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HEIRS OF SANTIAGO PASTORAL vs. THE SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS [G.R. No.

L-44485 June 27, 1988] FACTS: Residents of Bacayao Norte, Caranglaan, and Mayombo Districts of Dagupan City led by Leonardo Espanol filed complaints with the Secretary of Public Works and Communications (Secretary) against the heirs of Santiago Pastoral in one case and in another case against Agustin Bato for "alleged encroachments of their fishpond dikes into the Tulao River to the prejudice of public interest. After due notice and hearing conducted by the City Engineer of Dagupan City, the Secretary ruled on both cases that the encroachments are public nuisances under Republic Act 2056 which should be removed. Their motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Secretary, the petitioners filed in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the Secretary, the City Engineer of Dagupan City and Leonardo Espanol. Petitioners raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction while the Secretary invoked his authority to remove the encroachments under Republic Act No. 2056. The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioners on the ground that the Secretary abused his authority when: (1) The Secretary passed judgment on the validity of the titles of the petitioners; and (2) the dikes were constructed by virtue of a permit legally issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and should be respected until cancelled. The respondents then elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which certified the same to the Supreme Court as the issues raised are pure questions of law ISSUE: Whether the Secretary of Public Works and Communications has the authority under Republic Act 2056 to declare the construction of dikes encroaching into public navigable waters as a public nuisance and to order their removal. HELD: Yes. Section 1 of Republic Act 2056 is explicit in that "Any provision or provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the construction or building of dams, dikes ... which encroaches into any public navigable river, stream, coastal waters and any other navigable public waters or waterways ... shall be ordered removed as public nuisance or as prohibited construction as herein provided. The record shows that the petitioners' fishpond permit was issued in 1948 while the Act took effect on June 3, 1958. Moreover, the rules of due process were observed in the conduct of investigation in the two cases as there were notice and hearing and presentation of evidence. The factual findings of the Secretary are substantiated by evidence in the administrative records. In the absence of any illegality, error of law, fraud or imposition, none of which were proved by the petitioners in the instant case, said findings should be respected.

VILLEGAS V. SUBIDO [G.R. No. L-26534 November 28, 1969]

FACTS:Respondent Commissioner of Civil Service Abelardo Subido directed the Mayor of the City of Manila, petitioner Antonio J. Villegas, to replace the other petitioners, James Barbers, Antonio Paralejas and Felicisimo Lazaro as station commanders of the three Manila police precincts on the ground of lack for each of them of "an Inspector First Class (Police or Detective Major)" eligibility. The mayor refused since it is no dispute that petitioner, as Mayor, by virtue of the statutory grant of authority of "immediate control over the executive functions of the different departments," could pick the police officials to be entrusted with such responsibility. There is also no law which requires such eligibility. Thus, a prohibition proceeding was filed with the trial court which ruled in favor of the petitioners. Hence, this appeal. ISSUE: Whether the Commissioner of Civil Service has the power to direct the Mayor of the City of Manila, petitioner Antonio J. Villegas, to replace the other petitioners. HELD: No. It is not supported by any law. The assignment or detail in this case of the other petitioners as precinct or station commanders did not constitute "appointment to positions in the competitive or classified service but simply a designation or detail under the jurisdiction of the mayor. The question, to repeat, is one of power. What is clear is that it is petitioner City Mayor that could so designate the other petitioners to assume the position of station commanders. That power is his, and his alone. He is not required by law to share it with respondent Commissioner, who must justify by the valid conferment of authority the action taken by him in requiring that the City Mayor replace the other petitioners. Power is not to be presumed, it must be shown. Respondent Commissioner failed to do so. It would be a stultification of well-settled principles of public law if from the vagueness of a statute, competence to act could be predicated. Only Congress can remedy the situation. When the appointee is qualified, as petitioner herein admittedly is, then the Commissioner of Civil Service has no choice but to attest to the appointment. What is worse is that the rules in question are not issued by the President, but by one of his subordinates; their binding force then is not as great. Much less could they supersede applicable statutes, not only in what they command but also in what they omit. A public official exercises power, not rights. The government itself is merely an agency through which the will of the state is expressed and enforced. Its officers therefore are likewise agents entrusted with the responsibility of discharging its functions. As such there is no presumption that they are empowered to act. There must be a delegation of such authority, either express or implied. In the absence of a valid grant, they are devoid of power.