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EMILIO GANCAYCO, Petitioner, vs. CITY GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON CITY AND METRO MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Respondents. G.R. No. 177933 METRO MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, vs. JUSTICE EMILIO A. GANCAYCO (Retired), Respondent, DECISION SERENO, J.: Before us are consolidated Petitions for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision1promulgated on 18 July 2006 and the Resolution2 dated 10 May 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 84648. The Facts In the early 1950s, retired Justice Emilio A. Gancayco bought a parcel of land located at 746 Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA),3 Quezon City with an area of 375 square meters and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT114558. On 27 March 1956, the Quezon City Council issued Ordinance No. 2904, entitled "An Ordinance Requiring the Construction of Arcades, for Commercial Buildings to be Constructed in Zones Designated as Business Zones in the Zoning Plan of Quezon City, and Providing Penalties in Violation Thereof."4 An arcade is defined as any portion of a building above the first floor projecting over the sidewalk beyond the first storey wall used as protection for pedestrians against rain or sun.5 Ordinance No. 2904 required the relevant property owner to construct an arcade with a width of 4.50 meters and height of 5.00 meters along EDSA, from the north side of Santolan Road to one lot after Liberty Avenue, and from one lot before Central Boulevard to the Botocan transmission line. At the outset, it bears emphasis that at the time Ordinance No. 2904 was passed by the city council, there was yet no building code passed by the national legislature. Thus, the regulation of the construction of buildings was left to the discretion of local government units. Under this particular ordinance, the city council required that the arcade is to be created by constructing the wall of the ground floor facing the sidewalk a few meters away from the property line. Thus, the building owner is not allowed to construct his wall up to the edge of the property line, thereby creating a space or shelter under the first floor. In effect, property owners relinquish the use of the space for use as an arcade for pedestrians, instead of using it for their own purposes. The ordinance was amended several times. On 8 August 1960, properties located at the Quezon City-San Juan boundary were exempted by Ordinance No. 60-4477 from the construction of arcades. This ordinance was further Decades after, in March 2003, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conducted operations to clear obstructions along the sidewalk of EDSA in Quezon City pursuant to Metro Manila Councils (MMC) Resolution No. 02-28, Series of 2002.7 The resolution authorized the MMDA and local government units to "clear the sidewalks, streets, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks and other public places in Metro Manila of all illegal structures and obstructions."8 On 28 April 2003, the MMDA sent a notice of demolition to Justice Gancayco alleging that a portion of his building violated the National Building Code of the Philippines (Building Code) 9 in relation to Ordinance No. 2904. The MMDA gave Justice Gancayco fifteen (15) days to clear the portion of the building that was supposed to be an arcade along EDSA.10 Justice Gancayco did not comply with the notice. Soon after the lapse of the fifteen (15) days, the MMDA proceeded to demolish the party wall, or what was referred to as the "wing walls," of the ground floor structure. The records of the present case are not entirely clear on the extent of the demolition; nevertheless, the fact of demolition was not disputed. At the time of the demolition, the affected portion of the building was being used as a restaurant. On 29 May 2003, Justice Gancayco filed a Petition 11 with prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. Q0349693, seeking to prohibit the MMDA and the City Government of Quezon City from demolishing his property. In his Petition,12 he alleged that the ordinance authorized the taking of private property without due process of law and just compensation, because the construction of an arcade will require 67.5 square meters from the 375 square meter property. In addition, he claimed that the ordinance was selective and discriminatory in its scope and application when it allowed the owners of the buildings located in the Quezon City-San Juan boundary to Cubao Rotonda, and Balete to Seattle Streets to construct arcades at their option. He thus sought the declaration of nullity of Ordinance No. 2904 and the payment of damages. Alternately, he prayed for the payment of just compensation should the court hold the ordinance valid. The City Government of Quezon City claimed that the ordinance was a valid exercise of police power, regulating the use of property in a business zone. In addition, it pointed out that Justice Gancayco was already barred by estoppel, laches and prescription. Similarly, the MMDA alleged that Justice Gancayco could not seek the nullification of an ordinance that he had already violated, and that the ordinance enjoyed the presumption of constitutionality. It further stated that the questioned property was a public nuisance impeding the safe passage of pedestrians. Finally, the MMDA claimed that it was merely implementing the legal easement established by Ordinance No. 2904. 13 amended by Ordinance No. 60-4513, extending the exemption to commercial buildings from Balete Street to Seattle Street. Ordinance No. 6603 dated 1 March 1966 meanwhile reduced the width of the arcades to three meters for buildings along V. Luna Road, Central District, Quezon City. The ordinance covered the property of Justice Gancayco. Subsequently, sometime in 1965, Justice Gancayco sought the exemption of a two-storey building being constructed on his property from the application of Ordinance No. 2904 that he be exempted from constructing an arcade on his property. On 2 February 1966, the City Council acted favorably on Justice Gancaycos request and issued Resolution No. 7161, S-66, "subject to the condition that upon notice by the City Engineer, the owner shall, within reasonable time, demolish the enclosure of said arcade at his own expense when public interest so demands."6

The RTC rendered its Decision on 30 September 2003 in favor of Justice Gancayco.14 It held that the questioned ordinance was unconstitutional, ruling that it allowed the taking of private property for public use without just compensation. The RTC said that because 67.5 square meters out of Justice Gancaycos 375 square meters of property were being taken without compensation for the publics benefit, the ordinance was confiscatory and oppressive. It likewise held that the ordinance violated owners right to equal protection of laws. The dispositive portion thus states: WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted and the Court hereby declares Quezon City Ordinance No. 2094,15Series of 1956 to be unconstitutional, invalid and void ab initio. The respondents are hereby permanently enjoined from enforcing and implementing the said ordinance, and the respondent MMDA is hereby directed to immediately restore the portion of the party wall or wing wall of the building of the petitioner it destroyed to its original condition. IT IS SO ORDERED. The MMDA thereafter appealed from the Decision of the trial court. On 18 July 2006, the Court of Appeals (CA) partly granted the appeal.16 The CA upheld the validity of Ordinance No. 2904 and lifted the injunction against the enforcement and implementation of the ordinance. In so doing, it held that the ordinance was a valid exercise of the right of the local government unit to promote the general welfare of its constituents pursuant to its police powers. The CA also ruled that the ordinance established a valid classification of property owners with regard to the construction of arcades in their respective properties depending on the location. The CA further stated that there was no taking of private property, since the owner still enjoyed the beneficial ownership of the property, to wit: Even with the requirement of the construction of arcaded sidewalks within his commercial lot, appellee still retains the beneficial ownership of the said property. Thus, there is no "taking" for public use which must be subject to just compensation. While the arcaded sidewalks contribute to the public good, for providing safety and comfort to passersby, the ultimate benefit from the same still redounds to appellee, his commercial establishment being at the forefront of a busy thoroughfare like EDSA. The arcaded sidewalks, by their nature, assure clients of the commercial establishments thereat some kind of protection from accidents and other hazards. Without doubt, this sense of protection can be a boon to the business activity therein engaged. 17 Nevertheless, the CA held that the MMDA went beyond its powers when it demolished the subject property. It further found that Resolution No. 02-28 only refers to sidewalks, streets, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks and other public places in Metro Manila, thus excluding Justice Gancaycos private property. Lastly, the CA stated that the MMDA is not clothed with the authority to declare, prevent or abate nuisances. Thus, the dispositive portion stated: WHEREFORE, the appeals are PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision dated September 30, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 224, Quezon City, is MODIFIED, as follows: 1) The validity and constitutionality of Ordinance No. 2094,18 Series of 1956, issued by the City Council of Quezon City, is UPHELD; and 2) The injunction against the enforcement and implementation of the said Ordinance is LIFTED. SO ORDERED. Estoppel The MMDA and the City Government of Quezon City both claim that Justice Gancayco was estopped from challenging the ordinance, because, in 1965, he asked for an exemption from the application of the ordinance. According to them, Justice Gancayco thereby recognized the power of the city government to regulate the construction of buildings. To recall, Justice Gancayco questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance on two grounds: (1) whether the ordinance "takes" private property without due process of law and just compensation; and (2) whether the ordinance violates the equal protection of rights because it allowed exemptions from its application. On the first ground, we find that Justice Gancayco may still question the constitutionality of the ordinance to determine whether or not the ordinance constitutes a "taking" of private property without due process of law and just compensation. It was only in 2003 when he was allegedly deprived of his property when the MMDA demolished a portion of the building. Because he was granted an exemption in 1966, there was no "taking" yet to speak of. Moreover, in Acebedo Optical Company, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 21 we held: It is therefore decisively clear that estoppel cannot apply in this case. The fact that petitioner acquiesced in the special conditions imposed by the City Mayor in subject business permit does not preclude it from challenging the said imposition, which is ultra vires or beyond the ambit of authority of respondent City Mayor. Ultra vires acts or acts which are clearly beyond the scope of one's authority are null and void and cannot be given any effect. The This ruling prompted the MMDA and Justice Gancayco to file their respective Motions for Partial Reconsideration.19 On 10 May 2007, the CA denied the motions stating that the parties did not present new issues nor offer grounds that would merit the reconsideration of the Court.20 Dissatisfied with the ruling of the CA, Justice Gancayco and the MMDA filed their respective Petitions for Review before this Court. The issues raised by the parties are summarized as follows: I. WHETHER OR NOT JUSTICE GANCAYCO WAS ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE VALIDITY OF ORDINANCE NO. 2904. II. WHETHER OR NOT ORDINANCE NO. 2904 IS CONSTITUTIONAL. III. WHETHER OR NOT THE WING WALL OF JUSTICE GANCAYCOS BUILDING IS A PUBLIC NUISANCE. IV. WHETHER OR NOT THE MMDA LEGALLY DEMOLISHED THE PROPERTY OF JUSTICE GANCAYCO. The Courts Ruling

doctrine of estoppel cannot operate to give effect to an act which is otherwise null and void or ultra vires. (Emphasis supplied.) Recently, in British American Tobacco v. Camacho,22 we likewise held: We find that petitioner was not guilty of estoppel. When it made the undertaking to comply with all issuances of the BIR, which at that time it considered as valid, petitioner did not commit any false misrepresentation or misleading act. Indeed, petitioner cannot be faulted for initially undertaking to comply with, and subjecting itself to the operation of Section 145(C), and only later on filing the subject case praying for the declaration of its unconstitutionality when the circumstances change and the law results in what it perceives to be unlawful discrimination. The mere fact that a law has been relied upon in the past and all that time has not been attacked as unconstitutional is not a ground for considering petitioner estopped from assailing its validity. For courts will pass upon a constitutional question only when presented before it in bona fide cases for determination, and the fact that the question has not been raised before is not a valid reason for refusing to allow it to be raised later. (Emphasis supplied.) Anent the second ground, we find that Justice Gancayco may not question the ordinance on the ground of equal protection when he also benefited from the exemption. It bears emphasis that Justice Gancayco himself requested for an exemption from the application of the ordinance in 1965 and was eventually granted one. Moreover, he was still enjoying the exemption at the time of the demolition as there was yet no valid notice from the city engineer. Thus, while the ordinance may be attacked with regard to its different treatment of properties that appears to be similarly situated, Justice Gancayco is not the proper person to do so. Zoning and the regulation of the construction of buildings are valid exercises of police power . In MMDA v. Bel-Air Village Association,23 we discussed the nature of police powers exercised by local government units, to wit: Police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It has been defined as the power vested by the Constitution in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and for the subjects of the same. The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive, reaching and justifying measures for public health, public safety, public morals, and the general welfare. It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in the National Legislature. It cannot be exercised by any group or body of individuals not possessing legislative power. The National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the President and administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local government units. Once delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking body. It is clear that Congress expressly granted the city government, through the city council, police power by virtue of Section 12(oo) of Republic Act No. 537, or the Revised Charter of Quezon City, 24 which states: To make such further ordinances and regulations not repugnant to law as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Act and such as it shall deem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the city and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein; and enforce obedience thereto with such lawful fines or penalties as the City Council may prescribe under the provisions of subsection (jj) of this section. Specifically, on the powers of the city government to regulate the construction of buildings, the Charter also expressly provided that the city government had the power to regulate the kinds of buildings and structures that may be erected within fire limits and the manner of constructing and repairing them. 25 With regard meanwhile to the power of the local government units to issue zoning ordinances, we apply Social Justice Society v. Atienza.26 In that case, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila City enacted an ordinance on 28 November 2001 reclassifying certain areas of the city from industrial to commercial. As a result of the zoning ordinance, the oil terminals located in those areas were no longer allowed. Though the oil companies contended that they stood to lose billions of pesos, this Court upheld the power of the city government to pass the assailed ordinance, stating: In the exercise of police power, property rights of individuals may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfil the objectives of the government. Otherwise stated, the government may enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty, property, lawful businesses and occupations to promote the general welfare.However, the interference must be reasonable and not arbitrary. And to forestall arbitrariness, the methods or means used to protect public health, morals, safety or welfare must have a reasonable relation to the end in view. The means adopted by the Sanggunian was the enactment of a zoning ordinance which reclassified the area where the depot is situated from industrial to commercial. A zoning ordinance is defined as a local city or municipal legislation which logically arranges, prescribes, defines and apportions a given political subdivision into specific land uses as present and future projection of needs. As a result of the zoning, the continued operation of the businesses of the oil companies in their present location will no longer be permitted. The power to establish zones for industrial, commercial and residential uses is derived from the police power itself and is exercised for the protection and benefit of the residents of a locality. Consequently, the enactment of Ordinance No. 8027 is within the power of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Manila and any resulting burden on those affected cannot be said to be unjust... (Emphasis supplied) In Carlos Superdrug v. Department of Social Welfare and Development,27 we also held: For this reason, when the conditions so demand as determined by the legislature, property rights must bow to the primacy of police power because property rights, though sheltered by due process, must yield to general welfare. To resolve the issue on the constitutionality of the ordinance, we must first determine whether there was a valid delegation of police power. Then we can determine whether the City Government of Quezon City acted within the limits of the delegation.

Police power as an attribute to promote the common good would be diluted considerably if on the mere plea of petitioners that they will suffer loss of earnings and capital, the questioned provision is invalidated. Moreover, in the absence of evidence demonstrating the alleged confiscatory effect of the provision in question, there is no basis for its nullification in view of the presumption of validity which every law has in its favor. (Emphasis supplied.) In the case at bar, it is clear that the primary objectives of the city council of Quezon City when it issued the questioned ordinance ordering the construction of arcades were the health and safety of the city and its inhabitants; the promotion of their prosperity; and the improvement of their morals, peace, good order, comfort, and the convenience. These arcades provide safe and convenient passage along the sidewalk for commuters and pedestrians, not just the residents of Quezon City. More especially so because the contested portion of the building is located on a busy segment of the city, in a business zone along EDSA. Corollarily, the policy of the Building Code,28 which was passed after the Quezon City Ordinance, supports the purpose for the enactment of Ordinance No. 2904. The Building Code states: Section 102. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare, consistent with the principles of sound environmental management and control; and to this end, make it the purpose of this Code to provide for all buildings and structures, a framework of minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control their location, site, design quality of materials, construction, occupancy, and maintenance. Section 1004 likewise requires the construction of arcades whenever existing or zoning ordinances require it. Apparently, the law allows the local government units to determine whether arcades are necessary within their respective jurisdictions. Justice Gancayco argues that there is a three-meter sidewalk in front of his property line, and the arcade should be constructed above that sidewalk rather than within his property line. We do not need to address this argument inasmuch as it raises the issue of the wisdom of the city ordinance, a matter we will not and need not delve into. To reiterate, at the time that the ordinance was passed, there was no national building code enforced to guide the city council; thus, there was no law of national application that prohibited the city council from regulating the construction of buildings, arcades and sidewalks in their jurisdiction. The "wing walls" of the building are not nuisances per se. The MMDA claims that the portion of the building in question is a nuisance per se. We disagree. The fact that in 1966 the City Council gave Justice Gancayco an exemption from constructing an arcade is an indication that the wing walls of the building are not nuisances per se. The wing walls do not per se immediately and adversely affect the safety of persons and property. The fact that an ordinance may declare a structure illegal does not necessarily make that structure a nuisance. However, the Building Code clearly provides the process by which a building may be demolished. The authority to order the demolition of any structure lies with the Building Official. The pertinent provisions of the Building Code provide: SECTION 205. Building Officials. Except as otherwise provided herein, the Building Official shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this Code in the field as well as the enforcement of orders and decisions made pursuant thereto. Due to the exigencies of the service, the Secretary may designate incumbent Public Works District Engineers, City Engineers and Municipal Engineers act as Building Officials in their respective areas of jurisdiction. The designation made by the Secretary under this Section shall continue until regular positions of Building Official are provided or unless sooner terminated for causes provided by law or decree. Article 694 of the Civil Code defines nuisance as any act, omission, establishment, business, condition or property, or anything else that (1) injures or endangers the health or safety of others; (2) annoys or offends the senses; (3) shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality; (4) obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any public highway or street, or any body of water; or, (5) hinders or impairs the use of property. A nuisance may be per se or per accidens. A nuisance per se is that which affects the immediate safety of persons and property and may summarily be abated under the undefined law of necessity. 29 Clearly, when Justice Gancayco was given a permit to construct the building, the city council or the city engineer did not consider the building, or its demolished portion, to be a threat to the safety of persons and property. This fact alone should have warned the MMDA against summarily demolishing the structure. Neither does the MMDA have the power to declare a thing a nuisance. Only courts of law have the power to determine whether a thing is a nuisance. In AC Enterprises v. Frabelle Properties Corp.,30 we held: We agree with petitioner's contention that, under Section 447(a)(3)(i) of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, the Sangguniang Panglungsod is empowered to enact ordinances declaring, preventing or abating noise and other forms of nuisance. It bears stressing, however, that the Sangguniang Bayan cannot declare a particular thing as a nuisance per se and order its condemnation. It does not have the power to find, as a fact, that a particular thing is a nuisance when such thing is not a nuisance per se; nor can it authorize the extrajudicial condemnation and destruction of that as a nuisance which in its nature, situation or use is not such. Those things must be determined and resolved in the ordinary courts of law. If a thing be in fact, a nuisance due to the manner of its operation, that question cannot be determined by a mere resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan. (Emphasis supplied.) MMDA illegally demolished the property of Justice Gancayco. MMDA alleges that by virtue of MMDA Resolution No. 02-28, Series of 2002, it is empowered to demolish Justice Gancaycos property. It insists that the Metro Manila Council authorized the MMDA and the local government units to clear the sidewalks, streets, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks and other public places in Metro Manila of all illegal structures and obstructions. It further alleges that it demolished the property pursuant to the Building Code in relation to Ordinance No. 2904 as amended.

xxx xxx xxx SECTION 207. Duties of a Building Official. In his respective territorial jurisdiction, the Building Official shall be primarily responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this Code as well as of the implementing rules and regulations issued therefor. He is the official charged with the duties of issuing building permits. In the performance of his duties, a Building Official may enter any building or its premises at all reasonable times to inspect and determine compliance with the requirements of this Code, and the terms and conditions provided for in the building permit as issued. When any building work is found to be contrary to the provisions of this Code, the Building Official may order the work stopped and prescribe the terms and/or conditions when the work will be allowed to resume. Likewise, the Building Official is authorized to order the discontinuance of the occupancy or use of any building or structure or portion thereof found to be occupied or used contrary to the provisions of this Code. xxx xxx xxx SECTION 215. Abatement of Dangerous Buildings. When any building or structure is found or declared to be dangerous or ruinous, the Building Official shall order its repair, vacation or demolition depending upon the degree of danger to life, health, or safety. This is without prejudice to further action that may be taken under the provisions of Articles 482 and 694 to 707 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied.) MMDA v. Trackworks Rail Transit Advertising, Vending and Promotions, Inc. 31 is applicable to the case at bar. In that case, MMDA, invoking its charter and the Building Code, summarily dismantled the advertising media installed on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3. This Court held: It is futile for MMDA to simply invoke its legal mandate to justify the dismantling of Trackworks' billboards, signages and other advertising media. MMDA simply had no power on its own to dismantle, remove, or destroy the billboards, signages and other advertising media installed on the MRT3 structure by Trackworks. In Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Viron Transportation Co., Inc., and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Garin, the Court had the occasion to rule that MMDA's powers were limited to the formulation, coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation, management, monitoring, setting of policies, installing a system, and administration. Nothing in Republic Act No. 7924 granted MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Clarifying the real nature of MMDA, the Court held: ...The MMDA is, as termed in the charter itself, a "development authority". It is an agency created for the purpose of laying down policies and coordinating with the various national government agencies, people's organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector for the efficient and expeditious delivery of basic services in the vast metropolitan area. All its functions are administrative in nature and these are actually summed up in the charter itself, viz: The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services within Metro Manila, without diminution of the autonomy of local government units concerning purely local matters. The Court also agrees with the CA's ruling that MMDA Regulation No. 96-009 and MMC Memorandum Circular No. 88-09 did not apply to Trackworks' billboards, signages and other advertising media. The prohibition against posting, installation and display of billboards, signages and other advertising media applied only to public areas, but MRT3, being private property pursuant to the BLT agreement between the Government and MRTC, was not one of the areas as to which the prohibition applied. Moreover, MMC Memorandum Circular No. 88-09 did not apply to Trackworks' billboards, signages and other advertising media in MRT3, because it did not specifically cover MRT3, and because it was issued a year prior to the construction of MRT3 on the center island of EDSA. Clearly, MMC Memorandum Circular No. 88-09 could not have included MRT3 in its prohibition. MMDA's insistence that it was only implementing Presidential Decree No. 1096 (Building Code) and its implementing rules and regulations is not persuasive. The power to enforce the provisions of the Building Code was lodged in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), not in MMDA, considering the law's following provision, thus: Sec. 201. Responsibility for Administration and Enforcement. The administration and enforcement of the provisions of this Code including the imposition of penalties for administrative violations thereof is hereby vested in the Secretary of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, hereinafter referred to as the "Secretary." There is also no evidence showing that MMDA had been delegated by DPWH to implement the Building Code. (Emphasis supplied.) Additionally, the penalty prescribed by Ordinance No. 2904 itself does not include the demolition of illegally constructed buildings in case of violations. Instead, it merely prescribes a punishment of "a fine of not more than two hundred pesos (P200.00) or by imprisonment of not more than thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the Court, Provided, that if the violation is committed by a corporation, partnership, or any juridical entity, the Manager, managing partner, or any person charged with the management thereof shall be held responsible therefor." The ordinance itself also clearly states that it is the regular courts that will determine whether there was a violation of the ordinance. As pointed out in Trackworks, the MMDA does not have the power to enact ordinances. Thus, it cannot supplement the provisions of Quezon City Ordinance No. 2904 merely through its Resolution No. 02-28. Lastly, the MMDA claims that the City Government of Quezon City may be considered to have approved the demolition of the structure, simply because then Quezon City Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte signed MMDA Resolution No. 02-28. In effect, the city government delegated these powers to the MMDA. The powers referred to are those that include the power to declare, prevent and abate a nuisance32 and to further impose the penalty of removal or demolition of the building or structure by the owner or by the city at the expense of the owner. 33 MMDAs argument does not hold water. There was no valid delegation of powers to the MMDA. Contrary to the claim of the MMDA, the City Government of Quezon City washed its hands off the acts of the former. In its Answer,34 the city government stated that "the demolition was undertaken by the MMDA only, without the participation and/or consent of Quezon City." Therefore, the MMDA acted on its own and should be held solely liable for the destruction of the portion of Justice Gancaycos building.

Sec.2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.- xxx.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 84648 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. ASSOCIATION OF SMALL LANDOWNERS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INCpetitioners, vs. HONORABLE SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondent. G.R. No. 79310 July 14, 1989 ARSENIO AL. ACUNA, , petitioners, vs. JOKER ARROYO, PHILIP E. JUICO and PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIL, respondents. G.R. No. 79744 July 14, 1989 INOCENTES PABICO, petitioner, vs. HON. PHILIP E. JUICO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, , respondents. G.R. No. 79777 July 14, 1989 NICOLAS S. MANAAY and AGUSTIN HERMANO, JR., petitioners, vs. HON. PHILIP ELLA JUICO, as Secretary of Agrarian Reform, and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES,respondents. "Land for the Landless" is a slogan that underscores the acute imbalance in the distribution of this precious resource among our people. But it is more than a slogan. Through the brooding centuries, it has become a battlecry dramatizing the increasingly urgent demand of the dispossessed among us for a plot of earth as their place in the sun. Recognizing this need, the Constitution in 1935 mandated the policy of social justice to "insure the well-being and economic security of all the people," 1 especially the less privileged. In 1973, the new Constitution affirmed this goal adding specifically that "the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, enjoyment and disposition of private property and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits." 2 Significantly, there was also the specific injunction to "formulate and implement an agrarian reform program aimed at emancipating the tenant from the bondage of the soil." 3 The Constitution of 1987 was not to be outdone. Besides echoing these sentiments, it also adopted one whole and separate Article XIII on Social Justice and Human Rights, containing grandiose but undoubtedly sincere provisions for the uplift of the common people. These include a call in the following words for the adoption by the State of an agrarian reform program: SEC. 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity considerations and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing. Earlier, in fact, R.A. No. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, had already been enacted by the Congress of the Philippines on August 8, 1963, in line with the above-stated principles. This was substantially superseded almost a decade later by P.D. No. 27, which was promulgated on October 21, 1972, along with martial law, to provide for the compulsory acquisition of private lands for distribution among tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits for landowners. The people power revolution of 1986 did not change and indeed even energized the thrust for agrarian reform. Thus, on July 17, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued E.O. No. 228, declaring full land ownership in favor of the beneficiaries of P.D. No. 27 and providing for the valuation of still unvalued lands covered by the decree as well as the manner of their payment. This was followed on July 22, 1987 by Presidential Proclamation No. 131, instituting a comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), and E.O. No. 229, providing the mechanics for its implementation. Subsequently, with its formal organization, the revived Congress of the Philippines took over legislative power from the President and started its own deliberations, including extensive public hearings, on the improvement of the interests of farmers. The result, after almost a year of spirited debate, was the enactment of R.A. No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, which President Aquino signed on June 10, 1988. This law, while considerably changing the earlier mentioned enactments, nevertheless gives them suppletory effect insofar as they are not inconsistent with its provisions. 4 The above-captioned cases have been consolidated because they involve common legal questions, including serious challenges to the constitutionality of the several measures mentioned above. They will be the subject of

CRUZ, J.: In ancient mythology, Antaeus was a terrible giant who blocked and challenged Hercules for his life on his way to Mycenae after performing his eleventh labor. The two wrestled mightily and Hercules flung his adversary to the ground thinking him dead, but Antaeus rose even stronger to resume their struggle. This happened several times to Hercules' increasing amazement. Finally, as they continued grappling, it dawned on Hercules that Antaeus was the son of Gaea and could never die as long as any part of his body was touching his Mother Earth. Thus forewarned, Hercules then held Antaeus up in the air, beyond the reach of the sustaining soil, and crushed him to death. Mother Earth. The sustaining soil. The giver of life, without whose invigorating touch even the powerful Antaeus weakened and died. The cases before us are not as fanciful as the foregoing tale. But they also tell of the elemental forces of life and death, of men and women who, like Antaeus need the sustaining strength of the precious earth to stay alive.

one common discussion and resolution, The different antecedents of each case will require separate treatment, however, and will first be explained hereunder. G.R. No. 79777 Squarely raised in this petition is the constitutionality of P.D. No. 27, E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, and R.A. No. 6657. The subjects of this petition are a 9-hectare riceland worked by four tenants and owned by petitioner Nicolas Manaay and his wife and a 5-hectare riceland worked by four tenants and owned by petitioner Augustin Hermano, Jr. The tenants were declared full owners of these lands by E.O. No. 228 as qualified farmers under P.D. No. 27. The petitioners are questioning P.D. No. 27 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 on grounds inter alia of separation of powers, due process, equal protection and the constitutional limitation that no private property shall be taken for public use without just compensation. They contend that President Aquino usurped legislative power when she promulgated E.O. No. 228. The said measure is invalid also for violation of Article XIII, Section 4, of the Constitution, for failure to provide for retention limits for small landowners. Moreover, it does not conform to Article VI, Section 25(4) and the other requisites of a valid appropriation. In connection with the determination of just compensation, the petitioners argue that the same may be made only by a court of justice and not by the President of the Philippines. They invoke the recent cases of EPZA v. Dulay 5and Manotok v. National Food Authority. 6 Moreover, the just compensation contemplated by the Bill of Rights is payable in money or in cash and not in the form of bonds or other things of value. In considering the rentals as advance payment on the land, the executive order also deprives the petitioners of their property rights as protected by due process. The equal protection clause is also violated because the order places the burden of solving the agrarian problems on the owners only of agricultural lands. No similar obligation is imposed on the owners of other properties. The petitioners also maintain that in declaring the beneficiaries under P.D. No. 27 to be the owners of the lands occupied by them, E.O. No. 228 ignored judicial prerogatives and so violated due process. Worse, the measure would not solve the agrarian problem because even the small farmers are deprived of their lands and the retention rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In his Comment, the Solicitor General stresses that P.D. No. 27 has already been upheld in the earlier cases ofChavez v. Zobel, 7 Gonzales v. Estrella, 8 and Association of Rice and Corn Producers of the Philippines, Inc. v. The National Land Reform Council. 9 The determination of just compensation by the executive authorities conformably to the formula prescribed under the questioned order is at best initial or preliminary only. It does not foreclose judicial intervention whenever sought or warranted. At any rate, the challenge to the order is premature because no valuation of their property has as yet been made by the Department of Agrarian Reform. The petitioners are also not proper parties because the lands owned by them do not exceed the maximum retention limit of 7 hectares. Replying, the petitioners insist they are proper parties because P.D. No. 27 does not provide for retention limits on tenanted lands and that in any event their petition is a class suit brought in behalf of landowners with landholdings below 24 hectares. They maintain that the determination of just compensation by the administrative authorities is a final ascertainment. As for the cases invoked by the public respondent, the constitutionality of P.D. No. 27 was merely assumed in Chavez, while what was decided in Gonzales was the validity of the imposition of martial law. In the amended petition dated November 22, 1588, it is contended that P.D. No. 27, E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 (except Sections 20 and 21) have been impliedly repealed by R.A. No. 6657. Nevertheless, this statute should itself also be declared unconstitutional because it suffers from substantially the same infirmities as the earlier measures. A petition for intervention was filed with leave of court on June 1, 1988 by Vicente Cruz, owner of a 1. 83hectare land, who complained that the DAR was insisting on the implementation of P.D. No. 27 and E.O. No. 228 despite a compromise agreement he had reached with his tenant on the payment of rentals. In a subsequent motion dated April 10, 1989, he adopted the allegations in the basic amended petition that the above- mentioned enactments have been impliedly repealed by R.A. No. 6657. G.R. No. 79310 The petitioners herein are landowners and sugar planters in the Victorias Mill District, Victorias, Negros Occidental. Co-petitioner Planters' Committee, Inc. is an organization composed of 1,400 planter-members. This petition seeks to prohibit the implementation of Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229. The petitioners claim that the power to provide for a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program as decreed by the Constitution belongs to Congress and not the President. Although they agree that the President could exercise legislative power until the Congress was convened, she could do so only to enact emergency measures during the transition period. At that, even assuming that the interim legislative power of the President was properly exercised, Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229 would still have to be annulled for violating the constitutional provisions on just compensation, due process, and equal protection. They also argue that under Section 2 of Proc. No. 131 which provides: Agrarian Reform Fund.-There is hereby created a special fund, to be known as the Agrarian Reform Fund, an initial amount of FIFTY BILLION PESOS (P50,000,000,000.00) to cover the estimated cost of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program from 1987 to 1992 which shall be sourced from the receipts of the sale of the assets of the Asset Privatization Trust and Receipts of sale of ill-gotten wealth received through the Presidential Commission on Good Government and such other sources as government may deem appropriate. The amounts collected and accruing to this special fund shall be considered automatically appropriated for the purpose authorized in this Proclamation the amount appropriated is in futuro, not in esse. The money needed to cover the cost of the contemplated expropriation has yet to be raised and cannot be appropriated at this time. Furthermore, they contend that taking must be simultaneous with payment of just compensation as it is traditionally understood, i.e., with money and in full, but no such payment is contemplated in Section 5 of the E.O. No. 229. On the contrary, Section 6, thereof provides that the Land Bank of the Philippines "shall compensate the landowner in an amount to be established by the government, which shall be based on the owner's declaration of current fair market value as provided in Section 4 hereof, but subject to certain controls to be defined and promulgated by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council." This compensation may not be paid fully in money but in any of several modes that may consist of part cash and part bond, with interest, maturing periodically, or direct payment in cash or bond as may be mutually agreed upon by the beneficiary and the landowner or as may be prescribed or approved by the PARC.

The petitioners also argue that in the issuance of the two measures, no effort was made to make a careful study of the sugar planters' situation. There is no tenancy problem in the sugar areas that can justify the application of the CARP to them. To the extent that the sugar planters have been lumped in the same legislation with other farmers, although they are a separate group with problems exclusively their own, their right to equal protection has been violated. A motion for intervention was filed on August 27,1987 by the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NASP) which claims a membership of at least 20,000 individual sugar planters all over the country. On September 10, 1987, another motion for intervention was filed, this time by Manuel Barcelona, et al., representing coconut and riceland owners. Both motions were granted by the Court. G.R. No. 79744 NASP alleges that President Aquino had no authority to fund the Agrarian Reform Program and that, in any event, the appropriation is invalid because of uncertainty in the amount appropriated. Section 2 of Proc. No. 131 and Sections 20 and 21 of E.O. No. 229 provide for an initial appropriation of fifty billion pesos and thus specifies the minimum rather than the maximum authorized amount. This is not allowed. Furthermore, the stated initial amount has not been certified to by the National Treasurer as actually available. Two additional arguments are made by Barcelona, to wit, the failure to establish by clear and convincing evidence the necessity for the exercise of the powers of eminent domain, and the violation of the fundamental right to own property. The petitioners also decry the penalty for non-registration of the lands, which is the expropriation of the said land for an amount equal to the government assessor's valuation of the land for tax purposes. On the other hand, if the landowner declares his own valuation he is unjustly required to immediately pay the corresponding taxes on the land, in violation of the uniformity rule. In his consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General first invokes the presumption of constitutionality in favor of Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229. He also justifies the necessity for the expropriation as explained in the "whereas" clauses of the Proclamation and submits that, contrary to the petitioner's contention, a pilot project to determine the feasibility of CARP and a general survey on the people's opinion thereon are not indispensable prerequisites to its promulgation. On the alleged violation of the equal protection clause, the sugar planters have failed to show that they belong to a different class and should be differently treated. The Comment also suggests the possibility of Congress first distributing public agricultural lands and scheduling the expropriation of private agricultural lands later. From this viewpoint, the petition for prohibition would be premature. The public respondent also points out that the constitutional prohibition is against the payment of public money without the corresponding appropriation. There is no rule that only money already in existence can be the subject of an appropriation law. Finally, the earmarking of fifty billion pesos as Agrarian Reform Fund, although denominated as an initial amount, is actually the maximum sum appropriated. The word "initial" simply means that additional amounts may be appropriated later when necessary. On April 11, 1988, Prudencio Serrano, a coconut planter, filed a petition on his own behalf, assailing the constitutionality of E.O. No. 229. In addition to the arguments already raised, Serrano contends that the measure is unconstitutional because: The petitioner alleges that the then Secretary of Department of Agrarian Reform, in violation of due process and the requirement for just compensation, placed his landholding under the coverage of Operation Land Transfer. Certificates of Land Transfer were subsequently issued to the private respondents, who then refused payment of lease rentals to him. On September 3, 1986, the petitioner protested the erroneous inclusion of his small landholding under Operation Land transfer and asked for the recall and cancellation of the Certificates of Land Transfer in the name of the private respondents. He claims that on December 24, 1986, his petition was denied without hearing. On February 17, 1987, he filed a motion for reconsideration, which had not been acted upon when E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 were issued. These orders rendered his motion moot and academic because they directly effected the transfer of his land to the private respondents. The petitioner now argues that: (1) E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 were invalidly issued by the President of the Philippines. (2) The said executive orders are violative of the constitutional provision that no private property shall be taken without due process or just compensation. (3) The petitioner is denied the right of maximum retention provided for under the 1987 Constitution. The petitioner contends that the issuance of E.0. Nos. 228 and 229 shortly before Congress convened is anomalous and arbitrary, besides violating the doctrine of separation of powers. The legislative power granted to the President under the Transitory Provisions refers only to emergency measures that may be promulgated in the proper exercise of the police power. The petitioner also invokes his rights not to be deprived of his property without due process of law and to the retention of his small parcels of riceholding as guaranteed under Article XIII, Section 4 of the Constitution. He likewise argues that, besides denying him just compensation for his land, the provisions of E.O. No. 228 declaring that: Lease rentals paid to the landowner by the farmer-beneficiary after October 21, 1972 shall be considered as advance payment for the land. (1) Only public lands should be included in the CARP; (2) E.O. No. 229 embraces more than one subject which is not expressed in the title; (3) The power of the President to legislate was terminated on July 2, 1987; and (4) The appropriation of a P50 billion special fund from the National Treasury did not originate from the House of Representatives.

is an unconstitutional taking of a vested property right. It is also his contention that the inclusion of even small landowners in the program along with other landowners with lands consisting of seven hectares or more is undemocratic. In his Comment, the Solicitor General submits that the petition is premature because the motion for reconsideration filed with the Minister of Agrarian Reform is still unresolved. As for the validity of the issuance of E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, he argues that they were enacted pursuant to Section 6, Article XVIII of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution which reads: The incumbent president shall continue to exercise legislative powers until the first Congress is convened. On the issue of just compensation, his position is that when P.D. No. 27 was promulgated on October 21. 1972, the tenant-farmer of agricultural land was deemed the owner of the land he was tilling. The leasehold rentals paid after that date should therefore be considered amortization payments. In his Reply to the public respondents, the petitioner maintains that the motion he filed was resolved on December 14, 1987. An appeal to the Office of the President would be useless with the promulgation of E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, which in effect sanctioned the validity of the public respondent's acts. G.R. No. 78742 The petitioners in this case invoke the right of retention granted by P.D. No. 27 to owners of rice and corn lands not exceeding seven hectares as long as they are cultivating or intend to cultivate the same. Their respective lands do not exceed the statutory limit but are occupied by tenants who are actually cultivating such lands. According to P.D. No. 316, which was promulgated in implementation of P.D. No. 27: No tenant-farmer in agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn shall be ejected or removed from his farmholding until such time as the respective rights of the tenant- farmers and the landowner shall have been determined in accordance with the rules and regulations implementing P.D. No. 27. The petitioners claim they cannot eject their tenants and so are unable to enjoy their right of retention because the Department of Agrarian Reform has so far not issued the implementing rules required under the above-quoted decree. They therefore ask the Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the respondent to issue the said rules. In his Comment, the public respondent argues that P.D. No. 27 has been amended by LOI 474 removing any right of retention from persons who own other agricultural lands of more than 7 hectares in aggregate area or lands used for residential, commercial, industrial or other purposes from which they derive adequate income for their family. And even assuming that the petitioners do not fall under its terms, the regulations implementing P.D. No. 27 have already been issued, to wit, the Memorandum dated July 10, 1975 (Interim Guidelines on Retention by Small Landowners, with an accompanying Retention Guide Table), Memorandum Circular No. 11 dated April 21, 1978, (Implementation Guidelines of LOI No. 474), Memorandum Circular No. 18-81 dated December 29,1981 (Clarificatory Guidelines on Coverage of P.D. No. 27 and Retention by Small Landowners), and DAR Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1985 (Providing for a Cut-off Date for Landowners to Apply for Retention and/or to Protest the Coverage of their Landholdings under Operation Land Transfer pursuant to P.D. No. 27). For In addition, the Constitution itself lays down stringent conditions for a declaration of unconstitutionality, requiring therefor the concurrence of a majority of the members of the Supreme Court who took part in the deliberations and voted on the issue during their session en banc. 11 And as established by judge made doctrine, the Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and the resolution of the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself. 12 With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in the cases before us, we hold that the same is satisfied by the petitioners and intervenors because each of them has sustained or is in danger of sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the acts or measures complained of. 13 And even if, strictly speaking, they are not covered by the definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised. In the first Emergency Powers Cases, 14 ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were invoking only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that "the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure." We have since then applied this exception in many other cases. 15 failure to file the corresponding applications for retention under these measures, the petitioners are now barred from invoking this right. The public respondent also stresses that the petitioners have prematurely initiated this case notwithstanding the pendency of their appeal to the President of the Philippines. Moreover, the issuance of the implementing rules, assuming this has not yet been done, involves the exercise of discretion which cannot be controlled through the writ of mandamus. This is especially true if this function is entrusted, as in this case, to a separate department of the government. In their Reply, the petitioners insist that the above-cited measures are not applicable to them because they do not own more than seven hectares of agricultural land. Moreover, assuming arguendo that the rules were intended to cover them also, the said measures are nevertheless not in force because they have not been published as required by law and the ruling of this Court in Tanada v. Tuvera. 10 As for LOI 474, the same is ineffective for the additional reason that a mere letter of instruction could not have repealed the presidential decree. I Although holding neither purse nor sword and so regarded as the weakest of the three departments of the government, the judiciary is nonetheless vested with the power to annul the acts of either the legislative or the executive or of both when not conformable to the fundamental law. This is the reason for what some quarters call the doctrine of judicial supremacy. Even so, this power is not lightly assumed or readily exercised. The doctrine of separation of powers imposes upon the courts a proper restraint, born of the nature of their functions and of their respect for the other departments, in striking down the acts of the legislative and the executive as unconstitutional. The policy, indeed, is a blend of courtesy and caution. To doubt is to sustain. The theory is that before the act was done or the law was enacted, earnest studies were made by Congress or the President, or both, to insure that the Constitution would not be breached.

The other above-mentioned requisites have also been met in the present petitions. In must be stressed that despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues like the ones now before it, it will not hesitate to declare a law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. In arriving at this conclusion, its only criterion will be the Constitution as God and its conscience give it the light to probe its meaning and discover its purpose. Personal motives and political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decision. Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation. For all the awesome power of the Congress and the Executive, the Court will not hesitate to "make the hammer fall, and heavily," to use Justice Laurel's pithy language, where the acts of these departments, or of any public official, betray the people's will as expressed in the Constitution. It need only be added, to borrow again the words of Justice Laurel, that ... when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the Legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. 16 The cases before us categorically raise constitutional questions that this Court must categorically resolve. And so we shall. II We proceed first to the examination of the preliminary issues before resolving the more serious challenges to the constitutionality of the several measures involved in these petitions. The promulgation of P.D. No. 27 by President Marcos in the exercise of his powers under martial law has already been sustained in Gonzales v. Estrella and we find no reason to modify or reverse it on that issue. As for the power of President Aquino to promulgate Proc. No. 131 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, the same was authorized under Section 6 of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, quoted above. The said measures were issued by President Aquino before July 27, 1987, when the Congress of the Philippines was formally convened and took over legislative power from her. They are not "midnight" enactments intended to pre-empt the legislature because E.O. No. 228 was issued on July 17, 1987, and the other measures, i.e., Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229, were both issued on July 22, 1987. Neither is it correct to say that these measures ceased to be valid when she lost her legislative power for, like any statute, they continue to be in force unless modified or repealed by subsequent law or declared invalid by the courts. A statute does not ipso facto become inoperative simply because of the dissolution of the legislature that enacted it. By the same token, President Aquino's loss of legislative power did not have the effect of invalidating all the measures enacted by her when and as long as she possessed it. Significantly, the Congress she is alleged to have undercut has not rejected but in fact substantially affirmed the challenged measures and has specifically provided that they shall be suppletory to R.A. No. 6657 whenever not inconsistent with its provisions. 17 Indeed, some portions of the said measures, like the creation of the P50 billion fund in Section 2 of Proc. No. 131, and Sections 20 and 21 of E.O. No. 229, have been incorporated by reference in the CARP Law. 18 That fund, as earlier noted, is itself being questioned on the ground that it does not conform to the requirements of a valid appropriation as specified in the Constitution. Clearly, however, Proc. No. 131 is not an appropriation measure even if it does provide for the creation of said fund, for that is not its principal purpose. An appropriation law is one the primary and specific purpose of which is to authorize the release of public funds from the treasury.19 The creation of the fund is only incidental to the main objective of the proclamation, which is agrarian reform. It should follow that the specific constitutional provisions invoked, to wit, Section 24 and Section 25(4) of Article VI, are not applicable. With particular reference to Section 24, this obviously could not have been complied with for the simple reason that the House of Representatives, which now has the exclusive power to initiate appropriation measures, had not yet been convened when the proclamation was issued. The legislative power was then solely vested in the President of the Philippines, who embodied, as it were, both houses of Congress. The argument of some of the petitioners that Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229 should be invalidated because they do not provide for retention limits as required by Article XIII, Section 4 of the Constitution is no longer tenable. R.A. No. 6657 does provide for such limits now in Section 6 of the law, which in fact is one of its most controversial provisions. This section declares: Retention Limits. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly or indirectly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors governing a viable family-sized farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm; Provided, That landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead. The argument that E.O. No. 229 violates the constitutional requirement that a bill shall have only one subject, to be expressed in its title, deserves only short attention. It is settled that the title of the bill does not have to be a catalogue of its contents and will suffice if the matters embodied in the text are relevant to each other and may be inferred from the title. 20 The Court wryly observes that during the past dictatorship, every presidential issuance, by whatever name it was called, had the force and effect of law because it came from President Marcos. Such are the ways of despots. Hence, it is futile to argue, as the petitioners do in G.R. No. 79744, that LOI 474 could not have repealed P.D. No. 27 because the former was only a letter of instruction. The important thing is that it was issued by President Marcos, whose word was law during that time. But for all their peremptoriness, these issuances from the President Marcos still had to comply with the requirement for publication as this Court held in Tanada v. Tuvera. 21 Hence, unless published in the Official

Gazette in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code, they could not have any force and effect if they were among those enactments successfully challenged in that case. LOI 474 was published, though, in the Official Gazette dated November 29,1976.) Finally, there is the contention of the public respondent in G.R. No. 78742 that the writ of mandamus cannot issue to compel the performance of a discretionary act, especially by a specific department of the government. That is true as a general proposition but is subject to one important qualification. Correctly and categorically stated, the rule is that mandamus will lie to compel the discharge of the discretionary duty itself but not to control the discretion to be exercised. In other words, mandamus can issue to require action only but not specific action. Whenever a duty is imposed upon a public official and an unnecessary and unreasonable delay in the exercise of such duty occurs, if it is a clear duty imposed by law, the courts will intervene by the extraordinary legal remedy of mandamus to compel action. If the duty is purely ministerial, the courts will require specific action. If the duty is purely discretionary, the courts by mandamus will require action only. For example, if an inferior court, public official, or board should, for an unreasonable length of time, fail to decide a particular question to the great detriment of all parties concerned, or a court should refuse to take jurisdiction of a cause when the law clearly gave it jurisdiction mandamus will issue, in the first case to require a decision, and in the second to require that jurisdiction be taken of the cause. 22 And while it is true that as a rule the writ will not be proper as long as there is still a plain, speedy and adequate remedy available from the administrative authorities, resort to the courts may still be permitted if the issue raised is a question of law. 23 III There are traditional distinctions between the police power and the power of eminent domain that logically preclude the application of both powers at the same time on the same subject. In the case of City of Baguio v. NAWASA, 24 for example, where a law required the transfer of all municipal waterworks systems to the NAWASA in exchange for its assets of equivalent value, the Court held that the power being exercised was eminent domain because the property involved was wholesome and intended for a public use. Property condemned under the police power is noxious or intended for a noxious purpose, such as a building on the verge of collapse, which should be demolished for the public safety, or obscene materials, which should be destroyed in the interest of public morals. The confiscation of such property is not compensable, unlike the taking of property under the power of expropriation, which requires the payment of just compensation to the owner. In the case of Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon, 25 Justice Holmes laid down the limits of the police power in a famous aphorism: "The general rule at least is that while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking." The regulation that went "too far" was a law prohibiting mining which might cause the subsidence of structures for human habitation constructed on the land surface. This was resisted by a coal company which had earlier granted a deed to the land over its mine but reserved all mining rights thereunder, with the grantee assuming all risks and waiving any damage claim. The Court held the law could not be sustained without compensating the grantor. Justice Brandeis filed a lone dissent in which he argued that there was a valid exercise of the police power. He said: Every restriction upon the use of property imposed in the exercise of the police power deprives the owner of some right theretofore enjoyed, and is, in that sense, an abridgment by the State of rights in property without making compensation. But restriction imposed to protect the public health, safety or morals from dangers threatened is not a taking. The restriction here in question is merely the prohibition of a noxious use. The property so restricted remains in the possession of its owner. The state does not appropriate it or make any use of it. The state merely prevents the owner from making a use which interferes with paramount rights of the public. Whenever the use prohibited ceases to be noxious as it may because of further changes in local or social conditions the restriction will have to be removed and the owner will again be free to enjoy his property as heretofore. Recent trends, however, would indicate not a polarization but a mingling of the police power and the power of eminent domain, with the latter being used as an implement of the former like the power of taxation. The employment of the taxing power to achieve a police purpose has long been accepted. 26 As for the power of expropriation, Prof. John J. Costonis of the University of Illinois College of Law (referring to the earlier case of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 US 365, which sustained a zoning law under the police power) makes the following significant remarks: Euclid, moreover, was decided in an era when judges located the Police and eminent domain powers on different planets. Generally speaking, they viewed eminent domain as encompassing public acquisition of private property for improvements that would be available for public use," literally construed. To the police power, on the other hand, they assigned the less intrusive task of preventing harmful externalities a point reflected in the Euclid opinion's reliance on an analogy to nuisance law to bolster its support of zoning. So long as suppression of a privately authored harm bore a plausible relation to some legitimate "public purpose," the pertinent measure need have afforded no compensation whatever. With the progressive growth of government's involvement in land use, the distance between the two powers has contracted considerably. Today government often employs eminent domain interchangeably with or as a useful complement to the police power-- a trend expressly approved in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Berman v. Parker, which broadened the reach of eminent domain's "public use" test to match that of the police power's standard of "public purpose." 27 The Berman case sustained a redevelopment project and the improvement of blighted areas in the District of Columbia as a proper exercise of the police power. On the role of eminent domain in the attainment of this purpose, Justice Douglas declared: If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the Nation's Capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way. Once the object is within the authority of Congress, the right to realize it through the exercise of eminent domain is clear. For the power of eminent domain is merely the means to the end. 28 In Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 29 decided by a 6-3 vote in 1978, the U.S Supreme Court sustained the respondent's Landmarks Preservation Law under which the owners of the Grand Central Terminal had not been allowed to construct a multi-story office building over the Terminal, which had been designated a historic landmark. Preservation of the landmark was held to be a valid objective of the police power. The problem, however, was that the owners of the Terminal would be deprived of the right to use the airspace above it although other landowners in the area could do so over their respective properties. While insisting that there was here no

taking, the Court nonetheless recognized certain compensatory rights accruing to Grand Central Terminal which it said would "undoubtedly mitigate" the loss caused by the regulation. This "fair compensation," as he called it, was explained by Prof. Costonis in this wise: In return for retaining the Terminal site in its pristine landmark status, Penn Central was authorized to transfer to neighboring properties the authorized but unused rights accruing to the site prior to the Terminal's designation as a landmark the rights which would have been exhausted by the 59-story building that the city refused to countenance atop the Terminal. Prevailing bulk restrictions on neighboring sites were proportionately relaxed, theoretically enabling Penn Central to recoup its losses at the Terminal site by constructing or selling to others the right to construct larger, hence more profitable buildings on the transferee sites. 30 The cases before us present no knotty complication insofar as the question of compensable taking is concerned. To the extent that the measures under challenge merely prescribe retention limits for landowners, there is an exercise of the police power for the regulation of private property in accordance with the Constitution. But where, to carry out such regulation, it becomes necessary to deprive such owners of whatever lands they may own in excess of the maximum area allowed, there is definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation is imperative. The taking contemplated is not a mere limitation of the use of the land. What is required is the surrender of the title to and the physical possession of the said excess and all beneficial rights accruing to the owner in favor of the farmer-beneficiary. This is definitely an exercise not of the police power but of the power of eminent domain. Whether as an exercise of the police power or of the power of eminent domain, the several measures before us are challenged as violative of the due process and equal protection clauses. The challenge to Proc. No. 131 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 299 on the ground that no retention limits are prescribed has already been discussed and dismissed. It is noted that although they excited many bitter exchanges during the deliberation of the CARP Law in Congress, the retention limits finally agreed upon are, curiously enough, not being questioned in these petitions. We therefore do not discuss them here. The Court will come to the other claimed violations of due process in connection with our examination of the adequacy of just compensation as required under the power of expropriation. The argument of the small farmers that they have been denied equal protection because of the absence of retention limits has also become academic under Section 6 of R.A. No. 6657. Significantly, they too have not questioned the area of such limits. There is also the complaint that they should not be made to share the burden of agrarian reform, an objection also made by the sugar planters on the ground that they belong to a particular class with particular interests of their own. However, no evidence has been submitted to the Court that the requisites of a valid classification have been violated. Classification has been defined as the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in certain particulars and different from each other in these same particulars. 31 To be valid, it must conform to the following requirements: (1) it must be based on substantial distinctions; (2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) it must apply equally to all the members of the class. 32The Court finds that all these requisites have been met by the measures here challenged as arbitrary and discriminatory. Equal protection simply means that all persons or things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the rights conferred and the liabilities imposed. 33 The petitioners have not shown that they belong to a different class and entitled to a different treatment. The argument that not only landowners but also owners of other properties must be made to share the burden of implementing land reform must be rejected. There is a substantial distinction between these two classes of owners that is clearly visible except to those who will not see. There is no need to elaborate on this matter. In any event, the Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification. Its decision is accorded recognition and respect by the courts of justice except only where its discretion is abused to the detriment of the Bill of Rights. It is worth remarking at this juncture that a statute may be sustained under the police power only if there is a concurrence of the lawful subject and the lawful method. Put otherwise, the interests of the public generally as distinguished from those of a particular class require the interference of the State and, no less important, the means employed are reasonably necessary for the attainment of the purpose sought to be achieved and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 34 As the subject and purpose of agrarian reform have been laid down by the Constitution itself, we may say that the first requirement has been satisfied. What remains to be examined is the validity of the method employed to achieve the constitutional goal. One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of the individual are concerned, the end does not justify the means. It is not enough that there be a valid objective; it is also necessary that the means employed to pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere expediency will not excuse constitutional shortcuts. There is no question that not even the strongest moral conviction or the most urgent public need, subject only to a few notable exceptions, will excuse the bypassing of an individual's rights. It is no exaggeration to say that a, person invoking a right guaranteed under Article III of the Constitution is a majority of one even as against the rest of the nation who would deny him that right. That right covers the person's life, his liberty and his property under Section 1 of Article III of the Constitution. With regard to his property, the owner enjoys the added protection of Section 9, which reaffirms the familiar rule that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. This brings us now to the power of eminent domain. IV Eminent domain is an inherent power of the State that enables it to forcibly acquire private lands intended for public use upon payment of just compensation to the owner. Obviously, there is no need to expropriate where the owner is willing to sell under terms also acceptable to the purchaser, in which case an ordinary deed of sale may be agreed upon by the parties. 35 It is only where the owner is unwilling to sell, or cannot accept the price or other conditions offered by the vendee, that the power of eminent domain will come into play to assert the paramount authority of the State over the interests of the property owner. Private rights must then yield to the irresistible demands of the public interest on the time-honored justification, as in the case of the police power, that the welfare of the people is the supreme law. But for all its primacy and urgency, the power of expropriation is by no means absolute (as indeed no power is absolute). The limitation is found in the constitutional injunction that "private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation" and in the abundant jurisprudence that has evolved from the interpretation of this principle. Basically, the requirements for a proper exercise of the power are: (1) public use and (2) just compensation. Let us dispose first of the argument raised by the petitioners in G.R. No. 79310 that the State should first distribute public agricultural lands in the pursuit of agrarian reform instead of immediately disturbing property rights by

forcibly acquiring private agricultural lands. Parenthetically, it is not correct to say that only public agricultural lands may be covered by the CARP as the Constitution calls for "the just distribution of all agricultural lands." In any event, the decision to redistribute private agricultural lands in the manner prescribed by the CARP was made by the legislative and executive departments in the exercise of their discretion. We are not justified in reviewing that discretion in the absence of a clear showing that it has been abused. A becoming courtesy admonishes us to respect the decisions of the political departments when they decide what is known as the political question. As explained by Chief Justice Concepcion in the case of Taada v. Cuenco: 36 The term "political question" connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. It is true that the concept of the political question has been constricted with the enlargement of judicial power, which now includes the authority of the courts "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." 37 Even so, this should not be construed as a license for us to reverse the other departments simply because their views may not coincide with ours. The legislature and the executive have been seen fit, in their wisdom, to include in the CARP the redistribution of private landholdings (even as the distribution of public agricultural lands is first provided for, while also continuing apace under the Public Land Act and other cognate laws). The Court sees no justification to interpose its authority, which we may assert only if we believe that the political decision is not unwise, but illegal. We do not find it to be so. In U.S. v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company, 38 it was held: Congress having determined, as it did by the Act of March 3,1909 that the entire St. Mary's river between the American bank and the international line, as well as all of the upland north of the present ship canal, throughout its entire length, was "necessary for the purpose of navigation of said waters, and the waters connected therewith," that determination is conclusive in condemnation proceedings instituted by the United States under that Act, and there is no room for judicial review of the judgment of Congress ... . As earlier observed, the requirement for public use has already been settled for us by the Constitution itself No less than the 1987 Charter calls for agrarian reform, which is the reason why private agricultural lands are to be taken from their owners, subject to the prescribed maximum retention limits. The purposes specified in P.D. No. 27, Proc. No. 131 and R.A. No. 6657 are only an elaboration of the constitutional injunction that the State adopt the necessary measures "to encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands to enable farmers who are landless to own directly or collectively the lands they till." That public use, as pronounced by the fundamental law itself, must be binding on us. The second requirement, i.e., the payment of just compensation, needs a longer and more thoughtful examination. Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. 39 It has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the measure is not the taker's gain but the owner's loss. 40 The word "just" is used to intensify the meaning of the word "compensation" to convey the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full, ample. 41 It bears repeating that the measures challenged in these petitions contemplate more than a mere regulation of the use of private lands under the police power. We deal here with an actual taking of private agricultural lands that has dispossessed the owners of their property and deprived them of all its beneficial use and enjoyment, to entitle them to the just compensation mandated by the Constitution. As held in Republic of the Philippines v. Castellvi, 42 there is compensable taking when the following conditions concur: (1) the expropriator must enter a private property; (2) the entry must be for more than a momentary period; (3) the entry must be under warrant or color of legal authority; (4) the property must be devoted to public use or otherwise informally appropriated or injuriously affected; and (5) the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of beneficial enjoyment of the property. All these requisites are envisioned in the measures before us. Where the State itself is the expropriator, it is not necessary for it to make a deposit upon its taking possession of the condemned property, as "the compensation is a public charge, the good faith of the public is pledged for its payment, and all the resources of taxation may be employed in raising the amount." 43 Nevertheless, Section 16(e) of the CARP Law provides that: Upon receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or, in case of rejection or no response from the landowner, upon the deposit with an accessible bank designated by the DAR of the compensation in cash or in LBP bonds in accordance with this Act, the DAR shall take immediate possession of the land and shall request the proper Register of Deeds to issue a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. The DAR shall thereafter proceed with the redistribution of the land to the qualified beneficiaries. Objection is raised, however, to the manner of fixing the just compensation, which it is claimed is entrusted to the administrative authorities in violation of judicial prerogatives. Specific reference is made to Section 16(d), which provides that in case of the rejection or disregard by the owner of the offer of the government to buy his land... the DAR shall conduct summary administrative proceedings to determine the compensation for the land by requiring the landowner, the LBP and other interested parties to submit evidence as to the just compensation for the land, within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the notice. After the expiration of the above period, the matter is deemed submitted for decision. The DAR shall decide the case within thirty (30) days after it is submitted for decision. To be sure, the determination of just compensation is a function addressed to the courts of justice and may not be usurped by any other branch or official of the government. EPZA v. Dulay 44 resolved a challenge to several decrees promulgated by President Marcos providing that the just compensation for property under expropriation should be either the assessment of the property by the government or the sworn valuation thereof by the owner, whichever was lower. In declaring these decrees unconstitutional, the Court held through Mr. Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr.:

The method of ascertaining just compensation under the aforecited decrees constitutes impermissible encroachment on judicial prerogatives. It tends to render this Court inutile in a matter which under this Constitution is reserved to it for final determination. Thus, although in an expropriation proceeding the court technically would still have the power to determine the just compensation for the property, following the applicable decrees, its task would be relegated to simply stating the lower value of the property as declared either by the owner or the assessor. As a necessary consequence, it would be useless for the court to appoint commissioners under Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, the need to satisfy the due process clause in the taking of private property is seemingly fulfilled since it cannot be said that a judicial proceeding was not had before the actual taking. However, the strict application of the decrees during the proceedings would be nothing short of a mere formality or charade as the court has only to choose between the valuation of the owner and that of the assessor, and its choice is always limited to the lower of the two. The court cannot exercise its discretion or independence in determining what is just or fair. Even a grade school pupil could substitute for the judge insofar as the determination of constitutional just compensation is concerned. xxx In the present petition, we are once again confronted with the same question of whether the courts under P.D. No. 1533, which contains the same provision on just compensation as its predecessor decrees, still have the power and authority to determine just compensation, independent of what is stated by the decree and to this effect, to appoint commissioners for such purpose. This time, we answer in the affirmative. xxx It is violative of due process to deny the owner the opportunity to prove that the valuation in the tax documents is unfair or wrong. And it is repulsive to the basic concepts of justice and fairness to allow the haphazard work of a minor bureaucrat or clerk to absolutely prevail over the judgment of a court promulgated only after expert commissioners have actually viewed the property, after evidence and arguments pro and con have been presented, and after all factors and considerations essential to a fair and just determination have been judiciously evaluated. A reading of the aforecited Section 16(d) will readily show that it does not suffer from the arbitrariness that rendered the challenged decrees constitutionally objectionable. Although the proceedings are described as summary, the landowner and other interested parties are nevertheless allowed an opportunity to submit evidence on the real value of the property. But more importantly, the determination of the just compensation by the DAR is not by any means final and conclusive upon the landowner or any other interested party, for Section 16(f) clearly provides: Any party who disagrees with the decision may bring the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for final determination of just compensation. (c) For lands twenty-four (24) hectares and below Thirty-five percent (35%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments negotiable at any time. (2) Shares of stock in government-owned or controlled corporations, LBP preferred shares, physical assets or other qualified investments in accordance with guidelines set by the PARC; (3) Tax credits which can be used against any tax liability; (4) LBP bonds, which shall have the following features: (a) Market interest rates aligned with 91-day treasury bill rates. Ten percent (10%) of the face value of the bonds shall mature every year from the date of issuance until the tenth (10th) year: Provided, That should the landowner choose to forego the cash portion, whether in full or in part, he shall be paid correspondingly in LBP bonds; (b) Transferability and negotiability. Such LBP bonds may be used by the landowner, his successors-in- interest or his assigns, up to the amount of their face value, for any of the following: (a) For lands above fifty (50) hectares, insofar as the excess hectarage is concerned Twenty-five percent (25%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments negotiable at any time. (b) For lands above twenty-four (24) hectares and up to fifty (50) hectares Thirty percent (30%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments negotiable at any time. The determination made by the DAR is only preliminary unless accepted by all parties concerned. Otherwise, the courts of justice will still have the right to review with finality the said determination in the exercise of what is admittedly a judicial function. The second and more serious objection to the provisions on just compensation is not as easily resolved. This refers to Section 18 of the CARP Law providing in full as follows: SEC. 18. Valuation and Mode of Compensation. The LBP shall compensate the landowner in such amount as may be agreed upon by the landowner and the DAR and the LBP, in accordance with the criteria provided for in Sections 16 and 17, and other pertinent provisions hereof, or as may be finally determined by the court, as the just compensation for the land. The compensation shall be paid in one of the following modes, at the option of the landowner: (1) Cash payment, under the following terms and conditions:

(i) Acquisition of land or other real properties of the government, including assets under the Asset Privatization Program and other assets foreclosed by government financial institutions in the same province or region where the lands for which the bonds were paid are situated; (ii) Acquisition of shares of stock of government-owned or controlled corporations or shares of stock owned by the government in private corporations; (iii) Substitution for surety or bail bonds for the provisional release of accused persons, or for performance bonds; (iv) Security for loans with any government financial institution, provided the proceeds of the loans shall be invested in an economic enterprise, preferably in a small and medium- scale industry, in the same province or region as the land for which the bonds are paid; (v) Payment for various taxes and fees to government: Provided, That the use of these bonds for these purposes will be limited to a certain percentage of the outstanding balance of the financial instruments; Provided, further, That the PARC shall determine the percentages mentioned above; (vi) Payment for tuition fees of the immediate family of the original bondholder in government universities, colleges, trade schools, and other institutions; (vii) Payment for fees of the immediate family of the original bondholder in government hospitals; and (viii) Such other uses as the PARC may from time to time allow. The contention of the petitioners in G.R. No. 79777 is that the above provision is unconstitutional insofar as it requires the owners of the expropriated properties to accept just compensation therefor in less than money, which is the only medium of payment allowed. In support of this contention, they cite jurisprudence holding that: The fundamental rule in expropriation matters is that the owner of the property expropriated is entitled to a just compensation, which should be neither more nor less, whenever it is possible to make the assessment, than the money equivalent of said property. Just compensation has always been understood to be the just and complete equivalent of the loss which the owner of the thing expropriated has to suffer by reason of the expropriation . 45 (Emphasis supplied.) In J.M. Tuazon Co. v. Land Tenure Administration, 46 this Court held: It is well-settled that just compensation means the equivalent for the value of the property at the time of its taking. Anything beyond that is more, and anything short of that is less, than just compensation. It means a fair and full equivalent for the loss sustained, which is the measure of the indemnity, not whatever gain would accrue to the expropriating entity. The market value of the land taken is the just compensation to which the owner of condemned property is entitled, the market value being that sum of money which a person desirous, but not compelled to buy, and an owner, willing, but not compelled to sell, would agree on as a price to be given and received for such property. (Emphasis supplied.) In the United States, where much of our jurisprudence on the subject has been derived, the weight of authority is also to the effect that just compensation for property expropriated is payable only in money and not otherwise. Thus The medium of payment of compensation is ready money or cash. The condemnor cannot compel the owner to accept anything but money, nor can the owner compel or require the condemnor to pay him on any other basis than the value of the property in money at the time and in the manner prescribed by the Constitution and the statutes. When the power of eminent domain is resorted to, there must be a standard medium of payment, binding upon both parties, and the law has fixed that standard as money in cash. 47 (Emphasis supplied.) Part cash and deferred payments are not and cannot, in the nature of things, be regarded as a reliable and constant standard of compensation. 48 "Just compensation" for property taken by condemnation means a fair equivalent in money, which must be paid at least within a reasonable time after the taking, and it is not within the power of the Legislature to substitute for such payment future obligations, bonds, or other valuable advantage. 49 (Emphasis supplied.) It cannot be denied from these cases that the traditional medium for the payment of just compensation is money and no other. And so, conformably, has just compensation been paid in the past solely in that medium. However, we do not deal here with the traditional excercise of the power of eminent domain. This is not an ordinary expropriation where only a specific property of relatively limited area is sought to be taken by the State from its owner for a specific and perhaps local purpose. What we deal with here is a revolutionary kind of expropriation. The expropriation before us affects all private agricultural lands whenever found and of whatever kind as long as they are in excess of the maximum retention limits allowed their owners. This kind of expropriation is intended for the benefit not only of a particular community or of a small segment of the population but of the entire Filipino nation, from all levels of our society, from the impoverished farmer to the land-glutted owner. Its purpose does not cover only the whole territory of this country but goes beyond in time to the foreseeable future, which it hopes to secure and edify with the vision and the sacrifice of the present generation of Filipinos. Generations yet to come are as involved in this program as we are today, although hopefully only as beneficiaries of a richer and more fulfilling life we will guarantee to them tomorrow through our thoughtfulness today. And, finally, let it not be forgotten that it is no less than the Constitution itself that has ordained this revolution in the farms, calling for "a just distribution" among the farmers of lands that have heretofore been the prison of their dreams but can now become the key at least to their deliverance. Such a program will involve not mere millions of pesos. The cost will be tremendous. Considering the vast areas of land subject to expropriation under the laws before us, we estimate that hundreds of billions of pesos will be needed, far more indeed than the amount of P50 billion initially appropriated, which is already staggering as it is by our present standards. Such amount is in fact not even fully available at this time. We assume that the framers of the Constitution were aware of this difficulty when they called for agrarian reform as a top priority project of the government. It is a part of this assumption that when they envisioned the expropriation that would be needed, they also intended that the just compensation would have to be paid not in the orthodox way but a less conventional if more practical method. There can be no doubt that they were aware of the

financial limitations of the government and had no illusions that there would be enough money to pay in cash and in full for the lands they wanted to be distributed among the farmers. We may therefore assume that their intention was to allow such manner of payment as is now provided for by the CARP Law, particularly the payment of the balance (if the owner cannot be paid fully with money), or indeed of the entire amount of the just compensation, with other things of value. We may also suppose that what they had in mind was a similar scheme of payment as that prescribed in P.D. No. 27, which was the law in force at the time they deliberated on the new Charter and with which they presumably agreed in principle. The Court has not found in the records of the Constitutional Commission any categorical agreement among the members regarding the meaning to be given the concept of just compensation as applied to the comprehensive agrarian reform program being contemplated. There was the suggestion to "fine tune" the requirement to suit the demands of the project even as it was also felt that they should "leave it to Congress" to determine how payment should be made to the landowner and reimbursement required from the farmer-beneficiaries. Such innovations as "progressive compensation" and "State-subsidized compensation" were also proposed. In the end, however, no special definition of the just compensation for the lands to be expropriated was reached by the Commission. 50 On the other hand, there is nothing in the records either that militates against the assumptions we are making of the general sentiments and intention of the members on the content and manner of the payment to be made to the landowner in the light of the magnitude of the expenditure and the limitations of the expropriator. With these assumptions, the Court hereby declares that the content and manner of the just compensation provided for in the afore- quoted Section 18 of the CARP Law is not violative of the Constitution. We do not mind admitting that a certain degree of pragmatism has influenced our decision on this issue, but after all this Court is not a cloistered institution removed from the realities and demands of society or oblivious to the need for its enhancement. The Court is as acutely anxious as the rest of our people to see the goal of agrarian reform achieved at last after the frustrations and deprivations of our peasant masses during all these disappointing decades. We are aware that invalidation of the said section will result in the nullification of the entire program, killing the farmer's hopes even as they approach realization and resurrecting the spectre of discontent and dissent in the restless countryside. That is not in our view the intention of the Constitution, and that is not what we shall decree today. Accepting the theory that payment of the just compensation is not always required to be made fully in money, we find further that the proportion of cash payment to the other things of value constituting the total payment, as determined on the basis of the areas of the lands expropriated, is not unduly oppressive upon the landowner. It is noted that the smaller the land, the bigger the payment in money, primarily because the small landowner will be needing it more than the big landowners, who can afford a bigger balance in bonds and other things of value. No less importantly, the government financial instruments making up the balance of the payment are "negotiable at any time." The other modes, which are likewise available to the landowner at his option, are also not unreasonable because payment is made in shares of stock, LBP bonds, other properties or assets, tax credits, and other things of value equivalent to the amount of just compensation. Admittedly, the compensation contemplated in the law will cause the landowners, big and small, not a little inconvenience. As already remarked, this cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, it is devoutly hoped that these countrymen of ours, conscious as we know they are of the need for their forebearance and even sacrifice, will not begrudge us their indispensable share in the attainment of the ideal of agrarian reform. Otherwise, our pursuit of this elusive goal will be like the quest for the Holy Grail. The complaint against the effects of non-registration of the land under E.O. No. 229 does not seem to be viable any more as it appears that Section 4 of the said Order has been superseded by Section 14 of the CARP Law. This repeats the requisites of registration as embodied in the earlier measure but does not provide, as the latter did, that in case of failure or refusal to register the land, the valuation thereof shall be that given by the provincial or city assessor for tax purposes. On the contrary, the CARP Law says that the just compensation shall be ascertained on the basis of the factors mentioned in its Section 17 and in the manner provided for in Section 16. The last major challenge to CARP is that the landowner is divested of his property even before actual payment to him in full of just compensation, in contravention of a well- accepted principle of eminent domain. The recognized rule, indeed, is that title to the property expropriated shall pass from the owner to the expropriator only upon full payment of the just compensation. Jurisprudence on this settled principle is consistent both here and in other democratic jurisdictions. Thus: Title to property which is the subject of condemnation proceedings does not vest the condemnor until the judgment fixing just compensation is entered and paid, but the condemnor's title relates back to the date on which the petition under the Eminent Domain Act, or the commissioner's report under the Local Improvement Act, is filed.51 ... although the right to appropriate and use land taken for a canal is complete at the time of entry, title to the property taken remains in the owner until payment is actually made. 52 (Emphasis supplied.) In Kennedy v. Indianapolis, 53 the US Supreme Court cited several cases holding that title to property does not pass to the condemnor until just compensation had actually been made. In fact, the decisions appear to be uniformly to this effect. As early as 1838, in Rubottom v. McLure, 54 it was held that "actual payment to the owner of the condemned property was a condition precedent to the investment of the title to the property in the State" albeit "not to the appropriation of it to public use." In Rexford v. Knight, 55 the Court of Appeals of New York said that the construction upon the statutes was that the fee did not vest in the State until the payment of the compensation although the authority to enter upon and appropriate the land was complete prior to the payment. Kennedy further said that "both on principle and authority the rule is ... that the right to enter on and use the property is complete, as soon as the property is actually appropriated under the authority of law for a public use,but that the title does not pass from the owner without his consent, until just compensation has been made to him." Our own Supreme Court has held in Visayan Refining Co. v. Camus and Paredes, 56 that: If the laws which we have exhibited or cited in the preceding discussion are attentively examined it will be apparent that the method of expropriation adopted in this jurisdiction is such as to afford absolute reassurance that no piece of land can be finally and irrevocably taken from an unwilling owner until compensation is paid ... . (Emphasis supplied.) It is true that P.D. No. 27 expressly ordered the emancipation of tenant-farmer as October 21, 1972 and declared that he shall "be deemed the owner" of a portion of land consisting of a family-sized farm except that "no title to the land owned by him was to be actually issued to him unless and until he had become a full-fledged member of a duly recognized farmers' cooperative." It was understood, however, that full payment of the just compensation also had to be made first, conformably to the constitutional requirement. When E.O. No. 228, categorically stated in its Section 1 that:

All qualified farmer-beneficiaries are now deemed full owners as of October 21, 1972 of the land they acquired by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 27. (Emphasis supplied.) it was obviously referring to lands already validly acquired under the said decree, after proof of full-fledged membership in the farmers' cooperatives and full payment of just compensation. Hence, it was also perfectly proper for the Order to also provide in its Section 2 that the "lease rentals paid to the landowner by the farmerbeneficiary after October 21, 1972 (pending transfer of ownership after full payment of just compensation), shall be considered as advance payment for the land." The CARP Law, for its part, conditions the transfer of possession and ownership of the land to the government on receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or the deposit by the DAR of the compensation in cash or LBP bonds with an accessible bank. Until then, title also remains with the landowner. 57 No outright change of ownership is contemplated either. Hence, the argument that the assailed measures violate due process by arbitrarily transferring title before the land is fully paid for must also be rejected. It is worth stressing at this point that all rights acquired by the tenant-farmer under P.D. No. 27, as recognized under E.O. No. 228, are retained by him even now under R.A. No. 6657. This should counter-balance the express provision in Section 6 of the said law that "the landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead." In connection with these retained rights, it does not appear in G.R. No. 78742 that the appeal filed by the petitioners with the Office of the President has already been resolved. Although we have said that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies need not preclude immediate resort to judicial action, there are factual issues that have yet to be examined on the administrative level, especially the claim that the petitioners are not covered by LOI 474 because they do not own other agricultural lands than the subjects of their petition. Obviously, the Court cannot resolve these issues. In any event, assuming that the petitioners have not yet exercised their retention rights, if any, under P.D. No. 27, the Court holds that they are entitled to the new retention rights provided for by R.A. No. 6657, which in fact are on the whole more liberal than those granted by the decree. V The CARP Law and the other enactments also involved in these cases have been the subject of bitter attack from those who point to the shortcomings of these measures and ask that they be scrapped entirely. To be sure, these enactments are less than perfect; indeed, they should be continuously re-examined and rehoned, that they may be sharper instruments for the better protection of the farmer's rights. But we have to start somewhere. In the pursuit of agrarian reform, we do not tread on familiar ground but grope on terrain fraught with pitfalls and expected difficulties. This is inevitable. The CARP Law is not a tried and tested project. On the contrary, to use Justice Holmes's words, "it is an experiment, as all life is an experiment," and so we learn as we venture forward, and, if necessary, by our own mistakes. We cannot expect perfection although we should strive for it by all means. Meantime, we struggle as best we can in freeing the farmer from the iron shackles that have unconscionably, and for so long, fettered his soul to the soil. By the decision we reach today, all major legal obstacles to the comprehensive agrarian reform program are removed, to clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer. We may now glimpse the day he will be released not only from want but also from the exploitation and disdain of the past and from his own feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. At last his servitude will be ended forever. At last the farm on which he toils will be his farm. It will be his portion of the Mother Earth that will give him not only the staff of life but also the joy of living. And where once it bred for him only deep despair, now can he see in it the fruition of his hopes for a more fulfilling future. Now at last can he banish from his small plot of earth his insecurities and dark resentments and "rebuild in it the music and the dream." WHEREFORE, the Court holds as follows: 1. R.A. No. 6657, P.D. No. 27, Proc. No. 131, and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 are SUSTAINED against all the constitutional objections raised in the herein petitions. 2. Title to all expropriated properties shall be transferred to the State only upon full payment of compensation to their respective owners. 3. All rights previously acquired by the tenant- farmers under P.D. No. 27 are retained and recognized. 4. Landowners who were unable to exercise their rights of retention under P.D. No. 27 shall enjoy the retention rights granted by R.A. No. 6657 under the conditions therein prescribed. 5. Subject to the above-mentioned rulings all the petitions are DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT, petitioners, vs. ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, respondents. Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent. CRUZ, J.: The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a person who has thrice failed the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again. The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule thath) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take the NMAT. After three (3) successive failures, a student shall not be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.

The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional grounds. But first the facts. The private respondent is a graduate of the University of the East with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Zoology. The petitioner claims that he took the NMAT three times and flunked it as many times. 1 When he applied to take it again, the petitioner rejected his application on the basis of the aforesaid rule. He then went to the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, to compel his admission to the test. In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked his constitutional rights to academic freedom and quality education. By agreement of the parties, the private respondent was allowed to take the NMAT scheduled on April 16, 1989, subject to the outcome of his petition. 2 In an amended petition filed with leave of court, he squarely challenged the constitutionality of MECS Order No. 12, Series of 1972, containing the above-cited rule. The additional grounds raised were due process and equal protection. After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision on July 4, 1989, declaring the challenged order invalid and granting the petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held that the petitioner had been deprived of his right to pursue a medical education through an arbitrary exercise of the police power. 3 We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision must be reversed. In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 4 this Court upheld the constitutionality of the NMAT as a measure intended to limit the admission to medical schools only to those who have initially proved their competence and preparation for a medical education. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano declared for a unanimous Court: Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for admission to medical school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety of the general community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully approached by recalling that the regulation of the pratice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public. That the power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical educational requirements-i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a recognized medical school-for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state. What we have before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional and technical quality of the graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to those who exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in our professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the current state of our social and economic development, are widely known. We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as a means of achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the country." Given the widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT] and quite probably, in other countries with far more developed educational resources than our own, and taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds for disease or trauma. However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner that the said case was not applicable. Her reason was that it upheld only the requirement for the admission test and said nothing about the so-called "three-flunk rule." We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case cannot apply to the case at bar. The issue raised in both cases is the academic preparation of the applicant. This may be gauged at least initially by the admission test and, indeed with more reliability, by the three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded any less valid than the former in the regulation of the medical profession. There is no need to redefine here the police power of the State. Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly exercised if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require the interference of the State, and (b) the means employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment of the object sought to be accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 5 In other words, the proper exercise of the police power requires the concurrence of a lawful subject and a lawful method. The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly within the ambit of the police power. It is the right and indeed the responsibility of the State to insure that the medical profession is not infiltrated by incompetents to whom patients may unwarily entrust their lives and health. The method employed by the challenged regulation is not irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it arbitrary or oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the medical schools and ultimately the medical profession from the intrusion of those not qualified to be doctors. While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a constitutional right to be a doctor. This is true of any other calling in which the public interest is involved; and the closer the link, the longer the bridge to one's ambition. The State has the responsibility to harness its human resources and to see to it that they are not dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all. These resources must be applied in a manner that will best promote the common good while also giving the individual a sense of satisfaction. A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be a menace to his patients. If one who wants to be a lawyer may prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and adviced. Of course, he may not be forced to be a plumber, but on the other hand he may not force his entry into the bar. By the same token, a student who has demonstrated promise as a pianist cannot be shunted aside to take a course in nursing, however appropriate this career may be for others.

The right to quality education invoked by the private respondent is not absolute. The Constitution also provides that "every citizen has the right to choose a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements. 6 The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule and give way to those better prepared. Where even those who have qualified may still not be accommodated in our already crowded medical schools, there is all the more reason to bar those who, like him, have been tested and found wanting. The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is not well-taken. A law does not have to operate with equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution. There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists between medical students and other students who are not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The medical profession directly affects the very lives of the people, unlike other careers which, for this reason, do not require more vigilant regulation. The accountant, for example, while belonging to an equally respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be similarly treated. There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have passed the tests are admitted and others who have also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what the equal protection requires is equality among equals. The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right to quality education as a guarantee of the Constitution: one must show that he is entitled to it because of his preparation and promise. The private respondent has failed the NMAT five times. 7 While his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it is certainly misplaced, like a hopeless love. No depreciation is intended or made against the private respondent. It is stressed that a person who does not qualify in the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any work or occupation. The only inference is that he is a probably better, not for the medical profession, but for another calling that has not excited his interest. In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster; in the latter, he is more likely to succeed and may even be outstanding. It is for the appropriate calling that he is entitled to quality education for the full harnessing of his potentials and the sharpening of his latent talents toward what may even be a brilliant future. We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes, of dentists who should never have left the farm and engineers who should have studied banking and teachers who could be better as merchants. It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to regulate and enrich our system of education by directing the student to the course for which he is best suited as determined by initial tests and evaluations. Otherwise, we may be "swamped with mediocrity," in the words of Justice Holmes, not because we are lacking in intelligence but because we are a nation of misfits. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent court dated January 13, 1989, is REVERSED, with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered. FELICIDAD VILLANUEVA, FERNANDO CAISIP, ANTONIO LIANG, FELINA MIRANDA, RICARDO PUNO, FLORENCIO LAXA, and RENE OCAMPO, petitioners, vs. HON. MARIANO CASTAEDA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Branch III, VICENTE A. MACALINO, Officer-in-Charge, Office of the Mayor, San Fernando, Pampanga,respondents.

CRUZ, J.: There is in the vicinity of the public market of San Fernando, Pampanga, along Mercado Street, a strip of land measuring 12 by 77 meters on which stands a conglomeration of vendors stalls together forming what is commonly known as a talipapa. This is the subject of the herein petition. The petitioners claim they have a right to remain in and conduct business in this area by virtue of a previous authorization granted to them by the municipal government. The respondents deny this and justify the demolition of their stalls as illegal constructions on public property. At the petitioners' behest, we have issued a temporary restraining order to preserve the status quobetween the parties pending our decision. 1 Now we shall rule on the merits. This dispute goes back to November 7, 1961, when the municipal council of San Fernando adopted Resolution No. 218 authorizing some 24 members of the Fernandino United Merchants and Traders Association to construct permanent stags and sell in the above-mentioned place. 2 The action was protested on November 10, 1961, in Civil Case No. 2040, where the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Branch 2, issued a writ of preliminary injunction that prevented the defendants from constructing the said stalls until final resolution of the controversy. 3On January 18, 1964, while this case was pending, the municipal council of San Fernando adopted Resolution G.R. No. 29, which declared the subject area as "the parking place and as the public plaza of the municipality, 4thereby impliedly revoking Resolution No. 218, series of 1961. Four years later, on November 2, 1968, Judge Andres C. Aguilar decided the aforesaid case and held that the land occupied by the petitioners, being public in nature, was beyond the commerce of man and therefore could not be the subject of private occupancy. 5 The writ of preliminary injunction was made permanent. 6 The decision was apparently not enforced, for the petitioners were not evicted from the place; in fact, according to then they and the 128 other persons were in 1971 assigned specific areas or space allotments therein for which they paid daily fees to the municipal government. 7 The problem appears to have festered for some more years under a presumably uneasy truce among the protagonists, none of whom made any move, for some reason that does not appear in the record. Then, on January 12, 1982, the Association of Concerned Citizens and Consumers of San Fernando filed a petition for the immediate implementation of Resolution No. 29, to restore the subject property "to its original and customary use as a public plaza. 8 Acting thereon after an investigation conducted by the municipal attorney, 9 respondent Vicente A. Macalino, as officer-in-charge of the office of the mayor of San Fernando, issued on June 14, 1982, a resolution requiring the municipal treasurer and the municipal engineer to demolish the stalls in the subject place beginning July 1, 1982.10 The reaction of the petitioners was to file a petition for prohibition with the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, docketed as Civil Case No. 6470, on June 26, 1982. The respondent judge denied the petition on July 19, 1982, 11and the motion for reconsideration on August 5, 1982, 12 prompting the petitioners to come to this Court oncertiorari to challenge his decision. 13 As required, respondent Macalino filed his comment 14 on the petition, and the petitioners countered with their reply. 15 In compliance with our resolution of February 2, 1983, the petitioners submitted their memorandum 16 and respondent Macalino, for his part, asked that his comment be considered his memorandum. 17 On July 28, 1986, the new officer-in-charge of the office of the mayor of San Fernando, Paterno

S. Guevarra, was impleaded in lieu of Virgilio Sanchez, who had himself earlier replaced the original respondent Macalino. 18 After considering the issues and the arguments raised by the parties in their respective pleadings, we rule for the respondents. The petition must be dismissed. There is no question that the place occupied by the petitioners and from which they are sought to be evicted is a public plaza, as found by the trial court in Civil Case No. 2040. This finding was made after consideration of the antecedent facts as especially established by the testimony of former San Fernando Mayor Rodolfo Hizon, who later became governor of Pampanga, that the National Planning Commission had reserved the area for a public plaza as early as 1951. This intention was reiterated in 1964 through the adoption of Resolution No. 29. 19 It does not appear that the decision in this case was appealed or has been reversed. In Civil Case G.R. No. 6740, which is the subject of this petition, the respondent judge saw no reason to disturb the finding in Civil Case No. 2040 and indeed used it as a basis for his own decision sustaining the questioned order. 20 The basic contention of the petitioners is that the disputed area is under lease to them by virtue of contracts they had entered into with the municipal government, first in 1961 insofar as the original occupants were concerned, and later with them and the other petitioners by virtue of the space allocations made in their favor in 1971 for which they saw they are paying daily fees. 21 The municipal government has denied making such agreements. In any case, they argue, since the fees were collected daily, the leases, assuming their validity, could be terminated at will, or any day, as the claimed rentals indicated that the period of the leases was from day to day. 22 The parties belabor this argument needlessly. A public plaza is beyond the commerce of man and so cannot be the subject of lease or any other contractual undertaking. This is elementary. Indeed, this point was settled as early as in Municipality of Cavite vs. Rojas, 23decided in 1915, where the Court declared as null and void the lease of a public plaza of the said municipality in favor of a private person. Justice Torres said in that case: According to article 344 of the Civil Code: "Property for public use in provinces and in towns comprises the provincial and town roads, the squares, streets, fountains, and public waters, the promenades, and public works of general service supported by said towns or provinces. The said Plaza Soledad being a promenade for public use, the municipal council of Cavite could not in 1907 withdraw or exclude from public use a portion thereof in order to lease it for the sole benefit of the defendant Hilaria Rojas. In leasing a portion of said plaza or public place to the defendant for private use the plaintiff municipality exceeded its authority in the exercise of its powers by executing a contract over a thing of which it could not dispose, nor is it empowered so to do. The Civil Code, article 1271, prescribes that everything which is not outside the commerce of man may be the object of a contract, and plazas and streets are outside of this commerce, as was decided by the supreme court of Spain in its decision of February 12, 1895, which says: "communal things that cannot be sold because they are by their very nature outside of commerce are those for public use, such as the plazas, streets, common lands, rivers, fountains, etc." Therefore, it must be concluded that the contract, Exhibit C, whereby the municipality of Cavite leased to Hilaria Rojas a portion of the Plaza Soledad is null and void and of no force or effect, because it is contrary to the law and the thing leased cannot be the object of a was held that the City of contract. In Muyot vs. de la Fuente, 24 it was held that the City of Manila could not lease a portion of a public sidewalk on Plaza Sta. Cruz, being likewise beyond the commerce of man. Echoing Rojas, the decision said: Appellants claim that they had obtained permit from the present of the City of Manila, to connect booths Nos. 1 and 2, along the premises in question, and for the use of spaces where the booths were constructed, they had paid and continued paying the corresponding rentals. Granting this claim to be true, one should not entertain any doubt that such permit was not legal, because the City of Manila does not have any power or authority at all to lease a portion of a public sidewalk. The sidewalk in question, forming part of the public plaza of Sta. Cruz, could not be a proper subject matter of the contract, as it was not within the commerce of man (Article 1347, new Civil Code, and article 1271, old Civil Code). Any contract entered into by the City of Manila in connection with the sidewalk, is ipso facto null and ultra vires. (Municipality of Cavite vs. Roxas, et a1, 30 Phil. 603.) The sidewalk in question was intended for and was used by the public, in going from one place to another. "The streets and public places of the city shall be kept free and clear for the use of the public, and the sidewalks and crossings for the pedestrians, and the same shall only be used or occupied for other purpose as provided by ordinance or regulation; ..." (Sec. 1119, Revised Ordinances of the City of Manila.) The booths in question served as fruit stands for their owners and often, if not always, blocked the fire passage of pedestrians who had to take the plaza itself which used to be clogged with vehicular traffic. Exactly in point is Espiritu vs. Municipal Council of Pozorrubio, 25 where the Supreme Court declared: There is absolutely no question that the town plaza cannot be used for the construction of market stalls, specially of residences, and that such structures constitute a nuisance subject to abatement according to law. Town plazas are properties of public dominion, to be devoted to public use and to be made available to the public in general They are outside the common of man and cannot be disposed of or even leased by the municipality to private parties. Applying this well-settled doctrine, we rule that the petitioners had no right in the first place to occupy the disputed premises and cannot insist in remaining there now on the strength of their alleged lease contracts. They should have realized and accepted this earlier, considering that even before Civil Case No. 2040 was decided, the municipalcouncil of San Fernando had already adopted Resolution No. 29, series of 1964, declaring the area as the parking place and public plaza of the municipality. It is the decision in Civil Case No. 2040 and the said resolution of the municipal council of San Fernando that respondent Macalino was seeking to enforce when he ordered the demolition of the stags constructed in the disputed area. As officer-in-charge of the office of the mayor, he had the duty to clear the area and restore it to its

intended use as a parking place and public plaza of the municipality of San Fernando, conformably to the aforementioned orders from the court and the council. It is, therefore, not correct to say that he had acted without authority or taken the law into his hands in issuing his order. Neither can it be said that he acted whimsically in exercising his authority for it has been established that he directed the demolition of the stalls only after, upon his instructions, the municipal attorney had conducted an investigation, to look into the complaint filed by the Association of Concerned Citizens and Consumers of San Fernando. 26 There is evidence that the petitioners were notified of this hearing, 27which they chose to disregard. Photographs of the disputed area, 28 which does look congested and ugly, show that the complaint was valid and that the area really needed to be cleared, as recommended by the municipal attorney. The Court observes that even without such investigation and recommendation, the respondent mayor was justified in ordering the area cleared on the strength alone of its status as a public plaza as declared by the judicial and legislative authorities. In calling first for the investigation (which the petitioner saw fit to boycott), he was just scrupulously paying deference to the requirements of due process, to remove an taint of arbitrariness in the action he was caged upon to take. Since the occupation of the place in question in 1961 by the original 24 stallholders (whose number later ballooned to almost 200), it has deteriorated increasingly to the great prejudice of the community in general. The proliferation of stags therein, most of them makeshift and of flammable materials, has converted it into a veritable fire trap, which, added to the fact that it obstructs access to and from the public market itself, has seriously endangered public safety. The filthy condition of the talipapa, where fish and other wet items are sold, has aggravated health and sanitation problems, besides pervading the place with a foul odor that has spread into the surrounding areas. The entire place is unsightly, to the dismay and embarrassment of the inhabitants, who want it converted into a showcase of the town of which they can all be proud. The vendors in the talipapa have also spilled into the street and obstruct the flow of traffic, thereby impairing the convenience of motorists and pedestrians alike. The regular stallholders in the public market, who pay substantial rentals to the municipality, are deprived of a sizable volume of business from prospective customers who are intercepted by the talipapa vendors before they can reach the market proper. On top of all these, the people are denied the proper use of the place as a public plaza, where they may spend their leisure in a relaxed and even beautiful environment and civic and other communal activities of the town can be held. The problems caused by the usurpation of the place by the petitioners are covered by the police power as delegated to the municipality under the general welfare clause. 29 This authorizes the municipal council "to enact such ordinances and make such regulations, not repugnant to law, as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred upon it by law and such as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein." This authority was validly exercised in this casethrough the adoption of Resolution No. 29, series of 1964, by the municipal council of San Fernando. Even assuming a valid lease of the property in dispute, the resolution could have effectively terminated the agreement for it is settled that the police power cannot be surrendered or bargained away through the medium of a contract. 30 In fact, every contract affecting the public interest suffers a congenital infirmity in that it contains an implied reservation of the police power as a postulate of the existing legal order. 31 This power can be activated at any time to change the provisions of the contract, or even abrogate it entirely, for the promotion or protection of the general welfare. Such an act will not militate against the impairment clause, which is subject to and limited by the paramount police power. 32 We hold that the respondent judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying the petition for prohibition. On the contrary, he acted correctly in sustaining the right and responsibility of the mayor to evict the petitioners from the disputed area and clear it of an the structures illegally constructed therein. The Court feels that it would have been far more amiable if the petitioners themselves, recognizing their own civic duty, had at the outset desisted from their original stance and withdrawn in good grace from the disputed area to permit its peaceful restoration as a public plaza and parking place for the benefit of the whole municipality. They owned this little sacrifice to the community in general which has suffered all these many years because of their intransigence. Regrettably, they have refused to recognize that in the truly democratic society, the interests of the few should yield to those of the greater number in deference to the principles that the welfare of the people is the supreme law and overriding purpose. We do not see any altruism here. The traditional ties of sharing are absent here. What we find, sad to say, is a cynical disdaining of the spirit of "bayanihan," a selfish rejection of the cordial virtues of "pakikisama " and "pagbibigayan" which are the hallmarks of our people. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The decision dated July 19, 1982, and the order-dated August 5, 1982, are AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order dated August 9, 1982, is LIFTED. This decision is immediately executory. Costs against the petitioners. SO ORDERED. PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (PRC), CHAIRMAN HERMOGENES P. POBRE, ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ARMANDO PASCUAL, BOARD OF MEDICINE, CHAIRMAN RODOLFO P. DE GUZMAN, JOSE S. RAMIREZ, JUANITO B. BILLOTE, RUBEN R. POLICARPIO, EDGARDO T. FERNANDO and RICARDO D. FULGENCIO II, petitioners, vs. ARLENE V. DE GUZMAN, VIOLETA V. MENESES, CELERINA S. NAVARRO, JOSE RAMONCITO P. NAVARRO, ARNEL V. HERRERA and GERALDINE ELIZABETH M. PAGILAGAN, ELNORA R. RAQUENO respondents. DECISION TINGA, J.: This petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeks to nullify the Decision,[1] dated May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283. The appellate court affirmed the judgment[2] dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case No. 93-66530. The trial court allowed the respondents to take their physicians oath and to register as duly licensed physicians. Equally challenged is the Resolution[3] promulgated on August 25, 2000 of the Court of Appeals, denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. The facts of this case are as follows: The respondents are all graduates of the Fatima College of Medicine, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. They passed the Physician Licensure Examination conducted in February 1993 by the Board of Medicine (Board). Petitioner Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) then released their names as successful examinees in the medical licensure examination. Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that the grades of the seventy-nine successful examinees from Fatima College in the two most difficult subjects in the medical licensure exam, Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne), were unusually and exceptionally high. Eleven Fatima examinees

scored 100% in Bio-Chem and ten got 100% in OB-Gyne, another eleven got 99% in Bio-Chem, and twenty-one scored 99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed that many of those who passed from Fatima got marks of 95% or better in both subjects, and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A comparison of the performances of the candidates from other schools was made. The Board observed that strangely, the unusually high ratings were true only for Fatima College examinees. It was a record-breaking phenomenon in the history of the Physician Licensure Examination. On June 7, 1993, the Board issued Resolution No. 19, withholding the registration as physicians of all the examinees from the Fatima College of Medicine.[4] The PRC asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate whether any anomaly or irregularity marred the February 1993 Physician Licensure Examination. Prior to the NBI investigation, the Board requested Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert mathematician and authority in statistics, and later president of the Ateneo de Manila University, to conduct a statistical analysis of the results in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the said examination. On June 10, 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He reported that a comparison of the scores in BioChem and Ob-Gyne, of the Fatima College examinees with those of examinees from De La Salle University and Perpetual Help College of Medicine showed that the scores of Fatima College examinees were not only incredibly high but unusually clustered close to each other. He concluded that there must be some unusual reason creating the clustering of scores in the two subjects. It must be a cause strong enough to eliminate the normal variations that one should expect from the examinees [of Fatima College] in terms of talent, effort, energy, etc.[5] For its part, the NBI found that the questionable passing rate of Fatima examinees in the [1993] Physician Examination leads to the conclusion that the Fatima examinees gained early access to the test questions.[6] On July 5, 1993, respondents Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V. Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan (Arlene V. De Guzman et al., for brevity) filed a special civil action for mandamus, with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction docketed as Civil Case No. 93-66530 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition was adopted by the other respondents as intervenors. Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution No. 26, dated July 21, 1993, charging respondents with immorality, dishonest conduct, fraud, and deceit in connection with the Bio -Chem and Ob-Gyne examinations. It recommended that the test results of the Fatima examinees be nullified. The case was docketed as Adm. Case No. 1687 by the PRC. On July 28, 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil Case No. 93-66530 granting the preliminary mandatory injunction sought by the respondents. It ordered the petitioners to administer the physicians oath to Arlene V. De Guzman et al., and enter their names in the rolls of the PRC. The petitioners then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to set aside the mandatory injunctive writ, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. On October 21, 1993, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP No. 31701, with the dispositive portion of the Decision ordaining as follows: WHEREFORE, this petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issued by the lower court against petitioners is hereby nullified and set aside. SO ORDERED.[7] Arlene V. de Guzman, et al., then elevated the foregoing Decision to this Court in G.R. No. 112315. In our Resolution dated May 23, 1994, we denied the petition for failure to show reversible error on the part of the appellate court. Meanwhile, on November 22, 1993, during the pendency of the instant petition, the pre-trial conference in Civil Case No. 93-66530 was held. Then, the parties, agreed to reduce the testimonies of their respective witnesses to sworn questions-and-answers. This was without prejudice to cross-examination by the opposing counsel. On December 13, 1993, petitioners counsel failed to appear at the trial in the mistaken belief that the trial was set for December 15. The trial court then ruled that petitioners waived their right to cross-examine the witnesses. On January 27, 1994, counsel for petitioners filed a Manifestation and Motion stating the reasons for her non-appearance and praying that the cross-examination of the witnesses for the opposing parties be reset. The trial court denied the motion for lack of notice to adverse counsel. It also denied the Motion for Reconsideration that followed on the ground that adverse counsel was notified less than three (3) days prior to the hearing. Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from proceeding with Adm. Case No. 1687, the respondents herein moved for the issuance of a restraining order, which the lower court granted in its Order dated April 4, 1994. The petitioners then filed with this Court a petition for certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 115704, to annul the Orders of the trial court dated November 13, 1993, February 28, 1994, and April 4, 1994. We referred the petition to the Court of Appeals where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. On August 31, 1994, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 as follows: WHEREFORE, the present petition for certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction is GRANTED and the Orders of December 13, 1993, February 7, 1994, February 28, 1994, and April 4, 1994 of the RTC-Manila, Branch 52, and all further proceedings taken by it in Special Civil Action No. 93-66530 are hereby DECLARED NULL and VOID. The said RTC-Manila is ordered to allow petitioners counsel to crossexamine the respondents witnesses, to allow petitioners to present their evidence in due course of trial, and thereafter to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the evidence of the parties. Costs against respondents. IT IS SO ORDERED.[8] The trial was then set and notices were sent to the parties. A day before the first hearing, on September 22, 1994, the petitioners filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion praying for the partial reconsideration of the appellate courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506, and for the outright dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. The petitioners asked for the suspension of the proceedings. In its Order dated September 23, 1994, the trial court granted the aforesaid motion, cancelled the scheduled hearing dates, and reset the proceedings to October 21 and 28, 1994. Meanwhile, on October 25, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied the partial motion for reconsideration in CAG.R. SP No. 34506. Thus, petitioners filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review docketed as G.R. No. 117817, entitled Professional Regulation Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.

On November 11, 1994, counsel for the petitioners failed to appear at the trial of Civil Case No. 93-66530. Upon motion of the respondents herein, the trial court ruled that herein petitioners waived their right to crossexamine the herein respondents. Trial was reset to November 28, 1994. On November 25, 1994, petitioners counsel moved for the inhibition of the trial court judge for alleged partiality. On November 28, 1994, the day the Motion to Inhibit was to be heard, petitioners failed to appear. Thus, the trial court denied the Motion to Inhibit and declared Civil Case No. 93-66530 deemed submitted for decision. On December 19, 1994, the trial court handed down its judgment in Civil Case No. 93-66530, the fallo of which reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered ordering the respondents to allow the petitioners and intervenors (except those with asterisks and footnotes in pages 1 & 2 of this decision) [sic], [9] to take the physicians oath and to register them as physicians. It should be made clear that this decision is without prejudice to any administrative disciplinary action which may be taken against any of the petitioners for such causes and in the manner provided by law and consistent with the requirements of the Constitution as any other professionals. No costs. SO ORDERED.[10] As a result of these developments, petitioners filed with this Court a petition for review on certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 118437, entitled Professional Regulation Commission v. Hon. David G. Nitafan, praying inter alia, that (1) G.R. No. 118437 be consolidated with G.R. No. 117817; (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 31, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 be nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530, and in the alternative, to set aside the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 9366530, order the trial court judge to inhibit himself, and Civil Case No. 93-66530 be re-raffled to another branch. On December 26, 1994, the petitioners herein filed their Notice of Appeal[11] in Civil Case No. 93-66530, thereby elevating the case to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 37283. In our Resolution of June 7, 1995, G.R. No. 118437 was consolidated with G.R. No. 117817. On July 9, 1998, we disposed of G.R. Nos. 117817 and 118437 in this wise: II WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 117817 is DISMISSED for being moot. The petition in G.R. No. 118437 is likewise DISMISSED on the ground that there is a pending appeal before the Court of Appeals. Assistant Solicitor General Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang is advised to be more circumspect in her dealings with the courts as a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with accordingly. SO ORDERED.[12] While CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 was awaiting disposition by the appellate court, Arnel V. Herrera, one of the original petitioners in Civil Case No. 93-66530, joined by twenty-seven intervenors, to wit: Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T. Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza, Cheryl R. Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS COULD PROCEED DESPITE THE PENDENCY OF ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1687, WHICH WAS PRECISELY LODGED TO DETERMINE THE MORAL FITNESS OF RESPONDENTS TO BECOME DOCTORS.[15] To our mind, the only issue is: Did the Court of Appeals commit a reversible error of law in sustaining the judgment of the trial court that respondents are entitled to a writ of mandamus? The petitioners submit that a writ of mandamus will not lie in this case. They point out that for a writ of mandamus to issue, the applicant must have a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded and it is the duty of the respondent to perform the act required. Thus, mandamus may be availed of only when the duty sought to be performed is a ministerial and not a discretionary one. The petitioners argue that the appella te courts Acosta-Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C. Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario L. Leonor-Lacandula, Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, manifested that they were no longer interested in proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal. A similar manifestation and motion was later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan, Michael L. Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabara, Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A. Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J. Caedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. The Court of Appeals ruled that its decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 would not apply to them. On May 16, 2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, with the following fallo, to wit: WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, We hereby AFFIRM the same and DISMISS the instant appeal. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.[13] In sustaining the trial courts decision, the appellate court ratiocinated that the respondents complied with all the statutory requirements for admission into the licensure examination for physicians in February 1993. They all passed the said examination. Having fulfilled the requirements of Republic Act No. 2382, [14] they should be allowed to take their oaths as physicians and be registered in the rolls of the PRC. Hence, this petition raising the following issues: I WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS HAVE A VALID CAUSE OF ACTION FOR MANDAMUS AGAINST PETITIONERS IN THE LIGHT OF THE RESOLUTION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN G.R. NO. 112315 AFFIRMING THE COURT OF APPEALS DECISION DECLARING THAT IF EVER THERE IS SOME DOUBT AS TO THE MORAL FITNESS OF EXAMINEES, THE ISSUANCE OF LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED TO THE SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES.

decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 upholding the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530 overlooked its own pronouncement in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The Court of Appeals held in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701 that the issuance of a license to engage in the practice of medicine becomes discretionary on the PRC if there exists some doubt that the successful examinee has not fully met the requirements of the law. The petitioners stress that this Courts Resolution dated May 24, 1994 in G.R. No. 112315 held that there was no showing that the Court of Appeals had committed any reversible error in rendering the questioned judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The petitioners point out that our Resolution in G.R. No. 112315 has long become final and executory. Respondents counter that having passed the 1993 licensure examinations for physicians, the petitioners have the obligation to administer to them the oath as physicians and to issue their certificates of registration as physicians pursuant to Section 20[16] of Rep. Act No. 2382. The Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, found that respondents complied with all the requirements of Rep. Act No. 2382. Furthermore, respondents were admitted by the Medical Board to the licensure examinations and had passed the same. Hence, pursuant to Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, the petitioners had the obligation to administer their oaths as physicians and register them. Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or the sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified, which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed, or from operation of law.[17] Section 3 of Rule 65[18] of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure outlines two situations when a writ of mandamus may issue, when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully (1) neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; or (2) excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which the other is entitled. We shall discuss the issues successively. 1. On The Existence of a Duty of the Board of Medicine To Issue Certificates of Registration as Physicians under Rep. Act No. 2382. For mandamus to prosper, there must be a showing that the officer, board, or official concerned, has a clear legal duty, not involving discretion.[19] Moreover, there must be statutory authority for the performance of the act,[20] and the performance of the duty has been refused. [21] Thus, it must be pertinently asked now: Did petitioners have the duty to administer the Hippocratic Oath and register respondents as physicians under the Medical Act of 1959? As found by the Court of Appeals, on which we agree on the basis of the records: It bears emphasizing herein that petitioner-appellees and intervenor-appellees have fully complied with all the statutory requirements for admission into the licensure examinations for physicians conducted and administered by the respondent-appellants on February 12, 14, 20 and 21, 1993. Stress, too, must be made of the fact that all of them successfully passed the same examinations.[22] The crucial query now is whether the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that petitioners should allow the respondents to take their oaths as physicians and register them, steps which would enable respondents to practice the medical profession[23] pursuant to Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959? The appellate court relied on a single provision, Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, in concluding that the petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer the Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them as physicians. But it is a basic rule in statutory construction that each part of a statute should be construed in connection with every other part to produce a harmonious whole, not confining construction to only one section.[24] The intent or meaning of the statute should be ascertained from the statute taken as a whole, not from an isolated part of the provision. Accordingly, Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, as amended should be read in conjunction with the other provisions of the Act. Thus, to determine whether the petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer the Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them as physicians, recourse must be had to the entirety of the Medical Act of 1959. A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959 discloses that the law uses the word shall with respect to the issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, the petitioners shallsign and issue certificates of registration to those who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Board. In statutory construction the term shall is a word of command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of his physicians license, the Board is obliged to administer to him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section 20 and par. (1) of Section 22 [25] of the Medical Act of 1959. However, the surrounding circumstances in this case call for serious inquiry concerning the satisfactory compliance with the Board requirements by the respondents. The unusually high scores in the two most difficult subjects was phenomenal, according to Fr. Nebres, the consultant of PRC on the matter, and raised grave doubts about the integrity, if not validity, of the tests. These doubts have to be appropriately resolved. Under the second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is vested with the power to conduct administrative investigations and disapprove applications for examination or registration, pursuant to the objectives of Rep. Act No. 2382 as outlined in Section 1[26] thereof. In this case, after the investigation, the Board filed before the PRC, Adm. Case No. 1687 against the respondents to ascertain their moral and mental fitness to practice medicine, as required by Section 9[27] of Rep. Act No. 2382. In its Decision dated July 1, 1997, the Board ruled: WHEREFORE, the BOARD hereby CANCELS the respondents[] examination papers in the Physician Licensure Examinations given in February 1993 and further DEBARS them from taking any licensure examination for a period of ONE (1) YEAR from the date of the promulgation of this DECISION. They may, if they so desire, apply for the scheduled examinations for physicians after the lapse of the period imposed by the BOARD. SO ORDERED.[28] Until the moral and mental fitness of the respondents could be ascertained, according to petitioners, the Board has discretion to hold in abeyance the administration of the Hippocratic Oath and the issuance of the certificates to them. The writ of mandamus does not lie to compel performance of an act which is not duly authorized. The respondents nevertheless argue that under Section 20, the Board shall not issue a certificate of registration only in the following instances: (1) to any candidate who has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude; (2) or has been found guilty of immoral or dishonorable conduct after the investigation by the Board; or (3) has been declared to be of unsound mind. They aver that none of these circumstances are present in their case. Petitioners reject respondents argument. We are informed that in Board Resolution No. 26,[29] dated July 21, 1993, the Board resolved to file charges against the examinees from Fatima College of Medicine for immorality, dishonesty, fraud, and deceit in the Obstetrics-Gynecology and Biochemistry examinations. It likewise sought to cancel the examination results obtained by the examinees from the Fatima College. Section 8[30] of Rep. Act No. 2382 prescribes, among others, that a person who aspires to practice medicine in the Philippines, must have satisfactorily passed the corresponding Board Examination. Section 22, in turn, provides that the oath may only be administered to physicians who qualified in the examinations. Th e operative word here is satisfactorily, defined as sufficient to meet a condition or obligation or capable of dispelling doubt or ignorance.[31] Gleaned from Board Resolution No. 26, the licensing authority apparently did not find that

the respondents satisfactorily passed the licensure examinations. The Board instead sought to nullify the examination results obtained by the respondents. 2. On the Right Of The Respondents To Be Registered As Physicians The function of mandamus is not to establish a right but to enforce one that has been established by law. If no legal right has been violated, there can be no application of a legal remedy, and the writ of mandamus is a legal remedy for a legal right.[32] There must be a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded.[33] It is long established rule that a license to practice medicine is a privilege or franchise granted by the government. [34] It is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional right[35] of every citizen to select a profession or course of study subject to a fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic requirements. [36] But like all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, their exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order, safety, and general welfare of the people. [37] Thus, persons who desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. This regulation takes particular pertinence in the field of medicine, to protect the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance among those who would practice medicine. In a previous case, it may be recalled, this Court has ordered the Board of Medical Examiners to annul both its resolution and certificate authorizing a Spanish subject, with the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Barcelona, Spain, to practice medicine in the Philippines, without first passing the examination required by the Philippine Medical Act.[38] In another case worth noting, we upheld the power of the State to upgrade the selection of applicants into medical schools through admission tests.[39] It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to regulate the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner. A political body that regulates the exercise of a particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant such privilege in accordance with certain conditions. Such conditions may not, however, require giving up ones constitutional rights as a condition to acquiring the license.[40] Under the view that the legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer, courts will generally strike down license legislation that vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to carry on some ordinarily lawful business, profession, or activity without prescribing definite rules and conditions for the guidance of said officials in the exercise of their power.[41] In the present case, the aforementioned guidelines are provided for in Rep. Act No. 2382, as amended, which prescribes the requirements for admission to the practice of medicine, the qualifications of candidates for the board examinations, the scope and conduct of the examinations, the grounds for denying the issuance of a physicians license, or revoking a license that has been issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the applicant must show that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully complied with all the conditions and requirements imposed by the law and the licensing authority. Should doubt taint or mar the compliance as being less than satisfactory, then the privilege will not issue. For said privilege is distinguishable from a matter of right, which may be demanded if denied. Thus, without a definite showing that the aforesaid requirements and conditions have been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the writ of mandamus to secure said privilege without thwarting the legislative will. 3. On the Ripeness of the Petition for Mandamus Lastly, the petitioners herein contend that the Court of Appeals should have dismissed the petition for mandamus below for being premature. They argue that the administrative remedies had not been exhausted. The records show that this is not the first time that petitioners have sought the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. This issue was raised in G.R. No. 115704, which petition we referred to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. On motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506, the appellate court denied the motion to dismiss on the ground that the prayers for the nullification of the order of the trial court and the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530 were inconsistent reliefs. In G.R. No. 118437, the petitioners sought to nullify the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 insofar as it did not order the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. In our consolidated decision, dated July 9, 1998, in G.R. Nos. 117817 & 118437, this Court speaking through Justice Bellosillo opined that: Indeed, the issue as to whether the Court of Appeals erred in not ordering the dismissal of Civil Case No. 9366530 sought to be resolved in the instant petition has been rendered meaningless by an event taking place prior to the filing of this petition and denial thereof should follow as a logical consequence. [42] There is no longer any justiciable controversy so that any declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. [43] It should be recalled that in its decision of 19 December 1994 the trial court granted the writ of mandamus prayed for by private respondents, which decision was received by petitioners on 20 December 1994. Three (3) days after, or on 23 December 1994, petitioners filed the instant petition. By then, the remedy available to them was to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, which they in fact did, by filing a notice of appeal on 26 December 1994.[44] The petitioners have shown no cogent reason for us to reverse the aforecited ruling. Nor will their reliance upon the doctrine of the exhaustion of administrative remedies in the instant case advance their cause any. Section 26[45] of the Medical Act of 1959 provides for the administrative and judicial remedies that respondents herein can avail to question Resolution No. 26 of the Board of Medicine, namely: (a) appeal the unfavorable judgment to the PRC; (b) should the PRC ruling still be unfavorable, to elevate the matter on appeal to the Office of the President; and (c) should they still be unsatisfied, to ask for a review of the case or to bring the case to court via a special civil action of certiorari. Thus, as a rule, mandamus will not lie when administrative remedies are still available.[46] However, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply where, as in this case, a pure question of law is raised.[47] On this issue, no reversible error may, thus, be laid at the door of the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, when it refused to dismiss Civil Case No. 93-66530. As we earlier pointed out, herein respondents Arnel V. Herrera, Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T. Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. MallariLargoza, Cheryl R. Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C. Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario Leonor-Lacandula, Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro manifested to the Court of Appeals during the pendency of CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, that they were no longer interested in proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal insofar as they were concerned. A similar manifestation and motion were later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan, Michael L. Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabarra, Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A. Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J. Caedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. Following these manifestations and motions, the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 decreed that its ruling would not apply to them. Thus, inasmuch as the instant case is a petition for review of the appellate courts ruling in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, a decision which is inapplicable to the aforementioned respondents will similarly not apply to them. As to Achilles J. Peralta, Evelyn O. Ramos, Sally B. Bunagan, Rogelio B. Ancheta, Oscar H. Padua, Jr., Evelyn D. Grajo, Valentino P. Arboleda, Carlos M. Bernardo, Jr., Mario D. Cuaresma, Violeta C. Felipe, Percival H. Pangilinan, Corazon M. Cruz and Samuel B. Bangoy, herein decision shall not apply pursuant to the Orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530, dropping their names from the suit.

Consequently, this Decision is binding only on the remaining respondents, namely: Arlene V. de Guzman, Celerina S. Navarro, Rafael I. Tolentino, Bernardita B. Sy, Gloria T. Jularbal, Hubert S. Nazareno, Nancy J. Chavez, Ernesto L. Cue, Herminio V. Fernandez, Jr., Maria Victoria M. Lacsamana and Merly D. Sta. Ana, as well as the petitioners. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, (1) the assailed decision dated May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, which affirmed the judgment dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case No. 93-66530, ordering petitioners to administer the physicians oath to herein respondents as well as the resolution dated August 25, 2000, of the appellate court, denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and (2) the writ of mandamus, issued in Civil Case No. 93-66530, and affirmed by the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 is NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED. DIDIPIO EARTH-SAVERS MULTI-PURPOSE ASSOCIATION, , Petitioners, vs. ELISEA GOZUN, in her capacity as SECRETARY of the DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES (DENR), HORACIO RAMOS, in his capacity as Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-DENR), ALBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President, RICHARD N. FERRER, in his capacity as Acting Undersecretary of the Office of the President, IAN HEATH SANDERCOCK, in his capacity as President of CLIMAX-ARIMCO Mining Corporation.Respondents. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: This petition for prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assails the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7942 otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, together with the Implementing Rules and Regulations issued pursuant thereto, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 96-40, s. 1996 (DAO 96-40) and of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) entered into on 20 June 1994 by the Republic of the Philippines and Arimco Mining Corporation (AMC), a corporation established under the laws of Australia and owned by its nationals. On 25 July 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated Executive Order No. 279 which authorized the DENR Secretary to accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreign-owned corporations or foreign investors for contracts of agreements involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, which, upon appropriate recommendation of the Secretary, the President may execute with the foreign proponent. On 3 March 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Rep. Act No. 7942 entitled, "An Act Instituting A New System of Mineral Resources Exploration, Development, Utilization and Conservation," otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. On 15 August 1995, then DENR Secretary Victor O. Ramos issued DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 23, Series of 1995, containing the implementing guidelines of Rep. Act No. 7942. This was soon superseded by DAO No. 96-40, s. 1996, which took effect on 23 January 1997 after due publication. Previously, however, or specifically on 20 June 1994, President Ramos executed an FTAA with AMC over a total land area of 37,000 hectares covering the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. Included in this area is Barangay Dipidio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. Subsequently, AMC consolidated with Climax Mining Limited to form a single company that now goes under the new name of Climax-Arimco Mining Corporation (CAMC), the controlling 99% of stockholders of which are Australian nationals. On 7 September 2001, counsels for petitioners filed a demand letter addressed to then DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez, for the cancellation of the CAMC FTAA for the primary reason that Rep. Act No. 7942 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations DAO 96-40 are unconstitutional. The Office of the Executive Secretary was also furnished a copy of the said letter. There being no response to both letters, another letter of the same content dated 17 June 2002 was sent to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This letter was indorsed to the DENR Secretary and eventually referred to the Panel of Arbitrators of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Regional Office No. 02, Tuguegarao, Cagayan, for further action. On 12 November 2002, counsels for petitioners received a letter from the Panel of Arbitrators of the MGB requiring the petitioners to comply with the Rules of the Panel of Arbitrators before the letter may be acted upon. Yet again, counsels for petitioners sent President Arroyo another demand letter dated 8 November 2002. Said letter was again forwarded to the DENR Secretary who referred the same to the MGB, Quezon City. In a letter dated 19 February 2003, the MGB rejected the demand of counsels for petitioners for the cancellation of the CAMC Petitioners thus filed the present petition for prohibition and mandamus, with a prayer for a temporary restraining order. They pray that the Court issue an order: 1. enjoining public respondents from acting on any application for FTAA; 2. declaring unconstitutional the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations; 3. canceling the FTAA issued to CAMC. In their memorandum petitioners pose the following issues: I Whether or not Republic Act No. 7942 and the CAMC FTAA are void because they allow the unjust and unlawful taking of property without payment of just compensation , in violation of Section 9, Article III of the Constitution. II

Whether or not the Mining Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations are void and unconstitutional for sanctioning an unconstitutional administrative process of determining just compensation. III Whether or not the State, through Republic Act No. 7942 and the CAMC FTAA, abdicated its primary responsibility to the full control and supervision over natural resources. IV Whether or not the respondents interpretation of the role of wholly foreign and foreign -owned corporations in their involvement in mining enterprises, violates paragraph 4, section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. V WHETHER OR NOT THE 1987 CONSTITUTION PROHIBITS SERVICE CONTRACTS.1 Before going to the substantive issues, the procedural question raised by public respondents shall first be dealt with. Public respondents are of the view that petitioners eminent domain claim is not ripe for adjudication as they fail to allege that CAMC has actually taken their properties nor do they allege that their property rights have been endangered or are in danger on account of CAMCs FTAA. In effect, public respondents insist that the issue of eminent domain is not a justiciable controversy which this Court can take cognizance of. A justiciable controversy is defined as a definite and concrete dispute touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests which may be resolved by a court of law through the application of a law. 2 Thus, courts have no judicial power to review cases involving political questions and as a rule, will desist from taking cognizance of speculative or hypothetical cases, advisory opinions and cases that have become moot. 3 The Constitution is quite explicit on this matter.4 It provides that judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. Pursuant to this constitutional mandate, courts, through the power of judicial review, are to entertain only real disputes between conflicting parties through the application of law. For the courts to exercise the power of judicial review, the following must be extant (1) there must be an actual case calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the question must be ripe for adjudication; and (3) the person challenging must have the "standing." 5 An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. 6 There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence. Closely related to the second requisite is that the question must be ripe for adjudication. A question is considered ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it.7 The third requisite is legal standing or locus standi. It is defined as a personal or substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged, alleging more than a generalized grievance.8 The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges "such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."9 Unless a person is injuriously affected in any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing.10 In the instant case, there exists a live controversy involving a clash of legal rights as Rep. Act No. 7942 has been enacted, DAO 96-40 has been approved and an FTAAs have been entered into. The FTAA holders have already been operating in various provinces of the country. Among them is CAMC which operates in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino where numerous individuals including the petitioners are imperiled of being ousted from their landholdings in view of the CAMC FTAA. In light of this, the court cannot await the adverse consequences of the law in order to consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial intervention.11 Actual eviction of the land owners and occupants need not happen for this Court to intervene. As held in Pimentel, Jr. v. Hon. Aguirre12: By the mere enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the challenged act, the dispute is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even without any other overt act. Indeed, even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty.13 Petitioners embrace various segments of the society. These include Didipio Earth-Savers Multi-Purpose Association, Inc., an organization of farmers and indigenous peoples organized under Philippine laws, representing a community actually affected by the mining activities of CAMC, as well as other residents of areas affected by the mining activities of CAMC. These petitioners have the standing to raise the constitutionality of the questioned FTAA as they allege a personal and substantial injury.14 They assert that they are affected by the mining activities of CAMC. Likewise, they are under imminent threat of being displaced from their landholdings as a result of the implementation of the questioned FTAA. They thus meet the appropriate case requirement as they assert an interest adverse to that of respondents who, on the other hand, claim the validity of the assailed statute and the FTAA of CAMC. Besides, the transcendental importance of the issues raised and the magnitude of the public interest involved will have a bearing on the countrys economy which is to a greater extent dependent upon the mining industry. Also affected by the resolution of this case are the proprietary rights of numerous residents in the mining contract areas as well as the social existence of indigenous peoples which are threatened. Based on these considerations, this Court deems it proper to take cognizance of the instant petition. Having resolved the procedural question, the constitutionality of the law under attack must be addressed squarely. First Substantive Issue: Validity of Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 and DAO 96-40 In seeking to nullify Rep. Act No. 7942 and its implementing rules DAO 96-40 as unconstitutional, petitioners set their sight on Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 and Section 107 of DAO 96-40 which they claim allow the unlawful and unjust "taking" of private property for private purpose in contradiction with Section 9, Article III of the 1987 Constitution mandating that private property shall not be taken except for public use and the corresponding payment of just compensation. They assert that public respondent DENR, through the Mining Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, cannot, on its own, permit entry into a private property and allow taking of land without payment of just compensation. Interpreting Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 and Section 107 of DAO 96-40, juxtaposed with the concept of taking of property for purposes of eminent domain in the case of Republic v. Vda. de Castellvi, 15 petitioners assert that there is indeed a "taking" upon entry into private lands and concession areas.

Republic v. Vda. de Castellvi defines "taking" under the concept of eminent domain as entering upon private property for more than a momentary period, and, under the warrant or color of legal authority, devoting it to a public use, or otherwise informally appropriating or injuriously affecting it in such a way as to substantially oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment thereof. From the criteria set forth in the cited case, petitioners claim that the entry into a private property by CAMC, pursuant to its FTAA, is for more than a momentary period, i.e., for 25 years, and renewable for another 25 years; that the entry into the property is under the warrant or color of legal authority pursuant to the FTAA executed between the government and CAMC; and that the entry substantially ousts the owner or possessor and deprives him of all beneficial enjoyment of the property. These facts, according to the petitioners, amount to taking. As such, petitioners question the exercise of the power of eminent domain as unwarranted because respondents failed to prove that the entry into private property is devoted for public use. Petitioners also stress that even without the doctrine in the Castellvi case, the nature of the mining activity, the extent of the land area covered by the CAMC FTAA and the various rights granted to the proponent or the FTAA holder, such as (a) the right of possession of the Exploration Contract Area, with full right of ingress and egress and the right to occupy the same; (b) the right not to be prevented from entry into private lands by surface owners and/or occupants thereof when prospecting, exploring and exploiting for minerals therein; (c) the right to enjoy easement rights, the use of timber, water and other natural resources in the Exploration Contract Area; (d) the right of possession of the Mining Area, with full right of ingress and egress and the right to occupy the same; and (e) the right to enjoy easement rights, water and other natural resources in the Mining Area, result in a taking of private property. Petitioners quickly add that even assuming arguendo that there is no absolute, physical taking, at the very least, Section 76 establishes a legal easement upon the surface owners, occupants and concessionaires of a mining contract area sufficient to deprive them of enjoyment and use of the property and that such burden imposed by the legal easement falls within the purview of eminent domain. To further bolster their claim that the legal easement established is equivalent to taking, petitioners cite the case of National Power Corporation v. Gutierrez16 holding that the easement of right-of-way imposed against the use of the land for an indefinite period is a taking under the power of eminent domain. Traversing petitioners assertion, public respondents argue that Section 76 is not a taking provision but a valid exercise of the police power and by virtue of which, the state may prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order, safety and general welfare of the people. This government regulation involves the adjustment of rights for the public good and that this adjustment curtails some potential for the use or economic exploitation of private property. Public respondents concluded that "to require compensation in all such circumstances would compel the government to regulate by purchase." Public respondents are inclined to believe that by entering private lands and concession areas, FTAA holders do not oust the owners thereof nor deprive them of all beneficial enjoyment of their properties as the said entry merely establishes a legal easement upon surface owners, occupants and concessionaires of a mining contract area. Taking in Eminent Domain Distinguished from Regulation in Police Power The power of eminent domain is the inherent right of the state (and of those entities to which the power has been lawfully delegated) to condemn private property to public use upon payment of just compensation.17 On the other hand, police power is the power of the state to promote public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property.18 Although both police power and the power of eminent domain have the general welfare for their object, and recent trends show a mingling19 of the two with the latter being used as an implement of the former, there are still traditional distinctions between the two. Property condemned under police power is usually noxious or intended for a noxious purpose; hence, no compensation shall be paid.20 Likewise, in the exercise of police power, property rights of private individuals are subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state. Thus, an ordinance prohibiting theaters from selling tickets in excess of their seating capacity (which would result in the diminution of profits of the theater-owners) was upheld valid as this would promote the comfort, convenience and safety of the customers.21 In U.S. v. Toribio,22 the court upheld the provisions of Act No. 1147, a statute regulating the slaughter of carabao for the purpose of conserving an adequate supply of draft animals, as a valid exercise of police power, notwithstanding the property rights impairment that the ordinance imposed on cattle owners. A zoning ordinance prohibiting the operation of a lumber yard within certain areas was assailed as unconstitutional in that it was an invasion of the property rights of the lumber yard owners in People v. de Guzman. 23 The Court nonetheless ruled that the regulation was a valid exercise of police power. A similar ruling was arrived at in Seng Kee S Co. v. Earnshaw and Piatt24 where an ordinance divided the City of Manila into industrial and residential areas. A thorough scrutiny of the extant jurisprudence leads to a cogent deduction that where a property interest is merely restricted because the continued use thereof would be injurious to public welfare, or where property is destroyed because its continued existence would be injurious to public interest, there is no compensable taking.25However, when a property interest is appropriated and applied to some public purpose, there is compensable taking.26 According to noted constitutionalist, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, in the exercise of its police power regulation, the state restricts the use of private property, but none of the property interests in the bundle of rights which constitute ownership is appropriated for use by or for the benefit of the public.27 Use of the property by the owner was limited, but no aspect of the property is used by or for the public. 28 The deprivation of use can in fact be total and it will not constitute compensable taking if nobody else acquires use of the property or any interest therein. 29 If, however, in the regulation of the use of the property, somebody else acquires the use or interest thereof, such restriction constitutes compensable taking. Thus, in City Government of Quezon City v. Ericta, 30 it was argued by the local government that an ordinance requiring private cemeteries to reserve 6% of their total areas for the burial of paupers was a valid exercise of the police power under the general welfare clause. This court did not agree in the contention, ruling that property taken under the police power is sought to be destroyed and not, as in this case, to be devoted to a public use. It further declared that the ordinance in question was actually a taking of private property without just compensation of a certain area from a private cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the local government. Being an exercise of eminent domain without provision for the payment of just compensation, the same was rendered invalid as it violated the principles governing eminent domain. In People v. Fajardo,31 the municipal mayor refused Fajardo permission to build a house on his own land on the ground that the proposed structure would destroy the view or beauty of the public plaza. The ordinance relied upon by the mayor prohibited the construction of any building that would destroy the view of the plaza from the highway. The court ruled that the municipal ordinance under the guise of police power permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their property for the benefit of the public; hence, considered as a taking under the power of eminent domain that could not be countenanced without payment of just compensation to the affected owners. In this case, what the municipality wanted was to impose an easement on the property in order to preserve the view or beauty of the public plaza, which was a form of utilization of Fajardos property for public benefit. 32

While the power of eminent domain often results in the appropriation of title to or possession of property, it need not always be the case. Taking may include trespass without actual eviction of the owner, material impairment of the value of the property or prevention of the ordinary uses for which the property was intended such as the establishment of an easement.33 In Ayala de Roxas v. City of Manila,34 it was held that the imposition of burden over a private property through easement was considered taking; hence, payment of just compensation is required. The Court declared: And, considering that the easement intended to be established, whatever may be the object thereof, is not merely a real right that will encumber the property, but is one tending to prevent the exclusive use of one portion of the same, by expropriating it for public use which, be it what it may, can not be accomplished unless the owner of the property condemned or seized be previously and duly indemnified, it is proper to protect the appellant by means of the remedy employed in such cases, as it is only adequate remedy when no other legal action can be resorted to, against an intent which is nothing short of an arbitrary restriction imposed by the city by virtue of the coercive power with which the same is invested. And in the case of National Power Corporation v. Gutierrez,35 despite the NPCs protestation that the owners were not totally deprived of the use of the land and could still plant the same crops as long as they did not come into contact with the wires, the Court nevertheless held that the easement of right-of-way was a taking under the power of eminent domain. The Court said: In the case at bar, the easement of right-of-way is definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain. Considering the nature and effect of the installation of 230 KV Mexico-Limay transmission lines, the limitation imposed by NPC against the use of the land for an indefinite period deprives private respondents of its ordinary use. A case exemplifying an instance of compensable taking which does not entail transfer of title is Republic v. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.36 Here, the Bureau of Telecommunications, a government instrumentality, had contracted with the PLDT for the interconnection between the Government Telephone System and that of the PLDT, so that the former could make use of the lines and facilities of the PLDT. In its desire to expand services to government offices, the Bureau of Telecommunications demanded to expand its use of the PLDT lines. Disagreement ensued on the terms of the contract for the use of the PLDT facilities. The Court ruminated: Normally, of course, the power of eminent domain results in the taking or appropriation of title to, and possession of, the expropriated property; but no cogent reason appears why said power may not be availed of to impose only a burden upon the owner of the condemned property, without loss of title and possession. It is unquestionable that real property may, through expropriation, be subjected to an easement right of way. 37 In Republic v. Castellvi,38 this Court had the occasion to spell out the requisites of taking in eminent domain, to wit: (1) the expropriator must enter a private property; (2) the entry must be for more than a momentary period. (3) the entry must be under warrant or color of legal authority; (4) the property must be devoted to public use or otherwise informally appropriated or injuriously affected; (5) the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of beneficial enjoyment of the property. As shown by the foregoing jurisprudence, a regulation which substantially deprives the owner of his proprietary rights and restricts the beneficial use and enjoyment for public use amounts to compensable taking. In the case under consideration, the entry referred to in Section 76 and the easement rights under Section 75 of Rep. Act No. 7942 as well as the various rights to CAMC under its FTAA are no different from the deprivation of proprietary rights in the cases discussed which this Court considered as taking. Section 75 of the law in question reads: Easement Rights. - When mining areas are so situated that for purposes of more convenient mining operations it is necessary to build, construct or install on the mining areas or lands owned, occupied or leased by other persons, such infrastructure as roads, railroads, mills, waste dump sites, tailing ponds, warehouses, staging or storage areas and port facilities, tramways, runways, airports, electric transmission, telephone or telegraph lines, dams and their normal flood and catchment areas, sites for water wells, ditches, canals, new river beds, pipelines, flumes, cuts, shafts, tunnels, or mills, the contractor, upon payment of just compensation, shall be entitled to enter and occupy said mining areas or lands. Section 76 provides: Entry into private lands and concession areas Subject to prior notification, holders of mining rights shall not be prevented from entry into private lands and concession areas by surface owners, occupants, or concessionaires when conducting mining operations therein. The CAMC FTAA grants in favor of CAMC the right of possession of the Exploration Contract Area, the full right of ingress and egress and the right to occupy the same. It also bestows CAMC the right not to be prevented from entry into private lands by surface owners or occupants thereof when prospecting, exploring and exploiting minerals therein. The entry referred to in Section 76 is not just a simple right-of-way which is ordinarily allowed under the provisions of the Civil Code. Here, the holders of mining rights enter private lands for purposes of conducting mining activities such as exploration, extraction and processing of minerals. Mining right holders build mine infrastructure, dig mine shafts and connecting tunnels, prepare tailing ponds, storage areas and vehicle depots, install their machinery, equipment and sewer systems. On top of this, under Section 75, easement rights are accorded to them where they may build warehouses, port facilities, electric transmission, railroads and other infrastructures necessary for mining operations. All these will definitely oust the owners or occupants of the affected areas the beneficial ownership of their lands. Without a doubt, taking occurs once mining operations commence. Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 is a Taking Provision Moreover, it would not be amiss to revisit the history of mining laws of this country which would help us understand Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942.

This provision is first found in Section 27 of Commonwealth Act No. 137 which took effect on 7 November 1936, viz: Before entering private lands the prospector shall first apply in writing for written permission of the private owner, claimant, or holder thereof, and in case of refusal by such private owner, claimant, or holder to grant such permission, or in case of disagreement as to the amount of compensation to be paid for such privilege of prospecting therein, the amount of such compensation shall be fixed by agreement among the prospector, the Director of the Bureau of Mines and the surface owner, and in case of their failure to unanimously agree as to the amount of compensation, all questions at issue shall be determined by the Court of First Instance. Similarly, the pertinent provision of Presidential Decree No. 463, otherwise known as "The Mineral Resources Development Decree of 1974," provides: SECTION 12. Entry to Public and Private Lands. A person who desires to conduct prospecting or other mining operations within public lands covered by concessions or rights other than mining shall first obtain the written permission of the government official concerned before entering such lands. In the case of private lands, the written permission of the owner or possessor of the land must be obtained before entering such lands. In either case, if said permission is denied, the Director, at the request of the interested person may intercede with the owner or possessor of the land. If the intercession fails, the interested person may bring suit in the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is situated. If the court finds the request justified, it shall issue an order granting the permission after fixing the amount of compensation and/or rental due the owner or possessor: Provided, That pending final adjudication of such amount, the court shall upon recommendation of the Director permit the interested person to enter, prospect and/or undertake other mining operations on the disputed land upon posting by such interested person of a bond with the court which the latter shall consider adequate to answer for any damage to the owner or possessor of the land resulting from such entry, prospecting or any other mining operations. Hampered by the difficulties and delays in securing surface rights for the entry into private lands for purposes of mining operations, Presidential Decree No. 512 dated 19 July 1974 was passed into law in order to achieve full and accelerated mineral resources development. Thus, Presidential Decree No. 512 provides for a new system of surface rights acquisition by mining prospectors and claimants. Whereas in Commonwealth Act No. 137 and Presidential Decree No. 463 eminent domain may only be exercised in order that the mining claimants can build, construct or install roads, railroads, mills, warehouses and other facilities, this time, the power of eminent domain may now be invoked by mining operators for the entry, acquisition and use of private lands, viz: SECTION 1. Mineral prospecting, location, exploration, development and exploitation is hereby declared of public use and benefit, and for which the power of eminent domain may be invoked and exercised for the entry, acquisition and use of private lands. x x x. The evolution of mining laws gives positive indication that mining operators who are qualified to own lands were granted the authority to exercise eminent domain for the entry, acquisition, and use of private lands in areas open for mining operations. This grant of authority extant in Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 512 is not expressly repealed by Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942; and neither are the former statutes impliedly repealed by the former. These two provisions can stand together even if Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 does not spell out the grant of the privilege to exercise eminent domain which was present in the old law. It is an established rule in statutory construction that in order that one law may operate to repeal another law, the two laws must be inconsistent.39 The former must be so repugnant as to be irreconciliable with the latter act. Simply because a latter enactment may relate to the same subject matter as that of an earlier statute is not of itself sufficient to cause an implied repeal of the latter, since the new law may be cumulative or a continuation of the old one. As has been the ruled, repeals by implication are not favored, and will not be decreed unless it is manifest that the legislature so intended.40 As laws are presumed to be passed with deliberation and with full knowledge of all existing ones on the subject, it is but reasonable to conclude that in passing a statute it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former law relating to the same matter, unless the repugnancy between the two is not only irreconcilable, but also clear and convincing, and flowing necessarily from the language used, unless the later act fully embraces the subject matter of the earlier, or unless the reason for the earlier act is beyond peradventure removed.41 Hence, every effort must be used to make all acts stand and if, by any reasonable construction, they can be reconciled, the latter act will not operate as a repeal of the earlier. Considering that Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 512 granted the qualified mining operators the authority to exercise eminent domain and since this grant of authority is deemed incorporated in Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942, the inescapable conclusion is that the latter provision is a taking provision. While this Court declares that the assailed provision is a taking provision, this does not mean that it is unconstitutional on the ground that it allows taking of private property without the determination of public use and the payment of just compensation. The taking to be valid must be for public use.42 Public use as a requirement for the valid exercise of the power of eminent domain is now synonymous with public interest, public benefit, public welfare and public convenience.43 It includes the broader notion of indirect public benefit or advantage. Public use as traditionally understood as "actual use by the public" has already been abandoned. 44 Mining industry plays a pivotal role in the economic development of the country and is a vital tool in the governments thrust of accelerated recovery.45 The importance of the mining industry for national development is expressed in Presidential Decree No. 463: WHEREAS, mineral production is a major support of the national economy, and therefore the intensified discovery, exploration, development and wise utilization of the countrys mineral resources are urgently neede d for national development. Irrefragably, mining is an industry which is of public benefit. That public use is negated by the fact that the state would be taking private properties for the benefit of private mining firms or mining contractors is not at all true. In Heirs of Juancho Ardona v. Reyes,46 petitioners therein contended that the promotion of tourism is not for public use because private concessionaires would be allowed to maintain various facilities such as restaurants, hotels, stores, etc., inside the tourist area. The Court thus contemplated: The rule in Berman v. Parker [348 U.S. 25; 99 L. ed. 27] of deference to legislative policy even if such policy might mean taking from one private person and conferring on another private person applies as well in the Philippines. ". . . Once the object is within the authority of Congress, the means by which it will be attained is also for Congress to determine. Here one of the means chosen is the use of private enterprise for redevelopment of the area. Appellants argue that this makes the project a taking from one businessman for the benefit of another

businessman. But the means of executing the project are for Congress and Congress alone to determine, once the public purpose has been established. x x x"47 Petitioners further maintain that the states discretion to decide when to take private property is reduced contractually by Section 13.5 of the CAMC FTAA, which reads: If the CONTRACTOR so requests at its option, the GOVERNMENT shall use its offices and legal powers to assist in the acquisition at reasonable cost of any surface areas or rights required by the CONTRACTOR at the CONTRACTORs cost to carry out the Mineral Exploration and the Mining Operations herein. All obligations, payments and expenses arising from, or incident to, such agreements or acquisition of right shall be for the account of the CONTRACTOR and shall be recoverable as Operating Expense. According to petitioners, the government is reduced to a sub-contractor upon the request of the private respondent, and on account of the foregoing provision, the contractor can compel the government to exercise its power of eminent domain thereby derogating the latters power to expropriate property. The provision of the FTAA in question lays down the ways and means by which the foreign-owned contractor, disqualified to own land, identifies to the government the specific surface areas within the FTAA contract area to be acquired for the mine infrastructure.48 The government then acquires ownership of the surface land areas on behalf of the contractor, through a voluntary transaction in order to enable the latter to proceed to fully implement the FTAA. Eminent domain is not yet called for at this stage since there are still various avenues by which surface rights can be acquired other than expropriation. The FTAA provision under attack merely facilitates the implementation of the FTAA given to CAMC and shields it from violating the Anti-Dummy Law. Hence, when confronted with the same question in La Bugal-BLaan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos,49 the Court answered: Clearly, petitioners have needlessly jumped to unwarranted conclusions, without being aware of the rationale for the said provision. That provision does not call for the exercise of the power of eminent domain -- and determination of just compensation is not an issue -- as much as it calls for a qualified party to acquire the surface rights on behalf of a foreign-owned contractor. Rather than having the foreign contractor act through a dummy corporation, having the State do the purchasing is a better alternative. This will at least cause the government to be aware of such transaction/s and foster transparency in the contractors dealings with the local property owners. The government, then, will not act as a subcontractor of the contractor; rather, it will facilitate the transaction and enable the parties to avoid a technical violation of the Anti-Dummy Law. There is also no basis for the claim that the Mining Law and its implementing rules and regulations do not provide for just compensation in expropriating private properties. Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 and Section 107 of DAO 96-40 provide for the payment of just compensation: Section 76. xxx Provided, that any damage to the property of the surface owner, occupant, or concessionaire as a consequence of such operations shall be properly compensated as may be provided for in the implementing rules and regulations. Section 107. Compensation of the Surface Owner and Occupant- Any damage done to the property of the surface owners, occupant, or concessionaire thereof as a consequence of the mining operations or as a result of the construction or installation of the infrastructure mentioned in 104 above shall be properly and justly compensated. Such compensation shall be based on the agreement entered into between the holder of mining rights and the surface owner, occupant or concessionaire thereof, where appropriate, in accordance with P.D. No. 512. (Emphasis supplied.) Second Substantive Issue: Power of Courts to Determine Just Compensation Closely-knit to the issue of taking is the determination of just compensation. It is contended that Rep. Act No. 7942 and Section 107 of DAO 96-40 encroach on the power of the trial courts to determine just compensation in eminent domain cases inasmuch as the same determination of proper compensation are cognizable only by the Panel of Arbitrators. The question on the judicial determination of just compensation has been settled in the case of Export Processing Zone Authority v. Dulay50 wherein the court declared that the determination of just compensation in eminent domain cases is a judicial function. Even as the executive department or the legislature may make the initial determinations, the same cannot prevail over the courts findings. Implementing Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942, Section 105 of DAO 96-40 states that holder(s) of mining right(s) shall not be prevented from entry into its/their contract/mining areas for the purpose of exploration, development, and/or utilization. That in cases where surface owners of the lands, occupants or concessionaires refuse to allow the permit holder or contractor entry, the latter shall bring the matter before the Panel of Arbitrators for proper disposition. Section 106 states that voluntary agreements between the two parties permitting the mining right holders to enter and use the surface owners lands shall be registered with the Regional Office of the MGB. In connection with Section 106, Section 107 provides that the compensation for the damage done to the surface owner, occupant or concessionaire as a consequence of mining operations or as a result of the construction or installation of the infrastructure shall be properly and justly compensated and that such compensation shall be based on the agreement between the holder of mining rights and surface owner, occupant or concessionaire, or where appropriate, in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 512. In cases where there is disagreement to the compensation or where there is no agreement, the matter shall be brought before the Panel of Arbitrators. Section 206 of the implementing rules and regulations provides an aggrieved party the remedy to appeal the decision of the Panel of Arbitrators to the Mines Adjudication Board, and the latters decision may be r eviewed by the Supreme Court by filing a petition for review on certiorari. 51 An examination of the foregoing provisions gives no indication that the courts are excluded from taking cognizance of expropriation cases under the mining law. The disagreement referred to in Section 107 does not involve the exercise of eminent domain, rather it contemplates of a situation wherein the permit holders are allowed by the surface owners entry into the latters lands and disagreement ensues as regarding the proper compensation for the allowed entry and use of the private lands. Noticeably, the provision points to a voluntary sale or transaction, but not to an involuntary sale. The legislature, in enacting the mining act, is presumed to have deliberated with full knowledge of all existing laws and jurisprudence on the subject. Thus, it is but reasonable to conclude that in passing such statute it was in accord with the existing laws and jurisprudence on the jurisdiction of courts in the determination of just compensation and that it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former law relating to the same matter. Indeed, there is nothing in the provisions of the assailed law and its implementing rules and regulations that

exclude the courts from their jurisdiction to determine just compensation in expropriation proceedings involving mining operations. Although Section 105 confers upon the Panel of Arbitrators the authority to decide cases where surface owners, occupants, concessionaires refuse permit holders entry, thus, necessitating involuntary taking, this does not mean that the determination of the just compensation by the Panel of Arbitrators or the Mines Adjudication Board is final and conclusive. The determination is only preliminary unless accepted by all parties concerned. There is nothing wrong with the grant of primary jurisdiction by the Panel of Arbitrators or the Mines Adjudication Board to determine in a preliminary matter the reasonable compensation due the affected landowners or occupants.52 The original and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts to decide determination of just compensation remains intact despite the preliminary determination made by the administrative agency. As held in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals53: The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less "original and exclusive" because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings are not a continuation of the administrative determination. Third Substantive Issue: Sufficient Control by the State Over Mining Operations Anent the third issue, petitioners charge that Rep. Act No. 7942, as well as its Implementing Rules and Regulations, makes it possible for FTAA contracts to cede over to a fully foreign-owned corporation full control and management of mining enterprises, with the result that the State is allegedly reduced to a passive regulator dependent on submitted plans and reports, with weak review and audit powers. The State is not acting as the supposed owner of the natural resources for and on behalf of the Filipino people; it practically has little effective say in the decisions made by the enterprise. In effect, petitioners asserted that the law, the implementing regulations, and the CAMC FTAA cede beneficial ownership of the mineral resources to the foreign contractor. It must be noted that this argument was already raised in La Bugal-BLaan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos,54where the Court answered in the following manner: RA 7942 provides for the states control and supervision over mining operations. The following provisions th ereof establish the mechanism of inspection and visitorial rights over mining operations and institute reportorial requirements in this manner: 1. Sec. 8 which provides for the DENRs power of over-all supervision and periodic review for "the conservation, management, development and proper use of the States mineral resources"; 2. Sec. 9 which authorizes the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) under the DENR to exercise "direct charge in the administration and disposition of mineral resources", and empowers the MGB to "monitor the compliance by the contractor of the terms and conditions of the mineral agreements", "confiscate surety and performance bonds", and deputize whenever necessary any member or unit of the Phil. National Police, barangay, duly registered non-governmental organization (NGO) or any qualified person to police mining activities; 3. Sec. 66 which vests in the Regional Director "exclusive jurisdiction over safety inspections of all installations, whether surface or underground", utilized in mining operations. 4. Sec. 35, which incorporates into all FTAAs the following terms, conditions and warranties: "(g) Mining operations shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Act and its IRR. "(h) Work programs and minimum expenditures commitments. xxxx "(k) Requiring proponent to effectively use appropriate anti-pollution technology and facilities to protect the environment and restore or rehabilitate mined-out areas. "(l) The contractors shall furnish the Government records of geologic, accounting and other relevant data for its mining operation, and that books of accounts and records shall be open for inspection by the government. x x x. "(m) Requiring the proponent to dispose of the minerals at the highest price and more advantageous terms and conditions. xxxx "(o) Such other terms and conditions consistent with the Constitution and with this Act as the Secretary may deem to be for the best interest of the State and the welfare of the Filipino people." The foregoing provisions of Section 35 of RA 7942 are also reflected and implemented in Section 56 (g), (h), (l), (m) and (n) of the Implementing Rules, DAO 96-40. Moreover, RA 7942 and DAO 96-40 also provide various stipulations confirming the governments control over mining enterprises:

o o o o o o

o o o

The contractor is to relinquish to the government those portions of the contract area not needed for mining operations and not covered by any declaration of mining feasibility (Section 35-e, RA 7942; Section 60, DAO 96-40). The contractor must comply with the provisions pertaining to mine safety, health and environmental protection (Chapter XI, RA 7942; Chapters XV and XVI, DAO 96-40). For violation of any of its terms and conditions, government may cancel an FTAA. (Chapter XVII, RA 7942; Chapter XXIV, DAO 96-40). An FTAA contractor is obliged to open its books of accounts and records for 0inspection by the government (Section 56-m, DAO 96-40). An FTAA contractor has to dispose of the minerals and by-products at the highest market price and register with the MGB a copy of the sales agreement (Section 56-n, DAO 96-40). MGB is mandated to monitor the contractors compliance with the terms and conditions of the FTAA; and to deputize, when necessary, any member or unit of the Philippine National Police, the barangay or a DENR-accredited nongovernmental organization to police mining activities (Section 7-d and -f, DAO 96-40). An FTAA cannot be transferred or assigned without prior approval by the President (Section 40, RA 7942; Section 66, DAO 96-40). A mining project under an FTAA cannot proceed to the construction/development/utilization stage, unless its Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility has been approved by government (Section 24, RA 7942). The Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility filed by the contractor cannot be approved without submission of the following documents:

1. Approved mining project feasibility study (Section 53-d, DAO 96-40) 2. Approved three-year work program (Section 53-a-4, DAO 96-40) 3. Environmental compliance certificate (Section 70, RA 7942) 4. Approved environmental protection and enhancement program (Section 69, RA 7942) 5. Approval by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan/Bayan/Barangay (Section 70, RA 7942; Section 27, RA 7160) 6. Free and prior informed consent by the indigenous peoples concerned, including payment of royalties through a Memorandum of Agreement (Section 16, RA 7942; Section 59, RA 8371)

o o

An FTAA pertaining to areas within government reservations cannot be granted without a written clearance from the government agencies concerned (Section 19, RA 7942; Section 54, DAO 96-40). An FTAA contractor is required to post a financial guarantee bond in favor of the government in an amount equivalent to its expenditures obligations for any particular year. This requirement is apart from the representations and warranties of the contractor that it has access to all the financing, managerial and technical expertise and technology necessary to carry out the objectives of the FTAA (Section 35-b, -e, and -f, RA 7942). Other reports to be submitted by the contractor, as required under DAO 96-40, are as follows: an environmental report on the rehabilitation of the mined-out area and/or mine waste/tailing covered area, and anti-pollution measures undertaken (Section 35-a-2); annual reports of the mining operations and records of geologic accounting (Section 56-m); annual progress reports and final report of exploration activities (Section 56-2). Other programs required to be submitted by the contractor, pursuant to DAO 96-40, are the following: a safety and health program (Section 144); an environmental work program (Section 168); an annual environmental protection and enhancement program (Section 171).

o o

The FTAA contractor is obliged to assist in the development of its mining community, promotion of the general welfare of its inhabitants, and development of science and mining technology (Section 57, RA 7942). The FTAA contractor is obliged to submit reports (on quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis as the case may be; per Section 270, DAO 96-40), pertaining to the following: 1. Exploration 2. Drilling 3. Mineral resources and reserves 4. Energy consumption 5. Production 6. Sales and marketing 7. Employment 8. Payment of taxes, royalties, fees and other Government Shares 9. Mine safety, health and environment 10. Land use 11. Social development 12. Explosives consumption

The foregoing gamut of requirements, regulations, restrictions and limitations imposed upon the FTAA contractor by the statute and regulations easily overturns petitioners contention. The setup under RA 7942 and DAO 96 -40 hardly relegates the State to the role of a "passive regulator" dependent on submitted plans and reports. On the contrary, the government agencies concerned are empowered to approve or disapprove -- hence, to influence, direct and change -- the various work programs and the corresponding minimum expenditure commitments for each of the exploration, development and utilization phases of the mining enterprise. Once these plans and reports are approved, the contractor is bound to comply with its commitments therein. Figures for mineral production and sales are regularly monitored and subjected to government review, in order to ensure that the products and by-products are disposed of at the best prices possible; even copies of sales agreements have to be submitted to and registered with MGB. And the contractor is mandated to open its books of accounts and records for scrutiny, so as to enable the State to determine if the government share has been fully paid. The State may likewise compel the contractors compliance with mandatory requirements on mine safety, health and environmental protection, and the use of anti-pollution technology and facilities. Moreover, the contractor is also obligated to assist in the development of the mining community and to pay royalties to the indigenous peoples concerned. Cancellation of the FTAA may be the penalty for violation of any of its terms and conditions and/or noncompliance with statutes or regulations. This general, all-around, multipurpose sanction is no trifling matter, especially to a contractor who may have yet to recover the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars sunk into a mining project. Overall, considering the provisions of the statute and the regulations just discussed, we believe that the State definitely possesses the means by which it can have the ultimate word in the operation of the enterprise, set directions and objectives, and detect deviations and noncompliance by the contractor; likewise, it has the capability to enforce compliance and to impose sanctions, should the occasion therefor arise. In other words, the FTAA contractor is not free to do whatever it pleases and get away with it; on the contrary, it will have to follow the government line if it wants to stay in the enterprise. Ineluctably then, RA 7942 and DAO

96-40 vest in the government more than a sufficient degree of control and supervision over the conduct of mining operations. Fourth Substantive Issue: The Proper Interpretation of the Constitutional Phrase "Agreements Involving Either Technical or Financial Assistance In interpreting the first and fourth paragraphs of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, petitioners set forth the argument that foreign corporations are barred from making decisions on the conduct of operations and the management of the mining project. The first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII reads: x x x The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty percentum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty five years, renewable for not more than twenty five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law x x x. The fourth paragraph of Section 2, Article XII provides: The President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country x x x. Petitioners maintain that the first paragraph bars aliens and foreign-owned corporations from entering into any direct arrangement with the government including those which involve co-production, joint venture or production sharing agreements. They likewise insist that the fourth paragraph allows foreign-owned corporations to participate in the large-scale exploration, development and utilization of natural resources, but such participation, however, is merely limited to an agreement for either financial or technical assistance only. Again, this issue has already been succinctly passed upon by this Court in La Bugal-BLaan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos.55 In discrediting such argument, the Court ratiocinated: Petitioners claim that the phrase "agreements x x x involving either technical or financial assistance" simply meanstechnical assistance or financial assistance agreements, nothing more and nothing else. They insist that there is no ambiguity in the phrase, and that a plain reading of paragraph 4 quoted above leads to the inescapable conclusion that what a foreign-owned corporation may enter into with the government is merely an agreement foreither financial or technical assistance only, for the large-scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils; such a limitation, they argue, excludes foreign management and operation of a mining enterprise. This restrictive interpretation, petitioners believe, is in line with the general policy enunciated by the Constitution reserving to Filipino citizens and corporations the use and enjoyment of the countrys natural resources. They maintain that this Courts Decision of January 27, 2004 correctly declared the WMCP FTAA, along with pertinent provisions of RA 7942, void for allowing a foreign contractor to have direct and exclusive management of a mining enterprise. Allowing such a privilege not only runs counter to the "full control and supervision" that the State is constitutionally mandated to exercise over the exploration, development and utilization of the countrys natural resources; doing so also vests in the foreign company "beneficial ownership" of our mineral resources. It will be recalled that the Decision of January 27, 2004 zeroed in on "management or other forms of assistance" or other activities associated with the "service contracts" of the martial law regime, since "the management or operation of mining activities by foreign contractors, which is the primary feature of service contracts, was precisely the evil that the drafters of the 1987 Constitution sought to eradicate." xxxx We do not see how applying a strictly literal or verba legis interpretation of paragraph 4 could inexorably lead to the conclusions arrived at in the ponencia. First, the drafters choice of words -- their use of the phraseagreements x x x involving either technical or financial assistance -- does not indicate the intent to exclude other modes of assistance. The drafters opted to use involving when they could have simply said agreements forfinancial or technical assistance, if that was their intention to begin with. In this case, the limitation would be very clear and no further debate would ensue. In contrast, the use of the word "involving" signifies the possibility of the inclusion of other forms of assistance or activities having to do with, otherwise related to or compatible with financial or technical assistance. The word "involving" as used in this context has three connotations that can be differentiated thus:one, the sense of "concerning," "having to do with," or "affecting"; two, "entailing," "requiring," "implying" or "necessitating"; and three, "including," "containing" or "comprising." Plainly, none of the three connotations convey a sense of exclusivity. Moreover, the word "involving," when understood in the sense of "including," as in including technical or financial assistance, necessarily implies that there are activities other than those that are being included. In other words, if an agreement includes technical or financial assistance, there is apart from such assistance -- something else already in, and covered or may be covered by, the said agreement. In short, it allows for the possibility that matters, other than those explicitly mentioned, could be made part of the agreement. Thus, we are now led to the conclusion that the use of the word "involving" implies that these agreements with foreign corporations are not limited to mere financial or technical assistance. The difference in sense becomes very apparent when we juxtapose "agreements for technical or financial assistance" against "agreements including technical or financial assistance." This much is unalterably clear in a verba legis approach. Second, if the real intention of the drafters was to confine foreign corporations to financial or technical assistance and nothing more, their language would have certainly been so unmistakably restrictive and stringent as to leave no doubt in anyones mind about their true intent. For example, they would have used the sentence foreign corporations are absolutely prohibited from involvement in the management or operation of mining or similar ventures or words of similar import. A search for such stringent wording yields negative results. Thus, we come to the inevitable conclusion that there was a conscious and deliberate decision to avoid the use of restrictive wording that bespeaks an intent not to use the expression "agreements x x x involving either technical or financial assistance" in an exclusionary and limiting manner. Fifth Substantive Issue: Service Contracts Not Deconstitutionalized Lastly, petitioners stress that the service contract regime under the 1973 Constitution is expressly prohibited under the 1987 Constitution as the term service contracts found in the former was deleted in the latter to avoid the circumvention of constitutional prohibitions that were prevalent in the 1987 Constitution. According to them, the framers of the 1987 Constitution only intended for foreign-owned corporations to provide either technical

assistance or financial assistance. Upon perusal of the CAMC FTAA, petitioners are of the opinion that the same is a replica of the service contract agreements that the present constitution allegedly prohibit. Again, this contention is not well-taken. The mere fact that the term service contracts found in the 1973 Constitution was not carried over to the present constitution, sans any categorical statement banning service contracts in mining activities, does not mean that service contracts as understood in the 1973 Constitution was eradicated in the 1987 Constitution.56 The 1987 Constitution allows the continued use of service contracts with foreign corporations as contractors who would invest in and operate and manage extractive enterprises, subject to the full control and supervision of the State; this time, however, safety measures were put in place to prevent abuses of the past regime.57 We ruled, thus: To our mind, however, such intent cannot be definitively and conclusively established from the mere failure to carry the same expression or term over to the new Constitution, absent a more specific, explicit and unequivocal statement to that effect. What petitioners seek (a complete ban on foreign participation in the management of mining operations, as previously allowed by the earlier Constitutions) is nothing short of bringing about a momentous sea change in the economic and developmental policies; and the fundamentally capitalist, freeenterprise philosophy of our government. We cannot imagine such a radical shift being undertaken by our government, to the great prejudice of the mining sector in particular and our economy in general, merely on the basis of the omission of the terms service contract from or the failure to carry them over to the new Constitution. There has to be a much more definite and even unarguable basis for such a drastic reversal of policies. xxxx SO ORDERED. The foregoing are mere fragments of the framers lengthy discussions of the provision dealing with agreements x x x involving either technical or financial assistance, which ultimately became paragraph 4 of Section 2 of Article XII of the Constitution. Beyond any doubt, the members of the ConCom were actually debating about the martiallaw-era service contracts for which they were crafting appropriate safeguards. In the voting that led to the approval of Article XII by the ConCom, the explanations given by Commissioners Gascon, Garcia and Tadeo indicated that they had voted to reject this provision on account of their objections to the "constitutionalization" of the "service contract" concept. Mr. Gascon said, "I felt that if we would constitutionalize any provision on service contracts, this should always be with the concurrence of Congress and not guided only by a general law to be promulgated by Congress." Mr. Garcia explained, "Service contracts are given constitutional legitimization in Sec. 3, even when they have been proven to be inimical to the interests of the nation, providing, as they do, the legal loophole for the exploitation of our natural resources for the benefit of foreign interests." Likewise, Mr. Tadeo cited inter alia the fact that service contracts continued to subsist, enabling foreign interests to benefit from our natural resources. It was hardly likely that these gentlemen would have objected so strenuously, had the provision called for mere technical or financial assistance and nothing more. The deliberations of the ConCom and some commissioners explanation of their votes leave no room for doubt that the service contract concept precisely underpinned the commissioners understanding of the "a greements involving either technical or financial assistance." xxxx NOT A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER. We now come to thequestion whether or not Section 9 of the ordinance in question is a valid exerciseof police power. The police power of Quezon City is defined in sub-section 00,Sec. 12, Rep. Act 537. Police power is usually exercised in the form of mereregulation or restriction in the use of liberty or property for the promotion of thegeneral welfare. It does not involve the taking or confiscation of property withthe exception of a few cases where there is a necessity to confiscate privateproperty in order to destroy it for the purpose of protecting the peace and orderand of promoting the general welfare as for instance, the confiscation of anillegally possessed article, such as opium and firearms. "It seems to the courtthat Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, Series of 1964 of Quezon City is not amere police regulation but an outright confiscation. It deprives a person of hisprivate property without due process of law, nay, even without compensation." 3.POLITICAL LAW; POLICE POWER; DEFINITION AND CONCEPT. Police poweris defined by Freund as 'the power of promoting the public welfare by restrainingand regulating the use of liberty and property' (Quoted in Political Law byTaada and Carreon, V-II, p. 50). It is usually exerted in order to merelyregulate the use and enjoyment of property of the owner. If he is deprived of hisproperty outright, it is not taken for public use but rather to destroy in order topromote the general welfare. In police power, the owner does not recover fromthe government for injury sustained in consequence thereof. From the foregoing, we are impelled to conclude that the phrase agreements involving either technical or financial assistance, referred to in paragraph 4, are in fact service contracts. But unlike those of the 1973 variety, the new ones are between foreign corporations acting as contractors on the one hand; and on the other, the government as principal or "owner" of the works. In the new service contracts, the foreign contractors provide capital, technology and technical know-how, and managerial expertise in the creation and operation of large-scale mining/extractive enterprises; and the government, through its agencies (DENR, MGB), actively exercises control and supervision over the entire operation. xxxx It is therefore reasonable and unavoidable to make the following conclusion, based on the above arguments. As written by the framers and ratified and adopted by the people, the Constitution allows the continued use of service contracts with foreign corporations -- as contractors who would invest in and operate and manage extractive enterprises, subject to the full control and supervision of the State -- sans the abuses of the past regime. The purpose is clear: to develop and utilize our mineral, petroleum and other resources on a large scale for the immediate and tangible benefit of the Filipino people.58 WHEREFORE, the instant petition for prohibition and mandamus is hereby DISMISSED. Section 76 of Republic Act No. 7942 and Section 107 of DAO 96-40; Republic Act No. 7942 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations contained in DAO 96-40 insofar as they relate to financial and technical assistance agreements referred to in paragraph 4 of Section 2 of Article XII of the Constitution are NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL.


HON. JUDGE VICENTE G. ERICTA as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City, Branch XVIII; HIMLAYANG PILIPINO, INC., respondents. City Fiscal for petitioners. Manuel Villaruel, Jr. and Feliciano Tumale for respondents. A motion for reconsideration having been denied, the City Government and City Council filed the instant petition. Petitioners argue that the taking of the respondent's property is a valid and reasonable exercise of police power and that the land is taken for a public use as it is intended for the burial ground of paupers. They further argue that the Quezon City Council is authorized under its charter, in the exercise of local police power, " to make such further ordinances and resolutions not repugnant to law as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Act and such as it shall deem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort and convenience of the city and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein." On the other hand, respondent Himlayang Pilipino, Inc. contends that the taking or confiscation of property is obvious because the questioned ordinance permanently restricts the use of the property such that it cannot be used for any reasonable purpose and deprives the owner of all beneficial use of his property. The respondent also stresses that the general welfare clause is not available as a source of power for the taking of the property in this case because it refers to "the power of promoting the public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property." The respondent points out that if an owner is deprived of his property outright under the State's police power, the property is generally not taken for public use but is urgently and summarily destroyed in order to promote the general welfare. The respondent cites the case of a nuisance per se or the destruction of a house to prevent the spread of a conflagration. We find the stand of the private respondent as well as the decision of the respondent Judge to be well-founded. We quote with approval the lower court's ruling which declared null and void Section 9 of the questioned city ordinance: The issue is: Is Section 9 of the ordinance in question a valid exercise of the police power? For several years, the aforequoted section of the Ordinance was not enforced by city authorities but seven years after the enactment of the ordinance, the Quezon City Council passed the following resolution: RESOLVED by the council of Quezon assembled, to request, as it does hereby request the City Engineer, Quezon City, to stop any further selling and/or transaction of memorial park lots in Quezon City where the owners thereof have failed to donate the required 6% space intended for paupers burial. Pursuant to this petition, the Quezon City Engineer notified respondent Himlayang Pilipino, Inc. in writing that Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64 would be enforced Respondent Himlayang Pilipino reacted by filing with the Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XVIII at Quezon City, a petition for declaratory relief, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction (Sp. Proc. No. Q-16002) seeking to annul Section 9 of the Ordinance in question The respondent alleged that the same is contrary to the Constitution, the Quezon City Charter, the Local Autonomy Act, and the Revised Administrative Code. There being no issue of fact and the questions raised being purely legal both petitioners and respondent agreed to the rendition of a judgment on the pleadings. The respondent court, therefore, rendered the decision declaring Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64 null and void. An examination of the Charter of Quezon City (Rep. Act No. 537), does not reveal any provision that would justify the ordinance in question except the provision granting police power to the City. Section 9 cannot be justified under the power granted to Quezon City to tax, fix the license fee, and regulatesuch other business, trades, and occupation as may be established or practised in the City.' (Subsections 'C', Sec. 12, R.A. 537). The power to regulate does not include the power to prohibit (People vs. Esguerra, 81 PhiL 33, Vega vs. Municipal Board of Iloilo, L-6765, May 12, 1954; 39 N.J. Law, 70, Mich. 396). A fortiori, the power to regulate does not include the power to confiscate. The ordinance in question not only confiscates but also prohibits the operation of a memorial park cemetery, because under Section 13 of said ordinance, 'Violation of the provision thereof is punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment and that upon conviction thereof the permit to operate and maintain a private cemetery shall be revoked or cancelled.' The confiscatory clause and the penal provision in effect deter one from operating a memorial park cemetery. Neither can the ordinance in question be justified under sub- section "t", Section 12 of Republic Act 537 which authorizes the City Council to'prohibit the burial of the dead within the center of population of the city and provide for their burial in such proper place and in such manner as the council may determine, subject to the provisions of the general law

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: This is a petition for review which seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XVIII declaring Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64, of the Quezon City Council null and void. Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64, entitled "ORDINANCE REGULATING THE ESTABLISHMENT, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PRIVATE MEMORIAL TYPE CEMETERY OR BURIAL GROUND WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF QUEZON CITY AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION THEREOF" provides: Sec. 9. At least six (6) percent of the total area of the memorial park cemetery shall be set aside for charity burial of deceased persons who are paupers and have been residents of Quezon City for at least 5 years prior to their death, to be determined by competent City Authorities. The area so designated shall immediately be developed and should be open for operation not later than six months from the date of approval of the application.

regulating burial grounds and cemeteries and governing funerals and disposal of the dead.' (Sub-sec. (t), Sec. 12, Rep. Act No. 537). There is nothing in the above provision which authorizes confiscation or as euphemistically termed by the respondents, 'donation' We now come to the question whether or not Section 9 of the ordinance in question is a valid exercise of police power. The police power of Quezon City is defined in sub-section 00, Sec. 12, Rep. Act 537 which reads as follows: (00) To make such further ordinance and regulations not repugnant to law as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this act and such as it shall deem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote, the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort and convenience of the city and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein; and enforce obedience thereto with such lawful fines or penalties as the City Council may prescribe under the provisions of subsection (jj) of this section. We start the discussion with a restatement of certain basic principles. Occupying the forefront in the bill of rights is the provision which states that 'no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law' (Art. Ill, Section 1 subparagraph 1, Constitution). On the other hand, there are three inherent powers of government by which the state interferes with the property rights, namely-. (1) police power, (2) eminent domain, (3) taxation. These are said to exist independently of the Constitution as necessary attributes of sovereignty. Police power is defined by Freund as 'the power of promoting the public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property' (Quoted in Political Law by Tanada and Carreon, V-11, p. 50). It is usually exerted in order to merely regulate the use and enjoyment of property of the owner. If he is deprived of his property outright, it is not taken for public use but rather to destroy in order to promote the general welfare. In police power, the owner does not recover from the government for injury sustained in consequence thereof (12 C.J. 623). It has been said that police power is the most essential of government powers, at times the most insistent, and always one of the least limitable of the powers of government (Ruby vs. Provincial Board, 39 PhiL 660; Ichong vs. Hernandez, 1,7995, May 31, 1957). This power embraces the whole system of public regulation (U.S. vs. Linsuya Fan, 10 PhiL 104). The Supreme Court has said that police power is so far-reaching in scope that it has almost become impossible to limit its sweep. As it derives its existence from the very existence of the state itself, it does not need to be expressed or defined in its scope. Being coextensive with selfpreservation and survival itself, it is the most positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential insistent and illimitable Especially it is so under the modern democratic framework where the demands of society and nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions. The field and scope of police power have become almost boundless, just as the fields of public interest and public welfare have become almost all embracing and have transcended human foresight. Since the Courts cannot foresee the needs and demands of public interest and welfare, they cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope of the police power by which and through which the state seeks to attain or achieve public interest and welfare. (Ichong vs. Hernandez, L-7995, May 31, 1957). The police power being the most active power of the government and the due process clause being the broadest station on governmental power, the conflict between this power of government and the due process clause of the Constitution is oftentimes inevitable. It will be seen from the foregoing authorities that police power is usually exercised in the form of mere regulation or restriction in the use of liberty or property for the promotion of the general welfare. It does not involve the taking or confiscation of property with the exception of a few cases where there is a necessity to confiscate private property in order to destroy it for the purpose of protecting the peace and order and of promoting the general welfare as for instance, the confiscation of an illegally possessed article, such as opium and firearms. It seems to the court that Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, Series of 1964 of Quezon City is not a mere police regulation but an outright confiscation. It deprives a person of his private property without due process of law, nay, even without compensation. In sustaining the decision of the respondent court, we are not unmindful of the heavy burden shouldered by whoever challenges the validity of duly enacted legislation whether national or local As early as 1913, this Court ruled in Case v. Board of Health (24 PhiL 250) that the courts resolve every presumption in favor of validity and, more so, where the ma corporation asserts that the ordinance was enacted to promote the common good and general welfare. In the leading case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila (20 SCRA 849) the Court speaking through the then Associate Justice and now Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando stated Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the a of any evidence to offset the presumption of validity that attaches to a statute or ordinance. As was expressed categorically by Justice Malcolm 'The presumption is all in favor of validity. ... The action of the elected representatives of the people cannot be lightly set aside. The councilors must, in the very nature of things, be familiar with the necessities of their particular ... municipality and with all the facts and lances which surround the subject and necessitate action. The local legislative body, by enacting the ordinance, has in effect given notice that the regulations are essential to the well-being of the people. ... The Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when there is not a clear invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of police regulation. (U.S. v. Salaveria (1918], 39 Phil. 102, at p. 111. There was an affirmation of the presumption of validity of municipal ordinance as announced in the leading Salaveria decision in Ebona v. Daet, [1950]85 Phil. 369.) We have likewise considered the principles earlier stated in Case v. Board of Health supra : ... Under the provisions of municipal charters which are known as the general welfare clauses, a city, by virtue of its police power, may adopt ordinances to the peace, safety, health, morals and the best and highest interests of the municipality. It is a well-settled principle, growing out of the nature of well-ordered and society, that every holder of property, however absolute and may be his title, holds it under the implied liability that his use of it shall not be injurious to

the equal enjoyment of others having an equal right to the enjoyment of their property, nor injurious to the rights of the community. An property in the state is held subject to its general regulations, which are necessary to the common good and general welfare. Rights of property, like all other social and conventional rights, are subject to such reasonable limitations in their enjoyment as shall prevent them from being injurious, and to such reasonable restraints and regulations, established by law, as the legislature, under the governing and controlling power vested in them by the constitution, may think necessary and expedient. The state, under the police power, is possessed with plenary power to deal with all matters relating to the general health, morals, and safety of the people, so long as it does not contravene any positive inhibition of the organic law and providing that such power is not exercised in such a manner as to justify the interference of the courts to prevent positive wrong and oppression. but find them not applicable to the facts of this case. There is no reasonable relation between the setting aside of at least six (6) percent of the total area of an private cemeteries for charity burial grounds of deceased paupers and the promotion of health, morals, good order, safety, or the general welfare of the people. The ordinance is actually a taking without compensation of a certain area from a private cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the municipal corporation. Instead of building or maintaining a public cemetery for this purpose, the city passes the burden to private cemeteries. The expropriation without compensation of a portion of private cemeteries is not covered by Section 12(t) of Republic Act 537, the Revised Charter of Quezon City which empowers the city council to prohibit the burial of the dead within the center of population of the city and to provide for their burial in a proper place subject to the provisions of general law regulating burial grounds and cemeteries. When the Local Government Code, Batas Pambansa Blg. 337 provides in Section 177 (q) that a Sangguniang panlungsod may "provide for the burial of the dead in such place and in such manner as prescribed by law or ordinance" it simply authorizes the city to provide its own city owned land or to buy or expropriate private properties to construct public cemeteries. This has been the law and practise in the past. It continues to the present. Expropriation, however, requires payment of just compensation. The questioned ordinance is different from laws and regulations requiring owners of subdivisions to set aside certain areas for streets, parks, playgrounds, and other public facilities from the land they sell to buyers of subdivision lots. The necessities of public safety, health, and convenience are very clear from said requirements which are intended to insure the development of communities with salubrious and wholesome environments. The beneficiaries of the regulation, in turn, are made to pay by the subdivision developer when individual lots are sold to home-owners. As a matter of fact, the petitioners rely solely on the general welfare clause or on implied powers of the municipal corporation, not on any express provision of law as statutory basis of their exercise of power. The clause has always received broad and liberal interpretation but we cannot stretch it to cover this particular taking. Moreover, the questioned ordinance was passed after Himlayang Pilipino, Inc. had incorporated. received necessary licenses and permits and commenced operating. The sequestration of six percent of the cemetery cannot even be considered as having been impliedly acknowledged by the private respondent when it accepted the permits to commence operations. WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby DISMISSED. The decision of the respondent court is affirmed. SO ORDERED. FELICISIMA DE LA CRUZ, ET AL., petitioners, vs. HON. EDGARDO L. PARAS, as Judge, CFI of Bulacan, Branch VII, and PABLO SAN MIGUEL, respondents. Victoriano R. Aldava for petitioners. Manuel P. Pun for respondents.

MARTIN, J.: The prime issue presented to Us in this special civil action for certiorari and/or mandamus, which was certified by the Court of Appeals on July 15, 1975, involves the rule in determining whether an order is final and appealable or is merely interlocutory. Sometime in 1962, Pedro San Miguel, 1 the predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioners, commenced a "Complaint for Partition of Real Estate" before the Court of First Instance of Bulacan against private respondent Pablo San Miguel. The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 2624, sought the partition of Lot No. 4543 of the Lolomboy Estate, which is a portion of original Lot No. 3237 and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-15369 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan. Traversing the complaint, respondent Pablo San Miguel disclaimed co-ownership and asserted exclusive ownership of Lot No. 4543. Subsequently, on March 19, 1964, the then trial judge, Ricardo C. Puno, ordered the dismissal of the case pursuant to Section 3, Rule 17 of the Revised Rules of Court for "apparent lack of interest in the prosecution of the respective claims of the litigants." Eleven years thereafter, another complaint for partition, docketed as Civil Case No. 4300-M of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, was instituted by the same Pedro San Miguel against private respondent Pablo San Miguel. This time, the complaint prayed for the partition of Lot No. 4543 (covered by TCT No. T-15369, Bulacan) and Lot No. 3269 (covered by TCT No. T-15370, Bulacan). In due time, Pablo San Miguel filed his answer, pleading therein the defense of res judicata. For him, the same subject matter and cause of action had already been litigate . d upon and resolved in the previous Civil Case No. 2624. After preliminary hearing, the respondent Judge issued an order on December 10, 1973, dismissing Civil Case No. 4300-M "insofar as Lot 4543 is concerned" in view of the principle of res judicata. The case was ordered to proceed as regards Lot No. 3269, and on July 31, 1974, respondent Judge rendered a decision ordering the parties "as CO-OWNERS to present to this Court within ten (10) days from receipt hereof, a PROJECT OF PARTITION, dividing Lot No. 3269 (Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-15370, Bulacan) into two equal parts." Petitioners received a copy of this decision on August 13,1974. On September 12, 1974, petitioners interposed their appeal from this judgment of the trial court. On said date, their notice of appeal, appeal bond and record on appeal were filed.

On December 9, 1974, respondent Judge approved petitioners' corrected record on appeal but "insofar only as Lot No. 3269 is concerned ... because the case with respect to Lot 4543 has long became (sic) FINAL, cannot be appealed anymore, and therefore any record on appeal thereon will be useless, moot and academic ... After the denial of their motion for reconsideration, petitioners filed a "Petition for certiorari And/Or Mandamus" before the Court of Appeals on February 5, 1975, but the latter court elevated the petition to Us upon discovering that only questions of law are raised. It is readily discernible that the decisive question in this case is whether or not the order of the respondent Judge, dated December 10, 1973, dismissing Civil Case No. 4300-M as regards Lot No. 4543, is final and appealable. Section 2, Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that "(o)nly final judgments or orders shall be subject to appeal." Interlocuootry or incidental judgments or orders do not stay the progress of an action nor are they subject of appeal "until final judgment or order is rendered for one party or the other." The test to determine whether an order or judgment is interlocutory or final is this: "Does it leave something to be done in the trial court with respect to the mertis of the case? If it does, it is interlocutory; if it does not, if is final." 2 A court order is final character if it puts an end to the particular matter resolved or settles definitely the matter threin disposed of, 3 such that no further questions can come before the court except the execution of the order. 4 The term "final" judgment or order signifies a judgment or an order which disposes of the cause as to all the parties, reserving no further questions or direction for future determination. 5 The order or judgment may validly refer to the entire controversy or to some definite and separate branch threof. "In the absence of a statutory definition, a final judgment, order decree has been held to be ... one that finally disposes of, adjudicates, or determines the rights, or some right or rights of the parties, either on the entire controversy or on some definite and separate branch thereof, and which concludes them until it is reversed or set aside. 6 The central point to consider is, threfore, the effects of the order on the rights of the parties. A court order, on the other hand, is merely interlocutory in character if it is provisional and leaves substantial proceeding to be had in connection with its subject. 7 The word "interlocutory" refers to "something intervening between the commencement and the end of a suit which decides some point or matter but is not a final decision of the whole controversy." 8 1. We find that the order of dismissal entered by respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 4300-M on December 10, 1973, is a clear final and appealable order. The said order is a final disposition of the whole controversy between the parties with respect to the ownership of Lot No. 4543. It is absolute and conclusive on all questions in regard thereto. 9 The trial court's order is not a mere narrow acceptance of private respondent's plea of res judicata. It has more the far-ranging effect of confirming private respondent's claim of exclusive ownership of Lot No. 4543, as previously adjudicated in the prior Civil Case No. 2624. It imports that private respondent is the sole owner of this specific lot; as a result of which, the deceased Pedro San Miguel or his succesors-in-interest for that matter stand to suffer the loss of what they claim is their rightful share thereto. 10 After the issuance of this order, nothing more was left for the trial court to try or decide, as the conflicting claims of the parties over the subject lot have already been resolved. As a matter of fact, the final order of dismissal cannot even be assailed by certiorari. The remedy is appeal, which petitioners herein have failed to undertake. 11 The fact that the other lot, Lot No. 3269, remained under litigation and the respective claims of the parties thereto yet to be settled by the trial court would not affect the final nature of the subject order, because a decree, is nonetheless final although some independent branch of the case is reserved for future consideration . 12 2. Reason lies in the order of the respondent Judge, dated December 10, 1973, foreclosing the relitigation of Lot No. 4543 because of the March 19, 1964 order of the then trial Judge, Ricardo C. Puno, in Civil Case No. 2624, which involves the same lot, dismissing the case for lack of interest to prosecute. This dismissal order of the said trial Judge has the effect and consequences of a dismissal on the merits under Section 3, Rule 17 of the Revised Rules of Court since it was neither without prejudice nor based upon lack of jurisdiction. 13 It is worthy to note that the deceased Pedro San Miguel interposed no appeal therefrom. Instead, he attempted to revive the subject matter of that Civil Case No. 2624 (Lot No. 4543) eleven years threafter, when he commensed Civil Case No. 4300-M, praying for the partition of Lot No. 3629 and Lot No. 4543. This, the deceased Pedro San Miguel could not do so. Litigation on this particular Lot No. 4543 must reach a terminal point. The principle of estoppel by judgment, on of the aspects of the doctrine of res judicata, precludes the re-litigation in another action of a specific question actually litigated and determined in a former one. 14 The second casde, Civil Case No. 4300-M, is barred by the prior judgment in the first case, Civil Case No. 2624, insofar as it relates to Lot No. 4543. For, thre is Identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between the first case where the jdugment was rendered and the second case which is sought to be barred as far as Lot No. 4543 is concerned. Likewise, the judgment in the first case is a final one rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon the merits. 15 3. There is no doubt that access to the courts is a constitutional guarantee. This is, however, subject to limitation s. Once the rights of a party-litigant have been adjudicated in a valid final judgment of a competent court, the partylitigant can no longer litigate the same again. 16 A right, question or fact distinctly placed in issue and directly determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, cannot be disputed in a subsequent suit between the same parties or their privies; and even if the second suit is for a different cause of action, the right, question or fact once so determined must, as between the same parties or privies, be taken as conclusively established, so long as the judgment in the firs suit remains unmodified. 17 Public policy and sound practice jdemand that "at the risk of occasional errors, judgments of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law." 18Reipublicae ut sit finis litium. It results, thjrefore, that respondent Judge did not abusde his discetion when he issued the order of December 9, 1974, approving petitioners' corrected record on appeal "insofar only as Lot 3269 is concerned ... because the case with respect to Lot 4543 has long became (sic) FINAL ... ." ACCORDINGLY, the order of December 9, 1974, subject matter of this petition, issued by respondent Judge in his Civil Case No. 4300-M, approving petitioners corrected record on appeal with respect only to Lot 2369, is hereby affirmed. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED. EL BANCO ESPAOL-FILIPINO, plaintiff-appellant, vs. VICENTE PALANCA, administrator of the estate of Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng, defendant-appellant. Aitken and DeSelms for appellant. Hartigan and Welch for appellee. STREET, J.: This action was instituted upon March 31, 1908, by "El Banco Espanol-Filipino" to foreclose a mortgage upon various parcels of real property situated in the city of Manila. The mortgage in question is dated June 16, 1906, and was executed by the original defendant herein, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, as security for a debt owing by him to the bank. Upon March 31, 1906, the debt amounted to P218,294.10 and was drawing interest at the rate of 8 per centum per annum, payable at the end of each quarter. It appears that the parties to this mortgage at that time estimated the value of the property in question at P292,558, which was about P75,000 in excess of the indebtedness. After the execution of this instrument by the mortgagor, he returned to China which

appears to have been his native country; and he there died, upon January 29, 1810, without again returning to the Philippine Islands. As the defendant was a nonresident at the time of the institution of the present action, it was necessary for the plaintiff in the foreclosure proceeding to give notice to the defendant by publication pursuant to section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure. An order for publication was accordingly obtained from the court, and publication was made in due form in a newspaper of the city of Manila. At the same time that the order of the court should deposit in the post office in a stamped envelope a copy of the summons and complaint directed to the defendant at his last place of residence, to wit, the city of Amoy, in the Empire of China. This order was made pursuant to the following provision contained in section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure: In case of publication, where the residence of a nonresident or absent defendant is known, the judge must direct a copy of the summons and complaint to be forthwith deposited by the clerk in the postoffice, postage prepaid, directed to the person to be served, at his place of residence Whether the clerk complied with this order does not affirmatively appear. There is, however, among the papers pertaining to this case, an affidavit, dated April 4, 1908, signed by Bernardo Chan y Garcia, an employee of the attorneys of the bank, showing that upon that date he had deposited in the Manila post-office a registered letter, addressed to Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng, at Manila, containing copies of the complaint, the plaintiff's affidavit, the summons, and the order of the court directing publication as aforesaid. It appears from the postmaster's receipt that Bernardo probably used an envelope obtained from the clerk's office, as the receipt purports to show that the letter emanated from the office. The cause proceeded in usual course in the Court of First Instance; and the defendant not having appeared, judgment was, upon July 2, 1908, taken against him by default. Upon July 3, 1908, a decision was rendered in favor of the plaintiff. In this decision it was recited that publication had been properly made in a periodical, but nothing was said about this notice having been given mail. The court, upon this occasion, found that the indebtedness of the defendant amounted to P249,355. 32, with interest from March 31, 1908. Accordingly it was ordered that the defendant should, on or before July 6, 1908, deliver said amount to the clerk of the court to be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment, and it was declared that in case of the failure of the defendant to satisfy the judgment within such period, the mortgage property located in the city of Manila should be exposed to public sale. The payment contemplated in said order was never made; and upon July 8, 1908, the court ordered the sale of the property. The sale took place upon July 30, 1908, and the property was bought in by the bank for the sum of P110,200. Upon August 7, 1908, this sale was confirmed by the court. About seven years after the confirmation of this sale, or to the precise, upon June 25, 1915, a motion was made in this cause by Vicente Palanca, as administrator of the estate of the original defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, wherein the applicant requested the court to set aside the order of default of July 2, 1908, and the judgment rendered upon July 3, 1908, and to vacate all the proceedings subsequent thereto. The basis of this application, as set forth in the motion itself, was that the order of default and the judgment rendered thereon were void because the court had never acquired jurisdiction over the defendant or over the subject of the action. At the hearing in the court below the application to vacate the judgment was denied, and from this action of the court Vicente Planca, as administrator of the estate of the original defendant, has appealed. No other feature of the case is here under consideration than such as related to the action of the court upon said motion. The case presents several questions of importance, which will be discussed in what appears to be the sequence of most convenient development. In the first part of this opinion we shall, for the purpose of argument, assume that the clerk of the Court of First Instance did not obey the order of the court in the matter of mailing the papers which he was directed to send to the defendant in Amoy; and in this connection we shall consider, first, whether the court acquired the necessary jurisdiction to enable it to proceed with the foreclosure of the mortgage and, secondly, whether those proceedings were conducted in such manner as to constitute due process of law. The word "jurisdiction," as applied to the faculty of exercising judicial power, is used in several different, though related, senses since it may have reference (1) to the authority of the court to entertain a particular kind of action or to administer a particular kind of relief, or it may refer to the power of the court over the parties, or (2) over the property which is the subject to the litigation. The sovereign authority which organizes a court determines the nature and extent of its powers in general and thus fixes its competency or jurisdiction with reference to the actions which it may entertain and the relief it may grant. Jurisdiction over the person is acquired by the voluntary appearance of a party in court and his submission to its authority, or it is acquired by the coercive power of legal process exerted over the person. Jurisdiction over the property which is the subject of the litigation may result either from a seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into the actual custody of the law, or it may result from the institution of legal proceedings wherein, under special provisions of law, the power of the court over the property is recognized and made effective. In the latter case the property, though at all times within the potential power of the court, may never be taken into actual custody at all. An illustration of the jurisdiction acquired by actual seizure is found in attachment proceedings, where the property is seized at the beginning of the action, or some subsequent stage of its progress, and held to abide the final event of the litigation. An illustration of what we term potential jurisdiction over the res, is found in the proceeding to register the title of land under our system for the registration of land. Here the court, without taking actual physical control over the property assumes, at the instance of some person claiming to be owner, to exercise a jurisdiction in rem over the property and to adjudicate the title in favor of the petitioner against all the world. In the terminology of American law the action to foreclose a mortgage is said to be a proceeding quasi in rem, by which is expressed the idea that while it is not strictly speaking an action in rem yet it partakes of that nature and is substantially such. The expression "action in rem" is, in its narrow application, used only with reference to certain proceedings in courts of admiralty wherein the property alone is treated as responsible for the claim or obligation upon which the proceedings are based. The action quasi rem differs from the true action in rem in the circumstance that in the former an individual is named as defendant, and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property. All proceedings having for their sole object the sale or other disposition of the property of the defendant, whether by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general way thus designated. The judgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive only between the parties. In speaking of the proceeding to foreclose a mortgage the author of a well known treaties, has said: Though nominally against person, such suits are to vindicate liens; they proceed upon seizure; they treat property as primarily indebted; and, with the qualification above-mentioned, they are substantially property actions. In the civil law, they are styled hypothecary actions, and their sole object is the enforcement of the lien against the res; in the common law, they would be different in chancery did not treat the conditional conveyance as a mere hypothecation, and the creditor's right ass an equitable lien;

so, in both, the suit is real action so far as it is against property, and seeks the judicial recognition of a property debt, and an order for the sale of the res. (Waples, Proceedings In Rem. sec. 607.) It is true that in proceedings of this character, if the defendant for whom publication is made appears, the action becomes as to him a personal action and is conducted as such. This, however, does not affect the proposition that where the defendant fails to appear the action is quasi in rem; and it should therefore be considered with reference to the principles governing actions in rem. There is an instructive analogy between the foreclosure proceeding and an action of attachment, concerning which the Supreme Court of the United States has used the following language: If the defendant appears, the cause becomes mainly a suit in personam, with the added incident, that the property attached remains liable, under the control of the court, to answer to any demand which may be established against the defendant by the final judgment of the court. But, if there is no appearance of the defendant, and no service of process on him, the case becomes, in its essential nature, a proceeding in rem, the only effect of which is to subject the property attached to the payment of the defendant which the court may find to be due to the plaintiff. (Cooper vs. Reynolds, 10 Wall., 308.) In an ordinary attachment proceeding, if the defendant is not personally served, the preliminary seizure is to, be considered necessary in order to confer jurisdiction upon the court. In this case the lien on the property is acquired by the seizure; and the purpose of the proceedings is to subject the property to that lien. If a lien already exists, whether created by mortgage, contract, or statute, the preliminary seizure is not necessary; and the court proceeds to enforce such lien in the manner provided by law precisely as though the property had been seized upon attachment. (Roller vs. Holly, 176 U. S., 398, 405; 44 L. ed., 520.) It results that the mere circumstance that in an attachment the property may be seized at the inception of the proceedings, while in the foreclosure suit it is not taken into legal custody until the time comes for the sale, does not materially affect the fundamental principle involved in both cases, which is that the court is here exercising a jurisdiction over the property in a proceeding directed essentially in rem. Passing now to a consideration of the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance in a mortgage foreclosure, it is evident that the court derives its authority to entertain the action primarily from the statutes organizing the court. The jurisdiction of the court, in this most general sense, over the cause of action is obvious and requires no comment. Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, if acquired at all in such an action, is obtained by the voluntary submission of the defendant or by the personal service of process upon him within the territory where the process is valid. If, however, the defendant is a nonresident and, remaining beyond the range of the personal process of the court, refuses to come in voluntarily, the court never acquires jurisdiction over the person at all. Here the property itself is in fact the sole thing which is impleaded and is the responsible object which is the subject of the exercise of judicial power. It follows that the jurisdiction of the court in such case is based exclusively on the power which, under the law, it possesses over the property; and any discussion relative to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant is entirely apart from the case. The jurisdiction of the court over the property, considered as the exclusive object of such action, is evidently based upon the following conditions and considerations, namely: (1) that the property is located within the district; (2) that the purpose of the litigation is to subject the property by sale to an obligation fixed upon it by the mortgage; and (3) that the court at a proper stage of the proceedings takes the property into custody, if necessary, and expose it to sale for the purpose of satisfying the mortgage debt. An obvious corollary is that no other relief can be granted in this proceeding than such as can be enforced against the property. We may then, from what has been stated, formulated the following proposition relative to the foreclosure proceeding against the property of a nonresident mortgagor who fails to come in and submit himself personally to the jurisdiction of the court: (I) That the jurisdiction of the court is derived from the power which it possesses over the property; (II) that jurisdiction over the person is not acquired and is nonessential; (III) that the relief granted by the court must be limited to such as can be enforced against the property itself. It is important that the bearing of these propositions be clearly apprehended, for there are many expressions in the American reports from which it might be inferred that the court acquires personal jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by publication and notice; but such is not the case. In truth the proposition that jurisdiction over the person of a nonresident cannot be acquired by publication and notice was never clearly understood even in the American courts until after the decision had been rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States in the leading case of Pennoyer vs. Neff (95 U. S. 714; 24 L. ed., 565). In the light of that decision, and of other decisions which have subsequently been rendered in that and other courts, the proposition that jurisdiction over the person cannot be thus acquired by publication and notice is no longer open to question; and it is now fully established that a personal judgment upon constructive or substituted service against a nonresident who does not appear is wholly invalid. This doctrine applies to all kinds of constructive or substituted process, including service by publication and personal service outside of the jurisdiction in which the judgment is rendered; and the only exception seems to be found in the case where the nonresident defendant has expressly or impliedly consented to the mode of service. (Note to Raher vs. Raher, 35 L. R. A. [N. S. ], 292; see also 50 L .R. A., 585; 35 L. R. A. [N. S.], 312 The idea upon which the decision in Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) proceeds is that the process from the tribunals of one State cannot run into other States or countries and that due process of law requires that the defendant shall be brought under the power of the court by service of process within the State, or by his voluntary appearance, in order to authorize the court to pass upon the question of his personal liability. The doctrine established by the Supreme Court of the United States on this point, being based upon the constitutional conception of due process of law, is binding upon the courts of the Philippine Islands. Involved in this decision is the principle that in proceedings in rem or quasi in rem against a nonresident who is not served personally within the state, and who does not appear, the relief must be confined to the res, and the court cannot lawfully render a personal judgment against him. (Dewey vs. Des Moines, 173 U. S., 193; 43 L. ed., 665; Heidritter vs. Elizabeth Oil Cloth Co., 112 U. S., 294; 28 L. ed., 729.) Therefore in an action to foreclose a mortgage against a nonresident, upon whom service has been effected exclusively by publication, no personal judgment for the deficiency can be entered. (Latta vs. Tutton, 122 Cal., 279; Blumberg vs. Birch, 99 Cal., 416.) It is suggested in the brief of the appellant that the judgment entered in the court below offends against the principle just stated and that this judgment is void because the court in fact entered a personal judgment against the absent debtor for the full amount of the indebtedness secured by the mortgage. We do not so interpret the judgment. In a foreclosure proceeding against a nonresident owner it is necessary for the court, as in all cases of foreclosure, to ascertain the amount due, as prescribed in section 256 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to make an order requiring the defendant to pay the money into court. This step is a necessary precursor of the order of sale. In the present case the judgment which was entered contains the following words: Because it is declared that the said defendant Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, is indebted in the amount of P249,355.32, plus the interest, to the 'Banco Espanol-Filipino' . . . therefore said appellant is ordered to deliver the above amount etc., etc.

This is not the language of a personal judgment. Instead it is clearly intended merely as a compliance with the requirement that the amount due shall be ascertained and that the evidence of this it may be observed that according to the Code of Civil Procedure a personal judgment against the debtor for the deficiency is not to be rendered until after the property has been sold and the proceeds applied to the mortgage debt. (sec. 260). The conclusion upon this phase of the case is that whatever may be the effect in other respects of the failure of the clerk of the Court of First Instance to mail the proper papers to the defendant in Amoy, China, such irregularity could in no wise impair or defeat the jurisdiction of the court, for in our opinion that jurisdiction rest upon a basis much more secure than would be supplied by any form of notice that could be given to a resident of a foreign country. Before leaving this branch of the case, we wish to observe that we are fully aware that many reported cases can be cited in which it is assumed that the question of the sufficiency of publication or notice in a case of this kind is a question affecting the jurisdiction of the court, and the court is sometimes said to acquire jurisdiction by virtue of the publication. This phraseology was undoubtedly originally adopted by the court because of the analogy between service by the publication and personal service of process upon the defendant; and, as has already been suggested, prior to the decision of Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) the difference between the legal effects of the two forms of service was obscure. It is accordingly not surprising that the modes of expression which had already been molded into legal tradition before that case was decided have been brought down to the present day. But it is clear that the legal principle here involved is not effected by the peculiar language in which the courts have expounded their ideas. We now proceed to a discussion of the question whether the supposed irregularity in the proceedings was of such gravity as to amount to a denial of that "due process of law" which was secured by the Act of Congress in force in these Islands at the time this mortgage was foreclosed. (Act of July 1, 1902, sec. 5.) In dealing with questions involving the application of the constitutional provisions relating to due process of law the Supreme Court of the United States has refrained from attempting to define with precision the meaning of that expression, the reason being that the idea expressed therein is applicable under so many diverse conditions as to make any attempt ay precise definition hazardous and unprofitable. As applied to a judicial proceeding, however, it may be laid down with certainty that the requirement of due process is satisfied if the following conditions are present, namely; (1) There must be a court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it; (2) jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which is the subject of the proceeding; (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard; and (4) judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing. Passing at once to the requisite that the defendant shall have an opportunity to be heard, we observe that in a foreclosure case some notification of the proceedings to the nonresident owner, prescribing the time within which appearance must be made, is everywhere recognized as essential. To answer this necessity the statutes generally provide for publication, and usually in addition thereto, for the mailing of notice to the defendant, if his residence is known. Though commonly called constructive, or substituted service of process in any true sense. It is merely a means provided by law whereby the owner may be admonished that his property is the subject of judicial proceedings and that it is incumbent upon him to take such steps as he sees fit to protect it. In speaking of notice of this character a distinguish master of constitutional law has used the following language: . . . if the owners are named in the proceedings, and personal notice is provided for, it is rather from tenderness to their interests, and in order to make sure that the opportunity for a hearing shall not be lost to them, than from any necessity that the case shall assume that form. (Cooley on Taxation [2d. ed.], 527, quoted in Leigh vs. Green, 193 U. S., 79, 80.) It will be observed that this mode of notification does not involve any absolute assurance that the absent owner shall thereby receive actual notice. The periodical containing the publication may never in fact come to his hands, and the chances that he should discover the notice may often be very slight. Even where notice is sent by mail the probability of his receiving it, though much increased, is dependent upon the correctness of the address to which it is forwarded as well as upon the regularity and security of the mail service. It will be noted, furthermore, that the provision of our law relative to the mailing of notice does not absolutely require the mailing of notice unconditionally and in every event, but only in the case where the defendant's residence is known. In the light of all these facts, it is evident that actual notice to the defendant in cases of this kind is not, under the law, to be considered absolutely necessary. The idea upon which the law proceeds in recognizing the efficacy of a means of notification which may fall short of actual notice is apparently this: Property is always assumed to be in the possession of its owner, in person or by agent; and he may be safely held, under certain conditions, to be affected with knowledge that proceedings have been instituted for its condemnation and sale. It is the duty of the owner of real estate, who is a nonresident, to take measures that in some way he shall be represented when his property is called into requisition, and if he fails to do this, and fails to get notice by the ordinary publications which have usually been required in such cases, it is his misfortune, and he must abide the consequences. (6 R. C. L., sec. 445 [p. 450]). It has been well said by an American court: If property of a nonresident cannot be reached by legal process upon the constructive notice, then our statutes were passed in vain, and are mere empty legislative declarations, without either force, or meaning; for if the person is not within the jurisdiction of the court, no personal judgment can be rendered, and if the judgment cannot operate upon the property, then no effective judgment at all can be rendered, so that the result would be that the courts would be powerless to assist a citizen against a nonresident. Such a result would be a deplorable one. (Quarl vs. Abbett, 102 Ind., 233; 52 Am. Rep., 662, 667.) It is, of course universally recognized that the statutory provisions relative to publication or other form of notice against a nonresident owner should be complied with; and in respect to the publication of notice in the newspaper it may be stated that strict compliance with the requirements of the law has been held to be essential. In Guaranty Trust etc. Co. vs. Green Cove etc., Railroad Co. (139 U. S., 137, 138), it was held that where newspaper publication was made for 19 weeks, when the statute required 20, the publication was insufficient. With respect to the provisions of our own statute, relative to the sending of notice by mail, the requirement is that the judge shall direct that the notice be deposited in the mail by the clerk of the court, and it is not in terms declared that the notice must be deposited in the mail. We consider this to be of some significance; and it seems to us that, having due regard to the principles upon which the giving of such notice is required, the absent owner of the mortgaged property must, so far as the due process of law is concerned, take the risk incident to the possible failure of the clerk to perform his duty, somewhat as he takes the risk that the mail clerk or the mail carrier might possibly lose or destroy the parcel or envelope containing the notice before it should reach its destination and be delivered to him. This idea seems to be strengthened by the consideration that placing upon the clerk the duty of sending notice by mail, the performance of that act is put effectually beyond the control of the plaintiff in the litigation. At any rate it is obvious that so much of section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure as relates to the sending of notice by mail was complied with when the court made the order. The question as to what may be the

consequences of the failure of the record to show the proof of compliance with that requirement will be discussed by us further on. The observations which have just been made lead to the conclusion that the failure of the clerk to mail the notice, if in fact he did so fail in his duty, is not such an irregularity, as amounts to a denial of due process of law; and hence in our opinion that irregularity, if proved, would not avoid the judgment in this case. Notice was given by publication in a newspaper and this is the only form of notice which the law unconditionally requires. This in our opinion is all that was absolutely necessary to sustain the proceedings. It will be observed that in considering the effect of this irregularity, it makes a difference whether it be viewed as a question involving jurisdiction or as a question involving due process of law. In the matter of jurisdiction there can be no distinction between the much and the little. The court either has jurisdiction or it has not; and if the requirement as to the mailing of notice should be considered as a step antecedent to the acquiring of jurisdiction, there could be no escape from the conclusion that the failure to take that step was fatal to the validity of the judgment. In the application of the idea of due process of law, on the other hand, it is clearly unnecessary to be so rigorous. The jurisdiction being once established, all that due process of law thereafter requires is an opportunity for the defendant to be heard; and as publication was duly made in the newspaper, it would seem highly unreasonable to hold that failure to mail the notice was fatal. We think that in applying the requirement of due process of law, it is permissible to reflect upon the purposes of the provision which is supposed to have been violated and the principle underlying the exercise of judicial power in these proceedings. Judge in the light of these conceptions, we think that the provision of Act of Congress declaring that no person shall be deprived of his property without due process of law has not been infringed. In the progress of this discussion we have stated the two conclusions; (1) that the failure of the clerk to send the notice to the defendant by mail did not destroy the jurisdiction of the court and (2) that such irregularity did not infringe the requirement of due process of law. As a consequence of these conclusions the irregularity in question is in some measure shorn of its potency. It is still necessary, however, to consider its effect considered as a simple irregularity of procedure; and it would be idle to pretend that even in this aspect the irregularity is not grave enough. From this point of view, however, it is obvious that any motion to vacate the judgment on the ground of the irregularity in question must fail unless it shows that the defendant was prejudiced by that irregularity. The least, therefore, that can be required of the proponent of such a motion is to show that he had a good defense against the action to foreclose the mortgage. Nothing of the kind is, however, shown either in the motion or in the affidavit which accompanies the motion. An application to open or vacate a judgment because of an irregularity or defect in the proceedings is usually required to be supported by an affidavit showing the grounds on which the relief is sought, and in addition to this showing also a meritorious defense to the action. It is held that a general statement that a party has a good defense to the action is insufficient. The necessary facts must be averred. Of course if a judgment is void upon its face a showing of the existence of a meritorious defense is not necessary. (10 R. C. L., 718.) The lapse of time is also a circumstance deeply affecting this aspect of the case. In this connection we quote the following passage from the encyclopedic treatise now in course of publication: Where, however, the judgment is not void on its face, and may therefore be enforced if permitted to stand on the record, courts in many instances refuse to exercise their quasi equitable powers to vacate a judgement after the lapse of the term ay which it was entered, except in clear cases, to promote the ends of justice, and where it appears that the party making the application is himself without fault and has acted in good faith and with ordinary diligence. Laches on the part of the applicant, if unexplained, is deemed sufficient ground for refusing the relief to which he might otherwise be entitled. Something is due to the finality of judgments, and acquiescence or unnecessary delay is fatal to motions of this character, since courts are always reluctant to interfere with judgments, and especially where they have been executed or satisfied. The moving party has the burden of showing diligence, and unless it is shown affirmatively the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor. (15 R. C. L., 694, 695.) It is stated in the affidavit that the defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, died January 29, 1910. The mortgage under which the property was sold was executed far back in 1906; and the proceedings in the foreclosure were closed by the order of court confirming the sale dated August 7, 1908. It passes the rational bounds of human credulity to suppose that a man who had placed a mortgage upon property worth nearly P300,000 and had then gone away from the scene of his life activities to end his days in the city of Amoy, China, should have long remained in ignorance of the fact that the mortgage had been foreclosed and the property sold, even supposing that he had no knowledge of those proceedings while they were being conducted. It is more in keeping with the ordinary course of things that he should have acquired information as to what was transpiring in his affairs at Manila; and upon the basis of this rational assumption we are authorized, in the absence of proof to the contrary, to presume that he did have, or soon acquired, information as to the sale of his property. The Code of Civil Procedure, indeed, expressly declares that there is a presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary habits of life (sec. 334 [26]); and we cannot conceive of a situation more appropriate than this for applying the presumption thus defined by the lawgiver. In support of this presumption, as applied to the present case, it is permissible to consider the probability that the defendant may have received actual notice of these proceedings from the unofficial notice addressed to him in Manila which was mailed by an employee of the bank's attorneys. Adopting almost the exact words used by the Supreme Court of the United States in Grannis vs. Ordeans (234 U. S., 385; 58 L. ed., 1363), we may say that in view of the well-known skill of postal officials and employees in making proper delivery of letters defectively addressed, we think the presumption is clear and strong that this notice reached the defendant, there being no proof that it was ever returned by the postal officials as undelivered. And if it was delivered in Manila, instead of being forwarded to Amoy, China, there is a probability that the recipient was a person sufficiently interested in his affairs to send it or communicate its contents to him. Of course if the jurisdiction of the court or the sufficiency of the process of law depended upon the mailing of the notice by the clerk, the reflections in which we are now indulging would be idle and frivolous; but the considerations mentioned are introduced in order to show the propriety of applying to this situation the legal presumption to which allusion has been made. Upon that presumption, supported by the circumstances of this case, ,we do not hesitate to found the conclusion that the defendant voluntarily abandoned all thought of saving his property from the obligation which he had placed upon it; that knowledge of the proceedings should be imputed to him; and that he acquiesced in the consequences of those proceedings after they had been accomplished. Under these circumstances it is clear that the merit of this motion is, as we have already stated, adversely affected in a high degree by the delay in asking for relief. Nor is it an adequate reply to say that the proponent of this motion is an administrator who only qualified a few months before this motion was made. No disability on the part of the defendant himself existed from the time when the foreclosure was effected until his death; and we believe that the delay in the appointment of the administrator and institution of this action is a circumstance which is imputable to the parties in interest whoever they may have been. Of course if the minor heirs had instituted an action in their own right to recover the property, it would have been different. It is, however, argued that the defendant has suffered prejudice by reason of the fact that the bank became the purchaser of the property at the foreclosure sale for a price greatly below that which had been agreed upon in the mortgage as the upset price of the property. In this connection, it appears that in article nine of the mortgage which was the subject of this foreclosure, as amended by the notarial document of July 19, 1906, the parties to this

mortgage made a stipulation to the effect that the value therein placed upon the mortgaged properties should serve as a basis of sale in case the debt should remain unpaid and the bank should proceed to a foreclosure. The upset price stated in that stipulation for all the parcels involved in this foreclosure was P286,000. It is said in behalf of the appellant that when the bank bought in the property for the sum of P110,200 it violated that stipulation. It has been held by this court that a clause in a mortgage providing for a tipo, or upset price, does not prevent a foreclosure, nor affect the validity of a sale made in the foreclosure proceedings. (Yangco vs. Cruz Herrera and Wy Piaco, 11 Phil. Rep., 402; Banco-Espaol Filipino vs. Donaldson, Sim and Co., 5 Phil. Rep., 418.) In both the cases here cited the property was purchased at the foreclosure sale, not by the creditor or mortgagee, but by a third party. Whether the same rule should be applied in a case where the mortgagee himself becomes the purchaser has apparently not been decided by this court in any reported decision, and this question need not here be considered, since it is evident that if any liability was incurred by the bank by purchasing for a price below that fixed in the stipulation, its liability was a personal liability derived from the contract of mortgage; and as we have already demonstrated such a liability could not be the subject of adjudication in an action where the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. If the plaintiff bank became liable to account for the difference between the upset price and the price at which in bought in the property, that liability remains unaffected by the disposition which the court made of this case; and the fact that the bank may have violated such an obligation can in no wise affect the validity of the judgment entered in the Court of First Instance. In connection with the entire failure of the motion to show either a meritorious defense to the action or that the defendant had suffered any prejudice of which the law can take notice, we may be permitted to add that in our opinion a motion of this kind, which proposes to unsettle judicial proceedings long ago closed, can not be considered with favor, unless based upon grounds which appeal to the conscience of the court. Public policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld. The maximum here applicable is non quieta movere. As was once said by Judge Brewer, afterwards a member of the Supreme Court of the United States: Public policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld, and that titles obtained in those proceedings be safe from the ruthless hand of collateral attack. If technical defects are adjudged potent to destroy such titles, a judicial sale will never realize that value of the property, for no prudent man will risk his money in bidding for and buying that title which he has reason to fear may years thereafter be swept away through some occult and not readily discoverable defect. (Martin vs. Pond, 30 Fed., 15.) In the case where that language was used an attempt was made to annul certain foreclosure proceedings on the ground that the affidavit upon which the order of publication was based erroneously stated that the State of Kansas, when he was in fact residing in another State. It was held that this mistake did not affect the validity of the proceedings. In the preceding discussion we have assumed that the clerk failed to send the notice by post as required by the order of the court. We now proceed to consider whether this is a proper assumption; and the proposition which we propose to establish is that there is a legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty as the ministerial officer of the court, which presumption is not overcome by any other facts appearing in the cause. In subsection 14 of section 334 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that there is a presumption "that official duty has been regularly performed;" and in subsection 18 it is declared that there is a presumption "that the ordinary course of business has been followed." These presumptions are of course in no sense novelties, as they express ideas which have always been recognized. Omnia presumuntur rite et solemniter esse acta donec probetur in contrarium. There is therefore clearly a legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty about mailing this notice; and we think that strong considerations of policy require that this presumption should be allowed to operate with full force under the circumstances of this case. A party to an action has no control over the clerk of the court; and has no right to meddle unduly with the business of the clerk in the performance of his duties. Having no control over this officer, the litigant must depend upon the court to see that the duties imposed on the clerk are performed. Other considerations no less potent contribute to strengthen the conclusion just stated. There is no principle of law better settled than that after jurisdiction has once been required, every act of a court of general jurisdiction shall be presumed to have been rightly done. This rule is applied to every judgment or decree rendered in the various stages of the proceedings from their initiation to their completion (Voorhees vs. United States Bank, 10 Pet., 314; 35 U. S., 449); and if the record is silent with respect to any fact which must have been established before the court could have rightly acted, it will be presumed that such fact was properly brought to its knowledge. (The Lessee of Grignon vs. Astor, 2 How., 319; 11 L. ed., 283.) In making the order of sale [of the real state of a decedent] the court are presumed to have adjudged every question necessary to justify such order or decree, viz: The death of the owners; that the petitioners were his administrators; that the personal estate was insufficient to pay the debts of the deceased; that the private acts of Assembly, as to the manner of sale, were within the constitutional power of the Legislature, and that all the provisions of the law as to notices which are directory to the administrators have been complied with. . . . The court is not bound to enter upon the record the evidence on which any fact was decided. (Florentine vs. Barton, 2 Wall., 210; 17 L. ed., 785.) Especially does all this apply after long lapse of time. Applegate vs. Lexington and Carter County Mining Co. (117 U. S., 255) contains an instructive discussion in a case analogous to that which is now before us. It there appeared that in order to foreclose a mortgage in the State of Kentucky against a nonresident debtor it was necessary that publication should be made in a newspaper for a specified period of time, also be posted at the front door of the court house and be published on some Sunday, immediately after divine service, in such church as the court should direct. In a certain action judgment had been entered against a nonresident, after publication in pursuance of these provisions. Many years later the validity of the proceedings was called in question in another action. It was proved from the files of an ancient periodical that publication had been made in its columns as required by law; but no proof was offered to show the publication of the order at the church, or the posting of it at the front door of the court-house. It was insisted by one of the parties that the judgment of the court was void for lack of jurisdiction. But the Supreme Court of the United States said: The court which made the decree . . . was a court of general jurisdiction. Therefore every presumption not inconsistent with the record is to be indulged in favor of its jurisdiction. . . . It is to be presumed that the court before making its decree took care of to see that its order for constructive service, on which its right to make the decree depended, had been obeyed. It is true that in this case the former judgment was the subject of collateral , or indirect attack, while in the case at bar the motion to vacate the judgment is direct proceeding for relief against it. The same general presumption, however, is indulged in favor of the judgment of a court of general jurisdiction, whether it is the subject of direct or indirect attack the only difference being that in case of indirect attack the judgment is conclusively presumed to be valid unless the record affirmatively shows it to be void, while in case of direct attack the presumption in favor of its validity may in certain cases be overcome by proof extrinsic to the record. The presumption that the clerk performed his duty and that the court made its decree with the knowledge that the requirements of law had been complied with appear to be amply sufficient to support the conclusion that the notice was sent by the clerk as required by the order. It is true that there ought to be found among the papers on file in

this cause an affidavit, as required by section 400 of the Code of Civil Procedure, showing that the order was in fact so sent by the clerk; and no such affidavit appears. The record is therefore silent where it ought to speak. But the very purpose of the law in recognizing these presumptions is to enable the court to sustain a prior judgment in the face of such an omission. If we were to hold that the judgment in this case is void because the proper affidavit is not present in the file of papers which we call the record, the result would be that in the future every title in the Islands resting upon a judgment like that now before us would depend, for its continued security, upon the presence of such affidavit among the papers and would be liable at any moment to be destroyed by the disappearance of that piece of paper. We think that no court, with a proper regard for the security of judicial proceedings and for the interests which have by law been confided to the courts, would incline to favor such a conclusion. In our opinion the proper course in a case of this kind is to hold that the legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty still maintains notwithstanding the absence from the record of the proper proof of that fact. In this connection it is important to bear in mind that under the practice prevailing in the Philippine Islands the word "record" is used in a loose and broad sense, as indicating the collective mass of papers which contain the history of all the successive steps taken in a case and which are finally deposited in the archives of the clerk's office as a memorial of the litigation. It is a matter of general information that no judgment roll, or book of final record, is commonly kept in our courts for the purpose of recording the pleadings and principal proceedings in actions which have been terminated; and in particular, no such record is kept in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila. There is, indeed, a section of the Code of Civil Procedure which directs that such a book of final record shall be kept; but this provision has, as a matter of common knowledge, been generally ignored. The result is that in the present case we do not have the assistance of the recitals of such a record to enable us to pass upon the validity of this judgment and as already stated the question must be determined by examining the papers contained in the entire file. But it is insisted by counsel for this motion that the affidavit of Bernardo Chan y Garcia showing that upon April 4, 1908, he sent a notification through the mail addressed to the defendant at Manila, Philippine Islands, should be accepted as affirmative proof that the clerk of the court failed in his duty and that, instead of himself sending the requisite notice through the mail, he relied upon Bernardo to send it for him. We do not think that this is by any means a necessary inference. Of course if it had affirmatively appeared that the clerk himself had attempted to comply with this order and had directed the notification to Manila when he should have directed it to Amoy, this would be conclusive that he had failed to comply with the exact terms of the order; but such is not this case. That the clerk of the attorneys for the plaintiff erroneously sent a notification to the defendant at a mistaken address affords in our opinion very slight basis for supposing that the clerk may not have sent notice to the right address. There is undoubtedly good authority to support the position that when the record states the evidence or makes an averment with reference to a jurisdictional fact, it will not be presumed that there was other or different evidence respecting the fact, or that the fact was otherwise than stated. If, to give an illustration, it appears from the return of the officer that the summons was served at a particular place or in a particular manner, it will not be presumed that service was also made at another place or in a different manner; or if it appears that service was made upon a person other than the defendant, it will not be presumed, in the silence of the record, that it was made upon the defendant also (Galpin vs. Page, 18 Wall., 350, 366; Settlemier vs. Sullivan, 97 U. S., 444, 449). While we believe that these propositions are entirely correct as applied to the case where the person making the return is the officer who is by law required to make the return, we do not think that it is properly applicable where, as in the present case, the affidavit was made by a person who, so far as the provisions of law are concerned, was a mere intermeddler. The last question of importance which we propose to consider is whether a motion in the cause is admissible as a proceeding to obtain relief in such a case as this. If the motion prevails the judgment of July 2, 1908, and all subsequent proceedings will be set aside, and the litigation will be renewed, proceeding again from the date mentioned as if the progress of the action had not been interrupted. The proponent of the motion does not ask the favor of being permitted to interpose a defense. His purpose is merely to annul the effective judgment of the court, to the end that the litigation may again resume its regular course. There is only one section of the Code of Civil Procedure which expressly recognizes the authority of a Court of First Instance to set aside a final judgment and permit a renewal of the litigation in the same cause. This is as follows: SEC. 113. Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or legal representative from the judgment, order, or other proceeding taken against him through his mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; Provided, That application thereof be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six months after such judgment, order, or proceeding was taken. An additional remedy by petition to the Supreme Court is supplied by section 513 of the same Code. The first paragraph of this section, in so far as pertinent to this discussion, provides as follows: When a judgment is rendered by a Court of First Instance upon default, and a party thereto is unjustly deprived of a hearing by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and the Court of First Instance which rendered the judgment has finally adjourned so that no adequate remedy exists in that court, the party so deprived of a hearing may present his petition to the Supreme Court within sixty days after he first learns of the rendition of such judgment, and not thereafter, setting forth the facts and praying to have judgment set aside. . . . It is evident that the proceeding contemplated in this section is intended to supplement the remedy provided by section 113; and we believe the conclusion irresistible that there is no other means recognized by law whereby a defeated party can, by a proceeding in the same cause, procure a judgment to be set aside, with a view to the renewal of the litigation. The Code of Civil Procedure purports to be a complete system of practice in civil causes, and it contains provisions describing with much fullness the various steps to be taken in the conduct of such proceedings. To this end it defines with precision the method of beginning, conducting, and concluding the civil action of whatever species; and by section 795 of the same Code it is declared that the procedure in all civil action shall be in accordance with the provisions of this Code. We are therefore of the opinion that the remedies prescribed in sections 113 and 513 are exclusive of all others, so far as relates to the opening and continuation of a litigation which has been once concluded. The motion in the present case does not conform to the requirements of either of these provisions; and the consequence is that in our opinion the action of the Court of First Instance in dismissing the motion was proper. If the question were admittedly one relating merely to an irregularity of procedure, we cannot suppose that this proceeding would have taken the form of a motion in the cause, since it is clear that, if based on such an error, the came to late for relief in the Court of First Instance. But as we have already seen, the motion attacks the judgment of the court as void for want of jurisdiction over the defendant. The idea underlying the motion therefore is that inasmuch as the judgment is a nullity it can be attacked in any way and at any time. If the judgment were in fact void upon its face, that is, if it were shown to be a nullity by virtue of its own recitals, there might possibly be something in this. Where a judgment or judicial order is void in this sense it may be said to be a lawless thing, which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.

But the judgment in question is not void in any such sense. It is entirely regular in form, and the alleged defect is one which is not apparent upon its face. It follows that even if the judgment could be shown to be void for want of jurisdiction, or for lack of due process of law, the party aggrieved thereby is bound to resort to some appropriate proceeding to obtain relief. Under accepted principles of law and practice, long recognized in American courts, a proper remedy in such case, after the time for appeal or review has passed, is for the aggrieved party to bring an action to enjoin the judgment, if not already carried into effect; or if the property has already been disposed of he may institute suit to recover it. In every situation of this character an appropriate remedy is at hand; and if property has been taken without due process, the law concedes due process to recover it. We accordingly old that, assuming the judgment to have been void as alleged by the proponent of this motion, the proper remedy was by an original proceeding and not by motion in the cause. As we have already seen our Code of Civil Procedure defines the conditions under which relief against a judgment may be productive of conclusion for this court to recognize such a proceeding as proper under conditions different from those defined by law. Upon the point of procedure here involved, we refer to the case of People vs. Harrison (84 Cal., 607) wherein it was held that a motion will not lie to vacate a judgment after the lapse of the time limited by statute if the judgment is not void on its face; and in all cases, after the lapse of the time limited by statute if the judgment is not void on its face; and all cases, after the lapse of such time, when an attempt is made to vacate the judgment by a proceeding in court for that purpose an action regularly brought is preferable, and should be required. It will be noted taken verbatim from the California Code (sec. 473). The conclusions stated in this opinion indicate that the judgment appealed from is without error, and the same is accordingly affirmed, with costs. So ordered. IMELDA R. MARCOS, petitioner, vs. The Honorable SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division), and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. RESOLUTION PURISIMA, J.: This scenic Philippine archipelago is a citadel of justice, due process and rule of law. Succinct and clear is the provision of the constitution of this great Republic that every accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. [Art. 111, Sec. 14(2)]. As held in People of the Philippines vs. Ellizabeth Ganguso y Decena (G.R. No 115430, November 23, 1995, 250 SCRA 268, 274-275): An accused has in his favor the presumption of innocence which the Bill of Rights guarantees. Unless his guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt, he must be acquitted. This reasonable doubt standard is demanded by the due process clause of the Constitution which protects the accused from conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and unless it discharges that burden the accused need not even offer evidence in his behalf, and he would be entitled to an acquittal. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not, of course, mean such degree of proof as, excluding the possibility of error, produce absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. The conscience must be satisfied that the accused is responsible for the offense charged. So also, well-settled, to the point of being elementary, is the doctrine that when inculpatory facts are susceptible to two or more interpretations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused, the evidence does not fulfill or hurdle the test of moral certainty required for conviction. (People of the Philippines vs. Eric F. Timtiman, G.R. No. 101663, November 4, 1992, 215 SCRA 364, 373 citing People vs. Remorosa, 200 SCRA 350, 360 [1991]; People vs. Raquel, 265 SCRA 248; People vs. Aranda, 226 SCRA 562; People vs. Maongco, 230 SCRA 562;People vs. Salangga, 234 SCRA 407) Mindful of and guided by the aforecited constitutional and legal precepts, doctrines and principles prevailing in this jurisdiction, should petitioners Motion for Reconsideration be granted? Docketed as Criminal Case No. 17450 before the Sandiganbayan, the Information indicting Imelda R. Marcos and Jose P. Dans, Jr. for a violation of Section 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, alleges: That on or about June 8, 1984, and for sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Makati, Metro-Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused IMELDA R. MARCOS and JOSE P. DANS, JR., public officers, being then Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), a government corporate entity created under Executive Order No. 603 of the former President Ferdinand Marcos, while in the performance of their official functions, taking advantage of their positions and committing the crime in relation to their offices, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally conspiring with one another, enter on behalf of the aforesaid government corporation into a Lease Agreement covering LRTA property located in Pasay City, with the Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Inc. (PGHFI), a private enterprise, under terms and conditions manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. CONTRARY TO LAW. The case was raffled off to the First Division of the Sandiganbayan, with Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, as Chairman and Justices Jose S. Balajadia and Narciso T. Atienza, as members. On September 15, 1993, when the First Division failed to comply with the legal requirement of unanimity of its three members due to the dissent of Justice Narciso T. Atienza, Presiding Justice Garchitorena issued Administrative Order No. 28893 constituting a Special Division of five and designating Justices Augusto M. Amores and Cipriano A. Del Rosario, as additional members. On September 21, 1993, Justice Amores wrote Presiding Justice Garchitorena requesting that he be given fifteen (15) days to send in his Manifestation. However, on the same day, September 21, 1993, when Justice Balajadia and Presiding Justice Garchitorena agreed with the opinion of Justice Del Rosario, Presiding Justice Garchitorena issued Administrative Order No. 293-93, dissolving the Special Division of Five, without waiting for Justice Amores manifestation. Justice Garchitorena considered the said request of Justice Amores as pointless because of the agreement of Justice Balajadia and the undersigned to the conclusion reached by Justice Atienza. Thus, on September 24, 1993, the now assailed decision was handed down by the First Division of the Sandiganbayan. Under the aforequoted Information charging accused Imelda R. Marcos and Jose P. Dans, Jr. with a violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019, the following elements of the offense charged must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, to wit: 1] that the accused acted as a public officer; 2] that subject Contract or transaction entered into by the latter is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. There is no dispute that sometime in the year 1984, the herein petitioner, Imelda R. Marcos, was Minister of Human Settlement while Jose P. Dans, Jr. was the Minister of Transportation and Communication. The two served as ex oficio Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Light Rail Transport Authority (LRTA). Petitioner Marcos was also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Inc. (PGHFI).

On June 8, 1984, petitioner, in her capacity as Chairman of PGHFI, and Jose P. Dans, Jr. as Vice Chairman of LRTA, signed the Lease Agreement (Exhibit B) by virtue of which LRTA leased to PGHFI subject lot with an area of 7,340 square meters, at a monthly rental of P102,760.00 for a period of twenty-five (25) years. On June 27, 1984, the PGHFI, represented by its Chairman Imelda R. Marcos, and Transnational Construction Corporation, represented by its President Ignacio B. Gimenez, signed the Sub-lease Agreement (Exhibit D), wherein said lessee rented the same area of 7,340 square meters for P734,000.00 a month, for a period of twenty-five (25) years. For executing the aforesaid Lease Agreement (Exhibit B), petitioner and Jose P. Dans, Jr. were indicted in the said Information, for conspiring and confederating with each other in entering into subject Lease Agreement alleged to be manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. After trial, as earlier alluded to, the Sandiganbayan convicted the petitioner and Jose P. Dans, Jr. of the offense charged. On June 29, 1998, the Third Division of this court came out with its decision affirming the judgment, as against petitioner Imelda R. Marcos, in G.R. No. 126995, but reversing the same judgment, as against Jose P. Dans, Jr., in G.R. No. 127073. In affirming the judgment of conviction against petitioner, the Third Division found the rental price stipulated in the Lease Agreement, (Exhibit B) unfair and unreasonably low, upon a comparison with the rental rate in the Sub-lease Agreement (Exhibit D), which contract petitioner subsequently signed on behalf of PGHFI, with TNCC. Undaunted, the petitioner interposed the present Motion for Reconsideration. The pivot of inquiry here is whether all the elements of the offense charged have been duly substantiated. As regards the first element, did petitioner Imelda R. Marcos enter into the Lease Agreement marked Exhibit B as a public officer? As clearly stated on the face of the subject contract under scrutiny, petitioner signed the same in her capacity as Chairman of PGHFI and not as Human Settlement Minister nor as ex-officio Chairman of LRTA. It was Jose P. Dans, Jr. who signed said Contract, as ex-officio ViceChairman of LRTA. Although petitioner was the ex-officio Chairman of LRTA, at the time, there is no evidence to show that she was present when the Board of Directors of LRTA authorized and approved the Lease Agreement sued upon. In light of the foregoing antecedent facts and circumstances, the irresistible conclusion is that petitioner did not sign subject Lease Agreement as a public officer, within the contemplation of RA 3019 and, therefore, the first element of the offense charged is wanting. It bears stressing, in this connection, that Jose P. Dans, Jr., the public officer who signed the said Lease Agreement (Exhibit B) for LRTA, was acquitted. As regards the second element of the offense - that such Lease Agreement is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government, the respondent court based its finding thereon against the petitioner and Jose P. Dans, Jr., on a ratiocination that while the rental price under the Lease Agreement is only P102,760.00 a month, the monthly rental rate under the Sub-lease Agreement is P734,000.00. After comparing the two rental rates aforementioned, the respondent court concluded that the rental price of P102,760.00 a month is unfair, unreasonable and disadvantageous to the government. But Exhibit B does not prove that the said contract entered into by petitioner is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. There is no established standard by which Exhibit Bs rental provisions could be adjudged prejudicial to LRTA or the entire government. Exhibit B standing alone does not prove any offense. Neither does Exhibit B together with the Sub-lease Agreement (Exhibit D) prove the offense charged. At most, it creates only a doubt in the mind of the objective readers as to which (between the lease and sublease rental rates) is the fair and reasonable one, considering the different circumstances as well as parties involved. It could happen that in both contracts, neither the LRTA nor the Government suffered any injury. There is, therefore, insufficient evidence to prove petitioners guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Verily, it is too obvious to require an extended disquisition that the only basis of the respondent court for condemning the Lease Agreement (Exhibit B) as manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government was a comparison of the rental rate in the Lease Agreement, with the very much higher rental price under the Sublease Agreement (Exhibit D). Certainly, such a comparison is purely speculative and violative of due process. The mere fact that the Sub-lease Agreement provides a monthly rental of P734,000.00 does not necessarily mean that the rental price of P102,760.00 per month under the Lease Agreement (Exhibit B) is very low, unreasonable and manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. There are many factors to consider in the determination of what is a reasonable rate of rental. What is more, as stressed by Jose P. Dans Jr., when subject Lease Agreement was inked, the rental rate therein provided was based on a study conducted in accordance with generally accepted rules of rental computation. On this score, Mr. Ramon F. Cuervo, Jr., the real estate appraiser who testified in the case as an expert witness and whose impartiality and competence were never impugned, assured the court that the rental price stipulated in the Lease Agreement under scrutiny was fair and adequate. According to him, witness, the reasonable rental for subject property at the time of execution of Exhibit B was only P73,000.00 per month. That the Sub-lease Agreement (Exhibit D) was for a very much higher rental rate of P734,000.00 a month is of no moment. This circumstance did not necessarily render the monthly rental rate of P102,760.00 manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the lessor. Evidently, the prosecution failed to prove that the rental rate of P102,760.00 per month was manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. Not even a single lease contract covering a property within the vicinity of the said leased premises was offered in evidence. The disparity between the rental price of the Lease Agreement and that of the Sublease Agreement is no evidence at all to buttress the theory of the prosecution, that the Lease Agreement in question is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. Gross is a comparative term. Before it can be considered gross, there must be a standard by which the same is weighed and measured. All things viewed in proper perspective, it is decisively clear that there is a glaring absence of substantiation that the Lease Agreement under controversy is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government, as theorized upon by the prosecution. Furthermore, that the lessee, PGHFI, succeeded in obtaining a high rental rate of P734,000.00 a month, did not result in any disadvantage to the government because obviously, the rental income realized by PGHFI from the Sub-lease Agreement (Exhibit D) augmented the financial support for and improved the management and operation of the Philippine General Hospital, which is, after all, a government hospital of the people and for the people. Another sustainable ground for the granting of petitioners motion for reconsideration is the failure and inability of the prosecution to prove that petitioner was present when the Board of Directors of LRTA authorized and approved the Lease Agreement complained of. Albeit, petitioner was ex oficio chairman of the Board of Directors of LRTA when the said Lease Agreement was entered into, there is no evidence whatsoever to show that she attended the board meeting of LRTA which deliberated and acted upon subject Lease Agreement (Exhibit B). It is thus beyond cavil that petitioner signed the said Lease Agreement as Chairman of the PGH Foundation, Inc., a private charitable foundation, and not as a public officer. Neither can petitioner be considered as in conspiracy with Jose P. Dans, Jr., who has been found without any criminal liability for signing the same Lease Agreement. Absent any conspiracy of petitioner with Dans, the act of the latter cannot be viewed as an act of the former. Petitioner is only answerable for her own individual

act. Consequently, petitioner not having signed Exhibit B as a public officer, there is neither legal nor factual basis for her conviction under Section 3 (g) of Rep Act 3019. It bears repeating that apart from the Lease Agreement and Sub-lease Agreement marked Exhibits B and D, respectively, the prosecution offered no other evidence to prove the accusation at bar. What makes petitioners stance the more meritorious and impregnable is the patent violation of her right to due process, substantive and procedural, by the respondent court. Records disclose that: (a) the First Division of the Sandiganbayan composed of Presiding Justice Garchitorena and Associate Justices Balajadia and Atienza could not agree on whether to convict or acquit the petitioner in the five (5) criminal cases pending against her. Justice Atienza was in favor of exonerating petitioner in Criminal Case Nos. 17449, 17451 and 17452. Justices Garchitorena and Balajadia wanted to convict her in Criminal Case Nos. 17450, 17451, 17452 and 17453. As there there was no unanimity of votes in Criminal Case Nos. 17451 and 17452; (b) on September 15, 1993, in accordance with Sec. 5 of P. D. No. 1606, Presiding Justice Garchitorena issued Adm. Order No. 288-93 constituting a Special Division of five (5) justices, and naming thereto, Justices Augusto M. Amores and Cipriano A. del Rosario; (c) on September 21, 1993, Justice Amores sent a written request to Presiding Justice Garchitorena asking that he be given fifteen (15) days to submit his Manifestation; (d) on the same day, September 21, 1993, however, Presiding Justice Garchitorena and Justices Balajadia and del Rosario, after attending a hearing of the Committee of Justice of the House of Representatives, lunched together in a Quezon City restaurant where they discussed petitioners cases in the absence of Justices Atienza and Amores and in the presence of a non-member of the Special Division. Thereat, Presiding Justice Garchitorena, and Justices Balajadia and del Rosario agreed with the position of Justice Atienza to acquit petitioner in Criminal Case Nos. 17449, 17451 and 17452 and to convict her in the other cases; and (e) when the Justices returned to the official workplace of Sandiganbayan, Presiding Justice Garchitorena issued Adm. Order No. 293-93 dissolving the Special Division. Such procedural flaws committed by respondent Sandiganbayan are fatal to the validity of its decision convicting petitioner for the following reasons, viz: First. Section 4, Rule VI categorically provides that sessions of the Sandiganbayan, whether en banc or division, shall be held in its principal office in the Metropolitan Manila where it shall tryand determine all cases filed with it x x x. This rule reiterates Sec. 2 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, creating the Sandiganbayan. Second, The rules of Sandiganbayan do not allow unscheduled discussion of cases. We take judicial notice of the procedure that cases in all courts are carefully calendared and advance notices are given to judges and justices to enable them to study and prepare for deliberation. The calendaring of cases cannot be the subject of anybodys whims and caprices. Third. The rules of Sandiganbayan do not also allow informal discussion of cases. The deliberations in case at bar did not appear on record. The informal discussion of the three justices came to light only when petitioner moved to inhibit Presiding Justice Garchitorena after her conviction by the resuscitated First Division. Presiding Justice Garchitorena, in a paper entitled Response, revealed for the first time the informal discussion of petitioners cases at an unnamed restaurant in Quezon City. There is no way to know how the discussion was conducted as it was not minuted. Fourth. The rules of the Sandiganbayan do not allow the presence of a non-member in the deliberation of cases. In the case at bar, a certain justice was present when Presiding Justice Garchitorena, Justice Balajadia, and Justice del Rosario discussed petitioners cases while taking their lunch in a Quezon City restaurant. Fifth. The rules of the Sandiganbayan do not allow the exclusion of a member of a Division, whether regular or special, in the deliberation of cases. Justices Atienza and Amores were members of the Special Division but were not present when petitioners cases were discussed over lunch in a Quezon City restaurant. They were not notified of the informal, unscheduled meeting. In fact, Justice Amores had a pending request for 15 days to study petitioners cases. In effect, Atienza and Amores were disenfranchised. They were denied their right to vote for the conviction or acquittal of petitioner. These irregularities violated the right of petitioner to be tried by a collegial court. Under PD No. 1606, as amended, and pursuant to the rules of Sandiganbayan, petitioner cannot be convicted except upon the vote of three justices, regardless of whether her cases are before a regular division of three (3) justices or a Special Division of five (5) justices. But more important than the vote of three (3) justices is the process by which they arrive at their vote. It is indispensable that their vote be preceded by discussion and deliberation by all the members of the division. Before the deliberation by all, any opinion of a justice is but tentative and could be changed. It is only after all the justices have been heard should the justices reach a judgment. No one opinion can be denigrated in importance for experience shows that an opinion that starts as a minority opinion could become the majority opinion after the collision of views of the justices. The right of the petitioner, therefore, is the right to be heard by all the five justices of the Special Division. She is entitled to be afforded the opinion of all its members. In the case at bar, Presiding Justice Garchitorena had already created the Special Division of five (5) justices in view of the lack of unanimity of the three (3) justices in the First Division. At that stage, petitioner had a vested right to be heard by the five (5) justices, especially the new justices in the persons of Justices Amores and del Rosario who may have a different view of the cases against her. At that point, Presiding Justice Garchitorena and Justice Balajadia may change their mind and agree with the original opinion of Justice Atienza but the turnaround cannot deprive petitioner of her vested right to the opinion of Justices Amores and del Rosario. It may be true that Justice del Rosario had already expressed his opinion during an informal, unscheduled meeting in the unnamed restaurant but as aforestated, that opinion is not the opinion contemplated by law. But what is more, petitioner was denied the opinion of Justice Amores for before it could be given, Presiding Justice Garchitorena dissolved the Special Division. We reject the rationalization that the opinion of Justice Amores was of de minimis importance as it cannot overturn the votes of the three justices convicting the petitioner. This is a mere guesswork. The more reasonable supposition is that said opinion could have changed the opinions of the other justices if it is based on an unbiased appreciation of facts and an undistorted interpretation of pertinent laws. For we cannot unreasonably suppose that Presiding Justice Garchitorena and Justices Balajadia and Atienza are bigots who will never change their opinions about the guilt of the petitioner despite a better opinion. Yet, that is not all the value of the aborted opinion of Justice Amores. If it were an opinion for the acquittal of the petitioner, that opinion will have an added value when petitioner appeals her conviction to this Court. Again, depending on its scholarship, that minority opinion could sway the opinion of this Court towards the acquittal of petitioner. Prescinding from those premises, it is indisputable that the decision of the First Division of the respondent Sandiganbayan convicting the petitioner is void for violating her right to substantive and procedural due process of law. It is opined, however, that this case should be remanded to the respondent Sandiganbayan for re-decision by a Special Division of 5. As a general rule, a void decision will not result in the acquittal of an accused. The case ought to be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings for a void judgment does not expose an accused to double jeopardy. But the present case deserves a different treatment considering the great length of time it has been pending with our courts. Records reveal that petitioner was first indicted in Criminal Case No. 17450 in January 1992. More than six (6) years passed but petitioners prosecution is far from over. To remand the case to the Sandiganbayan will not sit well with her constitutional right to its speedy disposition. Section 16, Article III of the Constitution assures all persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies. This right expands the right of an accused to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial x x x in criminal cases guaranteed by Section 14(2) of Article III of the

Constitution. It has a broadening effect because Section 16 covers the periods before, during and after trial whereas Section 14(2) covers only the trial period.[1] Heretofore, we have held that an accused should be acquitted when his right to speedy trial has been violated. Thus, in the early 1936 case of People vs. Castaeda, et al. 63 Phil 480, 485, 486, a ponencia of Mr. Justice Laurel, we held: A strict regard for the constitutional rights of the accused would demand, therefore, that the case be remanded to the court below for new trial before an impartial judge. There are vital considerations, however, which in the opinion of this court render this step unnecessary. In the first place, the Constitution, Article III, section 1, paragraph 17, guarantees to every accused person the right to a speedy trial. This criminal proceeding has been dragging on for almost five (5) years now. The accused have twice appealed to this court for redress from the wrong that they have suffered at the hands of the trial court. At least one of them, namely, Pedro Fernandez (alias Piro), had been confined in prison from July 20, 1932 to November 27, 1934 for inability to post the required bond of P3,000 which was finally reduced to P300. The Government should be the last to set an example of delay and oppression in the administration of justice and it is the moral and legal obligation of this court to see that the criminal proceedings against the accused to come to an end and that they be immediately discharged from the custody of the law. (Conde vs. Riveraand Unson, 45 Phil., 650). We reiterated this rule in Acebedo vs. Sarmiento , viz:[2] 2. More specifically, this Court has consistently adhered to the view that a dismissal based on the denial of the right to a speedy trial amounts to an acquittal. Necessarily, any further attempt at continuing the prosecution or starting a new one would fall within the prohibition against an accused being twice put in jeopardy. The extensive opinion of Justice Castro in People vs. Obsania noted earlier made reference to four Philippine decisions, People vs. Diaz, People vs. Abao, People vs. Robles, and People vs. Cloribel. In all of the above case, this Court left no doubt that a dismissal of the case, though at the instance of the defendant grounded on the disregard of his right to a speedy trial was tantamount to an acquittal. In People vs. Diaz, it was shown that the case was set for hearing twice and the prosecution without asking for postponement or giving any explanation failed to appear. In People vs. Abao, the facts disclosed that there were three postponements. Thereafter, at the time the resumption of the trial was scheduled, the complaining witness as in this case was absent, this Court held that respondent Judge was justified in dismissing the case upon motion of the defense and that the annulment or setting aside of the order of dismissal would place the accused twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. People vs. Robles likewise presented a picture of witnesses for the prosecution not being available, with the lower court after having transferred the hearings on several occasions denying the last plea for postponement and dismissing the case. Such order of dismissal, according to thi s Court is not provisional in character but one which is tantamount to acquittal that would bar further prosecution of the accused for the same offense. This is a summary of the Cloribel case as set forth in the above opinion of Justice Castro. In Cloribel, the case dragged for three years and eleven months, that is, from September 27, 1958 when the information was filed to August 15, 1962 when it was called for trial, after numerous postponements, mostly at the instance of the prosecution. On the latter date, the prosecution failed to appear for trial, and upon motion of defendants, the case was dismissed. This Court held, that the dismissal here complained of was not truly a dismissal but an acquittal. For it was entered upon the defendants insistence on their constitutional right to speedy trial and by reason of the prosecutions failure to appear on the date of trial. (Italics supplied) There is no escaping the conclusion then that petitioner here has clearly made out a case of an acquittal arising from the order of dismissal given in open court. The rationale for both Section 14(2) and section 16 of Article III of the Constitution is the same: justice delayed is justice denied. Violation of either section should therefore result in the acquittal of the accused. There are other reasons why the case should not be remanded to the court a quo. Three justices of the Special Division, namely Justice Atienza, Balajadia and Amores have already retired. Presiding Justice Garchitorena is still with the respondent court but his impartiality has been vigorously assailed by the petitioner. Mr. Justice Francisco of the Third Division of this Court noted that Presiding Justice Garchitorenas undue interference in the examination of witness Cuervo revealed his bias and prejudice against petitioner.[3] As Mr. Justice Francisco observed the court questions were so numerous which as per petitioner Dans cou nt totaled 179 compared to prosecutor Querubins questions which numbered merely 73. More noteworthy, however, is that the court propounded leading, misleading, and baseless hypothetical questions rolled into one. [4] Mr. Justice Franciscos opinion was concurred by Mr. Justice Melo. Truly, even Mr. Chief Justice Narvasa, Madam Justice Romero and Mr. Justice Panganiban who voted to convict petitioner did not refute Mr. Justice Franciscos observations on the lack of impartiality of Presiding Justice Garchitorena. They disregarded Mr. Ramon F. Cuervos testimony and based the conviction of petitioner purely on the documentary evidence submitted by the People. Moreover, all the evidence in the case at bar are now before this Court and to avoid further delay, we can evaluate the evidence. In fact, the same evidence has been passed upon by the Third Division of this Court in formulating its judgment of affirmance sought to be reconsidered. Certainly, it will be sheer rigmarole for this Court to still remand the case for a Special Division of five of the Sandiganbayan to render another decision in the case, with respect to the herein petitioner. I consider this opinion incomplete without quoting herein the following portion of the concurring and dissenting opinion of former Associate Justice Ricardo J. Francisco dated January 29, 1998: Thus, purely from the legal standpoint, with the evident weakness of the prosecutions case and the procedural aberrations that marred the trial, it is simply unsound and impossible to treat differently each petitioner who found themselves in one and the same situation. Indeed, our regained democracy, creditably, is successfully bailing us out from the ruins of the authoritarian regime, and it expects that government efforts in going after the plunderers of that dark past remain unrelenting and decisive. But let us not, in our anxiety to carry out this duty, for a moment forget that our criminal justice system is not a popularity contest where freedom and punishment are determined merely by the fame or infamy of the litigants. The scales of justice, it has been aptly said,[5] must hang equal and, in fact, should even be tipped in favor of the accused because of the constitutional presumption of innocence. Needless to stress, this right is available to every accused, whatever his present circumstance and no matter how dark and repellent his past. Culpability for crimes must always take its bearing from evidence and universal precepts of due process - lest we sacrifice in mocking shame once again the very liberties we are defending. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Motion for Reconsideration under consideration is hereby GRANTED and petitioner Imelda R. Marcos is hereby ACQUITTED of the offense charged. Costs de oficio. SO ORDERED. EMMA DELGADO, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Nicolito L. Bustos for petitioner. PARAS, J.: This is a petition for "Certiorari and mandamus with prayer for a Writ of preliminary injunction" to review the following orders:

(a) Order of the Court of Appeals dated April 20, l977 denying petitioner's Urgent Motion to Set Aside Entry of Judgment, to Recall the Records and allow the movant to personally receive copy of the decision dated February 16, 1977; (b) Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated June 3, 1977 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsiderationdated May 23, 1977; and (c) Order dated May 11, 1977 of the Court of First In- stance of Manila ordering petitioner's arrest and confiscation of her bond. Emma R. Delgado, herein petitioner, together with Gloria C. Tortona, Celia Capistrano and Catalino Bautista alias Atty. Paulino Bautista, the last named still at large, was charged with estafa thru falsification of public and/or official documents resulting in deceiving one Erlinda Rueda, a Medical Technologist, in arranging her travel to the United States. All the accused (except Catalino Bautista) pleaded not guilty upon arraignment and trial on the merits ensued. Herein petitioner Emma R. Delgado was assisted and represented by her counsel de parte, Atty. Lamberto G. Yco. On December 13, 1973, the date set for the continuation of the defense evidence, said Atty. Yco failed to appear despite proper and previous notice. Instead, he sent a telegram requesting for postponement on the ground allegedly that he was sick. No medical certificate was however submitted. The trial fiscal objected, believing that the motion was dilatory because there had been numerous postponements in the past at petitioner's behest. The trial Court sustained the fiscal's objection thereto, considered Emma Delgado to have waived presentation of her evidence, and considered the case submitted for decision. Thereafter, a judgment of conviction was rendered by the trial court, dated March 20, 1974, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Gloria C. Tortona, Emma R. Delgado and Celia Capistrano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public and/or Official Documents, and each is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from two (2) years and four (4) months of prision correccional, as minimum, 4 to six (6) years, also of prision correccional, as maximum, to pay a fine of P5,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the offended party Erlinda Ruedas in the amount of P7,431.00. Each is further ordered to pay, jointly and severally, said complainant moral damages in the amount of P5,000.00, and one fourth of the costs of the proceedings. SO ORDERED. Accused Gloria C. Tortona did not appeal from the aforesaid decision. Accused Celia Capistrano and petitioner Emma R. Delgado appealed to the Court of Appeals raising the issue of "whether or not on the basis of the evidence and the law the judgment appealed from should be maintained." On December 6, 1976, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial court as to herein accused-petitioner Emma R. Delgado and reversing the judgment as to Celia Capistrano, the dispositive part of which judgment reads as follows: IN VIEW WHEREOF, on reasonable doubt, judgment as to appellant Capistrano is reversed with proportionate costs de officio and cancellation of bail bond, but judgment as to appellant Delgado isaffirmed with proportionate costs. SO ORDERED. On December 27, 1976, an entry of final judgment was issued and on February 1, 1977, the records of the case were remanded to the lower court for execution of judgment. Believing that there was irregularity in the sending of notices and copy of the decision as petitioner was not informed or notified of said decision by her counsel on record, Atty. Lamberto G. Yco, herein petitioner filed on February 17, 1977 with respondent Court of Appeals an "Urgent Motion to Set Aside Entry of Judgment, to Recall the Records and All w the Movant to Personally Receive Copy of the Decision. This motion was denied by respondent Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated April 20, 1977. On May 11, 1977 an Order was issued by respondent Court of First Instance of Manila directing the arrest of herein petitioner Emma R. Delgado and the confiscation of her bond for failure to appear at the execution of judgment on May 11, 1977. On May 27, 1977, petitioner filed a Motion for the Reconsideration of the Order denying her Motion to Set Aside Entry of Judgments, etc., invoking as one of the grounds therein, the newly discovered fact that petitioner came to know for the first time only on May 19, 1977 that Atty. Lamberto G. Yco is not a member of the Philippine Bar. Petitioner prayed that she be granted a new trial on the ground that she was deprived of her right to be defended by competent counsel. On June 3, 1977, respondent Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion, hence, she filed the instant petition before this Court. The main thrust of petitioner's arguments is that she is entitled to a new trial and therefore, all the assailed orders of respondent courts should be vacated and set aside, because her "lawyer," Atty. Lamberto G. Yco, is not a lawyer. We find the petition impressed with merit This is so because an accused person is entitled to be represented by a member of the bar in a criminal case filed against her before the Regional Trial Court. Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is great danger that any defense presented in her behalf will be inadequate considering the legal perquisites and skills needed in the court proceedings. This would certainly be a denial of due process. WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is SET ASIDE, and a new one is hereby rendered, remanding the case to the trial court for new trial.