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Liability of public officers

Tabuena vs Sandiganbayan GR 103501 17 February 1997
Facts: Luis Tabuena as General Manager of MIAA received direct order from Marcos
to pay directly to his office sum of 55mio in cash to pay for MIAAs liability to PNCC.
He then received Presidential Memorandum from Fe Gimenez (secretary). The
money was delivered in cash in three withdrawals, no vouchers prepared to support
the disbursement although Gimenez issued a receipt on the third delivery for the
entire amount. Tabuena was accused and convicted of the crime of malversation by
Sandiganbayan for defrauding the government, taking and misappropriating money
when there is no outstanding obligation between MIAA and PNCC. Petitioner
contended that he was acting in good faith when the office of the president directed
him to deliver the said amount to his office – “person who acts in obedience to an
order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose.”

Issue: Whether or not Sandiganbayan violated due process on the ground of
departing from that common standard of fairness and impartiality?

Decision: Sandiganbayan decision reversed and set aside. Tabuena and Peralta are
acquitted of the crime of malversation. The majority believes that the interference
by the Sandiganbayan Justices was just too excessive that it cannot be justified
under the norm applied to a jury trial, or even under the standard employed in a
non-jury trial where the judge is admittedly given more leeway in propounding
questions to clarify points and to elicit additional relevant evidence.

It is never proper for a judge to discharge the duties of a prosecuting attorney.
However anxious a judge may be for the enforcement of the law, he should always
remember that he is as much judge in behalf of the defendant accused of crime,
and whose liberty is in jeopardy, as he is judge in behalf of the state, for the
purpose of safeguarding the interests of society.

CORREA vs CFI OF BULACAN No. L-46096. July 30, 1979
FACTS: There were two policemen involved that were illegally dismissed by the
petitioner during his incumbency as the Mayor of Norzagaray, Bulacan (reason fo
the said dismissal was not mentioned in the case). December 13, 1968, CFI of
Bulacan rendered judgment in favor of the policemen and ordered personally to pay
the salaries which the policemen failed to receive by reason of their illegal dismissal
from office until they are actually reinstated. August 24, 1976, CA affirmed the

Instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. Ocampo vs. In the discharge of governmental functions. Peiter Roeloffs of ADBN confirming the availability of Niaconsult to conduct the training program and formally requesting . He contends that it is the Municipality of Norzagaray that is liable for said payment. the reported cases saying that by reason of non-compliance with the requirements of law in respect to removal from office. 1977. This principle of personal liability has been applied to cases where a public officer removes another officer or discharges an employee wrongfully. Ocampo as the training coordinator of the Niaconsult. Ombudsman [G. Bulacan. Another letter was sent by Ocampo on 31 January 1989 to Dr. Jesus C. and that petitioner is no longer liable for the payment thereof. 1977 of respondent court denying the motion to quash the writ of execution. K. requesting a training proposal on small-scale community irrigation development. which is not the case. Enerio. Petitioner thus came to this Court. 114683. is not protected by his office and is personally liable therefor like any private individual. Pajo. Principle of personal liability applicable to cases where public officer discharges an employee wrongfully. respondent Court issued the Order denying the Motion to Quash Writ of Execution. Liability of public official who wrongfully dismissed an employee is personal. among others. January 18. and in conformity with the requirements thereof. done in excess or beyond the scope of his duty. sent a letter-proposal requested by ADBN. Paudel of the Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal (ADBN) wrote a letter to Niaconsult Inc. HELD: YES. petitioner alleges that the fact that he is no longer municipal mayor of Norzagaray. maintaining that he could no longer be required to pay the back salaries of the private respondents because payment on his part presupposes his continuance in office. and annulling the Order dated April 22. constitutes a substantial change in the situation of the parties which makes the issuance of the writ of execution inequitable.decision of the CFI and became final and executory. 2000.R. No. On 17 November 1988.” A public officer who commits a tort or other wrongful act. Petitioner prays. On April 22.. invoking Aguador v.] Facts: On 21 March 1988. and only to the extent that. the officials were acting outside their official authority. “municipal corporations are responsible for the acts of its officers. that judgment be rendered declaring that the payment of back salaries of private respondents should be made by the incumbent mayor and by the municipality of Norzagaray. Costs against petitioner. they have acted by authority of the law.N. except if and when. a subsidiary of the National Irrigation Administration. ISSUE: Whether or not Correa as a public official (Mayor) who wrongfully/illegally dismissed an employee during his incumbency is still liable to the case personally.3 and Sison v.4 Further.

00. issued an order requiring Ocampo to file his counter-affidavit within 10 days from receipt with a caveat that failure to file the same would be deemed a waiver of his right to present evidence. the Ombudsman issued another order giving Ocampo another chance to file his counter-affidavit and controverting evidence. the Ombudsman denied the motion. Ocampo failed. thru its representative. A year later. Tiongco. Ocampo filed a Manifestation on 24 May 1997 stating that the criminal complaint for estafa and falsification filed against him based on the same facts or incidents which gave rise to the administrative case. Despite notice. civil and administrative cases The dismissal of the criminal case will not foreclose administrative action filed against Ocampoo or give him a clean bill of health in all respects. Quantum of evidence required in criminal. Niaconsult conducted the training program for 6 Nepalese Junior Engineers from 6 February to 7 March 1989. with forfeiture of benefits and special perpetual disqualification to hold office in the government or any governmentowned or controlled corporation. was simply saying that the prosecution was unable to prove the guilt of Ocampo beyond reasonable doubt. the Ombudsman (OMB-Adm-O-92-0020) issued the a Resolution recommending that Ocampo discharged from the service. a condition sine qua non for conviction. Finding enough basis to proceed with the administrative case. 1. On 1 April 1991. Deutsche Gesselschaft Technische Zusummenarbeit (GTZ) Gmbh Technical Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany paid to Ocampo the agreed training fee in two installments of P61.488. the Administrative Adjudication Bureau of the Ombudsman. Despite receipt of the letter. to file an administrative case before the Ombudsman for serious misconduct and/or fraud or willful breach of trust. On 16 February 1994. On 28 February 1994. Ocampo moved for reconsideration and to re-open the case claiming that he was denied due process. wrote a letter to Ocampo demanding the turn-over of the total training fee paid by ADBN which Ocampo personally received. Thus.472. on 17 February 1992. on 14 April 1993. Again.00 or P204. Wilfredo S. the petition for certiorari. Niaconsult.00 and P143. Eclipse was required to appear before the Ombudsman to present evidence to support its complaint. in dismissing the criminal complaint. The lack or absence of proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean an absence of any . Maximino Eclipse. or on 17 March 1993. Ocampo failed to remit the said amount prompting Niaconsult through its president. Ocampo failed to comply with the said order.advance payment of 30% percent of the training fees in the amount of US $9. without prejudice to any civil action Niaconsult may institute to recover the amount so retained by Niaconsult. While the case is pending. Dismissal of the criminal case will not foreclose administrative action.600.00. through its president. Ocampo manifests that the administrative case can no longer stand on its own and therefore should be dismissed. With the dismissal of the criminal case. On 18 November 1993. The RTC. The Supreme Court denied the petition for lack of merit and affirmed the assailed Resolutions of Ombudsman. Hence. was dismissed by the RTC on 24 February 997. ADBN.960.

Ocampo amply accorded opportunity to be heard Ocampo has been amply accorded the opportunity to be heard. Ocampo was given considerable length of time to submit his counter-affidavit. a waiver would be considered and the administrative proceedings shall continue according to the rules. Judicial and Administrative due process The essence of due process is an opportunity to be heard. despite the private Niaconsult’s objections. The 17 March 1993 order was issued to give Ocampo a last chance to present his defense. Thus. A party who chooses not to avail of the opportunity to answer the charges cannot complain of a denial of due process. technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied. there is the “substantial evidence” rule in administrative proceedings which merely requires such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 2. Ocampo has not displayed corresponding vigilance. Essence of due process. moreover. Ocampo need not be notified of the ex-parte hearing for the reception of NIAConsult’s evidence. In administrative proceedings. the Ombudsman need not issue another order notifying Ocampo that he has waived his right to file a counter-affidavit. While the Ombudsman has shown forbearance. 5. is adequate in civil cases. not solely by verbal presentation but also. It took more than one year from 17 February 1992 before Ocampo was considered to have waived his right to file his counter-affidavit and the formal presentation of the complainant’s evidence was set. though insufficient to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. But Ocampo failed to comply with the second order. as well as the procedure followed and the sanctions imposed in criminal and administrative proceedings. The evidence presented sufficiently . 3. One may be heard. this is preponderance of evidence. Thus. he could not have been expected to appear at the ex-parte hearing. Waiver. He therefore cannot validly claim that his right to due process was violated. As such. Ombudsman need not issue another order notifying accused that he has waived right The orders of the Ombudsman requiring Ocampo to submit his counteraffidavit and which was admittedly received by the latter explicitly contain a warning that if no counter-affidavit was filed within the given period. In the same way. He was required to answer the complaint against him. the findings and conclusions in one should not necessarily be binding on the other. In fact. through pleadings. administrative due process cannot be fully equated to due process in its strict judicial sense. Then too. He who chooses not to avail opportunity to answer charges cannot complain of denial of due process Ocampo’s failure to present evidence is solely of his own making and cannot escape his own remissness by passing the blame on the graft investigator. 6. Oral and written arguments. considering the difference in the quantum of evidence. 4. Ocampo indeed dishonest and untrustworthy based on records of case The record of the case indisputably shows that Ocampo is guilty of dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the government when he failed to remit the payment of the training program conducted by Niaconsult.evidence whatsoever for there is another class of evidence which. and perhaps even many times more creditably and practicable than oral argument.

Philippines the amount of US $9.00 and that he failed to account this and remit the same to the corporation. All these acts constitute dishonesty and untrustworthiness. .established that Ocampo received the payments of ADBN through its representative. GTZ.600.