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G.R. No.72878 April 15, 1988 ALMENDRAS MINING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE INSURANCE COMMISSION !

" COUNTR# $AN%ERS INSURANCE CORPORATION, respondents. At about two-thirty in the morning of 3 September 1984, the marine cargo vesse !"# $%on &au o,$ whi e on a voyage from %avao to 'arive es, (ataan, was forced ground somewhere in the vicinity of Sogod, #ab as )s and, *omb on after having been hit by strong winds and tida waves brought about by tropica typhoon $+itang.$ !ater that same day, petitioner A mendras 'ining "orporation ,$A mendras$-, owner of the vesse , e.ecuted and fi ed the corresponding 'arine &rotest. 1 Subse/uent y, in a etter dated 0 September 1984, 2 petitioner A mendras forma y notified the vesse 1s insurer, private respondent "ountry (an2ers )nsurance "orporation ,$(an2ers$-, of its intention to fi e a provisiona c aim for indemnity for damages sustained by the vesse . & )mmediate y fo owing the marine casua ty, private respondent (an2ers commissioned the services of Audemus Ad3ustment "orporation, which estimated the insurer1s iabi ity at &4,185,983.66, or the e/uiva ent of seventy percent ,567- of a e.penses necessary for the repair of the vesse . &rivate respondent accepted and approved this estimate. Sa vage operations on the !"# $%on &au o$ were commenced on 8 September 1984. (y 44 September 1984, the vesse had been towed to and doc2ed at the &hi ippine +ationa 9i "orporation ,&+9"- marine faci ity in (auan, (atangas where repair wor2 on the same was subse/uent y performed by the &+9" 'arine "orporation. %e ay, however, overtoo2 the repair wor2 on the !"# 1%on &au o.1 &rivate respondent (an2ers e.p ained that the de ay was due to the unavai abi ity of spare parts needed in the repair of the vesse 1s four ,4- damaged engines. +otwithstanding this e.p anation, petitioner A mendras, on 18 Apri 1988, fi ed with the pub ic respondent office of the )nsurance "ommission an administrative comp aint ' ,doc2eted as Administrative "ase +o. 660- against private respondent (an2ers. )n its comp aint, petitioner A mendras sought ,1- revocation or suspension of private respondent (an2ers1 "ertificate of Authority to engage in the insurance business: ,4- an administrative directive ordering immediate comp etion of a repair wor2 on and de ivery to petitioner of the !"# $%on &au o:$ and ,3damages. At the initia hearings on Administrative "ase +o. 660 he d before pub ic respondent "ommission, private respondent (an2ers agreed to rep ace the four ,4- damaged engines of the !"# $%on &au o$ with one ,1- brand new engine and three ,3- reconditioned engines. #his entai ed a tota additiona cost of &3,666,666.66, seventy percent ,567- of which private respondent (an2ers had previous y ob igated itse f, as insurer, to shou der. ;or its part, petitioner A mendras agreed to pay a thirty percent ,367share in the cost, but on y after it had inspected one of the proposed rep acement engines a brand new "aterpi ar %3468 marine engine which petitioner had c aimed was not a suitab e rep acement for the vesse 1s damaged main engine. )nspection of the "aterpi ar %-3468 engine too2 p ace at the premises of the Actrade 'achinery "orporation

,supp ier of the engine- on 10 <u y 1988 in the presence of representatives of both petitioner and private respondent. =ngineers of the &+9" 'arine "orporation who conducted the inspection found said engine to have met the engineering re/uirements of the !"# $%on &au o:$ private respondent (an2ers thus anticipated a favorab e response in this regard from petitioner A mendras. #he fo owing day, however, petitioner A mendras, reiterating its c aim that the proposed "aterpi ar %-3468 engine was not at par with the vesse 1s origina but damaged main engine, demanded instead cash sett ement of its insurance c aim. #his une.pected turn of events moved the )nsurance "ommissioner to terminate the hearing then in progress and to re/uire private respondent (an2ers to submit its Answer to the comp aint of petitioner A mendras. 'eanwhi e, on 13 August 1988, petitioner A mendras fi ed a separate civi action for damages ,doc2eted as "ivi "ase +o. 3146-&- with the *egiona #ria "ourt of &asay "ity. 5 At the 43 August 1988 "ommission hearing both parties agreed to submit Administrative "ase +o. 660 for reso ution on a sing e issue>i.e,whether or not revocation or suspension of private respondent (an2ers1 "ertificate of Authority to engage in the insurance business was 3ustified and proper under the circumstances of this case. 9n 43 9ctober 1988, pub ic respondent "ommission, through the )nsurance "ommissioner, issued a *eso ution ( ordering the dismissa of petitioner A mendras1 comp aint. )t was found by the )nsurance "ommissioner that fai ure by private respondent (an2ers to sett e prompt y and e.peditious y the insurance c aim of petitioner A mendras was attributab e to the atter1s own act of insisting on cash sett ement thereof, even after the parties had a ready agreed upon outright rep acement of the vesse 1s damaged engines. #he )nsurance "ommissioner a so stated in his reso ution that, assuming that private respondent (an2ers had incurred in de ay in the repair of the !"# $%on &au o,$ neverthe ess, there was nothing in the record of the case to show that such de ay was unreasonab e or was the resu t of any unfair c aim sett ement practice > as defined under the )nsurance "ode, as amended > as wou d warrant revocation or suspension of private respondent1s "ertificate of Authority. &etitioner A mendras1 'otion for *econsideration was denied for ac2 of merit by pub ic respondent "ommission on 11 +ovember 1988. 7 )n the present &etition for certiorari fi ed with this "ourt on 48 +ovember 1988, petitioner A mendras presents on y one issue for determination-i.e., whether or not there the va id and substantia grounds to revo2e or suspend private respondent (an2ers1 "ertificate of Authority to engage in the insurance business. &ub ic respondent "ommission wou d, however, raise as an additiona issue the argument that the present &etition for certiorari is improper y fi ed, that appea to the Secretary of ;inance from pub ic respondent "ommission1s disputed *eso ution and 9rder is the proper recourse for petitioner under the facts and circumstances of this case. 8 ?iewed in the ight of the facts obtaining in Administrative "ase +o. 660 and the pertinent ega provisions on the matter, we ho d that the "ourt has no 3urisdiction to try and decide the instant &etition.

#he provisions of the )nsurance "ode ,&residentia %ecree +o. 1406-, as amended, c ear y indicate that the 9ffice of the )nsurance "ommission is an administrative agency vested with regulatory power as we as with adjudicatory authority. Among the severa regu atory or non-/uasi3udicia duties of the )nsurance "ommissioner under the )nsurance "ode is the authority to issue, or refuse issuance of, a "ertificate of Authority to a person or entity desirous of engaging in insurance business in the &hi ippines, 9 and to revo2e or suspend such "ertificate of Authority upon a finding of the e.istence of statutory grounds for such revocation or suspension. #he grounds for revocation or suspension of an insurer1s "ertificate of Authority are set out in Section 441 1) and in Section 445 11 of the )nsurance "ode as amended. #he genera regu atory authority of the )nsurance "ommissioneris described in Section 414 of the )nsurance "ode, as amended, in the fo owing terms@ Section 414. #he )nsurance "ommissioner sha have the duty to see that a aws re ating to insurance, insurance companies and other insurance matters, mutua benefit associations, and trusts for charitab e uses are faithfu y e.ecuted and to perform the duties imposed upon him by this "ode, and sha , not withstanding any e.isting aws to contrary, have so e and e.c usive authority to regu ate the issuance and sa e of variab e contracts as defined in section two hundred thirty-two and to provide for the icensing of persons se ing such contracts, and to issue such reasonab e ru es and regu ations governing the same. #he "ommissioner may issue such ru ings, instructions, circu ars, orders and decisions as he may deem necessary to secure the enforcement of the provisions of this "ode, sub3ect to the approva of the Secretary of ;inance. =.cept as otherwise specified decisions made by the "ommissioner sha be appea ab e to the Secretary of ;inance. ,=mphasis supp iedwhich Section a so specifies the authority to which a decision of the )nsurance "ommissioner rendered in the e.ercise of its regu atory function may be appea ed. #he ad3udicatory authority of the )nsurance "ommissioner is genera y described in Section 410 of the )nsurance "ode, as amended, which reads as fo ows@ Sec. 410. #he "ommissioner sha have the power to ad3udicate c aims and comp aints invo ving any oss, damage or iabi ity for which an insurer may be answerab e under any 2ind of po icy or contract of insurance, or for which such insurer may be iab e under a contract of membership, or for which a reinsurer may be sued under any contract or reinsurance it may have entered into, or for which a mutua benefit association may be he d iab e under the membership certificates it has issued to its members, where the amount of any such oss, damage or iabi ity, e.c uding interests,

cost and attorney1s fees, being c aimed or sued upon any 2ind of insurance, bond, reinsurance contract, or membership certificate does not e.ceed in any sing e c aim one hundred thousand pesos. ... ... ... #he authority to adjudicate granted to the Commissioner under this section shall be concurrent with that of the civil courts , but the fi ing of a comp aint with the "ommissioner sha prec ude the civi courts from ta2ing cogniAance of a suit invo ving the same sub3ect matter. ,=mphasis supp ied"ontinuing, Section 410 ,as amended by (.&. ( g. 854a so specifies the authority to which appea may be ta2en from a fina order or decision of the "ommissioner given in the e.ercise of his ad3uc icatory or /uasi-3udicia power@ Any decision, order or ru ing rendered by the "ommissioner after a hearing sha have the force and effect of a 3udgment. Any party may appeal from a final order, ruling or decision of the Commissioner by filing with the Commissioner within thirty days from receipt of copy of such order, ruling or decision a notice of appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court (now the Court of appeals) in the manner provided for in the *u es of "ourt for appea s from the *egiona #ria "ourt to the )ntermediate Appe ate "ourt ,now the "ourt of Appea s-. ... ... ... ,=mphasis supp ied)t may be noted that under Section 9 ,3- of (.&. ( g. 149, appea s from a fina decision of the )nsurance "ommissioner rendered in the e.ercise of his ad3udicatory authority now fa within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. &etitioner A mendras in his "omp aint fi ed with the )nsurance "ommission, origina y sought remedies which wou d have re/uired the )nsurance "ommissioner to ad3udicate on matters pertaining to performance and satisfaction by private respondent (an2ers of its ega ob igations under its "ontract of )nsurance ,po icy +o. 'BB9C84-368- with petitioner A mendras. #he "ourt observes, however, that both parties had agreed at the ! August "#$% hearing before the Insurance Commissioner to submit the case for resolution on the sole issue of whether or not revocation or suspension of private respondent &an'ers( Certificate of Authority to engage in insurance business was justified. #he scope of the issues invo ved having been so imited the )nsurance "ommissioner was eft with the tas2 of determining whether or not private respondent (an2ers was gui ty of an act or acts constituting a statutory ground for revocation or suspension of its "ertificate of Authority. " ear y, therefore, the )nsurance "ommissioner1s disputed *eso ution and 9rder was issued in the performance of administrative and regu atory duties and fucntion and shou d have been appea ed by petitioner to the 9ffice of the Secretary of ;inance. &etitioner A mendras in effect invo2ed on y the "ommissioner1s regu atory authority to determine whether

or not private respondent (an2ers had vio ated provisions of the )nsurance "ode, as amended. &etitioner had chosen to itigate the substantive aspects of its insurance c aim against (an2ers in a different forum > a 3udicia one > for it instituted a separate civi action for damages before the *egiona #ria "ourt of &asay "ity, on 13 August 1988, that is, after efforts at amicab e sett ement of Administrative "ase +o. 660 had fai ed. &etitioner A mendras had in fact to go before a 3udicia forum and to imit the proceedings before the )nsurance "ommissioner to regu atory, non3udicia , matters: the c aim of petitioner A mendras was in e.cess of &166,666.66 and, therefore, fen outside the /uasi-3udicia 3urisdiction of the )nsurance "ommissioner under Section 410 of the )nsurance "ode, as amended. De conc ude that petitioner A mendras remedy after its 'otion for *econsideration in Administrative "ase +o. 660 had been denied by pub ic respondent "ommission was to interpose an appea to the Secretary of ;inance. #he present &etition for certiorari is neither proper nor an appropriate substitute for such an appea . DB=*=;9*=, the &etition for certiorari is %)S')SS=%. "osts against petitioner. S9 9*%=*=%.