BERSAMIN CASES 2010

G. R. No. 191002, March 17, 2010

ARTURO M. DE CASTRO, PETITIONER, VS. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC)
AND PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL - ARROYO, RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 191032 ]

JAIME N. SORIANO, PETITIONER, VS. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC),
RESPONDENT.

[G.R. No. 191057]

PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), PETITIONER, VS.
JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC), RESPONDENT.

[A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC]

IN RE APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 15, ARTICLE VII OF THE CONSTITUTION TO
APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUDICIARY, ESTELITO P. MENDOZA, PETITIONER,

[G.R. No. 191149]

JOHN G. PERALTA, PETITIONER, VS. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC).
RESPONDENT.

PETER IRVING CORVERA; CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM; ALFONSO V. TAN, JR.;
NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLE'S LAWYERS; MARLOU B. UBANO; INTEGRATED
BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES-DAVAO DEL SUR CHAPTER, REPRESENTED BY ITS
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT, ATTY. ISRAELITO P. TORREON, AND THE LATTER
IN HIS OWN PERSONAL CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR;
MITCHELL JOHN L. BOISER; BAGONG ALYANSANG BAYAN (BAYAN) CHAIRMAN
DR. CAROLINA P. ARAULLO; BAYAN SECRETARY GENERAL RENATO M. REYES,
JR.; CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE) CHAIRMAN FERDINAND GAITE;
KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY) SECRETARY GENERAL
GLORIA ARELLANO; ALYANSA NG NAGKAKAISANG KABATAAN NG
SAMBAYANAN PARA SA KAUNLARAN (ANAKBAYAN) CHAIRMAN KEN LEONARD
RAMOS; TAYO ANG PAG-ASA CONVENOR ALVIN PETERS; LEAGUE OF FILIPINO
STUDENTS (LFS) CHAIRMAN JAMES MARK TERRY LACUANAN RIDON;
NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP) CHAIRMAN
EINSTEIN RECEDES; COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP)
CHAIRMAN VIJAE ALQUISOLA; AND STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF THE
PHILIPPINES (SCMP) CHAIRMAN MA. CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA; WALDEN
F. BELLO AND LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES; WOMEN TRIAL LAWYERS

ORGANIZATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY YOLANDA
QUISUMBING- JAVELLANA; BELLEZA ALOJADO DEMAISIP; TERESITA
GANDIONCO-OLEDAN; MA. VERENA KASILAG-VILLANUEVA; MARILYN STA.
ROMANA; LEONILA DE JESUS; AND GUINEVERE DE LEON. INTERVENORS.

[G.R. No. 191342]

ATTY. AMADOR Z. TOLENTINO, JR., (IBP GOVERNOR-SOUTHERN LUZON), AND
ATTY. ROLAND B. INTING (IBP GOVERNOR-EASTERN VISAYAS), PETITIONERS,
VS. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC), RESPONDENT.

[G.R. No. 191420]

PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, INC., PETITIONER, VS. JUDICIAL AND BAR
COUNCIL AND HER EXCELLENCY GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO,
RESPONDENTS.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno by May 17, 2010 occurs
just days after the coming presidential elections on May 10, 2010. Even before the
event actually happens, it is giving rise to many legal dilemmas. May the incumbent
President appoint his successor, considering that Section 15, Article VII (Executive
Department) of the Constitution prohibits the President or Acting President from making
appointments within two months immediately before the next presidential elections and
up to the end of his term, except temporary appointments to executive positions when
continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety?
What is the relevance of Section 4 (1), Article VIII (Judicial Department) of the
Constitution, which provides that any vacancy in the Supreme Court shall be filled within
90 days from the occurrence thereof, to the matter of the appointment of his successor?
May the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) resume the process of screening the candidates
nominated or being considered to succeed Chief Justice Puno, and submit the list of
nominees to the incumbent President even during the period of the prohibition under
Section 15, Article VII? Does mandamus lie to compel the submission of the shortlist of
nominees by the JBC?

Precís of the Consolidated Cases

Petitioners Arturo M. De Castro and John G. Peralta respectively commenced G.R. No.
191002[1]and G.R. No. 191149[2] as special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus,
praying that the JBC be compelled to submit to the incumbent President the list of at
least three nominees for the position of the next Chief Justice.

In G.R. No. 191032,[3] Jaime N. Soriano, via his petition for prohibition, proposes to

prevent the JBC from conducting its search, selection and nomination proceedings for
the position of Chief Justice.

In G.R. No. 191057, a special civil action for mandamus,[4] the Philippine Constitution
Association (PHILCONSA) wants the JBC to submit its list of nominees for the position
of Chief Justice to be vacated by Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement on May 17,
2010, because the incumbent President is not covered by the prohibition that applies
only to appointments in the Executive Department.

In Administrative Matter No. 10-2-5-SC,[5] petitioner Estelito M. Mendoza, a former
Solicitor General, seeks a ruling from the Court for the guidance of the JBC on whether
Section 15, Article VII applies to appointments to the Judiciary.

In G.R. No. 191342,[6] which the Court consolidated on March 9, 2010 with the petitions
earlier filed, petitioners Amador Z. Tolentino, Jr. and Roland B. Inting, Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) Governors for Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas, respectively,
want to enjoin and restrain the JBC from submitting a list of nominees for the position of
Chief Justice to the President for appointment during the period provided for in Section
15, Article VII.

All the petitions now before the Court pose as the principal legal question whether the
incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his
retirement. That question is undoubtedly impressed with transcendental importance to
the Nation, because the appointment of the Chief Justice is any President's most
important appointment.

A precedent frequently cited is In Re Appointments Dated March 30, 1998 of Hon.
Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court
of Branch 62, Bago City and of Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, respectively (Valenzuela),
[7]
by which the Court held that Section 15, Article VII prohibited the exercise by the
President of the power to appoint to judicial positions during the period therein fixed.

In G.R. No. 191002, De Castro submits that the conflicting opinions on the issue
expressed by legal luminaries - one side holds that the incumbent President is
prohibited from making appointments within two months immediately before the coming
presidential elections and until the end of her term of office as President on June 30,
2010, while the other insists that the prohibition applies only to appointments to
executive positions that may influence the election and, anyway, paramount national
interest justifies the appointment of a Chief Justice during the election ban - has
impelled the JBC to defer the decision to whom to send its list of at least three
nominees, whether to the incumbent President or to her successor. [8] He opines that the
JBC is thereby arrogating unto itself "the judicial function that is not conferred upon it by
the Constitution," which has limited it to the task of recommending appointees to the
Judiciary, but has not empowered it to "finally resolve constitutional questions, which is
the power vested only in the Supreme Court under the Constitution." As such, he
contends that the JBC acted with grave abuse of discretion in deferring the submission

of the list of nominees to the President; and that a "final and definitive resolution of the
constitutional questions raised above would diffuse (sic) the tension in the legal
community that would go a long way to keep and maintain stability in the judiciary and
the political system."[9]

In G.R. No. 191032, Soriano offers the view that the JBC committed a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of its jurisdiction when it resolved unanimously
on January 18, 2010 to open the search, nomination, and selection process for the
position of Chief Justice to succeed Chief Justice Puno, because the appointing
authority for the position of Chief Justice is the Supreme Court itself, the President's
authority being limited to the appointment of the Members of the Supreme Court.
Hence, the JBC should not intervene in the process, unless a nominee is not yet a
Member of the Supreme Court.[10]

For its part, PHILCONSA observes in its petition in G.R. No. 191057 that "unorthodox
and exceptional circumstances spawned by the discordant interpretations, due perhaps
to a perfunctory understanding, of Sec. 15, Art. VII in relation to Secs. 4(1), 8(5) and 9,
Art. VIII of the Constitution" have bred "a frenzied inflammatory legal debate on the
constitutional provisions mentioned that has divided the bench and the bar and the
general public as well, because of its dimensional impact to the nation and the people,"
thereby fashioning "transcendental questions or issues affecting the JBC's proper
exercise of its "principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary" by
submitting only to the President (not to the next President) "a list of at least three
nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy" from which the
members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts may be
appointed."[11] PHILCONSA further believes and submits that now is the time to revisit
and review Valenzuela, the "strange and exotic Decision of the Court en banc." [12]

Peralta states in his petition in G.R. No. 191149 that mandamus can compel the JBC "to
immediately transmit to the President, within a reasonable time, its nomination list for
the position of chief justice upon the mandatory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S.
Puno, in compliance with its mandated duty under the Constitution" in the event that the
Court resolves that the President can appoint a Chief Justice even during the election
ban under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution. [13]

The petitioners in G.R. No. 191342 insist that there is an actual controversy, considering
that the "JBC has initiated the process of receiving applications for the position of Chief
Justice and has in fact begun the evaluation process for the applications to the
position," and "is perilously near completing the nomination process and coming up with
a list of nominees for submission to the President, entering into the period of the ban on
midnight appointments on March 10, 2010," which "only highlights the pressing and
compelling need for a writ of prohibition to enjoin such alleged ministerial function of
submitting the list, especially if it will be cone within the period of the ban on midnight
appointments."[14]

Antecedents

These cases trace their genesis to the controversy that has arisen from the forthcoming
compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Puno on May 17, 2010, or seven days after the
presidential election. Under Section 4(1), in relation to Section 9, Article
VIII, that "vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof" from a
"list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every
vacancy."

On December 22, 2009, Congressman Matias V. Defensor, an ex officio member of the
JBC, addressed a letter to the JBC, requesting that the process for nominations to the
office of the Chief Justice be commenced immediately.

In its January 18, 2010 meeting en banc, therefore, the JBC passed a resolution,
[15]
which reads:

The JBC, in its en banc meeting of January 18, 2010, unanimously agreed to start the
process of filling up the position of Chief Justice to be vacated on May 17, 2010 upon
the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice Honorable Reynato S. Puno.

It will publish the opening of the position for applications or recommendations;
deliberate on the list of candidates; publish the names of candidates; accept comments
on or opposition to the applications; conduct public interviews of candidates; and
prepare the shortlist of candidates.

As to the time to submit this shortlist to the proper appointing authority, in the light of the
Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence, the JBC welcomes and will consider all
views on the matter.

18 January 2010.

(sgd.)
MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA
Clerk of Court &
Ex-Officio Secretary
Judicial and Bar Council

As a result, the JBC opened the position of Chief Justice for application or
recommendation, and published for that purpose its announcement dated January 20,
2010,[16] viz:

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) announces the opening for application or
recommendation, of the position of CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT,
which will be vacated on 17 May 2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief
Justice, HON. REYNATO S. PUNO.

Applications or recommendations for this position must be submitted not later than 4

February 2010 (Thursday) to the JBC Secretariat xxx:

The announcement was published on January 20, 2010 in the Philippine Daily
Inquirer and The Philippine Star.[17]

Conformably with its existing practice, the JBC "automatically considered" for the
position of Chief Justice the five most senior of the Associate Justices of the Court,
namely: Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio; Associate Justice Renato C. Corona;
Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales; Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.;
and Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura. However, the last two declined their
nomination through letters dated January 18, 2010 and January 25, 2010, respectively.
[18]

Others either applied or were nominated. Victor Fernandez, the retired Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon, applied, but later formally withdrew his name from consideration
through his letter dated February 8, 2010. Candidates who accepted their
nominations without conditions were Associate Justice Renato C. Corona; Associate
Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro; Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion; and
Associate Justice Edilberto G. Sandoval (Sandiganbayan). Candidates who accepted
their nominations with conditions were Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio and
Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales.[19] Declining their nominations were Atty.
Henry Villarica (via telephone conversation with the Executive Officer of the JBC on
February 5, 2010) and Atty. Gregorio M. Batiller, Jr. (via telephone conversation with the
Executive Officer of the JBC on February 8, 2010). [20]

The JBC excluded from consideration former RTC Judge Florentino Floro (for failure to
meet the standards set by the JBC rules); and Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio
of the Office of the Ombudsman (due to cases pending in the Office of the
Ombudsman).[21]

In its meeting of February 8, 2010, the JBC resolved to proceed to the next step of
announcing the names of the following candidates to invite the public to file their sworn
complaint, written report, or opposition, if any, not later than February 22, 2010, to wit:
Associate Justice Carpio, Associate Justice Corona, Associate Justice Carpio Morales,
Associate Justice Leonardo-De Castro, Associate Justice Brion, and Associate Justice
Sandoval. The announcement came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and The
Philippine Star issues of February 13, 2010.[22]

Issues

Although it has already begun the process for the filling of the position of Chief Justice
Puno in accordance with its rules, the JBC is not yet decided on when to submit to the
President its list of nominees for the position due to the controversy now before us
being yet unresolved. In the meanwhile, time is marching in quick step towards May 17,
2010 when the vacancy occurs upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno.

Is the constitutional prohibition against appointment under Section 15. 2010? G. which involved the appointments of two judges of the Regional Trial Court.R. Is the power to appoint the Chief Justice vested in the Supreme Court en banc? G. and this may only be achieved by a ruling from the Court.The actions of the JBC have sparked a vigorous debate not only among legal luminaries. Does the JBC have the authority to decide whether or not to include and submit the names of nominees who manifested interest to be nominated for the position of Chief Justice on the understanding that his/her nomination will be submitted to . Assuming that the prohibition under Section 15. Petitioner Mendoza notes that in Valenzuela. G. 191057 a." but he opines that the polemics leading to Valenzuela "would be miniscule [sic] compared to the "polemics" that have now erupted in regard to the current controversy. Article VII of the Constitution also applies to members of the Judiciary. Article VII of the Constitution applicable only to positions in the Executive Department? b.R. No. and brought out highly disparate opinions on whether the incumbent President can appoint the next Chief Justice or not. the Court addressed this issue now before us as an administrative matter "to avoid any possible polemics concerning the matter. may such appointments be excepted because they are impressed with public interest or are demanded by the exigencies of public service. 191032 a. thereby justifying these appointments during the period of prohibition? c. 191002 a." and that unless "put to a halt. Does the incumbent President have the power and authority to appoint during the election ban the successor of Chief Justice Puno when he vacates the position of Chief Justice on his retirement on May 17. we reframe the issues as submitted by each petitioner in the order of the chronological filing of their petitions. may irreparably be impaired.R. Does the JBC have the power and authority to resolve the constitutional question of whether the incumbent President can appoint a Chief Justice during the election ban period? b. No. No." [23] Accordingly. the integrity of the process and the credibility of whoever is appointed to the position of Chief Justice. but also among non-legal quarters.

Does the JBC have the authority to submit the list of nominees to the incumbent President without committing a grave violation of the Constitution and jurisprudence prohibiting the incumbent President from making midnight appointments two months immediately preceding the next presidential elections until the end of her term? b. the next President in view of the prohibition against presidential appointments from March 11. On February 26. 10-2-5-SC a. No.R. May President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo make appointments to the Judiciary after March 10. 191342 a. the Court directed the JBC and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the consolidated petitions. No.R. except that filed in G. 2010. Does the JBC have the discretion to withhold the submission of the short list to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? G.R. Does Section 15. in light of Section 4 (1). 2010? G. the JBC submitted its comment. including the vetting of the candidates for the position of Chief Justice. No. 2010. as may be needed. Is any act performed by the JBC. reporting therein that the next stage of the process for the selection of the nominees for the position of Chief Justice would be the public interview of the candidates and the preparation of the short list of candidates. constitutionally invalid in view of the JBC's illegal composition allowing each member from the Senate and the House of Representatives to have one vote each? On February 16. M. Article VII of the Constitution apply to appointments to positions in the Judiciary under Section 9. No. 2010? A. 2010. 2010 until June 30. 191149 a. Article VIII of the Constitution? b. Article VIII of the . 191342."[24] It stated:[25] Likewise. including that for the position of Chief Justice after Chief Justice Puno retires on May 17. "including the interview of the constitutional experts. the JBC has yet to take a position on when to submit the shortlist to the proper appointing authority.

Article VIII of the Constitution as referring only to the Associate Justices. Article VIII of the Constitution. 2010. and proceeds from his misinterpretation of the phrase "members of the Supreme Court" found in Section 9. therefore. the JBC. Article VII of the Constitution does not apply to appointments in the Supreme Court. as such. [29] and (e) a writ of mandamus cannot issue to compel the JBC to include or exclude particular candidates as nominees. which provides that vacancy in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety (90) days from the occurrence thereof. considering that there is no imperative duty on its part to include in or exclude from the list particular individuals. is incorrect. Section 15. 12. and the submission of the list is a ministerial act that the JBC is mandated to perform under the Constitution. essentially stating that the incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement by May 17. Article VII of the Constitution concerning the ban on Presidential appointments "two (2) months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term" and Section 261 (g). [32] that had the framers intended the prohibition to apply to Supreme Court . to the exclusion of the Chief Justice. On February 26. (b) the JBC's function to recommend is a "continuing process. Since the Honorable Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution. It argues that any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be filled within 90 days from its occurrence. 2010. because the prohibition under Section 15. considering that its duty to prepare the list of at least three nominees is unqualified. [31] that in their deliberations on the mandatory period for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. [26] the JBC was thus acting within its jurisdiction when it commenced and set in motion the process of selecting the nominees to be submitted to the President for the position of Chief Justice to be vacated by Chief Justice Puno." which does not begin with each vacancy or end with each nomination. [27] (c) petitioner Soriano's theory that it is the Supreme Court. the OSG also submitted its comment. on the contrary. has no discretion to withhold the list from the President. not the President. because the goal is "to submit the list of nominees to Malacañang on the very day the vacancy arises". [28] (d) a writ of mandamus can issue to compel the JBC to submit the list of nominees to the President. Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.Constitution. pursuant to Section 4(1). or vice versa. the JBC's determination of who it nominates to the President is an exercise of a discretionary duty. the nature of whose principal function is executive. who has the power to appoint the Chief Justice.[30] The OSG contends that the incumbent President may appoint the next Chief Justice. the JBC will be guided by its decision in these consolidated Petitions and Administrative Matter. The OSG insists that: (a) a writ of prohibition cannot issue to prevent the JBC from performing its principal function under the Constitution to recommend appointees in the Judiciary. the framers neither mentioned nor referred to the ban against midnight appointments. is not vested with the power to resolve who has the authority to appoint the next Chief Justice and. but. or its effects on such period.

The OSG posits that although Valenzuela involved the appointment of RTC Judges. [37] (c) if history has shown that during ordinary times the Chief Justice was appointed immediately upon the occurrence of the vacancy. [36] (b) the Court acts as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). it also becomes incumbent upon the JBC to start the selection process for the filling up of the vacancy in accordance with the constitutional mandate. the situation now refers to the appointment of the next Chief Justice to which the prohibition does not apply. to wit: (a) a deluge of cases involving sensitive political issues is "quite expected". there is now even more reason to appoint the next Chief Justice immediately upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno. from the time of the effectivity of the Constitution. the establishment of the JBC. Tan. the specified period within which the President shall appoint a Supreme Court Justice. [35] Lastly.appointments. as such. Jr. or should the voting on a particular important question requiring expeditious resolution be divided". . which. (c) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 23. Peter Irving Corvera (Corvera). which explains why the prohibition found in Article VII (Executive Department) was not written in Article VIII (Judicial Department). Lim (Lim)." [33] such as stringent qualifications for the positions. Christian Robert S. the OSG urges that there are now undeniably compelling reasons for the incumbent President to appoint the next Chief Justice. to wit: (a) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 22. and that the framers also incorporated in Article VIII ample restrictions or limitations on the President's power to appoint members of the Supreme Court to ensure its independence from "political vicissitudes" and its "insulation from political pressures.[40] (b) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 22. at any rate. sitting en banc. 2010 of Atty.[34] and that Valenzuela also recognized that the filling of vacancies in the Judiciary is undoubtedly in the public interest. [39] On March 9. Alfonso V." like when the membership of the Supreme Court should be "so reduced that it will have no quorum. that. 2010 of Atty. 2010. returns. Valenzuela even recognized that there might be "the imperative need for an appointment during the period of the ban. and qualifications of the President and Vice President and.[38] and (d) should the next Chief Justice come from among the incumbent Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. (Tan). is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. the Court admitted the following comments/oppositions-in- intervention. has "the power to correct manifest errors on the statement of votes (SOV) and certificates of canvass (COC)". most especially if there is any compelling reason to justify the making of the appointments during the period of the prohibition. thereby causing a vacancy. they could have easily expressly stated so in the Constitution. 2010 of Atty.

Atty. Hence. Reyes. College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Chairman Vijae Alquisola. 2010 of BAYAN Chairman Dr. Leonila de Jesus. Article VII. represented by Atty. (g) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 26. because under Section 15. BAYAN Secretary General Renato M. Rosales (Bello et al. Araullo. Belleza Alojado Demaisip. National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Chairman Einstein Recedes. Teresita Gandionco-Oledan. Romana.Davao del Sur). including the appointment of the successor of Chief Justice Puno. Torreon (IBP. Ubano (Ubano).. Tayo ang Pag-asa Convenor Alvin Peters. Atty. Marilyn Sta. 2010 until June 30. Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Kabataan ng Samayanan Para sa Kaunlaran (ANAKBAYAN) Chairman Ken Leonard Ramos. and (j) The consolidated comment/opposition-in-intervention dated March 4. Carolina P. the outgoing President is constitutionally banned from making any appointments from March 10. 2010. Atty. Boiser (Boiser). IBP Davao del Sur. Guinevere de Leon (WTLOP). Ma. and NUPL take the position that De Castro's petition was bereft of any basis.(d) The comment/opposition-in-intervention dated March 1. 2010 of Walden F. (f) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 25. Confederation for Unity. Israelito P. Yolanda Quisumbing-Javellana. (h) The consolidated comment/opposition-in-intervention dated February 26. Cristina Angela Guevarra (BAYAN et al. 2010 of Atty. (i) The opposition-in-intervention dated March 3. Intervenors Tan.). 2010 of Atty. Mitchell John L. (e) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 25. Tan adds that the prohibition against midnight appointments was applied by the Court to the appointments to the Judiciary made by then President Ramos. League of Filipino Students (LFS) Chairman James Mark Terry Lacuanan Ridon.). and Atty. Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Secretary General Gloria Arellano. 2010 of the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL). Verena Kasilag-Villanueva. BAYAN et al.. 2010 of the Women Trial Lawyers Organization of the Philippines (WTLOP). Bello and Loretta Ann P. Marlou B. Atty. with the Court holding that the duty of the President to fill the vacancies within 90 days from occurrence of the vacancies (for the Supreme Court) or from the submission of the list (for all other courts) was not an excuse to violate the constitutional . mandamus does not lie to compel the JBC to submit the list of nominees to the outgoing President if the constitutional prohibition is already in effect. Atty. Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) Chairman Ferdinand Gaite. Jr. 2010 of Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao del Sur Chapter and its Immediate Past President. Corvera. and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) Chairman Ma. Atty. WTLOP.

the occurrence of which is entirely unsure. five or seven members at its discretion.prohibition. Associate Justice Andres Narvasa assumed the position as Acting Chief Justice prior to his official appointment as Chief Justice. Boiser. NULP. WTLOP. They insist that even without the successor of Chief Justice Puno being appointed by the incumbent President. therefore. being based on a mere possibility. that the practice was followed under the 1987 Constitution. the Court is allowed to sit and adjudge en banc or in divisions of three. Corvera. NUPL. Corvera. Intervenors Tan. IBP Dacao del Sur. that the provision covers all appointing heads. Corvera. BAYAN et al. or gives any increase in salary or remuneration or privilege to any government official or employee during the period of 45 days before a regular election.. which has not been repealed by Batas Pambansa Blg. and that such a situation will create a crisis in the judicial system and will worsen an already vulnerable political situation. Yorac. because there is an existing law on filling the void brought about by a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice. constitutes an election offense. that petitioner De Castro's fears are unfounded and baseless.and aver that the absence of a Chief Justice or even an Associate Justice does not cause epic damage or absolute disruption or paralysis in the operations of the Judiciary. and Boiser regard De Castro's argument that a permanent Chief Justice is imperative for the stability of the judicial system and the political situation in the country when the election- related questions reach the Court as false. but the Commissioners decided not to write it in the Constitution on account of the settled practice. and Lim maintain that the Omnibus Election Code penalizes as an election offense the act of any government official who appoints. void. Boiser. oppose the insistence that Valenzuela recognizes the possibility that the President may appoint the next Chief Justice if exigent circumstances warrant the appointment. Intervenors Tan. that even an appointment of the next Chief Justice prior to the election ban is fundamentally invalid and without effect because there can be no appointment until a vacancy occurs. or during the period of the ban under the Omnibus Election Code. that for the incumbent President to appoint the next Chief Justice upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno. per Brillantes v. and officers of a government office. in 1992. when. 129 or any other law. that a temporary or an acting Chief Justice is not anathema to judicial independence. agency or instrumentality. and that the vacancy for the position can occur only by May 17. . at the end of the term of Chief Justice Marcelo B. that it is not in the national interest to have a Chief Justice whose appointment is unconstitutional and. because that recognition is obiter dictum. that the designation of an acting Chief Justice is not only provided for by law. including the President. 2010. that the law is Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. that a full membership of the Court is not necessary. Intervenors Ubano. Bello et al. that said filling up of a vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice was acknowledged and even used by analogy in the case of the vacancy of the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. promotes. Fernan. but is also dictated by practical necessity. that the practice was intended to be enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. officials. Ubano. 192 SCRA 358. Ubano. and that the history of the Supreme Court has shown that this rule of succession has been repeatedly observed and has become a part of its tradition. and Bello et al..

Article VII of the 1987 Constitution does not apply only to the appointments in the Executive Department. Oppositors NUPL. Intervenor WTLOP posits that Section 15. it still has to bow to the strict limitations under Section 15. shall not be considered nominees by the JBC is diametrically opposed to the arguments in the body of its petition. that Section 15 does not distinguish. contrary to the submission of PHILCONSA. the term "members" was interpreted in Vargas v. Lim and BAYAN et al. much more a submission of such list. that to speak of a list. No. is utterly baseless. in Valenzuela. ruled that the appointments by the President of the two judges during the prohibition period were void. Article VII. Intervenor WTLOP further posits that petitioner Soriano's contention that the power to appoint the Chief Justice is vested. that should the JBC defer submission of the list. Rillaroza (G. Article VII makes no distinction between the kinds of appointments made by the President. but with conditions.R. that such glaring inconsistency between the allegations in the body and the relief prayed for highlights the lack of merit of PHILCONSA's petition. and that Valenzuela already interpreted the prohibition as applicable to judicial appointments.Intervenor Boiser adds that De Castro's prayer to compel the submission of nominees by the JBC to the incumbent President is off-tangent because the position of Chief Justice is still not vacant. February 26. state that the JBC's act of nominating . and that no list of nominees can be submitted by the JBC if there is no vacancy. Article VIII. because the Chief Justice is also a Member of the Supreme Court as contemplated under Section 9. that even if the JBC has already come up with a short list. before a vacancy occurs is glaringly premature. that is. and that the Court. it is not arrogating unto itself a judicial function.because it is neither a judicial nor a quasi-judicial body . but simply respecting the clear mandate of the Constitution. not in the President.has no duty under the Constitution to resolve the question of whether the incumbent President can appoint a Chief Justice during the period of prohibition. Corvera. L-1612. All the intervenors-oppositors submit that Section 15. Oppositor IBP Davao del Sur opines that the JBC . that PHILCONSA's prayer that the Court pass a resolution declaring that persons who manifest their interest as nominees. Article VII to the Judiciary does not violate the principle of separation of powers. and that the application of the general rule in Section 15. at any rate. but in the Supreme Court. and that the Court must direct the JBC to follow the rule of law. but also to judicial appointments. to submit the list of nominees only to the next duly elected President after the period of the constitutional ban against midnight appointments has expired. 1948) to refer to the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. and that. that the proposed advance appointment by the incumbent President of the next Chief Justice will be unconstitutional. that the role of the JBC cannot be separated from the constitutional prohibition on the President. because said provision is an exception.

The main question presented in all the filings herein . an institution that has been unnecessarily dragged into the harsh polemics brought on by the controversy. first. and that the commencement of the process of screening of applicants to fill the vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice only begins from the retirement on May 17. for. therefore. second. as indicated in Agan. v. He must be able to show. 2010. Inc. the Court is often burdened with the determination of the locus standi of the petitioners due to the ever-present need to regulate the invocation of the intervention of the Court to correct any official action or policy in order to avoid obstructing the efficient functioning of public officials and offices involved in public service.imperatively demands the attention and resolution of this Court.:[42] The question on legal standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional [43] questions." Accordingly. The imperative demand rests on the ever-present need. prior to this date. reputation. that the petitioner must have a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy. Ruling of the Court Locus Standi of Petitioners The preliminary issue to be settled is whether or not the petitioners have locus standi. to settle once and for all the doubt about an outgoing President's power to appoint to the Judiciary within the long period starting two months before the presidential elections until the end of the presidential term. not only that the law or any government act is invalid.appointees to the Supreme Court is purely ministerial and does not involve the exercise of judgment. for. and third. that there can be no default on the part of the JBC in submitting the list of nominees to the President.. to set a definite guideline for the JBC to follow in the discharge of its primary office of screening and nominating qualified persons for appointment to the Judiciary. it has been held that the interest of a person assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. considering that the call for applications only begins from the occurrence of the vacancy in the Supreme Court. particularly this Court. we resolve. but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of . Philippine International Air Terminals Co. It is required. and integrity of the entire Judiciary. the only authority that can resolve the question definitively and finally. there is no definite legal basis for any party to claim that the submission or non-submission of the list of nominees to the President by the JBC is a matter of right under law. Thus. Jr."[41] In public or constitutional litigations. to safeguard the independence. Black defines locus standi as "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.because it involves two seemingly conflicting provisions of the Constitution .

being a mere procedural technicality. legislators.[55] where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayer's suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizen's suit. Although such petitioner may not be as adversely affected by the action complained against as are others. [46] Manila Race Horse Trainers' Association v. President of the Senate. There." Vera was followed in Custodio v. Commission on Elections has been adopted in several notable cases.[47] Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public . the Court has also held that the requirement of locus standi.[53] However. Dinglasan. Silk. the Court held that the person who would assail the validity of a statute must have "a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained. in People v. regulations. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.[50] the Court liberalized the approach when the cases had "transcendental importance. For instance.[49] Yet. The liberal approach of Aquino v. or will sustain direct injury as a result. Dinglasan. Macapagal-Arroyo. the petitioner in a public action sues as a citizen or taxpayer to gain locus standi. That is not surprising." even if the petitioner had no personality to file the suit.[45] the Court adopted the direct injury test for determining whether a petitioner in a public action had locus standi. Commission on Elections.[48] and Pascual v. and civic organizations to bring their suits involving the constitutionality or validity of laws.its enforcement. in Araneta v. permitting ordinary citizens. the assertion of a public right as a predicate for challenging a supposedly illegal or unconstitutional executive or legislative action rests on the theory that the petitioner represents the public in general. In David v. Quite often. as here.[51] In the 1975 decision in Aquino v. can be waived by the Court in the exercise of its discretion. and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. In the former. The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. for even if the issue may appear to concern only the public in general. Felix.[44] It is true that as early as in 1937.[54] the Court aptly explains why: Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both "citizen" and "taxpayer" standing in public actions.[52] this Court decided to resolve the issues raised by the petition due to their "far-reaching implications. and rulings. such capacities nonetheless equip the petitioner with adequate interest to sue. Vera." Some notable controversies whose petitioners did not pass the direct injury test were allowed to be treated in the same way as in Araneta v. Secretary of Public Works. in 1949. it is enough that he sufficiently demonstrates in his petition that he is entitled to protection or relief from the Court in the vindication of a public right. De la Fuente.

Indeed. It also alleges that the Court has recognized its legal standing to file cases on constitutional issues in several cases. 191032) and Peralta (G. such as respondent JBC. The issues before us are of transcendental importance to the people as a whole. No.[61] The Court rules that the petitioners have each demonstrated adequate interest in the outcome of the controversy as to vest them with the requisite locus standi.R. former Minister of Justice. [60] In A.. for "[a]n adjudication of the proper interpretation and application of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments with regard to respondent JBC's function in submitting the list of nominees is well within the concern of petitioners. which involve "unnecessary. protecting. No..the people are the real parties." [59] PHILCONSA alleges itself to be a non-stock. . he is but the mere instrument of the public concern.. a member of the Philippine Bar engaged in the active practice of law. 191002). the issues affect everyone (including the petitioners). is a clear legal interest in the process of selecting the members of the Supreme Court. and in the selection of the Chief Justice. most especially by government offices. considering that the person appointed becomes a member of the body that has constitutional supervision and authority over them and other members of the legal profession. No. 191149) all assert their right as citizens filing their petitions on behalf of the public who are directly affected by the issue of the appointment of the next Chief Justice. and preserving the Constitution and promoting its growth and flowering. who are duty bound to ensure that obedience and respect for the Constitution is upheld. The petitioners in G. however. former Member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa and the Regular Batasang Pambansa.. and to the petitioners in particular.M. 10-2-5-SC. 191342 are the Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas. with Soriano averring that he is affected by the continuing proceedings in the JBC. Jordan[57] held that "the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied. illegal disbursement of public funds. who are specifically tasked to perform crucial functions in the whole scheme of our democratic institution. No. and a former Solicitor General.R. if not. De Castro and Soriano further claim standing as taxpayers." They further allege that. if not the duty. non-profit organization existing under the law for the purpose of defending. and that a public grievance be remedied. Mendoza states that he is a citizen of the Philippines.R. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v.R. They allege that they have the legal standing to enjoin the submission of the list of nominees by the JBC to the President.funds. and former member of the Faculty of the College of Law of the University of the Philippines. reposed in them as members of the Bar. No.It is at least the right. Collins:[56] "In matter of mere public right. of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished."[58] Petitioners De Castro (G." With respect to taxpayer's suits. Soriano (G. while in the latter. Terr v.

[63] we pointed out: "Standing is a peculiar concept in constitutional law because in some cases." But even if. Philippine International Air Terminals Co. considering that although the selection process commenced by the JBC is going on. or otherwise requires a liberalization of the requirement. the Court retains the broad discretion to waive the requirement of legal standing in favor of any petitioner when the matter involved has transcendental importance. suits are not brought by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of a law or any other government act but by concerned citizens. Inc. strictly speaking. but also others who may serve in the Judiciary. there is no imminent controversy as to whether such list must be submitted to the incumbent President. if any doubt still lingers about the locus standi of any petitioner. Jr. hence.regardless of one's personal interest in life. taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest.. it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised. we dispel the doubt now in order to remove any obstacle or obstruction to the resolution of the essential issue squarely presented herein. Intervenor BAYAN et al. and are not invoking any issues that are justiciable in nature. In Agan. submit that there exist no conflict of legal rights and no assertion . which is insufficient basis for the Court to exercise its power of judicial review. there is yet no final list of nominees. Intervenors Bello et al. because they concern that great doubt about the authority of the incumbent President to appoint not only the successor of the retiring incumbent Chief Justice. and that petitioner De Castro is merely presenting a hypothetical scenario that is clearly not sufficient for the Court to exercise its power of judicial review. v. Intervenor Tan raises the lack of any actual justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial determination. the petitioners "are not covered by the definition. contend that the petitioners are seeking a mere advisory opinion on what the JBC and the President should do. We are not to shirk from discharging our solemn duty by reason alone of an obstacle more technical than otherwise. In any event. which already suffers from a far too great number of vacancies in the ranks of trial judges throughout the country. Intervenors Corvera and Lim separately opine that De Castro's petition rests on an overbroad and vague allegation of political tension. or reserved for submission to the incoming President. [62] Yet."[64] Justiciability Intervenor NUPL maintains that there is no actual case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for adjudication.. pointing out that petitioner De Castro has not even shown that the JBC has already completed its selection process and is now ready to submit the list to the incumbent President.

which means that the subordinate officer or body must first act. the counter-insistence of the intervenors to prohibit the JBC from submitting the short list to the incumbent President on the ground that said list should . the insistence of some of the petitioners to compel the JBC through mandamus to submit the short list to the incumbent President. because supervision involves oversight. or associations of lawyers and law students on the issues published in the daily newspapers are "matters of paramount and transcendental importance to the bench. whether the JBC may resume its process until the short list is prepared. bar and general public". 2010). that PHILCONSA does not allege any action taken by the JBC. although it has yet to decide whether to submit the list of nominees to the incumbent outgoing President or to the next President. after May 17. instead. which unqualifiedly requires the President to appoint one from the short list to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court (be it the Chief Justice or an Associate Justice) within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. there being an insistence from some of the oppositors-intervenors that the JBC could only do so once the vacancy has occurred (that is.of opposite legal claims in any of the petitions. Although the position is not yet vacant. Article VIII. The challenges to the authority of the JBC to open the process of nomination and to continue the process until the submission of the list of nominees. Another part is. of course. may the person exercising oversight order the action to be redone to conform to the prescribed rules. that the fact that the Court supervises the JBC does not automatically imply that the Court can rule on the issues presented in the Mendoza petition. The ripeness of the controversy for judicial determination may not be doubted." A part of the question to be reviewed by the Court is whether the JBC properly initiated the process. but also to indicate what specific action should be done by the JBC. but to declare the state of the law in the absence of an actual case or controversy. and that the Mendoza petition asks the Court to issue an advisory ruling. The reality is that the JBC already commenced the proceedings for the selection of the nominees to be included in a short list to be submitted to the President for consideration of which of them will succeed Chief Justice Puno as the next Chief Justice. but. makes the situation ripe for judicial determination. not to exercise its power of supervision to correct a wrong act by the JBC. that the Mendoza petition does not allege that the JBC has performed a specific act susceptible to correction for being illegal or unconstitutional. accented by the divided opinions and interpretations of legal experts. but simply avers that the conditional manifestations of two Members of the Court. as may be needed. and the "interview of constitutional experts. the preparation of the short list of candidates. in view of the provision of Section 4(1). We hold that the petitions set forth an actual case or controversy that is ripe for judicial determination. then. prays that the Court should "rule for the guidance of" the JBC. that PHILCONSA fails not only to cite any legal duty or allege any failure to perform the duty. that Mendoza does not even attempt to portray the matter as a controversy or conflict of rights. and only then. because the next steps are the public interview of the candidates. and if such action is not in accordance with prescribed rules. the fact that the JBC began the process of nomination pursuant to its rules and practices.

The resolution of the controversy will surely settle . the facts are not in doubt. 2010. We need not await the occurrence of the vacancy by May 17.the nagging questions that are preventing the JBC from moving on with the process that it already began. Tolentino and Inting. Section 4 (1). Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. considering that for some the short list must be submitted before the vacancy actually occurs by May 17. five. In the consolidated petitions. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term.with finality . Substantive Merits I Prohibition under Section 15. on the ground that the prohibition . The first. 2010 in order for the principal issue to ripe for judicial determination by the Court. and the contrary position that the incumbent President is not so prohibited are only some of the real issues for determination. (1). Article VII (Executive Department). It may sit en banc or in its discretion. or seven Members. All such issues establish the ripeness of the controversy. the strong position that the incumbent President is already prohibited under Section 15. with the exception of Soriano. or that are reasons persuading the JBC to desist from the rest of the process. Article VIII (Judicial Department). states: Section 4. starting on May 10. but seemingly proscribed by the Constitution. submit that the incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement on May 17. Section 15. 2010. in division of three. Article VII does not apply to appointments to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court or to other appointments to the Judiciary Two constitutional provisions are seemingly in conflict. The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. 2010. a President or Acting President shall not make appointments. for only legal issues remain. A reasonable certainty of the occurrence of the perceived threat to a constitutional interest is sufficient to afford a basis for bringing a challenge.[65] Herein. 2010 until June 30. The outcome will not be an abstraction. or a merely hypothetical exercise. except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. the petitioners. The other. including those to the Judiciary. Article VII from making any appointments. It is enough that one alleges conduct arguably affected with a constitutional interest.be submitted instead to the next President. provided the Court has sufficient facts before it to enable it to intelligently adjudicate the issues. provides: Section 15.

That such specification was not done only reveals that the prohibition against the President or Acting President making appointments within two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of the President's or Acting President's term does not refer to the Members of the Supreme Court. executive and judicial departments. Such meticulousness indicates that the organization and arrangement of the provisions of the Constitution were not arbitrarily or whimsically done by the framers. Section 4(1) of the Article mandates the President to fill the vacancy within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. three of which embody the allocation of the awesome powers of government among the three great departments. but purposely made to reflect their intention and manifest their vision of what the Constitution should contain. among others. Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15. Article VII as being equally applicable to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself. The presidential power of appointment is dealt with in Sections 14. it lists the powers vested by the Constitution in the President. Article VIII. Section 9 states that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices can only be made by the President upon the submission of a list of at least three nominees by the JBC. First. The arrangement was a true recognition of the principle of separation of powers that underlies the political structure. The records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission reveal that the framers devoted time to meticulously drafting. The Constitution consists of 18 Articles. styling. Article VII to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court. In particular. the Legislative (Article VI). as Constitutional Commissioner Adolfo S. Article VII is devoted to the Executive Department. they could have explicitly done so. Azcuna (later a worthy member of the Court) explained in his sponsorship speech: We have in the political part of this Constitution opted for the separation of powers in government because we believe that the only way to protect freedom and liberty is to separate and divide the awesome powers of government. Article VII does not extend to appointments in the Judiciary. most likely in Section 4 (1). The Court agrees with the submission. and.against presidential appointments under Section 15. among others. and arranging the Constitution. Article VIII is dedicated to the Judicial Department and defines the duties and qualifications of Members of the Supreme Court. Section 4(1) and Section 9 of this Article are the provisions specifically providing for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. Hence. 15 and 16 of the Article. and the Judicial Departments (Article VIII). [66] As can be seen. . They could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. They would have easily and surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15. we return to the separation of powers doctrine and the legislative. the Executive (Article VII).

Thereby. Persisting however in his desire to make certain that the size of the Court would not be decreased for any substantial period as a result of vacancies. . Regalado of this Court.that "a President or Acting President shall not make appointments. about the prohibition not being intended to apply to the appointments to the Judiciary. Relevantly. should prevail." His proposal to have a 15-member Court was not initially adopted. As it turned out. which confirmation Valenzuela even expressly mentioned.. According to him. Davide. THE PRESIDENT SHALL ISSUE THE APPOINTMENT WITHIN NINETY DAYS FROM THE SUBMISSION OF THE LIST" (of nominees by the Judicial and Bar Council to the President). Jr. Valenzuela adverted to the intent of the framers in the genesis of Section 4 (1). (now a Member of this Court) to add to what is now Section 9 of Article VIII. He also wished to ensure that that number would not be reduced for any appreciable length of time (even only temporarily). Lerum proposed the insertion in the provision (anent the Court's membership) of the same mandate that "IN CASE OF ANY VACANCY. it may be pointed out that that instruction that any "vacancy shall be filled within ninety days" (in the last sentence of Section 4 (1) of Article VIII) contrasts with the prohibition in Section 15. a former member of the Constitutional Commission. Article VIII. Intent of the Constitutional Commission The journal of the Commission which drew up the present Constitution discloses that the original proposal was to have an eleven-member Supreme Court. instead of two. THE SAME SHALL BE FILLED WITHIN TWO MONTHS FROM OCCURRENCE THEREOF." He later agreed to suggestions to make the period three. the proposal was approved. the confirmation made to the JBC by then Senior Associate Justice Florenz D. which is couched in stronger negative language . the following paragraph: "WITH RESPECT TO LOWER COURTS. Thus it was that the section fixing the composition of the Supreme Court came to include a command to fill up any vacancy therein within 90 days from its occurrence. Davide stated that his purpose was to provide a "uniform rule" for lower courts. the 90-day period should be counted from submission of the list of nominees to the President in view of the possibility that the President might reject the list submitted to him and the JBC thus need more time to submit a new one. it cannot be disputed that the Valenzuela dictum did not firmly rest on the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. months. Article VII. the Commission ultimately agreed on a fifteen-member Court. and to this end proposed that any vacancy "must be filled within two months from the date that the vacancy occurs. however.. Commissioner Eulogio Lerum wanted to increase the number of Justices to fifteen. viz: V ." The commission later approved a proposal of Commissioner Hilario G. As thus amended.Although Valenzuela[67] came to hold that the prohibition covered even judicial appointments. In this connection.

Article VII prevailed because it was "couched in stronger negative language. the reference to the records of the Constitutional Commission did not advance or support the result in Valenzuela. MR. MR. Article VII . DE CASTRO. viz: MR. "a command [to the President] to fill up any vacancy therein within 90 days from its occurrence. Article VIII." Such interpretation even turned out to be conjectural. Yes. How Valenzuela justified its pronouncement and result is hardly warranted. The 90-day limitation fixed in Section 4(1)." which even Valenzuela conceded. in light of the records of the Constitutional Commission's deliberations on Section 4 (1). That is right.should not be disregarded. DE CASTRO. Thereby. 1986 further show that the filling of a vacancy in the Supreme Court within the 90-day period was a true mandate for the President. are only 11. That is borne out of the fact that in the past 30 years. together with the Chief Justice. the usage in Section 4(1).was approved without discussion.which in effect deprives the President of his appointing power "two months immediately before the next presidential elections up to the end of his term" . [68] However. the records disclosed the express intent of the framers to enshrine in the Constitution. Section 15.On the other hand. Article VIII of the word shall . According to an authority on statutory construction: [72] . Far to the contrary. operating to impose a duty that may be enforced [71] . And the second sentence of this subsection reads: "Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. and cannot be defeated by mere judicial interpretation in Valenzuela to the effect that Section 15. DE CASTRO. CONCEPCION. MR.[70] Moreover. Article VIII for the President to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court was undoubtedly a special provision to establish a definite mandate for the President as the appointing power. Is this now a mandate to the executive to fill the vacancy? MR. CONCEPCION. Sections 4(1) imposes on the President the imperative duty to make an appointment of a Member of the Supreme Court within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy." MR. CONCEPCION. upon the initiative of Commissioner Eulogio Lerum. That is right. The failure by the President to do so will be a clear disobedience to the Constitution. seldom has the Court had a complete complement.[69] The exchanges during deliberations of the Constitutional Commission on October 8. I understand that our justices now in the Supreme Court.an imperative.

they must be made effective as far as possible. It further ignored that the two provisions had no irreconcilable conflict. In this connection. Obviously. PHILCONSA's urging of a revisit and a review of Valenzuela is timely and appropriate. But a word should not be given effect. [74] It will not do to merely distinguish Valenzuela from these cases. if so. Consequently. what appears to be on its face a conflict may be cleared up and the provisions reconciled. the rule is subject to deserved criticism. And the arbitrary rule has been frequently announced that where there is an irreconcilable conflict between the different provisions of a statute. Article VII does not apply as well to all other appointments in the Judiciary. [73] Consequently. that construction which will leave every word operative will be favored over one which leaves some word or provision meaningless because of inconsistency. which may not in some manner contain conflicting provisions. Nor should the provisions of a statute which are inconsistent be harmonized at a sacrifice of the legislative intention.xxx the court should seek to avoid any conflict in the provisions of the statute by endeavoring to harmonize and reconcile every part so that each shall be effective. largely because of the principle of implied repeal. Where the conflict is between two statutes. Second. Article VII being couched in the negative. for the result to be reached herein is entirely incompatible with what Valenzuela decreed. Undoubtedly. But what appears to the reader to be a conflict may not have seemed so to the drafter. each provision was inserted for a definite reason. or any other writing for that matter. We reverse Valenzuela. more may be said in favor of the rule's application. the provision last in order of position will prevail. least of all one found in Article VII. Article VII extends to appointments in the Judiciary cannot be sustained. It is seldom applied. we are not to unduly interpret. It may be that two provisions are irreconcilable. On the other hand. and probably then only where an irreconcilable conflict exists between different sections of the same act. A misinterpretation like Valenzuela should not be allowed to last after its false premises have been exposed. Consequently. . Valenzuela nowdeserves to be quickly sent to the dustbin of the unworthy and forgettable. It is not easy to draft a statute. regardless of Section 15. the one which expresses the intent of the law-makers should control. Section 15. As judges. and should not accept an interpretation that defeats the intent of the framers. since it is the latest expression of the legislative will. Article VIII stand independently of any other provision. Often by considering the enactment in its entirety. and after all other means of ascertaining the meaning of the legislature have been exhausted. if full effect cannot be given to the words of a statute. if to do so gives the statute a meaning contrary to the intent of the legislature. prohibiting the incumbent President from appointing a Chief Justice on the premise that Section 15. Valenzuela arbitrarily ignored the express intent of the Constitutional Commission to have Section 4 (1).

: xxx The second type of appointments prohibited by Section 15. But the issuance of 350 appointments in one night and the planned induction of almost all of them in a few hours before the inauguration of the new President may. The first refers to those appointments made within the two months preceding a Presidential election and are similar to those which are declared election offenses in the Omnibus Election Code. stating that: xxx it appears that Section 15.[75] In fact. the steps taken being apparently a mere partisan effort to fill all vacant positions irrespective of fitness and other conditions. the exception in the same Section 15 of Article VII . In Aytona v. It may not unreasonably be deemed to contemplate not only "midnight" appointments - those made obviously for partisan reasons as shown by their number and the time of their making . Article VII has a broader scope than the Aytona ruling. Garcia." can be made by the outgoing President. Article VII is directed against two types of appointments: (1) those made for buying votes and (2) those made for partisan considerations. the Court recognized that there may well be appointments to important positions which have to be made even after the proclamation of the new President. President Carlos P. so long as they are "few and so spaced as to afford some assurance of deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the appointment and the appointee's qualifications. be regarded by the latter as an abuse of Presidential prerogatives. if few. and thereby to deprive the new administration of an opportunity to make the corresponding appointments. Article VII consists of the so- called "midnight" appointments. Section 15. became no more than a "caretaker" administrator whose duty was to "prepare for the orderly transfer of authority to the incoming President. which were shown to have been well considered. who was defeated in his bid for reelection. in Valenzuela. were upheld. with some reason. Castillo. viz. and so spaced as to afford some assurance of deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the appointment and appointee's qualifications may undoubtedly be permitted. the Court so observed. it was held that after the proclamation of Diosdado Macapagal as duly elected President. several appointments made by President Garcia. On the other hand. Accordingly.but also appointments presumed made for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the Presidential election." As indicated. Such appointments.allowing ." Said the Court: "The filling up of vacancies in important positions. Castillo.There is no question that one of the reasons underlying the adoption of Section 15 as part of Article VII was to eliminate midnight appointments from being made by an outgoing Chief Executive in the mold of the appointments dealt with in the leading case of Aytona v.

their making is considered an election offense. Article VII. the former should yield to the latter. Considering the respective reasons for the time frames for filling vacancies in the courts and the restriction on the President's power of appointment. Surely. because they first had to undergo the vetting of the JBC and pass muster there. . The experience from the time of the establishment of the JBC shows that even candidates for judicial positions at any level backed by people influential with the President could not always be assured of being recommended for the consideration of the President. those occurring in the lower courts can be filled temporarily by designation. because their establishment of the JBC and their subjecting the nomination and screening of candidates for judicial positions to the unhurried and deliberate prior process of the JBC ensured that there would no longer be midnight appointments to the Judiciary. as earlier pointed out. Obviously. it is axiomatic in statutory construction that the ascertainment of the purpose of the enactment is a step in the process of ascertaining the intent or meaning of the enactment. Indeed. the intervention of the JBC eliminates the danger that appointments to the Judiciary can be made for the purpose of buying votes in a coming presidential election. or of satisfying partisan considerations. incidentally and as earlier pointed out. or made by an outgoing Chief Executive in the last days of his administration out of a desire to subvert the policies of the incoming President or for partisanship. This insulating process was absent from the Aytona midnight appointment. But prohibited appointments are long-lasting and permanent in their effects. hence.. comes to exist only once in every six years. for that reason.appointments to be made during the period of the ban therein provided . the prevention of vote-buying and similar evils outweighs the need for avoiding delays in filling up of court vacancies or the disposition of some cases.e. Moreover. [78] Also. Temporary vacancies can abide the period of the ban which. They may. [77] the appointments to the Judiciary made after the establishment of the JBC would not be suffering from such defects because of the JBC's prior processing of candidates. Indeed. the article greatly restricts the appointing power of the President during the period of the ban. the intent. because the reason for the enactment must necessarily shed considerable light on "the law of the statute. [76] Given the background and rationale for the prohibition in Section 15." i. as a general proposition. we have no doubt that the Constitutional Commission confined the prohibition to appointments made in the Executive Department. the creation of the JBC was precisely intended to de-politicize the Judiciary by doing away with the intervention of the Commission on Appointments. and the court should seek to carry out this purpose rather than to defeat it. in case of conflict. the enactment should be construed with reference to its intended scope and purpose. The framers did not need to extend the prohibition to appointments in the Judiciary. it is this Court's view that. The exception allows only the making of temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. If midnight appointments in the mold of Aytona were made in haste and with irregularities. in fact influence the results of elections and.is much narrower than that recognized in Aytona.

It has no application to appointments in the Judiciary. Article VII to appointments in the Judiciary was confirmed by then Senior Associate Justice Regalado to the JBC itself when it met on March 9. Article VII could have been dispelled since its promulgation on November 9. 1998 to discuss the question raised by some sectors about the "constitutionality of xxx appointments" to the Court of Appeals in light of the forthcoming presidential elections. Thereby. there is no law in the books that authorizes the revocation of appointments in the Judiciary. the election ban had no application to appointments to the Court of Appeals. i. Section 14. Fourth. but the Members of the Supreme Court may be removed only by impeachment. because it relied on interpretation to determine the intent of the framers rather than on the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.[80] The fault of Valenzuela was that it accorded no weight and due consideration to the confirmation of Justice Regalado. The fact that Section 14 and Section 16 refer only to appointments within the Executive Department renders conclusive that Section 15 also applies only to the Executive Department. Section15. Section 16 covers only the presidential appointments that require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.Third.. Section 15. the non-applicability of Section 15.e.e. which then submitted to the President for consideration the nominations for the eight vacancies in the Court of Appeals."[79] This confirmation was accepted by the JBC. [82] The letter and spirit of the Constitution safeguard that independence. three (i. Section 14 speaks of the power of the succeeding President to revoke appointments made by an Acting President. had Valenzuela properly acknowledged and relied on the confirmation of a distinguished member of the Constitutional Commission like Justice Regalado. As earlier stated. Of the 23 sections in Article VII. Valenzuela was weak. because of Section 9 of Article VIII. and Section 16 are obviously of the same character. and Section 16) concern the appointing powers of the President. the restored requirement did not include appointments to the Judiciary. in that they affect the power of the President to appoint. He assured that "on the basis of the (Constitutional) Commission's records. Much of the unfounded doubt about the President's power to appoint during the period of prohibition in Section 15. Also.[83] Section 14. that every part must be considered together with the other parts. Prior to their mandatory retirement or resignation. judges of the first and second level courts and the Justices of the third level courts may only be removed for cause. Yet. 1998. because temporary or acting appointments can only undermine the independence of the Judiciary due to their being revocable at will. and kept . the Constitutional Commission restored the requirement of confirmation by the Commission on Appointments after the requirement was removed from the 1973 Constitution. This conclusion is consistent with the rule that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context.[81] and evidently refers only to appointments in the Executive Department.

or May 14. It ignores the need to apply Section 4(1) to every situation of a vacancy in the Supreme Court. Article VII. the framers neither discussed. They did not need to. Article VIII. if they intended Section 15 to cover all kinds of presidential appointments. Consequently. Section 4 (3). the wisdom of having the new President. appoint the next Chief Justice is itself suspect. or vice versa. and cannot ensure judicial independence. nor referred to the ban against midnight appointments under Section 15. Such a holding will tie the Judiciary and the Supreme Court to the fortunes or misfortunes of political leaders vying for the Presidency in a presidential election. [84]It is absurd to assume that the framers deliberately situated Section 15 between Section 14 and Section 16. as the OSG has shown in its comment. letting the elections fall on May 8. Either period of the prohibition is longer than the full mandatory 90-day period to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court. precisely because her term will end by June 30. or its effects on the 90-day period. If that was their intention in respect of appointments to the Judiciary. the difference between the shortest possible period of the ban of 109 days and the 90- day mandatory period for appointments) in which the outgoing President would be in no position to comply with the constitutional duty to fill up a vacancy in the Supreme Court. Article VIII. To hold like the Court did in Valenzuela that Section 15 extends to appointments to the Judiciary further undermines the intent of the Constitution of ensuring the independence of the Judicial Department from the Executive and Legislative Departments. 2010.subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment. It is safe to assume that the framers of the Constitution could not have intended such an absurdity. The result is that there are at least 19 occasions (i. the period of the prohibition is 115 days. In contrast. the appointment by the incumbent President does not run the same risk of compromising judicial independence. . Article VII requires the regular elections to be held on the second Monday of May. at the latest. Article VIII remaining. The argument has been raised to the effect that there will be no need for the incumbent President to appoint during the prohibition period the successor of Chief Justice Puno within the context of Section 4 (1). would have easily and surely inserted a similar prohibition in Article VIII. The fallacy is easily demonstrable. instead of the current incumbent President. the framers. Fifth. because it is focused only on the coming vacancy occurring from Chief Justice Puno's retirement by May 17. in their deliberations on the mandatory period for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices under Section 4 (1). because anyway there will still be about 45 days of the 90 days mandated in Section 4(1).e. If the regular presidential elections are held on May 8. because the appointee can also become beholden to the appointing authority.. at the earliest. The argument also rests on the fallacious assumption that there will still be time remaining in the 90-day period under Section 4(1). most likely within Section 4 (1) thereof. Sixth. 2010. In fact. The argument is flawed. nor mentioned. If such elections are held on May 14. if only to be clear. the period of the prohibition is 109 days. Article VIII.

Seventh. It should be a good issue for the proposed Constitutional Convention to consider in the light of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile's statement that the President can appoint the Chief Justice from among the sitting justices of the Court even without a JBC list. or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified. until such disability is removed. Can the President. This provision shall apply to every Associate Justice who succeeds to the office of Chief Justice. or in any of the lower courts. Sec. appoint any of the incumbent Justices of the Court as Chief Justice? The question is not squarely before us at the moment.In case of a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or of his inability to perform the duties and powers of his office. all of whom have previously been vetted by the JBC. Such appointments need no confirmation. Article VIII says: xxx. xxx The provision clearly refers to an appointee coming into the Supreme Court from the outside. It speaks of candidates for the Supreme Court. we can even raise a doubt on whether a JBC list is necessary at all for the President . As a matter of fact. Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 states: Section 12. but it should lend itself to a deeper analysis if and when circumstances permit. The provision calls for an Acting Chief Justice in the event of a vacancy in the office of . a non-member of the Court aspiring to become one.to appoint a Chief Justice if the appointee is to come from the ranks of the sitting justices of the Supreme Court. therefore.because they never intended Section 15. -. The Members of the Supreme Court xxx shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for any vacancy. in an extreme case. Article VII to apply to a vacancy in the Supreme Court. 9. considering that the Judiciary Act of 1948 can still address the situation of having the next President appoint the successor. Vacancy in Office of Chief Justice.any President . not of those who are already members or sitting justices of the Court. they shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence. that is. II The Judiciary Act of 1948 The posture has been taken that no urgency exists for the President to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno.

that it was enacted because the Chief Justice appointed under the 1935 Constitution was subject to the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. aside from its being mandatory for the incumbent President to make within the 90-day period from May 17. which appointments require no confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 only responds to a rare situation in which the new Chief Justice is not yet appointed. we do not find it amiss to confront the matter now. . they would have simply written so in the Constitution. Consequently. Under the Constitution. There being no obstacle to the appointment of the next Chief Justice. For sure. and the appointment is never in an acting capacity. the lack of any appointed occupant of the office of Chief Justice harms the independence of the Judiciary. he or she is appointed by the President as Chief Justice. 2010. A review of Sections 4(1) and 9 of Article VIII shows that the Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. We cannot agree with the posture. and whoever are elected and proclaimed at once become the leaders of their respective Departments. With the entire Supreme Court being the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. who all shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the JBC for every vacancy.the Chief Justice. The appointment of the next Chief Justice by the incumbent President is preferable to having the Associate Justice who is first in precedence take over. the framers intended the position of Chief Justice to be permanent. In either of such circumstances. or in which the incumbent Chief Justice is unable to perform the duties and powers of the office. there is no justification to insist that the successor of Chief Justice Puno be appointed by the next President. The express reference to a Chief Justice abhors the idea that the framers contemplated an Acting Chief Justice to head the membership of the Supreme Court. and the confirmation process might take longer than expected. the Chief Justice is the Chairman of the Tribunal. the duties and powers of the office of the Chief Justice shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence until a new Chief Justice is appointed or until the disability is removed. With reference to the Chief Justice. Notwithstanding that there is no pressing need to dwell on this peripheral matter after the Court has hereby resolved the question of consequence. In relation to the scheme of things under the present Constitution. to rely on Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 in order to forestall the imperative need to appoint the next Chief Justice soonest is to defy the plain intent of the Constitution. The Chief Justice performs functions absolutely significant to the life of the nation. or in the event that the Chief Justice is unable to perform his duties and powers. Otherwise. however. However. not one to be occupied in an acting or temporary capacity. the heads of the Legislative and Executive Departments are popularly elected. It ought to be remembered. because the Chief Justice is the head of the entire Judiciary.

1988. 2005. there has been no wide gap between the retirement and the resignation of an incumbent Chief Justice. Chief Justice Pedro Yap was appointed on the same day. 2005. [85] III Writ of mandamus does not lie against the JBC May the JBC be compelled to submit the list of nominees to the President? Mandamus shall issue when any tribunal. and the appointment to and assumption of office of his successor. [87] For mandamus to lie. When Chief Justice Davide retired on December 19. (c) the defendant unlawfully neglects the performance of the duty enjoined by law. on the other hand. and (e) there is no appeal or any other plain. 1991. Mandamus is not available to direct the exercise of a judgment or discretion in a particular way.Historically. on one hand. 1991. When Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee retired on April 18. not discretionary. 2006. [86] It is proper when the act against which it is directed is one addressed to the discretion of the tribunal or officer. trust. 1998. under the present Constitution. 4. because it is mandated by law. 2. As summarized in the comment of the OSG. 2006. 1988. 5. Chief Justice Hilario Davide. the following requisites must be complied with: (a) the plaintiff has a clear legal right to the act demanded. Chief Justice Andres Narvasa was appointed the following day. When Chief Justice Panganiban retired on December 6. (b) it must be the duty of the defendant to perform the act. When Chief Justice Yap retired on July 1. corporation. was sworn into office the following early morning of November 30. Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno took his oath as Chief Justice at midnight of December 6. Jr. officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act that the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office. 1998. Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan was appointed on the same day. or station. and 6. When Chief Justice Narvasa retired on November 29. Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban was appointed the next day. (d) the act to be performed is ministerial. board. December 20. the chronology of succession is as follows: 1. December 8. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 3. When Chief Justice Fernan resigned on December 7. .

the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from the submission of the list. The object of the petitions for mandamus herein should only refer to the duty to submit to the President the list of nominees for every vacancy in the Judiciary. mandate the JBC to submit a list of at least three nominees to the President for every vacancy in the Judiciary: Section 8. but its selection of the candidates whose names will be in the list to be submitted to the President lies within the discretion of the JBC. The distinction between a ministerial act and a discretionary one has been delineated in the following manner: . Section 4(1) and Section 9. there must be an unjustified delay in performing that duty. Under the Constitution. not at the JBC. that is. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. because that shortens the 90-day period allowed by the Constitution for the President to make the appointment.Section 8(5) and Section 9. The 90- day period is directed at the President. For the JBC to do so will be unconscionable on its part. Article VIII. Article VIII.[88] For mandamus to lie against the JBC. considering that it will thereby effectively and illegally deprive the President of the ample time granted under the Constitution to reflect on the qualifications of the nominees named in the list of the JBC before making the appointment. mandate the President to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. For the lower courts. and within 90 days from the submission of the list. therefore. However. because in order to constitute unlawful neglect of duty. xxx Section 9. the JBC should start the process of selecting the candidates to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court before the occurrence of the vacancy. in submitting the list to the President. there should be an unexplained delay on its part in recommending nominees to the Judiciary. The duty of the JBC to submit a list of nominees before the start of the President's mandatory 90-day period to appoint is ministerial. Such appointments need no confirmation. Thus. xxx (5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. The JBC has no discretion to submit the list to the President after the vacancy occurs. it is mandatory for the JBC to submit to the President the list of nominees to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court in order to enable the President to appoint one of them within the 90-day period from the occurrence of the vacancy. in the case of the lower courts.

On the other hand. the petitioners lack locus standi on that issue. IV Writ of prohibition does not lie against the JBC In light of the foregoing disquisitions. at the latest. 191342 is similarly devoid of merit. 191057 for being premature. WHEREFORE. . Puno by May 17.M.R. because it is clear that the JBC still has until May 17. in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority. accordingly.R. because they have not alleged in their petition that they were nominated to the JBC to fill some vacancies in the Judiciary. the conclusion is ineluctable that only the President can appoint the Chief Justice. 2. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment.R. 191342 for lack of merit. Dismisses the petitions for prohibition in G.[89] Accordingly. 191032 and G. without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. the Court: 1. 191149. Soriano's petition for prohibition in G. Grants the petition in A. No. 2010. within which to submit the list of nominees to the President to fill the vacancy created by the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Puno.R. we find no sufficient grounds to grant the petitions for mandamus and to issue a writ of mandamus against the JBC. 10-2-5-SC and. A purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts. which proposes to prevent the JBC from intervening in the process of nominating the successor of Chief Justice Puno. The actions for that purpose are premature. No. thereby prejudicing the chances of some candidates for nomination by raising the minimum number of votes required in accordance with the rules of the JBC. the petition for prohibition in G. 2010. No. Dismisses the petitions for certiorari and mandamus in G.R. such duty is discretionary and not ministerial. No. lacks merit. and 3.R. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed. No. Thus.R. Hence. No. No. No. 191032. The challenge mounted against the composition of the JBC based on the allegedly unconstitutional allocation of a vote each to the ex officio members from the Senate and the House of Representatives. and the petition for mandamus in G. 191002 and G. is not based on the petitioners' actual interest. in a prescribed manner.The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. directs the Judicial and Bar Council: (a) To resume its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill the vacancy to be created by the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S.

2010. (c) To submit to the incumbent President the short list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice on or before May 17. SO ORDERED. . and (d) To continue its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill other vacancies in the Judiciary and submit to the President the short list of nominees corresponding thereto in accordance with this decision.(b) To prepare the short list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice.

.2 In the first order. . DECISION BERSAMIN. JOCELYN RICARDO. Nos. DOMINADOR BASSI. 187961.. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ARNEL TARUC.. the Division denied Tolentino’s motion for reconsideration vis-à-vis the first order.R. Tolentino prayed for the issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of preliminarily injunction... 20091 and May 25... and 187962 April 7. x . NERISSA MANZANO..R.. J.. in the second. Tolentino (Tolentino)... 2009. the Division formally requested the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to allow the conduct of the revision within the SET’s premises...G.: Before us are two petitions for certiorari and prohibition assailing several orders of the Second Division (Division) of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) relative to its revision of ballots under Section 6. the petitioner. MARIA THERESA MENDOZA COSTA. TAGUMPAY REYES.. 187967. Petitioner. ARNEL TARUC.R. FIDELA ROFOLS CASTILLO. 187966. 2010 MAYOR ABRAHAM N.. MARLENE CATAN. TOLENTINO. vs. Nos.. 187958. and ELINO FAJARDO Respondents. ROBERTO MALABANAN HERNANDEZ. Abraham N. and 187968 VICE-MAYOR CELSO P. In G. Petitioner.-x G.. vs.. 187958 and 187961-62. Nos. seeks the nullification of the orders dated May 8. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. LEONIDEZ MAGLABE HERNANDEZ... Rule 20 of its Rules of Procedure in the protests on the results of the local elections in 2007 in Tagaytay City. DE CASTRO.

2009 due to their commonality as to the facts and issues. he elevated the issue to the Court by petition for certiorari (docketed as G. docketed as EPC Case No.R. The private respondents contested the election results in 116 ballot boxes by filing three separate election protests against the proclaimed winning candidates for Mayor. After finding the protests sufficient in form and substance. the Division required the City Treasurer of Tagaytay City to inventory the protested ballot boxes and to turn them over to the Election Officer of Tagaytay City for delivery and submission to the COMELEC’s Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) in Manila. 183806-08). 7On his part. No. De Castro moved for the reconsideration of the September 7. but it appears that they were consolidated previously inasmuch as the caption of all orders issued by the Division indicated the joining of the cases. which denied the motion. all the parties ran for elective local offices in Tagaytay City. upon denial of his motion. 2007-08. 2007 order in the COMELEC en banc.4 EPC Case No. 2009. the petitioner. De Castro prayed for the issuance of a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction or status quo ante order. 2008. 2007 elections. De Castro (De Castro). 187966-68. 2007 order. The petitions were consolidated on July 28. Vice-Mayor and Members of the Sanggunian Panlungsod. the delivery and submission took place only on December 17. respectively. Celso P. Antecedents In the May 14. the Division re-directed the City Treasurer and the Election Officer of Tagaytay City to implement the directives of its September 7. The petition was eventually dismissed for lack of merit on September 16. 2007-07.5 and EPC Case No.R. Tolentino and De Castro were proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor and Vice- Mayor. Tolentino moved to defer the transmittal of the ballot boxes to ECAD on the premise that he had to complete the photocopying and verification of the contested ballots. However. Nos. 2008. 2008 due to the moves of Tolentino and De Castro of taking turns to suspend the transmittal of the ballot boxes to ECAD. 2007-09.3which denied the motion to suspend the scheduled revision of ballots in the SET premises. assails the order dated June 2.In G. . In the order dated March 6.6 The protests were raffled to the Second Division of the COMELEC. The records do not contain the order for the consolidation of the cases.

2008. or "2 padlocks only. and election paraphernalia in connection with SET Case No. asserting the SET’s preferential custody pursuant to Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. On January 6. 2007 order for the immediate transmittal of the ballot boxes for purposes of the revision and recount. 2008.9 In his Compliance Report dated December 16. 2008 by the SET. 72 ballot boxes were delivered to the ECAD. and instead directed the Election Officer of Tagaytay City to deliver the affected ballot boxes to the SET. 001-07.12 and that out of the 72 ballot boxes delivered to the ECAD. 001-07. Pimentel III against Senator Juan Miguel F. the Division resolved not to suspend the revision proceedings. De Castro again sought the suspension of the revision proceedings. election documents. 2009.8 citing the order issued on November 17.In this connection. Tolentino thereby raised prematurity due to the unresolved pending issues. the Division ordered the constitution of four Revision Committees. 2009. upon receipt of the 72 ballot boxes. 16 were set aside with appropriate remarks "No metal seal outside" or "Metal seal not properly locked". Tolentino and De Castro separately moved for the reconsideration of the Division’s order.R. its contents should be revised for all of the three protest cases before opening the next ballot box. and the fact that not all the . 10 the Election Officer certified that 116 ballot boxes were contested in EPC Nos. 2008 in G. On January 9. Zubiri pending in the SET and docketed as SET Case No. 24 were set aside with the remarks " No metal seal outside". 2007-08 and 2007-09. Further delay occurred because 44 of the 116 contested ballot boxes became involved in the election protest of candidate Aquilino L. 14 for the committees to convene and commence the revision of the 72 ballot boxes in such a way that whenever a ballot box was opened. 2008. or "Metal seal not properly locked". with the remainder of the ballot boxes to be deposited in the ECAD Ballot Box Storage Area in Manila. 2007-07. the Court ruled on September 16. that 44 ballot boxes were delivered to the SET for being simultaneously involved in SET Case No.11 that on December 17. 001-07. 183806-08 – Tolentino’s earlier petition for certiorari – that there was no longer any legal bar against the full implementation of the Division’s September 7. On November 21. that of the 44 ballot boxes delivered to the SET. the absence of guidelines or procedure. However. 2812 over the ballot boxes. No. 40 ballot boxes out of the 116 protested ones were set aside due to apparent sealing defects or irregularities."13 In other words.

187958 and 187961-62. SO ORDERED. and to suspend the proceedings until after all pending incidents were resolved pursuant to Section 2. In connection thereto.16 On May 8. De Castro sought to clarify the dispositions in the assailed order.involved ballot boxes were in the COMELEC’s custody. but the Division denied his motion through its second assailed order dated May 25. in order to facilitate the resolution of election protest cases considering that barely a year is left of the contested term of offices. through counsel on February 16. under such terms and conditions that the Tribunal may impose. Celso P. 2009. the Division suspended the revision proceedings until all the contested ballot boxes were already in the custody of the COMELEC.17 Tolentino moved to reconsider this order. thus: xxx We find protestee’s allegation unmeritorious. Nos.R. 2009. had meanwhile agreed to accommodate the Division’s request to conduct the revision proceedings in the SET’s premises from March 2 to 13. 2009. 151avvphi1 It did not take long thereafter before the Division lifted the suspension of the revision proceedings upon the private respondents’ manifestation. the Division issued the first assailed order in G. considering that the SET. Abraham N. through its letter dated February 16. can avail of alternative methods to facilitate the disposition of cases pursuant to the rule that election protest . 2009. protestees in EPC 2007-08 x x x. 2009. It should be understood that the deferment of the revision was due to the unavailability at that time of the ballot boxes. the Commission (Second Division) hereby REQUESTS the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to allow the Commission to conduct revision within its premises. To address this situation. in EPC 2007-07. viz: Acting on the JOINT MANIFESTATION WITH REQUEST TO SET SCHEDULE OF REVISION filed by protestants. De Castro on February 27. 2009 and on the COMMENTS filed by protestee. Tolentino on February 25. formally requesting the SET to allow the revision to proceed within its premises. through counsel. reminding that there would be a simultaneous revision for the three protest cases involving three positions. 2009. 2009. the Commission under its plenary powers. On January 12. Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. protestee in EPC 2007-08.

protestee De Castro's submission of the names of his revisors and manifestation of his intent to photocopy all the contested ballots and other related election documents. Moreover. 2009. respectively. there is no cogent reason for the Commission (Second Division) to reconsider its order dated May 8. 2009 addressed to Presiding Commissioner Nicodemo T. and to defer the revision proceedings until after all pending incidents had been resolved. guidelines and procedure for the simultaneous revision of the ballots for the three distinct positions protested. De Castro filed a verified omnibus motion requesting the Division to formulate first the mechanics. the Senate Electoral Tribunal. 20 In its June 2. xxx . in a letter dated May 20. 2009. On May 29. The normal procedure of revision shall be followed. 2009. 2009 order. coordination with other tribunals for purposes of revision of ballots subject of simultaneous protests is the usual course of action taken by the Commission.18 On May 25. 2009. IN VIEW THEREOF. Ferrer. per case and not simultaneously.cases should be resolved with dispatch. First. the Division ruled that: xxx there is no cogent reason to suspend the scheduled revision of ballots in these cases. there is no need to specific rules regarding the revision of ballots because the Revision Committee will conduct the revision of the forty-four (44) contested ballots now in the custody of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. granted the Commission’s request to revise the contested ballots involved in the instant cases within its premises. SO ORDERED.19 the Division directed anew the constitution of the four Revision Committees and the commencement of the revision of the 44 ballot boxes within the SET premises on June 3. Hence. the appropriate order as regards thereto shall later be issued. the Commission (Second Division) hereby APPROVES and NOTES the same. Second. considering that the twenty-four (24) segregated ballot boxes are in the custody of the Commission. Anent.

SO ORDERED.R. 2009 order in G. was in effect a motion for the reconsideration of the May 25. to authorize the Revision Committees only to verify the condition of such ballot boxes and submit a report thereon. It appears that De Castro’s omnibus motion and compliance filed on May 29.24 (b) to submit a consolidated report on all the set-aside ballot boxes. to become the basis for the Division to resolve the pending issue. 2009 involved only 28 ballot boxes because the Revision Committee suspended the revision of the set-aside 16 ballot boxes.25 and (c) not to open the set-aside ballot boxes so that the Division would not be pre-empted in resolving whether the ballot boxes found to have defective security devices should be included in the revision of ballots and.23 alleging that events had transpired subsequent to the filing of his petition. THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Nos. It appears that the Division likewise ordered the Revision Committees: (a) to verify the condition of the ballot boxes and to submit a report thereon upon the termination of the revision proceedings. 22 In furtherance of his cause. Tolentino raises the following issues: I. 187966-68.26 Issues In G. instead. WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT. He stated that the revision proceedings concerning EPC 2007-07 conducted within the SET premises on June 3 to 8. which was the subject of the assailed order. COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED THE ASSAILED ISSUANCES ORDERING THE REVISION OF THE FORTY FOUR (44) BALLOT BOXES WITH THE HONORABLE SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL WITHOUT FIRST RESOLVING WHETHER OR NOT THE SIXTEEN (16) BALLOT BOXES OF THE SAID FORTY FOUR (44) BALLOT BOXES. WHICH WERE SEGREGATED OR SET ASIDE. II. 187958 and 187961-62. including the 16 delivered to the SET whose revision was suspended by the Revision Committees.21 De Castro now assails the June 2. SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE REVISION. Tolentino filed on June 30. COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED THE ASSAILED ISSUANCES ORDERING THE REVISION OF THE FORTY FOUR (44) BALLOT . 2009 order of the Division received on the same date. Nos. WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT.R. 2009. THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 2009 his supplement to the petition.

II. that the caption of the orders dated May 25. In his supplement to the petition. 187966-68. he adds the following issues: I. 518 SCRA 473). 2007-07 TO 09. he insists that the COMELEC should provide a reasonable procedure in view of a vital threshold issue of "whether the ballots found in the ballot boxes during the revision proceedings were the same ballots that were cast and counted in the elections. that citing Rosal v. De Castro submits that the obstinate refusal of the Division to issue an order setting forth the ground rules for the per case revision of ballots was an omission exemplifying a grave abuse of discretion and a denial of his substantive and procedural right to due process. Arguments and Contentions of the Parties Tolentino contends that the Division should first resolve the issue of the inclusion or exclusion of the protested ballot boxes. Nos. Commission on Elections (G. IN LINE WITH THE ROSAL DOCTRINE AND WITH OBSERVANCE OF THE BASIC TENETS OF DUE PROCESS. De Castro raises the sole issue: WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC SECOND DIVISION COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED ORDER DATED JUNE 2. In G. 172741 and 168253. 2007. March 16.R. and altered the final and executory ruling of January 12. considering that the verification.R. amended. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (SECOND DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT VIOLATED THE CARDINAL RULE IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASES. 2009 that deferred any revision proceedings until all the protested ballot boxes were all in the custody of the COMELEC. 2009." and that the assailed issuances totally overhauled. investigation and examination of their condition had already been terminated by the Election Officer of Tagaytay City. WHETHER HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (2ND DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED PIECEMEAL ORDERS LEADING TO DISORDERLY PROCEEDINGS. Nos. 2009 and June 2. 2009 show that .BOXES WITH THE HONORABLE SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL WITHOUT RESOLVING HOW THE REVISION PROCEEDINGS WOULD BE CONDUCTED IN EPC NOS.

Revision of Ballots. 187958 and Nos. as mandated in the June 2. that a full determination of the "integrity of the ballot boxes and their contents" could be made only if the status and condition of the contents were also considered. . list of voters with voting records. or whenever in the opinion of the Commission or Division the interest of justice so demands. – When the allegations in a protest or counter-protest so warrant. 2009 order. 2009 order. but the Division still chose to conduct the revision piecemeal starting with the position of Mayor. separately as provided in the June 2. and shall order the revision of the ballots. that the set-aside ballot boxes should be opened. The reasons for this holding follow. and that the COMELEC had issued sufficient and adequate rules of procedure for the revision of the questioned ballots. present and argue upon the condition of the ballot boxes and their contents. and finally of City Councilors. 187961-62 At the outset. that the COMELEC could not be bound to maintain a strict adherence to its January 12. First: In regular election contests.the three protest cases were consolidated. then of Vice Mayor. Ruling The petitions have no merit. book of voters. the Court holds that the order of revision and the revision of ballots synchronized with that of the SET were proper. for. 2009 order because the SET had already allowed the revision to be conducted within its premises. it shall immediately order the ballot boxes containing ballots and their keys. to wit: Section 6. implying that the procedure in previous revision of ballots be maintained.27 The private respondents counter through their Consolidated Joint Comment filed on September 8. G. that the disallowance of the opening of the set-aside ballot boxes pre-empted the parties’ rights to examine.R. This process of examination is the revision of the ballots pursuant to Section 6. Rule 20 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 200928 that Rosal does not mention any requirement for the suspension of revision of ballots or for the stoppage of the opening of a ballot box in a revision proceeding. the general averment of fraud or irregularities in the counting of votes justifies the examination of the ballots and recounting of votes. No. and other documents used in the election to be brought before the Commission. the normal procedure of revision would be followed.

the ballots themselves are the best evidence. formally requested the SET to permit the revision of the 44 ballot boxes within its premises.The protests involved herein assailed the authenticity of the election returns and the veracity of the counting of the ballots. being essentially interlocutory in character. 29 In that regard. 2812. therefore. The Division made this request although it had suspended the revision proceedings through a previous order on account of the then incomplete number of ballot boxes in ECAD’s custody. could not attain finality. the Commission and the Courts shall coordinate and make arrangement with each other so as not to delay or interrupt the revision of ballots being conducted. we have consistently ruled that when there is an allegation in an election protest that would require the perusal.31 the COMELEC does not lose jurisdiction over the provincial election contest by reason of the transmittal of the provincial ballot boxes and other election materials to the SET. the contention that the Division’s suspension order became immutable cannot be upheld. the necessity to issue the order of revision. The only means to overcome the presumption of legitimacy of the election returns is to examine and determine first whether the ballot boxes have been substantially preserved in the manner mandated by law. such an order. According to Mendoza v. the jurisdiction of one must yield to the other. it is the ministerial duty of the trial court to order the opening of the ballot boxes and the examination and counting of ballots deposited therein. Second: The synchronized revision of ballots by the SET and the Division is allowed under Section 3 of COMELEC Resolution No. Commission on Elections. examination or counting of ballots as evidence. An interlocutory order is one that resolves an incidental or collateral matter without putting an end to the case. as stated in Miguel v.32 . which provides: Section 3. for. The Tribunals. hence. In a string of categorical pronouncements. mindful of the need for the expeditious disposition of the cases. The synchronization of revision of ballots shall be such that the expeditious disposition of the respective protest cases shall be the primary concern. Hence. with each tribunal being supreme in its respective areas of concern. with neither being higher than the other in terms of precedence. In this connection. and for that reason does not become final and immutable upon the expiration of the period prescribed for taking an appeal from a judgment or final order. In the proper exercise of its jurisdiction. because its jurisdiction over provincial election contest exists side by side with the jurisdiction of the SET. Commission on Elections: 30 The rule in this jurisdiction is clear and jurisprudence is even clearer. the Division.

the Comelec must first ascertain. the question as to who between the parties was duly elected to the office of mayor cannot be settled without further proceedings in the Comelec. Rule 13 of A. More than such report. are contingent on the integrity of the ballot boxes in which they were stored. it must determine: (1) which ballot boxes sufficiently retained their integrity as to justify the conclusion that the ballots contained therein could be relied on as better evidence than the election returns and (2) which ballot boxes were in such a condition as would afford a reasonable opportunity for unauthorized persons to gain unlawful access to their contents. to raise their objections. 07- 4-15.35 should not be done away with solely on the basis of the report of the City Election Officer. No. as evidence of the voters’ will. Third: Under Section 11. after due hearing. could not yet satisfy the requirement of the rule. and to pose their claims before reaching a finding of ballot box tampering. as expressly recognized in Section 6(c)(2). Rule 20 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.SC. as predetermined by the examining Election Officer. viz: Under the circumstances. the presumption that the ballots reflected the intent of the voters. According to Rosal v. For this purpose. Commission on Elections. the COMELEC was not bound by the report simply because the defects still needed to be confirmed during the process of actual revision. Moreover. The importance of this information cannot be understated. Rosal clearly mandates so. after all. Any defects in the security locks or seals of the set-aside ballot boxes. For one. In keeping with the precepts laid down in this decision. 07-4-15- SC complements. the Court rejects Tolentino’s urging for obvious reasons.M." This was precisely what Tolentino was asking the Division to do before the order of revision issued. which A. Rosal. we should find that there was no irregularity in the Division’s lifting of the suspension. nothing prohibited the COMELEC from undertaking the appreciation of ballots in tandem with the SET’s own revision of ballots for the senatorial electoral protest. whether it has before it the same ballots cast and counted in the elections.It is clear that by its suspension order the Division only adopted an auxiliary means necessary to carry its jurisdiction into effect. demands more than such a report in order to overcome the presumption.36 .M. for. In the latter case. Yet. by which said officer complied with a requirement set primarily for the transmittal of the ballot boxes involved. No. there should be a full blown trial in which all the parties concerned should be allowed the opportunity to present their own evidence. 33 one of the most indispensable informations that should appear in the revision report relates to the conditions of the ballot boxes. In that light. the ballots must be held to have lost all probative value and cannot be used to set aside the official count reflected in the election returns. 34 "the integrity of the ballots and therefore their probative value.

Verily. 37 The foregoing guidelines were inapplicable. It forbids the COMELEC from conducting "a fresh appreciation of the contested ballots without first ascertaining whether the ballots to be recounted had been kept inviolate. abstraction or substitution. The Division had still to reach the deliberative stage of the protests. deciding on the propriety of relying on the results of the revision of ballots instead of the election returns did not yet arise. no ruling could be handed down against the integrity of the ballot boxes that would effectively render naught the evidentiary value of the ballots they contained unless a full blown trial on the merits was first conducted. (2) the burden of proving that the integrity of the ballots has been preserved in such a manner is on the protestant. should still be scrutinized like any other evidence presented before the Division. and that the revision reports. What it proscribes is the blind adherence to the result of the recount without taking into consideration the proof of any likelihood that the integrity of the ballot boxes was compromised. Before then. Tolentino should accept the legal impossibility for the Division to rule on the issue of inclusion or exclusion of the set-aside ballot boxes except after the revision process. (3) where a mode of preserving the ballots is enjoined by law." 38 Tolentino should understand that election contests would not end with the result of the revision. This explains why the Division deemed the determination of the physical conditions of the ballot boxes as a necessary measure for its final determination of whether or not to give probative value to the ballots contained in the set-aside ballot boxes. being evidentiary. however. the revision was not an end in itself. but . proof must be made of such substantial compliance with the requirements of that mode as would provide assurance that the ballots have been kept inviolate notwithstanding slight deviations from the precise mode of achieving that end. we set the doctrinal guidelines in settling the issue in an election protest of who among the parties was the real choice of the electorate. considering that the proceedings were still in the hearing stage. when it would decide based on the evidence presented during trial. Rosal does not forbid the revision of the set-aside ballots. (4) it is only when the protestant has shown substantial compliance with the provisions of law on the preservation of ballots that the burden of proving actual tampering or the likelihood thereof shifts to the protestee and (5) only if it appears to the satisfaction of the court or Comelec that the integrity of the ballots has been preserved should it adopt the result as shown by the recount and not as reflected in the election returns. In Rosal. thus: We summarize the foregoing doctrines: (1) the ballots cannot be used to overturn the official count as reflected in the election returns unless it is first shown affirmatively that the ballots have been preserved with a care which precludes the opportunity of tampering and all suspicion of change.Consequently.

and 7. The decision must have something to support itself.simply demarcated the beginning of the process of determining the true result of the election.40 the formulation was simplified into four basic rights. and not simply accept the views of a subordinate. The tribunal must consider the evidence presented. Inc. 3. 2. or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. 5. The decision must be based on the evidence presented at the hearing. Court of Industrial Relations. The evidence must be substantial. as follows: 1. of the institution of the proceedings that may affect a person’s legal right. Substantial evidence is such reasonable evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 6. The Ang Tibay formulation was overlapping and repetitious. 4. . 2. 39 the Court enunciated the cardinal rules for procedural due process in administrative or quasi-judicial tribunal. which includes the right to present one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof. The tribunal or body should render its decision in such manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved and the reason for the decision rendered. The right to notice. Hence. In Ang Tibay v. to wit: 1. The right to a hearing. v. in Air Manila. Balatbat. The right to a reasonable opportunity to appear and defend his rights and to introduce witnesses and relevant evidence in his favor. be it actual or constructive. The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy. Fourth: The supplemental arguments of Tolentino allege a violation of his right to due process by the non-observance of the cardinal rules of due process in administrative adjudications and by the piece-meal resolution of the pending incidents.

xxx A review of the records proves that the parties. What is frowned upon is absolute lack of notice and hearing. the claiming votes for him. present his evidence and witnesses. The Division had required him to provide the names of his revisors whose tasks included the raising of objections.R. A formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential. G. He was not denied procedural due process. . and file his memorandum before the case would be submitted for resolution. as the Court has explained the nature of due process in Stayfast Philippines Corporation v. 2009 order distinctly stated that "the revision of ballots in the above-entitled cases be conducted in such a way that when a ballot box is opened. for. he could still raise them in his memorandum should he chose to. Tolentino’s gripe was unwarranted. He could not also insist that the COMELEC did not consider his legal and factual arguments. an opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. he should raise all objections. Paragraph 5 of the January 6. 187966-68 Contrary to De Castro’s submission. or as applied to administrative proceedings. to raise their objections. to claim votes. The requirements are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy at hand. besides. including Tolentino. Nos. and one of competent jurisdiction. were afforded ample opportunity to ventilate their respective claims. the Division set the ground rule for the revision of the contested ballots by laying down the procedure for the simultaneous revision of the contested ballots for all the three election protests. 3. Gauged upon the foregoing guidelines. or the contesting of the votes in favor of his opponent. National Labor Relations Commission: 41 The essence of due process is simply the opportunity to be heard. The right to a finding or decision of that tribunal supported by substantial evidence presented at the hearing or at least ascertained in the records or disclosed to the parties. He has neither alleged being deprived of this opportunity. Such manner of presenting his side would fully meet the demands of due process. and to contest the votes of their opponents through their duly designated revisors. During the revision stage. and 4. nor indicated any situation in which his revisors were denied access to the revision proceedings. The right to a tribunal so constituted as to give him reasonable assurance of honesty and impartiality.

It bears stressing that in the exercise of the plenitude of its powers to protect the integrity of the elections. the COMELEC should not and must not be straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election disputes. All objections and claims of each party’s revisors would later on be collated on a "per case" basis and submitted to the Chairperson of each Revision Committee to aid in the preparation of the revision report for the precincts or clusters of precincts assigned to such committee. like these cases." 42 That procedure was ideal under the obtaining circumstances. We find no incompatibility between the order of January 6. In an election protest.44 Thus. and the validation and registration of all objections or contests on the votes and claims on the same. 2009. the segregation according to vote per candidate. the number of which would depend on how many precincts or clusters of precincts were assigned to the committees. by keeping the data for each of the positions separate despite the process of data-gathering being done simultaneously for all three positions. the procedure was the practical and most expeditious manner of recording the observations in the minutes of the proceedings. The normal procedure of revision shall be followed. given that the same precincts were involved in all the three cases. was incidental to the COMELEC’s general authority to adopt all the means to effect its powers and ."43 The purpose of the latter order was to preserve the distinction of each position. The latter order provided that the "Revision Committees will conduct the revision of the forty-four (44) contested ballots now in the custody of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. The only logical solution to the need for systematic proceedings was to do the revisions on a per-case or per-position approach. the Division’s adoption of measures that especially respond to or address unique situations. per case and not simultaneously. all concerning the several elective positions. or contest the votes of their principal’s opponents. The task of the four Revision Committees entailed the preparation of per- precinct revision reports for each of the three positions. Such a procedure would become significant especially during the stage of the segregation of the votes per candidate. that is. the electoral tribunal has an imperative duty to promptly ascertain by all means within its command the candidates the electorate have chosen. Also. at which time the votes for each candidate would be given to the opponent’s revisors who would then validate the ballots.its contents shall be revised in all three (3) cases before proceeding to the next ballot box considering that the same precincts are contested in all three (3) cases. and the objections and claims relevant to each position had already been recorded. It is noted that the three cases involved 44 ballot boxes in the custody of the SET and 72 ballot boxes in the custody of the COMELEC. 2009 and the order of June 2. closing the ballot box only after all the data required. or register objections. or claim votes for the candidates they represented.

the pleadings of Tolentino even showed that the ground rules and guidelines for the revision of ballots were issued to the parties a day before the revision proceedings.47 Thus. as already held: It has been frequently decided. and honest elections. which can only be achieved by brushing aside technicalities of procedure which protract and delay the trial of an ordinary action. it is neither fair nor just to keep in office for an uncertain period one whose right to it is under suspicion. It is imperative that his claim be immediately cleared not only for the benefit of the winner but for the sake of public interest. The COMELEC.exercise its jurisdiction. 46 Moreover. and if the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such power or jurisdiction is not specifically provided for by law or these rules. Hence. unlike an ordinary action. is imbued with public interest since it involves not only the adjudication of the private interests of rival candidates but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the electorate with respect to who shall discharge the prerogatives of the office within their gift. 2009 order that the parties should be briefed on the ground rules for the revision of ballots before the commencement of the revision. that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections. Means to Effect Jurisdiction. in light of the directive contained in paragraph 4 of the January 6. neither petitioner could validly complain about not having been duly informed of the manner of revision. and it may be stated as a general rule recognized by all courts. unless the means were clearly illegal or the choice constituted grave abuse of discretion. 48 . The choice of the means by the COMELEC should not be interfered with. must be given a considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that would insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created – to promote free. for. – All auxiliary writs. orderly. a liberal construction of its rules should be conceded to the COMELEC. The nature of election protests cases often makes the COMELEC face varied situations calling for the exercise of its general authority to adopt means necessary to effect its powers and jurisdiction. An election contest. any suitable process or proceeding may be adopted. processes and other means necessary to carry into effect its powers or jurisdiction may be employed by the Commission. Moreover. xxx. Such adoption is even warranted under Section 4 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure: Section 4. in its performance of its duties.45 To require a more stringent rule would unduly handicap the COMELEC in the achievement of its mandate to expeditiously dispose of election contests.

who were thereby adequately shielded from partiality or unfairness during the process of revision. SO ORDERED. least of all grave. vs. G. EPC Case No. 2007-07.In fine. . This decision is immediately executory. in its issuance of the assailed orders. 2007-09. 191002 April 20. 2007-08. The Second Division of the Commission on Elections is directed to proceed with dispatch on the revision of ballots in EPC Case No. DE CASTRO.R. and to resolve the election protests as soon as practicable. No. Petitioner. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC) and PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL - ARROYO. 2010 ARTURO M. and EPC Case No. The Division issued ground rules with sufficient notice to the parties. WHEREFORE. we dismiss the petitions for lack of merit. The Division should instead be commended for carrying out its mandate to expedite the disposition of the present election controversies. Its actuations relative to the conduct of the revision proceedings in the three election protests were far from capricious or whimsical. Respondents. the Division did not commit any abuse of discretion. Costs of suit to be paid by the petitioners.

. 10-2-5-SC IN RE APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 15.... Respondent.... CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. x . MITCHELL JOHN L. ATTY. TORREON. vs.... Petitioner. JR....-x G. TAN.... vs.. 191032 JAIME N... JR. x . ESTELITO P.. CAROLINA P... No. MARLOU B. x .... ALYANSA NG NAGKAKAISANG KABATAAN NG SAMBAYANAN PARA SA KAUNLARAN (ANAKBAYAN) CHAIRMAN KEN LEONARD .. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC).. Petitioner.. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC).. No.M. Petitioner. vs....R.. No......x ....... UBANO.... BAGONG ALYANSANG BAYAN (BAYAN) CHAIRMAN DR..... 191057 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA). 191149 JOHN G... INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES-DAVAO DEL SUR CHAPTER. No. ISRAELITO P...-x A.. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC).R..-x G.... REYES. BAYAN SECRETARY GENERAL RENATO M. SORIANO. ALFONSO V..... MENDOZA..... CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY.R. ARTICLE VII OF THE CONSTITUTION TO APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUDICIARY... Petitioner. NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLE’S LAWYERS... PERALTA.. and the latter in his own personal capacity as a MEMBER of the PHILIPPINE BAR. BOISER. ARAULLO. KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY) SECRETARY GENERAL GLORIA ARELLANO. LIM...-x G... RECOGNITION AND ADVANCE-MENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE) CHAIRMAN FERDINAND GAITE.. PETER IRVING CORVERA.. represented by its Immediate Past President. Respondent.. Respondent.......

COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP) CHAIRMAN VIJAE ALQUISOLA. INTING (IBPGovernor-Eastern Visayas). Dismisses the petitions for certiorari and mandamus in G.... NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP) CHAIRMAN EINSTEIN RECEDES. 191057 for being premature.R. holding: WHEREFORE.. the Court: 1. and GUINEVERE DE LEON. MARILYN STA. vs. x . 191420 PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION.. INC... 191342 ATTY..-x G...... 191149... (IBP Governor-Southern Luzon). AMADOR Z... Petitioners.. JR. and the petition for mandamus in G. ROLAND B... WOMEN TRIAL LAWYERS ORGANIZATION OF THE PHILIPPINES.... 191002 and G.. RESOLUTION BERSAMIN. Respondents.. Intervenors. No... . Respondent.. vs. VERENA KASILAG-VILLANUEVA. AQUILINO Q.. PIMENTEL. 2010. ROSALES.R. CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA.. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC)..R.: On March 17.RAMOS. Petitioner.. No. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL and HER EXCELLENCY GLORIA MACAPAGAL- ARROYO. JR. and STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP) CHAIRMAN MA. WALDEN F. TOLENTINO. x . No..R... TERESITA GANDIONCO-OLEDAN..-x G.... represented by YOLANDA QUISUMBING- JAVELLANA. and ATTY. LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS) CHAIRMAN JAMES MARK TERRY LACUANAN RIDON. TAYO ANG PAG-ASA CONVENOR ALVIN PETERS. MA.. BELLEZA ALOJADO DEMAISIP. ROMANA. No. J.R. the Court promulgated its decision... No.. BELLO and LORETTA ANN P.. LEONILA DE JESUS..

Jr. the Women Trial Lawyers Organization of the Philippines (WTLOP).R.. 2010. 191032 and G. . SO ORDERED. 191342). 2. et al. The Court has not squarely ruled upon or addressed the issue of whether or not the power to designate the Chief Justice belonged to the Supreme Court en banc. Ubano. whose belated intervention was allowed. as well as intervenors Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao del Sur (IBP-Davao del Sur. and Philippine Bar Association (G. (c) To submit to the incumbent President the short list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice on or before May 17. Rosales (Bello. Pimentel. 191032). et al. No. No. Tolentino and Roland B. accordingly.).R.). Inting (G.R.R. Bagong Alyansang Bayan and others (BAYAN.R.). Puno by May 17. Also filing a motion for reconsideration was Senator Aquilino Q. Boiser. Tan. Christian Robert S. Bello and Loretta Ann P. Motions for Reconsideration Petitioners Jaime N. Soriano (G. 10-2-5-SC and. directs the Judicial and Bar Council: (a) To resume its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill the vacancy to be created by the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. (b) To prepare the short list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice. Jr. and 3. No. et al. Mitchell John L.. Dismisses the petitions for prohibition in G.M. 191342 for lack of merit. No. and Walden F. Lim. and (d) To continue its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill other vacancies in the Judiciary and submit to the President the short list of nominees corresponding thereto in accordance with this decision. Peter Irving Corvera. Alfonso V. Grants the petition in A. 191420). in the aforegiven order: Soriano 1. Amador Z. No. 2010. We summarize the arguments and submissions of the various motions for reconsideration. No. Marlou B. filed their respective motions for reconsideration.

2. not a judicial. The mere fact that the Chief Justice sits as ex officio head of the JBC should not prevail over the more compelling state interest for him to participate as a Member of the Court. the only duty of the Court is to apply it. the Court has raised the Constitution to the level of a venerated text whose intent can only be divined by its framers as to be outside the realm of understanding by the sovereign people that ratified it. Tolentino and Inting 1. 7. Resort to the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission is superfluous. The provision expressly and clearly provides a general limitation on the appointing power of the President in prohibiting the . Philippine Bar Association 1. The ban on midnight appointments is placed in Article VII. the Court has made distinctions and has created exemptions when none exists. In excluding the Judiciary from the ban. Thereby. 4. as taxpayers and lawyers. 2. All Justices of the Court should participate in the next deliberations. not in Article VIII. because it limits an executive. have the clear legal standing to question the illegal composition of the JBC. 6. 2. The Court’s strained interpretation of the Constitution violates the basic principle that the Court should not formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than what is required by the precise facts of the case. A plain reading of Section 15. and is powerless to vary the terms of the clear prohibition. 5. 3. power. The Court has given too much credit to the position taken by Justice Regalado. The Mendoza petition should have been dismissed. The petitioners. because it sought a mere declaratory judgment and did not involve a justiciable controversy. Article VII is clear and straightforward. Considering that Section 15. Article VII does not lead to an interpretation that exempts judicial appointments from the express ban on midnight appointments. Valenzuela should not be reversed. 3.

the prohibition against midnight appointments. 10. 6. 7. or when to do it. The Constitution has provided a general rule on midnight appointments. how to do it. The Court has erred in failing to apply the basic principles of statutory construction in interpreting the Constitution. especially in the absence of a real and justiciable case assailing any specific action or inaction of the JBC. the Court cannot tell the JBC what to do. and the only exception is that on temporary appointments to executive positions. 8. and the creation of the JBC. . 9.appointment of any person to any position in the Government without any qualification and distinction. The Court has erred in directing the JBC to resume the proceedings for the nomination of the candidates to fill the vacancy to be created by the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Puno with a view to submitting the list of nominees for Chief Justice to President Arroyo on or before May 17. despite precedents on statutory construction holding that such headings carried very little weight. not as the Court likes them to be. The constitutional ban on appointments being already in effect. 4. It is not within the authority of the Court to prefer one over the other. hence. 5. 2010. The Constitution grants the Court only the power of supervision over the JBC. The Court gravely erred in unilaterally ignoring the constitutional safeguard against midnight appointments. for the Court’s duty is to apply the safeguards as they are. The Court has erred in relying heavily on the title. 11. The Court cannot reverse on the basis of a secondary authority a doctrine unanimously formulated by the Court en banc. The Court has engaged in rendering an advisory opinion and has indulged in speculations. chapter or section headings. The Constitution has installed two constitutional safeguards:. 3. the Court’s directing the JBC to comply with the decision constitutes a culpable violation of the Constitution and the commission of an election offense.

Thus. 3. There is no justiciable controversy that warrants the Court’s exercise of judicial review. 1. Hence. 3. The principal purpose for the ban on midnight appointments is to arrest any attempt to prolong the outgoing President’s powers by means of proxies. Corvera . 13. Section 15. The practice has been for the most senior Justice to act as Chief Justice whenever the incumbent is indisposed. Section 14. The election ban under Section 15. Section 15. Article VII of the Constitution provides for presidential appointments to the Constitutional Commissions and the JBC with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. IBP-Davao del Sur. et al. 2. the appointment of the successor Chief Justice is not urgently necessary. Article VII applies to appointments to fill a vacancy in the Court and to other appointments to the Judiciary. The attempt of the incumbent President to appoint the next Chief Justice is undeniably intended to perpetuate her power beyond her term of office. 2. Section 16. The creation of the JBC does not justify the removal of the safeguard under Section 15 of Article VII against midnight appointments in the Judiciary. There is no evidence that the framers of the Constitution abhorred the idea of an Acting Chief Justice in all cases. and Section 16 of Article VII apply to all presidential appointments in the Executive and Judicial Branches of the Government. 12. Article VII of the Constitution applies to appointments to the Judiciary. no cogent reason exists to warrant the reversal of the Valenzuela pronouncement. Its phrase "other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution" is enough proof that the limitation on the appointing power of the President extends to appointments to the Judiciary. Lim 1. Thus. Its language being unambiguous.

especially considering that the Constitution must be interpreted as a whole. 2. 2. Article VII is in conflict with Section 4(1). 3. 5. The issues it raised were not yet ripe for adjudication. 3. 1. the intent behind the provision. because the petition did not present a justiciable controversy. which is to prevent political partisanship in all branches of the Government. The form and structure of the Constitution’s titles. Article VII. chapters. 1. The application of the principle of verba legis (ordinary meaning) would have obviated dwelling on the organization and arrangement of the provisions of the Constitution. The Court erred in granting the petition in A. Article VII precludes interpretation. the Court has violated the principle of ut magis valeat quam pereat (which mandates that the Constitution should be interpreted as a whole. should have controlled. In ruling that Section 15. The clear and plain language of Section 15. There is no sufficient reason for reversing Valenzuela. A plain reading is preferred to a contorted and strained interpretation based on compartmentalization and physical arrangement. The Court’s exclusion of appointments to the Judiciary from the Constitutional ban on midnight appointments is based on an interpretation beyond the plain and unequivocal language of the Constitution.M. they complement each other. and draftsmanship carry little weight in statutory construction. sections. et al. 4. considering that the office of the Chief Justice was not yet vacant and that the JBC itself has yet to decide whether or not to submit a list of nominees to the President. The collective wisdom of Valenzuela Court is more important and compelling than the opinion of Justice Regalado. a ruling that is reasonable and in accord with the Constitution. . 10-2-5-SC. Article VIII. No. The intent of the ban on midnight appointments is to cover appointments in both the Executive and Judicial Departments. There is no conflict between the provisions. 4. such that any conflicting provisions are to be harmonized as to fully give effect to all). Resort to the deliberations or to the personal interpretation of the framers of the Constitution should yield to the plain and unequivocal language of the Constitution. If there is any ambiguity in Section 15. BAYAN.

6. 3. Article VIII.1avvphi1 5.Tan. 2010. Even if it is anticipated with certainty.e. Hence. Article VIII is suspended. the JBC has more than enough opportunity to examine the nominees without haste and political uncertainty. Thus. or a month and a half after the end of the ban. no actual vacancy in the position of the Chief Justice has yet occurred. The framers of the Constitution clearly intended the ban on midnight appointments to cover the members of the Judiciary. Thus. When the constitutional ban is in place. The provision admits only one exception. Fourteen other Members of the Court can validly comprise the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. even when it acts as the sole judge of all contests relative to the election. 1. because the Court sits en banc. There is no basis to direct the JBC to submit the list of nominees on or before May 17. because the law itself makes no distinction. Article VII does not apply to a vacancy in the Court and the Judiciary runs in conflict with long standing principles and doctrines of statutory construction. Valenzuela was erroneously reversed. 44 days) within which to scrutinize and study the qualifications of the next Chief Justice. Jr. The clash of legal rights and interests in the present case are merely anticipated. The 90- day mandate to fill any vacancy lasts until August 15. There is no pressing necessity for the appointment of a Chief Justice. The factual antecedents do not present an actual case or controversy. Article VII is not incompatible with Section 4(1). Section 15. 2010. giving more weight to the opinion of Justice Regalado to reverse the en banc decision in Valenzuela was unwarranted. 2. returns and qualifications of the President and Vice-President. 7.. The ruling that Section 15. 4. The directive to the JBC sanctions a culpable violation of the Constitution and constitutes an election offense. the 90-day period under Section 4(1). WTLOP . the Court should not distinguish. The next President has roughly the same time of 45 days as the incumbent President (i. temporary appointments in the Executive Department.

4. needs no interpretation 2. 3. Article VII and the pertinent records of the Constitutional Commission are clear and unambiguous. The Constitution must be construed in its entirety. 2010. The Court exceeded its jurisdiction in ordering the JBC to submit the list of nominees for Chief Justice to the President on or before May 17. The Court has erred in ordering the JBC to submit the list of nominees to the President by May 17. imposed on the JBC a deadline not provided by law or the Constitution. Article VII. because it granted a relief not prayed for. Article VII. Ubano 1. the only exemption from the ban on midnight appointments is the temporary appointment to an executive position. . and lacked sufficient votes to reverse Valenzuela. 3. not by resort to the organization and arrangement of its provisions. being clear and unequivocal. The opinion of Justice Regalado is irrelevant. The language of Section 15. Article VII. There is no urgency to appoint the next Chief Justice. Boiser 1. and that we should not distinguish where the law does not distinguish. The limitation is in keeping with the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution to place a restriction on the power of the outgoing Chief Executive to make appointments. the Court has ignored the basic principle of statutory construction to the effect that the literal meaning of the law must be applied when it is clear and unambiguous. Under Section 15. exercised control instead of mere supervision over the JBC. because no specific law requires the JBC to submit the list of nominees even before the vacancy has occurred. In interpreting Section 15. 2. because Section 15. 2010 at the latest. considering that the Judiciary Act of 1948 already provides that the power and duties of the office devolve on the most senior Associate Justice in case of a vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice. and to continue its proceedings for the nomination of the candidates. 1.

Section 15. 1. To exempt the appointment of the next Chief Justice from the ban on midnight appointments makes the appointee beholden to the outgoing Chief Executive. Bello. and is tantamount to a judicial amendment of the Constitution without proper authority. No. and conformable to the general intent of the Constitution as a limitation to the powers of Government and as a bastion for the protection of the rights of the people. The decision expands the constitutional powers of the President in a manner totally repugnant to republican constitutional democracy. The Court erred in granting the petition in A. 2. the interpretation should always be one that protects the citizenry from an ever expanding grant of authority to its representatives. The Court’s reversal of Valenzuela without stating the sufficient reason violates the principle of stare decisis. Supervision of the JBC by the Court involves oversight. Article VII does not distinguish as to the type of appointments an outgoing President is prohibited from making within the prescribed period. et al. 3. 10-2-5-SC. in harmonizing seemingly conflicting provisions of the Constitution. thus: OSG . Any constitutional interpretative changes must be reasonable. The subordinate subject to oversight must first act not in accord with prescribed rules before the act can be redone to conform to the prescribed rules. Comments The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the JBC separately represent in their respective comments.M. rational. 3. 2. 2. and compromises the independence of the Chief Justice by having the outgoing President be continually influential. Plain textual reading and the records of the Constitutional Commission support the view that the ban on midnight appointments extends to judicial appointments. because the petition did not present a justiciable controversy. Pimentel 1. Thus.

The principles of constitutional construction favor the exemption of the Judiciary from the ban on midnight appointments. The grounds of the motions for reconsideration were already resolved by the decision and the separate opinion. has not submitted a short list to the President. 3. No. The statement in the decision that there is a doubt on whether a JBC short list is necessary for the President to appoint a Chief Justice should be struck down as bereft of constitutional and legal basis. The statement undermines the independence of the JBC. which was why Valenzuela was docketed as an administrative matter. The JBC will abide by the final decision of the Court. In the former. 4. the requisites for judicial review are not required. The Court has the duty to consider and resolve all issues raised by the parties as well as other related matters. The incumbent President has the power to appoint the next Chief Justice. Article VIII of the Constitution. For his part. 10-2-5-SC) submits his comment even if the OSG and the JBC were the only ones the Court has required to do so. 3. having yet to interview the candidates. JBC 1. The administrative matter he brought invoked the Court’s power of supervision over the JBC as provided by Section 8(1).M. and because the JBC. 2. Article VIII. 2. Article VII does not apply to the Judiciary. because the JBC has not yet decided at the time the petitions were filed whether the incumbent President has the power to appoint the new Chief Justice. His comment asserts: 1. The JBC may be compelled to submit to the President a short list of its nominees for the position of Chief Justice. 2. Mendoza (A. Section 15.1awph!1 5. as distinguished from the Court’s adjudicatory power under Section 1. 1. Considering that the . He states that the motions for reconsideration were directed at the administrative matter he initiated and which the Court resolved. but in accord with its constitutional mandate and its implementing rules and regulations. The consolidated petitions should have been dismissed for prematurity. petitioner Estelito P.

necessarily become. not being new. Article VII to Section 4(1) and Section 9. To apply Section 15. 2 Judicial decisions assume the same authority as a statute itself and. 1 The contention has no basis.. but also of those duty-bound to enforce obedience to them. it has effectively solicited the exercise by the Court of its power of supervision over the JBC. Ruling We deny the motions for reconsideration for lack of merit. 4. Nonetheless. not only of those called upon to abide by them. 3. The decisions relied upon as precedents are commonly those of appellate courts. First: Most of the movants contend that the principle of stare decisis is controlling.e. the Court opts to dwell on some matters only for the purpose of clarification and emphasis. It simply means that a principle underlying the decision in one case is deemed of imperative authority. The portions of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission quoted in the dissent of Justice Carpio Morales. controlling the decisions of like cases in the same court and in lower courts within the same jurisdiction. but the courts of co- . the decisions of the higher courts bind the lower courts. 2010. have all been resolved by the decision of March 17. because the decisions of the trial courts may be appealed to higher courts and for that reason are probably not the best evidence of the rules of law laid down. as well as in some of the motions for reconsideration do not refer to either Section 15. Article VII or Section 4(1). but to Section 13. JBC itself has yet to take a position on when to submit the short list to the proper appointing authority. until authoritatively abandoned. unless and until the decision in question is reversed or overruled by a court of competent authority. Article VIII is to amend the Constitution. 3 In a hierarchical judicial system like ours. and accordingly insist that the Court has erred in disobeying or abandoning Valenzuela. i. the criteria that must control the actuations. Article VIII. Article VII (on nepotism). to adhere to precedent and not to unsettle things that are settled. to the extent that they are applicable. for all the matters being thereby raised and argued. Stare decisis derives its name from the Latin maxim stare decisis et non quieta movere.

Commissioner Davide. to wit: Section 13."8 such that the final version of the second paragraph of Section 13. xxx The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not during his tenure be appointed as Members of the Constitutional .5 The adherence to precedents is strict and rigid in a common-law setting like the United Kingdom. the Court in this case is. devoid of rationality and foundation. The deliberations that the dissent of Justice Carpio Morales quoted from the records of the Constitutional Commission did not concern either Section 15. especially with a new membership. withdrew the proposal to include the Judiciary in Section 13. the Court. however. The records of the Constitutional Commission show that Commissioner Hilario G. Article VII. A judicial pronouncement in an earlier decision may be followed as a precedent in a subsequent case only when its reasoning and justification are relevant. For the intervenors to insist that Valenzuela ought not to be disobeyed. Article VII. if not control. a provision on nepotism. after re-examination. had proposed to include judges and justices related to the President within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity among the persons whom the President might not appoint during his or her tenure. Article VII or Section 4(1). and that its wisdom should guide. Article VII "(t)o avoid any further complication. or abandoned. hence. Jr.ordinate authority do not bind each other.6 But ours is not a common-law system. may be guided but is not controlled by precedent. and the court in the latter case accepts such reasoning and justification to be applicable to the case. They seem to conveniently forget that the Constitution itself recognizes the innate authority of the Court en banc to modify or reverse a doctrine or principle of law laid down in any decision rendered en banc or in division. Article VIII. but only Section 13. Thus. The one highest court does not bind itself. is not obliged to follow blindly a particular decision that it determines. Jr. to call for a rectification. Article VII even completely omits any reference to the Judiciary. 4 The Court. judicial precedents are not always strictly and rigidly followed. where judges make law as binding as an Act of Parliament. being invested with the innate authority to rule according to its best lights. therefore. as the highest court of the land. In the end. Davide.7 Second: Some intervenors are grossly misleading the public by their insistence that the Constitutional Commission extended to the Judiciary the ban on presidential appointments during the period stated in Section 15. or reversed. The application of the precedent is for the sake of convenience and stability.

for doing so would generally constitute an encroachment upon the field of the Constitutional Commission. because the law is more than likely to fail to express the legislative intent with the interpolation. chairmen or heads of bureaus or offices. the express applicability of the ban under Section 15. That is self-contradiction at its worst. despite the silence of said provisions thereon. The movants gravely err in their posture. and are themselves apparently contravening their avowed reliance on the principles of statutory construction. They would have easily and surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15.Commissions. Another instance is the movants’ unhesitating willingness to read into Section 4(1) and Section 9. In other words. Article VII as being equally applicable to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself. Section 4(1) and Section 9 should be left as they are. they could have explicitly done so. interpolation is improper. Undersecretaries. either with or without the omitted word or words. Yet. insist that the ban applied to the Judiciary under the principle of verba legis. construction cannot supply the omission. That such specification was not done only reveals that the prohibition against the President or Acting President making appointments within two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of the President’s or Acting President’s term does not refer to the Members of the Supreme Court. the decision of March 17. Last: The movants take the majority to task for holding that Section 15. even where the meaning of the law is clear and sensible. They aver that the Court either ignored or refused to apply many principles of statutory construction. or the Office of the Ombudsman. . For one. most likely in Section 4 (1). 10 Thus. disregarding the absence from Section 15. because the primary source of the legislative intent is in the language of the law itself. Article VII to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court. or as Secretaries. the addition of new words may alter the thought intended to be conveyed. Rather. including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries. given that their meaning is clear and explicit. the movants. both of Article VIII. And. Article VII during the period provided therein. Article VII of the express extension of the ban on appointments to the Judiciary. Article VII does not apply to appointments in the Judiciary. 2010 has fittingly observed: Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15. They could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. and no words can be interpolated in them. 9Interpolation of words is unnecessary. Article VIII.

SO ORDERED. Final Word It has been insinuated as part of the polemics attendant to the controversy we are resolving that because all the Members of the present Court were appointed by the incumbent President. None of the Members of the Court could have prevented the Members composing the Court when she assumed the Presidency about a decade ago from retiring during her prolonged term and tenure. for their retirements were mandatory. So must we ours who are tasked by the Constitution to settle the controversy. a majority of them are now granting to her the authority to appoint the successor of the retiring Chief Justice. ACCORDINGLY. The insinuation is misguided and utterly unfair. Neither the outgoing President nor the present Members of the Court had arranged the current situation to happen and to evolve as it has.We cannot permit the meaning of the Constitution to be stretched to any unintended point in order to suit the purposes of any quarter. Her official duty she must comply with. . the motions for reconsideration are denied with finality. The Members of the Court vote on the sole basis of their conscience and the merits of the issues. Yet. Any claim to the contrary proceeds from malice and condescension. she is now left with an imperative duty under the Constitution to fill up the vacancies created by such inexorable retirements within 90 days from their occurrence.

. LOKIN.... JR.... DECISION BERSAMIN. LOKIN. CINCHONA C. 179431-32 June 22.G. .. JR. 180443 LUIS K..... Respondents. GONZALES and ARMI JANE R.: The principal question posed in these consolidated special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus is whether the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) can issue implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) that provide a ground for the substitution of a party-list nominee not written in Republic Act (R.-x G.. the law that the COMELEC thereby implements. as the second nominee of CITIZENS BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION (CIBAC)... EMMANUEL JOEL J...R. BORJE.) No. vs... Nos. Respondents.A. vs.R. VILLANUEVA. 7941.Petitioner.. 1 otherwise known as the Party-List System Act.. 2010 LUIS K.. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC). No. J.. x . COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Petitioner.

the members of CIBAC averred that Lokin and Tugna were not among the nominees presented and proclaimed by CIBAC in its proclamation rally held in May 2007. (3) Cinchona C. Galang. substitution and amendment of the list of nominees dated May 7. supposedly through its counsel. (2) herein petitioner Luis K. in the order that their names appeared in the certificate of nomination dated March 29. Notwithstanding Villanueva’s filing of the certificate of nomination. 2007. and (3) Borje. 2007.3 were: (1) Emmanuel Joel J.6 whereby it withdrew the nominations of Lokin. (2) Cruz-Gonzales. On June 26. Using all relevant formulas. submitted a list of five nominees from which its representatives would be chosen should CIBAC obtain the required number of qualifying votes. 2 CIBAC. Cruz-Gonzales. The list of nominees was later published in two newspapers of general circulation. Lokin. 7 transmitting therewith the signed petitions of more than 81% of the CIBAC members. The motion was opposed by Villanueva and Cruz-Gonzales. however. CIBAC. which showed CIBAC to have garnered a grand total of 744. Villanueva.5 Prior to the elections. In their petitions. Following the close of the polls.8 The right of CIBAC to a second seat as well as the right of Lokin to be thus proclaimed were purportedly based on Party-List Canvass Report No. filed a certificate of nomination. Borje as one of the nominees. Villanueva. Tugna and Galang and the substitution of Borje. still through Villanueva. or on June 20. (4) Sherwin Tugna. filed with the COMELEC en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers a motion seeking the proclamation of Lokin as its second nominee.674 votes. The amended list of nominees of CIBAC thus included: (1) Villanueva. Tugna and Galang and substituted Armi Jane R. The nominees’ certificates of acceptance were attached to the certificate of nomination filed by CIBAC. through its president. in order to confirm the withdrawal of the nomination of Lokin. CIBAC. the motion asserted that CIBAC was clearly entitled to a second seat and Lokin to a proclamation. 2007.Common Antecedents The Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) was one of the organized groups duly registered under the party-list system of representation that manifested their intent to participate in the May 14. substitution and amendment of the list of nominees and the petitions of more than 81% of CIBAC . 26. The nominees. Jr. Villanueva sent a letter to COMELEC Chairperson Benjamin Abalos. and that Galang had signified his desire to focus on his family life. 2007 synchronized national and local elections. and (5) Emil L. 2007.. The Philippine Star News4 (sic) and The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Emmanuel Joel J. Together with its manifestation of intent to participate.

2007. considering the above discussion. issued National Board of Canvassers (NBC) Resolution No. Nazareno. Dalaig had notified him of the pendency of E. and holding in abeyance the proclamation of the nominees of said parties. Bayan Muna. the COMELEC issued Resolution No. Luzon Farmers Party. of the promulgation of NBC Resolution No. Alagad. No. the COMELEC failed to act on the matter.. Tugna and Galang and the substitution of Borje for proper disposition and hearing. Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action. the COMELEC en banc. Jr. The case was docketed as E.M. 10 whereby it resolved to set the matter pertaining to the validity of the withdrawal of the nominations of Lokin.M. to enable him to assume office. 2007. Alliance of Rural Concerns and Abono. and to defer the proclamation of the nominees of the parties. Gabriela Women's Party. Lokin. organizations and coalitions with pending disputes until the final resolution of their respective cases. that the request of Delos Santos could not be granted because COMELEC Law Director Alioden D. NBC Resolution No. CIBAC. 07-054. 2007.M. and Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives to an additional seat each. CIBAC.members. substitution and amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC on June 28. third and fourth nominees respectively and the substitution thereby with Atty. Ricardo de los Santos. Akbayan! Citizen's Action Party. Anak Pawis. No. Sherwin N.12 proclaiming Buhay Hayaan Yumabong as entitled to 2 additional seats and Bayan Muna. Tugna and Emil Galang as second. the COMELEC en banc resolved E. 2007. Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives. however.9 On July 6. purportedly as secretary general of CIBAC. 8219. sitting as the National Board of Canvassers. Cooperative-Natco Network Party. Nazareno replied. prompting Villanueva to file a petition to confirm the certificate of nomination. organizations and coalitions participating under the Party-List System as having won in the May 14. 07-054. Inc. On September 14. Secretary General of the House of Representatives. . Luis K. informed Roberto P. Gabriela Women's Party. 200711 to partially proclaim the following parties. namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong. Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms. 07-72 dated July 18. With the formal declaration that CIBAC was entitled to an additional seat. 07-60 dated July 9. organizations and coalitions with pending disputes until final resolution of their respective cases. In the meantime. 2007 elections. the Commission hereby approves the withdrawal of the nomination of Atty. 07-05413 thuswise: WHEREFORE. 07-72 and requested that Lokin be formally sworn in by Speaker Jose de Venecia. The COMELEC en banc issued another resolution.

which included the act of submitting the party's manifestation of intent to participate in the May 14. No.M. Armi Jane R. Cruz-Gonzales 3. 7804 expanded Section 8 of R. the COMELEC en banc proclaimed Cruz-Gonzales as the official second nominee of CIBAC. 2007. Emmanuel Joel J.R.A. No. The new order of CIBAC's nominees therefore shall be: 1. Lokin assails Section 13 of Resolution No. 15 Precís of the Consolidated Cases In G. Cinchona C. . 17 He alleges that Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804). respectively. third and fourth nominees. As a result.16 and the resolution dated September 14. 2007 issued in E. No. Lokin seeks through mandamus to compel respondent COMELEC to proclaim him as the official second nominee of CIBAC. The COMELEC en banc explained that the actions of Villanueva in his capacity as the president of CIBAC were presumed to be within the scope of his authority as such. 18the law that the COMELEC seeks to thereby implement. 7941. Villanueva as the president of CIBAC had always been provided the leeway to act as the party's representative and that his actions had always been considered as valid. and that the intent of the party should be given paramount consideration in the selection of the nominees. Borje SO ORDERED. 7804 promulgated on January 12. No. Armi Jane R. based on the right of CIBAC to change its nominees under Section 13 of Resolution No. 2007. No. 180443. Tugna and Galang as CIBAC’s second. 07-054 (approving CIBAC’s withdrawal of the nominations of Lokin. In G.14 Cruz-Gonzales took her oath of office as a Party-List Representative of CIBAC on September 17. Cruz-Gonzales as second nominee and Atty. although done without any written Board approval. Borje as third nominee for the party list CIBAC. Villanueva 2. was accomplished with the Board’s acquiescence or at least understanding.Cinchona C.R. 179431 and G. that the act of withdrawal. and the substitution by Cruz-Gonzales and Borje in their stead. 179432. 2007 elections as well as its certificate of nominees. that the president was charged by Section 1 of Article IV of the CIBAC By-Laws to oversee and direct the corporate activities. that from all indications.R.

(b) Whether or not Lokin is guilty of forum shopping. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. CIBAC posits that Lokin is guilty of forum shopping for filing a petition for mandamus and a petition for certiorari. the COMELEC asserts that a petition for certiorari is an inappropriate recourse in law due to the proclamation of Cruz-Gonzales as Representative and her assumption of that office. (c) Whether or not Section 13 of Resolution No. the Court has no jurisdiction over the matter being raised by Lokin. 7804 is unconstitutional and violates the Party-List System Act. returns and qualifications of the candidates to the House of Representatives falls under the jurisdiction of the HRET pursuant to Section 17.In its comment. that Lokin’s proper recourse was an electoral protest filed in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Ruling The petitions are granted. any question relating to the election. Lokin should raise the question he poses herein either in an election protest or in a special civil action for quo warranto in the HRET. and (d) Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in approving the withdrawal of the nominees of CIBAC and allowing the amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC without any basis in fact or law and after the close of the polls. considering that both petitions ultimately seek to have him proclaimed as the second nominee of CIBAC. For its part. . and that. A The Court has jurisdiction over the case The COMELEC posits that once the proclamation of the winning party-list organization has been done and its nominee has assumed office. Thus. and in ruling on matters that were intra-corporate in nature. therefore. Issues The issues are the following: (a) Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction over the controversy. not in a special civil action for certiorari in this Court.

B Petitioner is not guilty of forum shopping . or some other cause of disqualification for her. to determine who between them has actually obtained the majority of the legal votes cast and is entitled to hold the office. which is. the Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over Lokin’s petitions for certiorari and for mandamus against the COMELEC. 2007 resolution of the COMELEC in accordance with Section 7 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution. The controversy involving Lokin is neither an election protest nor an action for quo warranto. An election protest proposes to oust the winning candidate from office. for it concerns a very peculiar situation in which Lokin is seeking to be seated as the second nominee of CIBAC. notwithstanding the oath and assumption of office by Cruz-Gonzales. but not to install the petitioner in his place. which provides for the review of the judgments. the mode of review is by a petition for certiorari in accordance with Rule 65 to be filed in the Supreme Court within a limited period of 30 days. The constitutional mandate is now implemented by Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. strictly speaking. Lokin’s case is not one in which a nominee of a particular party-list organization thereby wants to unseat another nominee of the same party-list organization. considering that the case does not involve the ineligibility and disloyalty of Cruz- Gonzales to the Republic of the Philippines. Undoubtedly. Although an election protest may properly be available to one party-list organization seeking to unseat another party-list organization to determine which between the defeated and the winning party-list organizations actually obtained the majority of the legal votes. As Rule 64 states. A special civil action for quo warranto refers to questions of disloyalty to the State. Any voter may initiate the action. or of ineligibility of the winning candidate. Lokin has correctly brought this special civil action for certiorari against the COMELEC to seek the review of the September 14. final orders or resolutions of the COMELEC and the Commission on Audit.We do not agree. Neither does an action for quo warranto lie. not a contest where the parties strive for supremacy because the petitioner will not be seated even if the respondent may be unseated. It is strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates. based on the grounds of electoral frauds and irregularities. It can only be filed by a candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for in the preceding elections. The objective of the action is to unseat the ineligible person from the office.

22 The actions must also raise identical causes of action. in the process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the same issue. The test is whether the several actions filed involve the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances. the mere filing of several cases based on the same incident does not necessarily constitute forum shopping. forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present. and issues. because he thereby deliberately splits appeals "in the hope that even as one case in which a particular remedy is sought is dismissed. 07-72 (announcing CIBAC’s entitlement to an additional seat in the House of Representatives). 07-60 and NBC Resolution No. Thus. and that the COMELEC had no authority to exercise discretion and to suspend or defer the proclamation of winning party-list organizations with pending disputes.24 Lokin has filed the petition for mandamus to compel the COMELEC to proclaim him as the second nominee of CIBAC upon the issuance of NBC Resolution No. organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.Forum shopping consists of the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action. 23 Elsewise stated. forum shopping may arise: (a) whenever as a result of an adverse decision in one forum. subject matter. or (c) where a party attempts to obtain a writ of preliminary injunction from a court after failing to obtain the writ from another court." He has insisted that the COMELEC had the ministerial duty to proclaim him due to his being CIBAC’s second nominee. another case (offering a similar remedy) would still be open". after having filed a petition in the Supreme Court. or (b) if. 19 What is truly important to consider in determining whether forum shopping exists or not is the vexation caused to the courts and the litigants by a party who accesses different courts and administrative agencies to rule on the same or related causes or to grant the same or substantially the same reliefs. . a party seeks a favorable decision (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. 20 The filing of identical petitions in different courts is prohibited.21 Nonetheless. for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. either simultaneously or successively. Forum shopping is an improper conduct that degrades the administration of justice. a party files another petition in the Court of Appeals. 07-72 holding in abeyance "all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties. and to strike down the provision in NBC Resolution No. or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other. a malpractice that is proscribed and condemned as trifling with the courts and as abusing their processes. because such act constitutes forum shopping.

however. but is rather administrative in nature. for doing so will be unconstitutional. 25 Under certain circumstances. C Invalidity of Section 13 of Resolution No.On the other hand. The function of promulgating IRRs may be legitimately exercised only for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of a law. The power of administrative agencies is confined to . Tugna and Galang and the substitution by Cruz-Gonzales as the second nominee and Borje as the third nominee). the Legislature can delegate to executive officers and administrative boards the authority to adopt and promulgate IRRs. 2007 resolution of the COMELEC (approving the withdrawal of the nomination of Lokin. subvert or be contrary to existing statutes. For as long as the policy is laid down and a proper standard is established by statute. although there is conferred upon the executive officer or administrative board a large measure of discretion. because they were based on different causes of action and the reliefs they sought were different. There is a distinction between the delegation of power to make a law and the conferment of an authority or a discretion to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. 7804 The legislative power of the Government is vested exclusively in the Legislature in accordance with the doctrine of separation of powers. the consecutive filing of the action for certiorari and the action for mandamus did not violate the rule against forum shopping even if the actions involved the same parties. the COMELEC’s basis for allowing CIBAC’s withdrawal of Lokin’s nomination. Although the power to make laws cannot be delegated by the Legislature to any other authority. or to effect the operation and enforcement of a law is not a power exclusively legislative in character. there can be no unconstitutional delegation of legislative power when the Legislature leaves to selected instrumentalities the duty of making subordinate rules within the prescribed limits. the Legislature must declare the policy of the law and fix the legal principles that are to control in given cases. As a general rule. The rules and regulations adopted and promulgated must not. Applying the test for forum shopping. 7804. the Legislature cannot surrender or abdicate its legislative power. Lokin has resorted to the petition for certiorari to assail the September 14. for the power to make laws necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be. a power that is not legislative in character may be delegated. To render such delegation lawful. and to challenge the validity of Section 13 of Resolution No.26 The authority to make IRRs in order to carry out an express legislative purpose. The Legislature should set a definite or primary standard to guide those empowered to execute the law.

32 for administrative IRRs are solely intended to carry out. 27 To be valid. 7804 was valid or not is thus to be tested on the basis of whether the second and fourth requisites were met.29 In addition to the powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution. As earlier said. Corollary to this is that administrative regulation cannot extend the law and amend a legislative enactment. the COMELEC is also charged to promulgate IRRs implementing the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code or other laws that the COMELEC enforces and administers. 7804 underwent the procedural necessities of publication and dissemination in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the resolution itself. Its promulgation must be authorized by the Legislature. a plebiscite. It is basic that an administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress. or . the COMELEC met the first requisite. Batas Pambansa Blg. 2. the administrative IRRs must comply with the following requisites to be valid:28 1. and the Party-List System Act. not to supplant or to modify. 31 Hence. It must be within the scope of the authority given by the Legislature. 881. The administrative agency issuing the IRRs may not enlarge. and a recall. Indeed. It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure. Whether Section 13 of Resolution No. the law. therefore. It is axiomatic that the clear letter of the law is controlling and cannot be amended by a mere administrative rule issued for its implementation. 7804 pursuant to its powers under the Constitution. a referendum. alter. administrative or executive acts shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution. and 4.30 The COMELEC issued Resolution No. It is in this respect that the challenge of Lokin against Section 13 succeeds. an initiative.implementing the law or putting it into effect. the delegated authority must be properly exercised. This simply means that the resulting IRRs must not be ultra vires as to be issued beyond the limits of the authority conferred. It must be reasonable. The COMELEC also met the third requisite. The COMELEC is constitutionally mandated to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. There is no question that Resolution No. 3.

and even where the literal interpretation should defeat the very purposes of the enactment. viz: . Incumbent sectoral representatives in the House of Representatives who are nominated in the party-list system shall not be considered resigned. and expresses a single. or (c) the nominee becomes incapacitated. 34 When the law speaks in clear and categorical language. (b) the nominee withdraws in writing his nomination. definite. Such meaning is conclusively presumed to be the meaning that the Legislature has intended to convey. there is no reason for interpretation or construction. The provision is daylight clear. becomes incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list. from which party-list representatives shall be chosen in case it obtains the required number of votes.36 The legislative intent to deprive the party-list organization of the right to change the nominees or to alter the order of the nominees was also expressed during the deliberations of the Congress. A person may be nominated in one (1) list only. No change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies. but only for application. except when: (a) the nominee dies.A. No.-Each registered party. Nomination of Party-List Representatives. or withdraws in writing his nomination. organization or coalition shall submit to the COMELEC not later that forty-five (45) days before the election a list of names. from which the courts must not depart. an administrative agency tasked to implement a statute may not construe it by expanding its meaning where its provisions are clear and unambiguous. and sensible meaning. and cannot engraft additional non-contradictory requirements not contemplated by the Legislature. Only persons who have given their consent in writing may be named in the list. The provision must be read literally because its language is plain and free from ambiguity. not less than five (5). The list shall not include any candidate of any elective office or a person who has lost his bid for an elective office in the immediately preceding election. the explicit declaration of the Legislature is still the law. 33 Section 8 of R. The Legislature thereby deprived the party-list organization of the right to change its nominees or to alter the order of nominees once the list is submitted to the COMELEC. Even where the courts should be convinced that the Legislature really intended some other meaning. 7941 reads: Section 8.35Accordingly.restrict the provisions of the law it administers and enforces.

I do not see any provision here which prohibits or for that matter allows the nominating party to change the nominees or to alter the order of prioritization of names of nominees. that is a good issue brought out by the distinguished Gentleman from Albay and perhaps a perfecting amendment may be introduced therein. if ever. LAGMAN: In other words. and is indicative of the legislative intent to make the statute mandatory. Speaker. no more changes should be made in the names or in the order of listing." and that is to completely refrain from doing the forbidden act. MR. or becomes incapacitated.37 The usage of "No" in Section 8 – "No change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies. . or withdraws in writing his nomination. In that particular case. then there has to be a change but any change for that matter should always be at the last part of the list so that the prioritization made by the party will not be adversely affected. LAGMAN: And again on Section 5. The nominee is therefore no longer qualified to be included in the party list and the political party has a perfect right to change the name of that nominee who changed his political party affiliation. Another exception most probably is the nominee dies. The sponsoring committee will gladly consider the same. LAGMAN: Yes of course.MR. for there is but one way to obey the command "thou shall not. MR. the change can be effected but will be the exception rather than the rule. Speaker. ABUEG: Mr. Is the implication correct that at any time after submission the names could still be changed or the listing altered? MR. MR. 38 subject to certain exceptions stated in the law itself. be directory. ABUEG: Mr. in which case the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list" – renders Section 8 a negative law. on the nomination of party list representatives. Section 8 does not unduly deprive the party-list organization of its right to choose its nominees. what I would like to see is that after the list is submitted to the COMELEC officially. there may be a situation wherein the name of a particular nominee has been submitted to the Commission on Elections but before election day the nominee changed his political party affiliation. but merely divests it of the right to change its nominees or to alter the order in the list of its nominees’ names after submission of the list to the COMELEC. like in this case. Prohibitive or negative words can rarely.

for. No. the names of the nominees will be published in newspapers of general circulation. allowing the party-list organization to change its nominees through withdrawal of their nominations. The enumeration is exclusive.391avvphi1 . and it is a rule that an express exception excludes all others. Where the general rule is established by a statute with exceptions. The lawmakers’ exclusion of such arbitrary withdrawal has eliminated the possibility of such circumvention.The prohibition is not arbitrary or capricious. none but the enacting authority can curtail the former. they still have the right to know who the nominees of any particular party-list organization are. it accords with reason and justice. The publication of the list of the party-list nominees in newspapers of general circulation serves that right of the people. necessarily. The COMELEC will not concern itself with whether or not the list contains the real intended nominees of the party-list organization. although it is always proper in determining the applicability of the rule to inquire whether. or to alter the order of the nominations after the submission of the list of nominees circumvents the voters’ demand for transparency. (b) when the nominee withdraws in writing his nomination. When the statute itself enumerates the exceptions to the application of the general rule. and (c) when the nominee becomes incapacitated. not for the individual nominees. neither is it without reason on the part of lawmakers. In contrast. The exceptions extend only as far as their language fairly warrants. Thereafter. in a particular case. 7941 are exclusive Section 8 of R. the exceptions are strictly but reasonably construed. the general rule applies to all cases not falling under any of the three exceptions. Although the people vote for the party- list organization itself in a party-list system of election. and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provision rather than the exceptions. D Exceptions in Section 8 of R. 7941 enumerates only three instances in which the party-list organization can substitute another person in place of the nominee whose name has been submitted to the COMELEC. namely: (a) when the nominee dies. enabling the voters to make intelligent and informed choices. Not even the courts may add to the latter by implication.A. but will only determine whether the nominees pass all the requirements prescribed by the law and whether or not the nominees possess all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications.A. The COMELEC can rightly presume from the submission of the list that the list reflects the true will of the party-list organization.

No.A. It is basic that the IRRs should remain consistent with the law they intend to carry out. E Section 13 of Resolution No. Exceptions are subject to the rule of strict construction.A. hence. or his nomination is withdrawn by the party. – A party-list nominee may be substituted only when he dies. the foregoing regulation provides four instances. No substitution shall be allowed by reason of withdrawal after the polls. We agree with Lokin. and should . The IRRs the COMELEC issues for that purpose should always accord with the law to be implemented.41 Indeed. or he withdraws his acceptance to a nomination. extend. No." Lokin insists that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in expanding to four the three statutory grounds for substituting a nominee.40 has neither the authority nor the license to expand. 7804 states: Section 13. 7941 Section 13 of Resolution No. In any of these cases. should receive a restricted construction. the existence of an exception in a statute clarifies the intent that the statute shall apply to all cases not excepted. Unlike Section 8 of R. or add anything to the law it seeks to implement thereby. administrative IRRs adopted by a particular department of the Government under legislative authority must be in harmony with the provisions of the law.The appropriate and natural office of the exception is to exempt something from the scope of the general words of a statute. or modify the law. Indeed. Consequently. 7941. The COMELEC. supplant. the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list of nominees. and should not override. Substitution of nominees. by which the operation of the statute is limited or abridged. the liberal construction of a statute will seem to require in many circumstances that the exception. any doubt will be resolved in favor of the general provision and against the exception. or he becomes incapacitated to continue as such. the fourth being when the "nomination is withdrawn by the party. despite its role as the implementing arm of the Government in the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. which is otherwise within the scope and meaning of such general words. 7804 expanded the exceptions under Section 8 of R.

We further note that the new ground would not secure the object of R. free and open party-list electoral system.A.A. No. However. which Section 8 of R. 7941. and by guaranteeing that the electorate would be afforded the chance of making intelligent and informed choices of their party-list representatives.be for the sole purpose of carrying the law’s general provisions into effect. The explanation does not persuade. by seeing to the transparency of the system.A. they must be held to be invalid and should be struck down. The new ground granted to the party-list organization the unilateral right to withdraw its nomination already submitted to the COMELEC.45 . and to spare the electorate from the capriciousness of the party-list organizations.43because it has merely reworded and rephrased the statutory provision’s phraseology. The success of the system could only be ensured by avoiding any arbitrariness on the part of the party-list organizations. The insertion of the new ground was invalid. who precisely denied the right to withdraw the nomination (as the quoted record of the deliberations of the House of Representatives has indicated). because an administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress. To reword means to alter the wording of or to restate in other words. The law itself cannot be expanded by such IRRs. If the IRRs are shown to bear no reasonable relation to the purposes for which they were authorized to be issued. 7941.42 The COMELEC explains that Section 13 of Resolution No. because it established an entirely new ground not found in the text of the provision. but must ensure that their IRRs are reasonable and fairly adapted to secure the end in view. The grant thus conflicted with the statutory intent to save the nominee from falling under the whim of the party-list organization once his name has been submitted to the COMELEC. An axiom in administrative law postulates that administrative authorities should not act arbitrarily and capriciously in the issuance of their IRRs. No. Neither was the grant of the unilateral right contemplated by the drafters of the law. No. 7804 has added nothing to Section 8 of R. 44 Both terms signify that the meaning of the original word or phrase is not altered. 7941 of developing and guaranteeing a full. to rephrase is to phrase anew or in a new form. 7941 did not allow to be done. the COMELEC did not merely reword or rephrase the text of Section 8 of R. No.A.

It is clear enough that any substitution of Lokin and the others could only be for any of the grounds expressly stated in Section 8 of R. Thereby. having relied on the invalidly issued Section 13 of Resolution No. 46 In case of conflict between the law and the IRR. we annul and set aside: (a) The resolution dated September 14. the COMELEC’s approval of CIBAC’s petition of withdrawal of the nominations and its recognition of CIBAC’s substitution. M. we grant the petitions for certiorari and mandamus. obligation.F Effect of partial nullity of Section 13 of Resolution No. Resultantly. 7804 to support its action. Considering that Section 13 of Resolution No. and ordering their substitution by Cinchona C. 7804 An IRR adopted pursuant to the law is itself law. Borje as third nominee. 7804 – to the extent that it allows the party-list organization to withdraw its nomination already submitted to the COMELEC – was invalid. 07-054 approving Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption’s withdrawal of the nominations of Luis K. 2007 resolution. Lokin.. No. 7804 invalid and of no effect to the extent that it authorizes a party-list organization to withdraw its nomination of a nominee once it has submitted the nomination to the Commission on Elections. Cruz- Gonzales as a Party-List Representative representing Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption in the House of Representatives. There can be no question that an IRR or any of its parts not adopted pursuant to the law is no law at all and has neither the force nor the effect of law. respectively. 2007 issued in E. WHEREFORE. third. Sherwin N.47 The invalid rule. CIBAC’s withdrawal of its nomination of Lokin and the others and its substitution of them with new nominees were also invalid and ineffectual. or power. or part thereof cannot be a valid source of any right.A. the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction. Accordingly. Cruz-Gonzales as second nominee and Armi Jane R. both through its assailed September 14. 7941. the law prevails. regulation. . and (b) The proclamation by the Commission on Elections of Cinchona C. should be struck down for lack of legal basis. No. Tugna. Jr. and Emil Galang as its second. and fourth nominees. We declare Section 13 of Resolution No.

We make no pronouncements on costs of suit. No. vs. as a Party-List Representative representing Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption in the House of Representatives. COMISSION ON ELECTIONS and STRIKE B. REVILLA. Lokin. SO ORDERED. 2010 MINERVA GOMEZ-CASTILLO Petitioner.R. . Jr.We order the Commission on Elections to forthwith proclaim petitioner Luis K. Respondents. 187231 June 22. G.

Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which requires the appellant to file her notice of appeal "within five (5) days after promulgation of the decision of the court xxx" and considering further that jurisprudence holds that perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period laid down by law is not only mandatory but JURISDICTIONAL. Through his Answer. On December 23. noting that although Castillo had received the November 21. Revilla ran for Municipal Mayor of Bacoor. Castillo filed his protest in the RTC in Bacoor. 2007 local elections. On November 21. 2008. try and decide election contests involving municipal officials in Cavite. 54-2007 designated Branch 22 of the RTC in Imus. J. a day too late to appeal. 2009 and March 11. Cavite.: Petitioner Minerva Gomez-Castillo (Castillo) hereby seeks to nullify the orders dated January 30. which was eventually raffled to Branch 19. Cavite during the May 14.41avvphi1 The First Division of the COMELEC dismissed the appeal for being brought beyond the five-day reglementary period. First Division. Castillo presented a notice of appeal. After the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Revilla as the elected Municipal Mayor of Bacoor. 2008. 54-2007. 20091 issued in EAC No. He pointed out that Supreme Court Administrative Order (SCAO) No. Castillo filed an Election Protest Ad Cautelam2 in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bacoor. 3 Thereupon. and that contrary to SCAO No. Cavite. which was not the proper court. Branch 19 dismissed Castillo’s election protest for being violative of SCAO No. this Commission. A-01-2009 by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant appeal for appellant's failure to file her Notice of Appeal within the five (5) day reglementary period. alleging that it was filed in the wrong Branch of the RTC. 2008.DECISION BERSAMIN. to wit: Pursuant to Section 3. . Cavite. Revilla sought the dismissal of the election protest. she filed her notice of appeal on December 23. Cavite and Branch 88 of the RTC in Cavite City to hear. 2008. the RTC ordered that the complete records of the protest be forwarded to the Election Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) of the COMELEC. 2008 order of the RTC on December 15 . Antecedents Castillo and respondent Strike P. 54-2007.

SO ORDERED. Parties’ Arguments Castillo insists that her notice of appeal was seasonably filed. Rule 40 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure applied only to actions and proceedings brought before the COMELEC. except Part VI. cited in the assailed order dated January 30. the rules on election contests should be liberally construed to the end that mere technical objections would not defeat the will of the people in the choice of public officers.5 Castillo moved for the reconsideration of the dismissal of her appeal. as amended by COMELEC Resolution No.. contending that the COMELEC’s orders dismissing her appeal and denying her motion for reconsideration were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. is hereby DENIED for failure of the movant to pay the necessary motion fees under Sec.71avvphi1 Castillo has brought the present recourse. 7(f). 2. 7(f). but the COMELEC denied the motion because she did not pay the motion fees required under Sec. that even assuming that the appeal was belatedly filed. because Section 2 of Rule I of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides that: Sec. did not apply to her case. not to actions or proceedings originating in courts of general jurisdiction. that the Court relaxed on numerous occasions the application of the rules in order to give due course to belated appeals upon strong and compelling reasons.These rules. because it involved the paramount need to clarify the real choice of the electorate. shall apply to all actions and proceedings brought before the Commission. seeking reconsideration of the Commission's (First Division) Order dated 30 January 2009. the RTC would not have given due course to his appeal. Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. otherwise. viz: The "Motion for Reconsideration" filed by protestant-appellant Minerva G. and that the . 2009. thru registered mail on 13 February 2009 and received by this Commission on 4 March 2009. that Section 3. that Section 4 of Rule I of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure even allows the COMELEC to suspend its own rules of procedure in order to obtain a speedy disposition of all matters pending before the COMELEC. 02-0130. Part VI shall apply to election contests and Quo Warranto cases cognizable by courts of general jurisdiction. Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure 6 as amended by Comelec Resolution no. Applicability. that an electoral contest like hers was imbued with public interest. Castillo. 02-0130.

54-2007 continued to vest jurisdiction to try and decide election contest involving elective municipal officials in the RTC as a whole. still remained futile due to the petitioner’s failure to pay the corresponding fee for the motion for reconsideration. even on the assumption that it was filed on time. Castillo further insists that Section 12 of Rule 2 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides that assignment of cases to the specially designated courts should be done exclusively by raffle conducted by the executive judge or by the judges designated by the Supreme Court. . Appeal. because it prevented the COMELEC from acquiring jurisdiction over the protest.M. by filing a notice of appeal with the court that rendered the decision. considering that SCAO 54-2007 should be construed as a permissive rule that cannot supersede the general rule that jurisdiction over election contests is vested in the RTC. Cavite. that A. otherwise known as The Rules of Procedure in Election Contests Involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials. and that the COMELEC could not be faulted for applying its procedural rules to achieve a just and expeditious determination of every proceeding brought before it. that the failure to pay the filing fee rendered the motion for reconsideration a mere scrap of paper.An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the commission on Elections. that the period for filing an appeal is not a mere technicality of law or procedure and the right to appeal is merely a statutory privilege that may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by the law. 07-4-15-SC. In his comment.Within five (5) days after promulgation of the decision of the court. and serve a copy thereof upon the attorney of record of the adverse party. with copy served on the adverse counsel or party if not represented by counsel. within five days after promulgation. clearly and categorically directed: Section 8.8 Revilla submits that the COMELEC correctly dismissed Castillo’s appeal for being filed beyond the five-day reglementary period prescribed in Section 3 of Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. the aggrieved party may filed with said court a notice of appeal. . Notice of Appeal. and that her protest was thus duly raffled to the RTC in Bacoor. No. rendering the designation of the RTC branches to handle election protests akin to a designation of venue. . but should have considered the soundness of her argument to the effect that SCAO No.COMELEC should not have dismissed her motion for reconsideration for her mere failure to pay the corresponding filing fee. that the notice of appeal. thus: Section 3.

M. jurisdiction cannot be fixed by the will of the parties. the Supreme Court is circumscribed by the zone properly denominated as the promulgation of rules concerning pleading. or does it merely designate the proper venue for filing? In case the RTC was incorrect. shall be exercised. because it was enacted to ensure the exclusive and speedy disposition of election protests and petitions for quo warranto involving elective municipal officials. nor conferred by any acquiescence of the court. No. Like other rules on venue. The Rules of Court does not define jurisdictional boundaries of the courts. No. The Rules of Court yields to the substantive law in determining jurisdiction.M. not jurisdictional It is well-settled that jurisdiction is conferred by law. and procedure in all courts.11 On the other hand. A.9 consequently.Issues Does Section 13 of Rule 2 of A. What . ways or manner in which said jurisdiction. and cannot be delegated to another office or agency of the Government. Batas Pambansa Blg. considering that her wrong choice did not affect the jurisdiction of the RTC. is the error enough to warrant the reversal of its order of dismissal despite its having attained finality? Ruling The petition has no merit. the dismissal of the protest by Branch 19 constituted plain error.10 The jurisdiction over election contests involving elective municipal officials has been vested in the RTC by Section 251. 07-4-15-SC was designed to ensure a just and orderly administration of justice. as fixed by the Constitution and acts of Congress. A. practice. by specifying the proper venue where such cases may be filed and heard. Hence. 881 (Omnibus Election Code). 07-4-15-SC designate the RTC Branch that has jurisdiction over an election contest.13 Castillo’s filing her protest in the RTC in Bacoor. only spelled out the manner by which an RTC with jurisdiction exercises such jurisdiction. Cavite amounted only to a wrong choice of venue. nor be acquired through waiver nor enlarged by the omission of the parties. As such. 12 and is permissive.M. No. In promulgating the Rules of Court. 07-4-15-SC. the Rules of Court can only determine the means. The allocation of jurisdiction is vested in Congress. A Error of Petitioner in filing the protest in RTC in Bacoor.

Although Castillo had received the November 21. Cavite. 2008. particularly of the courts. .An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the Commission on Elections within five days after promulgation by filing a notice of appeal with the court that rendered the decision with copy served on the adverse counsel or party if not represented by counsel. Her appeal was properly dismissed for being too late under the aforequoted rule of the COMELEC.Branch 19 should have done under the circumstances was to transfer the protest to Branch 22 of the RTC in Imus. Cavite according to the process set forth by law was of the highest concern of our institutions. for the short period of five days as the period to appeal recognizes the essentiality of time in election protests. B Castillo’s tardy appeal should be dismissed Section 8 of A. given that the determination of the will of the electorate of Bacoor. a notion underlying the stability of our judicial system. or eight days after her receipt of the decision. because she claims that the five-day reglementary period was a mere technicality. The presumption of timeliness would not arise if her appeal was actually tardy. 2008 order of the RTC on December 15. 2008. . Such transfer was proper. we cannot also presume the timeliness of her appeal from the fact that the RTC gave due course to her appeal by its elevating the protest to the COMELEC. and so that any doubt that can cloud the incumbency of the truly deserving winning candidate is quickly removed. 14 A greater reason to adhere to this notion exists herein. she filed her notice of appeal only on December 23. The period of appeal and the perfection of appeal are not mere technicalities to be so lightly regarded. Castillo’s insistence is unacceptable. Contrary to Castillo’s posture. Castillo now insists that her appeal should not be dismissed. for they are essential to the finality of judgments. which was the proper venue. implying that such period was but a trivial guideline to be ignored or brushed aside at will.M. whether she as the protestant sought it or not. in order that the will of the electorate is ascertained as soon as possible so that the winning candidate is not deprived of the right to assume office. No. 07-4-15-SC provides that: Section 8. Appeal.

Antecedents2 On July 1. vs. This result provides an additional reason to warrant the assailed actions of the COMELEC in dismissing her appeal. 158708 August 10. SO ORDERED.: We consider herein the last plea for clemency of the petitioner herein. WHEREFORE. Oriental Mindoro issued a promotional permanent appointment to the petitioner as Cashier III in the Office of the Municipal Treasurer because she appeared to possess the qualifications . therefore. J. January 8. 2003. By petition for review on certiorari. 2010 JUSTINA MANIEBO. DECISION BERSAMIN. 1994.It is not trite to observe. in effect upholding the CSC’s action. The Court of Appeals (CA) found her petition for review defective. not tainted by either arbitrariness or whimsicality. who was dismissed from the service after her dishonesty in presenting herself as holding a civil service eligibility was discovered. the petitioner appeals the resolutions dated September 5. Petitioner. Respondents.R. the Mayor of the Municipality of Puerto Galera. Civil Service Commission. 72555 entitled Justina Maniebo v. 1 all issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. that Castillo’s tardy appeal resulted in the finality of the RTC’s dismissal even before January 30. HON. 2002. No. 2002. an employee of a local government unit. the petition is dismissed for lack of merit. and dismissed it. finally. 2003. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) meted the ultimate penalty on her. G. the Court finds that the COMELEC’s assailed actions were appropriate and lawful. Accordingly. and June 5. COURT OF APPEALS and THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

including the Career Service (Professional) Eligibility appearing in line 18 of her Personal Data Sheet showing her to have passed with a rating of 74. CSCRO No. it was discovered that the petitioner had actually failed in the examination for obtaining a rating of only 60%. the Hearing Officer allowed the petitioner to comment verbally or to file her objection to the evidence formally offered against her. 4 which affirmed the decision of CSCRO No. IV considered unsatisfactory. IV through its Resolution No. this Office finds respondent Justina Maniebo. 2000. Accordingly. however. Thus. which CSCRO No. guilty of Possession of Spurious Report of Rating. Falsification. During the November 22. falsification. IV subsequently held a preliminary investigation that resulted in the finding that a prima facie case of falsification existed against the petitioner. Office of the Municipal Treasurer. 1997. or anybody else connected with the CSC in order to procure the passing grade of 74. 02-0433 dated March 20. the petitioner filed her answer. 3 On February 4. respondent Maniebo is hereby meted the penalty of DISMISSAL from the service. CSCRO set the case for hearing. When the report of her rating was verified against the Masterlist of Eligibles. CSCRO No.for the position. She asserted that the rating had come from the CSC through the mails. She insisted that she did not on any occasion approach any personnel of the CSC. 1997. and dishonesty.01%. the petitioner denied knowledge of the falsified nature of her Career Service (Professional) eligibility rating. Cashier III. Instead.01% the Career Service (Professional) examination given in Calapan. and for her to be allowed to testify for herself. 2002. Oriental Mindoro on July 17. Accordingly. Grave Misconduct. 1999. IV then rendered its decision on December 16. Municipal Government of Puerto Galera. on October 28. grave misconduct. 5 disposing thus: . On November 7. 1999 hearing. the petitioner appealed to the CSC. IV formally charged her with possession of spurious report of rating. Oriental Mindoro. In her direct testimony. The CSC Regional Office (CSCRO) No. 1983. her counsel requested the Hearing Officer to mark her supporting documents as her evidence. viz: WHEREFORE.

stating: For failure to accompany the petition for review with the requisite certified true copies of the material portions of the record referred to therein. and b) Whether the CSC was correct in imposing the penalty of dismissal in view of the circumstances obtaining in the case. but the CSC denied her motion through Resolution No.11 d) The petitioner’s affidavit of merit dated August 2002 (Annex D). She attached to the petition for review the following annexes: a) Certified true copy of CSC Resolution No. premises considered. the preliminary investigation and charge for possession of spurious report of rating. 2002. the answer. 6 The petitioner next appealed to the CA. the decision dated December 16. 2002 filed in the CSC (Annex B). and other supporting papers and the evidences submitted. 02-1028. i. . On August 20.7 Ruling of the CA In the CA. IV dated December 16. 2002 denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration (Annex A). IV. Maniebo is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. 02-0433 dated March 20. 8 to wit: a) Whether the CSC committed grave error in not considering good faith on the part of the petitioner in the determination of the appealed decision.10 c) Photocopy of the petitioner’s appeal dated January 31. the Decision of the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. 12 In its assailed resolution dated September 5. 13 the CA dismissed the petition for review due to the petitioner’s failure to accompany it with the requisite certified true copies of the material portions of the record.WHEREFORE. Accordingly. 2002. the Court Resolved to DENY DUE COURSE and. the petitioner raised the following issues. 1999 of Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. the appeal of Justina M. Civil Service Commission Resolution No. the petitioner sought reconsideration. 02-1028 dated August 5. 1999 is AFFIRMED.e. 9 b) Original copy of the notice of appeal dated August 23. 2000 to the CSC (Annex C). 2002..

consequently. 2003. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.14 in which her counsel. Oriental Mindoro and the office of her counsel in Fairview. Atty. Joventino V. Diamante (allegedly as collaborating counsel). Quezon City. Al Harith D. although Atty. 2003. Sali remained as counsel. Sec. Al Harith D. Issues The petitioner claims:19 . which was in reality as second motion for reconsideration that was prohibited under Rule 52. the Court Resolved to DENY the aforesaid motion for reconsideration. 2003. Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. On February 5. SO ORDERED. Sali. Atty.16 viz: Acting on the motion of the petitioner for a reconsideration of the Resolution dated September 5. 18 the CA denied the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Following its receipt of the comment of the Office of the Solicitor General on December 12. this appeal by petition for review on certiorari. due to her failure to turn over said copies to her counsel because of the distance between her home in Puerto Galera. She explained in her motion that her counsel had failed to submit the required certified copies. 2002.15 the CA denied the motion for reconsideration in the assailed resolution dated January 8. even undertook to submit the required certified copies of the material portions within ten days from October 23. and considering that the aforesaid motion failed to allege the date of receipt of a copy of the assailed Resolution to determine the timeliness of the filing of the said motion and no efforts (sic) was exerted to rectify or supply the procedural errors the petition suffered even within the requested period of ten (10) days. to DISMISS the petition pursuant to Section 7. which dismissed the petition for failure to append thereto the requisite certified true copies of the material portions of the record referred to therein. 2002. 17 In its third assailed resolution dated June 5. the petitioner filed a so-called motion for reconsideration that was signed by another lawyer. 2 of the Rules of Court. SO ORDERED. Hence. 2002. as well as the Comment interposed thereto filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.

Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION BASED ON ALLEGED TECHNICALITY WHICH WAS NOT SANCTIONED BY JURISPRUDENCE. In its comment. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court expressly stated that the failure of the petitioner to file the required certified true copies of the material portions of the record referred to in the petition was sufficient ground for its dismissal. that she had already lost her job due to the immediate execution of the decision pending appeal. considering that Section 7. Ruling The petition has no merit. I. and that it was already settled that under Section 6. A The petitioner argues that her submission of a certified true copy of CSC Resolution 02- 1028 in her petition before the CA constituted a substantial compliance with Section 6. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN DISMISSING THE PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR REVIEW FOR FAILURE TO ATTACH CERTIFIED COPY OF THE ANNEXES WHEN THE RULES AND JURISPRUDENCE DO NOT REQUIRE THAT ALL ANNEXES ATTACHED TO THE PETITION SHOULD BE CERTIFIED. that to require her to secure certified true copies of all the annexes to the petition would be too burdensome for her and would contravene the constitutionally guaranteed free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance. II. only the copies of the assailed judgments or final orders of the lower courts needed to be certified. 20She insisted that the dismissal of her appeal due to technicalities would constitute a deprivation of property without due process of law because what was at stake herein was her right to employment. .21 the CSC insisted that the CA justifiably denied due course to the petition. and that the subsequent motions for reconsideration were also rightly denied because the petitioner exerted no effort to furnish the required certified copies within the requested period of ten days. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. She averred that rules of procedure should be liberally construed to afford litigants the opportunity to prove their claims and prevent a denial of justice due to legal technicalities.

02-0433 (the very decision of the CSC finding her guilty of possession of the spurious report of rating. She should not forget that her petition for review in the CA was essentially assailing not only CSC Resolution 02-1028 (denying her motion for reconsideration) but also CSC Resolution No. and imposing the penalty of dismissal from the service). Rule 43 of the Rules of Court expressly lists down the pleadings and other matters that a petition for review should contain. together with certified true copies of such material portions of the record referred to therein and other supporting papers.The petitioner’s plea for liberality is undeserving of acceptance. Juaban v. Although her petition cited decisions of the Court declaring that only the copies of the decisions or final orders assailed on appeal needed to be certified. final order or resolution appealed from. Contents of the petition. together with certified true copies of such material portions of the record referred to therein and other supporting papers." The requirement is intended to immediately enable the CA to determine whether to give due course to the appeal or not by having all the material necessary to make such determination before it. Indeed. 22 The petitioner was not entitled to a liberal construction of the rules of procedure. judgment. Rule 42. thus: Section 6. This is because an appeal under Rule 43 is a discretionary mode of appeal. which the CA may either dismiss if it finds the petition to be patently without merit. In Heirs of Generoso A. or prosecuted manifestly for delay. 23 it is acknowledged even in the cited decisions of the Court that there should at least be a substantial compliance with the rules. and dishonesty. least of all a reversible one. Its dismissal was founded on the correct application of the applicable rule. Section 6. final order or resolution appealed from. and (d) contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided in the last paragraph of section 2. — The petition for review shall (a) state the full names of the parties to the case. Bancale. the . within 10 days from notice. 24 where only the order denying the respondents’ motion for reconsideration was alleged as the subject of the appeal. (2a) The rule clearly requires the petition for review to be accompanied by "a clearly legible duplicate original or a certified true copy of the award. The petition shall state the specific material dates showing that it was filed within the period fixed herein. (b) contain a concise statement of the facts and issues involved and the grounds relied upon for the review. or that the questions raised therein are too unsubstantial to require consideration. judgment. not a motion to dismiss. grave misconduct. or may process by requiring the respondent to file a comment on the petition. falsification. without impleading the court or agencies either as petitioners or respondents. The CA did not commit any error. (c) be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or a certified true copy of the award.

judgment. Only one (1) motion for reconsideration shall be allowed. both of the Rules of Court. That detail was necessary to determine the timeliness of the filing of the motion for reconsideration. Period of appeal—The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the award. Rule 52. No . which cited it in the resolution dated January 8. Rule 43. 2003. Neither did she render any explanation for her failure to honor her undertaking. 02-0433. the CA committed no reversible error in denying her first motion for reconsideration.Court went beyond the literal content of respondents’ notice of appeal and held that the appeal should be construed to include the final order that the respondents were seeking to be reconsidered when they filed their motion for reconsideration. and Section 2. because such approach was more in accord with the intent of the parties. Her omission to allege did not escape the attention of the CA. 2003 as a ground for denying the motion for reconsideration. final order or resolution. Upon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket fee before the expiration of the reglementary period. However. The CA regarded her doing so as a blatant contravention of the Rules of Court. the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration did not allege the date when she had received a copy of the resolution. or even the plain legible copies thereof from the time she filed her motion for reconsideration on October 23. if publication is required by law for its effectivity. With respect to the other supporting documents of the petition as set forth in Section 6. viz: Section 4. or of the denial of petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration duly filed in accordance with the governing law of the court or agency a quo. she should have furnished the CA with a certified true copy of that resolution. the Court of Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which to file the petition for review. Indeed. Making her non-compliance worse was her reneging on her own express undertaking to the CA to submit the omitted documents within the 10-day period she had prayed for in her first motion for reconsideration by not furnishing the required supporting documents. Rule 43. Considering that the petitioner’s appeal also assailed CSC Resolution No. The petitioner next filed a second motion for reconsideration after the issuance of the resolution dated January 8. 2002 until its resolution on January 8. It was only when she filed the petition in this Court that she explained her failure to submit the required documents to the CA to be due to her financial constraints and the distance between her residence and the office of her counsel. 2003. or from the date of its last publication. she did not even substantially comply with the requirement. Also. Hence. their legible copies should have been attached to the petition or to the motion for reconsideration filed against the resolution dismissing the petition. her act directly violated Section 4.

Of necessity. for only after such finding could the review court ease the often stringent rules of procedure. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 11. the rules of procedure would be reduced to mere trifles. as provided in Section 11. The record to be transmitted may be abridged by agreement of all parties to the proceeding. The petitioner claims that she relied in good faith on the rating she had received through the mails.further extension shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days. we point out that even in her prohibited second motion for reconsideration. Yet. — No second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution by the same party shall be entertained. 26The bare invocation of substantial justice was not a magic wand that would compel the suspension of the rules of procedure. Contrary to the petitioner’s position. Section 2. the petitioner did not tender any explanation for her failure to make good her undertaking to furnish to the CA the required certified or legible copies of the material portions of the record. adding only that any further documents needed by the CA could be made available once the records of the case were transmitted by the CSC to the CA. thereby exhibiting a deplorable tendency to trivialize the rules of procedure. Evidently. .27Otherwise. or not.–Within fifteen (15) days from notice that the petition has been given due course. she contented herself with merely reiterating the grounds previously used in her first motion for reconsideration. Second motion for reconsideration. such rules were not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance might have resulted in prejudicing a party’s substantive rights. Transmittal of record. She pleads that with her government service since 1981 and her very satisfactory performance (borne out by the series of promotional appointments from the position of Accounting Clerk to Cashier III). B. The Court of Appeals may require or permit subsequent correction of or addition to the record. the transmittal of the records was not mandatory but only discretionary upon the CA. Nonetheless. She denies being the author of the forged certificate. Instead. the reviewing court had also to assess whether the appeal was substantially meritorious on its face. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.25 Section 11. the Court of Appeals may require the court or agency concerned to transmit the original or a legible certified true copy of the entire record of the proceeding under review. the petitioner repeatedly disregarded the rules too many times to merit any tolerance by the Court.

Cayobit. it being presumed unless persuasive evidence to the contrary is adduced.01% was contrary to her actual rating of 60% shown in the Masterlist of Eligibles of the CSC. Accordingly. We observed there that: The bare testimony of respondent that she has nothing to do with forging the certificate as she actually just received it by mail in her residential address deserves scant belief. Respondent also failed to prove that she had no participation in the procurement of eligibility. . 1994 that she had passed the July 17. merely testified that they received the certificate of eligibility in question from respondent. because she knew that the CSC could verify her eligibility rating at any time. In Civil Service Commission v.she would never deliberately misrepresent to the CSC that she had passed the Career Service Examination. Her defense of good faith was weak and untrustworthy. We cannot accept her simplistic claim that she used the certificate under the false impression that it was genuine. in essence. It is not disputed that the petitioner’s statement in her Personal Data Sheet dated June 24.29 like the Masterlist of Eligibles. it is nonetheless not amiss but reasonable to dwell on such matters if only to establish that the positions taken by the petitioner do not advance her cause at all and save the day for her. 28 the presumption did not apply to her in the face of a showing of the genuineness of the entries made in official records. 1983 Career Service (Professional) Examination given in Calapan. The three witnesses and the various documents she presented cannot exculpate her. Oriental Mindoro with a rating of 74. Although she did not need to prove her good faith. and his actual score appearing in the Masterlist of Eligibles. Apropos is the following finding of petitioner: The testimonies of the three (3) abovementioned witnesses failed to rebut the fact that Cayobit did not pass the examination and does not have an eligibility. she should have presented concrete evidence to prove that the spurious certificate of rating had been only mailed to her. The witnesses. Although the Court is not called upon to rule on the foregoing matters in view of its finding that the CA’s assailed dismissal of the petition for review was based on the correct application of the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court.30 we ruled that as between a government employee’s self serving claim that she passed the Civil Service Examination. Their belief that she was eligible was based on their reliance on the certificate. the latter must prevail. Hence it cannot be presumed that Cayobit used the fake eligibility in good faith.

her being in possession of the forged document. because she had produced and relied on it. The petitioner’s contention has no basis. or her having used it warranted the presumption of her being herself the forger or the person who had caused the forgery. . The civil service eligibility herein granted may apply to such other positions as the Civil Service Commission may deem appropriate. 6850 state: Section 1. 32 a law granting civil service eligibility to employees efficiently serving the Government for at least seven years. Section 2. she was content with making the bare denial of having any part in procuring the false document. she did not. 6850.In that regard. All government employees as of the approval of this Act who are holding career civil service positions appointed under provisional or temporary status who have rendered at least a total of seven (7) years of efficient service may be granted the civil service eligibility that will qualify them for permanent appointment to their permanent positions. Sections 1 and 2 of Republic Act No. that she was already a civil service eligible as of February 8. and that any defect in her appointment as a permanent government employee was cured by her acquisition of eligibility in 1990. the date of approval of the law. and. the petitioner could have easily presented a certification from the postmaster concerned in order to establish that she had received the spurious report of rating by mail. and was no longer dismissible from the civil service by then. Yet. Without her satisfactory explanation. The Civil Service Commission shall promulgate the rules and regulations to implement this act consistent with the merit and fitness principle within ninety (90) days after its effectivity. The petitioner contends that even assuming that notwithstanding her lack of any civil service eligibility upon her entry into the Civil Service. 1990. She was guilty of procuring the document. instead. she could still be deemed to have acquired eligibility by operation of law under the terms of Republic Act No. and with claiming that the report had innocently landed on her doorstep. The Civil Service Commission shall formulate performance evaluation standards in order to determine those temporary employees who are qualified to avail themselves of the privilege granted under this Act.31 C.

In the first place. the two are distinct acts of the appointing authority.33 As held in Maturan v. that an appointee obtains a civil service eligibility later on does not ipso facto convert his temporary appointment into a permanent one. or . any temporary employee who has served for the required duration of seven years must first be found by the CSC to continuously possess the minimum qualifications for holding the position. c) Violation of the existing collective agreement between management and employees relative to promotion. Maglana. Among the minimum qualifications is the continuous observance of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. she would not have been appointed in a permanent or temporary capacity. She thrived on her having misled the Government into believing that she had possessed the requisite civil service eligibility for the various positions she had successively held in her 20 years of service. Rule VI of the Omnibus Implementing Regulations of the Revised Administrative Code. Moreover. to wit: Section 20. had the CSC sooner discovered her dishonesty.lihpwal A new appointment is still required. the same may be recalled on any of the following grounds. a) Non-compliance with the procedures/criteria provided in the agency’s Merit Promotion Plan: b) Failure to pass through the agency’s Selection/Promotion Board. before he or she may be granted civil service eligibility.351avvphi1 The petitioner failed to comply with this necessary minimum qualification. Accordingly. pursuant to Section 20. The subsequent acquisition of the required eligibility will not make the temporary appointment regular or permanent. unless the position involved requires no such eligibility.These legal provisions show that not every temporary or provisional employee is automatically deemed to be a permanent employee after rendering at least seven years of service in the Government. Notwithstanding the initial approval of an appointment. a new appointment is needed. Besides.ten.34 a permanent appointment implies the holding of a civil service eligibility on the part of the appointee. the appointment is considered temporary. The CSC still needs to evaluate whether the employee is qualified to avail himself or herself of the privilege granted by the statute. except the required eligibility. because a permanent appointment is not a continuation of the temporary appointment. Where the appointee does not possess a civil service eligibility.

the petitioner’s posture. because: xxx the fact that respondent has already spent more than twenty (20) years of his life in the service of this Court and this is his first administrative complaint.1avvphi1 Unlike the respondent in Sta. Respondent’s admission and prayer for forgiveness is a good sign that he is indeed remorseful for what he did. The Office of the Court Administrator affirmed the findings of the CSC-OLA. R. 6850 was never meant to cure an appointment void from the very beginning for being based on a false representation of eligibility. In Civil Service Commission v. xxx In the petitioner’s case. in effect.8%. she neither owned up to her . rules and regulations. reward dishonesty. Ana. 36 the CSC Office for Legal Affairs (CSC-OLA) found the respondent guilty of dishonesty and falsification of public documents for falsely representing in his Personal Data Sheet that he had passed the Career Service Professional Examinations with a rating of 83. f) are considered grave offenses warranting the penalty of dismissal from service upon commission of the first offense. No. Lastly. we still ruled that dismissal from the service should be imposed. Rule XIV of the Administrative Code of 1987. 37 There is no reason why respondent should be treated differently. a) and falsification (par. the Court did not hesitate to impose such extreme punishment on employees found guilty of these offenses. Under Section 23. when in fact he was not in the Masterlist of Eligibles. Respondent’s use of a false certificate of eligibility constitutes an act of dishonesty under civil service rules and his act of making a false statement in his personal data sheet renders him administratively liable for falsification. On numerous occasions.A. dishonesty (par. coupled with respondent’s admission. considering that she had rendered 20 years of efficient service in the Government. that her dismissal from the service was too harsh a punishment. does not convince. It could be that he committed the acts complained of out of his desire to be promoted for the benefit of his family. Sta. A contrary construction of the statute will. explaining: The facts and evidence. even an appointment initially approved by the CSC may be subsequently recalled when found to be invalid. sufficiently established his culpability. xxx Even so. like that of the petitioner. d) Violation of other existing civil service law. but recommended the reduction of the penalty from dismissal to suspension of one year. we have more reason to hold that length of service was not mitigating. Ana.

Respondents. WHEREFORE. and RODOLFO A. 2011 ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR III ROHERMIA J. Complainant. JAMSANI- RODRIGUEZ. Ong (Justice Ong) and Associate Justice Jose R.A. 2003. .-GR SP No. 2002. A. and June 5. Costs of suit to be paid by the petitioner. No. SO ORDERED. and affirm the resolutions dated September 5. 08-19-SB-J April 12. and (b) the Motion for Reconsideration (of the Honorable Court’s Decision Dated 1 September) dated September 15. vs. The State would surely face greater risks were she now allowed to continue in public office despite her having been found guilty of dishonesty. nor showed regret for it. all issued in C. PONFERRADA. 72555. HERNANDEZ. January 8. ONG. 2010 of the complainant. J. 2003. SANDIGANBAYAN.dishonesty. JUSTICES GREGORY S.: We resolve: (a) the Joint Motion for Reconsideration dated September 14. JOSE R. RESOLUTION BERSAMIN. 2010 filed by respondents Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory S.M. Hernandez (Justice Hernandez). we deny the petition for review on certiorari.

Both motions seek the reconsideration of the Decision rendered on August 24. The complainant. and conduct grossly prejudicial to the interest of the service (grounded on their failing to hear cases as a collegial body during the scheduled sessions of the Fourth Division held in Davao City on April 24-28. and 3. even if you will appeal. HERNANDEZ is admonished with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar offenses shall be dealt with more severely. 1 A brief account of the factual antecedents is first given. that made it appear as if all of them had been present during the particular hearing acting as a collegial body. (b) falsification of public documents (grounded on their issuance of orders relative to the hearings in Davao City. Justice of the Supreme Court. we fined you eighteen thousand pesos. we found and held Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez liable for simple misconduct. Through the Decision. signed by all three of them. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE R. by that time I will be there. 2. then an Assistant Special Prosecutor III in the Office of the Special Prosecutor. your contempt is already out. (c) improprieties in the hearing of cases that amounted to gross abuse of judicial authority and grave misconduct (grounded on Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez’s making the following intemperate and discriminatory utterances during the hearings of their Division in Cebu City sometime in September 2006).000.00. and disposed against them and Associate Justice Rodolfo A. when in truth they were not). with Justice Ong hearing cases by himself and Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada hearing other cases together. filed an affidavit-complaint dated October 23. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE GREGORY S. conduct unbecoming a Justice. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE RODOLFO A. ONG is ordered to pay a fine of ₱15. 2006. we will do what we want to do. Ponferrada (Justice Ponferrada). with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. as the Members of the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan with: (a) grave misconduct.’ 2. PONFERRADA is warned to be more cautious about the proper procedure to be taken in proceedings before his court. to wit: (a) ‘We are playing Gods here. . 2008 charging Justice Ong. Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada. as follows: 1. and on their having unreasonably flexed their judicial muscle when she objected to the procedure). 2010. albeit on different grounds.

25801.’3. For this reason alone. and frequently inquired whether the law school in which Justice Hernandez had studied and from which he had graduated was better than his (Justice Ong’s) own alma mater. (c) ‘Just because your son is always nominated by the JBC to Malacañang. and (d) manifest partiality and gross ignorance of the law (grounded on the fact that Criminal Case No. you are acting like that! Do not forget that the brain of the child follows that of their (sic) mother’4. They are expected to have more than just a modicum acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. but should be treated as simple misconduct. the Rules of Court. In the Decision of August 24. entitled People v. Judges are not common individuals whose gross errors men forgive and time forgets. Puno. was dismissed upon a demurrer to evidence filed by the accused upon a finding that the assailed contracts subject of the criminal case had never been perfected contrary to the evidence of the Prosecution. and the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan. their adoption of the procedure arbitrarily denied the benefit of a hearing before a duly constituted Division of the Sandiganbayan to all the affected litigants. including the State. 2010. Even worse. respondent Justices’ adoption of the irregular procedure cannot be dismissed as a mere deficiency in prudence or as a lapse in judgment on their part. (b) ‘You are better than Director Somido? Are you better than Director Chua? Are you here to supervise Somido? Your office is wasting funds for one prosecutor who is doing nothing. we explained as follows: A. which is to be . Respondents’ Violation of the Provisions of PD 1606 and Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan xxx xxx xxx We find that the procedure adopted by respondent Justices for their provincial hearings was in blatant disregard of PD 1606. thereby rendering the integrity and efficacy of their proceedings open to serious challenge on the ground that a hearing before a duly constituted Division of the Sandiganbayan was of the very essence of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law. the dismissal order being signed by all three respondents). as amended. and (d) Justice Ong often asked lawyers from which law schools they had graduated.

or in persistent disregard of well-known legal rules. A genuine respect for the rights of all parties. They knew as well that the need to expedite their cases. unlawful behavior or gross negligence. or the corrupt or persistent violation of the law or disregard of well- known legal rules – considering that the explanations they have offered herein. Nonetheless. instead. xxx xxx xxx What is required on the part of judges is objectivity. As the Court has reminded judges in State Prosecutors v. which the complainant did not refute. Their insistence that they adopted the procedure in order to expedite the hearing of provincial cases is not a sufficient reason to entirely exonerate them. Implicit limits include accepted legal values and the explicit limits are substantive and procedural rules of law. There are both implicit and explicit limits on the way judges perform their role.distinguished from either gross misconduct or gross ignorance of the law. not promote. or inspired by an intention to violate the law. but had been seeking. to thereby expedite their disposition of cases in the provinces. revealed that they strove to maintain their collegiality by holding their separate hearings within sight and hearing distance of one another. it remains that the respondent Justices did not ensure that their proceedings accorded with the provisions of the law and procedure. Careful and deliberate consideration for the administration of justice is more important than a race to end the trial. Neither were they liable for gross ignorance of the law. . thoughtful consideration before ruling on important questions. They could have seen that their procedure was flawed. for the respondent Justices have convincingly shown that they had not been ill-motivated or inspired by an intention to violate any law or legal rule in adopting the erroneous procedure. which are more important than a reputation for hasty disposal of cases. corrupt. the expeditious disposition of the cases by precluding their valid adjudication due to the nullifying taint of the irregularity. none of these circumstances was attendant herein. more particularly. and a zealous regard for the just administration of law are some of the qualities of a good trial judge. The respondent Justices were not liable for gross misconduct – defined as the transgression of some established or definite rule of action. it should be borne in mind that speed is not the chief objective of a trial. An independent judiciary does not mean that judges can resolve specific disputes entirely as they please. and that the flaw would prevent. even if no malice or corruption motivated their adoption of the procedure. which must be based on reliable evidence to show that the act complained of was ill-motivated. viz: Although a speedy determination of an action or proceeding implies a speedy trial. Muro. was not the chief objective of judicial trials. albeit recommended. on the contrary.

we do not consider the respondent Justices’ signing of the orders issued during the flawed proceedings as a form of falsification or dishonesty. He is to exercise a discretion informed by tradition. the Court must accept such transcripts as the faithful and true record of the proceedings. In the absence of a clear showing to the contrary. Judicial decorum demands that they behave with dignity and act with courtesy towards all who appear before their court. as they want us to believe). which no judge worthy of the judicial robes should avoid especially during their performance of judicial functions. is still not wholly free. to vague and unregulated benevolence. methodized by analogy. and their engaging during the hearings in casual conversation about their respective law schools. and subordinate to the "primordial necessity of order in the social life. Unbecoming Conduct of Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez The Court approves the Court Administrator’s finding and recommendation that no evidence supported the complainant’s charge that Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez had uttered the improper and intemperate statements attributed to them. Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez admitted randomly asking the counsels appearing before them from which law schools they had graduated. They should not exchange banter or engage in playful teasing of each other during trial proceedings (no matter how good-natured or even if meant to ease tension. He is not a knight-errant. A review of the transcripts of the stenographic notes for the hearings in which the offensive statements were supposedly uttered by them has failed to substantiate the complainant’s charge. ." Relevantly. Their doing so reflected a vice of self-conceit.The judge. They thereby publicized their professional qualifications and manifested a lack of the requisite humility demanded of public magistrates. in that they thereby made it appear that they had all been physically present when the truth was different. He is not to yield to spasmodic sentiment. We view their acts as bespeaking their lack of judicial temperament and decorum. roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or goodness. even when he is free. Such act merely ensued from the flawed proceedings and cannot be treated as a separate offense. He is not to innovate at pleasure. disciplined by system. He is to draw his inspiration from consecrated principles. because they bear the certification of correctness executed by the stenographers who had prepared them. Even so. B.

Indeed, Section 6, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary clearly enjoins that:

Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court
and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and
others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity. Judges shall require similar
conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to their influence,
direction or control.

We point out that publicizing professional qualifications or boasting of having studied in
and graduated from certain law schools, no matter how prestigious, might have even
revealed, on the part of Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez, their bias for or against
some lawyers. Their conduct was impermissible, consequently, for Section 3, Canon 4
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, demands that judges
avoid situations that may reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of
favoritism or partiality in their personal relations with individual members of the legal
profession who practice regularly in their courts.

Judges should be dignified in demeanor, and refined in speech. In performing their
judicial duties, they should not manifest bias or prejudice by word or conduct towards
any person or group on irrelevant grounds. It is very essential that they should live up to
the high standards their noble position on the Bench demands. Their language must be
guarded and measured, lest the best of intentions be misconstrued. In this regard,
Section 3, Canon 5 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary,
mandates judges to carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all
persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, and judicial colleagues,
without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of
such duties.

In view of the foregoing, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez were guilty of unbecoming
conduct, which is defined as improper performance. Unbecoming conduct "applies to a
broader range of transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of ethical
practice or logical procedure or prescribed method."

C.

Respondent Justices Not Guilty of Manifest Partiality

The charge of manifest partiality for issuing the resolution granting the demurrer to
evidence of the accused in Criminal Case No. 25801 is dismissed. As already
mentioned, this Court upheld the assailed resolution on June 5, 2006 in G. R. No.

171116 by declaring the petition of the Office of the Special Prosecutor assailing such
dismissal to have "failed to sufficiently show that the Sandiganbayan had committed any
reversible error in the questioned judgment to warrant the exercise by this Court of its
discretionary appellate jurisdiction."

In their Joint Motion for Reconsideration, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez make it
clear that they:

[A]ccept with all humility, and therefore, will no longer contest the Honorable Court’s
finding that the proceedings they had adopted in their provincial hearings fell short of
what the provisions of the law and rules require. For such shortcoming, respondents
Ong and Hernandez can only express their regret and apology.

Nonetheless, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez pray for exoneration, contending that
they are not liable for simple misconduct despite the irregularity of their conduct for the
simple reason that, as the Decision has indicated, they "have not been ill-motivated or
inspired by an intention to violate any law or legal rules in adopting the erroneous
procedure, but had been seeking, instead, to thereby expedite their disposition of cases
in the provinces;" their actions were not willful in character or motivated by a
"premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose;" or even if their actions might be
"irregular, wrongful, or improper," such could not be characterized as simple misconduct
necessitating administrative sanction.

Also, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez posit that they cannot be made accountable
for unbecoming conduct because they admittedly posed questions on the law schools of
origin of the counsel appearing before them; that their propounding the queries, per se,
did not justify a finding of unbecoming conduct on their part considering that they
thereby never derided any law school or belittled the capabilities of lawyers on the basis
of their school affiliations, nor exhibited bias for or against any lawyer based on their
alma mater.1avvphi1

In the alternative, Justice Ong prays that the sanction imposed upon him be made equal
to that meted on Justice Hernandez. He "implores the Honorable Court to re-examine
the propriety of imposing a different and heavier penalty against him and take into due
consideration its own pronouncement in its decision that ‘the Sandiganbayan is a
collegial court,’ and ‘in a collegial court, the members act on the basis of consensus or
majority rule.’"

For her part, the complainant insists that respondent Justices be found guilty of all
administrative charges made against them; and that the penalties or chastisement be
increased to be commensurate to their infractions.

Ruling

Finding the arguments of the complainant to be matters that the Court fully dealt with
and discussed in the Decision, and there being no other substantial matters raised by
her, we deny her Motion for Reconsideration (of the Honorable Court’s Decision Dated 1
September).

We deny the plea of Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez for complete exoneration,
considering what we held in the Decision, which we reiterate hereunder, as follows:

Respondent Justices cannot lightly regard the legal requirement for all of them to sit
together as members of the Fourth Division "in the trial and determination of a case or
cases assigned thereto." The information and evidence upon which the Fourth Division
would base any decisions or other judicial actions in the cases tried before it must be
made directly available to each and every one of its members during the proceedings.
This necessitates the equal and full participation of each member in the trial and
adjudication of their cases. It is simply not enough, therefore, that the three members of
the Fourth Division were within hearing and communicating distance of one another at
the hearings in question, as they explained in hindsight, because even in those
circumstances not all of them sat together in session.

Indeed, the ability of the Fourth Division to function as a collegial body became
impossible when not all of the members sat together during the trial proceedings. The
internal rules of the Sandiganbayan spotlight an instance of such impossibility. Section
2, Rule VII of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan expressly requires that
rulings on oral motions made or objections raised in the course of the trial proceedings
or hearings are be made by the Chairman of the Division. Obviously, the rule cannot be
complied with because Justice Ong, the Chairman, did not sit in the hearing of the
cases heard by the other respondents. Neither could the other respondents properly
and promptly contribute to the rulings of Justice Ong in the hearings before him.

Moreover, the respondents’ non-observance of collegiality contravened the very
purpose of trying criminal cases cognizable by Sandiganbayan before a Division of all
three Justices. Although there are criminal cases involving public officials and
employees triable before single-judge courts, PD 1606, as amended, has always
required a Division of three Justices (not one or two) to try the criminal cases cognizable
by the Sandiganbayan, in view of the accused in such cases holding higher rank or
office than those charged in the former cases. The three Justices of a Division, rather
than a single judge, are naturally expected to exert keener judiciousness and to apply
broader circumspection in trying and deciding such cases. The tighter standard is due in
part to the fact that the review of convictions is elevated to the Supreme Court generally

is not sufficient to legally render an NTC order. which eliminates issues of fact. the Court delved on the nature of a collegial body. then.. Corollarily. as in this case. The foregoing observations made in GMCR.via the discretionary mode of petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. the vote of Commissioner Kintanar. Inc. as chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Bell Telecommunication Philippines. v. 2010. In GMCR. they ought to have been well aware of the indispensability of collegiality to the valid conduct of their trial proceedings. The NTC acts through a three-man body. We hereby declare that the NTC is a collegial body requiring a majority vote out of the three members of the commission in order to validly decide a case or any incident therein. As to the argument of Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez against this Court’s finding of unbecoming conduct on their part. the vote alone of the chairman of the commission. It is of no consequence. 146. and how the act of a single member. that no malice or corrupt motive impelled respondent Justices into adopting the flawed procedure. . and the three members of the commission each has one vote to cast in every deliberation concerning a case or any incident therein that is subject to the jurisdiction of the NTC. apply to the situation of respondent Justices as members of the Fourth Division. done without the participation of the others. Commissioner Kintanar is not the National Telecommunications Commission. absent the required concurring vote coming from the rest of the membership of the commission to at least arrive at a majority decision. if at all). resolution or decision. though he may be its head. the question presented was whether Commissioner Simeon Kintanar. There. 146 which organized the NTC as a three-man commission and expose the illegality of all memorandum circulars negating the collegial nature of the NTC under Executive Order No. Inc. As responsible judicial officers. Rules of Court. instead of via ordinary appeal set for the former kind of cases (whereby the convictions still undergo intermediate review before ultimately reaching the Supreme Court. The Court ruled: First. Inc. we are left with only one logical conclusion: the NTC is a collegial body and was a collegial body even during the time when it was acting as a one-man regime. cannot be considered the act of the collegial body itself. given that the NTC had two other commissioners as members. He alone does not speak for and in behalf of the NTC. the matter has been fully addressed in the Decision of August 24. could alone act in behalf of and bind the NTC. Simply put. When we consider the historical milieu in which the NTC evolved into the quasi-judicial agency it is now under Executive Order No.

was the head of the Division under the Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan. and. WHEREFORE. Justice Ong exuded an unexpectedly dismissive attitude towards the valid objections of the complainant. SO ORDERED. the Motion for Reconsideration (of the Honorable Court’s Decision Dated 1 September) dated September 15. and wittingly failed to guarantee that proceedings of the Division that he chaired came within the bounds of substantive and procedural rules. and the Joint Motion for Reconsideration dated September 14. and control over the conduct of the proceedings of the Division.We hold to be not well taken the urging of Justice Ong that the penalty imposed upon him be similar to that meted upon Justice Hernandez. as such. we have noted in the Decision that in the exercise of his powers as Chairman of the Fourth Division. and steered his Division into the path of procedural irregularity. direction. Moreover. Hernandez are denied for lack of merit. . their responsibility and liability as Members of the Division were properly diminished. Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada did not direct and control how the proceedings of the Division were to be conducted. The variance in the responsibilities of respondent Justices as Members of their Division compel the differentiation of their individual liabilities. Justice Ong. To be sure. 2010 of Associate Justice Gregory S. 2010 of complainant Assistant Special Prosecutor III Rohermia J. being the most senior Member. Jamsani-Rodriguez. Their not being responsible for the direction and control of the running of the Division and their having relied without malice on the Justice Ong’s direction and control should not be reproved as much as Justice Ong’s misconduct. as the Chairperson. Ong and Associate Justice Jose R. he possessed and wielded powers of supervision. This circumstance alone provided sufficient justification to treat Justice Ong differently from the other respondents. Hence.

: The Regional Trial Court (RTC). BRINGAS BUNAY y DAM-AT guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape as charged against him. the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. 2010 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. BRINGAS BUNAY y DAM-AT. RESOLUTION BERSAMIN. Apayao tried and found the accused guilty of qualified rape in its decision dated December 11. this court hereby sentences said accused to suffer the Supreme Penalty of DEATH. Plaintiff-Appellee. No.G. 2001. 171268 September 14. Accused-Appellant.R. in Luna. vs. finding the accused. Branch 26. . J.

-G.1avvphi1 By letter dated August 16. Arbatin.1 On December 13. 2010. Chief Superintendent of the New Bilibid Prison. 2001.4 On August 10. The accused is ordered to be immediately shipped to New Bilibid Prisons.000. No.A. 2005. the amount of Seventy Five Thousand (P75. SO ORDERED. On June 22. The report of Dr. 5-2001 is hereby AFFIRMED. Apayao. submitted the death certificate of the accused. Medical Officer III.000. Marylou V. the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the conviction of the accused for qualified rape in C. for imprisonment thereat while awaiting the review of this decision by the Supreme Court.00). Mercado. Miranda. CR HC No. advising that the accused had died on March 25. revealed that the immediate cause of death had been cardio-respiratory arrest. IT IS SO ORDERED. 00758.The accused is further ordered to pay the victim. 2010. . Branch 26 in Criminal Case No. 2002 by the Director of the Bureau of Corrections. 2010. "AAA". 2010 from Bureau of Corrections Assistant Director for Operations Rodrigo A.5 viz: IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING. the accused was committed to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Following the CA’s denial of his motion for reconsideration. On April 20. Mateo. 3 conformably with People v.2 The conviction was brought for automatic review. with pneumonia as the antecedent cause. the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Luna. the Court received the letter dated April 15.00) by way of civil indemnity plus exemplary and moral damages of Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60. 2004. Armando T. Muntinlupa City. 2010 at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital in Muntinlupa City. per the certification issued on August 14. the accused now appeals to the Court.R. the Court required the Bureau of Corrections to submit a certified true copy of the death certificate of the accused. but the Court transferred the case to the CA for intermediate review on November 9.

Only civil liability predicated on a source of obligation other than the delict survived the death of the accused.Under the foregoing circumstances. SO ORDERED. — Criminal liability is totally extinguished: 1. 6 UPON THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS. the death of the accused during the pendency of his appeal in this Court totally extinguished his criminal liability. the appeal of the accused is dismissed. and this criminal case is considered closed and terminated. as to the personal penalties. . which pertinently provides: Article 89. liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. Such extinction is based on Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code.. How criminal liability is totally extinguished.e. xxx The death of the accused likewise extinguished the civil liability that was based exclusively on the crime for which the accused was convicted (i. By the death of the convict. and as to pecuniary penalties. because no final judgment of conviction was yet rendered by the time of his death. ex delicto). which the offended party can recover by means of a separate civil action.