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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 193652

August 5, 2014

Infant JULIAN YUSA Y CARAM, represented by his mother, MA. CHRISTINA YUSAY
CARAM, Petitioner,
vs.
Atty. MARIJOY D. SEGUI, Atty. SALLY D. ESCUTIN, VILMA B. CABRERA, and CELIA C.
YANGCO,Respondents.
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as
amended, and Section 191 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo2 seeking to set aside the August 17,
20103 and September 6, 20104 Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 106 of Quezon City, in
Sp. Proc. Case No. Q-10-67604. The RTC had dismissed petitioners petition for the issuance ofa writ of
amparo which petitioner filed in order for her to regain parental authority and custody of Julian Yusay
Caram (Baby Julian), her biological child, from the respondent officers of the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD). The factual antecedents as gleaned from the records follow:
Petitioner Ma. Christina Yusay Caram(Christina) had an amorous relationship with Marcelino Gicano
Constantino III (Marcelino) and eventually became pregnant with the latters child without the benefit of
marriage. After getting pregnant, Christina mislead Marcelino into believing that she had an abortion when
in fact she proceeded to complete the term of her pregnancy. During this time, she intended to have the
child adopted through Sun and Moon Home for Children (Sun and Moon) in Paraaque City to avoid
placing her family ina potentially embarrassing situation for having a second illegitimate son. 5
On July 26, 2009, Christina gavebirth to Baby Julian at Amang Rodriguez Memorial MedicalCenter,
Marikina City.6Sun and Moon shouldered all the hospital and medical expenses. On August 13, 2009,
Christina voluntarily surrendered Baby Julian by way of a Deed of Voluntary Commitment 7 to the DSWD.
On November 26, 2009, Marcelino suffered a heart attack and died 8 without knowing about the birth of his
son. Thereafter, during the wake, Christina disclosed to Marcelinos family that she and the deceased had
a son that she gave up for adoption due to financial distress and initial embarrassment. Marcelinos family
was taken aback by the revelation and sympathized with Christina. After the emotional revelation, they
vowed to help her recover and raise the baby.9 On November 27, 2009, the DSWD, through Secretary
Esperanza I. Cabral issued a certificate10 declaring Baby Julian as "Legally Available for Adoption." A local
matching conference was held on January 27, 2010 and on February 5, 2010, Baby Julian was "matched"
with the spouses Vergel and Filomina Medina (Medina Spouses) of the Kaisahang Bahay Foundation.
Supervised trial custody then commenced.11
On May 5, 2010, Christina who had changed her mind about the adoption, wrote a letter to the
DSWDasking for the suspension of Baby Julians adoption proceedings. She alsosaid she wanted her
family back together.12
On May 28, 2010, the DSWD, through respondent Atty. Marijoy D. Segui, sent a Memorandum 13 to DSWD
Assistant Secretary Vilma B. Cabrera informing her that the certificate declaring Baby Julian legally

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available for adoption had attained finality on November 13, 2009, or three months after Christina signed
the Deed of Voluntary Commitment which terminated her parental authority and effectively made Baby
Julian a ward of the State. The said Memorandum was noted by respondent Atty. Sally D. Escutin,
Director IV of the Legal Service, DSWD.
On July 12, 2010, Noel Gicano Constantino, Marcelinos brother, sent a letter to Atty. Escutin informing
her that a DNA testing was scheduled on July 16, 2010 at the DNA Analysis Laboratory at the University
of the Philippines.14
On July 16, 2010, Assistant Secretary Cabrera sent a letter15 to Noel Constantino stating that it would not
allow Baby Julian to undergo DNA testing. Assistant Secretary Cabrera informed Noel Constantino that
the procedures followed relative to the certification on the availability of the child for adoption and the
childs subsequent placement to prospective adoptive parents were proper, and that the DSWD was no
longer in the position to stop the adoption process. Assistant Secretary Cabrera further stated that should
Christina wish to reacquire her parental authority over Baby Julian or halt the adoption process, she may
bring the matter to the regular courts as the reglementary period for her to regain her parental rights had
already lapsed under Section 7 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9523. 16
On July 27, 2010, Christina filed a petition17 for the issuance of a writ of amparo before the RTC of
Quezon City seeking to obtain custody of Baby Julian from Atty. Segui, Atty. Escutin, Assistant Secretary
Cabrera and Acting Secretary Celia C. Yangco, all of the DSWD.
In her petition, Christina accused respondents of "blackmailing" her into surrendering custody of her
childto the DSWD utilizing what she claims to be an invalid certificate of availability for adoption which
respondents allegedly used as basis to misrepresent that all legal requisites for adoption of the minor
child had been complied with.
Christina argued that by making these misrepresentations, the respondents had acted beyond the scope
of their legal authority thereby causing the enforced disappearance of the said child and depriving her of
her custodial rights and parental authority over him.
On the basis of the said petition,the RTC, Branch 106 of Quezon City, through its Presiding Judge, the
Honorable Angelene Mary W. Quimpo-Sale, issued a Writ of Amparo 18 on July 28, 2010 commanding the
four respondents to produce the body of Baby Julian at a hearing scheduled on August 4, 2010.
Respondents were alsorequired to file their verified written return to the writ pursuant to Section 9 19 of the
Amparo Rule, within five working days from the service of the writ.
The respondents complied with the writ and filed their Return 20 on August 2, 2010 praying that the petition
be denied for being the improper remedy to avail of in a case relating toa biological parents custodial
rights over her child.
On August 4, 2010, respondents appeared before the RTC but respondents did not bring the child, stating
that threats of kidnapping were made on the child and his caregivers. To give respondents another
chance, the RTC reset the hearing to August 5, 2010.
At the August 5, 2010 hearing, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance as
representative of the State and prayed that its lawyers be given time to file their memorandum or position
paper in this case. In turn, the RTC acknowledged the appearance of the OSG and allowed its
representatives to actively participate in the arguments raised during the said hearing. Relative to the
matter of the parties submitting additional pleadings, Judge Sale narrowed the issues to be discussed by
providing for the following guidelines, thus:
To abbreviate the proceedings, in view of all the manifestations and counter-manifestations made by the
counsels, the court enjoined the parties to file their respective position papers on the following issues:

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1. Whether or not this court has jurisdiction over the instant case;
2. Whether or not this petition isthe proper remedy based on the facts of the case and prayer in the
petition; and
3. Whether or not the prayer in the petition should be granted and custody of the child be given to his
biological mother.
The parties were given five (5) days from today to file their respective position papers based on these
three main issues. They may include other related issues they deem essential for the resolution of this
case. Set this case for further hearing, if necessary, on August 18, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. 21
In the same order, Judge Sale alsoacknowledged that the child subject of the case was brought before
the court and the petitioner was allowed to see him and take photographs of him.
On August 17, 2010, the RTC dismissed the petition for issuance of a writ of amparo without prejudice to
the filing of the appropriate action in court. The RTC held that Christina availed of the wrong remedy to
regain custody of her child Baby Julian.22 The RTC further stated that Christina should have filed a civil
case for custody of her child as laid down in the Family Code and the Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ
of Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors. If there is extreme urgency to secure custody of a
minor who has been illegallydetained by another, a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus
may be availed of, either as a principal or ancillary remedy, pursuant to the Rule on Custody of Minors
and Writ of Habeas Corpus inRelation to Custody of Minors. 23
On August 20, 2010, Christina filed a motion for reconsideration 24 arguing that since the RTC assumed
jurisdiction of the petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo, the latter is duty-bound to dispose the case
on the merits.25The RTC, however, deniedChristinas motion for reconsideration on September 6, 2010
maintaining that the latter availed of the wrong remedy and that the Supreme Court intended the writ of
amparo to address the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. 26
On September 28, 2010, Christina directly elevated the case before this Court, via a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, in relation to Section 19 of the
Rule on the Writ of Amparo. In her petition, Christina prayed that the Court (1) set aside the August 17,
2010 and September 6, 2010 Orders of the RTC, (2) declare R.A. No. 9523 unconstitutional for being
contrary to A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC,27 which was promulgated by the Supreme Court, and for violating the
doctrine of separation of powers, (3) declare the "enforced separation" between her and Baby Julian as
violative of her rights to life, liberty and security, and (4) grant her the privilege of availing the benefits of a
writ of amparo so she could be reunited with her son. 28
The only relevant issue presented before the Court worthy of attention is whether a petition for a writ of
amparo is the proper recourse for obtaining parental authority and custody of a minor child. This Court will
not belabor to discuss Christinas argumentsrelating to the supposedunconstitutionality or R.A. No. 9523
as Congress has the plenary power to repeal, alter and modify existing laws 29 and A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC
functions only as a means to enforce the provisions of all adoption and adoption-related statutes before
the courts.
Now, in her petition, Christina argues that the life, liberty and security of Baby Julian is being violated or
threatened by the respondent DSWD officers enforcement of an illegal Deed of Voluntary Commitment
between her and Sun and Moon. She claims thatshe had been "blackmailed" through the said Deed by
the DSWD officers and Sun and Moons representatives into surrendering her child thereby causing the
"forced separation" of the said infant from his mother. Furthermore, she also reiterates that the
respondent DSWD officers acted beyond the scope of their authority when they deprived her of Baby
Julians custody.30

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The Court rejects petitioners contentions and denies the petition.
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides as follows:
SECTION 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparois a remedy available to any person whose right
to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful actor omission of a public
official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
In the landmark case of Secretary of National Defense, et al. v. Manalo, et al., 31 this Court held:
[T]he AmparoRule was intended to address the intractable problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced
disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof.
"Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or
judicial proceedings." On the other hand, "enforced disappearances" are "attended by the following
characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a government official or organized
groupsor private individuals acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal
of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the
deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection of law.
This pronouncement on the coverage of the writ was further cemented in the latter case of Lozada, Jr. v.
Macapagal-Arroyo32 where this Court explicitly declared that as it stands, the writ of amparo is confined
only to cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats thereof. As to what
constitutes "enforced disappearance," the Court in Navia v. Pardico 33 enumerated the
elementsconstituting "enforced disappearances" as the term is statutorily defined in Section 3(g) of R.A.
No. 985134 to wit:
(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State ora
political organization;
(c) that it be followed by the State or political organizations refusal to acknowledge or give
information on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparopetition; and,
(d) that the intention for such refusal isto remove subject person from the protection of the law for
a prolonged period of time.1wphi1
In this case, Christina alleged that the respondent DSWD officers caused her "enforced separation" from
Baby Julian and that their action amounted to an "enforced disappearance" within the context of the
Amparo rule. Contrary to her position, however, the respondent DSWD officers never concealed Baby
Julian's whereabouts. In fact, Christina obtained a copy of the DSWD's May 28, 2010
Memorandum35 explicitly stating that Baby Julian was in the custody of the Medina Spouses when she
filed her petition before the RTC. Besides, she even admitted in her petition for review on certiorari that
the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby Julian before the RTC during the hearing held in the
afternoon of August 5, 2010.36 There is therefore, no "enforced disappearance" as used in the context of
the Amparo rule as the third and fourth elements are missing.
Christina's directly accusing the respondents of forcibly separating her from her child and placing the
latter up for adoption, supposedly without complying with the necessary legal requisites to qualify the child
for adoption, clearly indicates that she is not searching for a lost child but asserting her parental authority
over the child and contesting custody over him.37 Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what is

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involved is the issue of child custody and the exercise of parental rights over a child, who, for all intents
and purposes, has been legally considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be properly
applied.
To reiterate, the privilege of the writ of amparo is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial killings and
enforced disappearances or threats of a similar nature, regardless of whether the perpetrator of the
unlawful act or omission is a public official or employee or a private individual. It is envisioned basically to
protect and guarantee the right to life, liberty and security of persons, free from fears and threats that
vitiate the quality of life.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The August 17, 2010 and September 6, 2010 Orders of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 106, Quezon City in Sp. Proc. Case No. Q-10-67604 are AFFIRMED without
prejudice to petitioner's right to avail of proper legal remedies afforded to her by law and related rules.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 204964, October 15, 2014


REMIGIO D. ESPIRITU AND NOELAGUSTIN, Petitioners, v. LUTGARDA TORRES DEL
ROSARIO REPRESENTED BY SYLVIA R. ASPERILLA, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
Lands classified as non-agricultural in zoning ordinances approved by the Housing and Land
Use Regulatory Board or its predecessors prior to June 15, 1998 are outside the coverage of
the compulsory acquisition program of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. However,
there has to be substantial evidence to prove that lands sought to be exempted fall within
the non-agricultural classification.
This is a petition for review on certiorari1 seeking to set aside the decision2 dated September
28, 2012 and resolution3 dated November 29, 2012 of the Court of Appeals. These orders
reinstated the order4 dated February 19, 2004 of then Secretary of Agrarian Reform Roberto
M. Pagdanganan approving petitioner's application for exemption.
The pertinent facts are as follows:

In 1978, the City Council of Angeles City, Pampanga, enacted Zoning Ordinance No. 13,
Series of 1978, classifying areas in Barangay Margot and Barangay Sapang Bato, Angeles
City, as agricultural land.5
Pursuant to this ordinance, Lutgarda Torres del Rosario (del Rosario) allegedly requested the
City Zoning Administrator to exempt from the zoning classification Lot Nos. 854 and 855
located in Barangay Margot and Barangay Sapang Bato, Angeles City.6 The land is covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-11809 with an area of 164.7605 hectares.7 The request
was allegedly approved on March 7, 1980 by Engineer Roque L. Dungca, Angeles City
Development Coordinator/Zoning Administrator, and the lots were allegedly reclassified as
non-agricultural or industrial lots.8
On June 10, 1988, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (Republic Act No. 6657) was
enacted.
On October 10, 2000, del Rosario, through her representative Sylvia R. Asperilla (Asperilla),
filed an application for exemption with the Department of Agrarian Reform, seeking to
exempt Lot Nos. 854 and 855 from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)
coverage.9
On February 19, 2004, then Secretary of Agrarian Reform Roberto M. Pagdanganan
(Secretary Pagdanganan) issued an order granting the application for exemption. Citing
Department of Justice Opinion No. 44, Series of 1990, Secretary Pagdanganan stated that
lands classified as non-agricultural before the enactment of CARP are beyond its coverage. 10
On March 26, 2004, farmers in del Rosario's landholdings, led by Remigio Espiritu (Espiritu),
filed a motion for reconsideration11 of the order. They argued that under Zoning Ordinance
No. 13, Series of 1978, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board Resolution No. 705, Series
of 2001, and Angeles City Council Resolution No. 3300, Series of 2001, the landholdings
were classified as agricultural, not industrial.12 They argued that as per certifications by the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board dated June 1, 2001, May 28, 2001, and November
24, 2003, the landholdings were within the agricultural zone, and there was no zoning
ordinance passed that reclassified the area into other land uses.13
The motion was given due course by the Department of Agrarian Reform, this time headed
by Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman (Secretary Pangandaman). Hence, on June 15, 2006,
then Secretary Pangandaman issued an order14 granting the motion for reconsideration and
revoking the earlier order of then Secretary of Agrarian Reform Pagdanganan.
Del Rosario contended that this order was sent to her through Clarita Montgomery in
Barangay Margot, Sapang Bato, Angeles City, and not at Asperilla's address in Cubao,
Quezon City, which was her address on record. Del Rosario alleged that she only came to
know of the order on January 26, 2007, when the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer of
Pampanga handed her a copy of the order.15She then filed her motion for reconsideration of
the order dated June 15, 2006. The motion was dated February 9, 2007.16
Acting on del Rosario's motion for reconsideration, Secretary Pangandaman found that the
certifications issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board classified the
landholdings as agricultural before June 15, 1988.17 Based on the ocular inspections
conducted by the Center for Land Use Policy, Planning and Implementation (CLUPPI), the
land remained agricultural and was planted with sugar cane and corn.18 Accordingly,
Secretary Pangandaman denied del Rosario's motion in the order19 dated March 3, 2008.

Del Rosario filed a notice of appeal20 before the Office of the President on March 27, 2008.
On May 7, 2009, the Office of the President, through then Deputy Executive Secretary for
Legal Affairs Manuel B. Gaite (Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite), rendered the
decision21 dismissing the appeal for lack of merit.
Del Rosario filed a motion for extension of 10 days to file her motion for
reconsideration.22 Citing Administrative Order No. 18, Series of 1987, and Habaluyas
Enterprises, Inc. v. Japzon,23 the Office of the President, through then Deputy Executive
Secretary Natividad G. Dizon, denied the motion in the order24 dated July 14, 2009.
Aggrieved, del Rosario filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals arguing (1)
that she was denied due process when the order of Secretary Pangandaman was
"erroneously sent to another address"25cralawred and (2) that the decision of.then Deputy
Executive Secretary Gaite was void since he had been appointed to the Securities and
Exchange Commission two months prior to the rendering of the decision. 26
On September 28, 2012, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision granting the petition. The
Court of Appeals stated that del Rosario was indeed prevented from participating in the
proceedings that led to the issuance of Secretary Pangandaman's order when the notices
were sent to her other address on record.27 It also found that the decision issued by then
Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite was void since it violated Article VII, Section 13 of the
Constitution.28 The dispositive portion of the decision states:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the PETITION is GRANTED. The assailed Decision
dated 07 May 2009, and the Order dated 15 June 2006 are hereby SET ASIDE. Perforce,
with the nullity of the said Decision and Order, the Pagdanganan Ordergranting exemption
to petitioner's land is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.29chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Their motion for reconsideration having been denied,30 petitioners, namely Remigio Espiritu
and Noel Agustin, now come before this court via a petition for review on certiorari, seeking
to set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeals.
In particular, petitioners argue that respondent was not denied due process as she was able
to actively participate in the proceedings before the Department of Agrarian Reform and the
Office of the President.31 They also argue that respondent was not able to present proof that
Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite was not authorized to sign the decision and, hence, his
action is presumed to have been done in the regular performance of duty.32
Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the Court of Appeals did not commit any
reversible error in its decision. She argues that she was deprived of due process when
Secretary Pangandaman's order was sent to the wrong address. She also argues that the
Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite's decision was void since he had' already been appointed
to the Securities and Exchange Commission two months prior.33
The issue, therefore, before this court is whether the Court of Appeals correctly set aside
the order of Secretary Pangandaman and the decision of Deputy Secretary Gaite and
reinstated the order of Secretary Pagdanganan.

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This petition should be granted.
Respondent was not deprived of
due process
The Court of Appeals, in finding for respondent, stated that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Since she was not notified, [del Rosario] was not able to participate in the proceedings
leading to the issuance of the Pangandaman Order. The absence of notice that resulted in
the inability of [del Rosario] to be heard indubitably confirms her claim of lack of due
process. [Del Rosario] indeed was denied her day in the administrative proceedings below.
And considering that [del Rosario] was not accorded due process, the Pangandaman Order
is void for lack of jurisdiction. Hence, contrary to respondents' submission, it could not
attain finality.34chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The Court of Appeals, however, did not take into consideration that respondent was still able
to file a motion for reconsideration of Secretary Pangandaman's order, albeit beyond the
allowable period to file. In Department of Agrarian Reform Administrative Order No.
06,35 Series of 2000:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
RULE III
Commencement, Investigation and Resolution of Cases
....
SECTION 21. Motion for Reconsideration. In case any of the parties disagrees with the
decision or resolution, the affected party may file a written motion for reconsideration within
fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order, furnishing a copy thereof to the adverse party.
The filing of the motion for reconsideration shall suspend the running of the period to
appeal.
Any party shall be allowed only one (1) motion for reconsideration. Thereafter, the RD or
approving authority shall rule on the said motion within fifteen (15) days from receipt
thereof. In the event that the motion is denied, the adverse party has the right to perfect
his appeal within the remainder of the period to appeal, reckoned from receipt of the
resolution of denial. If the decision is reversed on reconsideration, the aggrieved party shall
have fifteen (15) days from receipt of the resolution of reversal within which to perfect his
appeal. (Emphasis supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Despite being filed late, Secretary Pangandaman still gave due course to the motion and
resolved it on its merits. This is clear from his order dated March 3, 2008, which
reads:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
During the 50th Special CLUPPI Committee-B Meeting, held on 18 December 2007, the
Motion for Reconsideration filed by Sylvia Espirilla [sic] was deliberated upon and the
Committee recommended the DENIAL of the Motion for Reconsideration based on the
following grounds:

The certifications issued by the HLURB shows that the subject properties were
classified as agricultural before 15 June 1986 [sic]; and

Based on the ocular inspection conducted by the CLUPPI Inspection Team, it


was found out that the area remained agricultural. In fact, it [is] still
dominantly planted with sugar cane and corn.36(Emphasis supplied)

While it may be true that respondent was prevented from filing a timely motion for
reconsideration of Secretary Pangandaman's order, it would be erroneous to conclude that
she had been completely denied her opportunity to be heard. In Department of Agrarian
Reform v. Samson:37
. . . . In administrative proceedings, a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side
suffices to meet the requirements of due process. In Casimiro v. Tandog, the Court held:
The essence of procedural due process is embodied in the basic requirement of notice and a
real opportunity to be heard. In administrative proceedings, such as in the case at bar,
procedural due process simply means the opportunity to explain one's side or the
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. "To be heard"
does not mean only verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also thru
pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is
accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.
In administrative proceedings, procedural due process has been recognized to include the
following: (1) the right to actual or constructive notice of the institution of proceedings
which may affect a respondent's legal rights; (2) a real opportunity to be heard personally
or with the assistance of counsel, to present witnesses and evidence in one's favor, and to
defend one's rights; (3) a tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and so constituted as
to afford a person charged administratively a reasonable guarantee of honesty 'as well as
impartiality; and (4) a finding by said tribunal which is supported by substantial evidence
submitted for consideration during the hearing or contained in the records or made known
to the parties affected.38(Emphasis supplied)
When respondent filed her motion for reconsideration assailing Secretary
Pangandaman's order, she was able to completely and exhaustively present her
arguments. The denial of her motion was on the basis of the merits of her arguments and
any other evidence she was able to present. She was given a fair and reasonable
opportunity to present her side; hence, there was no deprivation of due process.
It was also erroneous to conclude that respondent was "denied her day in the administrative
proceedings below."39 Respondent was able to actively participate not only in the
proceedings before the Department of Agrarian Reform, but also on appeal to the Office of
the President and the Court of Appeals.
Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite's
decision is presumed valid, effective,
and binding
Article VII, Section 13 of the Constitution states:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Section 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet; and their deputies
or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office
or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly,
practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any
contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any

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subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct
of their office.
. . . . (Emphasis supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
It is alleged that Gaite was appointed Commissioner to the Securities and Exchange
Commission on March 16, 2009.40 It is also alleged that he has already lost his authority as
Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs when he rendered the decision dated May 7,
2009 since he is constitutionally prohibited from holding two offices during his tenure. This,
however, is not conclusive since no evidence was presented as to when he accepted the
appointment, took his oath of office, or assumed the position.
Assuming that Gaite's appointment became effective on March 16, 2009, he can be
considered a de facto officer at the time he rendered the decision dated May 7, 2009.
In Funa v. Agra,41 a petition was filed against Alberto Agra for holding concurrent positions
as the acting Secretary of justice and as Solicitor General. This court, while ruling that the
appointment of Alberto Agra as acting Secretary of Justice violated Article VII, Section 13 of
the Constitution, held that he was a de facto officer during his tenure in the Department of
Justice:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
A de facto officer is one who derives his appointment from one having colorable authority to
appoint, if the office is an appointive office, and whose appointment is valid on its face. He
may also be one who is in possession of an office, and is discharging its duties under color
of authority, by which is meant authority derived from an appointment, however irregular or
informal, so that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer. Consequently, the acts of the de
facto officer are just as valid for all purposes as those of a dejure officer, in so far as the
public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned.
In order to be clear, therefore, the Court holds that all official actions of Agra as a de facto
Acting Secretary of Justice, assuming that was his later designation, were presumed valid,
binding and effective as if he was the officer legally appointed and qualified for the office.
This clarification is necessary in order to protect the sanctity of the dealings by the public
with persons whose ostensible authority emanates from the State. Agra's official actions
covered by this clarification extend to but are not limited to the promulgation of resolutions
on petitions for review filed in the Department of Justice, and the issuance of department
orders, memoranda and circulars relative to the prosecution of criminal cases. 42 (Emphasis
supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Assuming that Gaite was a de facto officer of the Office of the President after his
appointment to the Securities and Exchange Commission, any decision he renders during
this time is presumed to be valid, binding, and effective.
With Gaite being a public officer, his acts also enjoy the presumption of regularity,
thus:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of
irregularity or failure to perform a duty. The presumption, however, prevails until it is
overcome by no less than clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Thus, unless the
presumption in [sic] rebutted, it becomes conclusive. Every reasonable intendment will be
made in support of the presumption and in case of doubt as to an officer's act being lawful

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or unlawful, construction should be in favor of its lawfulness.43 (Fimphasis
supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondent has not presented evidence showing that the decision was rendered ultra vires,
other than her allegation that Gaite had already been appointed to another office. Unless
there is clear and convincing evidence o the contrary, the decision dated May 7, 2009 is
conclusively presumed to lave been rendered in the regular course of business.
Respondent's landholdings were
agricultural, not industrial
Prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 6657, lands were classified into agricultural,
residential, or industrial by law or by zoning ordinances enacted by local government units.
In Heirs of Luna v. Afable:44
It is undeniable that local governments have the power to reclassify agricultural into nonagricultural lands. Section 3 of RA No. 2264 (The Local Autonomy Act of 1959) specifically
empowers municipal and/or city councils to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or
regulations in consultation with the National Planning Commission. By virtue of a zoning
ordinance, the local legislature may arrange, prescribe, define, and apportion the land
within its political jurisdiction into specific uses based not only on the present, but also on
the future projection of needs. It may, therefore, be reasonably presumed that when city
and municipal boards and councils approved an ordinance delineating an area or district in
their cities or municipalities as residential, commercial, or industrial zone pursuant to the
power granted to them under Section 3 of the Local Autonomy Act of 1959, they were, at
the same time, reclassifying any agricultural lands within the zone for non-agricultural use;
hence, ensuring the implementation of and compliance with their zoning
ordinances.45 (Emphasis supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Republic Act No. 6657 became effective on June 15, 1988, and it covered all public and
private lands, including lands of the public domain suited for agriculture.46 Upon its
enactment, questions arose as to the authority of the Department of Agrarian Reform to
approve or disapprove applications for conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural.
Then Agrarian Reform Secretary Florencio B. Abad (Secretary Abad) was of the opinion that
laws prior to Republic Act No. 6657 authorized the Department of Agrarian Reform, together
with the Department of Local Government and Community Development and the Human
Settlements Commission, to allow or disallow conversions. In response to Secretary Abad's
query, the Department of Justice issued Opinion No. 44 on March 16, 1990, written by then
Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon. The opinion, reproduced in full,
states:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
S i r:
This refers to your letter of the 13th instant stating your "position that prior to the passage
of R.A. 6657, the Department of Agrarian Reform had the authority to classify and declare
which agricultural lands are suitable for non-agricultural purposes, and to approve or
disapprove applications for conversion from agricultural to non-agricultural uses."
In support of the foregoing view, you contend that under R.A. No. 3844, as amended, the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is empowered to "determine and declare an
agricultural land to be suited for residential, commercial, industrial or some other urban
purpose" and to "convert agricultural land from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes";

12
that P.D. No. 583, as amended by P.D. No. 815 "affirms that the conversion of agricultural
lands shall be allowed only upon previous authorization of the [DAR]; with respect to
tenanted rice and corn lands"; that a Memorandum of Agreement dated May 13, 1977
between the DAR, the Department of Local Government and Community Development and
the then Human Settlements Commission "further affirms the authority of the [DAR] to
allow or disallow conversion of agricultural lands"; that E.O. No. 129-A expressly invests the
DAR with exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands for
residential, commercial, industrial and other land uses'; and that while in the final version of
House Bill 400, Section 9 thereof provided that lands devoted to "residential, housing,
commercial and industrial sites classified as such by the municipal and city development
councils as already approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, in their
respective zoning development plans" be exempted from the coverage of the Agrarian
Reform program, this clause was deleted from Section 10 of the final version of the
consolidated bill stating the exemptions from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program.
We take it that your query has been prompted by the study previously made by this
Department for Executive Secretary Catalino Macaraig Jr. and Secretary Vicente Jayme
(Memorandum dated February 14, 1990) which upheld the authority of the DAR to authorize
conversions of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses as of June 15, 1988, the date of
effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657). [I]t is your position
that the authority of DAR to authorize such conversion existed even prior to June 15, 1988
or as early as 1963 under the Agricultural Land Reform Code (R.A. No. 3844; as amended).
It should be made clear at the outset that the aforementioned study of this Department was
based on facts and issues arising from the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program (CARP). While there is no specific and express authority given to DAR in
the CARP law to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural
uses, because Section 65 only refers to conversions effected after five years from date of
the award, we opined that the authority of the DAR to approve or disapprove conversions of
agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses applies only to conversions made on or after June
15, 1988, the date of effectivity of R.A. No. 6657, solely on the basis of our interpretation of
DAR's mandate and the comprehensive coverage of the land reform program. Thus, we
said:
"Being vested with exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
implementation of agrarian reform, it is believed to be the agrarian reform law's intention
that any conversion of a private agricultural land to non-agricultural uses should be cleared
beforehand by the DAR. True, the DAR's express power over land use conversion is limited
to cases in which agricultural lands already awarded have, after five years, ceased to be
economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the locality has become
urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or
industrial purposes. But to suggest that these are the only instances when the DAR can
require conversion clearances would open a loophole in the R.A. No. 6657, which every
landowner may use to evade compliance with the agrarian reform program. Hence, it should
logically follow from the said, department's express duty and function to execute and
enforce the said statute that any reclassification of a private land as a residential,
commercial or industrial property should first be cleared by the DAR."
It is conceded that under the laws in force prior to the enactment and effective date of R.A.
No. 6657, the DAR had likewise the authority, to authorize conversions of agricultural lands
to other uses, but always in coordination with other concerned agencies. Under R.A. No.
3344, as amended by R.A. No. 6389, an agricultural lessee may, by order of the court, be
dispossessed of his landholding if after due hearing, it is shown that the "landholding is

13
declared by the [DAR] upon the recommendation of the National Planning Commission to be
suited for residential, commercial, industrial or some other urban purposes."
Likewise, under various Presidential Decrees (P.D. Nos. 583, 815 and 946) which were
issued to give teeth to the implementation of the agrarian reform program decreed in P.D.
No. 27, the DAR was empowered to authorize conversions of tenanted agricultural lands,
specifically those planted to rice and/or com, to other agricultural or to non-agricultural
uses, "subject to studies on zoning of the Human Settlements Commissions" (HSC). This
non-exclusive authority of the DAR under the aforesaid laws was, as you have correctly
pointed out, recognized and reaffirmed by other concerned agencies, such as the
Department of Local Government and Community Development (DLGCD) and the then
Human Settlements Commission (HSC) in a Memorandum of Agreement executed by the
DAR and these two agencies on May 13, 1977, which is an admission that with respect to
land use planning and conversions, the authority is not exclusive to any particular agency
but is a coordinated effort of all concerned agencies.
It is significant to mention that in 1978, the then Ministry of Human Settlements was
granted authority to review and ratify land use plans and zoning ordinance of local
governments and to approve development proposals which include land use conversions
(see LOI No. 729 [1978]). This was followed by P.D. No. 648 (1981) which conferred upon
the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (the predecessors of the Housing and Land
Use Regulatory Board [HLURB] [)] the authority to promulgate zoning and other land use
control standards and guidelines which shall govern land use plans and zoning ordinances of
local governments, subdivision or estate development projects of both the public and private
sector and urban renewal plans, programs and projects; as well as to review, evaluate and
approve or disapprove comprehensive land use development plans and zoning components
of civil works and infrastructure projects, of national, regional and local governments,
subdivisions, condominiums or estate development projects including industrial estates.
P.D. No. 583, as amended by P.D. No. 815, and the 1977 Memorandum of Agreement,
abovementioned, cannot therefore, be construed as sources of authority of the' DAR; these
issuances merely affirmed whatever power DAR had at the time of their adoption.
With respect to your observation that E.O. No. 129-A also empowered the DAR to approve
or disapprove conversions of agricultural lands into non-agricultural uses as of July 22,
1987, it is our view that E.O. No. 129-A likewise did not provide a new source of power of
DAR with respect to conversion but it merely recognized and reaffirmed the existence of
such power as granted under existing laws. This is clearly inferrable from the following
provision of E.O. No. 129-A to wit:
"Sec. 5. Powers and Functions. Pursuant to the mandate of the Department, and in order to
ensure the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the
Department is hereby authorized to:
1) Have exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands for
residential, commercial, industrial and other land uses as may be provided by -law"
Anent the observation regarding the alleged deletion of residential, housing, commercial and
industrial sites classified by the HLURB in the final version of the CARP bill, we fail to see
how this [sic] circumstances could substantiate your position that DAR's authority to
reclassify or approve conversions of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses already
existed prior to June 15, 1988. Surely, it is clear that the alleged deletion was necessary to
avoid a redundancy in the CARP law whose coverage is expressly limited to "all public and
private agricultural lands" and "other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture"
(Sec. 4, R.A. No. 6657). Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 6657 defines "agricultural land" as that

14
"devoted to agricultural activity as defined in the Act and not classified as mineral forest,
residential, commercial or industrial land."
Based on the foregoing premises, we reiterate the view that with respect to conversions of
agricultural lands covered by R.A. No. 6657 to non-agricultural uses, the authority of DAR
to approve such conversions may be exercised from the date of the law's effectivity on June
15, 1988. This conclusion is based on a liberal interpretation of R.A. No. 6657 in the light of
DAR's mandate and the extensive coverage of the agrarian reform program.47 (Emphasis
supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Department of Justice Opinion No. 44 became the basis of subsequent issuances by the
Department of Agrarian Reform, stating in clear terms that parties need not seek prior
conversion clearance from the Department of Agrarian Reform for lands that were classified
as non-agricultural prior to Republic Act No. 6657. The subsequent rulings are outlined
in Junio v. Secretary Garilao:48
Following the opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the DAR issued Administrative
Order (AO) No. 6, Series of 1994, stating that conversion clearances were no longer needed
for lands already classified as non-agricultural before the enactment of Republic Act 6657.
Designed to "streamline the issuance of exemption clearances, based on DOJ Opinion No.
44," the AO provided guidelines and procedures for the issuance of exemption clearances.
Thereafter, DAR issued AO 12, Series of 1994, entitled "Consolidated and Revised Rules and
Procedures Governing Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non-Agricultural Uses." It
provided that the guidelines on how to secure an exemption clearance under DAR AO No. 6,
Series of 1994, shall apply to agricultural lands classified or zoned for non-agricultural uses
by local government units (LGUs); and approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
Board (HLURB) before June 15, 1988. Under this AO, the DAR secretary had the ultimate
authority to issue orders granting or denying applications for exemption filed by landowners
whose lands were covered by DOJ Opinion No. 44.49(Citations
omitted)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Accordingly, lands are considered exempt from the coverage of Republic Act No. 6657 if the
following requisites are present:
1. Lands were zoned for non-agricultural use by the local government unit; and
2. The zoning ordinance was approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
before June 15, 1998.

In revoking the prior order of exemption, Secretary Pangandaman took note of the following
considerations:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The Certification dated 18 November 2003, of Mr. David D. David, Planning Officer IV and
Zoning Administrator of the City of Angeles states that the City Planning and Development
Office, Zoning Administration Unit (CPDO-ZAU) certifies that subject property covered by
TCI No. 11804 is classified as agricultural based on the certified photocopy of Zoning
Ordinance, Ordinance No. 13, Series of 1978, issued by the Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board, Regional Office No. 3 (HLURB-Region III) on 03 September
2001;chanrobleslaw

15
Also, upon verification with HLURB-Region III, -we were informed that as per copy of the
approved Zoning Plan of 1978, the subject properties were classified as agricultural.The said
Zoning Plan of 1978 was approved under NCC Plan dated 24 September 1980; and
Based on the ocular inspection conducted by the CLUPPI Inspection Team, it was found that
the area remained agricultural. In fact, it is still dominantly planted with sugar cane and
corn.50 (Emphasis supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Upon respondent's motion for reconsideration, Secretary Pangandaman also took into
consideration the recommendations of the Center for Land Use Policy, Planning, and
Implementation Committee, thus:
During the 50th Special CLUPPI Committee-B Meeting, held on 18 December 2007, the
Motion for Reconsideration filed by Sylvia Espirilla [sic] was deliberated upon and the
Committee recommended the DENIAL of the Motion for Reconsideration based on the
following grounds:
The certifications issued by the HLURB shows that the subject properties were
classified as agricultural before 15 June 1986 [sic]; and
Based on the ocular inspection conducted by the CLUPPI Inspection Team, it
was found out that the area remained agricultural. In fact, it [is] still
dominantly planted with sugar cane and corn.51 (Emphasis supplied)

Secretary Pangandaman also found that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary


The certifications submitted by the [respondents] which is the Certification dated 18
November 2003, of Mr. David D. David, Planning Officer IV and Zoning Administrator of the
City of Angeles states that the City Planning Development Office, Zoning Administration Unit
(CPDO-ZAU) certifies that the subject properties covered by TCT No. T-11804 is classified as
agricultural based on the certified photocopy of Zoning Ordinance, Ordinance No. 13[,]
Series of 1978 issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Regional Office No. 3
(HLURB-Region III) on 03 September 2001.
Such certification was corroborated by a certification issued by the HLURB Regional
Director, Region III, Ms. Edithat [sic] Barrameda in its certification dated 28 May 2001 and
24 November 2003. It was stated in the said certification that the subject landholding is
within the agricultural zone based on Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance
of the City Council of Angeles City approved 'through HLURB Resolution No. 705 dated 17
October 2001. Also a certification was issued by Director Barrameda on 01 June 2001,
stating therein that, "Duplicate copies of the Certification issued by this Board to Ms.
Lutgarda Torres on 18 December 1991 and 8 July 1998, respectively are not among the files
for safekeeping when she assumed as Regional Officer on 03 July 2000.["]52 (Emphasis
supplied)chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
These findings were sustained on appeal by the Office of the President, stating
that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
[Respondents'] argument that the land has ceased to be agricultural by virtue of
reclassification under Ordinance No. 13, series of 1978 cannot be sustained since the
records of the case or the evidence presented thereto are bereft of any indication showing
the same. In fact, nowhere was it shown that a certified true copy of the said Ordinance was
presented before this Office or the office a quo.53chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

16

The factual findings of administrative agencies are generally given great respect and finality
by the courts as it is presumed that these agencies have the knowledge and expertise over
matters under their jurisdiction.5 Both the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Office of
the President found respondent's lands to be agricultural. We see no reason to disturb these
findings.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated September 28, 2012 and
resolution dated November 29, 2012 of the Court of Appeals are SET ASIDE. The order
dated June 15, 2006 of the Department of Agrarian Reform and the decision dated May 7,
2009 of the Office of the President are REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawl

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 207422, March 18, 2015
ANGEL ABAD, Petitioner, v. HERMINIO DELA CRUZ, Respondent.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
Appointments in the civil service are made fundamentally on the basis of merit. Both the
Constitution and law ensure that those appointed are fit for the position. While those who
are next in rank to a vacant position may be given some preference, no one has a vested
right to a government position. Seniority and salary grades should be given their due weight
but should not trump the public interest.
This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari1 filed by Angel Abad assailing the Court of
Appeals Decision2 dated April 11, 2012. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Civil Service
Commission Resolution3 dated June 22, 2010. This Resolution affirmed the permanent
appointment of Herminio Dela Cruz as City Government Department Head III.4
Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi appointed Herminio Dela Cruz (Dela Cruz) as City Assessor 5 of the
City Government of Muntinlupa in a permanent capacity on December 28, 2006.6 The City
Assessor is given the item of City Government Department Head III.7
In Resolution No. 06-361,8 majority of the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the
City Government of Muntinlupa concurred in the appointment of Dela Cruz as City
Government Department Head III.9
Pursuant to Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 02-1235 granting the City Government
of Muntinlupa the power to take final action on its appointments, the appointment of Dela
Cruz was considered attested to by the Civil Service Commission.10
Angel A. Abad (Abad), Local Assessment Operations Officer V in the Office of the City
Assessor, wrote the Civil Service Commission and requested the disapproval of Dela Cruz's

17
appointment as City Government Department Head III.11 Abad alleged that the position of
City Government Department Head III corresponded to Salary Grade 27, nine (9) salary
grades higher than Dela Cruz's former position as Local Assessment Operations Officer III
with Salary Grade 18.12 According to Abad, Dela Cruz's appointment violated Item 15 of Civil
Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 3, Series of 2001, which prohibits the
promotion of an employee to a position more than three (3) salary grades above his or her
former position:13
15. An employee may be promoted or transferred to a position which is not more
than three (3) salary, pay or job grades higher than the employee's present
position except in very meritorious cases, such as: if the vacant position is
next-in-rank as identified in the System of Ranking Positions (SRP) approved
by the head of agency, or the lone or entrance position indicated in the
agency staffing pattern.

Abad added that being a qualified next-in-rank, he applied for the position of City
Government Department Head III. However, he and three (3) other qualified applicants
were allegedly excluded from the selection process, in violation of Item 10 of Civil Service
Commission Memorandum Circular No. 3, series of 2001.14 This provides:
10. For vacancies in the first and second levels, all qualified next-in-rank
employees shall be automatically considered candidates for promotion to the
next higher position.

According to Abad, the appointment of Dela Cruz caused "demoralization within [their]
ranks."15
In the letter16 dated January 26, 2007, the Civil Service Commission referred Abad's letter
to the City Government of Muntinlupa's grievance machinery for proper action.
In the meantime, newly elected Mayor Aldrin San Pedro (Mayor San Pedro) assumed his
office in the City Government of Muntinlupa on July 1, 2007. On August 3, 2007, the main
building of Muntinlupa City Hall was gutted by fire, destroying the Office of the City
Personnel. The City Government of Muntinlupa, therefore, failed to act on Abad's Letter.17
Thus, on September 25, 2007, Abad filed with the Mayor's Office the lettercomplaint18 reiterating his request for disapproval of Dela Cruz's permanent appointment as
City Government Department Head III.
Mayor San Pedro referred Abad's letter-complaint to the City Government of Muntinlupa's
Personnel Department.19
Finding that Dela Cruz's promotion violated Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular
No. 3, Series of 2001 on the three-salary-grade rule,20 the Grievance Committee
recommended the invalidation of Dela Cruz's permanent appointment as City Government
Department Head III.21 This recommendation was approved by Mayor San Pedro.
Mayor San Pedro's approval was then referred to the Civil Service Commission-National
Capital Region for appropriate action.22
In the Decision23 dated August 17, 2009, the Civil Service Commission-National Capital

18
Region invalidated Dela Cruz's permanent appointment as City Government Department
Head III and ruled that he was appointed in violation of the three-salary-grade rule under
Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 3, Series of 2001.24
On Dela Cruz's appeal,25 the Civil Service Commission reversed and set aside the Civil
Service Commission-National Capital Region's Decision in Resolution No. 101276 dated June
22, 2010.26
The Civil Service Commission found that the City Government of Muntinlupa's Personnel
Selection Board ranked the applicants for City Government Department Head III based on
the following criteria: performance, work history, awards, education, training, potential, and
physical characteristics and personality traits. Out of nine (9) applicants, Dela Cruz ranked
first with a grade of 90.67 out of 100 points. Although it conceded that Abad was not among
the nine (9) applicants screened, the Commission nevertheless ruled that Dela Cruz's
appointment was an exception to the three-salary-grade rule.27 Dela Cruz underwent a deep
selection process rendering his appointment "very meritorious[.]" 28
The Commission likewise noted that contrary to the rule that whoever alleges must prove,
the Grievance Committee placed on Dela Cruz the burden of proving that Abad was not
considered for appointment. The Grievance Committee, therefore, erred. As for Abad, he
failed to prove the allegation that he was not considered for promotion. 29
Abad's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Civil Service Commission in the
Resolution dated November 12, 2010.30
A Petition for Review was filed before the Court of Appeals.31 The Court of Appeals, however,
dismissed the Petition for Review in the Decision dated April 11, 2012.32
The Court of Appeals held that the three-salary-grade rule "only gives preference to the
person occupying the position next in rank to a vacancy, but does not by any means give
[the employee next in rank] [the] exclusive right to be appointed to the said vacancy." 33 As
long as the employee appointed to the position possesses the minimum qualifications for the
position, the appointment is valid.34
The Court of Appeals also found that Abad failed to prove that he was the employee next in
rank to the position of City Government Department Head III.35 On the other hand, Dela
Cruz proved that he possessed the minimum qualifications for the position and that he
underwent a deep selection process where he ranked first among nine (9) applicants. 36 The
Court of Appeals, thus, affirmed Dela Cruz's appointment. 37
Both Motion for Reconsideration38 and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration39 filed by
Abad were denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution40 dated June 4, 2013.
On July 25, 2013,41 Abad filed before this court the Petition for Review on Certiorari. Dela
Cruz filed his Comment,42 after which Abad filed his Reply.43
Abad insists that Dela Cruz's promotion was void for violation of the three-salary-grade rule
under Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 3, Series of 2001. Moreover, he
and other employees who were allegedly next in rank to the position of City Government
Department Head III were not considered for the position. Contrary to the finding of the
Civil Service Commission and the Court of Appeals, the City Government of Muntinlupa's
Personnel Selection Board did not conduct any deep selection process in appointing a new
City Government Department Head III.44

19

Thus, Abad prays that this court invalidate Dela Cruz's appointment and order the City
Government of Muntinlupa to conduct a new selection process for the position of City
Government Department Head III.45
Dela Cruz refutes Abad's claim of lack of deep selection process. As the Civil Service
Commission and the Court of Appeals found, the City Government of Muntinlupa's Personnel
Selection Board conducted a deep selection process for the position of City Government
Department Head III where he ranked first out of nine (9) applicants.46 Dela Cruz
emphasizes that the factual findings of the Civil Service Commission, which was sustained
by the Court of Appeals, must be accorded great respect since these have been made by the
"administrative agency which [has] acquired expertise [in the field of civil service law.]" 47
The issues for this court's resolution are:
First, whether respondent Dela Cruz's promotion to the position of City Government
Department Head III is void because it violated the next-in-rank rule; and
Second, whether respondent Dela Cruz's promotion to the position of City Government
Department Head III is void for lack of a deep selection process.
This Petition must be denied.
I
The Civil Service Commission is the "central personnel agency of the Government[.]" 48 Its
mandate is to ensure that appointments in the civil service are generally made on the basis
of merit and fitness.49 The Commission is tasked to strengthen the merit and rewards
system in the civil service50by administering and enforcing the "constitutional and statutory
provisions on the merit system for all levels and ranks in the Civil Service[.]" 51
The Constitution adopts the merit system to ensure that those appointed in the civil service
are competent.52 This is to "eradicate the system of appointment to public office based on
political considerations and to eliminate . . . the element of partisanship and personal
favoritism in making appointments." 53
"The civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the
Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original
charters."54 Thus, all appointive local government employees are covered by civil service
laws and rules.55 Appointive local government employees must possess the qualifications
provided by law for the positions they hold.56
The qualifications the appointee must satisfy depend on whether the position belongs to the
career service or the non-career service. Entrance in the career service is based on "merit
and fitness to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examination, or based on
highly technical qualifications[.]"57 On the other hand, entrance in the non-career service is
based on criteria other than the "usual tests of merit and fitness[.]" 58
Positions in the career service are further grouped into three (3) levels. The first level
includes positions requiring less than four (4) years of collegiate studies.59 The second level
includes positions with duties requiring at least four (4) years of college work up to the
Division Chief level.60 The third level includes positions in the Career Executive Service. 61

20
Candidates for appointment to first and second level positions are generally screened by the
Personnel Selection Board.62 In local government units, the Personnel Selection Board is
headed by the local chief executive and is composed of members appointed by the
sanggunian concerned.63The Personnel Selection Board of each local government unit
"assist[s] the local chief executive in the judicious and objective selection of personnel for
employment as well as . . . promotion[.]" 64
The appointing authority in local government units, therefore, is the local chief executive
who must assess the merits of the Personnel Selection Board's recommendation. 65 If heads
of offices or departments in a local government unit are appointed, majority of the members
of the sanggunian concerned must concur in the appointment.66 Finally, the appointment
must be submitted to the Civil Service Commission for attestation within 30 days from the
appointment's issuance date.67
For local government units, the appointment of an assessor is mandatory.68 In the City
Government of Muntinlupa, the City Assessor is given the item of City Government
Department Head III under the City's 2007 Personnel Schedule.69 As provided in Section
472(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991, the assessor, must possess the following
qualifications:
SECTION 472. Qualifications, Powers and Duties. - (a) No person shall be appointed
assessor unless he is a citizen of the Philippines, a resident of the local government unit
concerned, of good moral character, a holder of a college degree preferably in civil or
mechanical engineering, commerce, or any other related course from a recognized college
or university, and a first grade civil service eligible or its equivalent. He must have acquired
experience in real property assessment work or in any related field for at least five (5) years
in the case of the city or provincial assessor, and three (3) years in the case of the municipal
assessor.
The 1997 Revised Qualification Standards Manual reiterates the following minimum
qualifications for the position of assessor:
Education

Experience

Training
Eligibility

:
:

Bachelor's degree preferably in Civil or Mechanical


Engineering, Commerce or any related course
Five (5) years experience in real property assessment
work or in any related field
None
First grade or its equivalent.70

The Civil Service Commission-National Capital Region and the Civil Service Commission
agree that respondent possesses the minimum qualifications under the law for the position
of City Government Department Head III:
A comparative evaluation of the qualifications of Dela Cruz as indicated in his Personal Data
Sheet (PDS) vis-a-vis the qualification standards for the position of City Assessor III shows
that he meets all the requirements for appointment thereto. Likewise, he satisfies the
requirements prescribed by RA 7160. Hence, Dela Cruz qualifies for the issuance of
permanent appointment as City Assessor III.
Moreover, the appointment of Dela Cruz was confirmed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng
Muntinlupa in Resolution No. 06-361 dated December 7, 2006.71

21

With its constitutional mandate, the Civil Service Commission has acquired "specialized
knowledge and expertise"72 in the field of civil service law. Consequently, its findings of fact,
if based on substantial evidence, are "accorded great respect and even finality" 73 by
appellate courts, this court included. Absent grave abuse of discretion, this court will not
disturb the findings of fact of the Civil Service Commission. 74
II
Petitioner contends, however, that he is a qualified next-in-rank who was bypassed for
appointment to the position of City Government Department Head III. Thus, respondent's
appointment is void notwithstanding his possession of the qualifications for the position.
In promotions,75 the appointing authority must automatically consider the employees next in
rank as candidates for appointment. Section 21, paragraphs (2) and (3) of the Civil Service
Law provide for the next-in-rank rule:
SEC. 21. Recruitment and Selection of Employees. . . .
(2) When a vacancy occurs in a position in the first level of the Career Service as defined in
Section 6, the employees in the department who occupy the next lower positions in the
occupational group under which the vacant position is classified, and in other functionally
related occupational groups and who are competent, qualified and with the appropriate civil
service eligibility shall be considered for promotion.
(3) When a vacancy occurs in a position in the second level of the Career Service as defined
in Section 8, the employees in the government service who occupy the next lower positions
in the occupational group under which the vacant position is classified and in other
functionally related occupational groups and who are competent, qualified and with the
appropriate civil service eligibility shall be considered for promotion.(Emphasis supplied)
"Promotion is the advancement of an employee from one position to another with an
increase in duties and responsibilities as authorized by law, and usually accompanied by an
increase in salary."76Employees next in rank are those "who occupy the next lower positions
in the occupational group under which the vacant position is classified, and in other
functionally related occupational groups and who are competent, qualified and with the
appropriate civil service eligibility[.]" 77
The reason behind the next-in-rank rule is to maintain the policy of merit and rewards in the
civil service.78 Since appointments in the civil service are based on merit and fitness, it is
assumed that the appointments of employees next in rank are equally meritorious.
Appointments that consider rank, salary grades, and seniority promote progressiveness and
courtesy in the civil service.79
Still, the next-in-rank rule is a rule of preference on who to consider for promotion.80 The
rule does not give employees next in rank a vested right to the position next higher to theirs
should that position become vacant.81 Appointment is a discretionary power of the
appointing authority.82 So long as the appointee possesses the qualifications required by
law, the appointment is valid.83
Who to appoint is "a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the
appointing authority can decide."84 For the betterment of government service, the

22
appointing authority may consider other "abstract criteria[,]" 85 aside from the minimum
qualifications set by law in making appointments. As this court explained in Cortez v. Civil
Service Commission:86
[M]any factors are taken into account in evaluating the qualifications of prospective
appointees and that formal examinations, work experience and educational attainment are
only some of them. Such abstract criteria as loyalty, cordiality, initiative, resourcefulness,
discipline, and other personality traits are also properly considered. When making this
evaluation, the appointing authority should be given the widest possible leeway and cannot
be controlled by the Commission....
....
As long as the appointee possesses the minimum qualifications prescribed by law or
regulations, there is no question that his appointment must be respected by the Civil
Service Commission even if it be proved that there are others with superior credentials. 87
To successfully protest the issuance of an appointment, the employee next in rank must
prove his or her status as a qualified next-in-rank; otherwise, the protest shall be
dismissed.88 Being next in rank is a legal conclusion that would be the result of inference
from evidence properly alleged and proven. The burden of proof rests on the employee
alleging that he or she is next in rank.89
Petitioner failed to discharge his burden of proving that he was a qualified next-in-rank. He
failed to prove that his position of Local Assessment Operations Officer V has been
previously determined to be next-in-rank to the position of City Government Department
Head III in the Office of the City Assessor of the City Government of Muntinlupa.90
Petitioner, therefore, has no right to protest the appointment of respondent.
III
Petitioner further contends that respondent was appointed in violation of the three-salarygrade rule found in Item 15 of Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 3, Series
of 2001. Therefore, respondent's appointment should be recalled.
Item 15 of Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular, Series of 2001 on the threesalary-grade rule states that "[a]n employee may be promoted or transferred to a position
which is not more than three (3) salary, pay or job grades higher than the employee's
present position[.]" However, this rule is subject to the exception of "very meritorious
cases." These "very meritorious cases" are provided in Civil Service Commission Resolution
No. 03-0106 dated January 24, 2003:
Any or all of the following would constitute a meritorious case exempted from the 3-salary
grade limitation on promotion:
1. The position occupied by the person is next-in- rank to the vacant
position, as identified in the Merit Promotion Plan and the System of
Ranking Positions (SRP) of the agency [;]
2. The position is a lone, or entrance position, as indicated in the
agency's staffing pattern;

23
3. The position belongs to the dearth category, such as Medical
Officer/Specialist positions and Attorney positions;
4. The position is unique and/or highly specialized such as Actuarial
positions and Airways Communicator;
5. The candidates passed through a deep selection process, taking into
consideration the candidates' superior qualifications in regard to:
Educational achievements
Highly specialized trainings
Relevant work experience
Consistent high performance
rating/ranking; and
6. The vacant position belongs to the closed career system.91(Emphasis
supplied)

Consistent with the next-in-rank rule, the appointing authority shall consider for promotion
qualified next-in-rank employees. However, there are instances when the employees next in
rank occupy positions whose salary grades are more than three (3) grades lower than that
corresponding to the vacant position. These instances should not prevent the appointing
authority from filling the vacancy, but whoever is appointed must undergo a deep selection
process and demonstrate his or her superior qualifications and competence.92 This is to
maintain the standard of merit and fitness for appointment in the civil service.
The Civil Service Commission found that respondent's appointment fell under the fifth
exception provided in Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 03-0106 dated January 24,
2003.93 Contrary to petitioner's claim, the Personnel Selection Board conducted a deep
selection process, ranking the candidates for the position of City Government Department
Head III based on the following criteria: performance, 25 points; work history, 25 points;
awards, 5 points; education, 5 points; training, 10 points; potential, 10 points; and physical
characteristics and personality traits, 20 points.
The document denominated as Merit Promotion and System of Ranking Position shows that
out of nine (9) candidates, respondent ranked first with a grade of 90.67 out of 100
points.94 Respondent's case, therefore, is a "very meritorious case." His promotion from
Local Assessment Operations Officer III with Salary Grade 18 to City Government
Department Head III with Salary Grade 27 is valid.
IV
Even if petitioner were next in rank, he failed to present evidence conclusively showing that
he was not considered for promotion. The document denominated as Merit Promotion and
System of Ranking Position contains only nine (9) names; hence, it appears to be a short
list of those ranked for promotion. To be shortlisted, however, is different from being
considered for promotion. Petitioner might have been considered for promotion, but he did
not make it to the short list. Absent contrary evidence, the presumption that the City
Government of Muntinlupa's Personnel Selection Board performed its duties with regularity
applies.95
In any case, we cannot order the invalidation of respondent's appointment in the present
proceedings. To do so would necessarily result in his removal from an office he has

24
physically possessed for almost nine (9) years. Respondent has been discharging the duties
of the City Assessor, at the very least, under a color of title to the position especially since
he possesses the qualifications for it. Analogous to a de facto officer, respondent's title to his
office may only be attacked through a petition for quo warranto filed by the Government or
by the person claiming title to the office.96
In Tayko v. Capistrano,97 this court held that "[t]he title of a de facto officer cannot be
indirectly questioned. . . . Having at least colorable right to the office[,] [the de
facto officer's] title can be determined only in a quo warranto proceeding or information in
the nature of a quo warranto at suit of the sovereign."98
Respondent possesses the minimum qualifications for the position of City Government
Department Head III. Moreover, his promotion from a Salary Grade 18 to a Salary Grade 27
position was a "very meritorious case" since he has gone through a deep selection process.
Respondent Herminio Dela Cruz's appointment as City Government Department Head III,
therefore, is valid.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. The Court of Appeals'
Decision dated April 11, 2012 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
EN BANC
G.R. No. 211833

April 7, 2015

FERDINAND R. VILLANUEVA, Presiding Judge, MCTC, Compostela-New Bataan, Compostela


Valley Province, Petitioner,
vs.
JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL, Respondent.
DECISION
REYES, J.:
Presiding Judge Ferdinand R. Villanueva (petitioner) directly came to this Court via a Petition for
Prohibition, Mandamus, and Certiorari, and Declaratory Relief 1 under Rules 65 and 63 of the Rules of
Court, respectively, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction, to assail the policy of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), requiring five years of service as
judges of first-level courts before they can qualify as applicant to second-level courts, on the ground that it
is unconstitutional, and was issued with grave abuse of discretion.
The Facts
The petitioner was appointed on September 18, 2012 as the Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, Compostela-New Bataan, Poblacion, Compostela Valley Province, Region XI, which is a first-level
court. On September 27,2013, he applied for the vacant position of Presiding Judge in the following

25
Regional Trial Courts (RTCs): Branch 31, Tagum City; Branch 13, Davao City; and Branch 6, Prosperidad,
Agusan Del Sur.
In a letter2 dated December 18, 2013, JBCs Office of Recruitment, Selection and Nomination, informed
the petitioner that he was not included in the list of candidates for the said stations. On the same date, the
petitioner sent a letter, through electronic mail, seeking reconsideration of his non-inclusion in the list of
considered applicants and protesting the inclusion of applicants who did not pass the prejudicature
examination.
The petitioner was informed by the JBC Executive Officer, through a Letter 3 dated February 3, 2014, that
his protest and reconsideration was duly noted by the JBC en banc. However, its decision not to include
his name in the list of applicants was upheld due to the JBCs long-standing policy of opening the chance
for promotion to second-level courts to, among others, incumbent judges who have served in their current
position for at least five years, and since the petitioner has been a judge only for more than a year, he
was excluded from the list. This caused the petitioner to take recourse to this Court.
In his petition, he argued that: (1) the Constitution already prescribed the qualifications of an RTC judge,
and the JBC could add no more; (2) the JBCs five-year requirement violates the equal protection and due
process clauses of the Constitution; and (3) the JBCs five-year requirement violates the constitutional
provision on Social Justice and Human Rights for Equal Opportunity of Employment. The petitioner also
asserted that the requirement of the Prejudicature Program mandated by Section 10 4 of Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 85575 should not be merely directory and should be fully implemented. He further alleged that
he has all the qualifications for the position prescribed by the Constitution and by Congress, since he has
already complied with the requirement of 10 years of practice of law.
In compliance with the Courts Resolution6 dated April 22, 2014, the JBC7 and the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG)8 separately submitted their Comments. Summing up the arguments of the JBC and the
OSG, they essentially stated that the petition is procedurally infirm and that the assailed policy does not
violate the equal protection and due process clauses. They posited that: (1) the writ of certiorari and
prohibition cannot issue to prevent the JBC from performing its principal function under the Constitution to
recommend appointees to the Judiciary because the JBC is not a tribunal exercising judicial or quasijudicial function; (2) the remedy of mandamus and declaratory relief will not lie because the petitioner has
no clear legal right that needs to be protected; (3) the equal protection clause is not violated because the
classification of lower court judges who have served at least five years and those who have servedless
than five years is valid as it is performance and experience based; and (4) there is no violation of due
process as the policy is merely internal in nature.
The Issue
The crux of this petition is whether or not the policy of JBC requiring five years of service as judges of
first-level courts before they can qualify as applicant to second-level courts is constitutional.
Ruling of the Court
Procedural Issues:
Before resolving the substantive issues, the Court considers it necessary to first determine whether or not
the action for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, and declaratory relief commenced by the petitioner
was proper.
One. The remedies of certiorari and prohibition are tenable. "The present Rules of Court uses two special
civil actions for determining and correcting grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. These are the special civil actions for certiorari and prohibition, and both are governed by

26
Rule 65."9 As discussed in the case of Maria Carolina P. Araullo, etc., et al. v. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino
III, etc., et al.,10 this Court explained that:
With respect to the Court, however, the remedies of certiorari and prohibition are necessarily broader in
scope and reach, and the writ of certiorari or prohibition may be issued to correct errors of jurisdiction
committed not only by a tribunal, corporation, board or officer exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or
ministerial functions but also to set right, undo and restrain any act of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by any branch or instrumentality of the Government, even if the
latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions. This application is expressly
authorized by the text of the second paragraph of Section 1, supra.
Thus, petitions for certiorari and prohibition are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to
review and/or prohibit or nullify the acts of legislative and executive officials. 11 (Citation omitted)
In this case, it is clear that the JBC does not fall within the scope of a tribunal, board, or officer exercising
judicial or quasi-judicial functions. In the process of selecting and screening applicants, the JBC neither
acted in any judicial or quasi-judicial capacity nor assumed unto itself any performance of judicial or
quasi-judicial prerogative. However, since the formulation of guidelines and criteria, including the policy
that the petitioner now assails, is necessary and incidental to the exercise of the JBCs constitutional
mandate, a determination must be made on whether the JBC has acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing and enforcing the said policy.
Besides, the Court can appropriately take cognizance of this case by virtue of the Courts power of
supervision over the JBC. Jurisprudence provides that the power of supervision is the power of oversight,
or the authority to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. It ensures that the laws and the rules
governing the conduct of a government entity are observed and complied with. Supervising officials see to
it that rules are followed, but they themselves do not lay down such rules, nor do they have the discretion
to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, they may order the work done or redone, but only
to conform to such rules. They may not prescribe their own manner of execution of the act. They have no
discretion on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed. 12
Following this definition, the supervisory authority of the Court over the JBC is to see to it that the JBC
complies with its own rules and procedures. Thus, when the policies of the JBC are being attacked, then
the Court, through its supervisory authority over the JBC, has the duty to inquire about the matter and
ensure that the JBC complies with its own rules.
Two. The remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of by the petitioner in assailing JBCs policy. The
petitioner insisted that mandamus is proper because his right was violated when he was not included in
the list of candidates for the RTC court she applied for. He said that his non-inclusion in the list of
candidates for these stations has caused him direct injury.
It is essential to the issuance of a writ of mandamus that the applicant should have a clear legal right to
the thing demanded and it must be the imperative duty of the respondent to perform the act
required.13 The petitioner bears the burden to show that there is such a clear legal right to the
performance of the act, and a corresponding compelling duty on the part of the respondent to perform the
act. The remedy of mandamus, as an extraordinary writ, lies only to compel an officer to perform a
ministerial duty, not a discretionary one.14 Clearly, the use of discretion and the performance of a
ministerial act are mutually exclusive.
The writ of mandamus does not issue to control or review the exercise of discretion or to compel a course
of conduct, which, it quickly seems to us, was what the petitioner would have the JBC do in his favor. The
function of the JBC to select and recommend nominees for vacant judicial positions is discretionary, not
ministerial. More so, the petitioner cannot claim any legal right to be included in the list of nominees for
judicial vacancies. Possession of the constitutional and statutory qualifications for appointment to the

27
judiciary may not be used to legally demand that ones name be included in the list of candidates for a
judicial vacancy. Ones inclusion in the list of the candidates depends on the discretion of the JBC, thus:
The fact that an individual possesses the constitutional and statutory qualifications for appointment to the
Judiciary does not create an entitlement or expectation that his or her name be included in the list of
candidates for a judicial vacancy. By submitting an application or accepting a recommendation, one
submits to the authority of the JBC to subject the former to the search, screening, and selection process,
and to use its discretion in deciding whether or not one should be included in the list. Indeed, assuming
that if one has the legal right to be included in the list of candidates simply because he or she possesses
the constitutional and statutory qualifications, then the application process would then be reduced to a
mere mechanical function of the JBC; and the search, screening, and selection process would not only be
unnecessary, but also improper. However, this is clearly not the constitutional intent. Ones inclusion in the
list of candidates is subject to the discretion of the JBC over the selection of nominees for a particular
judicial post. Such candidates inclusion is not, therefore, a legally demandable right, but simply a
privilege the conferment of which is subject to the JBCs sound discretion.
Moreover, petitioner is essentially seeking a promotional appointment, that is, a promotion from a firstlevel court to a second level court. There is no law, however, that grants him the right to a promotion to
second-level courts.15(Emphasis in the original)
Clearly, to be included as an applicant to second-level judge is not properly compellable by mandamus
inasmuch as it involves the exercise of sound discretion by the JBC.
Three. The petition for declaratory relief is improper. "An action for declaratory relief should be filed by a
person interested under a deed, a will, a contract or other written instrument, and whose rights are
affected by a statute, an executive order, a regulation or an ordinance. The relief sought under this
remedy includes the interpretation and determination of the validity of the written instrument and the
judicial declaration of the parties rights or duties thereunder." 16 "[T]he purpose of the action is to secure
an authoritative statement of the rights and obligations of the parties under a statute, deed, contract, etc.,
for their guidance in its enforcement or compliance and not to settle issues arising from its alleged
breach."17
In this case, the petition for declaratory relief did not involve an unsound policy. Rather, the petition
specifically sought a judicial declaration that the petitioner has the right to be included in the list of
applicants although he failed to meet JBCs five-year requirement policy. Again, the Court reiterates that
no person possesses a legal right under the Constitution to be included in the list of nominees for vacant
judicial positions. The opportunity of appointment to judicial office is a mere privilege, and not a judicially
enforceable right that may be properly claimed by any person. The inclusion in the list of candidates,
which is one of the incidents of such appointment, is not a right either. Thus, the petitioner cannot claim
any right that could have been affected by the assailed policy.
Furthermore, the instant petition must necessarily fail because this Court does not have original
jurisdiction over a petition for declaratory relief even if only questions of law are involved. 18 The special
civil action of declaratory relief falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the appropriate RTC pursuant to
Section 1919 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691. 20
Therefore, by virtue of the Courts supervisory duty over the JBC and in the exercise of its expanded
judicial power, the Court assumes jurisdiction over the present petition. But in any event, even if the Court
will set aside procedural infirmities, the instant petition should still be dismissed.
Substantive Issues
As an offspring of the 1987 Constitution, the JBC is mandated to recommend appointees to the judiciary
and only those nominated by the JBC in a list officially transmitted to the President may be appointed by

28
the latter as justice or judge in the judiciary. Thus, the JBC is burdened with a great responsibility that is
imbued with public interest as it determines the men and women who will sit on the judicial bench. While
the 1987 Constitution has provided the qualifications of members of the judiciary, this does not preclude
the JBC from having its own set of rules and procedures and providing policies to effectively ensure its
mandate.
The functions of searching, screening, and selecting are necessary and incidental to the JBCs principal
function of choosing and recommending nominees for vacancies in the judiciary for appointment by the
President. However, the Constitution did not lay down in precise terms the process that the JBC shall
follow in determining applicants qualifications. In carrying out its main function, the JBC has the authority
to set the standards/criteria in choosing its nominees for every vacancy in the judiciary, subject only to the
minimum qualifications required by the Constitution and law for every position. The search for these long
held qualities necessarily requires a degree of flexibility in order to determine who is most fit among the
applicants. Thus, the JBC has sufficient but not unbridled license to act in performing its duties.
JBCs ultimate goal is to recommend nominees and not simply to fill up judicial vacancies in order to
promote an effective and efficient administration of justice. Given this pragmatic situation, the JBC had to
establish a set of uniform criteria in order to ascertain whether an applicant meets the minimum
constitutional qualifications and possesses the qualities expected of him and his office. Thus, the adoption
of the five-year requirement policy applied by JBC to the petitioners case is necessary and incidental to
the function conferred by the Constitution to the JBC.
Equal Protection
There is no question that JBC employs standards to have a rational basis to screen applicants who
cannot be all accommodated and appointed to a vacancy in the judiciary, to determine who is best
qualified among the applicants, and not to discriminate against any particular individual or class.
The equal protection clause of the Constitution does not require the universal application of the laws to all
persons or things without distinction; what it requires is simply equality among equals as determined
according to a valid classification. Hence, the Court has affirmed that if a law neither burdens a
fundamental right nor targets a suspect class, the classification stands as long as it bears a rational
relationship to some legitimate government end.21
"The equal protection clause, therefore, does not preclude classification of individuals who may be
accorded different treatment under the law as long as the classification is reasonable and not
arbitrary."22 "The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative
of the right to equal protection, for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces
inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby rendered invalid." 23
That is the situation here. In issuing the assailed policy, the JBC merely exercised its discretion in
accordance with the constitutional requirement and its rules that a member of the Judiciary must be of
proven competence, integrity, probity and independence. 24 "To ensure the fulfillment of these standards in
every member of the Judiciary, the JBC has been tasked to screen aspiring judges and justices, among
others, making certain that the nominees submitted to the President are all qualified and suitably best for
appointment. In this way, the appointing process itself is shielded from the possibility of extending judicial
appointment to the undeserving and mediocre and, more importantly, to the ineligible or
disqualified."25 Consideration of experience by JBC as one factor in choosing recommended appointees
does not constitute a violation of the equal protection clause. The JBC does not discriminate when it
employs number of years of service to screen and differentiate applicants from the competition. The
number of years of service provides a relevant basis to determine proven competence which may be
measured by experience, among other factors. The difference in treatment between lower court judges
who have served at least five years and those who have served less than five years, on the other hand,
was rationalized by JBC as follows:

29
Formulating policies which streamline the selection process falls squarely under the purview of the JBC.
No other constitutional body is bestowed with the mandate and competency to set criteria for applicants
that refer to the more general categories of probity, integrity and independence.
The assailed criterion or consideration for promotion to a second-level court, which is five years
experience as judge of a first-level court, is a direct adherence to the qualities prescribed by the
Constitution. Placing a premium on many years of judicial experience, the JBC is merely applying one of
the stringent constitutional standards requiring that a member of the judiciary be of "proven competence."
In determining competence, the JBC considers, among other qualifications, experience and performance.
Based on the JBCs collective judgment, those who have been judges of first-level courts for five(5) years
are better qualified for promotion to second-level courts. It deems length of experience as a judge as
indicative of conversance with the law and court procedure. Five years is considered as a sufficient span
of time for one to acquire professional skills for the next level court, declog the dockets, put in place
improved procedures and an efficient case management system, adjust to the work environment, and
gain extensive experience in the judicial process. A five-year stint in the Judiciary can also provide
evidence of the integrity, probity, and independence of judges seeking promotion. To merit JBCs
nomination for their promotion, they must have had a "record of, and reputation for, honesty, integrity,
incorruptibility, irreproachable conduct, and fidelity to sound moral and ethical standards." Likewise, their
decisions must be reflective of the soundness of their judgment, courage, rectitude, cold neutrality and
strength of character.
Hence, for the purpose of determining whether judges are worthy of promotion to the next level court, it
would be premature or difficult to assess their merit if they have had less than one year of service on the
bench.26 (Citations omitted and emphasis in the original)
At any rate, five years of service as a lower court judge is not the only factor that determines the selection
of candidates for RTC judge to be appointed by the President. Persons with this qualification are neither
automatically selected nor do they automatically become nominees. The applicants are chosen based on
an array of factors and are evaluated based on their individual merits. Thus, it cannot be said that the
questioned policy was arbitrary, capricious, or made without any basis.
Clearly, the classification created by the challenged policy satisfies the rational basis test. The foregoing
shows that substantial distinctions do exist between lower court judges with five year experience and
those with less than five years of experience, like the petitioner, and the classification enshrined in the
assailed policy is reasonable and relevant to its legitimate purpose. The Court, thus, rules that the
questioned policy does not infringe on the equal protection clause as it is based on reasonable
classification intended to gauge the proven competence of the applicants. Therefore, the said policy is
valid and constitutional
Due Process
The petitioner averred that the assailed policy violates procedural due process for lack of publication and
non-submission to the University of the Philippines Law Center Office of the National Administrative
Register (ONAR). The petitioner said that the assailed policy will affect all applying judges, thus, the said
policy should have been published.
Contrary to the petitioners contention, the assailed JBC policy need not be filed in the ONAR because
the publication requirement in the ONAR is confined to issuances of administrative agencies under the
Executive branch of the government.27 Since the JBC is a body under the supervision of the Supreme
Court,28 it is not covered by the publication requirements of the Administrative Code.
Nevertheless, the assailed JBC policy requiring five years of service as judges of first-level courts before
they can qualify as applicants to second-level courts should have been published. As a general rule,

30
publication is indispensable in order that all statutes, including administrative rules that are intended to
enforce or implement existing laws, attain binding force and effect. There are, however, several
exceptions to the requirement of publication, such as interpretative regulations and those merely internal
in nature, which regulate only the personnel of the administrative agency and not the public. Neither is
publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors concerning
the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties. 29
Here, the assailed JBC policy does not fall within the administrative rules and regulations exempted from
the publication requirement. The assailed policy involves a qualification standard by which the JBC shall
determine proven competence of an applicant. It is not an internal regulation, because if it were, it would
regulate and affect only the members of the JBC and their staff. Notably, the selection process involves a
call to lawyers who meet the qualifications in the Constitution and are willing to serve in the Judiciary to
apply to these vacant positions. Thus, it is but a natural consequence thereof that potential applicants be
informed of the requirements to the judicial positions, so that they would be able to prepare for and
comply with them.
The Court also noted the fact that in JBC-009, otherwise known as the Rules of the Judicial and Bar
Council, the JBC had put its criteria in writing and listed the guidelines in determining competence,
independence, integrity and probity. Section 1, Paragraph 1 of Rule 9 expressly provides that applicants
for the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, should, as a general rule, have at least five years of
experience as an RTC judge, thus:
RULE 9 SPECIAL GUIDELINES FOR NOMINATION TO A VACANCY IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
AND SANDIGANBAYAN
Section 1. Additional criteria for nomination to the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan.In addition to
the foregoing guidelines the Council should consider the following in evaluating the merits of applicants
for a vacancy in the Court of Appeals and Sandiganbayan:
1. As a general rule, he must have at least five years of experience as a judge of Regional Trial Court,
except when he has in his favor outstanding credentials, as evidenced by, inter alia, impressive scholastic
or educational record and performance in the Bar examinations, excellent reputation for honesty, integrity,
probity and independence of mind; at least very satisfactory performance rating for three (3) years
preceding the filing of his application for nomination; and excellent potentials for appellate judgeship.
x x x x (Emphasis ours)
The express declaration of these guidelines in JBC-009, which have been duly published on the website
of the JBC and in a newspaper of general circulation suggests that the JBC is aware that these are not
mere internal rules, but are rules implementing the Constitution that should be published. Thus, if the JBC
were so-minded to add special guidelines for determining competence of applicants for RTC judges, then
it could and should have amended its rules and published the same. This, the JBC did not do as JBC-009
and its amendatory rule do not have special guidelines for applicants to the RTC.
Moreover, jurisprudence has held that rules implementing a statute should be published. Thus, by
analogy, publication is also required for the five-year requirement because it seeks to implement a
constitutional provision requiring proven competence from members of the judiciary. Nonetheless, the
JBCs failure to publish the assailed policy has not prejudiced the petitioners private interest. At the risk of
being repetitive, the petitioner has no legal right to be included in the list of nominees for judicial
vacancies since the possession of the constitutional and statutory qualifications for appointment to the
Judiciary may not be used to legally demand that ones name be included in the list of candidates for a
judicial vacancy. Ones inclusion in the shortlist is strictly within the discretion of the JBC. 30

31
As to the issue that the JBC failed or refused to implement the completion of the prejudicature program as
a requirement for appointment or promotion in the judiciary under R.A. No. 8557, this ground of the
petition, being unsubstantiated, was unfounded. Clearly, it cannot be said that JBC unlawfully neglects the
performance of a duty enjoined by law.
Finally, the petitioner argued but failed to establish that the assailed policy violates the constitutional
provision under social justice and human rights for equal opportunity of employment. The OSG explained:
[T]he questioned policy does not violate equality of employment opportunities. The constitutional provision
does not call for appointment to the Judiciary of all who might, for any number of reasons, wish to apply.
As with all professions, it is regulated by the State. The office of a judge is no ordinary office. It is imbued
with public interest and is central in the administration of justice x x x. Applicants who meet the
constitutional and legal qualifications must vie and withstand the competition and rigorous screening and
selection process. They must submit themselves to the selection criteria, processes and discretion of
respondent JBC, which has the constitutional mandate of screening and selecting candidates whose
names will be in the list to be submitted to the President. So long as a fair opportunity is available for all
applicants who are evaluated on the basis of their individual merits and abilities, the questioned policy
cannot be struck down as unconstitutional.31 (Citations omitted)
From the foregoing, it is apparent that the petitioner has not established a clear legal right to justify the
issuance of a preliminary injunction. The petitioner has merely filed an application with the JBC for the
position of RTC judge, and he has no clear legal right to be nominated for that office nor to be selected
and included in the list to be submitted to the President which is subject to the discretion of the JBC. The
JBC has the power to determine who shall be recommended to the judicial post. To be included in the list
of applicants is a privilege as one can only be chosen under existing criteria imposed by the JBC itself. As
such, prospective applicants, including the petitioner, cannot claim any demandable right to take part in it
if they fail to meet these criteria. Hence, in the absence of a clear legal right, the issuance of an injunctive
writ is not justified.
As the constitutional body granted with the power of searching for, screening, and selecting applicants
relative to recommending appointees to the Judiciary, the JBC has the authority to determine how best to
perform such constitutional mandate. Pursuant to this authority, the JBC issues various policies setting
forth the guidelines to be observed in the evaluation of applicants, and formulates rules and guidelines in
order to ensure that the rules are updated to respond to existing circumstances. Its discretion is freed
from legislative, executive or judicial intervention to ensure that the JBC is shielded from any outside
pressure and improper influence. Limiting qualified applicants in this case to those judges with five years
of experience was an exercise of discretion by the JBC. The potential applicants, however, should have
been informed of the requirements to the judicial positions, so that they could properly prepare for and
comply with them. Hence, unless there are good and compelling reasons to do so, the Court will refrain
from interfering with the exercise of JBCs powers, and will respect the initiative and independence
inherent in the latter.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Court, however, DIRECTS that the
Judicial and Bar Council comply with the publication requirement of (1) the assailed policy requiring five
years of experience as judges of first-level courts before they can qualify as applicant to the Regional Trial
Court, and (2) other special guidelines that the Judicial and Bar Council is or will be implementing.
SO ORDERED.
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

32

EN BANC
G.R. No. 185812, January 13, 2015
MARITIME INDUSTRY AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON
AUDIT, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
This case involves the validity of the grant of allowance and incentives to the officers and
employees of petitioner Maritime Industry Authority. We revisit the interpretation and
application of Section 12 of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
1989.1chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Resident Auditor issued notices of disallowance on the allowances and incentives
received by the officers and employees of Maritime Industry Authority.2 The Legal and
Adjudication Office of the Commission on Audit upheld the notices of disallowance
issued.3 The Commission on Audit affirmed the notices of disallowance.4 Thus, this petition
for certiorari was filed by Maritime Industry Authority.
Maritime Industry Authority is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and
Communication and created under Presidential Decree No. 474.5chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
On July 1, 1989, Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as An Act Prescribing a Revised
Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and For Other
Purposes took effect. The law standardizes the salary rates of government officials and
employees.
Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 12. Consolidation of Allowances and Compensation. - All allowances, except
for representation and transportation allowances; clothing and laundry allowances;
subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on board government vessels and
hospital personnel; hazard pay; allowances of foreign service personnel stationed abroad;
and such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be
determined by the DBM, shall be deemed included in the standardized salary rates herein
prescribed. Such other additional compensation, whether in cash or in kind, being received
by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall
continue to be authorized.
Existing additional compensation of any national government official or employee paid from
local funds of a local government unit shall be absorbed into the basic salary of said official
or employee and shall be paid by the National Government.
On September 30, 1989, the Department of Budget and Management issued National
Compensation Circular Nos. 566 and 597 implementing Republic Act No. 6758.

33
Maritime Industry Authority discontinued the grant of several allowances and incentives to
its officials and employees allegedly due to the issuance of National Compensation Circular
Nos. 56 and 59.8chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In the memorandum dated February 10, 2000, the Administrator of Maritime Industry
Authority recommended to then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada the approval and/or
restoration of financial incentives, benefits, or allowances to the officers and employees of
Maritime Industry Authority.9chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The allowances and incentives received by the employees and officers of Maritime Industry
Authority as of the date of the memorandum and needing approval of the President are the
following:10chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(1) Per diems and commutable allowance received by the members of the Board of
Maritime Industry Authority;11
(2) Rice subsidy allowance;12 and
(3) Medical allowance.13
The allowances and incentives sought to be restored are the
following:14chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(1) Reimbursable representation allowance for members of the Board of Maritime Industry
Authority;15
(2) Performance incentives allowance;16
(3) Economic/efficiency/financial assistance/benefit;17
(4) Hearing allowance;18 and
(5) Birthday month/off month/employment date anniversary allowances. 19
The request to restore these benefits or allowances was premised on inflation-caused
difficulties resulting to [sic] the exodus of technically/specially trained personnel into the
private sector or abroad who shall carry on the delicate and unique functions of the agency
and in consideration of the additional functions of the agency.20 The request to restore was
also made to further enhance/provide/promote employees welfare/productivity and deter
graft and corruption activities.21chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The memorandum was then allegedly stamped with approved on October 16, 2000 with
the signature of the President of the Philippines below the stamp.22 Relying on the alleged
approval of the President of the Philippines, Maritime Industry Authority granted the
allowances and incentives to its officers and employees starting January
2001.23chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Resident Auditor24 of Maritime Industry Authority then issued the following notices of
disallowance with a total amount of ?5,565,445.02 for the allowances or benefits received
by the officers or employees from January to May 2001:25chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Notice of
Disallowance
No.
2002-002101(01)26

Date

Amount
Disallowed

April 9, 2002

P586,500.00

Allowance/Benefit
Disallowed
Rice and Medical Allowance
Allowances of Board Members and
Secretary

34
2002-005101(01)27

April 9, 2002

P30,800.00

Rice and Medical Allowance


Representation Allowance of Board
Members and Secretary

2002-006101(01)28

August 7, 2002

P1,635,376.08

Rice and Medical Allowance


Performance Incentive Allowance for
February
Birthday and Employment
Anniversary Bonus
Representation Allowance of Board
Members and Secretary

2002-007101(01)29

August 8, 2002

P1,694,008.14

Rice and Medical Allowance


Performance Incentive Allowance
Birthday and Employment
Anniversary Bonus

2002-008101(01)30

August 8, 2002

P1,618,760.80

Rice and Medical Allowance


Performance Incentive Allowance
Birthday and Employment
Anniversary Bonus
Anniversary Allowance

The Resident Auditor disallowed the grant of the allowances on the ground that it
constituted double compensation to public officers and employees proscribed by Article
IX(b) of the 1987 Constitution, in relation to Section 229 of the Government Accounting and
Auditing Manual or GAAM Volume 1.31Further, the Presidents approval of the memorandum
was not the law contemplated by the Constitution as an exception to the prohibition on
double compensation.32chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
On October 25, 2002, Maritime Industry Authority filed a request for reconsideration on the
notices of disallowance before the Commission on Audit Director of the Legal and
Adjudication Office.33chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The request for reconsideration was denied in the decision dated June 23, 2003.34 It was
ruled that the incentives/allowances, except for medical allowance and per diems of the
members of the Board, were integrated in the basic salary pursuant to the Salary
Standardization Law and National Compensation Circular No. 59.35 On the other hand, the
grant of medical allowance and per diems to the members of the Board is proscribed by
Article VII, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution on double
compensation.36chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Maritime Industry Authority filed a petition for review before the Commission on
Audit.37chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In the decision38 dated March 3, 2005, the Commission on Audit denied the petition for
review except as to the per diem and monthly commutable allowance of the members of the
Board of Maritime Industry Authority at the rate of ?500.00 for each member per
month.39chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Commission on Audit held that the disallowed allowances are integrated in the
standardized salary rates under Section 12 of Republic Act No.
6758.40chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

35
Further, the alleged approval of the President for the restoration or grant of benefits falls
short of a law, as required by the Constitution for the grant of additional allowance or
incentive.41 Even assuming that the approval of the President is sufficient to grant additional
allowance to officers and employees of Maritime Industry Authority, the authenticity of the
memorandum bearing the alleged approval of the President presented by Maritime Industry
Authority was not established.42 Only a photocopy of the memorandum was presented. A
copy of the memorandum was also not on file in the Malacaang Records
Office.43chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Maritime Industry Authoritys motion for reconsideration was denied in COA Resolution No.
2008-117 dated December 9, 2008.44chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Thus, this petition for certiorari was filed by Maritime Industry Authority assailing the
Commission on Audit's decision and resolution affirming the notices of disallowance.
In compliance with the orders45 of this court, the Commission on Audit filed a comment on
the petition for certiorari on June 22, 2009.46 Maritime Industry Authority filed a reply to the
comment on August 24, 2009.47chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The sole issue in this case is whether the allowance or incentives granted to the officers and
employees of Maritime Industry Authority have legal basis.
We deny the petition.
I
Commission on Audit did not
commit grave abuse of discretion
The aggrieved party can assail the decision of the Commission on Audit through a petition
for certiorari under Rule 64 before this court. A petition under Rule 64 may prosper only
after a finding that the administrative agency committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Not all errors of the Commission on Audit is
reviewable by this court. Thus,
A Rule 65 petition is a unique and special rule because it commands limited review of the
question raised. As an extraordinary remedy, its purpose is simply to keep the public
respondent within the bounds of its jurisdiction or to relieve the petitioner from the public
respondents arbitrary acts. In this review, the Court is confined solely to questions of
jurisdiction whenever a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial function
acts without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. . . .
The limitation of the Courts power of review over COA rulings merely complements its
nature as an independent constitutional body that is tasked to safeguard the proper use
of the government and, ultimately, the peoples property by vesting it with power to (i)
determine whether the government entities comply with the law and the rules in disbursing
public funds; and (ii) disallow legal disbursements of these funds. 48(Emphasis in the
original)
Reviewing the rationale for this standard of judicial review:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

36
[t]his court has consistently held that findings of administrative agencies are generally
respected, unless found to have been tainted with unfairness that amounted to grave abuse
of discretion:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
It is the general policy of the Court to sustain the decisions of administrative authorities,
especially one which is constitutionally-created not only on the basis of the doctrine of
separation of powers but also for their presumed expertise in the laws that they are
entrusted to enforce. Findings of administrative agencies are accorded not only respect but
also finality when the decision and order are not tainted with unfairness or arbitrariness that
would amount to grave abuse of discretion. It is only when the COA has acted without or in
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, that this Court entertains a petition questioning its rulings. There is grave abuse
of discretion when there is an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
duty enjoined by law or to act in contemplation of law as when the judgment rendered is
not based on law and evidence but on caprice, whim and despotism. 49
We find that no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction may be
attributed to the Commission on Audit in this case.
II
Position of the parties
Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority argues that the allowances and incentives granted to
its officers and employees are not integrated in the standardized salary.50 It relies on the
last clause of the first sentence of Section 12 of Republic Act No.
6758:51chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Section 12. Consolidation of Allowances and Compensation. - All allowances, except
for representation and transportation allowances; clothing and laundry allowances;
subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on board government vessels and
hospital personnel; hazard pay; allowances of foreign service personnel stationed abroad;
and such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be
determined by the DBM, shall be deemed included in the standardized salary rates herein
prescribed. Such other additional compensation, whether in cash or in kind, being received
by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall
continue to be authorized.
Existing additional compensation of any national government official or employee paid from
local funds of a local government unit shall be absorbed into the basic salary of said official
or employee and shall be paid by the National Government. (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority understands the clause as requiring a subsequent
issuance by the Department of Budget and Management so that other allowances or
benefits not specifically enumerated in the provision will be excluded. It insists that a
circular must be issued by the Department of Budget and Management for a specific
allowance to be deemed integrated in the standardized salary pursuant to Section 12 of
Republic Act No. 6758.
Since the National Compensation Circular No. 59, the circular issued by the Department of
Budget and Management implementing Section 12, was not published, there can be no
allowance deemed integrated in the standardized salary rates.52 It relies on Philippine Ports

37
Authority hired after July 1, 1989 v. Commission on Audit53 where this court held the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
However, because of its lack of publication in either the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
general circulation, DBM-CCC No. 10 was declared ineffective on August 12, 1998, in De
Jesus v. COA, which we quote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In the present case under scrutiny, it is decisively clear that D[B]M-CCC No. 10, which
completely disallows payment of allowances and other additional compensation to
government officials and employees, starting November 1, 1989, is not a mere
interpretative or internal regulation. It is something more than that. And why not, when it
tends to deprive government workers of their allowances and additional compensation
sorely needed to keep body and soul together. At the very least, before the said circular
under attack may be permitted to substantially reduce their income, the government
officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the publication of the
subject circular in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines to the end that they be given amplest opportunity to voice out whatever
opposition they may have, and to ventilate their stance on the subject matter. This approach
is more in keeping with democratic precepts and rudiments of fairness and
transparency.cralawred
In other words, during the period that DBM-CCC No. 10 was in legal limbo, the COLA and
the amelioration allowance were not effectively integrated into the standardized salaries.
Hence, it would be incorrect to contend that because those allowances were not effectively
integrated under the first sentence, then they were non-integrated benefits falling under
the second sentence of Section 12 of RA 6758. Their characterization must be deemed to
have also been in legal limbo, pending the effectivity of DBM-CCC No. 10. Consequently,
contrary to the ruling of the COA, the second sentence does not apply to the present case.
By the same token, the policy embodied in the provision the non-diminution of benefits in
favour of incumbents as of July 1, 1989 is also inapplicable.
The parties fail to cite any law barring the continuation of the grant of the COLA and the
amelioration allowance during the period when DBM-CCC No. 10 was in legal limbo.54
On the other hand, respondent Commission on Audit interprets Section 12 of Republic Act
No. 6758 differently. It considers all allowances as deemed included in the standardized
salary except those specifically enumerated in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758.55 The
issuance of a circular by the Department of Budget and Management is necessary only for
the grant of allowance other than those enumerated under Section 12 of Republic Act No.
6758 in addition to the standardized salary.56Respondent Commission on Audit relies on PPA
Employees Hired After 01 July 1989 v. COA57 and NAPOCOR Employees Consolidated Union
v. National Power Corporation.58chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In PPA Employees Hired After 01 July 1989 v. COA, et al., 59 this court held that the
Department of Budget and Managements issuance is only for the purpose of identifying
additional non-integrated benefits, over and above the standardized salary rates.
Then in NAPOCOR Employees Consolidated Union v. National Power Corporation,60 this court
stated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 12 of Rep. Act No. 6758 lays down the general rule that all allowances of state
workers are to be included in their standardized salary rates. Exempted from integration to

38
the standardized salary rates, as specified in the aforequoted provision of Section 12 of Rep.
Act No. 6758, are only the following allowances:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)

representation and transportation allowances (RATA);


clothing and laundry allowances;
subsistence allowances of marine officers and crew on board government vessels;
subsistence allowance of hospital personnel;
hazard pay;
allowance of foreign service personnel stationed abroad; and
such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be
determined by the DBM.

Otherwise stated, the foregoing are the only allowances which government employees can
continue to receive in addition to their standardized salary rates. The employee welfare
allowance of NPC personnel is clearly not among the allowances listed above which State
workers can continue to receive under Rep. Act No. 6758 over and above their standardized
salary rates. We must emphasize that Rep. Act No. 6758 does not require that DBM should
first define those allowances that are to be integrated with the standardized salary rates of
government employees before NPC could integrate the employee welfare allowance into its
employees salaries. Thus, despite our ruling in De Jesus which thwarted the attempt of
DBM in DBM-CCC No. 10 to complete the list of allowances exempted from integration, NPC
is allowed under Rep. Act No. 6758 to integrate employee welfare allowance into the
employees standardized salary rates.61
Respondent Commission on Audit argues that the alleged lack of publication of National
Compensation Circular No. 59 does not affect the integration of allowances into the
standardized salary.62 Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 is in itself executory in that
allowances and benefits are deemed integrated in the standardized salary except those
specifically exempted.
Further, the nature of the allowances and incentives in this case is not similar to that of the
enumerated exceptions in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758.63 As held in Bureau of
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Employees Union v. Commission on Audit,64 the benefits
excluded from the standardized salary rates are the allowances or those which are usually
granted to officials and employees of the government to defray or reimburse the expenses
incurred in the performance of their official functions.65chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Finally, respondent Commission on Audit points out that there is no law that authorizes the
grant of the allowances and incentives in addition to the salaries of the officers and
employees of petitioner Maritime Industry Authority.66chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondent Commission on Audit points out that the alleged approval of the President was
contained in a mere photocopy of the memorandum dated February 10, 2000. It
purportedly bears the approval and signature of the President for the grant of the
allowances and incentives.67 The original was not presented during the proceedings.
III
The concept of integration of allowances
The consolidation of allowances in the standardized salary in Section 12 of Republic Act No.
6758 is a new rule in the Philippine position classification and compensation system. The

39
previous laws68 on standardization of compensation of government officials and employees
do not have this provision.
Presidential Decree No. 985,69 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597,70 the law prior
to Republic Act No. 6758, repealed all laws, decrees, executive orders, and other issuances
or parts thereof that authorize the grant of allowances of certain positions and
employees.71 Under Presidential Decree No. 985, allowances, honoraria, and other fringe
benefits may only be granted to government employees upon approval of the President with
the recommendation of the Commissioner of the Budget
Commission.72chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Being a new rule, Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 raised several questions among
government employees. Petitions were filed before this court involving the Commission on
Audits disallowance of the grant of allowances and incentives to government employees.
This court already settled the issues and matters raised by petitioner Maritime Industry
Authority.
The clear policy of Section 12 is to standardize salary rates among government personnel
and do away with multiple allowances and other incentive packages and the resulting
differences in compensation among them.73 Thus, the general rule is that all allowances are
deemed included in the standardized salary.74 However, there are allowances that may be
given in addition to the standardized salary. These non-integrated allowances are specifically
identified in Section 12, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. representation and transportation allowances;
2. clothing and laundry allowances;
3. subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on board government
vessels;
4. subsistence allowance of hospital personnel;
5. hazard pay; and

6. allowances of foreign service personnel stationed abroad.75


In addition to the non-integrated allowances specified in Section 12, the Department of
Budget and Management is delegated the authority to identify other allowances that may be
given to government employees in addition to the standardized
salary.76chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Action by the Department of Budget and Management is not required to implement Section
12 integrating allowances into the standardized salary.77 Rather, an issuance by the
Department of Budget and Management is required only if additional non-integrated
allowances will be identified. Without this issuance from the Department of Budget and
Management, the enumerated non-integrated allowances in Section 12 remain
exclusive.78chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
This court has repeatedly clarified the last clause of the first sentence of Section 12: and
such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be determined by
the DBM.
In Abellanosa v. Commission on Audit,79 this court held that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

40
R.A. 6758 further reinforced this policy by expressly decreeing that all allowances not
specifically mentioned therein, or as may be determined by the DBM, shall be deemed
included in the standardized salary rates prescribed.80
In Napocor Employees Consolidation Union v. The National Power Corporation,81 this court
held that Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 is self-executing. It is not required that
allowances must be listed for these to be considered integrated in the standardized salary.
This court said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Otherwise stated, the foregoing are the only allowances which government employees can
continue to receive in addition to their standardized salary rates. The employee welfare
allowance of NPC personnel is clearly not among the allowances listed above which State
workers can continue to receive under Rep. Act No. 6758 over and above their standardized
salary rates. We must emphasize that Rep. Act No. 6758 does not require that DBM
should first define those allowances that are to be integrated in the standardized
salary rates of government employees before NPC could integrate the employee
welfare allowance into its employees' salaries.Thus, despite our ruling in De
Jesus which thwarted the attempt of DBM-CCC No. 10 to complete the list of allowances
exempted from integration, NPC is allowed under Rep. Act No. 6758 to integrate the
employee welfare allowance into the employees' standardized salary rates.82 (Emphasis
supplied)
In Benguet State University v. Commission on Audit,83 this court held that the rice subsidy
and health care allowance were not among the allowances listed in Section 12 which State
workers can continue to receive under R.A. No. 6758 over and above their standardized
salary rates.84chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
We cannot subscribe to petitioner Maritime Industry Authoritys contention that due to the
non-publication of the Department of Budget and Managements National Compensation
Circular No. 59, it is considered invalid that results in the non-integration of allowances in
the standardized salary.
The Department of Budget and Managements National Compensation Circular No. 59 issued
on September 30, 1989 enumerates the allowances/additional compensation of government
employees that are deemed integrated into the basic salary. It does not identify an
allowance that should not be deemed as integrated in the basic salary of government
employees.
As held in Philippine International Trading Corporation v. Commission on Audit,85 the nonpublication of the Department of Budget and Managements issuance enumerating
allowances that are deemed integrated in the standardized salary will not affect the
execution of Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758. Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
There is no merit in the claim of PITC that R.A. No. 6758, particularly Section 12 thereof is
void because DBM-Corporate Compensation Circular No. 10, its implementing rules, was
nullified in the case of De Jesus v. Commission on Audit, for lack of publication. The basis of
COA in disallowing the grant of SFI was Section 12 of R.A. No. 6758 and not DBM-CCC No.
10. Moreover, the nullity of DBM-CCC No. 10 will not affect the validity of R.A. No. 6758. It
is a cardinal rule in statutory construction that statutory provisions control the rules and
regulations which may be issued pursuant thereto. Such rules and regulations must be
consistent with and must not defeat the purpose of the statute. The validity of R.A. No.
6758 should not be made to depend on the validity of its implementing rules.86

41

In Gutierrez v. Department of Budget and Management,87 this court held


that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
all allowances were deemed integrated into the standardized salary rates except the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1) representation and transportation allowances;
(2) clothing and laundry allowances;
(3) subsistence allowances of marine officers and crew on board government vessels;
(4) subsistence allowances of hospital personnel;
(5) hazard pay;
(6) allowances of foreign service personnel stationed abroad; and
(7) such other additional compensation not otherwise specified in Section 12 as may be
determined by the DBM.cralawred
But, while the provision enumerated certain exclusions, it also authorized the DBM to
identify such other additional compensation that may be granted over and above the
standardized salary rates. In Philippine Ports Authority Employees Hired After July 1, 1989
v. Commission on Audit, the Court has ruled that while Section 12 could be considered selfexecuting in regard to items (1) to (6), it was not so in regard to item (7). The DBM still
needed to amplify item (7) since one cannot simply assume what other allowances were
excluded from the standardized salary rates. It was only upon the issuance and effectivity of
the corresponding implementing rules and regulations that item (7) could be deemed legally
completed.
....
In this case, the DBM promulgated NCC 59 [and CCC 10]. But, instead of identifying some
of the additional exclusions that Section 12 of R.A. 6758 permits it to make, the DBM made
a list of what allowances and benefits are deemed integrated into the standardized salary
rates. More specifically, NCC 59 identified the following allowances/additional compensation
that are deemed integrated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
....
The drawing up of the above list is consistent with Section 12 above. R.A. 6758 did not
prohibit the DBM from identifying for the purpose of implementation what fell into the class
of all allowances. With respect to what employees benefits fell outside the term apart
from those that the law specified, the DBM, said this Court in a case, needed to promulgate
rules and regulations identifying those excluded benefits. This leads to the inevitable
conclusion that until and unless the DBM issues such rules and regulations, the enumerated
exclusions in items (1) to (6) remain exclusive. Thus so, not being an enumerated
exclusion, COLA is deemed already incorporated in the standardized salary rates of
government employees under the general rule of integration. 88
Petitioner Maritime Industry Authoritys reliance on Philippine Ports Authority Employees
Hired After July 1, 1989 v. Commission on Audit is misplaced. As this court clarified
in Napocor Employees Consolidated Union v. National Power Corporation,89 the ruling in
Philippine Ports Authority Employees Hired After July 1, 1989 was limited to distinguishing
the benefits that may be received by government employees who were hired before and
after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 6758. Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

42
[t]he Court has, to be sure, taken stock of its recent ruling in Philippine Ports Authority
(PPA) Employees Hired After July 1, 1989 vs. Commission on Audit. Sadly, however, our
pronouncement therein is not on all fours applicable owing to the differing factual milieu.
There, the Commission on Audit allowed the payment of back cost of living allowance
(COLA) and amelioration allowance previously withheld from PPA employees pursuant to the
heretofore ineffective DBM CCC No. 10, but limited the back payment only to incumbents
as of July 1, 1989 who were already then receiving both allowances. COA considered the
COLA and amelioration allowance of PPA employees as not integratedwithin the purview of
the second sentence of Section 12 of Rep. Act No. 6758, which, according to COA confines
the payment of not integrated benefits only to July 1, 1989 incumbents already enjoying
the allowances.
In setting aside COAs ruling, we held in PPA Employees that there was no basis to use the
elements of incumbency and prior receipt as standards to discriminate against the
petitioners therein. For, DBM-CCC No. 10, upon which the incumbency and prior receipt
requirements are contextually predicated, was in legal limbo from July 1, 1989 (effective
date of the unpublished DBM-CCC No. 10) to March 16, 1999 (date of effectivity of the
heretofore unpublished DBM circular). And being in legal limbo, the benefits otherwise
covered by the circular, if properly published, were likewise in legal limbo as they cannot be
classified either as effectively integrated or not integrated benefits.90
Similar to what was stated in Napocor Employees Consolidated Union, the element of
discrimination between incumbents as of July 1, 1989 and those joining the force thereafter
is not obtaining in this case. The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 12,
Republic Act No. 6758 is not in issue.
V
Additional allowances that
may be identified and granted
to government employees
Other than those specifically enumerated in Section 12, non-integrated allowances,
incentives, or benefits, may still be identified and granted to government employees. This is
categorically allowed in Republic Act No. 6758. This is also in line with the Presidents power
of control over executive departments, bureaus, and offices.
These allowances, however, cannot be granted indiscriminately. Otherwise, the purpose and
mandate of Republic Act No. 6758 will be defeated.
Republic Act No. 6758 was enacted to promote the policy of the State to provide equal pay
for substantially equal work and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in
duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions.91 The law lists
down the factors that should guide the Department of Budget and Management in preparing
the index of occupational services, to wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. the education and excellence required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the
position;
2. the nature and complexity of the work to be performed;
3. the kind of supervision received;
4. mental and/or physical strain required in the completion of the work;
5. nature and extent of internal and external relationships;

43
6. kind of supervision exercised;
7. decision-making responsibility;
8. responsibility for accuracy of records and reports;
9. accountability for funds, properties, and equipment; and
10. hardship, hazard, and personal risk involved in the job.92
The factors to determine the salary grades corresponding to each position of a government
employee do not take into consideration the peculiar characteristics of each government
office where performance of the same work may entail different necessary expenses for the
employee. For instance, some employees in the Bureau of Customs may require expenses
pertaining to security to properly execute their duties as compared to employees in the
Department of Trade and Industry. Republic Act No. 6758 recognizes this when it allowed
certain allowances in addition to the standardized salary due to the nature of the office.
Section 12 of the law excludes from the standardized salary allowances to be given to
marine officers and crew on board government vessels and hospital personnel, and foreign
service personnel stationed abroad.93chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Thus, it must be shown that additional non-integrated allowances are given to government
employees of certain offices due to the unique nature of the office and of the work
performed by the employee.
Further, the non-integrated allowances that may be granted in addition to those specifically
enumerated in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 should be in the nature similar to those
enumerated in the provision, that is, they are amounts needed by the employee in the
performance of his or her duties.94chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
[T]he benefits excluded from the standardized salary rates are the allowances or those
which are usually granted to officials and employees of the government to defray or
reimburse the expenses incurred in the performance of their official functions.
....
In Philippine Ports Authority v. Commission on Audit, we explained that if these allowances
were consolidated with the standardized salary rates, then government officials or
employees would be compelled to spend their personal funds in attending to their duties. 95
In National Tobacco Administration v. Commission on Audit,96 this court held that
educational assistance is not an allowance that may be granted in addition to the
standardized salary.
Analyzing No. 7, which is the last clause of the first sentence of Section 12, in relation to the
other benefits therein enumerated, it can be gleaned unerringly that it is a catch-all
proviso. Further reflection on the nature of subject fringe benefits indicates that all of them
have one thing in common - they belong to one category of privilege calledallowances which
are usually granted to officials and employees of the government to defray or reimburse the
expenses incurred in the performance of their official functions.In Philippine Ports
Authority vs. Commission on Audit, this Court rationalized that if these allowances are
consolidated with the standardized rate, then the government official or employee will be
compelled to spend his personal funds in attending to his duties.
The conclusion - that the enumerated fringe benefits are in the nature of allowance - finds
support in sub-paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 of CCC No. 10.

44

Sub-paragraph 5.4 enumerates the allowance/fringe benefits which are not integrated into
the basic salary and which may be continued after June 30, 1989 subject to the condition
that the grant of such benefit is covered by statutory authority, to
wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1) RATA;
(2) Uniform and Clothing allowances;
(3) Hazard pay;
(4) Honoraria/additional compensation for employees on detail with special projects or interagency undertakings;
(5) Honoraria for services rendered by researchers, experts and specialists who are of
acknowledged authorities in their fields of specialization;
(6) Honoraria for lectures and resource persons or speakers;
(7) Overtime pay in accordance to Memorandum Order No. 228;
(8) Clothing/laundry allowances and subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on
board GOCCs/GFIs owned vessels and used in their operations, and of hospital personnel
who attend directly to patients and who by nature of their duties are required to wear
uniforms;
(9) Quarters Allowance of officials and employees who are presently entitled to the same;
(10) Overseas, Living Quarters and other allowances presently authorized for personnel
stationed abroad;
(11) Night differential of personnel on night duty;
(12) Per Diems of members of the governing Boards of GOCCs/GFIs at the rate as
prescribed in their respective Charters;
(13) Flying pay of personnel undertaking aerial flights;
(14) Per Diems/Allowances of Chairman and Members or Staff of collegial bodies and
Committees; and
(15) Per Diems/Allowances of officials and employees on official foreign and local travel
outside of their official station.
In addition, sub-paragraph 5.5 of the same Implementing Rules provides for the other
allowances/fringe benefits not likewise integrated into the basic salary and allowed to be
continued only for incumbents as of June 30, 1989 subject to the condition that the grant of
the same is with appropriate authorization either from the DBM, Office of the President or
legislative issuances, as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)

Rice Subsidy;
Sugar Subsidy;
Death Benefits other than those granted by the GSIS;
Medical/Dental/Optical Allowances/Benefits;
Childrens Allowances;
Special Duty Pay/Allowance;
Meal Subsidy;
Longevity Pay; and
Tellers Allowance.

On the other hand, the challenged financial incentive is awarded by the government in order
to encourage the beneficiaries to pursue further studies and to help them underwrite the
expenses for the education of their children and dependents. In other words, subject benefit
is in the nature of financial assistance and not of an allowance. For the
former, reimbursement is not necessary while for the latter, reimbursement is required. Not
only that, the former is basically an incentive wage which is defined as abonus or other

45
payment made to employees in addition to guaranteed hourly wages while the latter
cannot be reckoned with as a bonus or additional income, strictly speaking.
It is indeed decisively clear that the benefits mentioned in the first sentence of Section 12
and sub-paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 of CCC No. 10 are entirely different from the benefit in
dispute, denominated as Educational Assistance. The distinction elucidated upon is material
in arriving at the correct interpretation of the two seemingly contradictory provisions of
Section 12.
Cardinal is the rule in statutory construction that the particular words, clauses and phrases
should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole andevery part of
the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to
produce a harmonious whole. A statute must so construed as to harmonize and give effect
to all its provisions whenever possible. And the rule - that statute must be construed as a
whole - requires that apparently conflicting provisions should be reconciled and harmonized,
if at all possible. It is likewise a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the
legislature is the controlling factor in the interpretation of the subject statute. With these
rules and the foregoing distinction elaborated upon, it is evident that the two seemingly
irreconcilable propositions are susceptible to perfect harmony. Accordingly, the Court
concludes that under the aforesaid catch-all proviso, the legislative intent is just to include
the fringe benefits which are in the nature ofallowances and since the benefit under
controversy is not in the same category, it is safe to hold that subject educational assistance
is not one of the fringe benefits within the contemplation of the first sentence of Section 12
but rather, of the second sentence of Section 12, in relation to Section 17 of R.A. No. 6758,
considering that (1) the recipients were incumbents when R.A. No. 6758 took effect on July
1, 1989, (2) were, in fact, receiving the same, at the time, and (3) such additional
compensation is distinct and separate from the specific allowances above-listed, as the
former is not integrated into the standardized salary rate. Simply stated, the challenged
benefit is covered by the second sentence of Section 12 of R.A. No. 6758, the application of
sub-paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5 of CCC No. 10 being only confined to the first sentence of
Section 12, particularly the last clause thereof which amplifies the catch-all
proviso.97 (Citations omitted)
In Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Employees Union v. Commission on
Audit,98 this court affirmed the disallowance of the grant of the food basket allowance in the
amount of P10,000.00 to employees of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. This
court held:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In the instant case, the Food Basket Allowance is definitely not in the nature of an allowance
to reimburse expenses incurred by officials and employees of the government in the
performance of their official functions. It is not payment in consideration of the fulfilment of
official duty. It is a form of financial assistance to all officials and employees of BFAR.
Petitioner itself stated that the Food Basket Allowance has the purpose of alleviating the
economic condition of BFAR employees.99
VI
Who identifies and grants
Respondent Commission on Audit argues that the alleged approval by the President is not a
law that would allow the grant of allowances and benefits to the employees of petitioner
Maritime Industry Authority.

46

Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 does not require the enactment of a law to exclude
benefits or allowances from the standardized salary. What is required is a determination by
the Department of Budget and Management of the non-integrated benefits or allowances.
In Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima:100chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Congress has two options when enacting legislation to define national policy within the
broad horizons of its legislative competence. It can itself formulate the details or it can
assign to the executive branch the responsibility for making necessary marginal decisions in
conformity with those standards. In the latter case, the law must be complete in all its
essential terms and conditions when it leaves the hands of the legislature. Thus, what is left
for the executive branch or the concerned administrative agency when it formulates rules
and regulations implementing the law is to fill up details (supplementary rule-making) or
ascertain facts necessary to bring the law into actual operation (contingent rulemaking).101 (Citations omitted)
The law delegated to the executive branch the filling in of other allowances and benefits that
should be excluded from the standardized salary. It specifically identifies the Department of
Budget and Management to carry out the task. However, this does not exclude the President
from identifying the excluded allowances or benefits himself, the Secretary of the
Department of Budget and Management being an alter ego of the President. Of course, the
performance of this task must still be in accordance with the parameters laid down in
Republic Act No. 6758.102 As this court held in Chavez v.
Romulo:103chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
at the apex of the entire executive officialdom is the President. Section 17, Article VII of the
Constitution specifies his power as Chief Executive, thus: The President shall have
control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that
the laws be faithfully executed. As Chief Executive, President Arroyo holds the steering
wheel that controls the course of her government. She lays down policies in the execution of
her plans and programs. Whatever policy she chooses, she has her subordinates to
implement them. In short, she has the power of control.Whenever a specific function is
entrusted by law or regulation to her subordinate, she may act directly or merely
direct the performance of a duty.Thus, when President Arroyo directed respondent
Ebdane to suspend the issuance of PTCFOR, she was just directing a subordinate to perform
an assigned duty. Such act is well within the prerogative of her office.104 (Emphasis in the
original)
VII
Constitutional and Fiscal
Autonomy Group
We must, however, differentiate the guidelines for the grant of allowances and benefits to
officials and employees of members of the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group. The
judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, and the
Office of the Ombudsman are granted fiscal autonomy by the Constitution. 105 The fiscal
autonomy enjoyed by the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group is an aspect of the
members independence guaranteed by the Constitution.106Their independence is a
necessary component for their existence and survival in our form of government.
In Bengzon v. Drilon,107 this court said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

47
As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the Judiciary, the Civil
Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Elections, and the Office
of the Ombudsman contemplates a guarantee of full flexibility to allocate and utilize their
resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. It recognizes the power
and authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of compensation not exceeding the
highest rates authorized by law for compensation and pay loans of the government and
allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided by law or prescribed by them in the
course of the discharge of their functions.108
As this court held in Re: COA Opinion on the Computation of the Appraised Value of the
Properties Purchased by the Retired Chief/Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, 109 real
fiscal autonomy covers the grant to the Judiciary of the authority to use and dispose of its
funds and properties at will, free from any outside control or interference.110 This includes
the judgment to use its funds to provide additional allowances and benefits to its officials
and employees deemed to be necessary and relevant in the performance of their functions
in the office. Due to the nature of the functions of the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy
Group and the constitutional grant of fiscal autonomy, an issuance by the Department of
Budget and Management or any other agency of the government is not necessary to exclude
an allowance or benefit from the standardized salary.
The entity entrusted by Republic Act No. 6758 to determine the benefits and allowances that
are not deemed integrated is the Department of Budget and Management. It studies the
necessity and reasonableness of the grant of the allowance and, more importantly, its
practicability, that is, whether the government has enough budget to grant the allowance.
This is in line with our form of government where the sound management and effective
utilization of financial resources of government are basically executive functions.111 On the
other hand, the budget of the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group is constitutionally
mandated to be released regularly. How these constitutional bodies manage and utilize their
budget is within their prerogative and authority to determine. The officials of the
Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group can determine whether the budget allocated and
released by the government to them can deliver the allowances and benefits its employees
will receive. The executive cannot interfere with how funds will be used or disbursed without
violating the separation of powers.
Allowing the President or his or her alter ego to dictate the allowances or benefits that may
be received by the officers and employees of the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group
will undermine their independence. This arrangement is repugnant to their autonomy
enshrined by the Constitution. As said in Velasco v. Commission on Audit,112 the grant or
regulation of the grant of productivity incentive allowance or similar benefits are in the
exercise of the Presidents power of control over these entities. Not being under the
Presidents power of control, the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group should be able to
determine the allowances or benefits that suit the functions of the office.
Nonetheless, expenditures of government funds by the Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy
Group are still audited by the Commission on Audit on a post-audit
basis.113chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
VIII
No proof of grant of allowance
by the President or the Department
of Budget and Management

48

Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority relies on the alleged approval by then President
Estrada of its memorandum dated February 10, 2000. Respondent Commission on Audit
counters that the original memorandum was not presented by petitioner Maritime Industry
Authority. Further, the alleged approval is not a law authorizing the grant of additional
compensation or benefits to government employees.
Article VI, Section 29 of the 1987 Constitution provides, [n]o money shall be paid out of
the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.
Further, before public funds may be disbursed for salaries and benefits to government
officers and employees, it must be shown that these are commensurate to the services
rendered and necessary or relevant to the functions of the office. Additional allowances and
benefits must be shown to be necessary or relevant to the fulfillment of the official duties
and functions of the government officers and employees.114chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In Yap v. Commission on Audit,115 this court laid down two general requisites before a
benefit may be granted to government officials or employees. First is that the allowances
and benefits were authorized by law and second, that there was a direct and substantial
relationship between the performance of public functions and the grant of the disputed
allowances. Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[t]o reiterate, the public purpose requirement for the disbursement of public funds is a valid
limitation on the types of allowances and benefits that may be granted to public officers. It
was incumbent upon petitioner to show that his allowances and benefits were authorized by
law and that there was a direct and substantial relationship between the performance of his
public functions and the grant of the disputed allowances to him.116
The burden of proving the validity or legality of the grant of allowance or benefits is with the
government agency or entity granting the allowance or benefit, or the employee claiming
the same. After the Resident Auditor issues a notice of disallowance, the aggrieved party
may appeal the disallowance to the Director within six (6) months from receipt of the
decision.117 At this point, the government agency or employee has the chance to prove the
validity of the grant of allowance or benefit. If the appeal is denied, a petition for review
may be filed before the Commission on Audit Commission Proper.118 Finally, the aggrieved
party may file a petition for certiorari before this court to assail the decision of the
Commission on Audit Commission Proper.119chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Our laws and procedure have provided the aggrieved party several chances to prove the
validity of the grant of the allowance or benefit.
To prove the validity of the allowances granted, petitioner Maritime Industry Authority
presented a photocopy of the memorandum with an approved stamped on the
memorandum. Below the stamp is the signature of then President Estrada.
We cannot rule on the validity of the alleged approval by the then President Estrada of the
grant of additional allowances and benefits. Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority failed to
prove its existence. The alleged approval of the President was contained in a mere
photocopy of the memorandum dated February 10, 2000. The original was not presented
during the proceedings. A copy of the document is not in the Malacaang Records Office.
IX

49

The grant of allowances and


benefits amounts to double
compensationproscribed by
Article IX(B), Section 8 of
the 1987 Constitution
Article IX(B), Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 8. No elective or appointive public officer or employee shall receive additional,
double, or indirect compensation, unless specifically authorized by law, nor accept without
the consent of the Congress, any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any
foreign government.
Pensions or gratuities shall not be considered as additional, double, or indirect
compensation.
Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority argues that the rule against double compensation
does not apply because National Compensation Circular No. 59 is ineffectual due to its nonpublication.120chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondent Commission on Audit counters that the disallowed allowances is tantamount to
additional compensation proscribed by Article IX(B), Section 8 of the 1987
Constitution.121 This is because these allowances are not authorized by law.
Republic Act No. 6758 deems all allowances and benefits received by government officials
and employees as incorporated in the standardized salary, unless excluded by law or an
issuance by the Department of Budget and Management. The integration of the benefits and
allowances is by legal fiction.122chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The disallowed benefits and allowances of petitioner Maritime Industry Authoritys officials
and employees were not excluded by law or an issuance by the Department of Budget and
Management. Thus, these were deemed already given to the officials and employees when
they received their basic salaries. Their receipt of the disallowed benefits and allowances
was tantamount to double compensation.
X
Petitioner Maritime Industry
Authority was not denied due
process in the disallowance of
the allowances and benefits
Petitioner Maritime Industry Authority argues that it was denied administrative due
process.123Respondent Commission on Audit affirmed the notices of disallowance on the
basis of provisions of law that are different from the bases cited in the notices of
disallowance.124chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondent Commission on Audit does not deny that other grounds were relied upon to
affirm the disallowance of the allowances given to the officers and employees of petitioner
Maritime Industry Authority. However, it argues that this is pursuant to its mandate under
Article IX(D), Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution125 and is a necessary incident of its

50
appellate jurisdiction as provided in Rule II, Section 4 of the 1997 COA Revised Rules of
Procedure.126chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
This court already settled that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[the Commission on Audit] is not required to limit its review only to the grounds relied upon
by a government agency's auditor with respect to disallowing certain disbursements of
public funds. In consonance with its general audit power, respondent Commission on Audit is
not merely legally permitted, but is also duty-bound to make its own assessment of the
merits of the disallowed disbursement and not simply restrict itself to reviewing the validity
of the ground relied upon by the auditor of the government agency concerned. To hold
otherwise would render COA's vital constitutional power unduly limited and thereby useless
and ineffective.127
The disallowance of the grant of benefits and allowances by respondent Commission on
Audit is proper. We proceed to determine whether officers and employees of petitioner
Maritime Industry Authority are liable and/or should refund the disallowed allowances.
XII
Refund of the amounts received
and liability of approving officers
Presidential Decree No. 1445 provides for a general liability for unlawful
expenditures:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 103. General liability for unlawful expenditures. Expenditures of government funds
or uses of government property in violation of law or regulations shall be a personal liability
of the official or employee found to be directly responsible therefor.128
Section 19 of the Manual of Certificate of Settlement and Balances, Commission on Audit
Circular No. 94-001 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
19.1. The liability of public officers and other persons for audit disallowances shall be
determined on the basis of: (a) the nature of the disallowance; (b) the duties,
responsibilities or obligations of the officers/persons concerned; (c) the extent of their
participation or involvement in the disallowed transaction; and (d) the amount of losses or
damages suffered by the government thereby. The following are illustrative
examples:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
....
19.1.3. Public officers who approve or authorize transactions involving the expenditure of
government funds and uses of government properties shall be liable for all losses arising out
of their negligence or failure to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family.
Generally, the public officers good faith does not excuse his or her personal liability over the
unauthorized disbursement. This court said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 103 of P.D. 1445 declares that expenditures of government funds or uses of
government property in violation of law or regulations shall be a personal liability of the
official or employee found to be directly responsible therefor. The public officials personal

51
liability arises only if the expenditure of government funds was made in violation of law. In
this case, petitioners act of entering into a contract on behalf of the local government unit
without the requisite authority therefor was in violation of the Local Government Code.
While petitioner may have relied on the opinion of the City Legal Officer, such reliance only
serves to buttress his good faith. It does not, however, exculpate him from his personal
liability under P.D. 1445.129
However, with regard to the disallowance of salaries, emoluments, benefits, and allowances
of government employees, prevailing jurisprudence130 provides that recipients or payees
need not refund these disallowed amounts when they received these in good
faith.131 Government officials and employees who received benefits or allowances, which
were disallowed, may keep the amounts received if there is no finding of bad faith and the
disbursement was made in good faith.132chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
On the other hand, officers who participated in the approval of the disallowed allowances or
benefits are required to refund only the amounts received when they are found to be in bad
faith or grossly negligent amounting to bad faith.133chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In Philippine Economic Zone Authority v. Commission on Audit,134 this court defined good
faith relative to the requirement of refund of disallowed benefits or allowances.
In common usage, the term good faith is ordinarily used to describe that state of mind
denoting honesty of intention, and freedom from knowledge of circumstances which ought
to put the holder upon inquiry; an honest intention to abstain from taking any
unconscientious advantage of another, even through technicalities of law, together with
absence of all information, notice, or benefit or belief of facts which render transaction
unconscientious.135
The assailed notices of disallowance enumerate the following persons as liable for the
disallowed disbursements:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Elenita Delgado Approving Officer136
Oscar Sevilla- Approving Officer 137
Yolanda Quiones Chief Accountant138
Agrifina Lacson Certifying Officer139
Erlinda Baltazar - Cashier140
Myrna Colag Alternative Approving Officer141
Miriam Dimayuga Alternate Approving Officer142
The recipients of the disallowed allowances under the assailed notices of disallowance are
the following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Payee

Position

Amount
Disallowed

Allowance/Benefit
Disallowed

Notice of Disallowance No. 2002-002-101(01)143


Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

550,000.00

Oscar Sevilla

Administrator

5,000.00

Pedro Mendoza

Director

5,700.00

Rice and Medical


Allowance and
Allowances of Board

52

Marietto Enecio

Director

5,700.00

Juan Pea

Director

5,700.00

Gloria Baas

[not indicated in rollo] 3,000.00

G. Mendoza

Director

5,700.00

Ruben Ciron

Director

5,700.00

Notice of Disallowance No. 2002-005-101(01)


Oscar Sevilla

Administrator

5,000.00

Pedro Mendoza

Director

5,700.00

Marietto Enecio

Director

5,700.00

Alfonso Cusi

Director

5,700.00

Ruben Ciron

Director

5,700.00

Gloria Baas

[not indicated in rollo] 3,000.00

Members and
Secretary (net of
allowable allowance of
P500.00/mo pursuant
144
Rice and Medical
Allowance,
Representation
Allowance of Board
Members and
Secretary (net of
allowable allowance of
P500.00/mo pursuant
to Sec. 7 of P.D. 474)
for February 2001.

Notice of Disallowance No. 2002-006-101(01)145


Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

565,400.00

Rice and Medical


Allowance

Chona [illegible]

[not indicated in rollo] 1,591.50

[illegible]

[not indicated in rollo] 2,508.25

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

139,000.00

Birthday and
Employment
Anniversary Bonus for
February 2001

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

835,376.33

Performance
Incentive
Allowance for March
2001

Jovino G. Tamayo

[not indicated in rollo] 5,000.00

Employment
Anniversary Bonus

Oscar M. Sevilla

Administrator

5,000.00

Jose T. Tale

Director

5,700.00

Pedro V. Mendoza

Director

5,700.00

Marietto A. Enecio

Director

5,700.00

Ruben Ciron

Director

5,700.00

Alfonso Cusi

Director

5,700.00

Representation
Allowance of Board
Members and
Secretary (net of
allowable allowance of
P500.00/mo pursuant
to Sec. 7 of P.D. 474)
for March 2001.

Gloria Baas

[not indicated in rollo] 3,000.00

Performance Incentive
Allowance for Feb.
2001

Notice of Disallowance No. 2002-007-101(01)146


Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

561,000.00

Rice and Medical


Allowance for April

53

2001
Renita Bautista

[not indicated in rollo] 30,800.00

Rice/Med for March


2001

Chona Verceles

[not indicated in rollo] 2,200.00

Rice/Med for March


2001

Alfonso Rulloda

[not indicated in rollo] 4,698.00

Performance Incentive
Allowance for Feb.
2001

Renita Bautista

[not indicated in rollo] 15,400.00

Rice[/][M]ed for April


2001

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

893,910.14

Performance
Incentive
Allowance for April
2001

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

186,000.00

Birthday and
Employment
Anniversary Bonus for
April 2001

Notice of Disallowance No. 2002-008-101(01)147


Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

552,200.00

Renita Bautista

[not indicated in rollo] 30,669.50

Performance Incentive
Allowance for April
2001

Liberato [illegible]

[not indicated in rollo] 2,200.00

Rice/Med for April


2001

Emperatriz Aquino

[not indicated in rollo] 1,098.75

Performance
Incentive
Allowance for Feb.
2001

Alfonso Rulloda

[not indicated in rollo] 4,698.00

Performance Incentive
Allowance for March
2001

Chona Verceles

[not indicated in rollo] 1,591.50

Performance Incentive
Allowance for March
2001

Emperatriz Aquino

[not indicated in rollo] 2,232.75

Performance
Incentive
Allowance for March
2001

Jesus Manongdo

[not indicated in rollo] 2,200.00

Rice[/][M]ed for May


2001

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

Birthday and

124,000.00

Rice and Medical


Allowance for May
2001

54

Employment
Anniversary Bonus
for May 2001
Roberto [illegible]

[not indicated in rollo] 3,000.00

Anniversary Allowance

Renita Bautista

[not indicated in rollo] 11,600.00

Rice/Med for May


2001

Erlinda Baltazar

Cashier

Performance Incentive
Allowance for May
2001

Feliciano Tira, Jr.

[not indicated in rollo] 4,400.00

877,270.30

Rice/Med For April and


May 2001

The records do not show the reason why Erlinda Baltazar, petitioner Maritime Industry
Authoritys cashier, received high amounts for the allowances as shown in the notices of
disallowance.
The amount given to Erlinda Baltazar is exorbitant especially when contrasted with the other
officers and employees of petitioner Maritime Industry Authority receiving the same
allowance. The disparity in the amounts given to Erlinda Baltazar compared to the other
officers and employees is too substantial to consider her and the approving officers to be in
good faith when Erlinda Baltazar received the amounts. Thus, Erlinda Baltazar and the
approving officers are solidarily liable to refund all amounts received by Erlinda Baltazar
based on what was disallowed by respondent Commission on Audit. This solidary liability is
in accordance with Book VI, Chapter V, Section 43 of the Administrative Code, which
provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Liability for Illegal Expenditures. Every expenditure or obligation authorized or incurred in
violation of the provisions of this Code or of the general and special provisions contained in
the annual General or other Appropriations Act shall be void. Every payment made in
violation of said provisions shall be illegal and every official or employee authorizing or
making such payment, or taking part therein, and every person receiving such payment
shall be jointly and severally liable to the Government for the full amount so paid or
received.
The amount Erlinda Baltazar received as allowance for one month should have alerted her
and the approving officers on the validity and legality of the grant of the allowance. Good
faith dictates that the approving officers deny the grant and Erlinda Baltazar refrain from
receiving the amount that is clearly and on its face invalid. Erlinda Baltazar and the
approving officers positions dictate that they are familiar and knowledgeable of the usual
amounts allowed for allowances and benefits.
As to the directors, officers, and other employees of petitioner Maritime Industry Authority
who received the disallowed benefits, they are presumed to have acted in good faith when
they allowed and/or received them.148chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondent Commission on Audit failed to show bad faith on the part of the approving
officers in disbursing the disallowed benefits and allowances. Further, the officers of
petitioner Maritime Industry Authority relied on the alleged approval of the President of the
Philippines in granting the benefits and allowances.

55
Respondent Commission on Audit said that there were exchanges of communications
between the auditor and Atty. Oscar M. Sevilla, [Maritime Industry Authority]s
Administrator, pointing out to the latter, in letter of April 4, 2001, that continuous grant of
the allowances in question would not only contradict the provisions of Administrative Order
no. 5 issued by the Office of the President and Budget Circular No. 2001-1 but would
likewise negate the objective of generating savings.
However, the checks for the disallowed benefits and allowances were issued prior to April 4,
2001. It does not appear that petitioner Maritime Industry Authoritys directors and officers
were informed prior to the disbursement of the amounts disallowed that these allowances
and benefits were in violation of existing law, and rules and regulations.
WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Commission on Audit dated March 3, 2005 and
resolution dated December 9, 2008 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The approving
officers and Erlinda Baltazar are solidarily liable to refund the disallowed amounts received
by Erlinda Baltazar. The other payees need not refund the amounts received.
SO ORDERED.
Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo,
Villarama, Jr., Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen, and Jardeleza, JJ.
Brion,* J., left his vote, see his concurring opinion
ary
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 179334

July 1, 2013

SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS and DISTRICT


ENGINEER CELESTINO R. CONTRERAS, Petitioners,
vs.
SPOUSES HERACLEO and RAMONA TECSON, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Court of
Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated July 31, 2007 in CA-G.R. CV No. 77997. The assailed decision affirmed
with modification the Regional Trial Court (RTC)2 Decision3 dated March 22, 2002 in Civil Case No. 208M-95.
The case stemmed from the following factual and procedural antecedents:
Respondent spouses Heracleo and Ramona Tecson (respondents) are co-owners of a parcel of land with
an area of 7,268 square meters located in San Pablo, Malolos, Bulacan and covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-430064 of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. Said parcel of land was
among the properties taken by the government sometime in 1940 without the owners consent and
without the necessary expropriation proceedings and used for the construction of the MacArthur
Highway.5

56
In a letter6 dated December 15, 1994, respondents demanded the payment of the fair market value of the
subject parcel of land. Petitioner Celestino R. Contreras (petitioner Contreras), then District Engineer of
the First Bulacan Engineering District of petitioner Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),
offered to pay the subject land at the rate of P0.70 per square meter per Resolution of the Provincial
Appraisal Committee (PAC) of Bulacan.7 Unsatisfied with the offer, respondents demanded for the return
of their property or the payment of compensation at the current fair market value. 8
As their demand remained unheeded, respondents filed a Complaint 9 for recovery of possession with
damages against petitioners, praying that they be restored to the possession of the subject parcel of land
and that they be paid attorneys fees.10 Respondents claimed that the subject parcel of land was
assessed at P2,543,800.00.11
Instead of filing their Answer, petitioners moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the following
grounds: (1) that the suit is against the State which may not be sued without its consent; (2) that the case
has already prescribed; (3) that respondents have no cause of action for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies; and (4) if respondents are entitled to compensation, they should be paid only the value of the
property in 1940 or 1941.12
On June 28, 1995, the RTC issued an Order13 granting respondents motion to dismiss based on the
doctrine of state immunity from suit. As respondents claim includes the recovery of damages, there is no
doubt that the suit is against the State for which prior waiver of immunity is required. When elevated to the
CA,14 the appellate court did not agree with the RTC and found instead that the doctrine of state immunity
from suit is not applicable, because the recovery of compensation is the only relief available to the
landowner. To deny such relief would undeniably cause injustice to the landowner. Besides, petitioner
Contreras, in fact, had earlier offered the payment of compensation although at a lower rate.Thus, the CA
reversed and set aside the dismissal of the complaint and, consequently, remanded the case to the trial
court for the purpose of determining the just compensation to which respondents are entitled to recover
from the government.15 With the finality of the aforesaid decision, trial proceeded in the RTC.
The Branch Clerk of Court was initially appointed as the Commissioner and designated as the Chairman
of the Committee that would determine just compensation, 16 but the case was later referred to the PAC for
the submission of a recommendation report on the value of the subject property.17 In PAC Resolution No.
99-007,18the PAC recommended the amount of P1,500.00 per square meter as the just compensation for
the subject property.
On March 22, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision,19 the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Department of Public Works and Highways or its duly assigned
agencies are hereby directed to pay said Complainants/Appellants the amount of One Thousand Five
Hundred Pesos (P1,500.00) per square meter for the lot subject matter of this case in accordance with
the Resolution of the Provincial Appraisal Committee dated December 19, 2001.
SO ORDERED.20
On appeal, the CA affirmed the above decision with the modification that the just compensation stated
above should earn interest of six percent (6%) per annum computed from the filing of the action on March
17, 1995 until full payment.21
In its appeal before the CA, petitioners raised the issues of prescription and laches, which the CA brushed
aside on two grounds: first, that the issue had already been raised by petitioners when the case was
elevated before the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 51454. Although it was not squarely ruled upon by the
appellate court as it did not find any reason to delve further on such issues, petitioners did not assail said
decision barring them now from raising exactly the same issues; and second, the issues proper for
resolution had been laid down in the pre-trial order which did not include the issues of prescription and

57
laches. Thus, the same can no longer be further considered. As to the propriety of the propertys valuation
as determined by the PAC and adopted by the RTC, while recognizing the rule that the just compensation
should be the reasonable value at the time of taking which is 1940, the CA found it necessary to deviate
from the general rule. It opined that it would be obviously unjust and inequitable if respondents would be
compensated based on the value of the property in 1940 which is P0.70 per sq m, but the compensation
would be paid only today. Thus, the appellate court found it just to award compensation based on the
value of the property at the time of payment. It, therefore, adopted the RTCs determination of just
compensation of P1,500.00 per sq m as recommended by the PAC. The CA further ordered the payment
of interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum reckoned from the time of taking, which is the filing of
the complaint on March 17, 1995.
Aggrieved, petitioners come before the Court assailing the CA decision based on the following grounds:
I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN GRANTING JUST COMPENSATION TO
RESPONDENTS CONSIDERING THE HIGHLY DUBIOUS AND QUESTIONABLE CIRCUMSTANCES
OF THEIR ALLEGED OWNERSHIP OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AWARDING JUST COMPENSATION TO
RESPONDENTS BECAUSE THEIR COMPLAINT FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION AND DAMAGES
IS ALREADY BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION AND LACHES.
III.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS DECISION
ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF JUST COMPENSATION BASED ON THE CURRENT MARKET VALUE
OF THE ALLEGED PROPERTY OF RESPONDENTS.22
Petitioners insist that the action is barred by prescription having been filed fifty-four (54) years after the
accrual of the action in 1940. They explain that the court can motu proprio dismiss the complaint if it
shows on its face that the action had already prescribed. Petitioners likewise aver that respondents slept
on their rights for more than fifty years; hence, they are guilty of laches. Lastly, petitioners claim that the
just compensation should be based on the value of the property at the time of taking in 1940 and not at
the time of payment.23
The petition is partly meritorious.
The instant case stemmed from an action for recovery of possession with damages filed by respondents
against petitioners. It, however, revolves around the taking of the subject lot by petitioners for the
construction of the MacArthur Highway. There is taking when the expropriator enters private property not
only for a momentary period but for a permanent duration, or for the purpose of devoting the property to
public use in such a manner as to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment thereof. 24
It is undisputed that the subject property was taken by petitioners without the benefit of expropriation
proceedings for the construction of the MacArthur Highway. After the lapse of more than fifty years, the
property owners sought recovery of the possession of their property. Is the action barred by prescription
or laches? If not, are the property owners entitled to recover possession or just compensation?
As aptly noted by the CA, the issues of prescription and laches are not proper issues for resolution as
they were not included in the pre-trial order. We quote with approval the CAs ratiocination in this wise:

58
Procedurally, too, prescription and laches are no longer proper issues in this appeal. In the pre-trial order
issued on May 17, 2001, the RTC summarized the issues raised by the defendants, to wit: (a) whether or
not the plaintiffs were entitled to just compensation; (b) whether or not the valuation would be based on
the corresponding value at the time of the taking or at the time of the filing of the action; and (c) whether
or not the plaintiffs were entitled to damages. Nowhere did the pre-trial order indicate that prescription and
laches were to be considered in the adjudication of the RTC. 25
To be sure, the pre-trial order explicitly defines and limits the issues to be tried and controls the
subsequent course of the action unless modified before trial to prevent manifest injustice. 26
Even if we squarely deal with the issues of laches and prescription, the same must still fail. Laches is
principally a doctrine of equity which is applied to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would result in a
clearly inequitable situation or in an injustice.27 This doctrine finds no application in this case, since there
is nothing inequitable in giving due course to respondents claim. Both equity and the law direct that a
property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use. 28 Neither shall prescription
bar respondents claim following the long-standing rule "that where private property is taken by the
Government for public use without first acquiring title thereto either through expropriation or negotiated
sale, the owners action to recover the land or the value thereof does not prescribe." 29
When a property is taken by the government for public use, jurisprudence clearly provides for the
remedies available to a landowner. The owner may recover his property if its return is feasible or, if it is
not, the aggrieved owner may demand payment of just compensation for the land taken. 30 For failure of
respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a long period of time, they are deemed
to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the government to expropriate or the public
use for which the power was exercised. What is left to respondents is the right of compensation. 31 The
trial and appellate courts found that respondents are entitled to compensation. The only issue left for
determination is the propriety of the amount awarded to respondents.
Just compensation is "the fair value of the property as between one who receives, and one who desires to
sell, x x x fixed at the time of the actual taking by the government." This rule holds true when the property
is taken before the filing of an expropriation suit, and even if it is the property owner who brings the action
for compensation.32
The issue in this case is not novel.
In Forfom Development Corporation [Forfom] v. Philippine National Railways [PNR], 33 PNR entered the
property of Forfom in January 1973 for public use, that is, for railroad tracks, facilities and appurtenances
for use of the Carmona Commuter Service without initiating expropriation proceedings. 34 In 1990, Forfom
filed a complaint for recovery of possession of real property and/or damages against PNR. In Eusebio v.
Luis,35 respondents parcel of land was taken in 1980 by the City of Pasig and used as a municipal road
now known as A. Sandoval Avenue in Pasig City without the appropriate expropriation proceedings. In
1994, respondent demanded payment of the value of the property, but they could not agree on its
valuation prompting respondent to file a complaint for reconveyance and/or damages against the city
government and the mayor. In Manila International Airport Authority v. Rodriguez, 36 in the early 1970s,
petitioner implemented expansion programs for its runway necessitating the acquisition and occupation of
some of the properties surrounding its premises. As to respondents property, no expropriation
proceedings were initiated.1wphi1 In 1997, respondent demanded the payment of the value of the
property, but the demand remained unheeded prompting him to institute a case for accion reivindicatoria
with damages against petitioner. In Republic v. Sarabia, 37 sometime in 1956, the Air Transportation Office
(ATO) took possession and control of a portion of a lot situated in Aklan, registered in the name of
respondent, without initiating expropriation proceedings. Several structures were erected thereon
including the control tower, the Kalibo crash fire rescue station, the Kalibo airport terminal and the
headquarters of the PNP Aviation Security Group. In 1995, several stores and restaurants were
constructed on the remaining portion of the lot. In 1997, respondent filed a complaint for recovery of

59
possession with damages against the storeowners where ATO intervened claiming that the storeowners
were its lessees.
The Court in the above-mentioned cases was confronted with common factual circumstances where the
government took control and possession of the subject properties for public use without initiating
expropriation proceedings and without payment of just compensation, while the landowners failed for a
long period of time to question such government act and later instituted actions for recovery of possession
with damages. The Court thus determined the landowners right to the payment of just compensation and,
more importantly, the amount of just compensation. The Court has uniformly ruled that just compensation
is the value of the property at the time of taking that is controlling for purposes of compensation. In
Forfom, the payment of just compensation was reckoned from the time of taking in 1973; in Eusebio, the
Court fixed the just compensation by determining the value of the property at the time of taking in 1980; in
MIAA, the value of the lot at the time of taking in 1972 served as basis for the award of compensation to
the owner; and in Republic, the Court was convinced that the taking occurred in 1956 and was thus the
basis in fixing just compensation. As in said cases, just compensation due respondents in this case
should, therefore, be fixed not as of the time of payment but at the time of taking, that is, in 1940.
The reason for the rule has been clearly explained in Republic v. Lara, et al., 38 and repeatedly held by the
Court in recent cases, thus:
x x x "The value of the property should be fixed as of the date when it was taken and not the date of the
filing of the proceedings." For where property is taken ahead of the filing of the condemnation
proceedings, the value thereof may be enhanced by the public purpose for which it is taken; the entry by
the plaintiff upon the property may have depreciated its value thereby; or, there may have been a natural
increase in the value of the property from the time it is taken to the time the complaint is filed, due to
general economic conditions. The owner of private property should be compensated only for what he
actually loses; it is not intended that his compensation shall extend beyond his loss or injury. And what he
loses is only the actual value of his property at the time it is taken x x x. 39
Both the RTC and the CA recognized that the fair market value of the subject property in 1940
was P0.70/sq m.40Hence, it should, therefore, be used in determining the amount due respondents
instead of the higher value which is P1,500.00. While disparity in the above amounts is obvious and may
appear inequitable to respondents as they would be receiving such outdated valuation after a very long
period, it is equally true that they too are remiss in guarding against the cruel effects of belated claim. The
concept of just compensation does not imply fairness to the property owner alone. Compensation must be
just not only to the property owner, but also to the public which ultimately bears the cost of expropriation. 41
Clearly, petitioners had been occupying the subject property for more than fifty years without the benefit of
expropriation proceedings. In taking respondents property without the benefit of expropriation
proceedings and without payment of just compensation, petitioners clearly acted in utter disregard of
respondents proprietary rights which cannot be countenanced by the Court. 42 For said illegal taking,
respondents are entitled to adequate compensation in the form of actual or compensatory damages which
in this case should be the legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum on the value of the land at the time
of taking in 1940 until full payment.43 This is based on the principle that interest runs as a matter of law
and follows from the right of the landowner to be placed in as good position as money can accomplish, as
of the date of taking.44
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the pet1t10n is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Court of Appeals
Decision dated July 31, 2007 in CAG.R. CV No. 77997 is MODIFIED, in that the valuation of the subject
property owned by respondents shall be F0.70 instead of P1,500.00 per square meter, with interest at six
percent ( 6o/o) per annum from the date of taking in 1940 instead of March 17, 1995, until full payment.
SO ORDERED.

60

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 179267

June 25, 2013

JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41,
Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children,
namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA, Respondents.
DECISION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinos- or 93
percent of a total population of 93.3 million adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ. 1 Yet, the
admonition for husbands to love their wives as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her2 failed to prevent, or even to curb, the pervasiveness of violence against
Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) reported that,
for the years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms of abuse and
violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate
partners such as their husbands and live-in partners." 3
Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups, Congress
enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their
Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for
Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004.4
R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women and
their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or
any person who has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman has a common
child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the barangay and the courts to prevent the
commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of barangay
officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care providers, and
other local government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.
A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being violative of
the equal protection and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of judicial power to
barangay officials.
The Factual Antecedents
On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of her
minor children, a verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Bacolod City for the issuance of a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C.

61
Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional,
psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner, with
threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support. 7
Private respondent's claims
Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former was eleven
years her senior. They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who is the
natural child of petitioner but whom private respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years
old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old.8
Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved around her
husband. On the other hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant, controlling,
and demands absolute obedience from his wife and children. He forbade private respondent to pray,
and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she took up law, and even when she was
already working part time at a law office, petitioner trivialized her ambitions and prevailed upon her
to just stay at home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive wife still catches the eye of
some men, at one point threatening that he would have any man eyeing her killed. 9
Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson's
Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when
private respondent confronted him about it in 2004. He even boasted to the household help about
his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private respondent, though, that he was
just using the woman because of their accounts with the bank. 10
Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and
emotionally wounded. In one of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on both arms
and shook her with such force that caused bruises and hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit
private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding. Petitioner sometimes turned his
ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text messages he sent to his paramour and whom
he blamed for squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times. When
private respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for fear that if the
latter leaves, petitioner would beat her up. Even the small boys are aware of private respondent's
sufferings. Their 6-year-old son said that when he grows up, he would beat up his father because of
his cruelty to private respondent.11
All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On
December 17, 2005, while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by
her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house instead of taking her to the hospital.
Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in which time petitioner never bothered
to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has been undergoing
therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications. 12
When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to file
charges against the bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's job.
He then packed his things and told private respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even
told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family home, that private respondent
should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and has not
sired a child with her.13

62
Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would take her
children from her and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously warned her that if
she goes on a legal battle with him, she would not get a single centavo. 14
Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is the
President of three corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros
Trading Corporation of which he and private respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the
absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private respondent merely draws a monthly
salary of P20,000.00 from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household
expenses amounting to not less than P200,000.00 a month are paid for by private respondent
through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation together with the
bills for utilities.15
On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of P60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill
Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of
pesos from the corporations.16After private respondent confronted him about the affair, petitioner
forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all the businesses of the
corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full information about said
businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an
accounting of the businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos. 17
Action of the RTC of Bacolod City
Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private
respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO 18 on March 24, 2006
effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted hereunder:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home
within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering
that he be removed by police officers from the conjugal dwelling; this order is enforceable
notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic Act
No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private respondent
herein) to enter the conjugal dwelling without any danger from the Respondent.
After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the
Petitioner decides to return to the conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be
assisted by police officers when re-entering the family home.
The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March
2006 because of the danger that the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her
when he arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.
b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and
driver from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where
the Petitioner may be temporarily residing.
c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner,
directly or indirectly, or through other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children,

63
mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers, letters and the like. Visitation
rights to the children may be subject of a modified TPO in the future.
d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and
ordering the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial
Director of the PNP to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses. He should also be
ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or control.
e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house
for them, and educational and medical expenses.
f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.
g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received
from all the corporations from 1 January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as
President of the corporations and his Comptroller, must submit to the Court not later than 2
April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be reported to the court by the
Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain of
Indirect Contempt of Court.
h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and
considering the financial resources of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner
sues she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a BOND TO
KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.
On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended
TPO,20 effective for thirty (30) days, which included the following additional provisions:
i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan
Patrol and the Starex Van which they are using in Negros Occidental.
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Paraaque, the
continued use of the Starex van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.
k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient
sureties.
l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred
Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand
Pesos (Php 50,000.00) per month until the matter of support could be finally resolved.
Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for
Renewal of the TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1)
comply with the three-day notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked that the
TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by private respondent and returning the same to
its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the
bond from P5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at P100,000.00.
Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved 22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him
visitation rights to his children.

64
On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the following
modifications prayed for by private respondent:
a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of
Rosalie and her children to Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours
from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in
Indirect Contempt of Court;
b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal
house in Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to
remove Respondent from the conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot return until 48 hours after the
petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her representatives can remove
things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of the household furniture, equipment
and other things in the conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court.
d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and
Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of
the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in indirect contempt of
Court;
e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of
Court within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon
presentation of proof of payment of such expenses. 23
Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully comply with
the TPO; and committed new acts of harassment against her and their children, private respondent
filed another application24 for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter
alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the latter
was purportedly no longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex
Van used by private respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was served upon private
respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms that scared the two small boys,
Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard. 25
While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly attempted to
kidnap him, which incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On
another occasion, petitioner allegedly grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened
her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann subsequently filed a criminal complaint
against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection of Children
Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."
Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids working at the
conjugal home of a complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against private respondent. This
came about after private respondent, armed with a TPO, went to said home to get her and her

65
children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the
maids' room, private respondent filed a case for qualified theft against Jamola. 27
On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as follows:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts
of violence against the offended party;
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating
in any form with the offended party, either directly or indirectly;
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents,
from all the Petitioners Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers,
her mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo Hontiveros,
laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other
household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the
subdivision where the Petitioners are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools of the
three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not contact the schools of the children
directly or indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees
directly, otherwise he will have access to the children through the schools and the TPO will
be rendered nugatory;
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK to
the Court;
5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00
for rental for the period from August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from
March 2006 to August 2006 the total amount of Php1,312,000.00;
6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and
Php25,000.00;
7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a
Starex van with Plate No. FFD 991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles,
respondent is ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle which is the one taken by J
Bros Tading;
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the
conjugal assets, or those real properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in
which the conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and respondent
have an interest in, especially the conjugal home located in No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville
Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or those in which
the conjugal partnership of gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent have an
interest in and listed in Annexes "I," "I-1," and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT Nos.
T-186325 and T-168814;
9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a
copy of this TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer,
sale, encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited properties to any person, entity or

66
corporation without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall affix her
signature in the presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that
her signature will be forged in order to effect the encumbrance or sale of these properties to
defraud her or the conjugal partnership of gains.
In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for another
ten (10) days, and gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show cause why the TPO
should not be renewed, extended, or modified. Upon petitioner's manifestation, 30 however, that he
has not received a copy of private respondent's motion to modify/renew the TPO, the trial court
directed in its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a copy of said motion.
Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been issued renewing the TPO
dated August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:
xxxx
x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary
Protection Order issued on August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days and
continuously extended and renewed for thirty (30) days, after each expiration, until further orders,
and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the court.
After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the required
comment to private respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an
"exercise in futility." 33
Proceedings before the CA
During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a
petition34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary
restraining order, challenging (1) the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due
process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of the modified TPO issued in the civil
case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."
On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order 36 (TRO) against
the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.
Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed 36 the petition for failure
of petitioner to raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case,
which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same. Secondly, the challenge to the validity
of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the
trial court constituted a collateral attack on said law.
His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the
Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before us alleging that
The Issues
I.

67
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY THAT THE
ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND
THAT, THE PETITION CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE THAT
R.A. 9262 IS DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION
CLAUSE.
III.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A. 9262
RUNS COUNTER TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
IV.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE TO THE
POLICY OF THE STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.
V.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS INVALID
AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL
POWER TO THE BARANGAY OFFICIALS.38
The Ruling of the Court
Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of R.A.
9262, we shall first tackle the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for
prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by petitioner.
As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity so that if
not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in the trial
court, it will not be considered on appeal. 39 Courts will not anticipate a question of constitutional law
in advance of the necessity of deciding it.40
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of Bacolod City,
petitioner argues that the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to
tackle the complex issue of constitutionality." 41
We disagree.
Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute.
At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as
Regional Trial Courts. Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997," family
courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of domestic violence against
women and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme Court designated from among the
branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court in each of several key cities
identified.43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now provides

68
that Regional Trial Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction
over cases of VAWC defined under the latter law, viz:
SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and
exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the
absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the
Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the
complainant. (Emphasis supplied)
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of authority
as a court of general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal,
special proceedings, land registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency.44 It is
settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a statute, 45 "this authority being
embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding
laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law." 46 The Constitution vests the power of
judicial review or the power to declare the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or
executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this
Court, but in all RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution
contemplates that the inferior courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of
any treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final judgments of inferior courts in cases where
such constitutionality happens to be in issue." Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in
part as follows:
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court
may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive
agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in
question.
xxxx
Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could have
been raised at the earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection order before the
RTC of Bacolod City, which had jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the review of this
Court.
Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children, lays
down a new kind of procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition to the petition and not
an answer.49 Thus:
SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition which he
himself shall verify. It must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why
a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.

69
(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party
complaint, but any cause of action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate
civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, cross-claim
and third-party complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality cannot
likewise be raised therein. A counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other relief which a
defending party may have against an opposing party.50 A cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim
by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter
either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. 51Finally, a third-party complaint is a claim
that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action for
contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim. 52 As
pointed out by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a
cause of action that could be the subject of a counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint.
Therefore, it is not prohibited from being raised in the opposition in view of the familiar maxim
expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo because the
right of private respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very statute the validity of
which is being attacked53 by petitioner who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of
its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid
cause for the non-issuance of a protection order.
That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have deterred
petitioner from raising the same in his Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of a
statute is one of law which does not need to be supported by evidence. 54 Be that as it may, Section
25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the conduct of a hearing to determine legal issues,
among others, viz:
SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further hearing, it may
issue an order containing the following:
(a) Facts undisputed and admitted;
(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;
(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be
presented;
(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of
affidavits; and
(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day,
to the extent possible, within the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection
order issued. (Emphasis supplied)
To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when
necessary, Section 26 (b) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection order
issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or renew the said order for a period of thirty (30)
days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the extended or renewed
temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of the parties. With the private

70
respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional issues,
without necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of the rules on summary
procedure.
In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for prohibition with
prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may
have proceeded upon an honest belief that if he finds succor in a superior court, he could be granted
an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC expressly disallows the filing of a
petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the trial
court. Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case against the enforcement of
the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was improper, and it effectively
hindered the case from taking its normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.
As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is prohibited.
Moreover, if the appeal of a judgment granting permanent protection shall not stay its
enforcement,55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only for thirty (30) days at a time, 56 should
not be enjoined.
The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself entitle a
litigant to have the same enjoined.57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United
States declared, thus:
Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to their
separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes
are unconstitutional. No citizen or member of the community is immune from prosecution, in good
faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a prosecution even though alleged to be
unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in equity which exerts its
extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. (Citations
omitted)
The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully the
merits of the case. It bears stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex parte so as to
protect women and their children from acts of violence. To issue an injunction against such orders
will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.
Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to determine novel
issues, or issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications. We have, time and again,
discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of constitutional issues, and with more reason now, in
view of private respondent's plea in her Comment59 to the instant Petition that we should put the
challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And so we shall.
Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.
Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and child
abuse, which could very well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is not
enough basis to deprive the husband/father of the remedies under the law.60
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723, 61 which became R.A. 9262,
reveals that while the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi
Estrada), had originally proposed what she called a "synthesized measure" 62 an amalgamation of
two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti-Abuse of Women in Intimate
Relationships Act"63 providing protection to "all family members, leaving no one in isolation" but at

71
the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence and
abuse,64 nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied protection under the same
measure. We quote pertinent portions of the deliberations:
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's groups have
expressed concerns and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to include domestic violence
apart from against women as well as other members of the household, including children or the
husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to address domestic violence of which the
main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the spouses or the female partners in a
relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good Senator respond to this kind
of observation?
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves "WIIR"
Women in Intimate Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic violence. But
plenty of men are also being abused by women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of the
family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective measures for victims. This includes the
men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those related with the family.65
xxx
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. x x x
Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to women
and not to families which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I have is that we
would be having a broader scope rather than just women, if I remember correctly, Madam sponsor.
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.
As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation period.
I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.
Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me wrong.
However, I believe that there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the domestic
environment.
As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the opportunity
to file a case against their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not decade, of battery and
abuse. If we broaden the scope to include even the men, assuming they can at all be abused by the
women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the already difficult situation for women, Mr.
President.
I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am sure that
the men in this Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree with this
representation. Whether we like it or not, it is an unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no matter

72
how empowered the women are, we are not given equal opportunities especially in the domestic
environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel that he is stronger, more superior to
the Filipino woman.
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?
Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill because
the family members have been included in this proposed measure since the other members of the
family other than women are also possible victims of violence. While women are most likely the
intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure focuses on women, the fact remains that
in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be victimized and that children are almost always
the helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be enough protection extended to
other family members particularly children who are excluded. Although Republic Act No. 7610, for
instance, more or less, addresses the special needs of abused children. The same law is
inadequate. Protection orders for one are not available in said law.
I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men, fearing
that they may use this law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However, we should also
recognize that there are established procedures and standards in our courts which give credence to
evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and whimsically entertain baseless complaints.
Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the family as the
basic social institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations between men and women in
our society, I believe we have an obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of both husband and
wife and their immediate family members, particularly children.
While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members as a
critical input arrived at after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts, sports
groups and other affected sectors, Mr. President.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.
Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.
Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda would be
removing the "men and children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on women alone. That
will be the net effect of that proposed amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by the
distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure now whether she is inclined
to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.
I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept this, I will
propose an amendment to the amendment rather than object to the amendment, Mr. President.
xxxx

73
Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?
xxxx
Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.
The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the distinguished
proponent of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas
malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At saka iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi
iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children from this particular measure.
So, if I may propose an amendment
The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.
Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of fact, it is
not limited to minors. The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen 14, 15year-old children being abused by their fathers, even by their mothers. And it breaks my heart to find
out about these things.
Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will update that.
It will enhance and hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only women.
SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS
Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the bill but
not the children.
Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.
The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment, as
amended, is approved.66
It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a
statute.67 Hence, we dare not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of
Congress in limiting the protection against violence and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and

74
children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in this proceeding. Congress
has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice may be
perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by
the legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the
necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law.68 We only step in when there is a violation
of the Constitution. However, none was sufficiently shown in this case.
R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws.
Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike,
both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in the early
case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union69 is instructive:
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the
laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are
different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does
not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited
either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law,
as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or
practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of
simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying
that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is
required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should
be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to the
purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply
equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably
arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied)
Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on a valid
classification as shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal protection
clause by favoring women over men as victims of violence and abuse to whom the State extends its
protection.
I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.
The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than
men to be victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all
make for real differences justifying the classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre succinctly
states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of true equality." 70
A. Unequal power relationship between men and women
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender Equality and
Women's Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with the
unequal power relationship between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence".

75
Societal norms and traditions dictate people to think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and
take on dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men's companions and supporters,
and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining more power over
women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of men's
expression of controlling women to retain power.71
The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its Resolution
48/104 on the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on December 20, 1993 stating
that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men
and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the
prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial
social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with men." 72
Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of gender-based
violence and developments in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered during the
Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent
portions of which are quoted hereunder:
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The patriarch of a
family was accorded the right to use force on members of the family under his control. I quote the
early studies:
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the institutional rule of
men. Women were seen in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both physically and
intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the
authority of men. In law, they were treated as property.
The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if she
endangered his property right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions oriented towards
the patriarchal family strengthened the male dominated structure of society.
English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent Blackstone
has been quoted in his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one and that one was the
husband. However, in the late 1500s and through the entire 1600s, English common law began to
limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus, common law developed the rule of thumb,
which allowed husbands to beat their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than their thumb.
In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or inflict
corporeal punishment ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given more importance
than preventing violence to women.
The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English common
law. In 1871, the Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to strike down the
common law right of a husband to beat his wife:
The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit
in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged
by our law... In person, the wife is entitled to the same protection of the law that the husband can
invoke for himself.

76
As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The temperance
leagues initiated it. These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the evils of alcoholism as
the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars and their
husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was joined by suffragette movements,
expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They fought for women's right to vote, to own property,
and more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.
The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public gaze.
They succeeded in transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less than the United
States Supreme Court, in 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:
In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the victims of
severe assaults by their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of every
eight husbands had assaulted their wives during the past year. The [American Medical Association]
views these figures as "marked underestimates," because the nature of these incidents discourages
women from reporting them, and because surveys typically exclude the very poor, those who do not
speak English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals when the survey is
conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence agree that the true incidence of
partner violence is probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted women
per year."
Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically
assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United
States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted by their male partners. Many of these incidents
involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating takes place, moreover, child abuse is often
present as well.
Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most visible form of
abuse. Psychological abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation of women, is also
common.
Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they perceive no
superior alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in shelters return to their
husbands, in large part because they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser
can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all
homicide victims in the United States are killed by their spouses...Thirty percent of female homicide
victims are killed by their male partners.
Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.
In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The United
States Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human
beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination of
all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993, the UN General Assembly also
adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. World conferences on the
role and rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing.
The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.
The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these women's
movements. No less than Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State to
recognize the role of women in nation building and to ensure the fundamental equality before the law
of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the Convention on the Rights of

77
the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act No.
9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective
Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations omitted)
B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"
victims of violence.
At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against women
and children show that
x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing 55.63% of total
cases reported (9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases out of
4,354 cases which represent 54.31%. xxx (T)he total number of women in especially difficult
circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the year
2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608 cases. xxx
(T)here are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first semester of 2003.
Female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of
these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and
live-in partners.73
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on violence
against women across an eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with violations under R.A.
9262 ranking first among the different VAW categories since its implementation in 2004, 74 thus:
Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011*
Reported
Cases

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

997

927

659

837

811

770

1,042

832

Incestuous
Rape

38

46

26

22

28

27

19

23

Attempted
Rape

194

148

185

147

204

167

268

201

Acts of
Lasciviousnes
s

580

536

382

358

445

485

745

625

Physical
Injuries

3,55
3

2,33
5

1,89
2

1,50
5

1,30
7

1,49
8

2,018

1,588

Rape

78

Sexual
Harassment

53

37

38

46

18

54

83

63

RA 9262

218

924

1,26
9

2,38
7

3,59
9

5,28
5

9,974

9,021

Threats

319

223

199

182

220

208

374

213

62

19

29

30

19

19

25

15

121

102

93

109

109

99

158

128

RA 9208

17

11

16

24

34

152

190

62

Abduction
/Kidnapping
29

16

34

23

28

18

25

22

Unjust
Vexation

90

50

59

59

83

703

183

155

6,27
1

5,37
4

4,88
1

5,72
9

6,90
5

9,48
5

15,10
4

12,948

Seduction
Concubinage

Total

*2011 report covers only from January to August


Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence against
men in the Philippines because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because many
men will not even attempt to report the situation. In the United Kingdom, 32% of women who had
ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times, compared with 11% of the
smaller number of men who had ever experienced domestic violence; and women constituted 89%
of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence. 75 Statistics in Canada
show that spousal violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause injury than the other
way around (18 percent versus 44 percent). Men, who experience violence from their spouses are
much less likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of their spouses, and much less likely to
experience sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman against a spouse
are in self-defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional abuse. 76
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against men in the
Philippines, the same cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid.

79
In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn vehicles
to pick up, gather and deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by their vehicledrawing animals in any public highways, streets, plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance was
challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its application is limited to
owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those animals, although not utilized, but
similarly pass through the same streets.
The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be nonvehicle-drawing animals that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be negligible and
their appearance therein merely occasional, compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute a
menace to the health of the community." 77The mere fact that the legislative classification may result
in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for every classification of persons
or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby
rendered invalid.78
C. Gender bias and prejudices
From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes against women
are often treated differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was argued by then United
States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now Vice President, chief sponsor of the Violence Against
Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy as a valid exercise of the U.S. Congress'
authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the widespread
gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of rape or domestic
violence, subjecting them to "double victimization" first at the hands of the offender and then of the
legal system.79
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723 that
"(w)henever violence occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and advise the
parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once the complainant brings the case to the prosecutor, the
latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might later be withdrawn. This lack of response or
reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating, recurring and often
serious nature of domestic violence."80
Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.
In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for Conduct
Unbecoming of a Judge. He used derogatory and irreverent language in reference to the
complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A. 9262, calling her as "only a live-in partner"
and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate relationship." Judge Amila
even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being motivated by "insatiable greed" and of
absconding with the contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and lack
of gender sensitivity.
The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases and
prejudices against women. As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting discrimination through specific measures
focused on women does not discriminate against men. 82 Petitioner's contention,83 therefore, that R.A.
9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men" law deserves
scant consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to take all
appropriate measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with
a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are
based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for

80
men and women."84Justice Puno correctly pointed out that "(t)he paradigm shift changing the
character of domestic violence from a private affair to a public offense will require the development
of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the judges." 85
II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to
address violence committed against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as
follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and
children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect
the family and its members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their
personal safety and security.
Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and
children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the
provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and other
international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on August 5,
1981. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on
October 6, 2003.86 This Convention mandates that State parties shall accord to women equality with
men before the law87 and shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against
women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations on the basis of equality of men and
women.88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two
protocols.89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective protocols.
III. The classification is not limited to existing
conditions only, and apply equally to all members
Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was
promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women and
their children are threatened by violence and abuse.
R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section 3
thereof defines VAWC as:
x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former
wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with
whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without
the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or
suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or
arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her
child. It includes, but is not limited to:

81
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as
a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically
attacking the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene
publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent
acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the
conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by
force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or
coercion;
c) Prostituting the woman or child.
C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional
suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to
property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes
causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of
the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive
injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of
common children.
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent
which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any
legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the
other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in
Article 73 of the Family Code;
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use
and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
3. destroying household property;
4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal
money or properties.
It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable to
research that has exposed the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described here are
also found in the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 90 Hence, the
argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what constitutes abuse removes the difference
between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.
There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse petitioner in
his defense. The acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide adequate contrast
between the innocent and the prohibited acts. They are worded with sufficient definiteness that
persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited, and need not guess at
its meaning nor differ in its application. 91 Yet, petitioner insists92 that phrases like "depriving or
threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or
common money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional anguish" are so
vague that they make every quarrel a case of spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the

82
"vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld
not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather
than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly
delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its
wordings or detailed in its provisions.93
There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father as the
culprit. As defined above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with whom the
person has or had a sexual or dating relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word
"person" who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian
relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the offender be related or connected to the
victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the
application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus, in the case of
Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan,94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be
proper respondents in the case filed by the latter upon the allegation that they and their son (GoTan's husband) had community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient
financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in
repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically.
R.A. 9262 is not violative of the
due process clause of the Constitution.
Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all protections
afforded by the due process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated
allegations, and practically no opportunity to respond, the husband is stripped of family, property,
guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an
inkling of what happened."95
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their
children, their family or household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to
safeguard the offended parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and
facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life. 96
"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is
afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to
safeguard the victim from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or
household member safety in the family residence, and to prevent the perpetrator from committing
acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables the court to award
temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent their abduction
by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support." 97
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the
petitioner98 thereby undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since
"time is of the essence in cases of VAWC if further violence is to be prevented," 99 the court is
authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and hearing when the life, limb or
property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is
necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent
such violence, which is about to recur.100
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order. The
victim is required not only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses'
affidavits to the petition.101

83
The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due process.
Just like a writ of preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the
time in which the hearing will take could be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of
his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC may already have suffered harrowing
experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing were
required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary
requirements of procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public
interests,103 among which is protection of women and children from violence and threats to their
personal safety and security.
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that
notice be immediately given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days
from service. Moreover, the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served
immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs are initially effective for thirty (30)
days from service on the respondent. 104
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and
service of the notice upon the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five
(5) days from service. The date of the preliminary conference and hearing on the merits shall
likewise be indicated on the notice.105
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by the
affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should
not be issued.106
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be
apprised of the charges imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus, the
fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment
and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened" is a mere product of
an overactive imagination. The essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity
to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To be heard" does
not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where
opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial
of procedural due process.107
It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte
Motion for Renewal of the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on April 24, 2006. Likewise,
on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation
rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order dated September 26, 2006, gave him five days
(5) within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed or extended. Yet, he chose not
to file the required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in futility," conveniently
forgetting that the renewal of the questioned TPO was only for a limited period (30 days) each time,
and that he could prevent the continued renewal of said order if he can show sufficient cause
therefor. Having failed to do so, petitioner may not now be heard to complain that he was denied due
process of law.
Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC case from the
residence of the victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is virtually a "blank check" issued
to the wife to claim any property as her conjugal home. 108
The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination suggest that
this is so. It states:

84
SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order shall include any, some or all
of the following reliefs:
xxxx
(c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party, regardless of
ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the offended party, or
permanently where no property rights are violated. If the respondent must remove personal effects
from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent to
the residence, remain there until the respondent has gathered his things and escort him from the
residence;
xxxx
Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's residence,
regardless of ownership, only temporarily for the purpose of protecting the latter. Such removal and
exclusion may be permanent only where no property rights are violated. How then can the private
respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for herself, as petitioner seems to suggest?
The non-referral of a VAWC case
to a mediator is justified.
Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of encouraging mediation
and counseling, the law has done violence to the avowed policy of the State to "protect and
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution." 109
Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or any issue thereof
to a mediator. The reason behind this provision is well-explained by the Commentary on Section 311
of the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence as follows: 110
This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a proceeding for an
order for protection. Mediation is a process by which parties in equivalent bargaining positions
voluntarily reach consensual agreement about the issue at hand. Violence, however, is not a subject
for compromise. A process which involves parties mediating the issue of violence implies that the
victim is somehow at fault. In addition, mediation of issues in a proceeding for an order of protection
is problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate equally with the person
against whom the protection order has been sought. (Emphasis supplied)
There is no undue delegation of
judicial power to barangay officials.
Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which, under the
Constitution, is placed upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower courts as may be established
by law" and, thus, protests the delegation of power to barangay officials to issue protection
orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows:
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection
Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator
to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who
receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the applicant on the date of filing
after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to
1wphi1

85
act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay
Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an
attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the
issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of
an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the
same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal service.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong
Barangay.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government. 112 On the other hand, executive power "is generally defined as the
power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation
and enforcing their due observance."113
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay or, in his
unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist from (a)
causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her
child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in
pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and
to "maintain public order in the barangay." 114
We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the existence of
certain facts and to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official conduct shall be and
the fact that these acts may affect private rights do not constitute an exercise of judicial powers." 115
In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or proceeding
"whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused
is probably guilty thereof," the Punong Barangay must determine reasonable ground to believe that
an imminent danger of violence against the woman and her children exists or is about to recur that
would necessitate the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor
is, concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true with the issuance of a
BPO.
We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and other law
enforcement agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it would
be very unlikely that they would remain objective and impartial, and that the chances of acquittal are
nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies is
consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to maintain peace and order.
Conclusion
Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach of, or a clear
conflict with the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one, must be demonstrated in
such a manner as to leave no doubt in the mind of the Court. In other words, the grounds for nullity
must be beyond reasonable doubt. 116 In the instant case, however, no concrete evidence and
convincing arguments were presented by petitioner to warrant a declaration of the unconstitutionality
of R.A. 9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into law by the highest officer of the co-equal
executive department. As we said in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that the
legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with

86
full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare
of the majority.
We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's movement against
domestic violence shows that one of its most difficult struggles was the fight against the violence of
law itself. If we keep that in mind, law will not again be a hindrance to the struggle of women for
equality but will be its fulfillment." 118Accordingly, the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be,
sustained.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

EN BANC
ROMMEL APOLINARIO G.R. No. 191970
JALOSJOS,
Petitioner, Present:
CORONA, C.J.,
CARPIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
- versus - PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD,
VILLARAMA, JR.,
PEREZ,
MENDOZA,
SERENO,
REYES, and
PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
and DAN ERASMO, SR., Promulgated:
Respondents.
April 24, 2012
x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

87

ABAD, J.:
This case is about the proof required to establish the domicile of a reinstated
Filipino citizen who seeks election as governor of a province.

The Facts and the Case


Petitioner Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October 26, 1973. He
migrated to Australia in 1981 when he was eight years old and there acquired
Australian citizenship. On November 22, 2008, at age 35, he decided to return to
the Philippines and lived with his brother, Romeo, Jr., in Barangay Veterans
Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Four days upon his return, he took an oath of
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a
Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of
Immigration.[1] On September 1, 2009 he renounced his Australian citizenship,
executing a sworn renunciation of the same [2] in compliance with Republic Act
(R.A.) 9225.[3]
From the time of his return, Jalosjos acquired a residential property in the same
village where he lived and a fishpond in San Isidro, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. He
applied for registration as a voter in the Municipality of Ipil but respondent Dan
Erasmo, Sr., the Barangay Captain of Barangay Veterans Village, opposed the
same. Acting on the application, the Election Registration Board approved it and
included Jalosjos name in the Commission on Elections (COMELECs) voters list
for Precinct 0051F of Barangay Veterans Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.[4]
Undaunted, Erasmo filed before the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of
Ipil-Tungawan-R.T. Lim in Ipil a petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos name from
the official voters list. After hearing, the MCTC rendered a decision, denying the
petition.[5] On appeal,[6] the Regional Trial Court (RTC) affirmed the MCTC
decision. The RTC decision became final and executory.

88

On November 28, 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for
Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay Province for the May 10, 2010 elections. Erasmo
promptly filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel Jalosjos COC [7] on the
ground that the latter made material misrepresentation in the same since he failed
to comply with (1) the requirements of R.A. 9225 and (2) the one-year residency
requirement of the Local Government Code.
After hearing, the Second Division of the COMELEC ruled that, while Jalosjos
had regained Philippine citizenship by complying with the requirements of R.A.
9225, he failed to prove the residency requirement for a gubernatorial
candidate. He failed to present ample proof of abona fide intention to establish his
domicile in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. On motion for reconsideration, the
COMELEC En Banc affirmed the Second Divisions decision, ruling that Jalosjos
had been a mere guest or transient visitor in his brothers house and, for this reason,
he cannot claim Ipil as his domicile.
Acting on Jalosjos prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, the
Court resolved on May 7, 2010 to issue a status quo ante order, enjoining the
COMELEC from enforcing its February 11, 2010 decision pending further
orders. Meanwhile, Jolosjos won the election and was proclaimed winner of the
2010 gubernatorial race in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay.[8]
The Issue Presented
The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the COMELEC acted with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that
Jalosjos failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his
domicile in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
The Courts Ruling
The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of
provincial governor to be a resident of the province for at least one year before the
election.[9] For purposes of the election laws, the requirement of residence is
synonymous with domicile,[10] meaning that a person must not only intend to reside

89

in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place coupled
with conduct indicative of such intention.[11]
There is no hard and fast rule to determine a candidates compliance with residency
requirement since the question of residence is a question of intention. [12] Still,
jurisprudence has laid down the following guidelines: (a) every person has a
domicile or residence somewhere; (b) where once established, that domicile
remains until he acquires a new one; and (c) a person can have but one domicile at
a time.[13]
It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that
Jalosjos has met the residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga
Sibugay.
One. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prove that
he successfully changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC
points out that, since he was unable to discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga
Sibugay to be his rightful domicile, it must be assumed that his domicile is
either Quezon City or Australia.
But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos domicile of origin, the
place of his birth. It may be taken for granted that he effectively changed his
domicile from Quezon City to Australia when he migrated there at the age of eight,
acquired Australian citizenship, and lived in that country for 26
years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by choice.[14]
On the other hand, when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to
live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that Jalosjos did so with
intent to change his domicile for good. He left Australia, gave up his Australian
citizenship, and renounced his allegiance to that country. In addition, he reacquired
his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of
Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. By his acts, Jalosjos forfeited
his legal right to live in Australia, clearly proving that he gave up his domicile
there. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

90

To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboanga


Sibugay despite the loss of his domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domicile
of choice and by operation of law (Australia) would violate the settled maxim that
a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere.
Two. The COMELEC concluded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his
domicile in Ipil since he has merely been staying at his brothers house. But this
circumstance alone cannot support such conclusion. Indeed, the Court has
repeatedly held that a candidate is not required to have a house in a community to
establish his residence or domicile in a particular place. It is sufficient that he
should live there even if it be in a rented house or in the house of a friend or
relative.[15] To insist that the candidate own the house where he lives would make
property a qualification for public office. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved
two things: actual physical presence in Ipil and an intention of making it his
domicile.
Jalosjos presented the affidavits of next-door neighbors, attesting to his
physical presence at his residence in Ipil. These adjoining neighbors are no doubt
more credible since they have a better chance of noting his presence or absence
than his other neighbors, whose affidavits Erasmo presented, who just sporadically
passed by the subject residence. Further, it is not disputed that Jalosjos bought a
residential lot in the same village where he lived and a fish pond in San Isidro,
Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. He showed correspondences with political leaders,
including local and national party-mates, from where he lived. Moreover, Jalosjos
is a registered voter of Ipil by final judgment of the Regional Trial Court of
Zamboanga Sibugay.
Three. While the Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative
bodies like the COMELEC, this does not prevent it from exercising its review
powers to correct palpable misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant
considerations.[16] The evidence Jalosjos presented is sufficient to establish Ipil,
Zamboanga Sibugay, as his domicile. The COMELEC gravely abused its
discretion in holding otherwise.
Four. Jalosjos won and was proclaimed winner in the 2010 gubernatorial race for
Zamboanga Sibugay. The Court will respect the decision of the people of that

91

province and resolve all doubts regarding his qualification in his favor to breathe
life to their manifest will.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the
Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division dated February 11, 2010 and the
Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc dated May 4, 2010 that disqualified
petitioner Rommel Jalosjos from seeking election as Governor of Zamboanga
Sibugay.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 195649

July 2, 2013

CASAN MACODE MACQUILING, PETITIONER,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO Y CAGOCO, AND LINOG G.
BALUA. RESPONDENTS.
RESOLUTION
SERENO, J.:
This Resolution resolves the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent on May 10, 2013 and
the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration filed on May 20, 2013.
We are not unaware that the term of office of the local officials elected in the May 2010 elections has
already ended on June 30, 2010. Arnado, therefore, has successfully finished his term of office.
While the relief sought can no longer be granted, ruling on the motion for reconsideration is
important as it will either affirm the validity of Arnados election or affirm that Arnado never qualified
to run for public office.
Respondent failed to advance any argument to support his plea for the reversal of this Courts
Decision dated April 16, 2013. Instead, he presented his accomplishments as the Mayor of
Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and reiterated that he has taken the Oath of Allegiance not only twice
but six times. It must be stressed, however, that the relevant question is the efficacy of his
renunciation of his foreign citizenship and not the taking of the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines. Neither do his accomplishments as mayor affect the question before this Court.

92
Respondent cites Section 349 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of the United States as
having the effect of expatriation when he executed his Affidavit of Renunciation of American
Citizenship on April 3, 2009 and thus claims that he was divested of his American citizenship. If
indeed, respondent was divested of all the rights of an American citizen, the fact that he was still
able to use his US passport after executing his Affidavit of Renunciation repudiates this claim.
The Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws, 1 which must be presented as public
documents2 of a foreign country and must be "evidenced by an official publication thereof." 3 Mere
reference to a foreign law in a pleading does not suffice for it to be considered in deciding a case.
Respondent likewise contends that this Court failed to cite any law of the United States "providing
that a person who is divested of American citizenship thru an Affidavit of Renunciation will re-acquire
such American citizenship by using a US Passport issued prior to expatriation." 4
American law does not govern in this jurisdiction. Instead, Section 40(d) of the Local Government
Code calls for application in the case before us, given the fact that at the time Arnado filed his
certificate of candidacy, he was not only a Filipino citizen but, by his own declaration, also an
American citizen. It is the application of this law and not of any foreign law that serves as the basis
for Arnados disqualification to run for any local elective position.
With all due respect to the dissent, the declared policy of Republic Act No. (RA) 9225 is that "all
Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their
Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act." 5 This policy pertains to the reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship. Section 5(2)6 requires those who have re-acquired Philippine citizenship and
who seek elective public office, to renounce any and all foreign citizenship.
This requirement of renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship, when read together with Section
40(d) of the Local Government Code7 which disqualifies those with dual citizenship from running for
any elective local position, indicates a policy that anyone who seeks to run for public office must be
solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen. To allow a former Filipino who reacquires Philippine
citizenship to continue using a foreign passport which indicates the recognition of a foreign state of
the individual as its national even after the Filipino has renounced his foreign citizenship, is to
allow a complete disregard of this policy.
Further, we respectfully disagree that the majority decision rules on a situation of doubt.
Indeed, there is no doubt that Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code disqualifies those with
dual citizenship from running for local elective positions.
There is likewise no doubt that the use of a passport is a positive declaration that one is a citizen of
the country which issued the passport, or that a passport proves that the country which issued it
recognizes the person named therein as its national.
It is unquestioned that Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen, or that he acquired American
citizenship by naturalization. There is no doubt that he reacquired his Filipino citizenship by taking
his Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines and that he renounced his American citizenship. It is also
indubitable that after renouncing his American citizenship, Arnado used his U.S. passport at least six
times.
If there is any remaining doubt, it is regarding the efficacy of Arnados renunciation of his American
citizenship when he subsequently used his U.S. passport. The renunciation of foreign citizenship

93
must be complete and unequivocal. The requirement that the renunciation must be made through an
oath emphasizes the solemn duty of the one making the oath of renunciation to remain true to what
he has sworn to. Allowing the subsequent use of a foreign passport because it is convenient for the
person to do so is rendering the oath a hollow act. It devalues the act of taking of an oath, reducing it
to a mere ceremonial formality.
The dissent states that the Court has effectively left Arnado "a man without a country". On the
contrary, this Court has, in fact, found Arnado to have more than one. Nowhere in the decision does
it say that Arnado is not a Filipino citizen. What the decision merely points out is that he also
possessed another citizenship at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy.
1wphi1

Well-settled is the rule that findings of fact of administrative bodies will not be interfered with by the
courts in the absence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of said agencies, or unless the
aforementioned findings are not supported by substantial evidence. 8 They are accorded not only
great respect but even finality, and are binding upon this Court, unless it is shown that the
administrative body had arbitrarily disregarded or misapprehended evidence before it to such an
extent as to compel a contrary conclusion had such evidence been properly appreciated. 9
Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that COMELEC First Division found that Arnado used his U.S.
Passport at least six times after he renounced his American citizenship. This was debunked by the
COMELEC En Banc, which found that Arnado only used his U.S. passport four times, and which
agreed with Arnados claim that he only used his U.S. passport on those occasions because his
Philippine passport was not yet issued. The COMELEC En Banc argued that Arnado was able to
prove that he used his Philippine passport for his travels on the following dates: 12 January 2010, 31
January 2010, 31 March 2010, 16 April 2010, 20 May 2010, and 4 June 2010.
None of these dates coincide with the two other dates indicated in the certification issued by the
Bureau of Immigration showing that on 21 January 2010 and on 23 March 2010, Arnado arrived in
the Philippines using his U.S. Passport No. 057782700 which also indicated therein that his
nationality is USA-American. Adding these two travel dates to the travel record provided by the
Bureau of Immigration showing that Arnado also presented his U.S. passport four times (upon
departure on 14 April 2009, upon arrival on 25 June 2009, upon departure on 29 July 2009 and upon
arrival on 24 November 2009), these incidents sum up to six.
The COMELEC En Banc concluded that "the use of the US passport was because to his knowledge,
his Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for his use." 10 This conclusion, however, is not
supported by the facts. Arnado claims that his Philippine passport was issued on 18 June 2009. The
records show that he continued to use his U.S. passport even after he already received his
Philippine passport. Arnados travel records show that he presented his U.S. passport on 24
November 2009, on 21 January 2010, and on 23 March 2010. These facts were never refuted by
Arnado.
Thus, the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc is based on a misapprehension of the facts that the use
of the U.S. passport was discontinued when Arnado obtained his Philippine passport. Arnados
continued use of his U.S. passport cannot be considered as isolated acts contrary to what the
dissent wants us to believe.
It must be stressed that what is at stake here is the principle that only those who are exclusively
Filipinos are qualified to run for public office. If we allow dual citizens who wish to run for public office
to renounce their foreign citizenship and afterwards continue using their foreign passports, we are
creating a special privilege for these dual citizens, thereby effectively junking the prohibition in
Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code.

94
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration and the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration
are hereby DENIED with finality.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Peralta, Bersamin, Abad, Villarama, Jr., Perez, Reyes, and PerlasBernabe, JJ., concur.
Leonardo-De Castro, Del Castillo, Mendoza, and Leonen, JJ., joins the dissent of J. Brion.
Brion, J., I dissent.