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V. Administrative Adjudication G.R. No.

L-15138 July 31, 1961

BILL MILLER, petitioner-appellee, vs. ATANACIO A. MARDO, and MANUEL GONZALES, respondents-appellants. x---------------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. L-15377 July 31, 1961

NUMERIANA RAGANAS, plaintiff-appellant, vs. SEN BEE TRADING COMPANY, MACARIO TAN, and SERGIO TAN, defendants-appellees. x---------------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. L-16660 July 31, 1961

VICENTE ROMERO, petitioner-appellee, vs. ANGEL HERNANDO ETC., and SIA SENG, respondents-appellants. x---------------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. L-16781 July 31, 1961

CHIN HUA TRADING COMPANY, and LAO KANG SUY, petitioners-appellees, vs. ATANACIO A. MARDO, JORGE BENEDICTO, and CRESENCIO ESTAO, respondentsappellants. x---------------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. L-17056 July 31, 1961

FRED WILSON & CO., INC., petitioner-appellant, vs. MELITON C. PARDUCHO, ETC., and MARIANO PABILIARE, respondents-appellees. R. L. Resurreccion for petitioner-appellee. Paciano C. C. Villavieja for respondents-appellants. BARRERA, J.: These appeals, although originating from different Courts of First Instance, are here treated together in this single decision because they present but one identical question of law, namely, the validity of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, prepared and submitted by the Government

Survey and Reorganization Commission under the authority of Republic Act No. 997, as amended by Republic Act No. 1241, insofar as it confers jurisdiction to the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor created in said Plan to decide claims of laborers for wages, overtime and separation pay, etc. In G.R. No. L-15138, Manuel Gonzales filed with Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor, in Manila, a complaint (IS-1148) against Bill Miller (owner and manager of Miller Motors) claiming to be a driver of Miller from December 1, 1956 to October 31, 1957, on which latter date he was allegedly arbitrarily dismissed, without being paid separation pay. He prayed for judgement for the amount due him as separation pay plus damages. Upon receipt of said complaint, Chief Hearing Officer Atanacio Mardo of Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor required Miller to file an answer. Whereupon, Miller filed with the Court of First Instance of Baguio a petition (Civil Case No. 759) praying for judgment prohibiting the Hearing Officer from proceeding with the case, for the reason that said Hearing Officer had no jurisdiction to hear and decide the subject matter of the complaint. The court then required the Hearing Officer and Gonzales to answer and, as prayed for, issued a writ of preliminary injunction. The latter file their separate motions to dismiss the petition, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, and non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, it being argued that pursuant to Republic Acts Nos. 997 and 1241, as implemented by Executive Order No. 218, series of 1956 and Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, regional offices of the Department of labor have exclusive and original jurisdiction over all cases affecting money claims arising from violations of labor standards or working conditions. Said motions to dismiss were denied by the court. Answers were then filed and the case was heard. Thereafter, the court rendered a decision holding that Republic Acts Nos. 997 and 1241, as well as Executive Order No. 218, series of 1956 and Reorganization Plan No. 20-A issued pursuant thereto, did not repeal the provision of the Judiciary Act conferring on courts of first instance original jurisdiction to take cognizance of money claims arising from violations of labor standards. The question of venue was also dismissed for being moot, the same having been already raised and decided in a petition for certiorari and prohibition previously filed with this Court in G.R. No. L-14007 (Mardo, etc. v. De Veyra, etc.) which was dismissed for lack of merit in our resolution of July 7, 1958. From the decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio, respondents Hearing Officer and Gonzales interposed the present appeal now before us. In G.R. No. L-16781, Cresencio Estano filed with Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor, a complaint (RO 3 Ls. Case No. 874) against Chin Hua Trading Co. and/or Lao Kang Suy and Ke Bon Chiong, as Manager and Assistant Manager thereof, respectively, claiming to have been their driver from June 17, 1947 to June 4, 1955, for which service he was not paid overtime pay (for work in excess of 8 hours and for Sundays and legal holidays) and vacation leave pay. He prayed for judgment for the amount due him, plus attorney's fees. Chin Hua Trading, et al., filed their answer and, issues having been joined, hearing thereof was started before Chief Hearing Officer Atanacio Mardo and Hearing Officer Jorge Benedicto. Before trial of the case could be terminated, however, Chin Hua Trading, et al., filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction (Civil Case No. 26826)), to restrain the hearing officers from proceeding with the disposition of the case, on the ground that they have no jurisdiction to entertain the same, as Reorganization Plan No. 20-A and Executive Order No. 218, series of 1956, in relation to Republic Act No. 997, as amended by Republic Act No. 1241, empowering them to adjudicate the complaint, is invalid or unconstitutional. As prayed for, a preliminary injunction was issued by the court. After due hearing the court rendered a decision holding that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A is null and void and therefore, granted the writ of prohibition making permanent the preliminary injunction

previously issued. From this decision, the claimant and the hearing officers appealed to the Court of Appeals, which certified the case to us, as it involves only questions of law. In G.R. No. L-15377, appellant Numeriana Raganas filed with the Court of First Instance of Cebu a complaint (Civil Case No. R-5535) against appellees Sen Bee Trading Company, Macario Tan and Sergio Tan, claiming that she was employed by appellees as a seamstress from June 5, 1952 to January 11, 1958, for which service she was underpaid and was not given overtime, as well as vacation and sick leave pay. She prayed for judgment on the amount due her for the same plus damages. To said complaint, appellees filed a motion to dismiss, on the ground that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear the case as it involves a money claim and should, under Reorganization Plan No. 20-A be filed with the Regional Office of the Department of Labor; and there is pending before the regional office of the Department of Labor, a claim for separation vacation, sick and maternity leave pay filed by the same plaintiff (appellant) against the same defendants-appellees). Acting on said motion, the court dismissed the case, relying on the provision of Section 25, Article VI of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A and on our resolution in the case of NASSCO v. Arca, et al. (G.R. No. L-12249, May 6, 1957). From this order, appellant Raganas appealed to the Court of Appeals, but said court certified the case to us. In G.R. No. L-16660, Vicente B. Romero filed with Regional Officer No. 2 of the Department of Labor a complaint (Wage Case No. 196-W) against Sia Seng, for recovery of alleged unpaid wages, overtime and separation pay. Sia Seng, filed an answer. At the date set for hearing the latter did not appear despite due notice to him and counsel. Upon his petition, Romero was allowed to present his evidence. Thereafter, a decision was rendered by the Hearing Officer in favor of Romero. Upon the latter's motion for execution, the records of the case were referred to Regional Labor Administrator Angel Hernando for issuance of said writ of execution, being the officer charged with the duty of issuing the same. Hernando, believing that Sia Seng should be given a chance to present his evidence, refused to issue the writ of execution and ordered a rehearing. As a consequence, Romero filed with the Court of First Instance of Isabela a petition for mandamus (Case No. Br. II-35) praying that an order be issued commanding respondent Regional Labor Administrator to immediately issue a writ of execution of the decision in Wage Case No. 196-W. To this petition, respondent Regional Labor Administrator filed a motion to dismiss, on the ground that it states no cause of action, but action thereon was deferred until the case is decided on the merits. Sia Seng filed his answer questioning the validity of the rules and regulations issued under the authority of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A. After hearing, the court rendered a decision ordering, inter alia, respondent Regional Labor Administrator to forthwith issue the corresponding writ of execution, as enjoined by Section 48, of the Rules and Regulations No. 1 of the Labor Standards Commission. From this decision of the Court of First Instance, Sia Seng and Regional Labor Administrator Hernando appealed to us. Appellant Sia Seng urges in his appeal that the trial court erred in not dismissing the petition, in spite of the fact that the decision sought to be enforced by appellee Romero was rendered by a hearing officer who had no authority to render the same, and in failing to hold that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A was not validly passed as a statute and is unconstitutional. In G.R. No. L-17056, Mariano Pabillare instituted in Regional Office No. 3 of the Department of Labor a complaint (IS-2168) against petitioner Fred Wilson & Co., Inc., alleging that petitioner engaged his services as Chief Mechanic, Air conditioning Department, from October 1947 to February 19, 1959, when he was summarily dismissed without cause and without sufficient notice and separation pay. He also claimed that during his employment he was not paid for overtime rendered by him. He prayed for judgment for the amount due him for such overtime and separation pay. Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint, on the ground that said regional

office "being purely an administrative body, has no power, authority, nor jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim sought to be recovered in the action." Said motion to dismiss having been denied by respondent Hearing Officer Meliton Parducho, petitioner Fred Wilson & Co., Inc. filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition forcertiorari and prohibition, with preliminary injunction (Civil Case No. 41954) to restrain respondent hearing officer from proceeding with the case, and praying, among others, that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, insofar as it vests original and exclusive jurisdiction over money claims (to the exclusion of regular courts of justice) on the Labor Standards Commission or the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor, be declared null and void and unconstitutional. As prayed for, the court granted a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondents Hearing Officer and Pabillare filed answer and the case was heard. After hearing, the court rendered a decision declaring that "by the force of Section 6 of R.A. No. 997, as amended by R.A. 1241, Plan No. 20-A was deemed approved by Congress when it adjourned its session in 1956' (Res. of May 6, 1957 in National Shipyards Steel Corporation v. Vicente Area, G.R. No. L-12249). It follows that the questioned reorganization Plan No. 20-A is valid.". Petitioner Fred Wilson & Co., Inc. appealed directly to us from this decision. The specific legal provision invoked for the authority of the regional offices to take cognizance of the subject matter involved in these cases is paragraph 25 of Article VI of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, which is hereunder quoted:
25 Each regional office shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases falling under the Workmen's Compensation law, and cases affecting all money claims arising from violations of labor standards on working conditions including but not restrictive to: unpaid wages, underpayment, overtime, separation pay and maternity leave of employees and laborers; and unpaid wages, overtime, separation pay, vacation pay and payment for medical services of domestic help.

Under this provision, the regional offices have been given original and exclusive jurisdiction over:
(a) all cases falling under the Workmen's Compensation law; (b) all cases affecting money claims arising from violations of labor standards on working conditions, unpaid wages, underpayment, overtime, separation pay and maternity leave of employees and laborers; and . (c) all cases for unpaid wages, overtime, separation pay, vacation pay and payment for medical services of domestic help.

Before the effectivity of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, however, the Department of Labor, except the Workmen's Compensation Commission with respect to claims for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation law, had no compulsory power to settle cases under (b) and (c) above, the only authority it had being to mediate merely or arbitrate when the parties so agree in writing, In case of refusal by a party to submit to such settlement, the remedy is to file a complaint in the proper court.1 It is evident, therefore, that the jurisdiction to take cognizance of cases affecting money claims such as those sought to be enforced in these proceedings, is a new conferment of power to the

Department of Labor not theretofore exercised by it. The question thus presented by these cases is whether this is valid under our Constitution and applicable statutes. It is true that in Republic Act No. 1241, amending Section 4 of Republic Act 997, which created the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission, the latter was empowered
(2) To abolish departments, offices, agencies, or functions which may not be necessary, or create those which way be necessary for the efficient conduct of the government service, activities, and functions. (Emphasis supplied.)

But these "functions" which could thus be created, obviously refer merely to administrative, not judicial functions. For the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission was created to carry out the reorganization of theExecutive Branch of the National Government (See Section 3 of R.A. No. 997, as amended by R.A. No. 1241), which plainly did not include the creation of courts. And the Constitution expressly provides that "the Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.(Sec. 1, Art. VII of the Constitution). Thus, judicial power rests exclusively in the judiciary. It may be conceded that the legislature may confer on administrative boards or bodies quasi-judicial powers involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, as incident to the performance of administrative functions.2 But in so doing, the legislature must state its intention in express terms that would leave no doubt, as even such quasi-judicial prerogatives must be limited, if they are to be valid, only to those incidental to or in connection with the performance of jurisdiction over a matter exclusively vested in the courts.3 If a statute itself actually passed by the Congress must be clear in its terms when clothing administrative bodies with quasi-judicial functions, then certainly such conferment can not be implied from a mere grant of power to a body such as the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission to create "functions" in connection with the reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government. And so we held in Corominas et al. v. Labor Standards Commission, et al. (G.R. No. L-14837 and companion cases, June 30, 1961);
. . . it was not the intention of Congress, in enacting Republic Act No. 997, to authorize the transfer of powers and jurisdiction granted to the courts of justice, from these to the officials to be appointed or offices to be created by the Reorganization Plan. Congress is well aware of the provisions of the Constitution that judicial powers are vested 'only in the Supreme Court and in such courts as the law may establish'. The Commission was not authorized to create courts of justice, or to take away from these their jurisdiction and transfer said jurisdiction to the officials appointed or offices created under the Reorganization Plan. The Legislature could not have intended to grant such powers to the Reorganization Commission, an executive body, as the Legislature may not and cannot delegate its power to legislate or create courts of justice any other agency of the Government. (Chinese Flour Importers Assoc. vs. Price Stabilization Board, G.R. No. L-4465, July 12, 1951; Surigao Consolidated vs. Collector of Internal Revenue G.R. No. L-5692, March 5, 1954; U.S. vs. Shreveport, 287 U.S. 77, 77 L. ed 175, and Johnson vs. San Diego, 42 P. 249, cited in 11 Am. Jur 921-922.) (Emphasis supplied.)

But it is urged, in one of the cases, that the defect in the conferment of judicial or quasi-judicial functions to the Regional offices, emanating from the lack of authority of the Reorganization Commission has been cured by the non-disapproval of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A by

Congress under the provisions of Section 6(a) of Republic Act No. 997, as amended. It is, in effect, argued that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A is not merely the creation of the Reorganization Commission, exercising its delegated powers, but is in fact an act of Congress itself, a regular statute directly and duly passed by Congress in the exercise of its legislative powers in the mode provided in the enabling act. The pertinent provision of Republic Act No. 997, as amended, invoked in favor of this argument reads as follows:
SEC. 6 (a) The provisions of the reorganization plan or plans submitted by the President during the Second Session of the Third Congress shall be deemed approved after the adjournment of the said session, and those of the plan or plans or modifications of any plan or plans to be submitted after the adjournment of the Second Session, shall be deemed approved after the expiration of the seventy session days of the Congress following the date on which the plan is transmitted to it, unless between the date of transmittal and the expiration of such period, either House by simple resolution disapproves the reorganization plan or any, modification thereof. The said plan of reorganization or any modification thereof may, likewise, be approved by Congress in a concurrent Resolution within such period.

It is an established fact that the Reorganization Commission submitted Reorganization Plan No. 20-A to the President who, in turn, transmitted the same to Congress on February 14, 1956. Congress adjourned its sessions without passing a resolution disapproving or adopting the said reorganization plan. It is now contended that, independent of the matter of delegation of legislative authority (discussed earlier in this opinion), said plan, nevertheless became a law by non-action on the part of Congress, pursuant to the above-quoted provision. Such a procedure of enactment of law by legislative in action is not countenanced in this jurisdiction. By specific provision of the Constitution
No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and copies thereof in its final form furnished the Members at least three calendar clays prior to its passage by the National Assembly (Congress), except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its final passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered on the Journal. (Sec. 21-[a], Art. VI). Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it, but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large on its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members voting for and against shall be entered on its journal. If any bill shall not be returned by the President as herein provided within twenty days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall become a law in like manner as if he has signed it, unless the Congress by adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall become a law unless vetoed by the President within thirty days after adjournment. (Sec. 20[1]. Art. VI of the Constitution).

A comparison between the procedure of enactment provided in section 6 (a) of the Reorganization Act and that prescribed by the Constitution will show that the former is in distinct

contrast to the latter. Under the first, consent or approval is to be manifested by silence or adjournment or by "concurrent resolution." In either case, the contemplated procedure violates the constitutional provisions requiring positive and separate action by each House of Congress. It is contrary to the "settled and well-understood parliamentary law (which requires that the) two houses are to hold separate sessions for their deliberations, and the determination of the one upon a proposed law is to be submitted to the separate determination of the other," (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., p. 187). Furthermore, Section 6 (a) of the Act would dispense with the "passage" of any measure, as that word is commonly used and understood, and with the requirement presentation to the President. In a sense, the section, if given the effect suggested in counsel's argument, would be a reversal of the democratic processes required by the Constitution, for under it, the President would propose the legislative action by action taken by Congress. Such a procedure would constitute a very dangerous precedent opening the way, if Congress is so disposed, because of weakness or indifference, to eventual abdication of its legislative prerogatives to the Executive who, under our Constitution, is already one of the strongest among constitutional heads of state. To sanction such a procedure will be to strike at the very root of the tri-departmental scheme four democracy. Even in the United States (in whose Federal Constitution there is no counterpart to the specific method of passaging laws prescribed in Section 21[2] of our Constitution) and in England (under whose parliamentary system the Prime Minister, real head of the Government, is a member of Parliament), the procedure outlined in Section 6(a) herein before quoted, is but a technique adopted in the delegation of the rule-making power, to preserve the control of the legislature and its share in the responsibility for the adoption of proposed regulations.4The procedure has ever been intended or utilized or interpreted as another mode of passing or enacting any law or measure by the legislature, as seems to be the impression expressed in one these cases. On the basis of the foregoing considerations, we hold ad declare that Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, insofar as confers judicial power to the Regional Offices over cases other than these falling under the Workmen's Compensation on Law, is invalid and of no effect. This ruling does not affect the resolution of this Court in the case of National Steel & Shipyards Corporation v. Arca et al., G.R. No. L-12249, dated May 6, 1957, considering that the said case refers to a claim before the Workmen's Compensation Commission, which exercised quasijudicial powers even before the reorganization of the Department of Labor. WHEREFORE (a) The decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio involved in case G.R. No. L-15138 is hereby affirmed, without costs; (b) The decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila questioned in case G.R. No. L-16781 is hereby affirmed, without costs; (c) The order of dismissal issued by the Court of First Instance of Cebu appealed from in case G.R. No. L-15377 is set aside and the case remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings, without costs;

(d) In case G.R. No. L-16660, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, directing the Regional Labor Administrator to issue a writ of execution of the order of the Regional Office No. 2, is hereby reversed, without costs; and . (e) In case G.R. No. L-17056, the decision rendered after hearing by the Court of First Instance of Manila, dismissing the complaint for annulment of the proceedings before the Regional office No. 3, is hereby reversed and the preliminary injunction at first issued by the trial court is revived and made permanents without costs. SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 4634 September 24, 1997 JESUS CABARRUS, JR., complainant, vs. JOSE ANTONIO S. BERNAS, respondent.

TORRES, JR., J.: On August 30, 1996, Mr. Jesus Cabarrus, Jr. filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Jose Antonio Bernas for alleged violations of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code and Code of Professional Responsibility. In his complaint-affidavit 1 dated August 12, 1996, complainant alleged as follows:
A. That on April 16, 1996, respondent Ramon B. Pascual, Jr., subscribed under oath before Marie Lourdes T. Sia Bernas, a notary public in Makati City, wife of lawyer Jose Antonio Bernas, a verification and certification of non-forum shopping which was appended to a complaint for reconveyance of property and damages, denominated as Civil Case No. 65646, filed before the Regional Trial Court in National Capital Region, RTC, which case was raffled to RTC Branch 159 in Pasig City. A photocopy of said complaint is hereto attached and marked as Annexex (sic) A, A-1, A-3, A-4, A-5 and A-6; B. That as basis for the instant complaint for falsification of public document, I am hereto quoting verbatim, the test (sic) of Annex A-6, the verification and certification of non-forum shopping which states: Ramon B. Pascual, Jr., under oath, depose and states: He is the plaintiff in this case, and certify that he cause the preparation of the foregoing pleading, the content of which are true to his personal knowledge and that he has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in any court, including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency. If he should learn that a similar action of (sic) proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court or any other Tribunal agency, he undertake to report to (sic) that fact within Five (5) days from notice to this notice (sic) to this Honorable Court. Emphasis supplied. C. That the cause of action relied upon by the respondent in Civil Case No. 65646 is fraud, facilitated by forgery as gleaned from paragraphs 15, 16, and 22;

D. That contrary to the tenor, import and meanoing (sic) of the allegation under 1-B of the instant complaint, respondent and his counsel Jose Antonio Bernas caused the preparation and filing of a criminal complaint for falsification of a public document on April 11, 1996, (three days before the filing of the aforecited Civil Case) at the AOED of the National Bureau of Investigation if (sic) Taff (sic) Ave., a xerox copy of said complaint is hereto attached and marked as Annex "B". D-1. That as stated in Annex "B", the gravaman of the affidavit complaint of the respondent is forgery, the same legal issue in Civil Case No. 65646; D-2. That as early as August 14, 1995, respondent counsel, Jose Antonio Bernas filed a written complaint at the NBI for the same cause of action which was reiterated in another letter submitting to the NBI standard specimen signatures dated October 1995, copies of said letter complaint are hereto attached and marked as Annexes (sic) "C". E. That respondent Ramon B. Pascual, Jr., on the basis of Annexes A, B, C, D, inclusive of submarkings knowingly subverted and perverted the truth when he falsify certified (sic) and verified under oath in the verification and certification of non-forum shopping, that: He has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in any court, including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other Tribunal or agency." Where verificationcertification was placed under oath and was conveniently notarized by the wife of the counsel of respondent in both cases at Branch 159 of the RTC in Pasig and at the NBI, an agency within the ambis (sic) and purview of the circulus (sic) of the Supreme Court prohibiting forum shopping. F. That Jose Antonio Bernas, the counsel on record of the respondents in Civil Case No. 65646 is the same lawyer who instigated a criminal complaint at the NBI for forgery and respondents themselves conspired and confabulated with each other in facilitating and insuring the open, blatant and deliberate violation of Art. 172 of the Revised Penal Code which states: Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon: 1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any public or official document or letter of exchanged (sic) or any other kind of commercial document; and 2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceding article. Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceeding or to the damage of another or who, with the intent to

cause such damage, shall use any of the false documents embraced in the next preceding article, or in any of the foregoing subdivisions of this article, shall be punished by the penalty next lower in degree. G. That Atty. Jose Antonio Bernas should be disbarred for having instigated, abetted and facilitated the perversion and subversion of truth in the said verification and certification of non-forum shopping. Contrary to Canon 1, Rule 1.01, 1.02, Canon 3, 3.01, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers, the pertinent provisions of which are herein below quoted and a copy of said code is hereto attached and marked as Annex "E"; CANON 1. A. LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or decietful (sic) conduct. Rule 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities simed (sic) at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. CANON 3. A. LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION OF (sic) STATEMENT OF FACTS. Rule 3.01 A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualified (sic) or legal services. CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.

In his Comment, 2 respondent Jose Antonio Bernas avers that he has not committed forum shopping because the criminal action is not an action that involves the same issue as those in a civil action and both suits can exist without constituting forum shopping so long as the civil aspect has not been prosecuted in the criminal case. He emphasized that forum shopping only exists when identical reliefs are issued by the same parties in multiple fora. In his Supplemental Comment, 3 respondent further contends that neither he or his client Pascual has commenced any criminal action. Pascual merely requested the NBI to assist in the investigation or prosecution, and left it to the NBI to determine whether the filing of an endorsement to the prosecutor, who would determine probable cause, would be appropriate. It was only upon request of the NBI that he assisted Ramon Pascual in drafting an affidavitcomplaint for falsification of public documents against complainant. Likewise, respondent by counsel reiterates that the letter transmitted to the NBI cannot constitute an action or proceeding because the NBI's functions are merely investigatory and informational in nature. NBI has no prosecutorial functions or quasi-judical powers and is incapable of granting relief or remedy. The NBI cannot be an agency contemplated by the circular.

The core issue to be resolved here is whether respondent Atty. Bernas transgressed Circular No. 28-91, Revised Circular No. 28-91, and Administrative Circular No. 04 - 94 on forum shopping. After a careful scrutiny of the records, we find the administrative complaint bereft of merit and should be dismissed.

There is forum-shopping whenever, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. Therefore, a party to a case resorts to forum shopping because "by filing another petition involving the same essential facts and circumstances, . . . , respondents approached two different fora in order to increase their chances of obtaining a favorable decision or action. 4 In this case, there is no forum shopping to speak of. Atty. Bernas, as counsel of Mr. Pascual, Jr., merely requested the assistance of the NBI to investigate the alleged fraud and forgery committed by Mr. Jesus Cabarrus. 5 The filing of a civil case for reconveyance and damages before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City does not preclude respondent to institute a criminal action. The rule allows the filing of a civil case independently with the criminal case without violating the circulars on forum shopping. It is scarcely necessary to add that Circular No. 28-91 must be so interpreted and applied as to achieve the purposes projected by the Supreme Court when it promulgated that Circular. Circular No. 28-91 was designed to serve as an instrument to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice and should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or the goal of all rules of procedure which is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible. 6 Adjunct to this, Act No. 157 7, specifically section 1 hereof provides, viz:
Sec. 1. There is hereby created a Bureau of Investigation under the Department of Justice which shall have the following functions: (a) To undertake investigation of crimes and other offenses against the laws of the Philippines, upon its initiative and as public interest may require; (b) To render assistance, whenever properly requested in the investigation or detection of crimes and other offenses; (c) To act as a national clearing house of criminal and other informations for the benefit and use of all prosecuting and law-enforcement entities of the Philippines, identification records of all persons without criminal convictions, records of identifying marks, characteristics, and ownership or possession of all firearms as well as of test bullets fired therefrom; (d) To give technical aid to all prosecuting and law-enforcement officers and entities of the Government as well as the courts that may request its services; (e) To extend its services, whenever properly requested in the investigation of cases of administrative or civil nature in which the Government is interested; (f) To undertake the instruction and training of representative number of city and municipal peace officers at the request of their respective superiors along effective methods of crime investigation and detection in order to insure greater efficiency in the discharge of their duties;

(g) To establish and maintain an up-to-date scientific crime laboratory and to conduct researches in furtherance of scientific knowledge in criminal investigation; (h) To perform such other related functions as the Secretary of Justice may assign from time to time. Explicitly, the functions of the National Bureau of Investigations are merely investigatory and informational in nature. It has no judicial or quasi-judicial powers and is incapable of granting any relief to a party. It cannot even determine probable cause. It is an investigative agency whose findings are merely recommendatory. It undertakes investigation of crimes upon its own initiative and as public welfare may require. It renders assistance when requested in the investigation or detection of crimes which precisely what Atty. Bernas sought in order to prosecute those persons responsible for defrauding his client. The courts, tribunals and agencies referred to under Circular No. 28-91, Revised Circular No. 28-91 and Administrative Circular No. 04-94 are those vested with judicial powers or quasi-judicial powers and those who not only hear and determine controversies between adverse parties, but to make binding orders or judgments. As succinctly put it by R.A. 157, the NBI is not performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The NBI cannot therefore be among those forums contemplated by the Circular that can entertain an action or proceeding, or even grant any relief, declaratory or otherwise. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant complaint is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

B. Jurisdiction G.R. No. L-24281 May 16, 1967

ROSITA C. TALEON and MIGUEL SOLIS, petitioners appellants, vs. THE SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS, THE DISTRICT ENGINEER, Province of Davao, and LUCIA O . TOLENTINO, respondents-appellees. Antonio Enrile Inton for petitioners-appellants. Tolentino, Amoguis and Madrazo for respondent-appellee L. O. Tolentino. Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico de Castro and Solicitor C. S. Gaddi for respondent-appellee Secretary of Public Works and Communications. BENGZON, J.P., J.: Petitioner-appellant Rosita Taleon is the registered owner of a parcel of land in Lupon, Davao, which she acquired from her co-petitioner-appellant Miguel Solis who had constructed therein man-made canals and fishpond dikes. On April 17, 1961, respondent-appellee Lucia Tolentino wrote a letter-complaint to the Secretary of Public Works stating that several fishpond operators and/or owners in Lupon, Davao have built dams across and closed the Cabatan River, a public navigable stream, thereby depriving her and the

residents therein of passageway, fishing ground and water supply. This letter-complaint was formally amended on June 9, 1961, wherein Tolentino specified appellants Taleon and Solis, and another neighbor, one Humberto de los Santos, as those responsible for the closing of the alleged Cabatan River, on the banks of which their lands abutted. On June 13, 1961, Taleon filed her answer denying the existence of the alleged river and claiming that the dams were constructed inside her registered property and that her water source was a man-made canal connected to the sea. An administrative hearing was thereafter held. On July 11, 1961, the Secretary of Public Works, through the department undersecretary, rendered a decision finding that appellants were indeed obstructing the Cabatan River, a Public navigable stream which used to pass inside their lands, with the dams they constructed thereon, and ordering their demolition. Appellants filed a motion to reconsider claiming that the ruling was contrary to the facts established and that the Secretary had no jurisdiction over the Case. This was denied. Appellants elevated the case to the Office of the President on October 11, 1961. After reviewing the records, said office affirmed on November 10, 1961 the decision of July 11, 1961. Appellants filed a motion to reconsider based on an alleged decision of Public Works Secretary Moreno rendered on November 24, 1961, reversing the former ruling of July 11, 1961. On January 10, 1962, the Office of the President denied the motion, on two grounds: (1) An official examination of the records of the case showed that said decision of Secretary Moreno did not form part thereof, and (2) even if it were genuine, it had no legal effect since the Secretary had already lost jurisdiction when appellants filed their appeal to the President. On February 9, 1962, Taleon was informed by the District Engineer of Davao that her dams would be demolished on February 16, 1962, upon orders of the Executive Secretary, the administrative decision having become final and executory. To stop the threatened demolition, appellants filed suit in the Court of First Instance of Davao against the Public Works Secretary and the Engineer of Davao. They were able to obtain a writ of preliminary injunction on February 15, 1962. On September 1, 1962, appellants filed a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction against the herein respondents-appellees in the Court of First Instance of Manila. After the latters' respective answers were filed and the case in Davao was dismissed, upon appellants' motion, said Manila court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for, altho in form a temporary restraining order with bond. The issues having been joined, a pre-trial conference was held and the Court of First Instance of Manila allowed respondents to file a motion to dismiss the petition. Upon orders of said court, the administrative records were sent up. On January 11, 1965, acting on the respective memoranda submitted by the parties in support of and in opposition to the pending motion to dismiss, the court a quo ruled that appellants were given a fair hearing in the administrative case and that the decision therein was supported by the evidence adduced and dismissed the petition stating: WHEREFORE, finding merit in the respondents' Motion to Dismiss, GRANTED. Let this petition be, as it hereby DISMISSED, with costs against petitioners. The temporary restraining order issued on 17 December 1962 is hereby dissolved and the bond filed by petitioners, cancelled. Taking issue with this ruling, the petitioners instituted the present appeal, raising questions purely of law. They submit that the court a quo erred in dismissing the case without giving them a full trial, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to prove that the alleged extension of the Cabatan River passing across their property is but a depression and that the decision rendered by Secretary

Moreno on November 24, 1961, is genuine. Appellants also reiterate that the Secretary of Public Works has no jurisdiction over the case, since the dams and the body of water in question were located inside registered private property. Appellants' contentions are without merit. First of all, full trial was not needed. The issues raised before the court a quo were all purely legal and thus could be resolved on the basis of the pleadings and memoranda filed and the administrative records sent up to it. No necessity was there for further reception of evidence. Anent the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Public Works, this point has been squarely covered in Lovina v. Moreno, L-17821, November 29, 1963.1 There We upheld the power of the Public Works Secretary under Republic Act 2056 to declare as a public navigable stream any alleged depression or bodies of water even inside titled properties. That case involved a creek, located inside a titled land, which was alleged to be privately owned. The Public Works Secretary declared it as part of a public stream which plaintiffs therein had blocked with their dams. In sustaining the Secretary, We there ruled that such fact-finding power on his part was merely incidental to his duly to clear all navigable streams of unauthorized obstructions and, hence, its grant did not constitute an unlawful delegation of judicial power. And we remarked there that although the title was silent as to the existence of any stream inside the property, that did not confer a right to the stream, it being of a public nature and not subject to private appropriation, even by prescription. Appellants would offer affidavits which are hearsay2 and testimonies aliunde to show that the alleged Cabatan River inside their property is really a mere depression. As also enunciated in Lovina v. Moreno, supra, however, there cannot be a trial de novo in cases of this nature, since a review of an administrative finding is limited to the evidence already presented before the administrative body.3 This rule bars presentation of evidence aliunde and limits the trial court's functions to determining whether there is evidence in the administrative records substantial enough to support the findings therein. Here, the records of the administrative case were actually brought up and submitted to the court a quo and it held that the administrative finding that the alleged depression was really a part of the navigable Cabatan River was supported by substantial evidence. Said court fully did its duty, to have gone further would have been exceeding its power. Regarding the alleged second decision of the Secretary, its non-existence has been officially certified by the Chief of the Records Division of the Department of Public Works, the official custodian.4 This alone is proof enough that there is no such decision.5 But even granting that there is really such a decision, it would not help appellants' cause any. Said decision would still be wanting of legal force and effect since Secretary Moreno had already lost jurisdiction to revoke the former ruling because of the appeal then already taken by appellants themselves to the Office of the President, which affirmed the former ruling. And even conceding jurisdiction, the second decision could still affect nothing since it was actually revoked and reversed by the ruling of the Office of the President, dated January 10, 1962, which denied the motion to reconsider filed by appellants wherein they invoked said new decision. So, a full trial to prove the authenticity of the Moreno decision would be a pointless waste of the court a quo's time. It is recognized that the trial court may dismiss a petition for certiorari even after an answer is filed upon a motion to dismiss, where said petition is found to be patently without merit.6 But the court a quo did not summarily dismiss the petition. It conducted a pre-trial conference and even ordered the records in the administrative case to be elevated to it. Now the Rules of Court7 authorizes the trial court to render judgment on the pleadings or a summary judgment, as justice may require, if at the pre-trial it finds that facts exist which would warrant such judgment. All the necessary facts being already before the court a quo, no further trial was required. Its decision rendered at that stage was therefore sanctioned by the Rules.

Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against petitioners-appellants. So ordered. G.R. No. L-43653 November 29, 1977 RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (RCPI), petitioner, vs. BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and DIEGO MORALES, respondents. G.R. No. L-45378 November 29, 1977 RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES. INC. (RCPI), petitioner, vs. BOARD OF COMMUNICATIONS and PACIFICO INNOCENCIO, respondents. Treas & Aligaen for petitioner. R. Mag. Bernardo for respondent Morales. Silvestre T. de la Cruz for respondent Innocencio. Primitivo C. Santos for respondent Board.

These two petitions (G.R. No. L-43653 and G.R. No. L-45378) for review by certiorari of the decisions of the Board of Communications in BC Case No. 75-01-OC, entitled "Diego T Morales vs. Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI)" and BC Case No. 75-08-OC, entitled "Pacifica Innocencio vs. Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI)," have been Consolidated as per resolution of this Court dated March 21, 1977, as they involve the same issue as to whether the Board of Communications has jurisdiction over claims for damages allegedly suffered by private respondents for failure to receive telegrams sent thru the petitioner Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc., RCPI for short. In BC Case No. 75-01-OC (G.R. No. L-43653) complainant respondent Diego Morales claims that while he was in Manila his daughter sent him a telegram on October 15, 1974 from Santiago, Isabela, informing him of the death of his wife, Mrs. Diego T. Morales. The telegram sent thru the petitioner RCPI however never reached him. He had to be informed personally about the death of his wife and so to catch up with the burial of his wife, he had to take the trip by airplane to Isabela. In its answer petitioner RCPI claims that the telegram sent by respondent was transmitted from Santiago, lsabela to its Message Center at Cubao, Quezon City but when it was relayed from Cubao, the radio signal became intermittent making the copy received at Sta. Cruz, Manila unreadable and unintelligible. Because of the failure of the RCPI to transmit said telegram to him, respondent allegedly suffered inconvenience and additional expenses and prays for damages. In BC Case No. 75-08-OC (G.R. No. L-45378) complainant respondent Pacifico Innocencio claim that on July 13, 1975 Lourdes Innocencio sent a telegram from Paniqui, Tarlac, thru the facilities of

the petitioner RCPI to him at Barrio Lomot, Cavinti, Laguna for the Purpose of informing him about the death of their father. The telegram was never received by Pacifico Innocencio. Inspite of the nonreceipt and/or non-delivery of the message sent to said address, the sender (Lourdes Innocencio has not been notified about its non-delivery, As a consequence Pacifica Innocencio was not able to attend the internment of their father at Moncada, Tarlac. Because of the failure of RCPI to deliver to him said telegram he allegedly was "shocked when he learned about the death of their father when he visited his hometown Moncada Tarlac on August 14, 1975," and thus suffered mental anguish and personal inconveniences. Likewise, he prays for damages. After hearing. the respondent Board in both cases held that the service rendered by petitioner was inadequate and unsatisfactory and imposed upon the petitioner in each case a disciplinary fine of P200 pursuant to Section 21 of Commonwealth Act 146, as amended, by Presidential Decree No. I and Letter of Implementation No. 1.

The main thrust of the argument of petitioner is that respondent Board has no jurisdiction to entertain and take cognizance of complaints for injury caused by breach of contractual obligation arising from negligence covered by Article 1170 of the Civil Code 1 and injury caused by quasi delict or tort liability under Article 2176 of the Civil Code 2 which according to it should be ventilated in the proper courts of justice and not in the Board of Communications. We agree with petitioner RCPI. In one case We have ruled that the Public Service Commission and its successor in interest, the Board of Communications, "being a creature of the legislature and not a court, can exercise only such jurisdiction and powers as are expressly or by necessary implication,. conferred upon it by statute".3 The functions of the Public Service Commission are limited and administrative in nature and it has only jurisdiction and power as are expressly or by necessary implication conferred upon it by statute. 4 As successor in interest of the Public Service Commission, the Board of Communications exercises the same powers jurisdiction and functions as that provided for in the Public Service Act for the Public Service Commission. One of these powers as provided under Section 129 of the Public Service Act governing the organization of the Specialized Regulatory Board, is to issue certificate of public convenience. But this power to issue certificate of public convenience does not carry with it the power of supervision and control over matters not related to the issuance of certificate of public convenience or in the performance therewith in a manner suitable to promote public interest. But even assuming that the respondent Board of Communications has the power or jurisdiction over petitioner in the exercise of its supervision to insure adequate public service, petitioner cannot be subjected to payment of fine under Section 21 of the Public Service Act, because this provision of the law subjects to a fine every public service that violates or falls to comply with the terms and conditions of any certificate or any orders, decisions or regulations of the Commission. In the two cases before us petitioner is not being charged nor investigated for violation of the terms and conditions of its certificate of public convenience or of any order, decision or regulations of the respondent Board of Communications. The complaint of respondents in the two case was that they were allegedly inconvenienced or injured by the failure of the petitioner to transmit to them telegrams informing them of the deaths of close relatives which according to them constitute breach of contractual obligation through negligence under the Civil Code. The charges however, do not necessarily involve petitioners failure to comply with its certificate of public convenience or any order, decision or regulation of respondent Board of Communication. It is clear from the record that petitioner has not been charge of any violation or failure to comply with the terms and condition of its certificates of public convenience or of any order, decision or regulation of the respondent Board. The charge does not relate to the management of the facilities and system of transmission of messages by petitioner in accordance with its certificate of public convenience. If in the two cases before Us

complainants Diego Morales and Pacifica Innocencio allegedly suffered injury due to petitioner's breach of contractual obligation arising from negligence, the proper forum for them to ventilate their grievances for possible recovery of damages against petitioner should be in the courts and not in the respondent Board of Communications. Much less can it impose the disciplinary fine of P200 upon the petitioner. In Francisco Santiago vs. RCPI (G.R. No. L-29236) and Constancio Langan vs. RCPI (G.R. No. L-29247), this Court speaking thru Justice Enrique Fernando, ruled:
There can be no justification then for the Public Service Commission (now the Board of Communications as successor in interest) imposing the fines in these two petitions. The law cannot be any clearer . The only power it possessed over radio companies as noted was to fix rates It could not take to task a radio company for an negligence or misfeasance. It was not vested with such authority. That it did then in these two petitions lacked the impress of validity. In the face of the provision itself, it is rather apparent that the Public Service Commission lacked the required power to proceed against petitioner. There is nothing in Section 21 thereof which empowers it to impose a fine that calls for a different conclusion. WHEREFORE. both decisions of respondent Board of Communications in BC Case No. 75-01 OC and BC Case No. 75- 08-0C are hereby reversed, set aside, declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction to take cognizance of both cases. Without costs. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 142601 October 23, 2006



SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals dated November 16, 1999 and Resolution dated March 13, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 54495, entitled "NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, petitioner, versus, The Hon. Rufino V. Mijares, in his capacity as Commissioner, Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), Municipality of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, represented by Hon. Eduardo V. Roquero, in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, JOSEPH ELMER S. GUEVARRA, Sheriff IV of the ExOfficio Sheriff, Malolos, Bulacan, SPS. ANGEL A. CRUZ and ROSARIO C. CRUZ, RUFINO LAAN, RUFINA LAAN SANTOS, ANDRES NEPOMUCENO, SPS. ALBERTO HAGOS and HERMINIA

HAGOS, LEON GUILALAS, SPS. OSCAR R. BADILLO and HAYDEE M. BADILLO, and LEONCIO LAAN, respondents." The undisputed facts are: Since 1968, there has been an existing boundary dispute between the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan (one of herein respondents) and the City of Caloocan. In order to resolve the longchallenged conflict, the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del Monte passed and approved Resolution No. 20-02-943 on February 10, 1994. This resolution recognizes the official boundary of respondent municipality and the City of Caloocan, described as follows: ON JOINT MOTION of all members present; RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved to recognize the official boundary of the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and the City of Caloocan, Metro Manila as the true and correct line marking between the two Local Government Units as shown by the attached certified true copy of the geographic position and plain grid coordinates of Caloocan, Rizal per CAD-267 specifically from MBM (Municipal Boundary Monument) 22 to MBM 33; xxx On August 8, 1995, another Resolution4 was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del Monte recognizing the geographic position and plane coordinates of Tala Estate, Caloocan City contained in BM No. 11-24 as the "lot lines" delineating the boundary between the Municipality of San Jose del Monte and Caloocan City. This prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region III to conduct a relocation survey. On September 15, 1995, the survey team submitted a Comprehensive Report,5 some excerpts of which provide: ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND ANALYSIS 1. The geographic positions of MBM Nos. 22 to 33, Cad 267, Caloocan Cadastre was the basis for the establishment of the true and correct boundary between the municipality and Caloocan City. However, during the dialogue with concerned government agencies on May 12, 1995, the municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, emphasized that the boundary between the two local government units is the imaginary straight line between two boundary monuments, starting from MBM Nos. 22 to 33. 2. The FNSP-G surveying team plotted/drafted in a topographic map all pertinent records affecting boundary disputes of the two locality, such as the geographic positions and coordinates of MBM Nos. 22 to 33 Cad 267 Caloocan Cadastre, BM Nos. 11 to 23 of Tala Estate lot lines. Tala Estate lot lines were plotted approximately by scale, because there were no records on its geographic coordinates and incomplete cadastral maps. The findings are the following: a) The plotted positions of MBM Nos. 23 to 30, 32 and 33 Cad 267 Caloocan Cadastre are almost identical or equivalent to BM Nos. 12 to 16, 18 to 20, 22 and 23 of Tala Estate.

b) The lot lines of Tala Estate traverses thru Marilao River. c) The northern portion of the lot lines of Parcels 1, 2 and 3 SWO-41615 Tala Estate indicated that it traverses thru Marilao River. 3. In Municipal Resolution No. 06-08-95 dated August 8, 1995, it is requested that the geographic positions of BM Nos. 11 to 24, Tala Estate shall be recognized as the official lots lines which delineates the boundaries of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and Caloocan City. Moreover, the resolution is opposed to the delineation of Marilao River as the boundary of two localities, as embodied in SWO-41615. 4. If the lot lines of Parcels 1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615 will be the basis for the boundaries of the two LGUs, Marilao River will be the natural boundary between the two LGUs; if BM 11 to 24, Tala Estate shall be the basis for the boundaries, some northern portions of Parcels 1, 2 and 3, SWO-41615, portions of Bankers Village and Pangarap Village belongs to the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan." The Comprehensive Report states that the San Jose del Monte Sangguniang Bayan Resolutions contradict the delineation embodied in SWO-41615 of the Tala Estate, a 598-hectare property allotted by the government mainly for housing and resettlement site under the administration of the National Housing Authority (NHA), pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 843 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on April 26, 1971. Unsatisfied with the report of the DENR, respondent municipality filed a complaint with the Commission on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP),6 against petitioner NHA. Several residents of San Jose del Monte, namely: spouses Angel and Rosario Cruz, Rufino Laan, Rufina Laan Santos, Andres Nepomuceno, spouses Alberto and Herminia Hagos, Leon Guilalas, spouses Oscar and Haydee Badillo, and Leoncio Laan (herein private respondents) joined the municipality as complainants in the said case. They alleged that their properties are within the Municipality of San Jose del Monte; that Presidential Proclamation No. 843 does not cover their properties; and that the NHAs Bagong Silang Resettlement Project encroaches on their landholdings. They prayed that the NHA be ordered to award them damages. Incidentally, the City of Caloocan was not impleaded as a party in their complaint. On June 22, 1998, the COSLAP rendered its Resolution ruling that the correct boundary between respondents San Jose del Monte and Caloocan City is that specified in the twin Resolutions of the Sangguniang Bayan of said respondents. The COSLAP likewise held that all other issues, such as those raised by respondents, are mere incidents of such ruling. In effect, the COSLAP ruled that the land covered by the NHA project, being within the Municipality of San Jose del Monte, encroaches upon respondents properties. On January 14, 1999, petitioner NHA, upon invitation of the Bureau of Local Government Supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government (Bureau), attended a meeting held on January 26, 1999 between the local officials of respondent municipality and Caloocan City. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an avenue for the discussion of the territorial boundary between the two local government units. During the meeting, petitioner NHA posed strong opposition to the COSLAP Resolution, contending that the latter has no jurisdiction over the boundary dispute. Subsequently, the Bureau directed the parties to submit their respective position papers within 30 days.

Instead of submitting a position paper, respondent municipality filed with the COSLAP a motion for execution of its Resolution dated June 22, 1998. On May 17, 1999, the COSLAP granted the motion and issued a writ of execution. Petitioner NHA then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari alleging that in issuing the June 22, 1998 Resolution and the writ of execution, COSLAP acted without jurisdiction. On November 16, 1999, the Appellate Court dismissed the petition for having been filed out of time and for petitioners failure to avail of the remedy of appeal. Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. At the threshold, let it be stated that a judgment issued by a quasi-judicial body without jurisdiction is void. It can never become final and executory, hence, an appeal is out of the question.7 The main issue for our resolution is whether the COSLAP has jurisdiction over the boundary dispute between respondent municipality and Caloocan City. COSLAP was created by Executive Order No. 561 issued on September 21, 1979 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The Commission is an administrative body established as a means of providing a mechanism for the expeditious settlement of land problems to avoid social unrest. Its objective is to settle land conflicts among small settlers, landowners and members of cultural minorities. The powers and functions of the COSLAP are laid down in Section 3 of Executive Order No. 561, thus: Sec. 3. Powers and Functions. The Commission shall have the following powers and functions: xxx 2. Refer and follow up for immediate action by the agency having appropriate jurisdiction any land problem or dispute referred to the Commission: Provided, That the Commission may, in the following cases, assume jurisdiction and resolve land problems or disputes which are critical and explosive in nature considering, for instance, the large number of parties involved, the presence or emergence of social tension or unrest, or other similar critical situations requiring immediate action: (a) Between occupants/squatters and pasture lease agreement holders or timber concessionaires; (b) Between occupants/squatters and government reservation grantees; (c) Between occupants/squatters and public land claimants or applicants; (d) Petitions for classification, release and/or subdivisions of lands of the public domain; and

(e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and magnitude. xxx Administrative agencies, like the COSLAP, are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and as such could wield only such as are specifically granted to them by the enabling statutes.8 In acting on a land dispute, the COSLAP may either assume jurisdiction if the matter falls under paragraph 2(a) to (e) or refer the matter to an agency having appropriate jurisdiction. There is no provision in Executive Order No. 561 that COSLAP has jurisdiction over boundary dispute between two local government units. Under Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code, the respective legislative councils of the contending local government units have jurisdiction over their boundary disputes. Sections 118 and 119 provide: Section 118. Jurisdictional Responsibility for Settlement of Boundary Dispute. xxx (d) Boundary disputes involving a component city or municipality on the one hand and a highly urbanized city on the other, or two (2) or more highly urbanized cities, shall be jointly referred for settlement to the respective sanggunians of the parties. (e) In the event the Sanggunian fails to effect an amicable settlement within sixty (60) days from the date the dispute was referred thereto, it shall issue a certification to that effect. Thereafter, the dispute shall be formally tried by the Sanggunian concerned which shall decide the issue within sixty (60) days from the date of the certification referred to above. Section 119. Appeal. Within the time and manner prescribed by the Rules of Court, any party may elevate the decision of the Sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the area in dispute. The Regional Trial Court shall decide the appeal within one (1) year from the filing thereof. Pending final resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall be maintained and continued for all legal purposes. Rule III implementing the above provisions states: Rule III SETTLEMENT OF BOUNDARY DISPUTES Art. 15. Definition and Policy. There is boundary dispute when a portion or the whole of the territorial area of an LGU is claimed by two or more LGUs. Boundary disputes between or among LGUs shall, as much as possible, be settled amicably. Art. 16. Jurisdictional Responsibility. Boundary disputes shall be referred for settlement to the following:

(a) Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan for disputes involving two (2) or more barangays in the same city or municipality, as the case may be; (b) Sangguniang panlalawigan for those involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same province; (c) Jointly, to the sanggunians of provinces concerned, for those involving component cities or municipalities of different provinces; or (d) Jointly, to the respective sanggunians, for those involving a component city or municipality and a highly urbanized city or two (2) or more highly-urbanized cities. x x x Thus, instead of assuming jurisdiction over the case, the COSLAP should have referred respondents complaint to the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Caloocan City and the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose del Monte. Their decision may be appealed to the proper Regional Trial Court. Consequently, we rule that the COSLAP does not have jurisdiction over the boundary dispute between San Jose del Monte and Caloocan City. We have consistently ruled that a judgment for want of jurisdiction is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right or the creator of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void.9 Such nullity is correctable only by certiorari.10 And certiorari cannot be dismissed for timeliness inasmuch as a void judgment never acquires finality and any action to declare its nullity does not prescribe.11 Having no legal effect, the situation is the same as it would be as if there was no judgment at all. It leaves the parties in the position they were in before the trial.12 Clearly, the Court of Appeals erred in disposing NHAs petition for certiorari. It should have dismissed the petition, not on the grounds that it was filed late and that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal, but solely on the ground that the COSLAP has no jurisdiction over the subject boundary dispute. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54495 are SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED.

C. Rules of Procedure G.R. No. 147525 February 26, 2007


Under review are the January 14, 1994 decision1 and June 01, 2000 resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 502 UDK. The CA dismissed petitioner Bonifacio Espinozas petition for certiorari imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the provincial adjudicator of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication Office (PARAD) of San Fernando, Pampanga in deciding DARAB Case No. 203-P-90. The events leading to this petition for review on certiorari stemmed from an agrarian dispute before the PARAD, San Fernando, Pampanga. A complaint3 for ejectment was filed against petitioner by private respondent Maria V. Quibuloy, as co-owner and administratrix of three parcels of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3676. She alleged that petitioner had reneged on his obligations as tenant to pay the rent and till the subject landholding. Instead of answering the complaint, petitioner moved to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. He cited Section 1, Rule III of the 1989 Rules of Procedure of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (1989 DARAB Rules), providing for conciliation proceedings before the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC) prior to initiating the case. He contended that presentation of a certification from the BARC, attesting that the dispute had been submitted to it for mediation or conciliation without any success of settlement, was a jurisdictional requirement. On that note, he concluded that the provincial adjudicator could not take cognizance of the agrarian dispute due to Quibuloys failure to present the required certificate. The hearing on the motion to dismiss was set on November 7, 1990.4 On the said date, petitioner or his counsel failed to appear, hence the motion was submitted for resolution.5 Without issuing a ruling on petitioners motion, the provincial adjudicator set the case for hearing on May 22, 1991. Again, neither petitioner nor his counsel attended the hearing. Thus, Quibuloy was allowed to present her evidence ex-parte. Thereafter, the dispute was ordered submitted for decision.6 Just before the decision was rendered, petitioner filed his answer assailing Quibuloys personality to bring suit. Petitioner also offered unsubstantiated denials of Quibuloys charges. As his defense, he denied allegations of non-payment of rents and non-tillage of the land for lack of knowledge and information to form a belief as to the veracity thereof. The provincial adjudicator was sufficiently convinced that Quibuloys allegations were true and correct. Accordingly, he decided the case against petitioner.7 Instead of immediately appealing from the adjudicators decision, petitioner allowed the reglementary period to lapse. Thereafter, he filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. The appellate court dismissed the petition as "unavailing and vacuous."8 It reiterated the wellsettled rule that certiorari lies only in cases of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. It stressed that certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal. Now, petitioner comes to us with practically a rehash of the issues already raised in the CA, to wit:


We deny the petition. A special civil action of certiorari is an independent action, raising the question of jurisdiction where the tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.10 The ultimate purpose of such action is to keep an inferior tribunal within the bounds of its jurisdiction or relieve parties from arbitrary acts of courts.11

A petition for certiorari was never meant as a mode of reviewing errors of judgment committed by an inferior tribunal. Thus, it has been settled that the remedy of certiorari is not a substitute for an appeal lost by the party entitled thereto especially if the right of appeal was lost through negligence.12 When the remedy of appeal is available but is lost due to petitioners own negligence or error in the choice of remedies, resort to certiorari is precluded. Under the 1989 DARAB Rules,13 an aggrieved party may appeal the decision of a provincial adjudicator to the Adjudication Board within 15 days from receipt. In this case, petitioner allowed the appeal period to lapse and instead filed a petition for certiorari in the CA roughly three months after the assailed decision was rendered. It is evident that the CA acted on the petition properly.

Even if, in the greater interest of substantial justice, certiorari may be availed of, it must be shown that the adjudicator acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, that is, that the adjudicator exercised his powers in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostilities, so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law.14 As correctly found by the appellate court, there is no showing that errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion were committed by public respondent. On the first assigned error, the 1989 DARAB Rules exempted parties residing in non-adjoining barangays from presenting the BARC certification.15 Since it is undisputed that Quibuloy resided in San Nicolas 1ST, Lubao, Pampanga while petitioner stayed in San Agustin, Lubao, Pampanga, the former was not required to present the BARC certification before the adjudicator taking cognizance of the agrarian dispute. Needless to say, the provincial adjudicator did not err in entertaining the dispute notwithstanding the absence of the BARC certification. On the second issue, administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions are not bound by technical rules followed in courts of law. The adjudicator is given enough latitude, subject to the essential requirements of administrative due process, to be able to expeditiously ascertain the facts of the agrarian dispute.16 While there may have been a technical lapse on the part of the adjudicator in disposing of the motion to dismiss, the assailed acts of the adjudicator did not amount to a grave abuse of discretion justifying a writ of certiorari. Considering the technical flexibility afforded to agrarian adjudicators, the order may easily be construed as a denial of the motion to dismiss. What would have been the prudent recourse under the rules was to submit an answer immediately, participate in the hearing and appeal an adverse decision. Sadly, petitioner failed to do any of these. It is now too late for him to dispute the adjudicators decision. Moving on to the third assignment of error, we hold that petitioners answer was indeed filed out of time. While the 1989 DARAB Rules provides that the non-answering respondent (petitioner) may be allowed to belatedly file his answer, it also provides that the answer should be filed before the matter is submitted for decision. Here, petitioner submitted his answer after the case was submitted for decision. Lastly, on the fourth assignment of error, it cannot be overemphasized that only errors of jurisdiction may be reviewed by the CA in a petition for certiorari. "Where the issue or question involved affects the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision not the jurisdiction of the court to render said decision the same is beyond the province of a special civil action for certiorari."17 In sum, the petition failed to prove that the CA committed any reversible error in denying petitioners petition for certiorari as well as his motion for reconsideration. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-856

April 18, 1949

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SUSANO PEREZ (alias KID PEREZ), defendant-appellant. Crispin Oben and Isidro Santiago for appellant. Assistance Solicitor General Manuel P. Barcelona and Solicitor Esmeraldo Umali for appellee. TUASON, J.: Susano Perez alias Kid Perez alias Kid Perez was convicted of treason by the 5th Division of the People's Court sitting in Cebu City and sentenced to death by electrocution. Seven counts were alleged in the information but the prosecution offered evidence only on counts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, all of which, according to the court, were substantiated. In a unanimous decision, the trial court found as follows: "As regards count No. 1 Count No. 1 alleges that the accused, together with the other Filipinos, recruited, apprehended and commandeered numerous girls and women against their will for the purpose of using them, as in fact they were used, to satisfy the immoral purpose and sexual desire of Colonel Mini, and among such unfortunate victims, were Felina Laput, Eriberta Ramo alias Miami Ramo, Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay, Feliciana Bonalos and Flaviana Bonalos. It would be unnecessary to recite here the testimonies of all the victims of the accused; it sufficient to reproduce here succinctly the testimony of Eriberta Ramo. She testified that on June 15, 1942, the accused came to her house to get her and told her that she was wanted in the house of her aunt, but instead, she was brought to the house of the Puppet Governor Agapito Hontanosas; that she escaped and returned to Baclayon her hometown; that the accused came again and told her that Colonel Mini wanted her to be his Information Clerk; that she did not accept the job; that a week later the accused came to Baclayon to get her, and succeeded in taking some other girls Puppet Governor Agapito Hontanosas; that Governor Hontanosas told her that Colonel Mini wanted her to be his wife; that when she was brought to Colonel Mini the latter had nothing on but a "G" string; that he, Colonel Mini threatened her with a sword tied her to a bed and with force succeeded in having carnal knowledge with her; that on the following night, again she was brought to Colonel Mini and again she was raped; that finally she was able to escape and stayed in hiding for three weeks and only came out from the hiding when Colonel Mini left Tagbilaran. "As regards count No. 2 Count No. 2 of the information substantially alleges: That accused in company with some Japanese and Filipinos took Eriberta Ramo and her sister Cleopatra Ramo from their home in Baclayon to attend a banquet and a dance organized in honor of Colonel Mini by the Puppet Governor, Agapito Hontanosas in order that said Japanese Colonel might select those first who would later be taken to satisfy his carnal appetite and that by means of threat, force and intimidation, the above

mentioned two sister were brought to the headquarters of the Japanese Commander at the Mission Hospital in Tagbilaran where Eriberta Ramo was forced to lived a life of shame. All these facts alleged in count No. 2 were testified to by said witnesses Eriberta Ramo her mother Mercedes de Ramo. It is not necessary here to recite once more their testimony in support of the allegations in court No. 2; this Court is fully convinced that the allegation in said count No. 2 were fully substantiated by the evidence adduced. "As regards count No. 4 Count No. 4 substantially alleges that on July 16, 1942, the two girls named Eduardo S. Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, were taken from their homes in Corella, Bohol, by the accused and his companion named Vicente Bullecer, and delivered to the Japanese Officer, Dr. Takibayas to satisfy his carnal appetite, but these two, the accused Susano Perez and his companion Vicente Bullecer, before delivering them to said Japanese Officer, satisfied first their lust; the accused Susano Perez raping Eduarda S. Daohog and his companion, Vicente Bullecer, the other girl Eutiquia Lamay. Eduarda S. Daohog, testifying, said: that while on the way to Tagbilaran, the accused though force and intimidation, raped her in an uninhabited house; that she resisted with all her force against the desire of the accused, but of no avail; that upon arriving in Tagbilaran, she was delivered to the Japanese Officer named Takibayas who also raped her. Eutiquia Lamay testified that on July 16, 1942, the accused and his companion, Bullecer, went to her house to take her and her sister; that her sister was then out of the house; that the accused threatened her with a revolved if she refuses to go; that she was placed in a car where Eduarda Daohog was; that while they were in the car, the accused carried Eduarda out of the car, and their companion Bullecer took the other witness (Eutiquia Lamay); that when the accused and Eduarda returned to the car, the latter; Eduarda, covered her face, crying; that later, she and Eduarda were taken to the Governor's house; that on arriving and in the presence of the Puppet Governor Hontanosas, the Governor exclaimed: "I did not call for these girls": but the accused replied saying: "These girls talked bad against the Japanese , and that is why we arrested them"; that the said Governor Hontaosas then, said: "Take them to the Japanese "; that the accused and Bullecer brought the two girls to the Japanese headquarters; that Eduarda was taken to one room by the Japanese Captain called Dr. Takibayas, and she (Eutiquia Lamay) was taken to another room by another Japanese living in that house; that she was raped by that Jap while in the room; that she resisted all she could, but of no avail. In the light of the testimonies of these two witnesses, Eduarda S. Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, all the allegations in Court No. 4 were fully proven beyond reasonable doubt. "As regards count No. 5 Count No. 5 alleges: That on or about June 4, 1942, the said accused commandeered Feliciana Bonalos and her sister Flaviana Bonalos on the pretext that they were to bee taken as witnesses before a Japanese Colonel in the investigation of a case against a certain Chinese (Insik Eping), and uponarriving at Tagbilaran, Bohol, the accused brought the aforesaid two girls to the residence of Colonel Mini, Commander of the Japanese Armed Forces in Bohol and by means of violence threat and intimidation, said Japanese Colonel abused and had sexual intercourse with Flaviana Bonalos; that the accused subsequently of Colonel Mini

and through violence, threat and intimidation, succeeded in having carnal knowledge with her against her will; that two days, later, upon the pretext of conducting the unfortunate girls to their home, said accused brought the other girls Feliciana Bonalos to a secluded place in Tagbilaran, Bohol, and in the darkness, by mean of threat and violence had carnal knowledge with her against her will. Feliciana Bonalos testifying in this count, declared that the accused came to get her on the pretext that she was to be used as witness in a case affecting certain Chinaman before Colonel Mini; that she and her younger sister Flaviana were brought in a car driven by the accused; they were brought to the house of Colonel Mini; that sister Flaviana was conducted into a room and after remaining in the same for about an hour, she came out with her hair and her dress in disorder; that Flaviana told her immediately that she was raped against her will by Colonel Mini; that she (Feliciana), after leaving the residence of said Jap officer, was taken by Perez to an uninhabited house and there by threat and intimidation, the accused succeeded in raping her; that when she returned to her (the witness), Flaviana was crying; that the following day while conducting the two girls back to their hometown, she (Feliciana) was also raped by the accused in an uninhabited house, against her will. Victoriana Arayan (mother of Feliciana and Flaviana Bonalos) testified as following: That on June 15, 1942, the accused came and told her that the Japanese needed her daughters to be witnesses; that accordingly, he daughters, under that understanding, started for Tagbilaran; that later, she went to Tagbilaran to look for her daughters and she found them in the office of the Puppet Governor; that on seeing her, both daughters wept and told her that they were turned over to the Japanese and raped them; that her daughter Flaviana told her (the witness) that after the Japanese had raped her the accused also raped her (Flaviana) in an uninhabited house; that the accused did not permit her two daughter to return home on the pretext that the Puppet Governor was then absent and in the meanwhile they stayed in the house of the accused Perez; that when her daughter returned to her house ultimately, they related to her (mother) what happened; that both daughters told her they would have preferred death rather than to have gone to Tagbilaran; that Feliciana told her (the mother) that the accused had raped her. The information give by Feliciana to her mother is admitted in evidence as a part of the res gestae regardless of the time that had elapsed between the occurrence and the time of the information. In the manner these two witnesses testified in court, there could be no doubt that they were telling the absolute truth. It is hard to conceived that these girls would assume and admit the ignominy they have gone through if they were not true. The Court is fully convinced that all the allegations contained in Court No. 5 have been proven by the testimonies of these two witnesses beyond reasonable doubt. "As regards count No. 6 Count No. 6, alleges: That the accused, together with his Filipino companion apprehended Natividad Barcinas, Nicanora Ralameda and Teotima Barcinas, nurses of the provincial hospital, for not having attended a dance and reception organized by the Puppet Governor in honor of Colonel Mini and other Japanese high ranking officers, which was held in Tagbilaran market on June 25, 1942; that upon being brought the Puppet Governor, they were severely reprimanded by the latter; that on July 8, 1942, against said nurses were forced to attend another banquet and dance

in order that the Jap officers Mini and Takibayas might make a selection which girls would suit best their fancy; that the real purpose behind those forcible invitations was to lure them to the residence of said Japanese Officer Mini for immoral purposes. Natividad Barcinas, a Lieutenant of the P.A., testified at length. She declared: That on June 29, 1942, she and companion nurses, saw the accused coming to the hospital with a revolver and took them on a car to the office of the Puppet Governor where they were severely reprimanded by the latter for not attending the dance held on June and receptions was to select from among them the best girl that would suit the fancy of Colonel Mini for immoral purposes that she and her companions were always afraid of the accused Perez whenever he came to said hospital; that on one occasion, one of the nurses on perceiving the approach of the accused, ran up into her room, laid down on bed and simulated to be sick; that said accused, not satisfied, went up into the room of that particular nurse and pulled out the blanket which covered her and telling her that it was only her pretext that she was sick. The testimony of Lt. Natividad Barcinas is fully corroborated by that of Nicanora Ralameda. Said testimony need not be reproduced here. In a carefully written brief for the appellant these findings are not questioned, but it is contended that the deeds committed by the accused do not constitute treason. The Solicitor General submits the opposite view, and argues that "to maintain and preserve the morale of the soldiers has always been, and will always be, a fundamental concern of army authorities, for the efficiency of rests not only on its physical attributes but also, mainly, on the morale of its soldiers" (citing the annual report of the Chief of Staff, United State Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1933). If furnishing women for immoral purposes to the enemies was treason because women's company kept up their morale, so fraternizing with them, entertaining them at parties, selling them food and drinks, and kindred acts, would be treason. For any act of hospitality without doubt produces the same general result. yet by common agreement those and similar manifestation of sympathy and attachment are not the kind of disloyalty that are punished as treason. In a broad sense, the law of treason does not prescribe all kinds of social, business and political intercourse between the belligerent occupants of the invaded country and its inhabitants. In the nature of things, the occupation of a country by the enemy is bound to create relations of all sorts between the invaders and the natives. What aid and comfort constitute treason must depend upon their nature degree and purpose. To draw a line between treasonable and untreasonable assistance is not always easy. The scope of adherence to the enemy is comprehensive, its requirement indeterminate as was said Cramer vs. United States. 89 Law. ed., 1441. As general rule, to be treasonous the extent of the aid and comfort given to the enemies must be to render assistance to them as enemies and not merely as individuals and in addition, be directly in furtherance of the enemies' hostile designs. To make a simple distinction: To lend or give money to an enemy as a friend or out of charity to the beneficiary so that he may buy personal necessities is to assist him as individual and is not technically traitorous. On the other hand, to lend or give him money to enable him to buy arms or ammunition to use in waging war against the giver's country enhance his strength and by same count injures the interest of the government of the giver. That is treason. (See United States vs. Fricke, 259 F., 673; 63 C.J., 816, 817.) Applying these principles to the case at bar, appellant's first assignment of error is correct. His "commandeering" of women to satisfy the lust of Japanese officers or men or to enliven the entertainment held in their honor was not treason even though the women and the entertainment

helped to make life more pleasant for the enemies and boost their spirit; he was not guilty any more than the women themselves would have been if they voluntarily and willingly had surrendered their bodies or organized the entertainment. Sexual and social relations with the Japanese did not directly and materially tend to improve their war efforts or to weaken the power of the United State. The acts herein charged were not, by fair implication, calculated to strengthen the Japanese Empire or its army or to cripple the defense and resistance of the other side. Whatever favorable effect the defendant's collaboration with the Japanese might have in their prosecution of the war was trivial, imperceptible, and unintentional. Intent of disloyalty is a vital ingredient in the crime of treason, which, in the absence of admission, may be gathered from the nature and circumstances of each particular case. But the accused may be punished for the rape of Eriberta Ramo, Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay and Flaviana Bonalos as principal by direct participation. Without his cooperation in the manner above stated, these rapes could not have been committed. Conviction of the accused of rapes instead of treason finds express sanction in section 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 682, which says: Provided further, That where, in its opinion, the evidence is not sufficient to support the offense (treason) charged, the People's Court may, nevertheless, convict and sentence the accused for any crime included in the acts alleged in the information and established by the evidence. All the above mentioned rapes are alleged in the information and substantiated by the evidence. Counsel assails the constitutionality of this of his provision as violative of section 1, paragraph 17, Article III of the Constitution, which guarantees to an accused the right "to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him." The contention is not well taken. The provision in requires that the private crimes of which an accused of treason may be convicted must be averred in the information and sustained by evidence. In the light of this enactment, the defendant was warned of the hazard that he might be founded guilty of rapes if he was innocent of treason and thus afforded an opportunity to prepare and meet them. There is no element of surprise or anomaly involved. In facts under the general law of criminal procedure convicted for crime different from that designated in the complaint or information is allowed and practiced, provided only that such crime "is included or described in the body of the information, and afterwards justified by the proof presented during the trial." (People vs. Perez, 45 Phil., 599.) The defendant personally assaulted and abused two of the offended girls but these assaults are not charged against him and should be ruled out. The crime of coercion alleged and founded on count No. 6. need not be noticed in view of the severity of the penalty for the other crimes which he must suffer. We find the defendant guilty of four separate crimes of rape and sentence him for each of them to an indeterminate penalty of from 10 year of prision mayor to 17 year and 4 months of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of law, to indemnify each of the offended women in the sum of P3,000, and to pay the costs; it being understood that the total duration of these penalties shall not exceed forty years.

D. Privilege against self-incrimination G.R. No. L-29169 August 19, 1968

ROGER CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE WARDEN OF THE CITY JAIL OF MANILA, respondents. Estanislao E. Fernandez and Fausto Arce for petitioner. Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. SANCHEZ, J.: The thrust of petitioner's case presented in his original and supplementary petitions invoking jurisdiction of this Court is that he is entitled, on habeas corpus, to be freed from imprisonment upon the ground that in the trial which resulted in his conviction1 he was denied his constitutional right not to be compelled to testify against himself. There is his prayer, too, that, should he fail in this, he be granted the alternative remedies of certiorari to strike down the two resolutions of the Court of Appeals dismissing his appeal for failure to file brief, and of mandamus to direct the said court to forward his appeal to this Court for the reason that he was raising purely questions of law. The indictment in the court below the third amended information upon which the judgment of conviction herein challenged was rendered, was for qualified theft of a motor vehicle, one (1) Thunderbird car, Motor No. H9YH-143003, with Plate No. H-16648 Pasay City '62 together with its accessories worth P22,200.00. Accused were the following: Petitioner herein, Roger Chavez, Ricardo Sumilang alias "Romeo Vasquez", Edgardo P. Pascual alias "Ging" Pascual, Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita", Luis Asistio alias "Baby" Asistio, Lorenzo Menesesalias "Lory" Meneses, Peter Doe, Charlie Doe and Paul Doe.2 Averred in the aforesaid information was that on or about the 14th day of November, 1962, in Quezon City, the accused conspired, with intent of gain, abuse of confidence and without the consent of the owner thereof, Dy Sun Hiok y Lim, in asporting the motor vehicle abovedescribed. Upon arraignment, all the accused, except the three Does who have not been identified nor apprehended, pleaded not guilty.

On July 23, 1963, trial commenced before the judge presiding Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Quezon City. The trial opened with the following dialogue, which for the great bearing it has on this case, is here reproduced:.
COURT: The parties may proceed. FISCAL GRECIA: Our first witness is Roger Chavez [one of the accused]. ATTY. CARBON [Counsel for petitioner Chavez]:

I am quite taken by surprise, as counsel for the accused Roger Chavez, with this move of the Fiscal in presenting him as his witness. I object. COURT: On what ground, counsel? . ATTY. CARBON: On the ground that I have to confer with my client. It is really surprising that at this stage, without my being notified by the Fiscal, my client is being presented as witness for the prosecution. I want to say in passing that it is only at this very moment that I come to know about this strategy of the prosecution. COURT (To the Fiscal): You are not withdrawing the information against the accused Roger Chavez by making [him a] state witness?. FISCAL GRECIA: I am not making him as state witness, Your Honor. I am only presenting him as an ordinary witness. ATTY. CARBON: As a matter of right, because it will incriminate my client, I object. COURT: The Court will give counsel for Roger Chavez fifteen minutes within which to confer and explain to his client about the giving of his testimony.

COURT: [after the recess] Are the parties ready? . FISCAL:



We are ready to call on our first witness, Roger Chavez. ATTY. CARBON: As per understanding, the proceeding was suspended in order to enable me to confer with my client. I conferred with my client and he assured me that he will not testify for the prosecution this morning after I have explained to him the consequences of what will transpire.

COURT: What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel. And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witnessstand including the accused. If there should be any question that is incriminating then that is the time for counsel to interpose his objection and the court will sustain him if and when the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate him. Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to answer questions which would incriminate him. But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witnessstand. ATTY. CARBON: I submit.




ATTY. CRUZ [Counsel for defendants Pascual and Meneses]: . MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT: This incident of the accused Roger Chavez being called to testify for the prosecution is something so sudden that has come to the knowledge of this counsel. This representation has been apprised of the witnesses embraced in the information. For which reason I pray this court that I be given at least some days to meet whatever testimony this witness will bring about. I therefore move for postponement of today's hearing. COURT: The court will give counsel time within which to prepare his cross-examination of this witness. ATTY. CRUZ: I labored under the impression that the witnesses for the prosecution in this criminal case are those only listed in the information. I did not know until this morning that one of the accused will testify as witness for the prosecution. COURT:

That's the reason why the court will go along with counsels for the accused and will give them time within which to prepare for their cross-examination of this witness. The court will not defer the taking of the direct examination of the witness. Call the witness to the witness stand. EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION ROGER CHAVEZ, 31 years old, single, buy and sell merchant, presently detained at the Manila Police Department headquarters, after being duly sworn according to law, declared as follows: ATTY. IBASCO [Counsel for defendant Luis Asistio]: WITH THE LEAVE OF THE COURT: This witness, Roger Chavez is one of the accused in this case No. Q-5311. The information alleges conspiracy. Under Rule 123, Section 12, it states: 'The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.' COURT: That is premature, counsel. Neither the court nor counsels for the accused know what the prosecution events to establish by calling this witness to the witness stand. ATTY. IBASCO: I submit. COURT: The Fiscal may proceed.3

And so did the trial proceed. It began with the "direct examination" of Roger Chavez by "Fiscal Grecia". Came the judgment of February 1, 1965. The version of the prosecution as found by the court below may be briefly narrated as follows: A few days before November 12, 1962, Roger Chavez saw Johnson Lee, a Chinese, driving a Thunderbird car. With Ricardo Sumilang (movie actor Romeo Vasquez) in mind, whom he knew was in the market for such a car, Chavez asked Lee whether his car was for sale. Lee answered affirmatively and left his address with Chavez. Then, on November 12, Chavez met Sumilang at a barbershop informed him about the Thunderbird. But Sumilang said that he had changed his mind about buying a new car. Instead, he told Chavez that he wanted to mortgage his Buick car for P10,000.00 to cover an indebtedness in Pasay City. Upon the suggestion of Chavez, they went to see Luis Asistio, who he knew was lending money on car mortgages and who, on one

occasion, already lent Romeo Vasquez P3,000.00 on the same Buick car. Asistio however told the two that he had a better idea on how to raise the money. His plan was to capitalize on Romeo Vasquez' reputation as a wealthy movie star, introduce him as a buyer to someone who was selling a car and, after the deed of sale is signed, by trickery to run away with the car. Asistio would then register it, sell it to a third person for a profit. Chavez known to be a car agent was included in the plan. He furnished the name of Johnson Lee who was selling his Thunderbird.

In the morning of November 14, Chavez telephoned Johnson Lee and arranged for an appointment. Sometime in the afternoon. Chavez and Sumilang met Lee in his Thunderbird on Highway 54. Sumilang was introduced as the interested buyer. Sumilang's driver inspected the car, took the wheel for a while. After Sumilang and Lee agreed on the purchase price (P21.000.00), they went to Binondo to Johnson Lee's cousin, Dy Sun Hiok, in whose name the car was registered. Thereafter, they went to see a lawyer notary public in Quezon City, known to Chavez for the drafting of the deed of sale. After the deed of sale was drawn up, it was signed by Sumilang as the vendee, Dy Sun Hiok the vendor, and Sumilang's driver and Johnson Lee the witnesses thereto. As payment was to be made at Eugene's restaurant in Quezon City, all of them then drove in the Thunderbird car to that place. The deed of sale and other papers remained in the pockets of Johnson Lee. At Eugene's, a man approached Sumilang with a note which stated that the money was ready at the Dalisay Theater. Sumilang then wrote on the same note that the money should be brought to the restaurant. At the same time he requested Lee to exhibit the deed of sale of the car to the note bearer.4 Then, the two Chinese were left alone in the restaurant. For Sumilang, who had left the table to pose for pictures with some fans and come back, again left never to return. So did Chavez, who disappeared after he left on the pretext of buying cigarettes. The two Chinese could not locate Sumilang and Chavez. They went out to the place where the Thunderbird was parked, found that it was gone. They then immediately reported its loss to the police. Much later, the NBI recovered the already repainted car and impounded it. Right after the meeting at Eugene's, Chavez, Sumilang and Asistio converged that same day at Barrio Fiesta, a restaurant at Highway 54 near the Balintawak monument in Caloocan. There, Asistio handed to Sumilang P1,000.00 cash and a golf set worth P800.00 as the latter's share in the transaction. On the 14th of November, the registration of the car was transferred in the name of Sumilang in Cavite City, and three days later, in the name of Asistio in Caloocan. From the court's decision, Ricardo Sumilang's version, corroborated in part by Asistio, may be condensed as follows: In the last week of September, 1962, Sumilang saw Roger Chavez at a gas station. The latter informed him that there was a Thunderbird from Clark Field for sale for a price between P20,000.00 and P22,000.00. Chavez said that it could be held for him with a down payment of P10,000.00. To raise this sum, Sumilang and Chavez, on October 1, went to the house of a certain Nena Hernaez de los Reyes who wrote out a check for P5,000.00 as a loan to Sumilang. That check

was exhibited in court. Sumilang and Chavez then went to Pasay City to see a certain Mario Baltazar, an agent of the Pasay City Mayor, and Narsing Cailles, Chief of the Fire Department. Sumilang asked the two for a P10,000-loan backed up by the P5,000.00-check aforesaid on condition that it should not be cashed immediately as there were not enough funds therefor. Baltazar and Cailles agreed to give the money the nextday as long as the check would be left with them and Sumilang would sign a promissory note for P10,000.00. Baltazar later informed Sumilang that Chavez picked up the money the next day. Four or five days afterwards, Chavez returned P4,000.00 to Sumilang because P6,000.00 was enough for the deposit. And so, Sumilang gave back the P4,000.00 to Baltazar. About the end of October or at the beginning of November, Chavez asked Sumilang for another P3,000.00. Sumilang sent Chavez to Baltazar and Cailles, with a note requesting that they accommodate him once more. He also sent a check, again without funds. Baltazar gave the money after verifying the authenticity of the note. On November 14, Chavez appeared at Sumilang's house with the news that the car was ready if Sumilang was ready with the rest of the money. So Sumilang got P9,000.00 from his mother and another P4,000.00 from his aparador. He immediately gave P6,000.00 to Chavez, intending to pay out the balance upon the car's delivery. It was then that Chavez told Sumilang that the car was already bought by a Chinese who would be the vendor. The purchase price finally agreed upon between Sumilang and Johnson Lee was P21,000.00, plus P500.00 agents commission at the expense of the buyer. Sumilang told Lee that he already paid part of the price to Chavez. At Eugene's, Chavez asked Sumilang for the balance. Sumilang accommodated. There, Sumilang, also saw a friend, "Ging" Pascual. In the course of their conversation at the bar, Sumilang mentioned the proposed transaction thru Chavez. Pascual warned that Chavez was a "smart" agent and advised that Sumilang should have a receipt for his money. A certain Bimbo, a friend of Pascual, offered to make out a receipt for Chavez to sign. After Sumilang returned from posing for some photographs with some of his fans, Bimbo showed him the receipt already signed by Chavez. Sumilang requested Pascual and Bimbo to sign the receipt as witnesses. And they did. This receipt was offered as an exhibit by the prosecution and by Sumilang. When Sumilang was ready to leave Eugene's, Johnson Lee turned over to him the deed of sale, the registration papers and the keys to the car. After shaking hands with Lee, Sumilang drove away in the car with his driver at the wheel. Two or three days afterwards, Sumilang dropped by the Barrio Fiesta on his way to a film shooting at Bulacan. He saw Asistio with many companions. Asistio liked his Thunderbird parked outside. Asistio offered to buy it from him for P22,500.00. As the offer was good, and knowing Asistio's and his friends' reputation for always getting what they wanted, Sumilang consented to the sale. Asistio tendered a down payment of P1,000.00; the balance he promised to pay the next day after negotiating with some financing company. Before said balance could be paid, the car was impounded. The trial court gave evidence to Sumilang's averment, strengthened by Baltazar's and Cailles' corroborations, that he paid good money for the car. Sumilang was thus cleared. So was Asistio

whom the trial court believed to be a mere buyer of the car. And so, the prosecution's theory of conspiracy was discounted. As to the other accused, the court found no case against Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita" and Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory". The accused "Ging" Pascual was also acquitted for in the first place he was not identified by Johnson Lee in court. As to Roger Chavez, however, the court had this to say: "Roger Chavez does not offer any defense. As a matter of fact, his testimony as witness for the prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt."5 The trial court branded him "a self-confessed culprit".6 The court further continued:
It is not improbable that true to the saying that misery loves company Roger Chavez tried to drag his co-accused down with him by coloring his story with fabrications which he expected would easily stick together what with the newspaper notoriety of one and the sensationalism caused by the other. But Roger Chavez' accusations of Asistio's participation is utterly uncorroborated. And coming, as it does, from a man who has had at least two convictions for acts not very different from those charged in this information, the Court would be too gullible if it were to give full credence to his words even if they concerned a man no less notorious than himself.7

The trial court then came to the conclusion that if Johnson Lee was not paid for his car, he had no one but Roger Chavez to blame. The sum of all these is that the trial court freed all the accused except Roger Chavez who was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified theft. He was accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of not less than ten (10) years, one (1) day, as minimum and not more than fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day as maximum, to indemnify Dy Sun Hiok and/or Johnson Lee in the sum of P21,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to undergo the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs. The Thunderbird car then in the custody of the NBI was ordered to be turned over to Ricardo Sumilang, who was directed to return to Asistio the sum of P1,000.00 unless the latter chose to pay P21,500.00, representing the balance of the contract price for the car. The foregoing sentence was promulgated on March 8, 1965. Roger Chavez appealed to the Court of Appeals. On April 18, 1968, the Court of Appeals required Atty. Natividad Marquez, counsel for Roger Chavez, to show cause within ten days from notice why Chavez' appeal should not be considered abandoned and dismissed. Reason for this is that said lawyer received notice to file brief on December 28, 1967 and the period for the filing thereof lapsed on January 27, 1968 without any brief having been filed. On May 13, 1968, Atty. Marquez registered a detailed written explanation. She also stated that if she were allowed to file appellant's brief she would go along with the factual findings of the court below but will show however that its conclusion is erroneous.8 On May 14, 1968, the Court of Appeals, despite the foregoing explanation, resolved to dismiss the appeal. A move to reconsider was unavailing. For, on June 21, 1968, the Court of Appeals, through a per curiam resolution, disposed to maintain its May 14 resolution dismissing the

appeal, directed the City Warden of Manila where Chavez is confined by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by the Court of Appeals, to turn him over to Muntinlupa Bilibid Prisons pending execution of the judgment below, and ordered remand of the case to the Quezon City court for execution of judgment. It was at this stage that the present proceedings were commenced in this Court. Upon the petitions, the return, and the reply, and after hearing on oral arguments, we now come to grips with the main problem presented. We concentrate attention on that phase of the issues which relates petitioner's assertion that he was compelled to testify against himself. For indeed if this one question is resolved in the affirmative, we need not reach the others; in which case, these should not be pursued here. 1. Petitioner's plea on this score rests upon his averment, with proof, of violation of his right constitutionally entrenched against self-incrimination. He asks that the hand of this Court be made to bear down upon his conviction; that he be relieved of the effects thereof. He asks us to consider the constitutional injunction that "No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself,"9 fully echoed in Section 1, Rule 115, Rules of Court where, in all criminal prosecutions, the defendant shall be entitled: "(e) To be exempt from being a witness against himself." . It has been said that forcing a man to be a witness against himself is at war with "the fundamentals of a republican government"; 10 that [i]t may suit the purposes of despotic power but it can not abide the pure atmosphere of political liberty and personal freedom."11 Mr. Justice Abad Santos recounts the historical background of this constitutional inhibition, thus: " "The maxim Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of interrogating accused persons, which has long obtained in the continental system, and, until the expulsion of the Stuarts from the British throne in 1688, and the erection of additional barriers for the protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power, was not uncommon even in England. While the admissions of confessions of the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial character, the temptation to press, the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or reluctant, to push him into a corner, and to entrap him into fatal contradictions, which is so painfully evident in many of the earlier state trials, notably in those of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the Puritan minister, made the system so odious as to give rise to a demand for its total abolition. The change in the English criminal procedure in that particular seems to be founded upon no statute and no judicial opinion, but upon a general and silent acquiescence of the courts in a popular demand. But, however adopted, it has become firmly embedded in English, as well as in American jurisprudence. So deeply did the iniquities of the ancient system impress themselves upon the minds of the American colonists that the states, with one accord, made a denial of the right to question an accused person a part of their fundamental law, so that a maxim which in England was a mere rule of evidence, became clothed in this country with the impregnability of a constitutional enactment." (Brown vs. Walker, 161 U.S., 591, 597; 40 Law. ed., 819, 821)." 12 Mr. Justice Malcolm, in expressive language, tells us that this maxim was recognized in England in the early days "in a revolt against the thumbscrew and the rack." 13 An old Philippine case [1904] 14 speaks of this constitutional injunction as "older than the Government of the United States"; as having "its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial methods of interrogating the accused person"; and as having been

adopted in the Philippines "to wipe out such practices as formerly prevailed in these Islands of requiring accused persons to submit to judicial examinations, and to give testimony regarding the offenses with which they were charged." So it is then that this right is "not merely a formal technical rule the enforcement of which is left to the discretion of the court"; it is mandatory; it secures to a defendant a valuable and substantive right; 15 it is fundamental to our scheme of justice. Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (January 29, 1968), speaking thru Mr. Justice Harlan warned that "[t]he constitutional privilege was intended to shield the guilty and imprudent as well as the innocent and foresighted." 16 It is in this context that we say that the constitutional guarantee may not be treated with unconcern. To repeat, it is mandatory; it secures to every defendant a valuable and substantive right. Taada and Fernando (Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., vol. I, pp. 583-584) take note of U.S. vs. Navarro, supra, which reaffirms the rule that the constitutional proscription was established on broad grounds of public policy and humanity; of policy because it would place the witness against the strongest temptation to commit perjury, and of humanity because it would be to extort a confession of truth by a kind of duress every species and degree of which the law abhors. 17 Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and against his will an admission of his guilt. Nor may a court as much as resort to compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable against him as a confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to prove the commission of a crime. Because, it is his right to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take the witness stand with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free, genuine will. Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free and rational choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be sufficient. So is moral coercion "tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant." 18 2. With the foregoing as guideposts, we now turn to the facts. Petitioner is a defendant in a criminal case. He was called by the prosecution as the first witness in that case to testify for the People during the first day of trial thereof. Petitioner objected and invoked the privilege of selfincrimination. This he broadened by the clear cut statement that he will not testify. But petitioner's protestations were met with the judge's emphatic statement that it "is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness stand including the accused," and that defense counsel "could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand." The cumulative impact of all these is that accused-petitioner had to take the stand. He was thus peremptorily asked to create evidence against himself. The foregoing situation molds a solid case for petitioner, backed by the Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence. Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question requiring an incriminating answer is shot at him, 19 and accused may altogether refuse to take the witness stand and refuse to answer any and all questions. 20 For, in reality, the purpose of calling an accused as a witness for the People would be to incriminate him. 21 The rule positively intends to avoid and prohibit the certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a

person "to furnish the missing evidence necessary for his conviction." 22 This rule may apply even to a co-defendant in a joint trial.23 And the guide in the interpretation of the constitutional precept that the accused shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself "is not the probability of the evidence but it is the capability of abuse." 24 Thus it is, that it was undoubtedly erroneous for the trial judge to placate petitioner with these words:.
What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel. And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witnessstand including the accused. If there should be any question that is incriminating then that is the time for counsel to interpose his objection and the court will sustain him if and when the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate him. Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to answer questions which would incriminate him. But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand.

Paraphrasing Chief Justice Marshall in Aaron Burr's Trial, Robertsons Rep. I, 208, 244, quoted in VIII Wigmore, p. 355, 25 While a defendant's knowledge of the facts remains concealed within his bosom, he is safe; but draw it from thence, and he is exposed" to conviction. The judge's words heretofore quoted "But surely counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand" wielded authority. By those words, petitioner was enveloped by a coercive force; they deprived him of his will to resist; they foreclosed choice; the realities of human nature tell us that as he took his oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no genuine consent underlay submission to take the witness stand. Constitutionally sound consent was absent. 3. Prejudice to the accused for having been compelled over his objections to be a witness for the People is at once apparent. The record discloses that by leading questions Chavez, the accused, was made to affirm his statement given to the NBI agents on July 17, 1963 at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. 26 And this statement detailed the plan and execution thereof by Sumilang (Vasquez), Asistio and himself to deprive the Chinese of his Thunderbird car. And he himself proceeded to narrate the same anew in open court. He identified the Thunderbird car involved in the case. 27 The decision convicting Roger Chavez was clearly of the view that the case for the People was built primarily around the admissions of Chavez himself. The trial court described Chavez as the "star witness for the prosecution". Indeed, the damaging facts forged in the decision were drawn directly from the lips of Chavez as a prosecution witness and of course Ricardo Sumilang for the defense. There are the unequivocal statements in the decision that "even accused Chavez" identified "the very same Thunderbird that Johnson Lee had offered for sale"; that Chavez "testimony as witness for the prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that Chavez is "a self-confessed culprit".

4. With all these, we have no hesitancy in saying that petitioner was forced to testify to incriminate himself, in full breach of his constitutional right to remain silent. It cannot be said now that he has waived his right. He did not volunteer to take the stand and in his own defense; he did not offer himself as a witness; on the contrary, he claimed the right upon being called to testify. If petitioner nevertheless answered the questions inspite of his fear of being accused of perjury or being put under contempt, this circumstance cannot be counted against him. His testimony is not of his own choice. To him it was a case of compelled submission. He was a cowed participant in proceedings before a judge who possessed the power to put him under contempt had he chosen to remain silent. Nor could he escape testifying. The court made it abundantly clear that his testimony at least on direct examination would be taken right then and thereon the first day of the trial. It matters not that, after all efforts to stave off petitioner's taking the stand became fruitless, no objections to questions propounded to him were made. Here involve is not a mere question of self-incrimination. It is a defendant's constitutional immunity from being called to testify against himself. And the objection made at the beginning is a continuing one.

There is therefore no waiver of the privilege. "To be effective, a waiver must be certain and unequivocal, andintelligently, understandably, and willingly made; such waiver following only where liberty of choice has been fully accorded. After a claim a witness cannot properly be held to have waived his privilege on vague and uncertain evidence." 28 The teaching in Johnson vs. Zerbst 29 is this: "It has been pointed out that "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver" of fundamental constitutional rights and that we "do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." A waiver is ordinarily an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege." Renuntiatio non praesumitur. The foregoing guidelines, juxtaposed with the circumstances of the case heretofore adverted to, make waiver a shaky defense. It cannot stand. If, by his own admission, defendant proved his guilt, still, his original claim remains valid. For the privilege, we say again, is a rampart that gives protection - even to the guilty. 30 5. The course which petitioner takes is correct. Habeas corpus is a high prerogative writ. 31 It is traditionally considered as an exceptional remedy to release a person whose liberty is illegally restrained such as when the accused's constitutional rights are disregarded. 32 Such defect results in the absence or loss of jurisdiction 33 and therefore invalidates the trial and the consequent conviction of the accused whose fundamental right was violated. 34 That void judgment of conviction may be challenged by collateral attack, which precisely is the function of habeas corpus. 35 This writ may issue even if another remedy which is less effective may be availed of by the defendant. 36 Thus, failure by the accused to perfect his appeal before the Court of Appeals does not preclude a recourse to the writ. 37 The writ may be granted upon a judgment already final. 38 For, as explained inJohnson vs. Zerbst, 39 the writ of habeas corpus as an extraordinary remedy must be liberally given effect 40 so as to protect well a person whose liberty is at stake. The propriety of the writ was given the nod in that case, involving a violation of another constitutional right, in this wise:
Since the Sixth Amendment constitutionally entitles one charged with crime to the assistance of Counsel, compliance with this constitutional mandate is an essential jurisdictional prerequisite to a Federal Court's authority. When this right is properly waived, the assistance of Counsel is no longer a necessary element of the Court's jurisdiction to proceed to conviction and sentence. If the accused, however, is not represented by Counsel and has

not competently and intelligently waived his constitutional right, the Sixth Amendment stands as a jurisdictional bar to a valid conviction and sentence depriving him of his liberty. A court's jurisdiction at the beginning of trial may be lost "in the course of the proceedings" due to failure to complete the court as the Sixth Amendment requires by providing Counsel for an accused who is unable to obtain Counsel, who has not intelligently waived this constitutional guaranty, and whose life or liberty is at stake. If this requirement of the Sixth Amendment is not complied with, the court no longer has jurisdiction to proceed. The judgment of conviction pronounced by a court without jurisdiction is void, and one imprisoned thereunder may obtain release of habeas corpus. 41

Under our own Rules of Court, to grant the remedy to the accused Roger Chavez whose case presents a clear picture of disregard of a constitutional right is absolutely proper. Section 1 of Rule 102 extends the writ, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, "to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. Just as we are about to write finis to our task, we are prompted to restate that: "A void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. By it no rights are divested. From it no rights can be obtained. Being worthless in itself, all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor bars any one. All acts performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void. The parties attempting to enforce it may be responsible as trespassers. ... " 42 6. Respondents' return 43 shows that petitioner is still serving under a final and valid judgment of conviction for another offense. We should guard against the improvident issuance of an order discharging a petitioner from confinement. The position we take here is that petitioner herein is entitled to liberty thru habeas corpus only with respect to Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, under which he was prosecuted and convicted. Upon the view we take of this case, judgment is hereby rendered directing the respondent Warden of the City Jail of Manila or the Director of Prisons or any other officer or person in custody of petitioner Roger Chavez by reason of the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in Criminal Case Q-5311, entitled "People of the Philippines, plaintiff, vs. Ricardo Sumilang, et al., accused," to discharge said Roger Chavez from custody, unless he is held, kept in custody or detained for any cause or reason other than the said judgment in said Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in which event the discharge herein directed shall be effected when such other cause or reason ceases to exist. No costs. So ordered.


CUEVAS, JR., J.: On August 21, 1983, a crime unparalleled in repercussions and ramifications was committed inside the premises of the Manila International Airport (MIA) in Pasay City. Former Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., an opposition stalwart who was returning to the country after a long-sojourn abroad, was gunned down to death. The assassination rippled shock-waves throughout the entire country which reverberated beyond the territorial confines of this Republic. The after-shocks stunned the nation even more as this ramified to all aspects of Philippine political, economic and social life.

To determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing and to allow a free, unlimited and exhaustive investigation of all aspects of the tragedy, 1 P.D. 1886 was promulgated creating an ad hoc Fact Finding Board which later became more popularly known as the Agrava Board. 2 Pursuant to the powers vested in it by P.D. 1886, the Board conducted public hearings wherein various witnesses appeared and testified and/or produced documentary and other evidence either in obedience to a subpoena or in response to an invitation issued by the Board Among the witnesses who appeared, testified and produced evidence before the Board were the herein private respondents General Fabian C. Ver, Major General Prospero Olivas, 3 Sgt. Pablo Martinez, Sgt. Tomas Fernandez, Sgt. Leonardo Mojica, Sgt. Pepito Torio, Sgt. Prospero Bona and AIC Aniceto Acupido. 4 UPON termination of the investigation, two (2) reports were submitted to His Excellency, President Ferdinand E. Marcos. One, by its Chairman, the Hon. Justice Corazon Juliano Agrava; and another one, jointly authored by the other members of the Board namely: Hon. Luciano Salazar, Hon. Amado Dizon, Hon. Dante Santos and Hon. Ernesto Herrera. 'the reports were thereafter referred and turned over to the TANODBAYAN for appropriate action. After conducting the necessary preliminary investigation, the TANODBAYAN 5 filed with the SANDIGANBAYAN two (2) Informations for MURDER-one for the killing of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 10010 and another, criminal Case No. 10011, for the killing of Rolando Galman, who was found dead on the airport tarmac not far from the prostrate body of Sen. Aquino on that same fateful day. In both criminal cases, private respondents were charged as accessories, along with several principals, and one accomplice.
Upon arraignment, all the accused, including the herein private ate Respondents pleaded NOT GUILTY.

In the course of the joint trial of the two (2) aforementioned cases, the Prosecution represented by the Office of the petition TANODBAYAN, marked and thereafter offered as part of its evidence, the individual testimonies of private respondents before the Agrava Board. 6 Private respondents, through their respective counsel objected to the admission of said exhibits. Private respondent Gen. Ver filed a formal "Motion to Exclude Testimonies of Gen. Fabian C. Ver before the Fact Finding Board as Evidence against him in the above-entitled

cases" 7 contending that its admission will be in derogation of his constitutional right against selfincrimination and violative of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. He prayed that his aforesaid testimony be rejected as evidence for the prosecution. Major Gen. Olivas and the rest of the other private respondents likewise filed separate motions to exclude their respective individual testimonies invoking the same ground. 8 Petitioner TANODBAYAN opposed said motions contending that the immunity relied upon by the private respondents in support of their motions to exclude their respective testimonies, was not available to them because of their failure to invoke their right against self-incrimination before the ad hoc Fact Finding Board. 9 Respondent SANDIGANBAYAN ordered the TANODBAYAN and the private respondents to submit their respective memorandum on the issue after which said motions will be considered submitted for resolution. 10 On May 30, 1985, petitioner having no further witnesses to present and having been required to make its offer of evidence in writing, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN, without the pending motions for exclusion being resolved, issued a Resolution directing that by agreement of the parties, the pending motions for exclusion and the opposition thereto, together with the memorandum in support thereof, as well as the legal issues and arguments, raised therein are to be considered jointly in the Court's Resolution on the prosecution's formal offer of exhibits and other documentary evidences. 11 On June 3, 1985, the prosecution made a written "Formal Offer of Evidence" which includes, among others, the testimonies of private respondents and other evidences produced by them before the Board, all of which have been previously marked in the course of the trial. 12
All the private respondents objected to the prosecution's formal offer of evidence on the same ground relied upon by them in their respective motion for exclusion.

On June 13, 1985, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN issued a Resolution, now assailed in these two (2) petitions, admitting all the evidences offered by the prosecution except the testimonies and/or other evidence produced by the private respondents in view of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. 13 Petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the said Resolution having been DENIED, they now come before Us by way of certiorari 14 praying for the amendment and/or setting aside of the challenged Resolution on the ground that it was issued without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Private prosecutor below, as counsel for the mother of deceased Rolando Galman, also filed a separate petition for certiorari 15 on the same ground. Having arisen from the same factual beginnings and raising practically Identical issues, the two (2) petitioners were consolidated and will therefore be jointly dealt with and resolved in this Decision.
The crux of the instant controversy is the admissibility in evidence of the testimonies given by the eight (8) private respondents who did not invoke their rights against self-incrimination before the Agrava Board.

It is the submission of the prosecution, now represented by the petitioner TANODBAYAN, that said testimonies are admissible against the private respondents, respectively, because of the latter's failure to invoke before the Agrava Board the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. Since private respondents did not invoke said privilege, the immunity did not attach. Petitioners went further by contending that such failure to claim said constitutional privilege amounts to a waiver thereof. 16 The private respondents, on the other hand, claim that notwithstanding failure to set

up the privilege against self- incrimination before the Agrava Board, said evidences cannot be used against them as mandated by Section 5 of the said P.D. 1886. They contend that without the immunity provided for by the second clause of Section 5, P.D. 1886, the legal compulsion imposed by the first clause of the same Section would suffer from constitutional infirmity for being violative of the witness' right against self- incrimination.17 Thus, the protagonists are locked in horns on the effect and legal significance of failure to set up the privilege against selfincrimination.
The question presented before Us is a novel one. Heretofore, this Court has not been previously called upon to rule on issues involving immunity statutes. The relative novelty of the question coupled with the extraordinary circumstance that had precipitated the same did nothing to ease the burden of laying down the criteria upon which this Court will henceforth build future jurisprudence on a heretofore unexplored area of judicial inquiry. In carrying out this monumental task, however, We shall be guided, as always, by the constitution and existing laws.

The Agrava Board, 18 came into existence in response to a popular public clamor that an impartial and independent body, instead of any ordinary police agency, be charged with the task of conducting the investigation. The then early distortions and exaggerations, both in foreign and local media, relative to the probable motive behind the assassination and the person or persons responsible for or involved in the assassination hastened its creation and heavily contributed to its early formation. 19
Although referred to and designated as a mere Fact Finding Board, the Board is in truth and in fact, and to all legal intents and purposes, an entity charged, not only with the function of determining the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing, but more importantly, the determination of the person or persons criminally responsible therefor so that they may be brought before the bar of justice. For indeed, what good will it be to the entire nation and the more than 50 million Filipinos to know the facts and circumstances of the killing if the culprit or culprits will nevertheless not be dealt with criminally? This purpose is implicit from Section 12 of the said Presidential Decree, the pertinent portion of which provides SECTION 12. The findings of the Board shall be made public. Should the findings warrant the prosecution of any person, the Board may initiate the filing of proper complaint with the appropriate got government agency. ... (Emphasis supplied)

The investigation therefor is also geared, as any other similar investigation of its sort, to the ascertainment and/or determination of the culprit or culprits, their consequent prosecution and ultimately, their conviction. And as safeguard, the P.D. guarantees "any person called to testify before the Board the right to counsel at any stage of the proceedings." 20 Considering the foregoing environmental settings, it cannot be denied that in the course of receiving evidence, persons summoned to testify will include not merely plain witnesses but also those suspected as authors and co-participants in the tragic killing. And when suspects are summoned and called to testify and/or produce evidence, the situation is one where the person testifying or producing evidence is undergoing investigation for the commission of an offense and not merely in order to shed light on the facts and surrounding circumstances of the assassination, but more importantly, to determine the character and extent of his participation therein. Among this class of witnesses were the herein private respondents, suspects in the said assassination, all of whom except Generals Ver and Olivas, were detained (under technical arrest) at the time they were summoned and gave their testimonies before the Agrava Board. This notwithstanding, Presidential Decree No. 1886 denied them the right to remain silent. They

were compelled to testify or be witnesses against themselves. Section 5 of P.D. 1886 leave them no choice. They have to take the witness stand, testify or produce evidence, under pain of contempt if they failed or refused to do so. 21 The jeopardy of being placed behind prison bars even before conviction dangled before their very eyes. Similarly, they cannot invoke the right not to be a witness against themselves, both of which are sacrosantly enshrined and protected by our fundamental law. 21-a Both these constitutional rights (to remain silent and not to be compelled to be a witness against himself) were right away totally foreclosed by P.D. 1886. And yet when they so testified and produced evidence as ordered, they were not immune from prosecution by reason of the testimony given by them.
Of course, it may be argued is not the right to remain silent available only to a person undergoing custodial interrogation? We find no categorical statement in the constitutional provision on the matter which reads:
... Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. ... 22 (Emphasis supplied)

Since the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, we now have a mass of jurisprudence 23 on this specific portion of the subject provision. In all these cases, it has been categorically declared that a person detained for the commission of an offense undergoing investigation has a right to be informed of his right to remain silent, to counsel, and to an admonition that any and all statements to be given by him may be used against him. Significantly however, there has been no pronouncement in any of these cases nor in any other that a person similarly undergoing investigation for the commission of an offense, if not detained, is not entitled to the constitutional admonition mandated by said Section 20, Art. IV of the Bill of Rights. The fact that the framers of our Constitution did not choose to use the term "custodial" by having it inserted between the words "under" and investigation", as in fact the sentence opens with the phrase "any person " goes to prove that they did not adopt in toto the entire fabric of the Miranda doctrine. 24 Neither are we impressed by petitioners' contention that the use of the word "confession" in the last sentence of said Section 20, Article 4 connotes the Idea that it applies only to police investigation, for although the word "confession" is used, the protection covers not only "confessions" but also "admissions" made in violation of this section. They are inadmissible against the source of the confession or admission and against third person. 25
It is true a person in custody undergoing investigation labors under a more formidable ordeal and graver trying conditions than one who is at liberty while being investigated. But the common denominator in both which is sought to be avoided is the evil of extorting from the very mouth of the person undergoing interrogation for the commission of an offense, the very evidence with which to prosecute and thereafter convict him. This is the lamentable situation we have at hand. All the private respondents, except Generals Ver and Olivas, are members of the military contingent that escorted Sen. Aquino while disembarking from the plane that brought him home to Manila on that fateful day. Being at the scene of the crime as such, they were among the first line of suspects in the subject assassination. General Ver on the other hand, being the highest military authority of his co-petitioners labored under the same suspicion and so with General Olivas, the first designated investigator of the tragedy, but whom others suspected, felt and believed to have bungled the case. The papers, especially the foreign media, and rumors from uglywagging tongues, all point to them as having, in one way or another participated or have something to do, in the alleged conspiracy that brought about the assassination. Could there still be any doubt then that their being asked to testify, was to determine whether they were really conspirators and if so, the extent of their participation in

the said conspiracy? It is too taxing upon one's credulity to believe that private respondents' being called to the witness stand was merely to elicit from them facts and circumstances surrounding the tragedy, which was already so abundantly supplied by other ordinary witnesses who had testified earlier. In fact, the records show that Generals Ver and Olivas were among the last witnesses called by the Agrava Board. The subject matter dealt with and the line of questioning as shown by the transcript of their testimonies before the Agrava Board, indubitably evinced purposes other than merely eliciting and determining the so-called surrounding facts and circumstances of the assassination. In the light of the examination reflected by the record, it is not far-fetched to conclude that they were called to the stand to determine their probable involvement in the crime being investigated. Yet they have not been informed or at the very least even warned while so testifying, even at that particular stage of their testimonies, of their right to remain silent and that any statement given by them may be used against them. If the investigation was conducted, say by the PC, NBI or by other police agency, all the herein private respondents could not have been compelled to give any statement whether incriminatory or exculpatory. Not only that. They are also entitled to be admonished of their constitutional right to remain silent, to counsel, and be informed that any and all statements given by them may be used against them. Did they lose their aforesaid constitutional rights simply because the investigation was by the Agrava Board and not by any police investigator, officer or agency? True, they continued testifying. May that be construed as a waiver of their rights to remain silent and not to be compelled to be a witness against themselves? The answer is yes, if they have the option to do so. But in the light of the first portion of Section 5 of P.D. 1886 and the awesome contempt power of the Board to punish any refusal to testify or produce evidence, We are not persuaded that when they testified, they voluntarily waived their constitutional rights not to be compelled to be a witness against themselves much less their right to remain silent.
Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free and rational choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be sufficient. So is moral coercion 'tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant. 26

Similarly, in the case of Louis J. Lefkowitz v. Russel 27 Turley" citing Garrity vs. New Jersey" where certain police officers summoned to an inquiry being conducted by the Attorney General involving the fixing of traffic tickets were asked questions following a warning that if they did not answer they would be removed from office and that anything they said might be used against them in any criminal proceeding, and the questions were answered, the answers given cannot over their objection be later used in their prosecutions for conspiracy. The United States Supreme Court went further in holding that:
the protection of the individuals under the Fourteenth Amendment against coerced statements prohibits use in subsequent proceedings of statements obtained under threat or removal from office, and that it extends to all, whether they are policemen or other members of the body politic. 385 US at 500, 17 L Ed. 562. The Court also held that in the context of threats of removal from office the act of responding to interrogation was not voluntary and was not an effective waiver of the privilege against self- incrimination.

To buttress their precarious stand and breathe life into a seemingly hopeless cause, petitioners and amicus curiae (Ex-Senator Ambrosio Padilla) assert that the "right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself" applies only in favor of an accused in a criminal case. Hence, it may not be invoked by any of the herein private respondents before the Agrava Board. The Cabal vs. Kapunan 28 doctrine militates very heavily against this theory. Said case is not a criminal case as its title very clearly indicates. It is not People vs. Cabal nor a prosecution for a criminal offense.

And yet, when Cabal refused to take the stand, to be sworn and to testify upon being called as a witness for complainant Col. Maristela in a forfeiture of illegally acquired assets, this Court sustained Cabal's plea that for him to be compelled to testify will be in violation of his right against self- incrimination. We did not therein state that since he is not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal cannot refuse to take the witness stand and testify, and that he can invoke his right against self-incrimination only when a question which tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him is profounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the character of the suit involved but the nature of the proceedings that controls. The privilege has consistently been held to extend to all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in which punishment is sought to be visited upon a witness, whether a party or not. 29 If in a mere forfeiture case where only property rights were involved, "the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself" is secured in favor of the defendant, then with more reason it cannot be denied to a person facing investigation before a Fact Finding Board where his life and liberty, by reason of the statements to be given by him, hang on the balance. Further enlightenment on the subject can be found in the historical background of this constitutional provision against selfincrimination. The privilege against self- incrimination is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. In the Philippines, the same principle obtains as a direct result of American influence. At first, the provision in our organic laws were similar to the Constitution of the United States and was as follows:
That no person shall be ... compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself.

As now worded, Section 20 of Article IV reads: No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. The deletion of the phrase "in a criminal case" connotes no other import except to make said provision also applicable to cases other than criminal. Decidedly then, the right "not to be compelled to testify against himself" applies to the herein private respondents notwithstanding that the proceedings before the Agrava Board is not, in its strictest sense, a criminal case

No doubt, the private respondents were not merely denied the afore-discussed sacred constitutional rights, but also the right to "due process" which is fundamental fairness. 31 Quoting the highly-respected eminent constitutionalist that once graced this Court, the former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, due process
... is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided. To satisfy the due process requirement, official action, to paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer oppression. Due process is thus hostile to any official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly, it has been Identified as freedom from arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair play(Frankfurter, Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court, 1983, pp. 32-33). It exacts fealty "to those strivings for justice and judges the act of officialdom of whatever branch "in the light of reason drawn from considerations of fairness that reflect (democratic) traditions of legal and political thought." (Frankfurter, Hannah v. Larche 1960, 363 US 20, at 487). It is not a narrow or '"echnical conception with fixed content unrelated to time, place and circumstances."(Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy 1961, 367 US 1230) Decisions based on such a clause requiring a 'close and perceptive inquiry into fundamental principles of our society. (Bartkus vs. Illinois,

1959, 359 US 121). Questions of due process are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in slavery to form or phrases. (Pearson v. McGraw, 1939, 308 US 313). Our review of the pleadings and their annexes, together with the oral arguments, manifestations and admissions of both counsel, failed to reveal adherence to and compliance with due process. The manner in which the testimonies were taken from private respondents fall short of the constitutional standards both under the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE and under the EXCLUSIONARY RULE in Section 20, Article IV. In the face of such grave constitutional infirmities, the individual testimonies of private respondents cannot be admitted against them in ally criminal proceeding. This is true regardless of absence of claim of constitutional privilege or of the presence of a grant of immunity by law. Nevertheless, We shall rule on the effect of such absence of claim to the availability to private respondents of the immunity provided for in Section 5, P.D. 1886 which issue was squarely raised and extensively discussed in the pleadings and oral arguments of the parties.

Immunity statutes may be generally classified into two: one, which grants "use immunity"; and the other, which grants what is known as "transactional immunity." The distinction between the two is as follows: "Use immunity" prohibits use of witness' compelled testimony and its fruits in any manner in connection with the criminal prosecution of the witness. On the other hand, "transactional immunity" grants immunity to the witness from prosecution for an offense to which his compelled testimony relates." 32 Examining Presidential Decree 1886, more specifically Section 5 thereof, which reads:
SEC. 5. No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, records, correspondence, documents, or other evidence in obedience to a subpoena issued by the Board on the ground that his testimony or the evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to penalty or forfeiture; but his testimony or any evidence produced by him shall not be used against him in connection with any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having invoked his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying, nor shall he be exempt from demotion or removal from office. (Emphasis supplied) it is beyond dispute that said law belongs to the first type of immunity statutes. It grants merely immunity from use of any statement given before the Board, but not immunity from prosecution by reason or on the basis thereof. Merely testifying and/or producing evidence do not render the witness immuned from prosecution notwithstanding his invocation of the right against selfincrimination. He is merely saved from the use against him of such statement and nothing more. Stated otherwise ... he still runs the risk of being prosecuted even if he sets up his right against selfincrimination. The dictates of fair play, which is the hallmark of due process, demands that private respondents should have been informed of their rights to remain silent and warned that any and all statements to be given by them may be used against them. This, they were denied, under the pretense that they are not entitled to it and that the Board has no obligation to so inform them. It is for this reason that we cannot subscribe to the view adopted and urged upon Us by the petitioners that the right against self-incrimination must be invoked before the Board in order to prevent use of any given statement against the testifying witness in a subsequent criminal prosecution. A literal interpretation fashioned upon Us is repugnant to Article IV, Section 20 of the Constitution, which is the first test of admissibility. It reads: No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent

and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence. (Emphasis supplied)

The aforequoted provision renders inadmissible any confession obtained in violation thereof. As herein earlier discussed, this exclusionary rule applies not only to confessions but also to admissions, 33 whether made by a witness in any proceeding or by an accused in a criminal proceeding or any person under investigation for the commission of an offense. Any interpretation of a statute which will give it a meaning in conflict with the Constitution must be avoided. So much so that if two or more constructions or interpretations could possibly be resorted to, then that one which will avoid unconstitutionality must be adopted even though it may be necessary for this purpose to disregard the more usual and apparent import of the language used. 34 To save the statute from a declaration of unconstitutionality it must be given a reasonable construction that will bring it within the fundamental law. 35 Apparent conflict between two clauses should be harmonized. 36
But a literal application of a requirement of a claim of the privilege against self- incrimination as a condition sine qua non to the grant of immunity presupposes that from a layman's point of view, he has the option to refuse to answer questions and therefore, to make such claim. P.D. 1886, however, forecloses such option of refusal by imposing sanctions upon its exercise, thus: SEC. 4. The Board may hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and impose appropriate penalties therefor. A person guilty of .... including ... refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness or to subscribe to an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt by the Board. ...

Such threat of punishment for making a claim of the privilege leaves the witness no choice but to answer and thereby forfeit the immunity purportedly granted by Sec. 5. The absurdity of such application is apparent Sec. 5 requires a claim which it, however, forecloses under threat of contempt proceedings against anyone who makes such claim. But the strong testimonial compulsion imposed by Section 5 of P.D. 1886 viewed in the light of the sanctions provided in Section 4,infringes upon the witness' right against self-incrimination. As a rule, such infringement of the constitutional right renders inoperative the testimonial compulsion, meaning, the witness cannot be compelled to answer UNLESS a co-extensive protection in the form of IMMUNITY is offered. 37 Hence, under the oppressive compulsion of P.D. 1886, immunity must in fact be offered to the witness before he can be required to answer, so as to safeguard his sacred constitutional right. But in this case, the compulsion has already produced its desired results the private respondents had all testified without offer of immunity. Their constitutional rights are therefore, in jeopardy. The only way to cure the law of its unconstitutional effects is to construe it in the manner as if IMMUNITY had in fact been offered. We hold, therefore, that in view of the potent sanctions imposed on the refusal to testify or to answer questions under Sec. 4 of P.D. 1886, the testimonies compelled thereby are deemed immunized under Section 5 of the same law. The applicability of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886 cannot be made to depend on a claim of the privilege against self-incrimination which the same law practically strips away from the witness. With the stand we take on the issue before Us, and considering the temper of the times, we run the risk of being consigned to unpopularity. Conscious as we are of, but undaunted by, the frightening consequences that hover before Us, we have strictly adhered to the Constitution in upholding the rule of law finding solace in the view very aptly articulated by that well-known civil

libertarian and admired defender of human rights of this Court, Mr. Justice Claudio Teehankee, in the case of People vs. Manalang 38 and we quote:
I am completely conscious of the need for a balancing of the interests of society with the rights and freedoms of the individuals. I have advocated the balancing-ofinterests rule in an situations which call for an appraisal of the interplay of conflicting interests of consequential dimensions. But I reject any proposition that would blindly uphold the interests of society at the sacrifice of the dignity of any human being. (Emphasis supplied) Lest we be misunderstood, let it be known that we are not by this disposition passing upon the guilt or innocence of the herein private respondents an issue which is before the Sandiganbayan. We are merely resolving a question of law and the pronouncement herein made applies to all similarly situated, irrespective of one's rank and status in society. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS and finding the instant petitions without merit, same are DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991 JOSE F.S. BENGZON JR., ABELARDO TERMULO, JOSE MANTECON, VICENTE MILLS JR., LEONARDO GAMBOA, KURT BACHMANN JR., JOSE V.E. JIMENEZ, ERNESTO CALUYA, AGERICO UNGSON, SUSAN ROXAS, ELVIE CASTILLO, and CYNTHIA SABIDO LIMJAP, petitioners, vs. THE SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE AND ITS MEMBERS, represented by and through the CHAIRMAN, HON. WIGBERTO TAADA, respondents, JOSE S. SANDEJAS, intervenor. Bengzon, Zarraga, Narciso, Cudala, Pecson & Bengson for petitioners. Balgos & Perez for intervening petitioner. Eddie Tamondong and Antonio T. Tagaro for respondents.

PADILLA, J.:p This is a petition for prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or injuective relief, to enjoin the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon committee from requiring the petitioners to testify and produce evidence at its inquiry into the alleged sale of the equity of Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group in thirty-six (36) or thirty-nine (39) corporations. On 30 July 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), assisted by the Solicitor General, filed with the Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 0035 (PCGG Case No. 35) entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez, et al.", for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages.

The complaint was amended several times by impleading new defendants and/or amplifying the allegations therein. Under the Second Amended Complaint, 1 the herein petitioners were impleaded as party defendants.
The complaint insofar as pertinent to herein petitioners, as defendants, alleges among others that: 14. Defendants Benjamin (Kokoy) Romualdez and Juliette Gomez Romualdez, acting by themselves and/or in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, and taking undue advantage of their relationship, influence and connection with the latter Defendant spouses, engaged in devices, schemes and strategems to unjuestly enrigh themselves at the expense of Plaintiff and the Filipino people, among others: (a) Obatained, with the active collaboration of Defendants Sene J. Gabaldon, Mario D. Camacho, Mamerto Nepomuceno, Carlos J. Valdez, Cesar C. Zalamea and Francisco Tantuico, Atty. Jose Bengzon, Jr. and his law partners, namely: Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Jose Vicente E. Jimenez, Amando V. Faustino, Jr., and Leonardo C. Cruz; Jose S. Sandejas and his fellow senior managers of FMMC/PNI Holdings groups of companies such as Leonardo Gamboa, Vicente T. Mills, Jr., Jose M. Mantecon, Abelardo S. Termulo, Rex C. Drilon II and Kurt Bachmann, Jr., control of some of the biggest business enterprises in the Philippines, such as the Manila Corporation (MERALCO), Benguet Consolidated and the Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCI Bank) by employing devious financial schemes and techniques calculated to require the massive infusion and hemorrhage of government funds with minimum or negligible "cashout" from Defendant Benjamin Romualdez... xxx xxx xxx (m) manipulated, with the support, assistance and collaboration of Philgurantee officials led by chairman Cesar E.A. Virata and the Senior managers of FMMC/PNI Holdings, Inc. led by Jose S. Sandejas, Jr., Jose M. Mantecom and Kurt S. Bachmann, Jr., among others, the formation of Erectors Holdings, Inc. without infusing additional capital solely for the purpose of Erectors Incorporated with Philguarantee in the amount of P527,387,440.71 with insufficient securities/collaterals just to enable Erectors Inc, to appear viable and to borrow more capitals, so much so that its obligation with Philgurantee has reached a total of more than P2 Billion as of June 30, 1987. (n) at the onset of the present Administration and/or within the week following the February 1986 People's Revolution, in conspiracy with, supoort, assistance and collaboration of the abovenamed lawyers of the Bengzon Law Offices, or specifically Defendants Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., V.E. Jimenez, Amando V. Faustino, Jr., and Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., manipulated, shcemed, and/or executed a series of devices intended to conceal and place, and/or for the purpose of concealing and placing, beyond the inquiry and jurisdiction of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) herein

Defendant's individual and collective funds, properties, and assets subject of and/or suited int he instant Complaint. (o) manuevered, with the technical know-how and legalitic talents of the FMMC senior manager and some of the Bengzon law partners, such as Attys. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Amando V. Faustino, Jose Vicente E. Jimenez and Leonardo C. Cruz, the purported sale of defendant Benjamin Romualdez's interests in the (i) Professional Managers, (ii) A & E International Corporation (A & E), (iii) First Manila Managerment Corporation (FMMC), (iv) Philippine World Travel Inc. (PWTI) and its subsidiaries consisting of 36 corporations in all, to PNI Holdings, Inc. (wjose purported incorporations are all members of Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon's law firm) for only P5 million on March 3, 1986 or three days after the creation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government on February 28, 1986, for the sole purpose of deceiving and preempting the Government, particularly the PCGG, and making it appear that defendant Benjamin Romualdez had already divested himself of his ownership of the same when in truth and in fact, his interests are well intact and being protected by Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. and some of his law partners, together with the FMMC senior managers who still control and run the affiars of said corporations, and in order to entice the PCGG to approve the said fictitious sale, the above-named defendants offered P20 million as "donation" to the Government; (p) misused, with the connivance, support and technical assitance of the Bengzon law firm represented by Atty. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. as legal counsel, together with defendants Cesar Zalamea, Antonio Ozaeta, Mario D. Camacho amd Senen J. Gabaldon as members of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Commercial International bank (PCIB), the Meralco Pension Fund (Fund, for short) in the amount of P25 million by cuasing it to be invested in the PCIB and through the Bank's TSG, assigned to PCI Development and PCI Equity at 50% each, the Fund's (a) 8,028.011 common shares in the Bank and (b) "Deposit in Subscription" in the amount of P4,929.972.50 but of the agreed consideration of P28 million for the said assignment, PCI Development and PCI Equity were able to pay only P5,500.00 downpayment and the first amortization of P3,937,500.00 thus prompting the Fund to rescind its assignment, and the consequent reversion of the assigned brought the total shareholding of the Fund to 11,470,555 voting shares or 36.8% of the voting stock of the PCIB, and this development (which the defendants themselves orchestrated or allowed to happen) was used by them as an excuse for the unlawful dismantling or cancellation of the Fund's 10 million shares for allegedly exceeding the 30-percent ceiling prescribed by Section 12-B of the General Banking Act, although they know for a fact that what the law declares as unlawful and void ab initio are the subscriptions in excess of the 30% ceiling "to the extent of the excess over any of the ceilings prescribed ..." and not the whole or entire stockholding which they allowed to stay for six years (from June 30, 1980 to March 24, 1986);

(q) cleverly hid behind the veil of corporate entity, through the use of the names and managerial expertise of the FMMC senior manager and lawyers identified as Jose B. Sandejas, Leonardo Gamboa, Vicente T. Mills, Abelardo S, Termulo, Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr., Jose M. Mantecon, Rex C. Drilon II, Kurt Bachmann, Jr. together with the legal talents of corporate lawyers, such as Attys. Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., Jose V.E. Jimenez, Amando V. Faustino, Jr., and Leonardo C. Cruz, the ill-gotten wealth of Benjamin T. Romualdez including, among others, the 6,229,177 shares in PCIB registered in the names of Trans Middle East Phils. Equities, Inc. and Edilberto S. Narciso, Jr. which they refused to surrender to PCGG despite their disclosure as they tried and continue to exert efforts in getting hold of the same as well as the shares in Benguet registered in the names of Palm Avenue Holdings and Palm Avenue Realty Development Corp. purportedly to be applied as payment for the claim of P70 million of a "merger company of the First Manila Managerment Corp. group" supposedly owned by them although the truth is that all the said firms are still beneficially owned by defendants Benjamin Romualdez. xxx xxx xxx

On 28 September 1988, petitioner (as defendants) filed their respective answers. 2 Meanwhile, from 2 to 6 August 1988, conflicting reports on the disposition by the PCGG of the "Romualdez corporations" were carried in various metropolitan newspapers. Thus, one newspaper reported that the Romuladez firms had not been sequestered because of the opposition of certain PCGG officials who "had worked prviously as lawyers of the Marcos crony firms." Another daily reported otherwise, while others declared that on 3 March 1986, or shortly after the EDSA February 1986 revolution, the Romualdez companies" were sold for P5 million, without PCGG approval, to a holding company controlled by Romualdez, and that Ricardo Lopa, the President's brother-in-law, had effectively taken over the firms, even pending negotiations for the purchase of the corporations, for the same price of P5 million which was reportedly way below the fair value of their assets. 3 On 13 September 1988, the Senate Minority Floor Leader, Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile delivered a speech "on a matter of personal privilege" before the Senate on the alleged "take-over personal privilege" before the Senate on the alleged "take-over of SOLOIL Incorporated, the flaship of the First Manila Management of Companies (FMMC) by Ricardo Lopa" and called upon "the Senate to look into the possible violation of the law in the case, particularly with regard to Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." 4 On motion of Senator Orlando Mercado, the matter was referred by the Senate to the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers (Blue Ribbon Committee). 5 Thereafter, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee started its investigation on the matter. Petitioners and Ricardo Lopa were subpoenaed by the Committee to appear before it and testify on "what they know" regarding the "sale of thirty-six (36) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez."
At the hearing held on 23 May 1989, Ricardo Lopa declined to testify on the ground that his testimony may "unduly prejudice" the defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. likewise refused to testify involing his constitutional right to due process, and averring that the publicity generated by respondents Committee's inquiry could

adversely affect his rights as well as those of the other petitioners who are his co-defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, thereupon, suspended its inquiry and directed the petitioners to file their memorandum on the constitutional issues raised, after which, it issued a resolution 6 dated 5 June 1989 rejecting the petitioner's plea to be excused from testifying, and the Committee voted to pursue and continue its investigation of the matter. Senator Neptali Gonzales dissented. 7
Claiming that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is poised to subpoena them and required their attendance and testimony in proceedings before the Committee, in excess of its jurisdiction and legislative purpose, in clear and blatant disregard of their constitutional rights, and to their grave and irreparable damager, prejudice and injury, and that there is no appeal nor any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the petitioners filed the present petition for prohibition with a prayer for temporary restraning order and/or injunctive relief.

Meanwhile, one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 0035 before the Sandiganbayan, Jose S. Sandejas, filed with the Court of motion for intervention, 8 which the Court granted in the resolution 9 of 21 December 1989, and required the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to comment on the petition in intervention. In compliance, therewith, respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee filed its comment 10 thereon.
Before discussing the issues raised by petitioner and intervenor, we will first tackle the jurisdictional question raised by the respondent Committee. In its comment, respondent Committee claims that this court cannot properly inquire into the motives of the lawmakers in conducting legislative investigations, much less cna it enjoin the Congress or any its regular and special commitees like what petitioners seek from making inquiries in aid of legislation, under the doctrine of separation of powers, which obtaines in our present system of government.

The contention is untenable. In Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 11 the Court held:
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not hrough express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters wihtin its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government... xxx xxx xxx But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The ovelapping and interlacing of funcstions and duties between the several deaprtments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated, in cases of conflict, the judicial departments is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation

of powers between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof. xxx xxx xxx The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries; it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not inr eality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by tyhe Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to established for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantess to them. This is in thruth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even the, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More thatn that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also becuase the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government.

The "allocation of constituional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perfomr under the Constitution. Moreowever, as held in a recent case, 12 "(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with kthe applicability of the principle in appropriate cases." 13
The Court is thus of the considered view that it has jurisdiction over the present controversy for the purpose of determining the scope and extent of the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct inquiries into private affirs in purported aid of legislation. Coming to the specific issues raised in this case, petitioners contend that (1) the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's inquiry has no valid legislative purpose, i.e., it is not done in aid of legislation; (2) the sale or disposition of hte Romualdez corporations is a "purely private transaction" which is beyond the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to inquire into; and (3) the inquiry violates their right to due process.

The 1987 Constition expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. 14 Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:
The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committee may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. 15

The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore, absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not to be compelled to testify against one's self. The power to conduct formal inquiries or investigations in specifically provided for in Sec. 1 of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. Such inquiries may refer to the implementation or re-examination of any law or in connection with any proposed legislation or the formulation of future legislation. They may also extend to any and all matters vested by the Constitution in Congress and/or in the Seante alone.

As held in Jean L. Arnault vs. Leon Nazareno, et al., 16 the inquiry, to be within the jurisdiction of the legislative body making it, must be material or necessary to the exervise of a power in it vested by the Constitution, such as to legislate or to expel a member.
Under Sec. 4 of the aforementioned Rules, the Senate may refer to any committee or committees any speech or resolution filed by any Senator which in tis judgment requires an appropriate inquiry in aid of legislation. In order therefore to ascertain the character or nature of an inquiry, resort must be had to the speech or resolution under which such an inquiry is proposed to be made. A perusal of the speech of Senator Enrile reveals that he (Senator Enrile) made a statement which was published in various newspapers on 2 September 1988 accusing Mr. Ricardo "Baby" Lopa of "having taken over the FMMC Group of Companies." As a consequence thereof, Mr. Lopa wrote a letter to Senator Enrile on 4 September 1988 categorically denying that he had "taken over " the FMMC Group of Companies; that former PCGG Chairman Ramon Diaz himself categorically stated in a telecast interview by Mr. Luis Beltran on Channel 7 on 31 August 1988 that there has been no takeover by him (Lopa); and that theses repeated allegations of a "takeover" on his (Lopa's) part of FMMC are baseless as they are malicious.

The Lopa reply prompted Senator Enrile, during the session of the Senate on 13 September 1988, to avail of the privilege hour, 17 so that he could repond to the said Lopa letter, and also to vindicate his reputation as a Member of the Senate of the Philippines, considering the claim of Mr. Lopa that his (Enrile's) charges that he (Lopa) had taken over the FMMC Group of Companies are "baseless" and "malicious." Thus, in his speech, 18 Senator Enrile said, among others, as follows:
Mr. President, I rise this afternnon on a matter of personal privilege; the privilege being that I received, Mr. President, a letter dated September 4, 1988, signed by Mr. ricardo A. Lopa, a.k.a. or Baby Lopa, wherein he denied categorically that he has taken over the First Manila Management Group of Companies which includes SOLOIL Incorporated. xxx xxxx xxx In answer to Mr. Lopa, I will quote pertinent portions from an Official Memorandum to the Presidential Commission of Good Government written and signed by former Governor, now Congressman Jose Ramirez, in his capacity as head of the PCGG Task Force for Region VIII. In his memorandum dated July 3, 1986, then Governor

Ramirez stated that when he and the members of his task force sought to serve a sequestration order on the management of SOLOIL in Tanauan, Leyte, management officials assured him that relatives of the President of the Philippines were personally discussing and representing SOLOIL so that the order of sequestration would be lifted and that the new owner was Mr. Ricardo A. Lopa. I will quote the pertinent portions in the Ramire's memorandum. The first paragraph of the memorandum reads as follows and I quote, Mr. President: "Our sequestration work of SOLOIL in Tanauan, Leyte was not heeded by management because they said another representation was being made to this Commission for the ventual lifting of our sequestrationorder. They even assured us that Mr. Ricardo Lopa and Peping Cojunangco were personally discussing and representing SOLOIL, so the order of sequestration will finally be lifted. While we attempted to carry on our order, management refused to cooperate and vehemently turned down our request to make available to us the records of the company. In fact it was obviously clear that they will meet us with forcethe moment we insist on doing normally our assigned task. In view of the impending threat, and to avoid any untoward incident we decided to temporarily suspend our work until there is a more categorical stand of this Commission in view of the seemingly influential represetation being made by SOLOIL for us not to continue our work." Another pertinent portion of the same memorandum is paragraph five, which reads as follows, and I quote Mr. President: "The President, Mr. Gamboa, this is, I understand, the President of SOLOIL, and the Plant Superintendent, Mr. Jimenez including their chief counsel, Atty. Mandong Mendiola are now saying that there have been divestment, and that the new owner is now Mr. Ricardo Lopa who according to them, is the brother-in-law of the President. They even went further by telling us that even Peping Cojuangco who we know is the brother of her excellency is also interested in the ownership and management of SOLOIL. When he demanded for supporting papers which will indicate aforesaid divestment, Messrs. Gamboa, Jimenez and Mendiola refused vehemently to submit these papers to us, instead they said it will be submitted directly to this Commission. To our mind their continuous dropping of names is not good for this Commission and even to the President if our dersire is to achieve respectability and stability of the government." The contents of the memorandum of then Governor and now Congressman Jose Ramirez were personally confirmed by him in a news interview last September 7, 1988. xxx xxxx xxx

Also relevant to this case, Mr. President, is a letter of Mr. Ricardo Lopa himself in August 11, 1988 issue of the newspaper Malaya headlined "On Alleged Takeover of Romualdez Firms." Mr. Lopa states in the last paragraph of the published letter and I quote him: 12. As of this writing, the sales agreement is under review by the PCGG solely to determine the appropriate price. The sale of these companies and our prior rigtht to requires them have never been at issue. Perhaps I could not make it any clearer to Mr. Lopa that I was not really making baseless and malicious statements. Senator Enrile concluded his privilege speech in the following tenor: Mr. President, it may be worthwhile for the Senate to look into the possible violation of the law in the case particularly with regard to Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 5 of which reads as follows and I quote: Sec. 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for nay relative, by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to intervene directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or application with the Government: Provided, that this section shall not apply to any person who prior to the assumption of office of any of the above officials to whom he is related, has been already dealing with the Government along the same line of business, nor to any transaction, contract or application filed by him for approval of which is not discretionary on the part of the officials concerned but depends upon compliance with requisites provided by law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an official capacity or in the exercise of a profession. Mr. President, I have done duty to this Senate and to myself. I leave it to this august Body to make its own conclusion. Verily, the speech of Senator Enrile contained no suggestion of contemplated legislation; he merely called upon the Senate to look into a possible violation of Sec. 5 of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." I other words, the purpose of the inquiry to be conducted by respondent Blue Ribbon commitee was to find out whether or not the relatives of President Aquino, particularly Mr. ricardo Lopa, had violated the law in connection with the alleged sale of the 36 or 39 corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopaa Group. There appears to be, therefore, no intended legislation involved. The Court is also not impressed with the respondent Committee's argument that the questioned inquiry is to be conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 212. The said resolution was introduced by Senator Jose D. Lina in view of the representaions made by leaders of school youth, community groups and youth of non-governmental organizations to the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development, to look into the charges against the PCGG filed by three (3) stockholders

of Oriental petroleum, i.e., that it has adopted a "get-rich-quick scheme" for its nominee-directors in a sequestered oil exploration firm.The pertinent portion of Senate Resolution No. 212 reads as follows: xxx xxx xxx WHEREAS, recent developments have shown that no less than the Solicitor-General has stated that the PCGG Chairman and at least three Commissioners should resign and that the agency should rid itself of "ineptness, incompetence and corruption" and that the Sandiganbayan has reportedly ordered the PCGG to answer charges filed by three stockholders of Oriental Petroleum that it has adopted a "get-rich-quick scheme" for its nominee-directors in a sequestered oil exploration firm; WHEREAS, leaders of school youth, community groups and youth of nongovernmental organization had made representations to the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development to look into the charges against the PCGG since said agency is a symbol of the changes expected by the people when the EDSA revolution took place and that the ill-gotten wealth to be recovered will fund priority projects which will benefit our people such as CARP, free education in the elementary and secondary levels reforestration, and employment generation for rural and urban workers; WHEREAS, the government and the present leadeship must demonstrate in their public and private lives integrity, honor and efficient management of government services lest our youth become disillusioned and lose hope and return to an Idelogy and form of government which is repugnant to true freedom, democratic participation and human rights: Now, therefore, be it.
Resolved by the Senate, That the activities of the Presidential Commission on Good Government be investigated by the appropriate Committee in connection with the implementation of Section 26, Article XVIII of the Constitution. 19

Thus, the inquiry under Senate Resolution No. 212 is to look into the charges against the PCGG filed by the three (3) stockholders of Oriental Petroleum in connection with the implementation of Section 26, Article XVIII of the Constitution. It cannot, therefore, be said that the contemplated inquiry on the subject of the privilege speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, i.e., the alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group is to be conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 212 because, firstly, Senator Enrile did not indict the PCGG, and, secondly, neither Mr. Ricardo Lopa nor the herein petitioners are connected with the government but are private citizens.

It appeals, therefore, that the contemplated inquiry by respondent Committee is not really "in aid of legislation" becuase it is not related to a purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, since the aim of the investigation is to find out whether or not the ralatives of the President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa had violated Section 5 RA No. 3019, the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act", a matter that appears more within the province of the courts rather than of the legislature. Besides, the Court may take judicial notice that Mr. Ricardo Lopa died during the pendency of this case. In John T. Watkins vs. United States, 20 it was held held:
... The power of congress to conduct investigations in inherent in the legislative process. That power is broad. it encompasses inquiries concerning the administration of existing laws as well as proposed, or possibly needed statutes. It

includes surveys of defects in our social,economic, or political system for the purpose of enabling Congress to remedy them. It comprehends probes into departments of the Federal Government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste. But broad asis this power of inquiry, it is not unlimited. There is no general authority to expose the private affairs ofindividuals without justification in terms of the functions of congress. This was freely conceded by Solicitor General in his argument in this case. Nor is the Congress a law enforcement or trial agency. These are functions of the executive and judicial departments of government. No inquiry is an end in itself; it must be related to and in furtherance of a legitimate task of Congress. Investigations conducted soly for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to "punish" those investigated are indefensible. (emphasis supplied) It can not be overlooked that when respondent Committee decide to conduct its investigation of the petitioners, the complaint in Civil No. 0035 had already been filed with the Sandiganbayan. A perusal of that complaint shows that one of its principal causes of action against herein petitioners, as defendants therein, is the alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez. Since the issues in said complaint had long been joined by the filing of petitioner's respective answers thereto, the issue sought to be investigated by the respondent Commitee is one over which jurisdiction had been acquired by the Sandiganbayan. In short, the issue had been preempted by that court. To allow the respondent Committee to conduct its own investigation of an issue already before the Sandiganbayan would not only pose the possibility of conflicting judgments betweena legislative commitee and a judicial tribunal, but if the Committee's judgment were to be reached before that of the Sandiganbayan, the possibility of its influence being made to bear on the ultimate judgment of the Sandiganbayan can not be discounted.

In fine, for the rspondent Committee to probe and inquire into the same justiciable controversy already before the Sandiganbayan, would be an encroachment into the exclusive domain of judicial jurisdiction that had much earlier set in. In Baremblatt vs. United States, 21 it was held that:
Broad as it is, the power is not, howevern, without limitations. Since congress may only investigate into those areas in which it may potentially legislate or appropriate, it cannot inquire into matters which are within the exclusive province of one of the other branches of the government. Lacking the judicial power given to the Judiciary, it cannot inquire into mattes that are exclusively the concern of the Judiciary. Neither can it suplant the Executive in what exclusively belongs to the Executive. ...

Now to another matter. It has been held that "a congressional committee's right to inquire is 'subject to all relevant limitations placed by the Constitution on governmental action,' including "'the relevant limitations of the Bill of Rights'." 22
In another case
... the mere semblance of legislative purpose would not justify an inquiry in the face of the Bill of Rights. The critical element is the exeistence of, and the weight to be ascribed to, the interest of the Congress in demanding disclosures from an unwilling witness. We cannot simply assume, however, that every congressional investigation is justified by a public need that over-balances any private rights affected. To do so would be to abdicate the responsibility placed by the Constitution upon the judiciary to insure that the Congress does not unjustifiably encroah upon an individual's right to privacy nor abridge his liberty of speech, press, religion or assembly. 23

One of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution to an individual is the right against selfincrimination. 24Thir right constured as the right to remain completely silent may be availed of by the accused in a criminal case; but kit may be invoked by other witnesses only as questions are asked of them. This distinction was enunciated by the Court in Romeo Chavez vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al. 25thus
Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question requiring an incriminating answer is hot at him, an accused may altother refuse to take the witness stand and refuse to answer any all questions.

Moreover, this right of the accused is extended to respondents in administrative investigations but only if they partake of the nature of a criminal proceeding or analogous to a criminal proceeding. In Galman vs. Pamaran, 26the Court reiterated the doctrine in Cabal vs. Kapuanan (6 SCRA 1059) to illustrate the right of witnesses to invoke the right against selfincrimination not only in criminal proceedings but also in all other types of suit
It was held that: We did not therein state that since he is not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal cannot refuse to take the witness stand and testify, and that he can invoke his right against self-incrimination only when a question which tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him is propounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the characeter of the suit involved but the nature of the proceedings that controls. The privilege has consistenly been held to extend to all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in which punishment is sought to be visited upon a witness, whether a party or not. We do not here modify these doctrines. If we presently rule that petitioners may not be compelled by the respondent Committee to appear, testify and produce evidenc before it, it is only becuase we hold that the questioned inquiry is not in aid of legislation and, if pursued, would be violative of the principle of separation of powers between the legislative and the judicial departments of government, ordained by the Constitution. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court holds that, under the facts, including the circumtance that petitioners are presently impleaded as defendants in a case before the Sandiganbayan, which involves issues intimately related to the subject of contemplated inquiry before the respondet Committee, the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is hereby enjoined from compelling the petitioners and intervenor to testify before it and produce evidence at the said inquiry. SO ORDERED.

E. Substantial Evidence Rule

G.R. No. L-46496 February 27, 1940

ANG TIBAY, represented by TORIBIO TEODORO, manager and propietor, and NATIONAL WORKERS BROTHERHOOD, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS and NATIONAL LABOR UNION, INC., respondents. Office of the Solicitor-General Ozaeta and Assistant Attorney Barcelona for the Court of Industrial Relations. Antonio D. Paguia for National Labor Unon. Claro M. Recto for petitioner "Ang Tibay". Jose M. Casal for National Workers' Brotherhood. LAUREL, J.: The Solicitor-General in behalf of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the above-entitled case has filed a motion for reconsideration and moves that, for the reasons stated in his motion, we reconsider the following legal conclusions of the majority opinion of this Court: 1. Que un contrato de trabajo, asi individual como colectivo, sin termino fijo de duracion o que no sea para una determinada, termina o bien por voluntad de cualquiera de las partes o cada vez que ilega el plazo fijado para el pago de los salarios segun costumbre en la localidad o cunado se termine la obra; 2. Que los obreros de una empresa fabril, que han celebrado contrato, ya individual ya colectivamente, con ell, sin tiempo fijo, y que se han visto obligados a cesar en sus tarbajos por haberse declarando paro forzoso en la fabrica en la cual tarbajan, dejan de ser empleados u obreros de la misma; 3. Que un patrono o sociedad que ha celebrado un contrato colectivo de trabajo con sus osbreros sin tiempo fijo de duracion y sin ser para una obra determiminada y que se niega a readmitir a dichos obreros que cesaron como consecuencia de un paro forzoso, no es culpable de practica injusta in incurre en la sancion penal del articulo 5 de la Ley No. 213 del Commonwealth, aunque su negativa a readmitir se deba a que dichos obreros pertenecen a un determinado organismo obrero, puesto que tales ya han dejado deser empleados suyos por terminacion del contrato en virtud del paro. The respondent National Labor Union, Inc., on the other hand, prays for the vacation of the judgement rendered by the majority of this Court and the remanding of the case to the Court of Industrial Relations for a new trial, and avers: 1. That Toribio Teodoro's claim that on September 26, 1938, there was shortage of leather soles in ANG TIBAY making it necessary for him to temporarily lay off the members of the National Labor Union Inc., is entirely false and unsupported by the records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather. 2. That the supposed lack of leather materials claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme to systematically prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the Philippine Army. 3. That Toribio Teodoro's letter to the Philippine Army dated September 29, 1938, (re supposed delay of leather soles from the States) was but a scheme to systematically

prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the Philippine Army. 4. That the National Worker's Brotherhood of ANG TIBAY is a company or employer union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal. (281 U.S., 548, petitioner's printed memorandum, p. 25.) 5. That in the exercise by the laborers of their rights to collective bargaining, majority rule and elective representation are highly essential and indispensable. (Sections 2 and 5, Commonwealth Act No. 213.) 6. That the century provisions of the Civil Code which had been (the) principal source of dissensions and continuous civil war in Spain cannot and should not be made applicable in interpreting and applying the salutary provisions of a modern labor legislation of American origin where the industrial peace has always been the rule. 7. That the employer Toribio Teodoro was guilty of unfair labor practice for discriminating against the National Labor Union, Inc., and unjustly favoring the National Workers' Brotherhood. 8. That the exhibits hereto attached are so inaccessible to the respondents that even with the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations. 9. That the attached documents and exhibits are of such far-reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the judgment rendered herein. The petitioner, Ang Tibay, has filed an opposition both to the motion for reconsideration of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc. In view of the conclusion reached by us and to be herein after stead with reference to the motion for a new trial of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc., we are of the opinion that it is not necessary to pass upon the motion for reconsideration of the Solicitor-General. We shall proceed to dispose of the motion for new trial of the respondent labor union. Before doing this, however, we deem it necessary, in the interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, in interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, to make several observations regarding the nature of the powers of the Court of Industrial Relations and emphasize certain guiding principles which should be observed in the trial of cases brought before it. We have re-examined the entire record of the proceedings had before the Court of Industrial Relations in this case, and we have found no substantial evidence that the exclusion of the 89 laborers here was due to their union affiliation or activity. The whole transcript taken contains what transpired during the hearing and is more of a record of contradictory and conflicting statements of opposing counsel, with sporadic conclusion drawn to suit their own views. It is evident that these statements and expressions of views of counsel have no evidentiary value. The Court of Industrial Relations is a special court whose functions are specifically stated in the law of its creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103). It is more an administrative than a part of the integrated judicial system of the nation. It is not intended to be a mere receptive organ of the Government. Unlike a court of justice which is essentially passive, acting only when its jurisdiction is invoked and deciding only cases that are presented to it by the parties litigant, the function of the Court of Industrial Relations, as will appear from perusal of its organic law, is more active, affirmative and dynamic. It not only exercises judicial or quasi-judicial functions in the determination of disputes

between employers and employees but its functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions are far more comprehensive and expensive. It has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to consider, investigate, decide, and settle any question, matter controversy or dispute arising between, and/or affecting employers and employees or laborers, and regulate the relations between them, subject to, and in accordance with, the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 103 (section 1). It shall take cognizance or purposes of prevention, arbitration, decision and settlement, of any industrial or agricultural dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout, arising from differences as regards wages, shares or compensation, hours of labor or conditions of tenancy or employment, between landlords and tenants or farm-laborers, provided that the number of employees, laborers or tenants of farm-laborers involved exceeds thirty, and such industrial or agricultural dispute is submitted to the Court by the Secretary of Labor or by any or both of the parties to the controversy and certified by the Secretary of labor as existing and proper to be by the Secretary of Labor as existing and proper to be dealth with by the Court for the sake of public interest. (Section 4, ibid.) It shall, before hearing the dispute and in the course of such hearing, endeavor to reconcile the parties and induce them to settle the dispute by amicable agreement. (Paragraph 2, section 4, ibid.) When directed by the President of the Philippines, it shall investigate and study all industries established in a designated locality, with a view to determinating the necessity and fairness of fixing and adopting for such industry or locality a minimum wage or share of laborers or tenants, or a maximum "canon" or rental to be paid by the "inquilinos" or tenants or less to landowners. (Section 5, ibid.) In fine, it may appeal to voluntary arbitration in the settlement of industrial disputes; may employ mediation or conciliation for that purpose, or recur to the more effective system of official investigation and compulsory arbitration in order to determine specific controversies between labor and capital industry and in agriculture. There is in reality here a mingling of executive and judicial functions, which is a departure from the rigid doctrine of the separation of governmental powers. In the case of Goseco vs. Court of Industrial Relations et al., G.R. No. 46673, promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to joint out that the Court of Industrial Relations et al., G. R. No. 46673, promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to point out that the Court of Industrial Relations is not narrowly constrained by technical rules of procedure, and the Act requires it to "act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and equitable." (Section 20, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) It shall not be restricted to the specific relief claimed or demands made by the parties to the industrial or agricultural dispute, but may include in the award, order or decision any matter or determination which may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute or of preventing further industrial or agricultural disputes. (section 13, ibid.) And in the light of this legislative policy, appeals to this Court have been especially regulated by the rules recently promulgated by the rules recently promulgated by this Court to carry into the effect the avowed legislative purpose. The fact, however, that the Court of Industrial Relations may be said to be free from the rigidity of certain procedural requirements does not mean that it can, in justifiable cases before it, entirely ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials and investigations of an administrative character. There are primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this character: (1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In the language of Chief Hughes, in Morgan v. U.S., 304 U.S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999, 82 Law. ed. 1129, "the liberty and property of the citizen shall be protected by the rudimentary requirements of fair play.

(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented. (Chief Justice Hughes in Morgan v. U.S. 298 U.S. 468, 56 S. Ct. 906, 80 law. ed. 1288.) In the language of this court in Edwards vs. McCoy, 22 Phil., 598, "the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty on the part of the board to consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the person or persons to whom the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without notice or consideration." (3) "While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to support it is a nullity, a place when directly attached." (Edwards vs. McCoy, supra.) This principle emanates from the more fundamental is contrary to the vesting of unlimited power anywhere. Law is both a grant and a limitation upon power. (4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of Manila vs. Agustin, G.R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O. G. 1335), but the evidence must be "substantial." (Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Co. v. national labor Relations Board, 301 U.S. 142, 147, 57 S. Ct. 648, 650, 81 Law. ed. 965.) It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind accept as adequate to support a conclusion." (Appalachian Electric Power v. National Labor Relations Board, 4 Cir., 93 F. 2d 985, 989; National Labor Relations Board v. Thompson Products, 6 Cir., 97 F. 2d 13, 15; Ballston-Stillwater Knitting Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 2 Cir., 98 F. 2d 758, 760.) . . . The statute provides that "the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling.' The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent inn judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. (Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baird, 194 U.S. 25, 44, 24 S. Ct. 563, 568, 48 Law. ed. 860; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Louisville and Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 93 33 S. Ct. 185, 187, 57 Law. ed. 431; United States v. Abilene and Southern Ry. Co. S. Ct. 220, 225, 74 Law. ed. 624.) But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. (Consolidated Edison Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 59 S. Ct. 206, 83 Law. ed. No. 4, Adv. Op., p. 131.)" (5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. (Interstate Commence Commission vs. L. & N. R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185, 57 Law. ed. 431.) Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to the parties, can the latter be protected in their right to know and meet the case against them. It should not, however, detract from their duty actively to see that the law is enforced, and for that purpose, to use the authorized legal methods of securing evidence and informing itself of facts material and relevant to the controversy. Boards of inquiry may be appointed for the purpose of investigating and determining the facts in any given case, but their report and decision are only advisory. (Section 9, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) The Court of Industrial Relations may refer any industrial or agricultural dispute or any matter under its consideration or advisement to a local board of inquiry, a provincial fiscal. a justice of the peace or any public official in any part of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation,

and may delegate to such board or public official such powers and functions as the said Court of Industrial Relations may deem necessary, but such delegation shall not affect the exercise of the Court itself of any of its powers. (Section 10, ibid.) (6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. It may be that the volume of work is such that it is literally Relations personally to decide all controversies coming before them. In the United States the difficulty is solved with the enactment of statutory authority authorizing examiners or other subordinates to render final decision, with the right to appeal to board or commission, but in our case there is no such statutory authority. (7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for the decision rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority conferred upon it. In the right of the foregoing fundamental principles, it is sufficient to observe here that, except as to the alleged agreement between the Ang Tibay and the National Worker's Brotherhood (appendix A), the record is barren and does not satisfy the thirst for a factual basis upon which to predicate, in a national way, a conclusion of law. This result, however, does not now preclude the concession of a new trial prayed for the by respondent National Labor Union, Inc., it is alleged that "the supposed lack of material claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme adopted to systematically discharged all the members of the National Labor Union Inc., from work" and this avernment is desired to be proved by the petitioner with the "records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather"; that "the National Workers Brotherhood Union of Ang Tibay is a company or employer union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal." Petitioner further alleges under oath that the exhibits attached to the petition to prove his substantial avernments" are so inaccessible to the respondents that even within the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations", and that the documents attached to the petition "are of such far reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the judgment rendered herein." We have considered the reply of Ang Tibay and its arguments against the petition. By and large, after considerable discussions, we have come to the conclusion that the interest of justice would be better served if the movant is given opportunity to present at the hearing the documents referred to in his motion and such other evidence as may be relevant to the main issue involved. The legislation which created the Court of Industrial Relations and under which it acts is new. The failure to grasp the fundamental issue involved is not entirely attributable to the parties adversely affected by the result. Accordingly, the motion for a new trial should be and the same is hereby granted, and the entire record of this case shall be remanded to the Court of Industrial Relations, with instruction that it reopen the case, receive all such evidence as may be relevant and otherwise proceed in accordance with the requirements set forth hereinabove. So ordered. G.R. No. 171491 September 4, 2009


DECISION QUISUMBING, J.: Before us is a petition for review seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated September 30, 2005 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 83779, and its Resolution2 dated February 9, 2006 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. Culled from the records are the following facts: Nilo A. Bareza, Records Officer III of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD), made out a check payable to himself and drawn against the AseanCanada Project Fund, a foreign-assisted project being implemented by PCAMRD. To avoid being caught, Bareza stole Land Bank Check No. 070343 from the trust fund of the PCAMRD from the desk of Arminda S. Atienza, PCAMRD Cashier III. He filled out the check for the amount of P385,000.00, forged the signatures of the authorized signatories, made it appear that the check was endorsed to Atienza, and with him as the endorsee, encashed the check that was drawn against the PCAMRD Trust Fund. Then, he deposited part of the money to the Asean-Canada Project Fund and pocketed the difference.3 Atienza discovered that the check in question was missing on the third week of February 1999 while preparing the Report of Checks Issued and Cancelled for the Trust Fund for the month of January. Not finding the check anywhere in her office, Atienza called the bank to look for the same. She was shocked to learn from a bank employee that the check had been issued payable in her name. When Atienza went to the bank to examine the check, she noticed that her signature and the signature of Dir. Rafael D. Guerrero III (Guerrero), PCAMRD Executive Director, were forged. She also found out that Bareza appeared to be the person who encashed the check.4 Bareza admitted his wrongdoings when he was confronted by Atienza about the incident, but begged that he be not reported to the management. Bareza also promised to return the money in a few days. Against her good judgment, Atienza acquiesced to Barezas request, seeing Barezas remorse over his transgressions. But Atienza also felt uneasy over her decision to keep silent about the whole thing, so Atienza persuaded Bareza to inform Fortunata B. Aquino (Aquino), PCAMRD Director of Finance and Administrative Division, about what he did. Bareza, however, decided to confess to Carolina T. Bosque, PCAMRD Accountant III, instead.5 When Bareza revealed to Bosque what he had done, he was also advised to report the matter to Aquino, but, Bareza became hysterical and threatened to commit suicide if his misdeeds were ever exposed. Due to his fervent pleading and his promise to repay the amount he took, Bosque, like Atienza, assented to his plea for her to remain silent.6 True to his word, Bareza deposited back P385,000.00 to the PCAMRD account on February 25, 1999.7 On July 27, 2001, following rumors that an investigation will be conducted concerning irregularities in the said project, Bareza set fire to the PCAMRD Records Section in order to clear his tracks.8 A fact-finding committee was thus created by virtue of PCAMRD Memorandum Circular No. 309 to investigate the burning incident and forgery of checks by Bareza. After investigation, the fact-finding committee found sufficient evidence to charge Bareza with dishonesty, grave misconduct and falsification of official document.10 The fact-finding committee likewise found sufficient evidence to

charge Atienza with inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties11 and Bosque with simple neglect of duty.12 Concomitant to the above findings, Guerrero formed an investigation committee to conduct formal investigations on the charges filed against Bareza, Atienza and Bosque.13 The investigation committee found Bareza guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct and recommended his dismissal from the service. It also found sufficient basis to uphold the charge filed against Atienza and Bosque, and recommended a minimum penalty of six (6) months and one (1) day suspension for Atienza, and a maximum penalty of six (6) months suspension for Bosque.14 On September 10, 2001 the PCAMRD adopted the findings of the investigation committee but imposed only the penalty of six (6) months suspension on Atienza and only three (3) months suspension on Bosque.15 Not convinced with the results of the investigation and the penalties imposed on Bareza, Atienza and Bosque, petitioner exerted efforts to obtain a copy of the complete records of the proceedings had. Upon reading the same, petitioner was of the opinion that the investigation conducted by the factfinding committee and investigation committee was perfunctorily and superficially done, and made only to whitewash and cover-up the real issues because the report exonerated other persons involved in the crimes and omitted other erroneous acts. According to him, these circumstances led to partiality in deciding the charges. Hence, petitioner filed with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon (Ombudsman) a complaint against Guerrero, Cesario R. Pagdilao (Pagdilao), PCAMRD Deputy Executive Director, and Aquino, among others, for incompetence and gross negligence.16 The case was docketed as OMB Case No. L-A-02-0209-D. In their Joint Counter-Affidavit and Complaint for Malicious Prosecution17 dated July 9, 2002, the respondents argued that the complaint is wanting in material, relevant and substantive allegations and is clearly intended only to harass them. Furthermore, they contended that petitioner failed to identify the persons he claims were exonerated, and worse, petitioner failed to state with particularity their participation in the crimes.18 In his Consolidated Reply and Counter-Affidavit19 dated July 25, 2002, petitioner belied the allegation of the respondents that his complaint was lacking in substance. He stressed that the report of the investigation committee that was submitted by the respondents reinforced his claim that the investigation relative to the forgery and arson case was indeed perfunctory and superficial, designed only to whitewash and cover-up the real issues. To bolster his contention, he pointed out that the sworn affidavit of Bareza revealed that the latter was able to use certain funds of the Asean-Canada Project by encashing blank checks that were previously signed by Pagdilao. Thus, he averred that the failure to implicate Pagdilao as a conspirator to the crime of forgery shows that the investigation was just a farce. Petitioner also claimed that Atienza and Bosque were not charged with the proper administrative offense to avoid their dismissal from the service. Petitioner pointed to the command responsibility of respondents over Bareza, Atienza and Bosque. He maintained that had they been prudent enough in handling PCAMRDs finances, the forgery of checks and the arson incident could have been avoided. Furthermore, petitioner alleged that being the head of PCAMRD, Guerrero should have pursued investigations on the criminal aspect of the cases of forgery and arson because a huge amount of government money was involved therein. His act, therefore, of declaring the cases closed after the conduct of the investigations in the administrative aspect only is contrary to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) because its object is to conceal "more big anomalies and issues."20 In a Decision21 dated August 5, 2002, the Ombudsman recommended the dismissal of the administrative case filed against the respondents for lack of merit. It agreed with the respondents

that the complaint was couched in general terms that contains no material, relevant and substantial allegation to support the theory of cover-up or whitewash. The Ombudsman also held that there is nothing to sustain petitioners allegation that Pagdilao should be implicated in the forgery because petitioner failed to sufficiently prove that the check that was signed in blank by Pagdilao was Land Bank Check No. 070343, or the subject check encashed by Bareza. Even assuming that the forged check was the one signed in blank by Pagdilao, the Ombudsman opined that the latter still cannot be said to have participated in the forgery because the check was in the custody and safekeeping of Atienza, the cashier, when it was stolen. In the same vein, the Ombudsman found no adequate basis in the petitioners allegation that Guerrero charged Atienza and Bosque with erroneous administrative infractions to lessen their liability, noting that Guerrero merely adopted the recommendation of the fact-finding and investigation committees as to what they should be charged with. The Ombudsman added that Guerrero cannot be indicted for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019 or be held administratively liable for his failure to initiate criminal cases against Bareza, Atienza and Bosque because he had no personal knowledge of the commission of the crimes allegedly committed by them.22 Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the Ombudsman denied it in an Order23 dated November 25, 2003. According to the Ombudsman, nowhere in petitioners complaint did he allege that respondents should be blamed for arson and forgery because of command responsibility. It held that petitioners averment of the same only in his reply-affidavit and in his motion for reconsideration should be disregarded altogether since it materially and belatedly alters his original cause of action against the respondents, which cannot be allowed.24 Not accepting defeat, petitioner elevated the matter by way of a petition for review25 under Rule 43 before the appellate court. Petitioner claimed that the Ombudsman gravely erred when it recommended the dismissal of the charges against the respondents and denied his motion for reconsideration despite the existence of a prima facie case against them for incompetence and gross negligence. On September 30, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision affirming the August 5, 2002 Decision and November 25, 2003 Order of the Ombudsman in OMB Case No. L-A-02-0209-D. The appellate court found that the Ombudsman correctly dismissed the complaint against the respondents. The appellate court held that petitioner questioned the handling of the PCAMRD finances without specifying the particular acts or omissions constituting the gross negligence of the respondents. The charges, being broad, sweeping, general and purely speculative, cannot, by their nature, constitute a prima facie case against the respondents.26 Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the said Decision but it was denied by the appellate court in the Resolution dated February 9, 2006. Hence, the present petition raising the following issues for our resolution: I. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DENIED IN ITS DECISION PETITIONERS PETITION AND AFFIRMED THE OMBUDSMANS DECISION OF AUGUST 5, 2002 IN OMB-L[-A]-02-020[9]-D, RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF THE CASE BY RELYING SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY ON THE GENERAL RULE/PRINCIPLE THAT THE COURTS WILL NOT INTERFERE IN THE INVESTIGATORY AND PROSECUTORY POWERS OF THE OMBUDSMAN, IGNORING THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE PRESENCE OF COMPELLING REASONS AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THE EXERCISE THEREOF.

II. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS REVERSIBLE ERROR AND A GRAVE MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS AND MISAPPRECIATION OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE IS NO PRIMA FACIE OR PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST RESPONDENTS, [THAT] IF CONSIDERED, WILL ALTER THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE. III. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENTS ARE NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE.27 Simply put, we are asked to resolve whether the appellate court erred in affirming the dismissal of the complaint. We hold that it did not. In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Further, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in his complaint. The basic rule is that mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. Hence, when the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his allegations, the administrative complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit.28 Mainly, petitioner ascribes incompetence and gross negligence to respondents because according to him, the fraudulent use of PCAMRD funds and arson would not have happened had they not been remiss in the performance of their duties. Specifically, he averred that Guerrero, being the head of PCAMRD, should have seen to it that all the resources of the government are managed and expended in accordance with laws and regulations, and safeguarded against loss and waste; Pagdilao should have ensured that the signed blank checks were used for what they were intended; and that anomalies would have been avoided had Aquino supervised Bareza, Atienza and Bosque, her subordinates, properly and efficiently. In sum, petitioner argues that they are accountable because of command responsibility.29
1avvphi 1

We agree with the appellate court and the Ombudsman that the complaint against the respondents should be dismissed. A perusal of petitioners allegations clearly shows that they are mere general statements or conclusions of law, wanting in evidentiary support and substantiation. It is not enough for petitioner to simply aver that respondents had been derelict in their duties; he must show the specific acts or omissions committed by them which amount to incompetence and gross negligence. This, he failed to do. Hence, the complaint was correctly dismissed for lack of merit. Petitioners allegation that he has specified the acts and omissions of respondents which show that they are guilty of dishonesty and falsification lacks merit. Aside from the fact that nowhere in the records does it appear that he has indeed shown the particular acts or omissions of respondents constituting dishonesty or which amounted to falsification of whatever nature, it must be emphasized that the case he filed before the Ombudsman was an administrative complaint for incompetence and gross negligence. Hence, these are the two charges he needed to prove by substantial evidence, not any other crime or administrative infraction. At the very least, petitioner should have shown how his accusations of dishonesty and falsification constituted incompetence and gross negligence on the part of the respondents.

To further persuade us that his complaint was wrongly dismissed, petitioner argues that he had in his petition established the existence of probable cause to hold respondents liable for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.30 He then concludes that "if there is sufficient basis to indict the respondents of a criminal offense then with more reason that they should be made accountable administratively considering the fact that the quantum of evidence required in administrative proceedings is merely substantial evidence."31 This argument likewise has no merit. It is worthy to note that petitioner is merely proceeding from his own belief that there exists sufficient basis to charge respondents criminally. This is not within his province to decide. He could not arrogate unto himself the power that pertains to the proper authorities enjoined by law to determine the absence or existence of probable cause to indict one of a criminal offense. More importantly, an administrative proceeding is different from a criminal case and may proceed independently thereof.32 Even if respondents would subsequently be found guilty of a crime based on the same set of facts obtaining in the present administrative complaint, the same will not automatically mean that they are also administratively liable. As we have said in Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc. v. Naldoza33 and which we have reiterated in a host of cases,34 a finding of guilt in the criminal case will not necessarily result in a finding of liability in the administrative case. Conversely, respondents acquittal will not necessarily exculpate them administratively. The basic premise is that criminal and civil cases are altogether different from administrative matters, such that the disposition in the first two will not inevitably govern the third and vice versa.35 It must be stressed that the basis of administrative liability differs from criminal liability. The purpose of administrative proceedings is mainly to protect the public service, based on the time-honored principle that a public office is a public trust. On the other hand, the purpose of criminal prosecution is the punishment of crime.36 To state it simply, petitioner erroneously equated criminal liability to administrative liability. Neither will the allegation of the principle of command responsibility make the respondents liable. In the absence of substantial evidence of gross negligence of the respondents, administrative liability could not be based on the principle of command responsibility.37 Without proof that the head of office was negligent, no administrative liability may attach. Indeed, the negligence of subordinates cannot always be ascribed to their superior in the absence of evidence of the latters own negligence.38 While it may be true that certain PCAMRD employees were sanctioned for negligence and some other administrative infractions, it does not follow that those holding responsible positions, like the respondents in this case, are likewise negligent, especially so when the contentions of petitioner remain unsubstantiated. WHEREFORE, there being no sufficient showing of grave and reversible error in the assailed decision and resolution, the petition is DENIED. Said Decision dated September 30, 2005 and Resolution dated February 9, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83779 are hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.