthly progress billings should be determined through a joint measurement conducted by FFCCI and HRCC together with the representative of DPWH and the consultants. and further provided the waiver of the right or privilege is not forbidden by law. conferred with statute. had effectively waived its right to ask for the conduct of the same as a condition sine qua non to HRCC’s submission of its monthly progress billings. Indeed. Indubitably. it is the general rule that a person may waive any matter which affects his property. are intended for his sole benefit. we are the ones who [are] requesting for joint survey quantification with the owner. do not infringe on the rights of others. of a right known by him to exist. Jr. PROF. or guaranteed by constitution. with the intent that such right shall be surrendered and such person forever deprived of its benefit. The CIAC held that FFCCI.35 this Court explained the doctrine of waiver in this wise: Waiver is defined as "a voluntary and intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known existing legal right. We agree. the voluntary abandonment or surrender. the testimony of Engineer Antonio M.33 (Emphasis supplied) Pursuant to the terms of payment agreed upon by the parties.. FFCCI and [HRCC] to arrive at a common/agreed quantity. DPWH. AGANON: Hindi sila puwede pumirma kasi ho kami po ang contractor ng DPWH hindi sila. FFCCI. ENGR. thus: MR. it is undisputed that the joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works contemplated by the parties in the Subcontract Agreement never materialized. Donato. on separate occasions. MR. Cut-off date of monthly billings shall be every 25th of the month and joint measurement shall be conducted with the DPWH’s representative. In all cases. FFCCI obliged itself to pay the monthly progress billings of HRCC within 30 days from receipt of the same. the authority is settled: x x x the doctrine of waiver extends to rights and privileges of any character. being the main contractor of DPWH.due and recoverable by FFCCI from [HRCC] under this SUBCONTRACT. claim or privilege. if it can be dispensed with and relinquished without infringing on any public right. and. on account of its failure to demand the joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works. during the reception of evidence before the CIAC is telling. advantage. B. project manager of FFCCI. F. A. J. Consultants. has the responsibility to request the representative of DPWH to conduct the said joint measurement. there never was a joint quantification. 34 (Emphasis supplied) FFCCI had waived its right to demand for a joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works under the Subcontract Agreement. Requests for the payment by the [HRCC] shall include progress accomplishment of completed works (unit of work accomplished x unit cost) as approved by [FFCCI]. x x x36(Emphasis supplied and citations omitted) Here. It is the responsibility of FFCCI to call for the joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works. the monthly progress billings of HRCC should indicate the extent of the works completed by it. . whether secured by contract. On this score. 156 ." As to what rights and privileges may be waived. SAN JUAN: The joint quantification was done only between them and DPWH. two percent (2%) expanded withholding tax on the [HRCC’s] income will be deducted from the monthly payments. which except for such waiver the party would have enjoyed. B. B. earlier there was a stipulation that in all the four billings. JOAQUIN: Engr. HRCC. benefit. JOAQUIN: Hindi pumirma? ENGR. R. . Pinabasa ko sa kanya. provided such rights and privileges rest in the individual. however. or such conduct as warrants an inference of the relinquishment of such right. since the word ‘waiver’ covers every conceivable right. xxxx ENGR. nandoon din po sila during that time. AGANON: Puwede ko po bang i-explain sandali lang po regarding lang po doon sa quantification na iyon? Basically po as main contractor of DPWH.

whether FFCCI is already barred from disputing the work stoppage of HRCC. Thus: ess Billing 37 Period Covered August 16 to September 15. not once did FFCCI insist on the conduct of a joint measurement to verify the extent of HRCC’s completed works despite its receipt of the four monthly pr ogress billings submitted by the latter.081. [HRCC] cannot be made to accept a quantification of its works when the said quantification was made without its participation. 200438 39 rogress Billing dated October 29. FFCCI proceeded to conduct its own verification of the works actually completed by HRCC and. 200441 March 11. Second Substantive Issue: Validity of HRCC’s Rescission of the Subcontract Agreement Both the CA and the CIAC held that the work stoppage of HRCC was justified as the same is but an exercise of its right to rescind the Subcontract Agreement in view of FFCCI’s failure to pay the former’s monthly progress billings. FFCCI had necessarily waived its right to dispute HRCC’s valuation of the works it had accomplished. found that FFCCI is obliged to pay the amount claimed by HRCC in its monthly progress billings. In other words. to which [FFCCI] anchors its claim of full payment of its obligations to [HRCC]. in any case. In the final analysis. Amount Circumstances considered. If the Court were to rule otherwise.23 disregarding the explicit agreement of the parties in their contract. Accordingly. is FFCCI now barred from disputing the claim of HRCC in its monthly progress billings? We rule in the affirmative. be P1. 157 . Indeed.112. the joint measurement that [FFCCI] claims it conducted without the participation of [HRCC]. Instead. 2004 July 26 to September 25. For its part.57 Essentially. then the Court would. if necessary. having relinquished its right to ask for a joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works.029. As a consequence. FFCCI asserted that the work stoppage of HRCC was not justified and. 200542 FFCCI’s voluntary payment in favor of HRCC. the joint measurement requirement is a mechanism essentially granting FFCCI the opportunity to verify and.760. however. and second. The determination of the validity of HRCC’s work stoppage depends on a determination of the following: first. FFCCI is already barred from contesting HRCC’s valuation of the completed works having waived its right to demand the joint measurement requirement.submitted its monthly progress billings indicating the extent of the works it had completed sans prior joint measurement. cannot be applied. HRCC had waived its right to rescind the Subcontract Agreement. 2004 40 Period Covered April 2 to July 25. 2004 September 18 to 25. 2004 The Court is aware that by ruling so. Thus. the CA. In view of FFCCI’s waiver of the joint measurement requirement. essentially echoing the CIAC’s disposition. on separate dates. 43 P2.569. contest HRCC’s valuation of its completed works prior to the submission of the latter’s monthly progress billings. on [HRCC].429.639.771. 2004 October 26 to November 25. any issue which FFCCI may have with regard to HRCC’s valuation of the works it had completed should be raised and resolved during the said joint measurement instead of raising the same after HRCC had submitted its monthly progress billings. the joint measurement requirement seeks to limit the dispute between the parties with regard to the valuation of HRCC’s completed works. whether HRCC has the right to extrajudicially rescind the Subcontract Agreement. made the following payments to HRCC: Date of Payment December 3.527.543. the CIAC stated that FFCCI could no longer assail the work stoppage of HRCC as it failed to file any counterclaim against HRCC pursuant to the terms of the Subcontract Agreement.45 P1. As intimated earlier. [FFCCI’s] claim of full payment cannot be upheld as this is a result of a quantification that was made contrary to the express provisions of the Subcontract Agreement.587. the Court deems it proper to rule in favor of [HRCC] because P2.327. the Court were to rule otherwise[. 2004 Amount P373. 2004 rogress Billing dated November 25.59 of the explicit provision of the Subcontract Agreement that requires the participation of the latter in the joint measurement. the question that should be resolved is this: In view of FFCCI’s waiver of its right to P1.452. on the other hand.] then [HRCC] would be the one at a disadvantage because it would be made to accept payment that is less than what it was billing. 2004 September 26 to November 25. is a glaring indication that it had effectively waived its right to demand for the joint measurement of the completed works. 2004 September 26 to October 25. 2004 FFCCI did not contest the said progress billings submitted by HRCC despite the lack of a joint measurement of the latter’s completed works as required under the Subcontract Agreement. nor imposed. Further.24 P1. If. 2004 Progress Billing dated October 29. rogress Billing dated September 17.95 demand a joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works. in effect.87 December 21. The CA reasoned thus: Verily. its failure to raise a counterclaim against HRCC for liquidated damages before the CIAC does not amount to a ratification of the latter’s work stoppage. FFCCI’s failure to demand a joint measurement of HRCC’s completed works reasonably justified the inference that it had already relinquished its right to do so. [FFCCI] would seem to be placed at a disadvantage because it would result in [FFCCI] having to pay exactly what [HRCC] was billing the former. albeit in amounts substantially different from those claimed by the latter.

154954 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. ERNESTO JOSE MONTECILLO. with the payment of damages in either case.R. HRCC. No. expressly or impliedly. JUNEL ANTHONY AMA. He may also seek rescission. Costs ordinarily follow results of suit. Apropos is Article 11. unless there be just cause authorizing the fixing of a shoulder the arbitration costs. or that the same be divided. vs. may be waived. for special reasons. 47 (Emphasis supplied) Hence. ANTONIO MARIANO ALMEDA.. x-----------------------x Section 1. as may be equitable.R. However. in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him. 151258 WHEREFORE. SANTIAGO RANADA III. SP No. in spite of the existence of dispute or controversy between the parties during the course of the Subcontract Agreement. it is only fitting that both parties should share in the burden of the cost of arbitration equally. generally. 2009 and Resolution dated April 13. 44 The right to rescind. however. and RONAN DE GUZMAN.1âwphi1 Accordingly. Here. 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. ZOSIMO MENDOZA. RENATO BANTUG.The right of rescission is statutorily recognized in reciprocal obligations. in view of the latter’s unjustified work stoppage. in the guise of rescinding the Subcontract Agreement. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. PERCIVAL BRIGOLA. that such right need not be expressly provided in the contract. The costs of arbitration should be shared by the parties equally. ADEL ABAS. VICENTE VERDADERO. The arbitration costs should be shared equally by FFCCI and HRCC period. SO ORDERED. if the latter should become impossible. courts nevertheless have discretion. Rule 142 of the Rules of Court provides: G. the latter having waived such right. ETIENNE GUERRERO. JUDE FERNANDEZ. for G. EULOGIO SABBAN. JONAS KARL B. in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones. differences or arbitration proceedings relating directly or indirectly to this SUBCONTRACT Agreement and without prejudice to the eventual outcome thereof. Petitioner. The rescission referred to in this article. vs.. costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party as a matter of course. x-----------------------x G. in accordance with Articles 1385 and 1388 and the Mortgage Law.45 While the right to rescind reciprocal obligations is implied. – Unless otherwise provided in these rules. the Decision dated February 6. 1191. 46 Contrary to the respective dispositions of the CIAC and the CA. controversy. MICHAEL MUSNGI. No. (Emphasis supplied) Although. nevertheless the contracting parties may waive the same. The HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS.R. No. we disagree with the CIAC and the CA that only FFCCI should The court shall decree the rescission claimed. Petitioner. 91860 are hereby AFFIRMED withMODIFICATION that the arbitration costs shall be shared equally by the parties herein. PEREZ. considering that the work stoppage of HRCC is not justified.R. Article 1191 of the Civil Code pertinently reads: Art.2 Effects of Disputes and Continuing Obligations Notwithstanding any dispute. JR.2 of the Subcontract Agreement. we find that HRCC had no right to rescind the Subcontract Agreement in the guise of a work stoppage. In view of the provision of the Subcontract Agreement quoted above. DALMACIO LIM. HRCC is deemed to have effectively waived its right to effect extrajudicial rescission of its contract with FFCCI. VINCENT TECSON. JAIME MARIA FLORES II. even after he has chosen fulfillment. more appropriately referred to as resolution is on the breach of faith by the defendant which is violative of the reciprocity between the parties. 158 . NELSON VICTORINO. 2012 ARTEMIO VILLAREAL. to adjudge that either party shall pay the costs of an action. Respondents. [HRCC] shall at all times proceed with the prompt performance of the Works in accordance with the directives of FFCCI and this SUBCONTRACT Agreement. HRCC had agreed to continue the performance of its obligations pursuant to the Subcontract Agreement. AMANTE PURISIMA II. The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation. to decree otherwise. but the court shall have power. was not justified in implementing a work stoppage. PAUL ANGELO SANTOS. This is understood to be without prejudice to the rights of third persons who have acquired the thing. special reasons. SECOND DIVISION February 1. ANTONIO GENERAL. HRCC had a valid reason to institute the complaint against FFCCI in view of the latter’s failure to pay the full amount of its monthly progress billings. 155101 Section 1. which reads: 11. No costs shall be allowed against the Republic of the Philippines unless otherwise provided by law. Jr. that is. costs are adjudged against the losing party. JOSEPH LLEDO. Respondent.

nulla poena sine lege. and Joselito Hernandez of the University of Aquila Fraternity’s principles. and the "Auxies’ Privilege Round." which required the neophytes to run a gauntlet of two parallel rows of Aquilans. the law was meant to counteract the exculpatory implications of "consent" during initiation rites). Felix Sy. the initiation for the day officially ended. Samuel "Sam" Belleza. They were Caesar "Bogs" Asuncion. No. judges are called upon to set aside emotion.FIDELITO DIZON. or pants by the "auxiliaries" (the Aquilans charged with the duty of lending assistance to neophytes association. one of which was so strong it sent him sprawling to the ground. Jr. G. G. they went to the house of Michael Musngi. however. After their "briefing. Nos. The neophytes were subjected to the same manner of hazing that they endured on the first day of initiation."7 Nullum crimen. condemning his senseless delivering blows to the neophytes. They survived their first day of Sadly. while the latter were being hit with fist blows on their arms or with knee and "initial innocent act" in the conduct of initiation rites by making the mere act of hazing blows on their thighs by two Aquilans. He had to be carried by the auxiliaries to the carport. Respondents. his death. CRISANTO CRUZ SARUCA. vs.R. and G. On the night of 8 February 1991. Late in the afternoon.R. People). 5 Within a year of initiation. MANUEL LORENZO ESCALONA II. Escalona). it cannot be considered a crime." in which the au xiliaries 4 punishable or mala prohibita. who briefed the neophytes on what to expect during the initiation rites. Dennis Cenedoza of the Cavite Naval Training Center. Nelson Victorino (Victorino)." in which the neophytes were held at the back of their members from making hazing a requirement for joining their sorority. initially refused. No. the initiation for the day was officially ended. Bienvenido "Bien" Marquez III. including Dizon and Villareal.R. Geronimo "Randy" Recinto. After a few hours. the Aquilans revived the initiation rites proper and Although courts must not remain indifferent to public sentiments. they are still bound to observe a fundamental principle in our criminal justice system – "[N]o act constitutes a crime… unless it is made so by law. The head of initiation rites. fraternity. the "Bicol Express. petitioner Gerarda Villa. and that they could quit at any time. Joselito comic plays and to play rough basketball. They were also required to memorize and recite the Mangga of the Philippine Merchant Marine Institute. Jr. After a while. accused non-resident or alumni fraternity members10 Fidelito Dizon (Dizon) and Artemio Villareal (Villareal) demanded that the rites be reopened. Raul Camaligan of San Beda College. Petitioner. and to rule strictly based on the elements of the offense and the facts allowed in evidence. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. No.3 Moreover. as determined by the Court of Appeals (CA)8 and the trial court. Lenny could no longer walk. Their initiation rites were scheduled to last for three days. six more cases of hazing-related deaths emerged – those of Frederick Cahiyang of the University of Visayas in Cebu. Court of Appeals). x-----------------------x G. VILLA. seven freshmen law students of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law signified their intention to join the Aquila Legis Juris Fraternity (Aquila Fraternity). The intent of the law was to discourage jumped. MARCUS JOEL CAPELLAN RAMOS. 2 became effective in 1995. which floor with their backs against the wall and their legs outstretched while the Aquilans walked. also an Aquilan. The neophytes The public outrage over the death of Leonardo "Lenny" Villa – the victim in this case – on 10 were then subjected to traditional forms of Aquilan "initiation rites. some of the Aquilans delivered physical blows to them. they had already received threats and insults from the Aquilans. Petitioner. 178057 & 178080 GERARDA H. Due in large part to the brave Run. After their last session of physical beatings. Nos. organization.R. Again. each row efforts of his mother. This widespread condemnation prompted Congress to enact a special law. They then slept at the carport. vs. J.: The pertinent facts. Roberto Francis "Bert" Navera." These rites included the "Indian 1 February 1991 led to a very strong clamor to put an end to hazing. Respondent.6 their arms or legs." which obliged the neophytes to sit on the and tragic death.9 are as follows: In February 1991. the neophytes were also indoctrinated with the fraternity principles. were given the opportunity to inflict physical pain on the neophytes. Afterwards. 154954 (People v. and Leonardo "Lenny" Villa (neophytes). DECISION SERENO.R. 159 . Before the Court are the consolidated cases docketed as G. 178057 and 178080 (Villa v. The fraternity members. absent any law prohibiting its commission. The latter were informed that there would be physical beatings. Even if an act is viewed by a large section of the populace as immoral or injurious. Facts proceeded to torment them physically and psychologically. 155101 (Dizon v. People). the Lenny Villa tragedy did not discourage hazing activities in the country. As soon as the neophytes alighted from the van and walked towards the pelota court of the Almeda compound." they were brought to the Almeda Compound in Caloocan City for the commencement of their initiation. and the neophytes started eating dinner. Upon the insistence of Dizon and Villareal. 151258 (Villareal v. Even before the neophytes got off the van. to resist being swayed by strong public sentiments. They all proceeded to Rufo’s Restaurant to have dinner.. As interpreters of the law. Lenny received several paddle blows. they would be hit on the Philippines in Baguio City. Felipe Narne of Pamantasan On the morning of their second day – 9 February 1991 – the neophytes were made to present ng Araullo in Cabanatuan City. The neophytes heard him complaining of intense pain and difficulty in breathing. the "Rounds. he reopened the initiation rites.. the neophytes were met by some members of the Aquila Fraternity (Aquilans) at the lobby of the Ateneo Law School. and ANSELMO ADRIANO. Whenever they would give a wrong answer. During this time. then subjected the neophytes to "paddling" and to additional rounds of physical pain. groups were organized. that would criminalize hazing. in this case the general condemnation of a hazing-related death. or ran over their legs.

Ernesto Jose Montecillo (Montecillo) 20. Zosimo Mendoza (Mendoza) 22. penalized with 160 . the trial against the remaining nine accused in Criminal Case No. Manuel Escalona II (Escalona) 2.After an hour of sleep. (Lim) 19. 12 On 8 November 1993. When they realized. Consequently. C-38340(91). as they thought he was just overacting. (Saruca) 3. Renato Bantug. Adel Abas (Abas) 26. the Aquilans rushed him to the hospital. Junel Anthony Ama (Ama) 6. Villareal and Dizon dismissed these rumblings. Percival Brigola (Brigola) In Criminal Case No. Florentino Ampil (Ampil) 7. though. Jonas Karl Perez (Perez) 14. Artemio Villareal (Villareal) 3. Crisanto Saruca. Enrico de Vera III (De Vera) 8. Jr. holding the 26 accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide. Michael Musngi (Musngi) 13. Jr. Initially. C-38340(91) 1. Dalmacio Lim. Etienne Guerrero (Guerrero) 12. Fidelito Dizon (Dizon) 2. Vicente Verdadero (Verdadero) 23. Joseph Lledo (Lledo) 11. Jude Fernandez (J. Santiago Ranada III (Ranada) 21. Efren de Leon (De Leon) 4. Eulogio Sabban (Sabban) 10. some of the Aquilans started helping him. a criminal case for homicide was filed against the following 35 Aquilans: In Criminal Case No.11 On the other hand. Fernandez) 9. the neophytes were suddenly roused by Lenny’s shivering and incoherent mumblings. C-38340(91) were jointly tried. They removed his clothes and helped him through a sleeping bag to keep him warm. Anselmo Adriano (Adriano) 4. that Lenny was really feeling cold. Vincent Tecson (Tecson) 5. C-38340 was held in abeyance due to certain matters that had to be resolved first. Marcus Joel Ramos (Ramos) 5. Ronan de Guzman (De Guzman) 16. Antonio General (General) 17. Fernandez) 25. Jr. the trial court rendered judgment in Criminal Case No. Jaime Maria Flores II (Flores) 18. Paul Angelo Santos (Santos) 15. Reynaldo Concepcion (Concepcion) 6. Antonio Mariano Almeda (Almeda) 7. C-38340 1. (Bantug) 8. Amante Purisima II (Purisima) 24. Stanley Fernandez (S. Noel Cabangon (Cabangon) Twenty-six of the accused Aquilans in Criminal Case No. Lenny was pronounced dead on arrival. Nelson Victorino (Victorino) 9. When his condition worsened.

3. helped Lenny through a sleeping bag and made him sit on a chair. Saruca. the CA in CAG. He argues that he did not ask for a resetting of any of the hearing dates and in fact insisted that he was ready to present evidence on the original pre-assigned schedule. According to Dizon. Fernandez.28 According to the Solicitor General."22 As regards the first issue. Four of the accused-appellants – Vincent Tecson. Villareal proceeded to do the paddling…. since his acts were also part of the traditional initiation rites and were not tainted by evil motives. Purisima. the CA erred in holding that there 161 . People Accused Dizon filed a Rule 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari.21 Petitioner sets forth two main issues – first.R. According to petitioner.R. Antonio General.) – were found guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries and sentenced to 20 days of arresto menor. petitioner argues that his alleged motivation of ill will was negated by his show of concern for Villa after the initiation rites.17 On 25 October 2006. No. 2. The trial court expected Dizon to present evidence on an earlier date since a co-accused. Nineteen of the accused-appellants – Victorino. Counsel thus asserts that the subject matter of the Petition previously filed by petitioner does not survive the death of the accused. No. the CA sentenced them to an indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor to 17 years of reclusion temporal. insofar as it acquitted 19 (Victorino et al. so the following Decision applied only to the remaining 25 accused. his utterances regarding a stolen parking space were only part of the "psychological initiation. his right should not have been considered as waived because he was justified in asking for a postponement. and Adriano on the basis of violation of their right to speedy trial. 15520. the heirs of Lenny Villa in the sum of P 50. Saruca. who mentioned that the former had kicked the leg of the neophyte and told him to switch places with Lenny to prevent the latter’s chills. questioning the CA’s Decision dated 10 January 2002 and Resolution dated 30 August 2002 in CA-G. Dr. that he was deprived of due process when the CA did not apply to him the same "ratio decidendi that served as basis of acquittal of the other accused. Sabban. the result is the violent death of the victim. No. second. SP Nos. No. his alleged ill motivation is contradicted by his manifestation of compassion and concern for the victim’s well-being. 89060 & 9015318 reversed the trial court’s Orders and dismissed the criminal case against Escalona. Ramos.) – were acquitted. jointly and severally. People The instant case refers to accused Villareal’s Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45. Mendoza. Criminal Case No. and. as their individual guilt was not established by proof beyond reasonable doubt. the trial court made a ruling. petitioner contends that he should have likewise been acquitted. G.000 as indemnity. Two of the accused-appellants – Fidelito Dizon and Artemio Villareal – were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. 154954 – People v. and. 15520)15 set aside the finding of conspiracy by the trial court in Criminal Case No. He also points out that one of the neophytes admitted that the chairperson of the initiation rites "decided that [Lenny] was fit enough to undergo the initiation so Mr. 151258 – Villareal v.000 and to pay the additional amount of P 1. They were also ordered to jointly pay the heirs of the victim the sum of P30. Musngi. 15520. together with Victorino.23 He claims that the additional paddling session was part of the official activity of the fraternity. petitioner Villareal died on 13 March 2011. which forfeited Dizon’s right to present evidence during trial.R.R. no longer presented separate evidence during trial. counsel for petitioner Villareal filed a Notice of Death of Party on 10 August 2011. G."25 The Solicitor General purportedly averred that. Guerrero. C-38340(91) and modified the criminal liability of each of the accused according to individual participation. the CA in (CA-G. He claims that Lenny’s father could not have stolen the parking space of Dizon’s father. Court of Appeals This Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 seeks the reversal of the CA’s Decision dated 10 January 2002 and Resolution dated 30 August 2002 in CA-G. that he was denied due process when the CA sustained the trial court’s forfeiture of his right to present evidence. C-38340 against the remaining nine accused commenced anew. and Renato Bantug. the trial court in Criminal Case No. and Adriano. Santos. General. Dizon.20 While the Petition was pending before this Court. Perez. Montecillo. petitioner echoes the argument of the Solicitor General that "the individual blows inflicted by Dizon and Villareal could not have resulted in Lenny’s death.reclusion temporal under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. According to petitioner. Abas. Ramos.19 From the aforementioned Decisions.R.14 On 10 January 2002. Ranada. 38340 dismissed the charge against accused Concepcion on the ground of violation of his right to speedy trial. on different dates between the years 2003 and 2005. the trial court denied the respective Motions to Dismiss of accused Escalona. No. but if taken collectively. 13 A few weeks after the trial court rendered its judgment. since the latter did not have a car. Revenge for the loss of the parking space was the alleged ill motive of Dizon. or on 29 November 1993. No."26 Petitioner then counters the finding of the CA that he was motivated by ill will. No. and not on an earlier hearing date. 155101 – Dizon v. De Guzman. When the chills did not stop. T he Petition raises two reversible errors allegedly committed by the CA in its Decision dated 10 January 2002 in CA-G."27 Further. Junel Anthony Ama." He then cites the testimony of Lenny’s co-neophyte – witness Marquez – who admitted knowing "it was not true and that he was just making it up…. and their fathers did not work in the same place or office.000 by way of moral damages.R. 15520 – first.) and convicted 4 (Tecson et al.R. Having found no mitigating or aggravating circumstance. like the other accused. conviction absent proof beyond reasonable doubt."24 Further. G.000.) of the accused Aquilans of the lesser crime of slight physical injuries. Jr. "on the contrary. and Brigola (Victorino et al. (Tecson et al. According to the Notice. Arizala testified that the injuries suffered by Lenny could not be considered fatal if taken individually. Verdadero.R. Accused De Leon had by then passed away. denial of due process. viz: 1. On 5 August 2002. Flores. They were also ordered to indemnify. the five (5) consolidated Petitions were individually brought before this Court. Regarding the second issue. 16 Meanwhile. Lledo. Dizon alludes to the testimony of one of the neophytes. Lim. second. Antonio Mariano Almeda.

32 including civil liability predicated on the criminal offense Case No.R. 3. Discussion Resolution on Preliminary Matters G. namely. Adriano." the trial court ordered a separate trial for accused Escalona. inasmuch as it found that there was conspiracy to inflict physical injuries on Lenny. this Court took note of counsel for petitioner’s Notice of Death of Party. and Bantug guilty only of slight physical injuries.R.30 The Petition involves the dismissal of the criminal charge filed against Escalona.could have been no conspiracy to commit hazing.e. when it set aside the finding of conspiracy by the trial court and adjudicated the liability of each accused according to individual participation. and 5. 89060 and 90153. August 1993 – instead of his originally assigned dates. No. 151258 – Villareal v. C-38340(91) shall have terminated. amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. criminal liability for personal penalties is totally extinguished by the death of the convict. and the criminal case against him Petitioner Villa assails the CA’s dismissal of the criminal case involving 4 of the 9 accused. Ramos.R. but were still in the appellate court. According to Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code. According to the Solicitor General. the CA acted with grave abuse of discretion." Petitioner also argues that the rule on double jeopardy is inapplicable. Concepcion. Nos. C-38340 action. People) cannot be faulted for the delay. She also points out that the prosecution G. Saruca. and Adriano. However. criminal liability for pecuniary penalties is extinguished if the offender dies prior to final judgment. The term "personal penalties" refers to Due to "several pending incidents.29 The said article provides: "Criminal liability shall be incurred… [b]y any person committing a felony (delit o) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. On 8 November 1993. and Cabangon (Criminal pecuniarias) refers to fines and costs. civil liability ex delicto). As a result. Saruca.31 while the term "pecuniary penalties" (las Saruca. Failure on their part to present evidence when required shall therefore be construed as waiver to present evidence.. we hold that the death of petitioner Villareal extinguished his criminal liability for both arraignment of the nine accused. personal and pecuniary penalties. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion." the initial trial of the case did not commence until 28 March 2005. the trial court set the dates for the reception of evidence for accused-petitioner Dizon on the 8th. To address the situation. In contrast. 1993. 4. Almeda. the service of personal or imprisonment penalties. as the original records and the required evidence were not at its disposal. Instead. the proceedings in Criminal Case No. Whether accused Dizon is guilty of homicide. and 22nd of September.R. Ramos. with their evidence on all said dates. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion when it pronounced Tecson. his Petition is hereby dismissed. counsel filed a Constancia on 25 162 . S. 178057 and 178080 – Villa v. pursuant to Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code. The original dates were supposed to start two weeks later. the counsel would adopt the testimonial evidence of the other accused who had already testified. In an Order dated 28 July 1993. or on 8 September 1993. Since the injuries led to the victim’s death.33 However. or almost 12 years after the Thus.35 The Order likewise stated that "it will not entertain any postponement and that all the accused who have not yet presented their respective evidence should be ready at all times down Issues the line. S. No. Ramos. including his civil liability directly arising from the delict complained of. Escalona. and Adriano down the line." the trial court expected Dizon to present evidence on the next trial date – 25 for violation of the right of the accused to speedy trial. Escalona Petitioner Villa filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari. counsel for another accused manifested in open court that his client – Antonio General – would no longer present separate evidence. 155101 (Dizon v. For "various reasons. on 19 August 1993. the trial court found the 26 accused other than the delict survives the death of the accused and is recoverable through a separate civil guilty beyond reasonable doubt. and Adriano. Nos.P. petitioner claims that the ruling of the trial court should have been upheld. Whether the forfeiture of petitioner Dizon’s right to present evidence constitutes denial of due process. In the alternative. deemed closed and terminated. Fernandez. Saruca."36 1. as hazing or fraternity initiation had not yet been criminalized at the time Lenny died. Ampil. in setting aside the trial court’s finding of conspiracy and in ruling that the criminal liability of all the accused must be based on their individual participation in the commission of the crime.38 Counsel for accused Dizon was not able to present evidence on the accelerated date. civil liability based on a source of obligation No. People In a Notice dated 26 September 2011 and while the Petition was pending resolution.34 involving the nine other co-accused recommenced on 29 November 1993. praying for the reversal of the CA’s Decision dated 25 October 2006 and Resolution dated 17 May 2007 in CA -G. Consequently. Ramos. 15th. 37 Because of this 2. C-38340) to commence after proceedings against the 26 other accused in Criminal Case complained of (i. amounting to lack or excess of development and pursuant to the trial court’s Order that the parties "should be ready at all times jurisdiction when it dismissed the case against Escalona. G. petitioner posits that the accused Aquilans are criminally liable for the resulting crime of homicide. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion. De Vera. and the 5th and 12 of October We resolve herein the various issues that we group into five. Ama. She argues that the accused failed to assert their right to speedy trial within a reasonable period of time. amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

the accused … shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel…" This constitutional right includes the right to present evidence in one’s defense. 22 June 1995. the waiver of the right to present evidence in a criminal case involving a grave penalty is not assumed and taken lightly.44 In Crisostomo v. 46 (Emphasis supplied) The trial court should not have deemed the failure of petitioner to present evidence on 25 August 1993 as a waiver of his right to present evidence. Rule 115 of the Rules of Court. In criminal cases where the imposable penalty may be death. thereby invalidating the finding of his guilt. Ramos. 47 In People v. the postponement of the 25 August 1993 hearing should have been considered justified. The Sandiganbayan.41 Accused-petitioner Dizon thus argues that he was deprived of due process of law when the trial court forfeited his right to present evidence. On the contrary. 178057 and 178080 (Villa v. In fact. especially since counsel for another accused – General – had made a last-minute adoption of testimonial evidence that freed up the succeeding trial dates. provides that "in all criminal prosecutions. He also points out that he did not ask for a resetting of any of the said hearing dates.43 as well as the right to be present and defend oneself in person at every stage of the proceedings. The Sandiganbayan simply went ahead to deprive 163 . as in the present case. Saruca. but Crisostomo and his counsel failed to attend. the trial court pre-assigned five hearing dates for the reception of evidence. and that they asserted their right only after the trial court had dismissed the case against their co-accused Concepcion. Escalona) Petitioner Villa argues that the case against Escalona. an invalid waiver of the right to present evidence and be heard does not per se work to vacate a finding of guilt in the criminal case or to enforce an automatic remand of the case to the trial court. Moreover. Since the key facts necessary to decide the case have already been determined. Thus. at the CA. Nevertheless. that he in fact insisted on being allowed to present evidence on the dates fixed by the trial court. Crisostomo was not even forewarned. Section 14(2) thereof. Petitioner also emphasizes that the trial court denied the respective Motions to Dismiss filed by Saruca."50 For one reason or another. we held thus: Under Section 2(c). such waiver must be clear and must be coupled with an actual intention to relinquish the right. G.August 1993.40 Consequently. At any rate. In fact. 39 The trial court denied the Manifestation on the same date and treated the Constancia as a motion for postponement. Sandiganbayan. Escalona. we ruled that where facts have adequately been represented in a criminal case. the case has been passed or turned over from one judge or justice to another – at the trial court. If it really wanted to impose its Order strictly. the arguments set forth by accused Dizon in his Petition corroborate the material facts relevant to decide the matter. and that he would be ready to present evidence on the dates originally assigned to his clients. it should have considered the excuse of counsel justified. The right of the accused to present evidence is guaranteed by no less than the Constitution itself. Instead.45 the Sandiganbayan set the hearing of the defense’s presentation of evidence for 21. Neither can we see any "procedural unfairness or irregularity" that would substantially prejudice either the prosecution or the defense as a result of the invalid waiver. he contends that the trial court erred in accelerating the schedule of presentation of evidence." and that "the alleged extension of the initiation rites was not outside the official activity of the fraternity. in violation of the three-day-notice rule under the Rules of Court.42 Article III. the rule is that a guilty verdict may nevertheless be upheld if the judgment is supported beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence on record. the trial court ruled that the failure of Dizon to present evidence amounted to a waiver of that right." 49He even argues that "Dizon did not request for the extension and he participated only after the activity was sanctioned. Crisostomo’s nonappearance during the 22 June 1995 trial was merely a waiver of his right to be present for trial on such date only and not for the succeeding trial dates… xxx xxx xxx Crisostomo of his right to present ev