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PERLAS-BERNABE, J p: Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically
Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million and emotionally wounded. In one of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private
Filipinos or 93 percent of a total population of 93.3 million adhering to the respondent on both arms and shook her with such force that caused bruises and
teachings of Jesus Christ. 1 Yet, the admonition for husbands to love their wives as hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that
their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 2 failed to caused some bleeding. Petitioner sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann,
prevent, or even to curb, the pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The who had seen the text messages he sent to his paramour and whom he blamed for
National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) reported that, for the squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times. When
years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse private respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for
and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner would beat her up. Even the small boys are
women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners." 3 aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-year-old son said that when he
grows up, he would beat up his father because of his cruelty to private respondent. 11
Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups,
Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of
Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, despair. On December 17, 2005, while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her
Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, wrist. She was found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house
2004. 4 instead of taking her to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about
seven (7) days in which time petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or
R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has been undergoing therapy
against women and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications. 12
i.e., husband; former husband; or any person who has or had a sexual or dating
relationship, or with whom the woman has a common child. 5 The law provides for When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she
protection orders from the barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of intends to file charges against the bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for
further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of barangay jeopardizing the manager's job. He then packed his things and told private
officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even told private respondent's
providers, and other local government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC mother, who lives with them in the family home, that private respondent should just
or requests for assistance. accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and has not
sired a child with her. 13
A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as
being violative of the equal protection and due process clauses, and an undue Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he
delegation of judicial power to barangay officials. would take her children from her and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had
previously warned her that if she goes on a legal battle with him, she would not get a
The Factual Antecedents single centavo. 14
On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep
in behalf of her minor children, a verified petition 6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the wells. He is the President of three corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a Temporary Protection Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation of which he and private
Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over
9262. She claimed to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and said corporations, private respondent merely draws a monthly salary of P20,000.00
economic violence as a result of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner, with threats from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household expenses
of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support. 7 amounting to not less than P200,000.00 a month are paid for by private respondent
Private respondent's claims through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation
Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the together with the bills for utilities. 15 cDCIHT
former was eleven years her senior. They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of P60,000.00 from Negros
Garcia, 17 years old, who is the natural child of petitioner but whom private Rotadrill Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in
respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. hundreds of thousands of pesos from the corporations. 16 After private respondent
Garcia, 3 years old. 8 confronted him about the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building,
Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved Mandalagan, where all the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby
around her husband. On the other hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese depriving her of access to full information about said businesses. Until the filing of the
descent, is dominant, controlling, and demands absolute obedience from his wife and petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an accounting of the
children. He forbade private respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos. 17
friends. When she took up law, and even when she was already working part time at Action of the RTC of Bacolod City
a law office, petitioner trivialized her ambitions and prevailed upon her to just stay at Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the
home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive wife still catches the eye of private respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO
some men, at one point threatening that he would have any man eyeing her killed. 9 18 on March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted hereunder:
Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
Robinson's Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner
admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted him about it in 2004. He a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family
even boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank home within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he
manager. Petitioner told private respondent, though, that he was just using the refuses, ordering that he be removed by police officers from the conjugal dwelling;
woman because of their accounts with the bank. 10 EHTIcD this order is enforceable notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236
Realty Holdings, Inc. (Republic Act No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is vehicle used by private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-
to allow the Petitioner (private respondent herein) to enter the conjugal dwelling Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the bond from
without any danger from the Respondent. IcADSE P5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at P100,000.00.
After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved 22 for the modification of the TPO
Petitioner decides to return to the conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner to allow him visitation rights to his children.
shall be assisted by police officers when re-entering the family home. On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to
The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 the following modifications prayed for by private respondent:
March 2006 because of the danger that the Respondent will attempt to take her a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal
children from her when he arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit. belongings of Rosalie and her children to Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for
b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
help and driver from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the counsel, otherwise be declared in Indirect Contempt of Court;
subdivision where the Petitioner may be temporarily residing. b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the
c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the conjugal house in Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours
Petitioner, directly or indirectly, or through other persons, or contact directly or from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
indirectly her children, mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers, c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters
letters and the like. Visitation rights to the children may be subject of a modified TPO to remove Respondent from the conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt
in the future. of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot return until 48
d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK hours after the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her
and ordering the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the representatives can remove things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of
Provincial Director of the PNP to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses. He the household furniture, equipment and other things in the conjugal home, which shall
should also be ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or be submitted to the Court.
control. d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and
e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from
house for them, and educational and medical expenses. receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in
f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business. aCTHEA indirect contempt of Court; DaHSIT
g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk
received from all the corporations from 1 January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which of Court within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
himself and as President of the corporations and his Comptroller, must submit to the counsel;
Court not later than 2 April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon
reported to the court by the Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 presentation of proof of payment of such expenses. 23
days of the month, under pain of Indirect Contempt of Court. Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to
h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and faithfully comply with the TPO; and committed new acts of harassment against her
considering the financial resources of the Respondent and his threat that if the and their children, private respondent filed another application 24 for the issuance of
Petitioner sues she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against
a BOND TO KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the latter was purportedly no longer
sufficient sureties. president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex Van used
On April 24, 2006, upon motion 19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an by private respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was served upon private
amended TPO, 20 effective for thirty (30) days, which included the following additional respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms that scared the
provisions: two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard. 25
i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly
Nissan Patrol and the Starex Van which they are using in Negros Occidental. attempted to kidnap him, which incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to
go back to school. On another occasion, petitioner allegedly grabbed their daughter,
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened her. 26 The incident was reported to the police,
Paraaque, the continued use of the Starex van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to and Jo-Ann subsequently filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of
Manila. R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse,
k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two Exploitation and Discrimination Act."
sufficient sureties. Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids
l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One working at the conjugal home of a complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention
Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of against private respondent. This came about after private respondent, armed with a
Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php50,000.00) per month until the matter of support could be TPO, went to said home to get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her
finally resolved. cAaDCE things inside a housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private
Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex- respondent filed a case for qualified theft against Jamola. 27 CDTHSI
Parte Motion for Renewal of the TPO 21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO, 28 effective for thirty (30) days, which
on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day notice rule, and (2) contain reads as follows:
a notice of hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby: days, after each expiration, until further orders, and subject to such modifications as
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, may be ordered by the court. STHAaD
acts of violence against the offended party; After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise the required comment to private respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing
communicating in any form with the offended party, either directly or indirectly; that it would only be an "exercise in futility."
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or Proceedings before the CA
agents, from all the Petitioners Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of
three brothers, her mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo Appeals (CA) a petition 34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer
Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and for injunction and temporary restraining order, challenging (1) the constitutionality of
the petitioner's other household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and
not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioners are temporarily residing, as (2) the validity of the modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted
well as from the schools of the three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not product of an invalid law."
contact the schools of the children directly or indirectly in any manner including, On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order
ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees directly, otherwise he will have access 35 (TRO) against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders
to the children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered nugatory; pursuant thereto.
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed 36 the
PPK to the Court; petition for failure of petitioner to raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before
5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and the trial court in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same.
Php50,000.00 for rental for the period from August 6 to September 6, 2006; and Secondly, the challenge to the validity of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition
support in arrears from March 2006 to August 2006 the total amount of seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the trial court constituted a collateral
Php1,312,000.00; CIaDTE attack on said law.
6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the
Php75,000.00 and Php25,000.00; Resolution 37 dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before us alleging that
7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and The Issues
a Starex van with Plate No. FFD 991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE
vehicles, respondent is ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle which is the THEORY THAT THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW. EcHIAC
the conjugal assets, or those real properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only II. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO
and those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262 IS DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF
Garcia and respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home located in THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.
No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which
are conjugal assets or those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of Petitioner III. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING
Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent have an interest in and listed in Annexes "I," THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS COUNTER TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE
"I-1," and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT Nos. T-186325 and T-168814; CONSTITUTION.
9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES
allow the transfer, sale, encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited properties to BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.
any person, entity or corporation without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie V. THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No.
J. Garcia, who shall affix her signature in the presence of the Register of Deeds, due 9262 AS INVALID AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE
to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that her signature will be forged in order to effect the DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE BARANGAY OFFICIALS. 38
encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the conjugal partnership of The Ruling of the Court
Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the
In its Order 29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted constitutionality of R.A. 9262, we shall first tackle the propriety of the dismissal by the
TPO for another ten (10) days, and gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within appellate court of the petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by
which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed, extended, or modified. petitioner.
Upon petitioner's manifestation, 30 however, that he has not received a copy of
private respondent's motion to modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in its As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
Order 31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a copy of said motion. opportunity so that if not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the
Nonetheless, an Order 32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been issued trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on appeal. 39 Courts
renewing the TPO dated August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder: will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of
deciding it. 40
xxx xxx xxx
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of
. . . it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Bacolod City, petitioner argues that the Family Court has limited authority and
Temporary Protection Order issued on August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to tackle the complex issue of constitutionality." 41
extended for thirty (30) days and continuously extended and renewed for thirty (30)
We disagree. (b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or
Family Courts have authority third-party complaint, but any cause of action which could be the subject thereof may
be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
and jurisdiction to consider the
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim,
constitutionality of a statute. cross-claim and third-party complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the
At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same issue of constitutionality cannot likewise be raised therein. A counterclaim is defined
level as Regional Trial Courts. Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family as any claim for money or other relief which a defending party may have against an
Courts Act of 1997," family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and opposing party. 50 A cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against
decide cases of domestic violence against women and children. 42 In accordance a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either
with said law, the Supreme Court designated from among the branches of the of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. 51 Finally, a third-party complaint is
Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court in each of several key cities identified. a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a
43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now party to the action for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in
provides that Regional Trial Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original respect of his opponent's claim. 52 As pointed out by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de
and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the latter law, viz.: Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could be the
SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have subject of a counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint. Therefore, it is not
original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their prohibited from being raised in the opposition in view of the familiar maxim expressio
children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense unius est exclusio alterius. IHcSCA
was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo
any of its elements was committed at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis because the right of private respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the
supplied) HIAESC very statute the validity of which is being attacked 53 by petitioner who has sustained,
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The alleged
possessed of authority as a court of general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the
of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, land registration, guardianship, non-issuance of a protection order.
naturalization, admiralty or insolvency. 44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not
resolve the constitutionality of a statute, 45 "this authority being embraced in the have deterred petitioner from raising the same in his Opposition. The question relative
general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding to the constitutionality of a statute is one of law which does not need to be supported
laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law." 46 The Constitution by evidence. 54 Be that as it may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless
vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare the constitutionality or allows the conduct of a hearing to determine legal issues, among others, viz.:
validity of a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, presidential decree, SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. In case the court determines the need for
order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all RTCs. 47 further hearing, it may issue an order containing the following:
We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA 48 that, "[p]lainly the Constitution
contemplates that the inferior courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving (a) Facts undisputed and admitted;
constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final (b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;
judgments of inferior courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in (c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be
issue." Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in part as follows: presented;
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: (d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the
xxx xxx xxx form of affidavits; and
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the (e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in
Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: one day, to the extent possible, within the 30-day period of the effectivity of the
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or temporary protection order issued. (Emphasis supplied)
executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing
ordinance, or regulation is in question. aADSIc when necessary, Section 26 (b) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary
xxx xxx xxx protection order issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or renew the said
order for a period of thirty (30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may
Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 likewise modify the extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be
could have been raised at the earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for necessary to meet the needs of the parties. With the private respondent given ample
protection order before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had jurisdiction to determine protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional issues, without
the same, subject to the review of this Court. necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of the rules on
Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their summary procedure.
Children, lays down a new kind of procedure requiring the respondent to file an In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for
opposition to the petition and not an answer. 49 Thus: prohibition with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB-
SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon an honest belief that if he finds
petition which he himself shall verify. It must be accompanied by the affidavits of succor in a superior court, he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section
witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order 22 (j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari,
should not be issued. mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the trial court.
Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case against the
enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was
improper, and it effectively hindered the case from taking its normal course in an playing safe so I placed here members of the family, prescribing penalties therefor
expeditious and summary manner. and providing protective measures for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in,
As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is common-law wives, and those related with the family. 65
prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal of a judgment granting permanent protection shall xxx xxx xxx
not stay its enforcement, 55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only for thirty Wednesday, January 14, 2004
(30) days at a time, 56 should not be enjoined.
xxx xxx xxx
The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of
itself entitle a litigant to have the same enjoined. 57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr., 58 the The President Pro Tempore. . . .
Supreme Court of the United States declared, thus: Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit
Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with this to women and not to families which was the issue of the AWIR group. The
respect to their separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of understanding that I have is that we would be having a broader scope rather than just
course, even if such statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or member of the women, if I remember correctly, Madam sponsor.
community is immune from prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.
The imminence of such a prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the
hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in equity which exerts its extraordinary interpellation period.
powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. (Citations
omitted) I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.
The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not
fully the merits of the case. It bears stressing, however, that protection orders are get me wrong. However, I believe that there is a need to protect women's rights
granted ex parte so as to protect women and their children from acts of violence. To especially in the domestic environment.
issue an injunction against such orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had
VAWC. the opportunity to file a case against their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if
Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to not decade, of battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope to include even the men,
determine novel issues, or issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications. assuming they can at all be abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not
We have, time and again, discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of constitutional equalize the already difficult situation for women, Mr. President. aIcDCA
issues, and with more reason now, in view of private respondent's plea in her I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position.
Comment 59 to the instant Petition that we should put the challenge to the I am sure that the men in this Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly
constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And so we shall. will agree with this representation. Whether we like it or not, it is an unequal world.
Intent of Congress in Whether we like it or not, no matter how empowered the women are, we are not given
equal opportunities especially in the domestic environment where the macho Filipino
enacting R.A. 9262. man would always feel that he is stronger, more superior to the Filipino woman.
Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal xxx xxx xxx
and child abuse, which could very well be committed by either the husband or the
wife, gender alone is not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of the remedies The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?
under the law. 60 Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723, 61 which became this bill because the family members have been included in this proposed measure
R.A. 9262, reveals that while the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better since the other members of the family other than women are also possible victims of
known as Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed what she called a violence. While women are most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally
"synthesized measure" 62 an amalgamation of two measures, namely, the "Anti- why the measure focuses on women, the fact remains that in some relatively few
Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti-Abuse of Women in Intimate Relationships Act" cases, men also stand to be victimized and that children are almost always the
63 providing protection to "all family members, leaving no one in isolation" but at helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be enough protection
the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence extended to other family members particularly children who are excluded. Although
and abuse, 64 nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied protection Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less, addresses the special needs of
under the same measure. We quote pertinent portions of the deliberations: abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection orders for one are not
available in said law.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some men, fearing that they may use this law to justify their abusive behavior against
women's groups have expressed concerns and relayed these concerns to me that if women. However, we should also recognize that there are established procedures
we are to include domestic violence apart from against women as well as other and standards in our courts which give credence to evidentiary support and cannot
members of the household, including children or the husband, they fear that this just arbitrarily and whimsically entertain baseless complaints. cSCADE
would weaken the efforts to address domestic violence of which the main victims or
the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the spouses or the female partners in a Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect
relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good Senator the family as the basic social institution. Though I recognize the unequal power
respond to this kind of observation? relations between men and women in our society, I believe we have an obligation to
uphold inherent rights and dignity of both husband and wife and their immediate
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call family members, particularly children.
themselves "WIIR" Women in Intimate Relationship. They do not want to include men
in this domestic violence. But plenty of men are also being abused by women. I am
While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and children only. No proper challenge on said
members as a critical input arrived at after a series of consultations/meetings with grounds may be entertained in this proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it
various NGOs, experts, sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr. President. is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice may be perceived as
Senator Sotto. Mr. President. erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by
the legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators. determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law. 68 We only
Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor. step in when there is a violation of the Constitution. However, none was sufficiently
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized. shown in this case.
Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator R.A. 9262 does not violate
Legarda would be removing the "men and children" in this particular bill and focus the guaranty of equal protection
specifically on women alone. That will be the net effect of that proposed amendment. of the laws.
Hearing the rationale mentioned by the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi"
Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be
amendment of Senator Legarda. treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-
repeated disquisition in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union
I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to 69 is instructive:
accept this, I will propose an amendment to the amendment rather than object to the
amendment, Mr. President. EcATDH The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the
application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement,
xxx xxx xxx in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man,
Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President. woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on
persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not
xxx xxx xxx identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in
Senator Sotto. . . . May I propose an amendment to the amendment. fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause
The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment? does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit
legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. within which it is to operate.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed. The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the
distinguished proponent of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in
may maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At saka iyong mga certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of
lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of
remove the children from this particular measure. inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required
So, if I may propose an amendment of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it
The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment. must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing
Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This
matter of fact, it is not limited to minors. The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year- Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based
old children. I have seen 14, 15-year-old children being abused by their fathers, even on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis
by their mothers. And it breaks my heart to find out about these things. supplied)
Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is
will update that. It will enhance and hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not based on a valid classification as shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not
only women. DEScaT violate the equal protection clause by favoring women over men as victims of violence
SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS and abuse to whom the State extends its protection. IDAaCc
Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.
in the bill but not the children. The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are
Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader. more likely than men to be victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and
prejudice against women all make for real differences justifying the classification
The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN. under the law. As Justice McIntyre succinctly states, "the accommodation of
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. differences . . . is the essence of true equality." 70
Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President. A. Unequal power relationship
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the between men and women
amendment, as amended, is approved. 66 According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for
It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is
expediency of a statute. 67 Hence, we dare not venture into the real motivations and deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship between women and
wisdom of the members of Congress in limiting the protection against violence and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence". Societal norms and traditions
dictate people to think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and take on In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are
dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men's companions and the victims of severe assaults by their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women
supporters, and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men reported that nearly one of every eight husbands had assaulted their wives during the
gaining more power over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that past year. The [American Medical Association] views these figures as "marked
power. And VAW is a form of men's expression of controlling women to retain power. underestimates," because the nature of these incidents discourages women from
The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed reporting them, and because surveys typically exclude the very poor, those who do
its Resolution 48/104 on the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women not speak English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals
on December 20, 1993 stating that "violence against women is a manifestation of when the survey is conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence
historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to agree that the true incidence of partner violence is probably double the above
domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of estimates; or four million severely assaulted women per year." cIDHSC
the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be
social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime. . . Thus on an
with men." 72 average day in the United States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted by
Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of their male partners. Many of these incidents involve sexual assault. . . In families
gender-based violence and developments in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his where wife beating takes place, moreover, child abuse is often present as well.
remarks delivered during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most
Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder: visible form of abuse. Psychological abuse, particularly forced social and economic
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. isolation of women, is also common.
The patriarch of a family was accorded the right to use force on members of the Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they
family under his control. I quote the early studies: perceive no superior alternative . . . Many abused women who find temporary refuge
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the in shelters return to their husbands, in large part because they have no other source
institutional rule of men. Women were seen in virtually all societies to be naturally of income. . . Returning to one's abuser can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of
inferior both physically and intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United
whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the authority of men. In law, they were States are killed by their spouses . . . Thirty percent of female homicide victims are
treated as property. killed by their male partners.
The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women
wife if she endangered his property right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other Act.
religions oriented towards the patriarchal family strengthened the male dominated In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful.
structure of society. The United States Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed
English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the the equality of all human beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the
eminent Blackstone has been quoted in his commentaries as saying husband and landmark Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against
wife were one and that one was the husband. However, in the late 1500s and through Women (CEDAW). In 1993, the UN General Assembly also adopted the Declaration
the entire 1600s, English common law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. World conferences on the role and
their wives. Thus, common law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and
to beat their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than their thumb. TcDAHS Beijing. The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.
In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these
or inflict corporeal punishment ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was women's movements. No less than Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution
given more importance than preventing violence to women. mandates the State to recognize the role of women in nation building and to ensure
the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified
The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the the CEDAW as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two
English common law. In 1871, the Supreme Court of Alabama became the first protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act No. 9262,
appellate court to strike down the common law right of a husband to beat his wife: entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for
The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other
choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like Purposes." (Citations omitted)
indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law. . . In person, the wife is entitled to B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"
the same protection of the law that the husband can invoke for himself.
victims of violence.
As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The
temperance leagues initiated it. These leagues had a simple focus. They considered At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence
the evils of alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they demonstrated against women and children show that
and picketed saloons, bars and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, . . . physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing
their crusade was joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation 55.63% of total cases reported (9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were
movement's agenda. They fought for women's right to vote, to own property, and 2,381 reported cases out of 4,354 cases which represent 54.31%. . . . (T)he total
more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll. number of women in especially difficult circumstances served by the Department of
The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417
public gaze. They succeeded in transforming the issue into an important public physically abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608 cases. . . . (T)here are
concern. No less than the United States Supreme Court, in 1992 case Planned 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first semester of
Parenthood v. Casey, noted: 2003. Female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence
and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate community." 77 The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual
partners such as their husbands and live-in partners. 73 inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for every classification of
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the
violence against women across an eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with law is not thereby rendered invalid. 78 TcSHaD
violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different VAW categories since its C. Gender bias and prejudices
implementation in 2004, 74 thus: From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes
against women are often treated differently and less seriously than other crimes. This
was argued by then United States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now Vice President,
chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights
remedy as a valid exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce and
Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the widespread gender bias in the U.S.
has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of rape or domestic violence,
subjecting them to "double victimization" first at the hands of the offender and then
of the legal system. 79
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No.
2723 that "(w)henever violence occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private
matter and advise the parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once the complainant
brings the case to the prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear
that it might later be withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by
the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating, recurring and often serious
nature of domestic violence." 80
Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our
In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila
for Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. He used derogatory and irreverent language in
reference to the complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A. 9262, calling
her as "only a live-in partner" and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress"
in an "illegitimate relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and
accused her of being motivated by "insatiable greed" and of absconding with the
contested property. 81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and lack of
gender sensitivity.
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by
violence against men in the Philippines because incidents thereof are relatively low biases and prejudices against women. As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on
and, perhaps, because many men will not even attempt to report the situation. In the the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting
United Kingdom, 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so discrimination through specific measures focused on women does not discriminate
four or five (or more) times, compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who against men. 82 Petitioner's contention, 83 therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory
had ever experienced domestic violence; and women constituted 89% of all those and that it is an "anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men" law deserves scant
who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence. 75 Statistics in consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to take all
Canada show that spousal violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause appropriate measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men
injury than the other way around (18 percent versus 44 percent). Men, who and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and
experience violence from their spouses are much less likely to live in fear of violence all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of
at the hands of their spouses, and much less likely to experience sexual assault. In either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women." 84 Justice Puno
fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman against a spouse are in self- correctly pointed out that "(t)he paradigm shift changing the character of domestic
defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional abuse. 76 CADSHI violence from a private affair to a public offense will require the development of a
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the judges." 85
against men in the Philippines, the same cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid. II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal- The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262,
drawn vehicles to pick up, gather and deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or which is to address violence committed against women and children, spelled out in its
discharged by their vehicle-drawing animals in any public highways, streets, plazas, Declaration of Policy, as follows:
parks or alleys, said ordinance was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal
protection of laws as its application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity
animals and not to those animals, although not utilized, but similarly pass through the of women and children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also
same streets. recognizes the need to protect the family and its members particularly women and
children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there
may be non-vehicle-drawing animals that also traverse the city roads, "but their Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against
number must be negligible and their appearance therein merely occasional, women and children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the
compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute a menace to the health of the Constitution and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use
Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
instruments of which the Philippines is a party. DHECac 3. destroying household property;
In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines 4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal
ratified on August 5, 1981. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was money or properties.
also ratified by the Philippines on October 6, 2003. 86 This Convention mandates that
State parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law 87 and shall It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are
take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters attributable to research that has exposed the dimensions and dynamics of battery.
relating to marriage and family relations on the basis of equality of men and women. The acts described here are also found in the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of
88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Violence Against Women. 90 Hence, the argument advanced by petitioner that the
two protocols. 89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective definition of what constitutes abuse removes the difference between violent action
protocols. and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.
III. The classification is not limited to existing There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will
confuse petitioner in his defense. The acts enumerated above are easily understood
conditions only, and apply equally to all members and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. They
Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it are worded with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can
was promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for as long as the safety and understand what conduct is prohibited, and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in
security of women and their children are threatened by violence and abuse. its application. 91 Yet, petitioner insists 92 that phrases like "depriving or threatening
R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or
Section 3 thereof defines VAWC as: common money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional
anguish" are so vague that they make every quarrel a case of spousal abuse.
. . . any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a
wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld not absolute precision
dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than
legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute
to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have
including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions. 93
deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm; father as the culprit. As defined above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a
B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship." Clearly, the
woman or her child. It includes, but is not limited to: use of the gender-neutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover,
sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking while the law provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by
the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the
and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus,
make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan, 94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-
sleep together in the same room with the abuser; Tan, the victim, were held to be proper respondents in the case filed by the latter upon
the allegation that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had community of design
and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in repeatedly abusing her
force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically. TCIEcH
coercion; R.A. 9262 is not violative of the
c) Prostituting the woman or child. due process clause of the Constitution.
C."Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of
mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, all protections afforded by the due process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On
harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and practically no opportunity to respond,
verbal abuse and mental infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the husband is stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future
the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what
victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to happened." 95
pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of
common children. CDEaAI A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against
women and their children, their family or household members, and to grant other
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further harm,
dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following: minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any regain control of their life. 96
legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the "The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or
other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article offended party is afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail access by a
73 of the Family Code; perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk of
violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in futility," conveniently
in the family residence, and to prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that forgetting that the renewal of the questioned TPO was only for a limited period (30
jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables the court to days) each time, and that he could prevent the continued renewal of said order if he
award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to can show sufficient cause therefor. Having failed to do so, petitioner may not now be
prevent their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support." 97 heard to complain that he was denied due process of law.
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC
by the petitioner 98 thereby undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every case from the residence of the victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is
allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC if further violence virtually a "blank check" issued to the wife to claim any property as her conjugal
is to be prevented," 99 the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but home. 108
before notice and hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination
and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is necessary to protect the suggest that this is so. It states: aIETCA
victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent such violence,
which is about to recur. 100 SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. The protection order shall include
any, some or all of the following reliefs:
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex
parte order. The victim is required not only to verify the allegations in the petition, but xxx xxx xxx
also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition. 101 (c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party,
The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right regardless of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of
to due process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment which is issued without protecting the offended party, or permanently where no property rights are violated. If
notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could be enough to the respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall
enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property, 102 in the same way, the direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent to the residence,
victim of VAWC may already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her remain there until the respondent has gathered his things and escort him from the
tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing were required before such residence;
acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary xxx xxx xxx
requirements of procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's
vital public interests, 103 among which is protection of women and children from residence, regardless of ownership, only temporarily for the purpose of protecting the
violence and threats to their personal safety and security. latter. Such removal and exclusion may be permanent only where no property rights
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise are violated. How then can the private respondent just claim any property and
order that notice be immediately given to the respondent directing him to file an appropriate it for herself, as petitioner seems to suggest?
opposition within five (5) days from service. Moreover, the court shall order that The non-referral of a VAWC case
notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by
the court sheriffs. The TPOs are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on to a mediator is justified.
the respondent. 104 Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate encouraging mediation and counseling, the law has done violence to the avowed
issuance and service of the notice upon the respondent requiring him to file an policy of the State to "protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social
opposition to the petition within five (5) days from service. The date of the preliminary institution." 109
conference and hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice. 105 Under Section 23 (c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or
any issue thereof to a mediator. The reason behind this provision is well-explained by
the Commentary on Section 311 of the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be as follows: 110
accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or
permanent protection order should not be issued. 106 HSCcTD This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a
proceeding for an order for protection. Mediation is a process by which parties in
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order equivalent bargaining positions voluntarily reach consensual agreement about the
should be apprised of the charges imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to issue at hand. Violence, however, is not a subject for compromise. A process which
present his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family, property, involves parties mediating the issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at
guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of fault. In addition, mediation of issues in a proceeding for an order of protection is
seconds, without an inkling of what happened" is a mere product of an overactive problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate equally with the
imagination. The essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity person against whom the protection order has been sought. (Emphasis supplied)
to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To
be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also There is no undue delegation of
through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or judicial power to barangay officials.
pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process. 107 Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which,
It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent under the Constitution, is placed upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower
Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on courts as may be established by law" and, thus, protests the delegation of power to
April 24, 2006. Likewise, on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for the barangay officials to issue protection orders. 111 The pertinent provision reads, as
modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his children. Still, the trial court follows:
in its Order dated September 26, 2006, gave him five days (5) within which to show SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay
cause why the TPO should not be renewed or extended. Yet, he chose not to file the Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong
Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's
and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall movement against domestic violence shows that one of its most difficult struggles was
issue the protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte the fight against the violence of law itself. If we keep that in mind, law will not again be
determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to a hindrance to the struggle of women for equality but will be its fulfillment." 118
act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Accordingly, the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be, sustained.
Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack
accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay of merit.
was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for
fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong SO ORDERED.
Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the
respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal service. OPOSA V FACTORAN
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before DAVIDE, JR., J p:
the Punong Barangay.
In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies healthful ecology which the petitioners dramatically associate with the twin concepts
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine of "inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice." Specifically, it
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or touches on the issue of whether the said petitioners have a cause of action to
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. "prevent the misappropriation or impairment" of Philippine rainforests and "arrest the
112 On the other hand, executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life-support systems and continued rape
and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation of Mother Earth."
and enforcing their due observance." 113
The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-777 which was filed before
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital
Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders Judicial Region. The principal plaintiffs therein, now the principal petitioners, are all
the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents. Impleaded as an
and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of additional plaintiff is the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), a domestic, non-
the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty stock and non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of, inter alia, engaging in
under the Local Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and to concerted action geared for the protection of our environment and natural resources.
"maintain public order in the barangay." 114 The original defendant was the Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., then Secretary
We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). His substitution in
existence of certain facts and to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his this petition by the new Secretary, the Honorable Angel C. Alcala, was subsequently
official conduct shall be and the fact that these acts may affect private rights do not ordered upon proper motion by the petitioners. 1 The complaint 2 was instituted as a
constitute an exercise of judicial powers." 115 taxpayers' class suit 3 and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of
In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the
or proceeding "whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical rainforests." The same
been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof," the Punong Barangay was filed for themselves and others who are equally concerned about the
must determine reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence preservation of said resource but are "so numerous that it is impracticable to bring
against the woman and her children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate them all before the Court." The minors further asseverate that they "represent their
the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, generation as well as generations yet unborn." 4 Consequently, it is prayed for that
concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true with the judgment be rendered:
issuance of a BPO. DHEcCT ". . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his
We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials behalf to
and other law enforcement agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of (1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;
violence and abuse, it would be very unlikely that they would remain objective and (2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving
impartial, and that the chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by new timber license agreements."
barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty to
enforce the law and to maintain peace and order. and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the
premises." 5
The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of
Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach 7,100 islands has a land area of thirty million (30,000,000) hectares and is endowed
of, or a clear conflict with the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative with rich, lush and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of
one, must be demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no doubt in the mind of the flora and fauna may be found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and
Court. In other words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt. 116 chemical pool which is irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of indigenous
In the instant case, however, no concrete evidence and convincing arguments were Philippine cultures which have existed, endured and flourished since time
presented by petitioner to warrant a declaration of the unconstitutionality of R.A. immemorial; scientific evidence reveals that in order to maintain a balanced and
9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into law by the highest officer of the co- healthful ecology, the country's land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of
equal executive department. As we said in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 117 courts fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover and forty-six per cent (46%) for agricultural,
must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the distortion and disturbance of
plenary powers, and passed laws with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose this balance as a consequence of deforestation have resulted in a host of
of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
environmental tragedies, such as (a) water shortages resulting from the drying up of especially plaintiff minors and their successors who may never see, use, benefit
the water table, otherwise known as the "aquifer," as well as of rivers, brooks and from and enjoy this rare and unique natural resource treasure.
streams, (b) salinization of the water table as a result of the intrusion therein of salt This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation and/or impairment of the natural
water, incontrovertible examples of which may be found in the island of Cebu and the resource property he holds in trust for the benefit of plaintiff minors and succeeding
Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, (c) massive erosion and the consequential loss of soil generations.
fertility and agricultural productivity, with the volume of soil eroded estimated at one
billion (1,000,000,000) cubic meters per annum approximately the size of the entire 15. Plaintiffs have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology
island of Catanduanes, (d) the endangering and extinction of the country's unique, and are entitled to protection by the State in its capacity as the parens patriae.
rare and varied flora and fauna, (e) the disturbance and dislocation of cultural 16. Plaintiffs have exhausted all administrative remedies with the defendant's office.
communities, including the disappearance of the Filipino's indigenous cultures, (f) the On March 2, 1990, plaintiffs served upon defendant a final demand to cancel all
siltation of rivers and seabeds and consequential destruction of corals and other logging permits in the country.
aquatic life leading to a critical reduction in marine resource productivity, (g) recurrent A copy of the plaintiffs' letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as Annex 'B'.
spells of drought as is presently experienced by the entire country, (h) increasing
velocity of typhoon winds which result from the absence of windbreakers, (i) the 17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA's, to the
flooding of lowlands and agricultural plains arising from the absence of the absorbent continuing serious damage and extreme prejudice of plaintiffs.
mechanism of forests, (j) the siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi-billion 18. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA's is an act
peso dams constructed and operated for the purpose of supplying water for domestic violative of the rights of plaintiffs, especially plaintiff minors who may be left with a
uses, irrigation and the generation of electric power, and (k) the reduction of the country that is desertified (sic), bare, barren and devoid of the wonderful flora, fauna
earth's capacity to process carbon dioxide gases which has led to perplexing and and indigenous cultures which the Philippines has been abundantly blessed with.
catastrophic climatic changes such as the phenomenon of global warming, otherwise 19. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is manifestly contrary to
known as the "greenhouse effect." the public policy enunciated in the Philippine Environmental Policy which, in pertinent
Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued part, states that it is the policy of the State
deforestation are so capable of unquestionable demonstration that the same may be '(a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature
submitted as a matter of judicial notice. This notwithstanding, they expressed their can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other;
intention to present expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film
evidence in the course of the trial. '(b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future
generations of Filipinos and;
As their cause of action, they specifically allege that:
'(c) to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of
"CAUSE OF ACTION dignity and well-being'. (P.D. 1151, 6 June 1977).
7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations. 20. Furthermore, defendant's continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is
8. Twenty-five (25) years ago, the Philippines had some sixteen (16) million hectares contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the State to
of rainforests constituting roughly 53% of the country's land mass. a. effect 'a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth' and 'make
9. Satellite images taken in 1987 reveal that there remained no more than 1.2 million full and efficient use of natural resources (sic).' (Section 1, Article XII of the
hectares of said rainforests or four per cent (4.0%) of the country's land area. Constitution);
b. 'protect the nation's marine wealth.' (Section 2, ibid);
10. More recent surveys reveal that a mere 850,000 hectares of virgin old-growth
rainforests are left, barely 2.8% of the entire land mass of the Philippine archipelago c. 'conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources (sic).' (Section
and about 3.0 million hectares of immature and uneconomical secondary growth 14, Article XIV, id.);
d. 'protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
11. Public records reveal that defendant's predecessors have granted timber license accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.' (Section 16, Article II, id.)
agreements ('TLA's') to various corporations to cut the aggregate area of 3.89 million
hectares for commercial logging purposes. 21. Finally, defendant's act is contrary to the highest law of humankind the natural
law and violative of plaintiffs' right to self-preservation and perpetuation.
A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as
Annex 'A'. 22. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in law other than the instant
action to arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life-support systems
12. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 200,000 hectares per annum or 25 and continued rape of Mother Earth." 6
hectares per hour nighttime, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included the
Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after the end of this ensuing decade, if On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to
not earlier. Dismiss the complaint based on two (2) grounds, namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no
cause of action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political
13. The adverse effects, disastrous consequences, serious injury and irreparable question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of
damage of this continued trend of deforestation to the plaintiff minors' generation and Government. In their 12 July 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain
to generations yet unborn are evident and incontrovertible. As a matter of fact, the that (1) the complaint shows a clear and unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion
environmental damages enumerated in paragraph 6 hereof are already being felt, is dilatory and (3) the action presents a justiciable question as it involves the
experienced and suffered by the generation of plaintiff adults. defendant's abuse of discretion.
14. The continued allowance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and deforest the On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned
remaining forest stands will work great damage and irreparable injury to plaintiffs motion to dismiss. 7 In the said order, not only was the defendant's claim that the
complaint states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question
sustained, the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the reliefs of all concerned interests. Hence, all the requisites for the filing of a valid class suit
prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court are present both in the said
fundamental law of the land. civil case and in the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.
Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that
Revised Rules of Court and ask this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty
order on the ground that the respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the
dismissing the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only represent succeeding generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue in behalf of the
their children, but have also joined the latter in this case. 8 succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational
On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned.
parties to submit their respective Memoranda after the Office of the Solicitor General Such a right, as hereinafter expounded, considers the "rhythm and harmony of
(OSG) filed a Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply nature." Nature means the created world in its entirety. 9 Such rhythm and harmony
thereto. indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management,
renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries,
Petitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration,
action as it contains sufficient allegations concerning their right to a sound development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future
environment based on Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code (Human Relations), generations. 10 Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to
Section 4 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, ecology. Put a little differently, the minors' assertion of their right to a sound
Article II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to
and healthful ecology, the concept of generational genocide in Criminal Law and the ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.
concept of man's inalienable right to self-preservation and self-perpetuation embodied
in natural law. Petitioners likewise rely on the respondent's correlative obligation, per The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now
Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, the safeguard the people's right to a healthful environment. proceed to the merits of the petition.
It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary's alleged grave abuse After a careful perusal of the complaint in question and a meticulous consideration
of discretion in granting Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to cover more areas for and evaluation of the issues raised and arguments adduced by the parties, We do not
logging than what is available involves a judicial question. hesitate to find for the petitioners and rule against the respondent Judge's challenged
order for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution's non-impairment jurisdiction. The pertinent portions of the said order read as follows:
clause, petitioners maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs
are not contracts. They likewise submit that even if TLAs may be considered "After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court cannot help
protected by the said clause, it is well settled that they may still be revoked by the but agree with the defendant. For although we believe that plaintiffs have but the
State when public interest so requires. noblest of all intentions, it (sic) fell short of alleging, with sufficient definiteness, a
specific legal right they are seeking to enforce and protect, or a specific legal wrong
On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their they are seeking to prevent and redress (Sec. 1, Rule 2, RRC). Furthermore, the
complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any Court notes that the Complaint is replete with vague assumptions and vague
relief is provided by law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous conclusions based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in
allegations concerning an "environmental right" which supposedly entitles the its Complaint against the herein defendant.
petitioners to the "protection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae." Such
allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being impressed with
reiterate the theory that the question of whether logging should be permitted in the political color and involving a matter of public policy, may not be taken cognizance of
country is a political question which should be properly addressed to the executive or by this Court without doing violence to the sacred principle of 'Separation of Powers'
legislative branches of Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners' of the three (3) co-equal branches of the Government.
recourse is not to file an action in court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our
of a bill that would ban logging totally. jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing
As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving,
cannot be done by the State without due process of law. Once issued, a TLA remains accepting, processing renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to
effective for a certain period of time usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its do otherwise would amount to 'impairment of contracts' abhored (sic) by the
effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled unless the holder has been fundamental law." 11
found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the agreement or We do not agree with the trial court's conclusion that the plaintiffs failed to allege with
other forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners' proposition to have all the TLAs sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal wrong
indiscriminately cancelled without the requisite hearing would be violative of the committed, and that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions
requirements of due process. based on unverified data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions.
Before going any further, We must first focus on some procedural matters. Petitioners The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right the right to a
instituted Civil Case No. 90-777 as a class suit. The original defendant and the balanced and healthful ecology which, for the first time in our nation's constitutional
present respondents did not take issue with this matter. Nevertheless, We hereby rule history, is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II of the
that the said civil case is indeed a class suit. The subject matter of the complaint is of 1987 Constitution explicitly provides:
common and general interest not just to several, but to all citizens of the Philippines. "SEC. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced
Consequently, since the parties are so numerous, it becomes impracticable, if not and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature."
totally impossible, to bring all of them before the court. We likewise declare that the
plaintiffs therein are numerous and representative enough to ensure the full protection
This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section true value system including social and environmental cost implications relative to their
of the same article: utilization; development and conservation of our natural resources."
"SEC. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and This policy declaration is substantially re-stated in Title XIV, Book IV of the
instill health consciousness among them." Administrative Code of 1987, 15 specifically in Section 1 thereof which reads:
While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the "SEC. 1. Declaration of Policy. (1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit of the
Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does Filipino people, the full exploration and development as well as the judicious
not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest,
in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources,
concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation aptly and consistent with the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and
fittingly stressed by the petitioners the advancement of which may even be said to protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment and the objective of making
predate all governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need the exploration, development and utilization of such natural resources equitably
not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the accessible to the different segments of the present as well as future generations.
inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental (2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that takes into
charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a account social and environmental cost implications relative to the utilization,
balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the development and conservation of our natural resources."
Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon
the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the The above provision stresses "the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological
second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment." Section 2 of
present generation, but also for those to come generations which stand to inherit the same Title, on the other hand, specifically speaks of the mandate of the DENR;
nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life. however, it makes particular reference to the fact of the agency's being subject to law
and higher authority. Said section provides:
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to
refrain from impairing the environment. During the debates on this right in one of the "SEC. 2. Mandate. (1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources
plenary sessions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the following exchange shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of the foregoing policy.
transpired between Commissioner Wilfrido Villacorta and Commissioner Adolfo (2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the State's
Azcuna who sponsored the section in question: constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development,
"MR. VILLACORTA: utilization, and conservation of the country's natural resources."
Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions against all forms of Both E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which
pollution air, water and noise pollution? will serve as the bases for policy formulation, and have defined the powers and
functions of the DENR.
It may, however, be recalled that even before the ratification of the 1987 Constitution,
Yes, Madam President. The right to healthful (sic) environment necessarily carries specific statutes already paid special attention to the "environmental right" of the
with it the correlative duty of not impairing the same and, therefore, sanctions may be present and future generations. On 6 June 1977, P.D. No. 1151 (Philippine
provided for impairment of environmental balance." 12 Environmental Policy) and P.D. No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) were issued.
The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and The former "declared a continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain
conservation of the country's forests. Without such forests, the ecological or and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and
environmental balance would be irreversibly disrupted. enjoyable harmony with each other, (b) to fulfill the social, economic and other
Conformably with the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos, and (c) to insure the
right to health, as well as the other related provisions of the Constitution concerning attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-
the conservation, development and utilization of the country's natural resources, 13 being." 16 As its goal, it speaks of the "responsibilities of each generation as trustee
then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192, 14 and guardian of the environment for succeeding generations." 17 The latter statute,
Section 4 of which expressly mandates that the Department of Environment and on the other hand, gave flesh to the said policy.
Natural Resources "shall be the primary government agency responsible for the Thus, the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and
conservation, management, development and proper use of the country's healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR's duty under its mandate and by virtue of
environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral its powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987
resources, including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the to protect and advance the said right.
public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative duty or obligation
be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived to respect or protect the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain
therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos." Section 3 that the granting of the TLAs, which they claim was done with grave abuse of
thereof makes the following statement of policy: discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful ecology; hence, the full
"SEC. 3. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared the policy of the State to protection thereof requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or granted.
ensure the sustainable use, development, management, renewal, and conservation of A cause of action is defined as:
the country's forest, mineral, land, off-shore areas and other natural resources,
including the protection and enhancement of the quality of the environment, and ". . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other;
equitable access of the different segments of the population to the development and and its essential elements are legal right of the plaintiff, correlative obligation of the
use of the country's natural resources, not only for the present generation but for defendant, and act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right." 18
future generations as well. It is also the policy of the state to recognize and apply a It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the
complaint fails to state a cause of action, 19 the question submitted to the court for
resolution involves the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint itself. No other timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving,
matter should be considered; furthermore, the truth or falsity of the said allegations is accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to
beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically admitted. The only do otherwise would amount to 'impairment of contracts' abhored (sic) by the
issue to be resolved in such a case is: admitting such alleged facts to be true, may fundamental law." 24
the court render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer in the complaint? 20 We are not persuaded at all; on the contrary, We are amazed, if not shocked, by such
In Militante vs. Edrosolano, 21 this Court laid down the rule that the judiciary should a sweeping pronouncement. In the first place, the respondent Secretary did not, for
"exercise the utmost care and circumspection in passing upon a motion to dismiss on obvious reasons, even invoke in his motion to dismiss the non-impairment clause. If
the ground of the absence thereof [cause of action] lest, by its failure to manifest a he had done so, he would have acted with utmost infidelity to the Government by
correct appreciation of the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically admitted, what providing undue and unwarranted benefits and advantages to the timber license
the law grants or recognizes is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a blot on holders because he would have forever bound the Government to strictly respect the
the legal order. The law itself stands in disrepute." said licenses according to their terms and conditions regardless of changes in policy
After a careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, We find the statements under and the demands of public interest and welfare. He was aware that as correctly
the introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the pointed out by the petitioners, into every timber license must be read Section 20 of
subheading CAUSE OF ACTION, to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:
claimed violation of their rights. On the basis thereof, they may thus be granted, ". . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President may amend,
wholly or partly, the reliefs prayed for. It bears stressing, however, that insofar as the modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other
cancellation of the TLAs is concerned, there is the need to implead, as party form of privilege granted herein . . ."
defendants, the grantees thereof for they are indispensable parties.
Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It
The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 cannot be said to raise a political is not a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause of
question. Policy formulation or determination by the executive or legislative branches the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25 this Court held:
of Government is not squarely put in issue. What is principally involved is the
enforcement of a right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in ". . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and
legislation. It must, nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question doctrine is disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber
no longer the insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the license is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is only a
impenetrable shield that protects executive and legislative actions from judicial inquiry license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public
or review. The second paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states interest or public welfare as in this case.
that: 'A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and
"Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies is not a contract between the authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine person to whom it is granted; neither is it property or a property right, nor does it
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or create a vested right; nor is it taxation' (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." granting of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property
rights (People vs. Ong Tin, 54 O.G. 7576) . . ."
Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, 22 Mr. Justice
Isagani A. Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court, says: We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy
Executive Secretary: 26
"The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial power,
involving the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred by law. The second part of ". . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by
the authority represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end
to review what was before forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely
departments of the government. evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the
latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest
As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the Supreme products therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by
Court, the power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions of the executive and the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed
the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and
because tainted with grave abuse of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry,G.R. No.
of 'grave abuse of discretion,' which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302]."
contract according to the disposition of the judiciary."
Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads:
In Daza vs. Singson, 23 Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:
"SEC. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed. cannot be
"In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable invoked.
and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented
before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the
under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, instant case does not involve a law or even an executive issuance declaring the
even the political question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly cancellation or modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the non-impairment
provides: . . ." clause cannot as yet be invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has
actually been passed mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still
The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non- be stigmatized as a violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very
impairment of contracts clause found in the Constitution. The court a quo declared nature and purpose, such a law could have only been passed in the exercise of the
that: police power of the state for the purpose of advancing the right of the people to a
"The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our balanced and healthful ecology, promoting their health and enhancing the general
jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing welfare. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler Corp., 28 this Court stated:
"The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be statements above noted, the Court is in effect saying that Section 15 (and Section 16)
absolute. The same is understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation of Article II of the Constitution are self-executing and judicially enforceable even in
aimed at the promotion of public health, moral, safety and welfare. In other words, the their present form. The implications of this doctrine will have to be explored in future
constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the cases; those implications are too large and far-reaching in nature even to be hinted at
exercise of the police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral here.
and general welfare."
The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, 29 quoted in LLDA VS CA (1994)
Philippine American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, 30 to wit:
" 'Under our form of government the use of property and the making of contracts are
normally matters of private and not of public concern. The general rule is that both The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose
shall be free of governmental interference. But neither property rights nor contract of the 350 tons of garbage it collects daily and the growing concern and sensitivity to
rights are absolute; for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his a pollution-free environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate,
property to the detriment of his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work Caloocan City where these tons of garbage are dumped everyday is the hub of this
them harm. Equally fundamental with the private right is that of the public to regulate controversy elevated by the protagonists to the Laguna Lake Development Authority
it in the common interest.' " (LLDA) for adjudication. cda
In court, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. 31 The instant case stemmed from an earlier petition filed with this Court by Laguna
Lake Development Authority (LLDA for short) docketed as G.R. No. 107542 against
Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, how the non-impairment clause the City Government of Caloocan, et al. In the Resolution of November 10, 1992, this
could apply with respect to the prayer to enjoin the respondent Secretary from Court referred G.R. No. 107542 to the Court of Appeals for appropriate disposition.
receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber licenses for, save Docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP No. 29449, the Court of Appeals, in a decision 1
in cases of renewal, no contract would have as of yet existed in the other instances. promulgated on January 29, 1993 ruled that the LLDA has no power and authority to
Moreover, with respect to renewal, the holder is not entitled to it as a matter of right. issue a cease and desist order enjoining the dumping of garbage in Barangay
WHEREFORE, being impressed with merit, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED, Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City. The LLDA now seeks, in this petition, a review
and the challenged Order of respondent Judge of 18 July 1991 dismissing Civil Case of the decision of the Court of Appeals. LibLex
No. 90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint The facts, as disclosed in the records, are undisputed.
to implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license
agreements. On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish,
Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint 2 with the Laguna Lake
No pronouncement as to costs. Development Authority seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open garbage
SO ORDERED. dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City due to its harmful effects
on the health of the residents and the possibility of pollution of the water content of
the surrounding area.
On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring and
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES; test sampling of the leachate 3 that seeps from said dumpsite to the nearby creek
RIGHT TO "A BALANCE AND HEALTHFUL ECOLOGY"; INTERPRETATION. The which is a tributary of the Marilao River. The LLDA Legal and Technical personnel
Court has also declared that the complaint has alleged and focused upon "one found that the City Government of Caloocan was maintaining an open dumpsite at the
specific fundamental legal right the right to a balanced and healthful Camarin area without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)
ecology" (Decision, p. 14). There is no question that "the right to a balanced and from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of
healthful ecology" is "fundamental" and that, accordingly, it has been Environment and Natural Resources, as required under Presidential Decree No.
"constitutionalized." But although it is fundamental in character, I suggest, with very 1586, 4 and clearance from LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850, 5 as
great respect, that it cannot be characterized as "specific," without doing excessive amended by Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of
violence to language. It is in fact very difficult to fashion language more 1983. 6
comprehensive in scope and generalized in character than a right to "a balanced and
healthful ecology." The list of particular claims which can be subsumed under this After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA, acting on the
rubric appears to be entirely open-ended: prevention and control of emission of toxic complaint of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the water collected from the
fumes and smoke from factories and motor vehicles; of discharge of oil, chemical leachate and the receiving streams could considerably affect the quality, in turn, of the
effluents, garbage and raw sewage into rivers, inland and coastal waters by vessels, receiving waters since it indicates the presence of bacteria, other than coliform, which
oil rigs, factories, mines and whole communities; of dumping of organic and inorganic may have contaminated the sample during collection or handling. 7 On December 5,
wastes on open land, streets and thoroughfares; failure to rehabilitate land after strip- 1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order 8 ordering the City Government of
mining or open-pit mining; kaingin or slash-and-burn farming; destruction of fisheries, Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors, and other entities, to
coral reefs and other living sea resources through the use of dynamite or cyanide and completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind of garbage and other
other chemicals; contamination of ground water resources; loss of certain species of waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.
fauna and flora; and so on. The other statements pointed out by the Court: Section 3, The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government of Caloocan.
Executive Order No. 192 dated 10 June 1987; Section 1, Title XIV, Book IV of the However, sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was resumed after a
1987 Administrative Code; and P.D. No. 1151, dated 6 June 1977 all appear to be meeting held in July 1992 among the City Government of Caloocan, the
formulations of policy, as general and abstract as the constitutional statements of representatives of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA at the Office of
basic policy in Article II, Sections 16 ("the right to a balanced and healthful Environmental Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes failed to settle the
ecology") and 15 ("the right to health"). As a matter of logic, by finding petitioners' problem.
cause of action as anchored on a legal right comprised in the constitutional
After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on August 14, 1992, restraining order and an urgent motion for reconsideration alleging that ". . . in view of
the LLDA issued another order reiterating the December 5, 1991 order and issued an the calamitous situation that would arise if the respondent city government fails to
Alias Cease and Desist Order enjoining the City Government of Caloocan from collect 350 tons of garbage daily for lack of a dumpsite (i)t is therefore, imperative that
continuing its dumping operations at the Camarin area. the issue be resolved with dispatch or with sufficient leeway to allow the respondents
On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine National to find alternative solutions to this garbage problem."
Police, enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all On November 17, 1992, the Court issued a Resolution 13 directing the Court of
garbage dump trucks into the Tala Estate, Camarin area being utilized as a dumpsite. Appeals to immediately set the case for hearing for the purpose of determining
Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on September 17, whether or not the temporary restraining order issued by the Court should be lifted
1992 with the LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed with the Regional Trial and what conditions, if any, may be required if it is to be so lifted or whether the
Court of Caloocan City an action for the declaration of nullity of the cease and desist restraining order should be maintained or converted into a preliminary injunction.
order with prayer for the issuance of a writ of injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. The Court of Appeals set the case for hearing on November 27, 1992, at 10:00 in the
C-15598. In its complaint, the City Government of Caloocan sought to be declared as morning at the Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, New Building, Court of Appeals. 14 After the
the sole authority empowered to promote the health and safety and enhance the right oral argument, a conference was set on December 8, 1992 at 10:00 o'clock in the
of the people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial jurisdiction. 9 morning where the Mayor of Caloocan City, the General Manager of LLDA, the
On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized representative and the Secretary of DILG or
City issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from enforcing its cease his duly authorized representative were required to appear.
and desist order. Subsequently, the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court, It was agreed at the conference that the LLDA had until December 15, 1992 to finish
Branch 126 of Caloocan which, at the time, was presided over by Judge Manuel Jn. its study and review of respondent's technical plan with respect to the dumping of its
Serapio of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, the pairing judge of the recently- garbage and in the event of a rejection of respondent's technical plan or a failure of
retired presiding judge. settlement, the parties will submit within 10 days from notice their respective
The LLDA, for its part, filed on October 2, 1992 a motion to dismiss on the ground, memoranda on the merits of the case, after which the petition shall be deemed
among others, that under Republic Act No. 3931, as amended by Presidential Decree submitted for resolution. 15 Notwithstanding such efforts, the parties failed to settle
No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control Law, the cease and desist order the dispute.
issued by it which is the subject matter of the complaint is reviewable both upon the On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that: (1) the
law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and not by the Regional Trial Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction on appeal to try, hear and decide the action
Court. 10 for annulment of LLDA's cease and desist order, including the issuance of a
On October 12, 1992 Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio issued an order consolidating Civil temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in relation thereto, since appeal
Case No. C-15598 with Civil Case No. C-15580, an earlier case filed by the Task therefrom is within the exclusive and appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals
Force Camarin Dumpsite entitled "Fr. John Moran, et al. vs. Hon. Macario Asistio." under Section 9, par. (3), of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129; and (2) the Laguna Lake
The LLDA, however, maintained during the trial that the foregoing cases, being Development Authority has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order
independent of each other, should have been treated separately. LexLib under its enabling law, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and
Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983.
On October 16, 1992, Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, after hearing the motion to dismiss,
issued in the consolidated cases an order 11 denying LLDA's motion to dismiss and The Court of Appeals thus dismissed Civil Case No. 15598 and the preliminary
granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its agent injunction issued in the said case was set aside; the cease and desist order of LLDA
and all persons acting for and on its behalf, from enforcing or implementing its cease was likewise set aside and the temporary restraining order enjoining the City Mayor of
and desist order which prevents plaintiff City of Caloocan from dumping garbage at Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping
the Camarin dumpsite during the pendency of this case and/or until further orders of its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City was lifted, subject,
the court. however, to the condition that any future dumping of garbage in said area, shall be in
conformity with the procedure and protective works contained in the proposal
On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and attached to the records of this case and found on pages 152-160 of the Rollo, which
injunction with prayer for restraining order with the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. was thereby adopted by reference and made an integral part of the decision, until the
No. 107542, seeking to nullify the aforesaid order dated October 16, 1992 issued by corresponding restraining and/or injunctive relief is granted by the proper Court upon
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127 of Caloocan City denying its motion to dismiss. LLDA's institution of the necessary legal proceedings.
The Court, acting on the petition, issued a Resolution 12 on November 10, 1992 Hence, the Laguna Lake Development Authority filed the instant petition for review on
referring the case to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition and at the same time, certiorari, now docketed as G.R. No. 110120, with prayer that the temporary
without giving due course to the petition, required the respondents to comment on the restraining order lifted by the Court of Appeals be re-issued until after final
petition and file the same with the Court of Appeals within ten (10) days from notice. determination by this Court of the issue on the proper interpretation of the powers and
In the meantime, the Court issued a temporary restraining order, effective immediately authority of the LLDA under its enabling law.
and continuing until further orders from it, ordering the respondents: (1) Judge Manuel
Jn. Serapio, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, Caloocan City to On July 19, 1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order 16 enjoining the City
cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over the case for declaration of nullity of Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from
the cease and desist order issued by the Laguna Lake Development Authority dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, effective
(LLDA); and (2) City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to as of this date and continuing until otherwise ordered by the Court.
cease and desist from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, It is significant to note that while both parties in this case agree on the need to protect
Caloocan City. the environment and to maintain the ecological balance of the surrounding areas of
Respondents City Government of Caloocan and Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. filed on the Camarin open dumpsite, the question as to which agency can lawfully exercise
November 12, 1992 a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash/recall the temporary jurisdiction over the matter remains highly open to question.
The City Government of Caloocan claims that it is within its power, as a local The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that
government unit, pursuant to the general welfare provision of the Local Government requires control, if not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is
Code, 17 to determine the effects of the operation of the dumpsite on the ecological essentially addressed to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR
balance and to see that such balance is maintained. On the basis of said contention, which, by virtue of Section 16 of Executive Order No. 192, series of 1987, 18 has
it questioned, from the inception of the dispute before the Regional Trial Court of assumed the powers and functions of the defunct National Pollution Control
Caloocan City, the power and authority of the LLDA to issue a cease and desist order Commission created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said Executive Order, a
enjoining the dumping of garbage in the Barangay Camarin over which the City Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR Secretary now
Government of Caloocan has territorial jurisdiction. assumes the powers and functions of the National Pollution Control Commission with
The Court of Appeals sustained the position of the City of Caloocan on the theory that respect to adjudication of pollution cases. 19
Section 7 of Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the
law, authorizing the defunct National Pollution Control Commission to issue an ex- Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides
parte cease and desist order was not incorporated in Presidential Decree No. 813 nor for another forum. It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized
in Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983. The Court of Appeals ruled that under administrative agency, is specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its
Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, the LLDA is instead amendatory laws to carry out and make effective the declared national policy 20 of
required "to institute the necessary legal proceeding against any person who shall promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of the Laguna
commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or program Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San
within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the Authority." Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan 21 with due regard and adequate
The LLDA now assails, in this partition for review, the abovementioned ruling of the provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of
Court of Appeals, contending that, as an administrative agency which was granted human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological
regulatory and adjudicatory powers and functions by Republic Act No. 4850 and its disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant of power and
amendatory laws, Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special charter, obviously has the responsibility to
of 1983, it is invested with the power and authority to issue a cease and desist order protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of
pursuant to Section 4 par. (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of Executive Order No. 927 series of pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In
1983 which provides, thus: carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among
others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects
"SECTION 4. Additional Powers and Functions. The Authority shall have the following proposed by local government offices/agencies within the region, public corporations,
powers and functions: and private persons or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or projects are
(c) Issue orders or decisions to compel compliance with the provisions of this related to those of the LLDA for the development of the region. 22
Executive Order and its implementing rules and regulations only after proper notice In the instant case, when the complainant Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady
and hearing. of Lourdes Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed its letter-complaint before
(d) Make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of pollution specifying the LLDA, the latter's jurisdiction under its charter was validly invoked by complainant
the conditions and the time within which such discontinuance must be accomplished. on the basis of its allegation that the open dumpsite project of the City Government of
(e) Issue, renew, or deny permits, under such conditions as it may determine to be Caloocan in Barangay Camarin was undertaken without a clearance from the LLDA,
reasonable, for the prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of as required under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act. No. 4850, as amended by P.D.
sewage, industrial waste, or for the installation or operation of sewage works and No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927. While there is also an allegation that the said
industrial disposal system or parts thereof. . . . project was without an Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Environmental
Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR, the primary jurisdiction of the LLDA over
(f) After due notice and hearing, the Authority may also revoke, suspend or modify this case was recognized by the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR
any permit issued under this Order whenever the same is necessary to prevent or when the latter acted as intermediary at the meeting among the representatives of the
abate pollution. City Government of Caloocan, Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA sometime in
(g) Deputize in writing or request assistance of appropriate government agencies or July 1992 to discuss the possibility of re-opening the open dumpsite.
instrumentalities for the purpose of enforcing this Executive Order and its Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the
implementing rules and regulations and the orders and decisions of the Authority." following issue: Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and
The LLDA claims that the appellate court deliberately suppressed and totally desist" order under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of
disregarded the above provisions of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, which the facts presented in this case, enjoining the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate,
granted administrative quasi-judicial functions to LLDA on pollution abatement cases. Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City.
In light of the relevant environmental protection laws cited which are applicable in this The irresistible answer is in the affirmative.
case, and the corresponding overlapping jurisdiction of government agencies The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of
implementing these laws, the resolution of the issue of whether or not the LLDA has Caloocan to stop dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the
the authority and power to issue an order which, in its nature and effect was LLDA to have been done in violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and
injunctive, necessarily requires a determination of the threshold question: Does the other relevant environment laws, 23 cannot be stamped as an unauthorized exercise
Laguna Lake Development Authority, under its Charter and its amendatory laws, have by the LLDA of injunctive powers. By its express terms, Republic Act No. 4850, as
the authority to entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in the open amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, authorizes
dumpsite in Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of Caloocan which the LLDA to "make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance or pollution."
is allegedly endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the residents therein and 24 (Italics for emphasis) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the LLDA to
the sanitation and quality of the water in the area brought about by exposure to makewhatever order may be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction.
pollution caused by such open garbage dumpsite?
To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power "to issue an ex-parte 4 (d) the power to institute "necessary legal proceeding against any person who shall
cease and desist order" in a language, as suggested by the City Government of commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or program
Caloocan, similar to the express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the LLDA."
Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No. 984 which, admittedly was not reproduced in Clearly, said provision was designed to invest the LLDA with sufficiently broad powers
P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983. However, it would be a mistake to in the regulation of all projects initiated in the Laguna Lake region, whether by the
draw therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the power to issue the order in government or the private sector, insofar as the implementation of these projects is
question when the power "to make, alter or modify orders requiring the concerned. It was meant to deal with cases which might possibly arise where
discontinuance of pollution" is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by decisions or orders issued pursuant to the exercise of such broad powers may not be
Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983. obeyed, resulting in the thwarting of its laudable objective. To meet such
Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a "cease and desist order" were not contingencies, then the writs of mandamus and injunction which are beyond the
expressly conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule power of the LLDA to issue, may be sought from the proper courts. LibLex
granting such authority need not necessarily be express. 25 While it is a fundamental Insofar as the implementation of relevant anti-pollution laws in the Laguna Lake
rule that an administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it region and its surrounding provinces, cities and towns are concerned, the Court will
by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency has also such powers not dwell further on the related issues raised which are more appropriately addressed
as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers. 26 In the exercise, to an administrative agency with the special knowledge and expertise of the LLDA.
therefore, of its express powers under its charter as a regulatory and quasi-judicial
body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining order issued by
LLDA to issue a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well the Court on July 19, 1993 enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City
be reduced to a "toothless" paper agency. Government of Caloocan from dumping their garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City is hereby made permanent.
In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v. Court of
Appeals, et al., 27 the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the SO ORDERED.
power to issue an ex-parte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence
of an establishment exceeding the allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws LLDA VS CA (1995)
of the country. The ponente, Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, declared:
"Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations
like that here presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of It is difficult for a man, scavenging on the garbage dump created by affluence and
pollutive and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the profligate consumption and extravagance of the rich or fishing in the murky waters of
Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate the Pasig River and the Laguna Lake or making a clearing in the forest so that he can
correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including multiple and produce food for his family, to understand why protecting birds, fish, and trees is more
sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of course may take important than protecting him and keeping his family alive.
several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing regulations How do we strike a balance between environmental protection, on the one hand, and
were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to the individual personal interests of people, on the other?
protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as Towards environmental protection and ecology, navigational safety, and sustainable
the protection of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It is development, Republic Act No. 4850 created the "Laguna Lake Development
a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due Authority." This Government Agency is supposed to carry out and effectuate the
process yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests like those here aforesaid declared policy, so as to accelerate the development and balanced growth
involved, through the exercise of police power. . . . of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces, cities and towns, in the act
The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of protecting vital public clearly named, within the context of the national and regional plans and policies for
interests" gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of social and economic development.
Principles and State Policies or the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which Presidential Decree No. 813 of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos amended
provides: certain sections of Republic Act No. 4850 because of the concern for the rapid
"The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and expansion of Metropolitan Manila, the suburbs and the lakeshore towns of Laguna de
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature." Bay, combined with current and prospective uses of the lake for municipal-industrial
As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty of water supply, irrigation, fisheries, and the like. Concern on the part of the Government
non-impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state "to and the general public over: the environment impact of development on the water
protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness quality and ecology of the lake and its related river systems; the inflow of polluted
among them." 28 It is to be borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal water from the Pasig River, industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes from
Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which developed areas around the lake; the increasing urbanization which induced the
recognize health as a fundamental human right. 29 deterioration of the lake, since water quality studies have shown that the lake will
deteriorate further if steps are not taken to check the same; and the floods in
The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical Metropolitan Manila area and the lakeshore towns which will influence the hydraulic
matter of procedure under the circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its system of Laguna de Bay, since any scheme of controlling the floods will necessarily
power and authority under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and involve the lake and its river systems, likewise gave impetus to the creation of the
desist order issued by the LLDA been complied with by the City Government of Authority.
Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further legal steps would have been
necessary. cdlex Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4850 was amended to read as follows:
The charter of LLDA, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, instead of conferring upon "SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the national policy to
the LLDA the means of directly enforcing such orders, has provided under its Section promote, and accelerate the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake
area and the surrounding provinces, cities and towns hereinafter referred to as the insure renewability and to preserve the ecological balance, the competing options for
region, within the context of the national and regional plans and policies for social and the use of such resources and conflicting jurisdictions over such uses having created
economic development and to carry out the development of the Laguna Lake region undue constraints on the institutional capabilities of the Authority in the light of the
with due regard and adequate provisions for environmental management and control, limited powers vested in it by its charter, Executive Order No. 927 further defined and
preservation of the quality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention enlarged the functions and powers of the Authority and named and enumerated the
of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution." 1 towns, cities and provinces encompassed by the term "Laguna de Bay Region".
Special powers of the Authority, pertinent to the issues in this case, include: Also, pertinent to the issues in this case are the following provisions of Executive
"SEC. 3. Section 4 of the same Act is hereby further amended by adding thereto Order No. 927 which include in particular the sharing of fees:
seven new paragraphs to be known as paragraphs (j), (k), (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) "SEC. 2. Water Rights Over Laguna de Bay and Other Bodies of Water within the
which shall read as follows: Lake Region: To effectively regulate and monitor activities in the Laguna de Bay
'(j) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to engage in fish region, the Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permit for the use of all
production and other aqua-culture projects in Laguna de Bay and other bodies of surface water for any projects or activities in or affecting the said region including
water within its jurisdiction and in pursuance thereof to conduct studies and make navigation, construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and
experiments, whenever necessary, with the collaboration and assistance of the the like.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, with the end in view of improving present For the purpose of this Executive Order, the term 'Laguna de Bay Region' shall refer
techniques and practices. Provided, that until modified, altered or amended by the to the Provinces of Rizal and Laguna; the Cities of San Pablo, Pasay, Caloocan,
procedure provided in the following sub-paragraph, the present laws, rules and Quezon, Manila and Tagaytay; the towns of Tanauan, Sto. Tomas and Malvar in
permits or authorizations remain in force; Batangas Province; the towns of Silang and Carmona in Cavite Province; the town of
(k) For the purpose of effectively regulating and monitoring activities in Laguna de Lucban in Quezon Province; and the towns of Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa,
Bay, the Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue new permit for the use of and Pateros in Metro Manila.
the lake waters for any projects or activities in or affecting the said lake including SEC. 3. Collection of Fees. The Authority is hereby empowered to collect fees for
navigation, construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the use of the lake water and its tributaries for all beneficial purposes including but not
the like, and to impose necessary safeguards for lake quality control and limited to fisheries, recreation, municipal, industrial, agricultural, navigation, irrigation,
management and to collect necessary fees for said activities and projects: Provided, and waste disposal purpose; Provided, that the rates of the fees to be collected, and
That the fees collected for fisheries may be shared between the Authority and other the sharing with other government agencies and political subdivisions, if necessary,
government agencies and political sub-divisions in such proportion as may be shall be subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines upon
determined by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the recommendation of the Authority's Board, except fishpen fee, which will be shared in
Authority's Board: Provided, further, That the Authority's Board may determine new the following manner: 20 percent of the fee shall go to the lakeshore local
areas of fishery development or activities which it may place under the supervision of governments, 5 percent shall go to the Project Development Fund which shall be
the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources taking into account the overall administered by a Council and the remaining 75 percent shall constitute the share of
development plans and programs for Laguna de Bay and related bodies of water: LLDA. However, after the implementation within the three-year period of the Laguna
Provided, finally, That the Authority shall subject to the approval of the President of Lake Fishery Zoning and Management Plan the sharing will be modified as follows:
the Philippines promulgate such rules and regulations which shall govern fisheries 35 percent of the fishpen fee goes to the lakeshore local governments, 5 percent
development activities in Laguna de Bay which shall take into consideration among goes to the Project Development Fund and the remaining 60 percent shall be retained
others the following: socio-economic amelioration of bonafide resident fishermen by LLDA; Provided, however, that the share of LLDA shall form part of its corporate
whether individually or collectively in the form of cooperatives, lakeshore town funds and shall not be remitted to the National Treasury as an exception to the
development, a master plan for fishpen construction and operation, communal fishing provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1234." (Italics for emphasis)
ground for lake shore town residents, and preference to lake shore town residents in
hiring laborers for fishery projects;
It is important to note that Section 29 of Presidential Decree No. 813 defined the term
(l) To require the cities and municipalities embraced within the region to pass "Laguna Lake" in this manner:
appropriate zoning ordinances and other regulatory measures necessary to carry out
the objectives of the Authority and enforce the same with the assistance of the "SECTION 41. Definition of Terms.
Authority; (11) Laguna Lake or Lake. Whenever Laguna Lake or lake is used in this Act, the
(m) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to exercise water same shall refer to Laguna de Bay which is that area covered by the lake water when
rights over public waters within the Laguna de Bay region whenever necessary to it is at the average level of elevation 12.50 meters, as referred to a datum 10.00
carry out the Authority's projects; meters below mean lower low water (M.L.L.W.). Lands located at and below such
elevation are public lands which form part of the bed of said lake."
(n) To act in coordination with existing governmental agencies in establishing water
quality standards for industrial, agricultural and municipal waste discharges into the Then came Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991. The
lake and to cooperate with said existing agencies of the government of the Philippines municipalities in the Laguna Lake Region interpreted the provisions of this law to
in enforcing such standards, or to separately pursue enforcement and penalty actions mean that the newly passed law gave municipal governments the exclusive
as provided for in Section 4 (d) and Section 39-A of this Act: Provided, That in case of jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges within their municipal waters because R.A. 7160
conflict on the appropriate water quality standard to be enforced such conflict shall be provides:
resolved thru the NEDA Board;'" 2 "Sec. 149. Fishery Rentals; Fees and Charges. (a) Municipalities shall have the
To more effectively perform the role of the Authority under Republic Act No. 4850, as exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in the municipal waters and impose
though Presidential Decree No. 813 were not thought to be completely effective, the rental fees or charges therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Section. LLjur
Chief Executive, feeling that the land and waters of the Laguna Lake Region are (b) The Sangguniang Bayan may:
limited natural resources requiring judicious management to their optimal utilization to
(1) Grant fishing privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussel or other aquatic beds Reacting thereto, the affected fishpen owners filed injunction cases against the
or bangus fry areas within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by Authority before various regional trial courts, to wit: (a) Civil Case No. 759-B, for
it; . . . Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Binangonan,
(2) Grant privilege to gather, take or catch bangus fry, prawn fry or kawag-kawag or Rizal, filed by Fleet Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; (b) Civil Case No. 64049,
fry of other species and fish from the municipal waters by nets, traps or other fishing for Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 162, Pasig, filed by IRMA Fishing and
gears to marginal fishermen free from any rental fee, charges or any other imposition Trading Corp., ARTM Fishing Corp., BDR Corp., MIRT Corp. and TRIM Corp.; (c) Civil
whatsoever. Case No. 566, for Declaratory Relief and Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 163,
Pasig, filed by Manila Marine Life Business Resources, Inc. and Tobias Reynaldo M.
xxx xxx xxx Tianco; (d) Civil Case No. 556-M, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional
Sec. 447. Power, Duties, Functions and Compensation. . . . . Trial Court, Branch 78, Morong, Rizal, filed by AGP Fishing Ventures, Inc.; (e) Civil
(2) . . . Case No. 522-M, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 78, Morong, Rizal, filed by Blue Lagoon and Alcris Chicken Growers, Inc.; (f)
(XI) Subject to the provisions of Book II of this Code, grant exclusive privileges of Civil Case No. 554, for Certiorari and Prohibition, Regional Trial Court, Branch 79,
constructing fish corrals or fishpens, or the taking or catching of bangus fry, prawn fry Morong, Rizal, filed by Greenfields Ventures Industrial Corp. and R.J. Orion
or kawag-kawag or fry of any species or fish within the municipal waters. Development Corp.; and (g) Civil Case No. 64124, for Injunction, Regional Trial Court,
Municipal governments thereupon assumed the authority to issue fishing privileges Branch 15, Pasig, filed by SEA-MAR Trading Co., Inc. and Eastern Lagoon Fishing
and fishpen permits. Big fishpen operators took advantage of the occasion to Corp. and Minamar Fishing Corporation.
establish fishpens and fishcages to the consternation of the Authority. Unregulated The Authority filed motions to dismiss the cases against it on jurisdictional grounds.
fishpens and fishcages, as of July, 1995, occupied almost one-third of the entire lake The motions to dismiss were invariably denied. Meanwhile, temporary restraining
water surface area, increasing the occupation drastically from 7,000 hectares in 1990 order/writs of preliminary mandatory injunction were issued in Civil Cases Nos.
to almost 21,000 hectares in 1995. The Mayor's permit to construct fishpens and 64124, 759 and 566 enjoining the Authority from demolishing the fishpens and similar
fishcages were all undertaken in violation of the policies adopted by the Authority on structures in question.
fishpen zoning and the Laguna Lake carrying capacity.
Hence, the herein petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction, G.R Nos.
To be sure, the implementation by the lakeshore municipalities of separate 120865-71, were filed by the Authority with this court. Impleaded as parties-
independent policies in the operation of fishpens and fishcages within their claimed respondents are concerned regional trial courts and respective private parties, and
territorial municipal waters in the lake and their indiscriminate grant of fishpens the municipalities and/or respective Mayors of Binangonan, Taguig and Jala-jala, who
permits have already saturated the lake area with fishpens, thereby aggravating the issued permits for the construction and operation of fishpens in Laguna de Bay. The
current environmental problems and ecological stress of Laguna Lake. Authority sought the following reliefs, viz.:
In view of the foregoing circumstances, the Authority served notice to the general "(A) Nullification of the temporary restraining order/writs of preliminary injunction
public that: issued in Civil Cases Nos. 64125, 759 and 566;
"In compliance with the instructions of His Excellency PRESIDENT FIDEL V. RAMOS (B) Permanent prohibition against the regional trial courts from exercising jurisdiction
given on June 23, 1993 at Pila, Laguna, pursuant to Republic Act 4850 as amended over cases involving the Authority which is a co-equal body;
by Presidential Decree 813 and Executive Order 927 series of 1983 and in line with
the policies and programs of the Presidential Task Force on Illegal Fishpens and (C) Judicial pronouncement that R.A. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) did not
Illegal Fishing, the general public is hereby notified that: repeal, alter or modify the provisions of R.A. 4850, as amended, empowering the
Authority to issue permits for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in
1. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in the Laguna de Bay Laguna de Bay and that, the Authority the government agency vested with exclusive
Region, which were not registered or to which no application for registration and/or authority to issue said permits."
permit has been filed with Laguna Lake Development Authority as of March 31, 1993
are hereby declared outrightly as illegal.
2. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures so declared as illegal shall By this Court's resolution of May 2, 1994, the Authority's consolidated petitions were
be subject to demolition which shall be undertaken by the Presidential Task Force for referred to the Court of Appeals.
Illegal Fishpen and Illegal Fishing. In a Decision, dated June 29, 1995, the Court of Appeals dismissed the Authority's
3. Owners of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as illegal consolidated petitions, the Court of Appeals holding that: (A) LLDA is not among
shall, without prejudice to demolition of their structures be criminally charged in those quasi-judicial agencies of government whose decision or order are appealable
accordance with Section 39-A of Republic Act 4850 as amended by P.D. 813 for only to the Court of Appeals; (B) the LLDA charter does vest LLDA with quasi-judicial
violation of the same laws. Violations of these laws carries a penalty of imprisonment functions insofar as fishpens are concerned; (C) the provisions of the LLDA charter
of not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Pesos or both at the insofar as fishing privileges in Laguna de Bay are concerned had been repealed by
discretion of the court. the Local Government Code of 1991; (D) in view of the aforesaid repeal, the power to
grant permits devolved to respective local government units concerned.
All operators of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as
illegal in accordance with the foregoing Notice shall have one (1) month on or before Not satisfied with the Court of Appeals decision, the Authority has returned to this
27 October 1993 to show cause before the LLDA why their said fishpens, fishcages Court charging the following errors:
and other aqua-culture structures should not be demolished/dismantled." cdlex "1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PROBABLY COMMITTED AN ERROR
One month, thereafter, the Authority sent notices to the concerned owners of the WHEN IT RULED THAT THE LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY IS NOT
illegally constructed fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures advising A QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY.
them to dismantle their respective structures within 10 days from receipt thereof, 2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR
otherwise, demolition shall be effected. WHEN IT RULED THAT R.A. 4850 AS AMENDED BY P.D. 813 AND E.O. 927
RULING IS CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES AND JURISPRUDENCE constitute one integrated delicate natural ecosystem that needs to be protected with
OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION. uniform set of policies; if we are to be serious in our aims of attaining sustainable
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR development. This is an exhaustible natural resource a very limited one which
WHEN IT RULED THAT THE POWER TO ISSUE FISHPEN PERMITS IN LAGUNA requires judicious management and optimal utilization to ensure renewability and
DE BAY HAS BEEN DEVOLVED TO CONCERNED (LAKESHORE) LOCAL preserve its ecological integrity and balance."
GOVERNMENT UNITS." "Managing the lake resources would mean the implementation of a national policy
We take a simplistic view of the controversy. Actually, the main and only issue posed geared towards the protection, conservation, balanced growth and sustainable
is: Which agency of the Government the Laguna Lake Development Authority or development of the region with due regard to the inter-generational use of its
the towns and municipalities comprising the region should exercise jurisdiction resources by the inhabitants in this part of the earth. The authors of Republic Act
over the Laguna Lake and its environs insofar as the issuance of permits for fishery 4850 have foreseen this need when they passed this LLDA law the special law
privileges is concerned? designed to govern the management of our Laguna de Bay lake resources."
Section 4 (k) of the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act "Laguna de Bay therefore cannot be subjected to fragmented concepts of
No. 4850, the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 813, and Section 2 of Executive management policies where lakeshore local government units exercise exclusive
Order No. 927, cited above, specifically provide that the Laguna Lake Development dominion over specific portions of the lake water. The garbage thrown or sewage
Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface discharged into the lake, abstraction of water therefrom or construction of fishpens by
water for any projects or activities in or affecting the said region, including navigation, enclosing its certain area, affect not only that specific portion but the entire 900 km2
construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like. On of lake water. The implementation of a cohesive and integrated lake water resource
the other hand, Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, has management policy, therefore, is necessary to conserve, protect and sustainably
granted to the municipalities the exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in develop Laguna de Bay." 5
municipal waters. The Sangguniang Bayan may grant fishery privileges to erect fish The power of the local government units to issue fishing privileges was clearly
corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or bangus fry area within a definite granted for revenue purposes. This is evident from the fact that Section 149 of the
zone of the municipal waters. New Local Government Code empowering local governments to issue fishing permits
We hold that the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 do not necessarily repeal the is embodied in Chapter 2, Book II, of Republic Act No. 7160 under the heading,
aforementioned laws creating the Laguna Lake Development Authority and granting "Specific Provisions On The Taxing And Other Revenue Raising Power of Local
the latter water rights authority over Laguna de Bay and the lake region. Government Units."
The Local Government Code of 1991 does not contain any express provision which On the other hand, the power of the Authority to grant permits for fishpens, fishcages
categorically expressly repeal the charter of the Authority. It has to be conceded that and other aqua-culture structures is for the purpose of effectively regulating and
there was no intent on the part of the legislature to repeal Republic Act No. 4850 and monitoring activities in the Laguna de Bay region (Section 2, Executive Order No.
its amendments. The repeal of laws should be made clear and expressed. 927) and for lake quality control and management. 6 It does partake of the nature of
police power which is the most pervasive, the least limitable and the most demanding
It has to be conceded that the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority of all State powers including the power of taxation. Accordingly, the charter of the
constitutes a special law. Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of Authority which embodies a valid exercise of police power should prevail over the
1991, is a general law. It is basic in statutory construction that the enactment of a later Local Government Code of 1991 on matters affecting Laguna de Bay.
legislation which is a general law cannot be construed to have repealed a special law.
It is a well-settled rule in this jurisdiction that "a special statute, provided for a There should be no quarrel over permit fees for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-
particular case or class of cases, is not repealed by a subsequent statute, general in culture structures in the Laguna de Bay area. Section 3 of Executive Order No. 927
its terms, provisions and application, unless the intent to repeal or alter is manifest, provides for the proper sharing of fees collected.
although the terms of the general law are broad enough to include the cases In respect to the question as to whether the Authority is a quasi-judicial agency or not,
embraced in the special law." 3 it is our holding that, considering the provisions of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 4850
Where there is a conflict between a general law and a special statute, the special and Section 4 of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, and the ruling of this Court
statute should prevail since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than the in Laguna Lake Development Authority vs. Court of Appeals, 231 SCRA 304, 306,
general statute. The special law is to be taken as an exception to the general law in which we quote:
the absence of special circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion. This is because "xxx xxx xxx
implied repeals are not favored and as much as possible, effect must be given to all As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the
enactments of the legislature. A special law cannot be repealed, amended or altered Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides
by a subsequent general law by mere implication. 4 for another forum. It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized
Thus, it has to be concluded that the charter of the Authority should prevail over the administrative agency, is specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its
Local Government Code of 1991. amendatory laws to carry out and make effective the declared national policy of
Considering the reasons behind the establishment of the Authority, which are promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of the Laguna
environmental protection, navigational safety, and sustainable development, there is Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San
every indication that the legislative intent is for the Authority to proceed with its Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard and adequate
mission. provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of
human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological
We are on all fours with the manifestation of petitioner Laguna Lake Development disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant of power and
Authority that "Laguna de Bay, like any other single body of water has its own unique authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special charter, obviously has the responsibility to
natural ecosystem. The 900 km2 lake surface water, the eight (8) major river protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of
tributaries and several other smaller rivers that drain into the lake, the 2,920 km2 pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In
basin or watershed transcending the boundaries of Laguna and Rizal provinces, carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among
others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects Lagoon Fishing Corporation, and MINAMAR Fishing Corporation, are hereby
proposed by local government offices/agencies within the region, public corporations, declared illegal structures subject to demolition by the Laguna Lake Development
and private persons or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or projects are Authority.
related to those of the LLDA for the development of the region. SO ORDERED.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . . While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has only such GARCIA VS BOI
powers as are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the GUTIERREZ, JR., J p:
exercise of its express powers. In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under This is a petition to annul and set aside the decision of the Board of Investments
its charter, as a regulatory and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in (BOI)/Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approving the transfer of the site of the
the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue a 'cease and desist order' proposed petrochemical plant from Bataan to Batangas and the shift of feedstock for
is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well be reduced to a 'toothless' paper agency." that plant from naphtha only to naphtha and/or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
There is no question that the Authority has express powers as a regulatory and quasi- This petition is a sequel to the petition in G.R. No. 88637 entitled "Congressman
judicial body in respect to pollution cases with authority to issue a "cease and desist Enrique T. Garcia v. the Board of Investments", September 7, 1989, where this Court
order" and on matters affecting the construction of illegal fishpens, fishcages and issued a decision, ordering the BOI as follows:
other aqua-culture structures in Laguna de Bay. The Authority's pretense, however, "WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is granted. The Board of Investments is
that it is co-equal to the Regional Trial Courts such that all actions against it may only ordered: (1) to publish the amended application for registration of the Bataan
be instituted before the Court of Appeals cannot be sustained. On actions Petrochemical Corporation, (2) to allow the petitioner to have access to its records on
necessitating the resolution of legal questions affecting the powers of the Authority as the original and amended applications for registration, as a petrochemical
provided for in its charter, the Regional Trial Courts have jurisdiction. manufacturer, of the respondent Bataan Petrochemical Corporation, excluding,
In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Section 149 of Republic Act No. 7160, however, privileged papers containing its trade secrets and other business and
otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, has not repealed the financial information, and (3) to set for hearing the petitioner's opposition to the
provisions of the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act No. amended application in order that he may present at such hearing all the evidence in
4850, as amended. Thus, the Authority has the exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits his possession in support of his opposition to the transfer of the site of the BPC
for the enjoyment of fishery privileges in Laguna de Bay to the exclusion of petrochemical plant to Batangas province. The hearing shall not exceed a period of
municipalities situated therein and the authority to exercise such powers as are by its ten (10) days from the date fixed by the BOI, notice of which should be served by
charter vested on it. personal service to the petitioner through counsel, at least three (3) days in advance.
Removal from the Authority of the aforesaid licensing authority will render nugatory its The hearings may be held from day to day for a period of ten (10) days without
avowed purpose of protecting and developing the Laguna Lake Region. Otherwise postponements. The petition for a writ of prohibition or preliminary injunction is
stated, the abrogation of this power would render useless its reason for being and will denied. No costs." (Rollo, pages 450-451) llcd
in effect denigrate, if not abolish, the Laguna Lake Development Authority. This, the However, acting on the petitioner's motion for partial reconsideration asking that we
Local Government Code of 1991 had never intended to do. rule on the import of P.D. Nos. 949 and 1803 and on the foreign investor's claim of
WHEREFORE, the petitions for prohibition, certiorari and injunction are hereby right of final choice of plant site, in the light of the provisions of the Constitution and
granted, insofar as they relate to the authority of the Laguna Lake Development the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987, this Court on October 24, 1989, made the
Authority to grant fishing privileges within the Laguna Lake Region. observation that P.D. Nos. 949 and 1803 "do not provide that the Limay site should be
the only petrochemical zone in the country, nor prohibit the establishment of a
The restraining orders and/or writs of injunction issued by Judge Arturo Marave, RTC, petrochemical plant elsewhere in the country, that the establishment of a
Branch 78, Morong, Rizal; Judge Herculano Tech, RTC, Branch 70, Binangonan, petrochemical plant in Batangas does not violate P.D. No. 949 and P.D. No. 1803.
Rizal; and Judge Aurelio Trampe, RTC, Branch 163, Pasig, Metro Manila, are hereby
declared null and void and ordered set aside for having been issued with grave abuse Our resolution skirted the issue of whether the investor given the initial inducements
of discretion. and other circumstances surrounding its first choice of plant site may change it simply
because it has the final choice on the matter. The Court merely ruled that the
The Municipal Mayors of the Laguna Lake Region are hereby prohibited from issuing petitioner appears to have lost interest in the case by his failure to appear at the
permits to construct and operate fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture hearing that was set by the BOI after receipt of the decision, so he may be deemed to
structures within the Laguna Lake Region, their previous issuances being declared have waived the fruit of the judgment. On this ground, the motion for partial
null and void. Thus, the fishing permits issued by Mayors Isidro B. Pacis, Municipality reconsideration was denied.
of Binangonan; Ricardo D. Papa, Municipality of Taguig; and Walfredo M. de la Vega,
Municipality of Jala-jala, specifically, are likewise declared null and void and ordered A motion for reconsideration of said resolution was filed by the petitioner asking that
cancelled. we resolve the basic issue of whether or not the foreign investor has the right of final
choice of plant site; that the non-attendance of the petitioner at the hearing was
The fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures put up by operators by because the decision was not yet final and executory; and that the petitioner had not
virtue of permits issued by Municipal Mayors within the Laguna Lake Region, therefor waived the right to a hearing before the BOI.
specifically, permits issued to Fleet Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; Manila
Marine Life Business Resources, Inc., represented by, Mr. Tobias Reynald M. In the Court's resolution dated January 17, 1990, we stated:
Tiangco; Greenfield Ventures Industrial Development Corporation and R.J. Orion "Does the investor have a 'right of final choice' of plant site? Neither under the 1987
Development Corporation; IRMA Fishing And Trading Corporation, ARTM Fishing Constitution nor in the Omnibus Investments Code is there such a "'right of final
Corporation, BDR Corporation, Mirt Corporation and Trim Corporation; Blue Lagoon choice.' In the first place, the investor's choice is subject to processing and approval
Fishing Corporation and ALCRIS Chicken Growers, Inc.; AGP Fish Ventures, Inc., or disapproval by the BOI (Art. 7, Chapter II, Omnibus Investments Code). By
represented by its President Alfonso Puyat; SEA MAR Trading Co., Inc., Eastern submitting its application and amended application to the BOI for approval, the
investor recognizes the sovereign prerogative of our Government, through the BOI, to The petitioner vigorously opposed the proposal and no less than President Aquino
approve or disapprove the same after determining whether its proposed project will expressed her preference that the plant be established in Bataan in a conference with
be feasible, desirable and beneficial to our country. By asking that his opposition to the Taiwanese investors, the Secretary of National Defense and The Chief of Staff of
the LPC's amended application be heard by the BOI, the petitioner likewise the Armed Forces.
acknowledges that the BOI, not the investor, has the last word or the 'final choice' on Despite speeches in the Senate and House opposing the transfer of the project to
the matter. Batangas, BPC filed on April 11, 1989 its request for approval of the amendments. Its
Secondly, as this case has shown, even a choice that had been approved by the BOI application is as follows: "(1) increasing the investment amount from US$220 million
may not be 'final', for supervening circumstances and changes in the conditions of a to US$320 million; (2) increasing the production capacity of its naphtha cracker,
place may dictate a corresponding change in the choice of plant site in order that the polyethylene plant and polypropylene plant; (3) changing the feedstock from naphtha
project will not fail. After all, our country will benefit only when a project succeeds, not only to "naphtha and/or liquefied petroleum gas;" and (4) transferring the job site from
when it fails." (Rollo, pp. 538-539) Limay, Bataan, to Batangas. (Annex B to Petition; Rollo, p. 25)
Nevertheless, the motion for reconsideration of the petitioner was denied. Notwithstanding opposition from any quarters and the request of the petitioner
A minority composed of Justices Melencio-Herrera, Gancayco, Sarmiento and this addressed to Secretary Concepcion to be furnished a copy of the proposed
ponente voted to grant the motion for reconsideration stating that the hearing set by amendment with its attachments which was denied by the BOI on May 25, 1989, BOI
the BOI was premature as the decision of the Court was not yet final and executory; approved the revision of the registration of BPC's petrochemical project. (Petition,
that as contended by the petitioner the Court must first rule on whether or not the Annex F; Rollo, p. 32; See pp. 4 to 6, Decision in G.R. No. 88637; supra.)
investor has the right of final choice of plant site for if the ruling is in the affirmative, BOI Vice-Chairman Tomas I. Alcantara testifying before the Committee on Ways and
the hearing would be a useless exercise; that in the October 19, 1989 resolution, the Means of the Senate asserted that:
Court while upholding validity of the transfer of the plant site did not rule on the issue "The BOI has taken a public position preferring Bataan over Batangas as the site of
of who has the final choice; that they agree with the observation of the majority that the petrochemical complex, as this would provide a better distribution of industries
"the investor has no final choice either under the 1987 Constitution or in the Omnibus around the Metro Manila area. . . . In advocating the choice of Bataan as the project
Investments Code and that it is the BOI who decides for the government" and that the site for the petrochemical complex, the BOI, however, made it clear, and I would like
plea of the petitioner should be granted to give him the chance to show the justness to repeat this that the BOI made it clear in its view that the BOI or the government for
of his claim and to enable the BOI to give a second hard look at the matter. llcd that matter could only recommend as to where the project should be located. The BOI
Thus, the herein petition which relies on the ruling of the Court in the resolution of recognizes and respects the principle that the final choice is still with the proponent
January 17, 1990 in G.R. No. 88637 that the investor has no right of final choice who would in the final analysis provide the funding or risk capital for the project.
under the 1987 Constitution and the Omnibus Investments Code. Cdpr (Petition, p. 13; Annex D to the petition)
Under P.D. No. 1803 dated January 16, 1981, 576 hectares of the public domain This position has not been denied by BOI in its pleadings in G.R. No. 88637 and in
located in Lamao, Limay, Bataan were reserved for the Petrochemical Industrial Zone the present petition.
under the administration, management, and ownership of the Philippine National Oil Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Company (PNOC).
"SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such
The Bataan Refining Corporation (BRC) is a wholly government owned corporation, lower courts as may be established by law.
located at Bataan. It produces 60% of the national output of naphtha.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
Taiwanese investors in a petrochemical project formed the Bataan Petrochemical involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
Corporation (BPC) and applied with BOI for registration as a new domestic producer whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
of petrochemicals. Its application specified Bataan as the plant site. One of the terms excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."
and conditions for registration of the project was the use of "naphtha cracker" and
"naphtha" as feedstock or fuel for its petrochemical plant. The petrochemical plant There is before us an actual controversy whether the petrochemical plant should
was to be a joint venture with PNOC. BPC was issued a certificate of registration on remain in Bataan or should be transferred to Batangas, and whether its feedstock
February 24, 1988 by BOI. originally of naphtha only should be changed to naphtha and or liquefied petroleum
gas as the approved amended application of the BPC, now Luzon Petrochemical
BPC was given pioneer status and accorded fiscal and other incentives by BOI, like, Corporation (LPC), shows. And in the light of the categorical admission of the BOI
(1) exemption from taxes on raw materials, (2) repatriation of the entire proceeds of that it is the investor who has the final choice of the site and the decision on the
liquidation investments in currency originally made and at the exchange rate obtaining feedstock, whether or not it constitutes a grave abuse of discretion for the BOI to yield
at the time of repatriation; and (3) remittance of earnings on investments. As to the wishes of the investor, national interest notwithstanding.
additional incentive, the House of Representatives approved a bill introduced by the
petitioner eliminating the 48% ad valorem tax on naphtha if and when it is used as We rule that the Court has a constitutional duty to step into this controversy and
raw materials in the petrochemical plant. (G.R. No. 88637, September 7, 1989, pp. determine the paramount issue. We grant the petition.
2-3. Rollo, pp. 441-442). First, Bataan was the original choice as the plant site of the BOI to which the BPC
However, in February, 1989, A.T. Chong, chairman of USI Far East Corporation, the agreed. That is why it organized itself into a corporation bearing the name Bataan.
major investor in BPC, personally delivered to Trade Secretary Jose Concepcion a There is available 576 hectares of public land precisely reserved as the petrochemical
letter dated January 25, 1989 advising him of BPC's desire to amend the original zone in Limay, Bataan under P.D. No. 1803. There is no need to buy expensive real
registration certification of its project by changing the job site from Limay, Bataan, to estate for the site unlike in the proposed transfer to Batangas. The site is the result of
Batangas. The reason adduced for the transfer was the insurgency and unstable careful study long before any covetous interests intruded into the choice. The site is
labor situation, and the presence in Batangas of a huge liquefied petroleum gas ideal. It is not unduly constricted and allows for expansion. The respondents have not
(LPG) depot owned by the Philippine Shell Corporation. shown nor reiterated that the alleged peace and order situation in Bataan or unstable
labor situation warrant a transfer of the plant site to Batangas. Certainly, these were A petrochemical industry is not an ordinary investment opportunity. It should not be
taken into account when the firm named itself Bataan Petrochemical Corporation. treated like a garment or embroidery firm, a shoe-making venture, or even an
Moreover, the evidence proves the contrary. assembler of cars or manufacturer of computer chips, where the BOI reasoning may
Second, the BRC, a government owned Filipino corporation, located in Bataan be accorded fuller faith and credit. The petrochemical industry is essential to the
produces 60% of the national output of naphtha which can be used as feedstock for national interest. In other ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the
the plant in Bataan. It can provide the feedstock requirement of the plant. On the government superintends the industry by controlling the upstream or cracker facility.
other hand, the country is short of LPG and there is need to import the same for use In this particular BPC venture, not only has the Government given unprecedented
of the plant in Batangas The local production thereof by Shell can hardly supply the favors, among them: LexLib
needs of the consumers for cooking purposes. Scarce dollars will be diverted, (1) For an initial authorized capital of only P20 million, the Central Bank gave an
unnecessarily, from vitally essential projects in order to feed the furnaces of the eligible relending credit or relending facility worth US $50 million and a debt to swap
transferred petrochemical plant. arrangement for US$ 30 million or a total accommodation of US $80 million which at
Third, naphtha as feedstock has been exempted by law from the ad valorem tax by current exchange rates is around P2080 million.
the approval of Republic Act No. 6767 by President Aquino but excluding LPG from (2) A major part of the company's capitalization shall not come from foreign sources
exemption from ad valorem tax. The law was enacted specifically for the but from loans, initially a P1 Billion syndicated loan, to be given by both government
petrochemical industry. The policy determination by both Congress and the President banks and a consortium of Philippine private banks or in common parlance, a case of
is clear. Neither BOI nor a foreign investor should disregard or contravene expressed "guiniguisa sa sariling manteca."
policy by shifting the feedstock from naphtha to LPG. llcd
(3) Tax exemptions and privileges were given as part of its "preferred pioneer status."
Fourth, under Section 10, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, it is the duty of the State
to "regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national (4) Loan applications of other Philippine firms will be crowded out of the Asian
jurisdiction and in accordance with its national goals and priorities." The development Development Bank portfolio because of the petrochemical firm's massive loan
of a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos request. (Taken from the proceedings before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee)but
is mandated in Section 19, Article II of the Constitution. through its regulatory agency, the BOI, it surrenders even the power to make a
company abide by its initial choice, a choice free from any suspicion of unscrupulous
In Article 2 of the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987 "the sound development of the machinations and a choice which is undoubtedly in the best interests of the Filipino
national economy in consonance with the principles and objectives of economic people.
nationalism" is the set goal of government.
The Court, therefore, holds and finds that the BOI committed a grave abuse of
Fifth, with the admitted fact that the investor is raising the greater portion of the capital discretion in approving the transfer of the petrochemical plant from Bataan to
for the project from local sources by way of loan which led to the so-called "petroscam Batangas and authorizing the change of feedstock from naphtha only to naphtha and/
scandal", the capital requirements would be greatly minimized if LPC does not have or LPG for the main reason that the final say is in the investor all other circumstances
to buy the land for the project and its feedstock shall be limited to naphtha which is to the contrary notwithstanding. No cogent advantage to the government has been
certainly more economical, more readily available than LPG, and does not have to be shown by this transfer. This is a repudiation of the independent policy of the
imported. government expressed in numerous laws and the Constitution to run its own affairs
Sixth, if the plant site is maintained in Bataan, the PNOC shall be a partner in the the way it deems best for the national interest.
venture to the great benefit and advantage of the government which shall have a
participation in the management of the project instead of a firm which is a huge
multinational corporation. One can but remember the words of a great Filipino leader who in part said he would
not mind having a government run like hell by Filipinos than one subservient to
In the light of all the clear advantages manifest in the plant's remaining in Bataan, foreign dictation. In this case, it is not even a foreign government but an ordinary
practically nothing is shown to justify the transfer to Batangas except a near-absolute investor whom the BOI allows to dictate what we shall do with our heritage. LexLib
discretion given by BOI to investors not only to freely choose the site but to transfer it
from their own first choice for reasons which remain murky to say the least. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The decision of the respondent Board
of Investments approving the amendment of the certificate of registration of the Luzon
And this brings us to a prime consideration which the Court cannot rightly ignore. Petrochemical Corporation on May 23, 1989 under its Resolution No. 193, Series of
Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution provides that: 1989, (Annex F to the Petition) is SET ASIDE as NULL and VOID. The original
xxx xxx xxx certificate of registration of BPC (now LPC) of February 24, 1988 with Bataan as the
plant site and naphtha as the feedstock is, therefore, ordered maintained.
"The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound
agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and SO ORDERED.
efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both
domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises POLLO V CHAIRPERSON KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID
against unfair foreign competition and trade practices."
xxx xxx xxx
This case involves a search of office computer assigned to a government employee
Every provision of the Constitution on the national economy and patrimony is infused who was charged administratively and eventually dismissed from the service. The
with the spirit of national interest. The non-alienation of natural resources, the State's employee's personal files stored in the computer were used by the government
full control over the development and utilization of our scarce resources, agreements employer as evidence of misconduct.
with foreigners being based on real contributions to the economic growth and general
welfare of the country and the regulation of foreign investments in accordance with Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 which seeks to reverse
national goals and priorities are too explicit not to be noticed and understood. and set aside the Decision 1 dated October 11, 2007 and Resolution 2 dated
February 29, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA dismissed the petition for
certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No. 98224) filed by petitioner Briccio "Ricky" A. Pollo to nullify "CO IT people arrived just now for this purpose. We were not also informed about
the proceedings conducted by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which found him this.
guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the "We can't do anything about . . . it . . . it's a directive from chair."
service, and violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713 and penalized him with
dismissal. "Memo of the chair was referring to an anonymous complaint"; "ill send a copy of the
memo via mms" 5
The factual antecedents:
Petitioner replied also thru text message that he was leaving the matter to Director
Petitioner is a former Supervising Personnel Specialist of the CSC Regional Office Unite and that he will just get a lawyer. Another text message received by petitioner
No. IV and also the Officer-in-Charge of the Public Assistance and Liaison Division from PALD staff also reported the presence of the team from CSC main office: "Sir
(PALD) under the "Mamamayan Muna Hindi Mamaya Na" program of the CSC. may mga taga C.O. daw sa kuarto natin." 6 At around 10:00 p.m. of the same day, the
On January 3, 2007 at around 2:30 p.m., an unsigned letter-complaint addressed to investigating team finished their task. The next day, all the computers in the PALD
respondent CSC Chairperson Karina Constantino-David which was marked were sealed and secured for the purpose of preserving all the files stored therein.
"Confidential" and sent through a courier service (LBC) from a certain "Alan San Several diskettes containing the back-up files sourced from the hard disk of PALD
Pascual" of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, was received by the Integrated Records and LSD computers were turned over to Chairperson David. The contents of the
Management Office (IRMO) at the CSC Central Office. Following office practice in diskettes were examined by the CSC's Office for Legal Affairs (OLA). It was found
which documents marked "Confidential" are left unopened and instead sent to the that most of the files in the 17 diskettes containing files copied from the computer
addressee, the aforesaid letter was given directly to Chairperson David. ATDHSC assigned to and being used by the petitioner, numbering about 40 to 42 documents,
The letter-complaint reads: were draft pleadings or letters 7 in connection with administrative cases in the CSC
and other tribunals. On the basis of this finding, Chairperson David issued the Show-
The Chairwoman Cause Order 8 dated January 11, 2007, requiring the petitioner, who had gone on
Civil Service Commission extended leave, to submit his explanation or counter-affidavit within five days from
Batasan Hills, Quezon City notice.
Evaluating the subject documents obtained from petitioner's personal files,
Chairperson David made the following observations:
Dear Madam Chairwoman,
Most of the foregoing files are drafts of legal pleadings or documents that are related
Belated Merry Christmas and Advance Happy New Year! to or connected with administrative cases that may broadly be lumped as pending
As a concerned citizen of my beloved country, I would like to ask from you personally either in the CSCRO No. IV, the CSC-NCR, the CSC-Central Office or other tribunals.
if it is just alright for an employee of your agency to be a lawyer of an accused gov't It is also of note that most of these draft pleadings are for and on behalves of parties,
employee having a pending case in the csc. I honestly think this is a violation of law who are facing charges as respondents in administrative cases. This gives rise to the
and unfair to others and your office. inference that the one who prepared them was knowingly, deliberately and willfully
I have known that a person have been lawyered by one of your attorny in the region 4 aiding and advancing interests adverse and inimical to the interest of the CSC as the
office. He is the chief of the Mamamayan muna hindi mamaya na division. He have central personnel agency of the government tasked to discipline misfeasance and
been helping many who have pending cases in the Csc. The justice in our govt malfeasance in the government service. The number of pleadings so prepared further
system will not be served if this will continue. Please investigate this anomaly demonstrates that such person is not merely engaged in an isolated practice but
because our perception of your clean and good office is being tainted. pursues it with seeming regularity. It would also be the height of naivete or credulity,
and certainly against common human experience, to believe that the person
Concerned Govt employee 3 concerned had engaged in this customary practice without any consideration, and in
fact, one of the retrieved files (item 13 above) appears to insinuate the collection of
Chairperson David immediately formed a team of four personnel with background in fees. That these draft pleadings were obtained from the computer assigned to Pollo
information technology (IT), and issued a memo directing them to conduct an invariably raises the presumption that he was the one responsible or had a hand in
investigation and specifically "to back up all the files in the computers found in the their drafting or preparation since the computer of origin was within his direct control
Mamamayan Muna (PALD) and Legal divisions." 4 After some briefing, the team and disposition. 9
proceeded at once to the CSC-ROIV office at Panay Avenue, Quezon City. Upon their Petitioner filed his Comment, denying that he is the person referred to in the
arrival thereat around 5:30 p.m., the team informed the officials of the CSC-ROIV, anonymous letter-complaint which had no attachments to it, because he is not a
respondents Director IV Lydia Castillo (Director Castillo) and Director III Engelbert lawyer and neither is he "lawyering" for people with cases in the CSC. He accused
Unite (Director Unite) of Chairperson David's directive. CSC officials of conducting a "fishing expedition" when they unlawfully copied and
The backing-up of all files in the hard disk of computers at the PALD and Legal printed personal files in his computer, and subsequently asking him to submit his
Services Division (LSD) was witnessed by several employees, together with Directors comment which violated his right against self-incrimination. He asserted that he had
Castillo and Unite who closely monitored said activity. At around 6:00 p.m., Director protested the unlawful taking of his computer done while he was on leave, citing the
Unite sent text messages to petitioner and the head of LSD, who were both out of the letter dated January 8, 2007 in which he informed Director Castillo that the files in his
office at the time, informing them of the ongoing copying of computer files in their computer were his personal files and those of his sister, relatives, friends and some
divisions upon orders of the CSC Chair. The text messages received by petitioner associates and that he is not authorizing their sealing, copying, duplicating and
read: printing as these would violate his constitutional right to privacy and protection against
self-incrimination and warrantless search and seizure. He pointed out that though
"Gud p.m. This is Atty. Unite FYI: Co people are going over the PCs of PALD and LSD government property, the temporary use and ownership of the computer issued under
per instruction of the Chairman. If you can make it here now it would be better." a Memorandum of Receipt (MR) is ceded to the employee who may exercise all
"All PCs of PALD and LSD are being backed up per memo of the chair." attributes of ownership, including its use for personal purposes. As to the anonymous
letter, petitioner argued that it is not actionable as it failed to comply with the
requirements of a formal complaint under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases In view of the absence of petitioner and his counsel, and upon the motion of the
in the Civil Service (URACC). In view of the illegal search, the files/documents copied prosecution, petitioner was deemed to have waived his right to the formal
from his computer without his consent is thus inadmissible as evidence, being "fruits investigation which then proceeded ex parte.
of a poisonous tree." 10 On July 24, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 071420, 20 the dispositive part of
On February 26, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 070382 11 finding prima facie which reads:
case against the petitioner and charging him with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission hereby finds Briccio
Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Violation of R.A. No. 6713 A. Pollo, a.k.a. Ricky A. Pollo GUILTY of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Conduct
(Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees). Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Violation of Republic Act 6713. He
Petitioner was directed to submit his answer under oath within five days from notice is meted the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE with all its accessory
and indicate whether he elects a formal investigation. Since the charges fall under penalties, namely, disqualification to hold public office, forfeiture of retirement
Section 19 of the URACC, petitioner was likewise placed under 90 days preventive benefits, cancellation of civil service eligibilities and bar from taking future civil service
suspension effective immediately upon receipt of the resolution. Petitioner received a examinations. 21
copy of Resolution No. 070382 on March 1, 2007.
On the paramount issue of the legality of the search conducted on petitioner's
Petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion (For Reconsideration, to Dismiss and/or to Defer) computer, the CSC noted the dearth of jurisprudence relevant to the factual milieu of
assailing the formal charge as without basis having proceeded from an illegal search this case where the government as employer invades the private files of an employee
which is beyond the authority of the CSC Chairman, such power pertaining solely to stored in the computer assigned to him for his official use, in the course of initial
the court. Petitioner reiterated that he never aided any people with pending cases at investigation of possible misconduct committed by said employee and without the
the CSC and alleged that those files found in his computer were prepared not by him latter's consent or participation. The CSC thus turned to relevant rulings of the United
but by certain persons whom he permitted, at one time or another, to make use of his States Supreme Court, and cited the leading case of O'Connor v. Ortega 22 as
computer out of close association or friendship. Attached to the motion were the authority for the view that government agencies, in their capacity as employers, rather
affidavit of Atty. Ponciano R. Solosa who entrusted his own files to be kept at than law enforcers, could validly conduct search and seizure in the governmental
petitioner's CPU and Atty. Eric N. Estrellado, the latter being Atty. Solosa's client who workplace without meeting the "probable cause" or warrant requirement for search
attested that petitioner had nothing to do with the pleadings or bill for legal fees and seizure. Another ruling cited by the CSC is the more recent case of United States
because in truth he owed legal fees to Atty. Solosa and not to petitioner. Petitioner v. Mark L. Simons 23 which declared that the federal agency's computer use policy
contended that the case should be deferred in view of the prejudicial question raised foreclosed any inference of reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of its
in the criminal complaint he filed before the Ombudsman against Director Buensalida, employees. Though the Court therein recognized that such policy did not, at the same
whom petitioner believes had instigated this administrative case. He also prayed for time, erode the respondent's legitimate expectation of privacy in the office in which
the lifting of the preventive suspension imposed on him. In its Resolution No. 070519 the computer was installed, still, the warrantless search of the employee's office was
12 dated March 19, 2007, the CSC denied the omnibus motion. The CSC resolved to upheld as valid because a government employer is entitled to conduct a warrantless
treat the said motion as petitioner's answer. search pursuant to an investigation of work-related misconduct provided the search is
On March 14, 2007, petitioner filed an Urgent Petition 13 under Rule 65 of the Rules reasonable in its inception and scope.
of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 98224, assailing both the January 11, 2007 With the foregoing American jurisprudence as benchmark, the CSC held that
Show-Cause Order and Resolution No. 070382 dated February 26, 2007 as having petitioner has no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to the computer he
been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or total absence of was using in the regional office in view of the CSC computer use policy which
jurisdiction. Prior to this, however, petitioner lodged an administrative/criminal unequivocally declared that a CSC employee cannot assert any privacy right to a
complaint against respondents Directors Racquel D.G. Buensalida (Chief of Staff, computer assigned to him. Even assuming that there was no such administrative
Office of the CSC Chairman) and Lydia A. Castillo (CSC-RO IV) before the Office of policy, the CSC was of the view that the search of petitioner's computer successfully
the Ombudsman, and a separate complaint for disbarment against Director passed the test of reasonableness for warrantless searches in the workplace as
Buensalida. 14 enunciated in the aforecited authorities. The CSC stressed that it pursued the search
On April 17, 2007, petitioner received a notice of hearing from the CSC setting the in its capacity as government employer and that it was undertaken in connection with
formal investigation of the case on April 30, 2007. On April 25, 2007, he filed in the CA an investigation involving work-related misconduct, which exempts it from the warrant
an Urgent Motion for the issuance of TRO and preliminary injunction. 15 Since he requirement under the Constitution. With the matter of admissibility of the evidence
failed to attend the pre-hearing conference scheduled on April 30, 2007, the CSC having been resolved, the CSC then ruled that the totality of evidence adequately
reset the same to May 17, 2007 with warning that the failure of petitioner and/or his supports the charges of grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best
counsel to appear in the said pre-hearing conference shall entitle the prosecution to interest of the service and violation of R.A. No. 6713 against the petitioner. These
proceed with the formal investigation ex-parte. 16 Petitioner moved to defer or to grave infractions justified petitioner's dismissal from the service with all its accessory
reset the pre-hearing conference, claiming that the investigation proceedings should penalties.
be held in abeyance pending the resolution of his petition by the CA. The CSC denied In his Memorandum 24 filed in the CA, petitioner moved to incorporate the above
his request and again scheduled the pre-hearing conference on May 18, 2007 with resolution dismissing him from the service in his main petition, in lieu of the filing of an
similar warning on the consequences of petitioner and/or his counsel's non- appeal via a Rule 43 petition. In a subsequent motion, he likewise prayed for the
appearance. 17 This prompted petitioner to file another motion in the CA, to cite the inclusion of Resolution No. 071800 25 which denied his motion for reconsideration.
respondents, including the hearing officer, in indirect contempt. 18
By Decision dated October 11, 2007, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari after
On June 12, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 071134 19 denying petitioner's finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondents CSC officials. The CA
motion to set aside the denial of his motion to defer the proceedings and to inhibit the held that: (1) petitioner was not charged on the basis of the anonymous letter but from
designated hearing officer, Atty. Bernard G. Jimenez. The hearing officer was directed the initiative of the CSC after a fact-finding investigation was conducted and the
to proceed with the investigation proper with dispatch. results thereof yielded a prima facie case against him; (2) it could not be said that in
ordering the back-up of files in petitioner's computer and later confiscating the same,
Chairperson David had encroached on the authority of a judge in view of the CSC produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
computer policy declaring the computers as government property and that employee- things to be seized.
users thereof have no reasonable expectation of privacy in anything they create, The constitutional guarantee is not a prohibition of all searches and seizures but only
store, send, or receive on the computer system; and (3) there is nothing of "unreasonable" searches and seizures. 28 But to fully understand this concept and
contemptuous in CSC's act of proceeding with the formal investigation as there was application for the purpose of resolving the issue at hand, it is essential that we
no restraining order or injunction issued by the CA. examine the doctrine in the light of pronouncements in another jurisdiction. As the
His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA, petitioner brought this Court declared in People v. Marti: 29
appeal arguing that Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable search
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED AND and seizure had its origin in the 1935 Charter which, worded as follows:
COMMITTED SERIOUS IRREGULARITY AND BLATANT ERRORS IN LAW "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
AMOUNTING TO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants
ANONYMOUS COMPLAINT IS ACTIONABLE UNDER E.O. 292 WHEN IN TRUTH shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge after examination
AND IN FACT THE CONTRARY IS EXPLICITLY PROVIDED UNDER 2nd under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 8 OF CSC RESOLUTION NO. 99-1936, WHICH IS AN particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be
II. THE HONORABLE COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED AND COMMITTED PALPABLE was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth Amendment to the United States
ERRORS IN LAW AMOUNTING TO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT Constitution. As such, the Court may turn to the pronouncements of the United States
RULED THAT PETITIONER CANNOT INVOKE HIS RIGHT TO PRIVACY, TO Federal Supreme Court and State Appellate Courts which are considered doctrinal in
MEMORANDUM SIGNED SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY BY RESPONDENT DAVID In the 1967 case of Katz v. United States, 31 the US Supreme Court held that the act
AND NOT BY THE COLLEGIAL COMMISSION CONSIDERING THAT POLICY of FBI agents in electronically recording a conversation made by petitioner in an
MATTERS INVOLVING SUB[S]TANTIAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE COVERED BY AN enclosed public telephone booth violated his right to privacy and constituted a "search
OFFICE MEMORANDUM WHICH IS LIMITED TO PROCEDURAL AND ROUTINARY and seizure". Because the petitioner had a reasonable expectation of privacy in using
INSTRUCTION; the enclosed booth to make a personal telephone call, the protection of the Fourth
Amendment extends to such area. In the concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Harlan, it
III. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND COMMITTED GRAVE was further noted that the existence of privacy right under prior decisions involved a
ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT MEMO SEARCH DATED two-fold requirement: first, that a person has exhibited an actual (subjective)
JANUARY 3, 2007 AND THE TAKING OF DOCUMENTS IN THE EVENING expectation of privacy; and second, that the expectation be one that society is
THEREOF FROM 7:00 TO 10:00 P.M. IS NOT GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION prepared to recognize as reasonable (objective). 32
INVOLVING AND TAINTED WITH PERSONAL HOSTILITY. IT LIKEWISE ERRED IN In Mancusi v. DeForte 33 which addressed the reasonable expectations of private
HOLDING THAT DATA STORED IN THE GOVERNMENT COMPUTERS ARE employees in the workplace, the US Supreme Court held that a union employee had
GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES INCLUDING THE PERSONAL FILES WHEN THE Fourth Amendment rights with regard to an office at union headquarters that he
CONTRARY IS PROVIDED UNDER SECTION 14 OF O.M. 10 s. 2002. AND shared with other union officials, even as the latter or their guests could enter the
GRIEVOUSLY ERRED STILL WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT DAVID BY office. The Court thus "recognized that employees may have a reasonable
VIRTUE OF O.M. 10 DID NOT ENCROACH ON THE DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS OF expectation of privacy against intrusions by police."
A JUDGE PURSUANT TO ARTICLE III, SECTION 2 OF THE 1987 PHILIPPINE That the Fourth Amendment equally applies to a government workplace was
CONSTITUTION; addressed in the 1987 case of O'Connor v. Ortega 34 where a physician, Dr. Magno
IV. THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER ALL Ortega, who was employed by a state hospital, claimed a violation of his Fourth
OTHER NEW ARGUMENTS, ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE HEREUNTO SUBMITTED Amendment rights when hospital officials investigating charges of mismanagement of
AS WELL AS ITS FAILURE TO EVALUATE AND TAKE ACTION ON THE 2 the psychiatric residency program, sexual harassment of female hospital employees
MOTIONS TO ADMIT AND INCORPORATE CSC RESOLUTION NOS. 07-1420 and other irregularities involving his private patients under the state medical aid
DATED JULY 24, 2007 AND CSC RESOLUTION 07-1800 DATED SEPTEMBER 10, program, searched his office and seized personal items from his desk and filing
2007. IT DID NOT RULE LIKEWISE ON THE FOUR URGENT MOTION TO cabinets. In that case, the Court categorically declared that "[i]ndividuals do not lose
RESOLVE ANCILLARY PRAYER FOR TRO. 26 Fourth Amendment rights merely because they work for the government instead of a
private employer." 35 A plurality of four Justices concurred that the correct analysis
Squarely raised by the petitioner is the legality of the search conducted on his office has two steps: first, because "some government offices may be so open to fellow
computer and the copying of his personal files without his knowledge and consent, employees or the public that no expectation of privacy is reasonable", a court must
alleged as a transgression on his constitutional right to privacy. consider "[t]he operational realities of the workplace" in order to determine whether an
The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this jurisdiction as a facet of the employee's Fourth Amendment rights are implicated; and next, where an employee
right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure under has a legitimate privacy expectation, an employer's intrusion on that expectation "for
Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, 27 which provides: noninvestigatory, work-related purposes, as well as for investigations of work-related
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and misconduct, should be judged by the standard of reasonableness under all the
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any circumstances." 36
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue On the matter of government employees' reasonable expectations of privacy in their
except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after workplace, O'Connor teaches:
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
. . . Public employees' expectations of privacy in their offices, desks, and file cabinets, that government offices could not function if every employment decision became a
like similar expectations of employees in the private sector, may be reduced by virtue constitutional matter." . . .
of actual office practices and procedures, or by legitimate regulation. . . . The The governmental interest justifying work-related intrusions by public employers is the
employee's expectation of privacy must be assessed in the context of the efficient and proper operation of the workplace. Government agencies provide myriad
employment relation. An office is seldom a private enclave free from entry by services to the public, and the work of these agencies would suffer if employers were
supervisors, other employees, and business and personal invitees. Instead, in many required to have probable cause before they entered an employee's desk for the
cases offices are continually entered by fellow employees and other visitors during purpose of finding a file or piece of office correspondence. Indeed, it is difficult to give
the workday for conferences, consultations, and other work-related visits. Simply put, the concept of probable cause, rooted as it is in the criminal investigatory context,
it is the nature of government offices that others such as fellow employees, much meaning when the purpose of a search is to retrieve a file for work-related
supervisors, consensual visitors, and the general public may have frequent access reasons. Similarly, the concept of probable cause has little meaning for a routine
to an individual's office. We agree with JUSTICE SCALIA that "[c]onstitutional inventory conducted by public employers for the purpose of securing state property. . .
protection against unreasonable searches by the government does not disappear . To ensure the efficient and proper operation of the agency, therefore, public
merely because the government has the right to make reasonable intrusions in its employers must be given wide latitude to enter employee offices for work-related,
capacity as employer," . . . but some government offices may be so open to fellow noninvestigatory reasons.
employees or the public that no expectation of privacy is reasonable. . . . Given the
great variety of work environments in the public sector, the question of whether an We come to a similar conclusion for searches conducted pursuant to an investigation
employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy must be addressed on a case-by- of work-related employee misconduct. Even when employers conduct an
case basis. 37 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied.) investigation, they have an interest substantially different from "the normal need for
law enforcement." . . . Public employers have an interest in ensuring that their
On the basis of the established rule in previous cases, the US Supreme Court agencies operate in an effective and efficient manner, and the work of these agencies
declared that Dr. Ortega's Fourth Amendment rights are implicated only if the conduct inevitably suffers from the inefficiency, incompetence, mismanagement, or other work-
of the hospital officials infringed "an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to related misfeasance of its employees. Indeed, in many cases, public employees are
consider as reasonable." Given the undisputed evidence that respondent Dr. Ortega entrusted with tremendous responsibility, and the consequences of their misconduct
did not share his desk or file cabinets with any other employees, kept personal or incompetence to both the agency and the public interest can be severe. In contrast
correspondence and other private items in his own office while those work-related to law enforcement officials, therefore, public employers are not enforcers of the
files (on physicians in residency training) were stored outside his office, and there criminal law; instead, public employers have a direct and overriding interest in
being no evidence that the hospital had established any reasonable regulation or ensuring that the work of the agency is conducted in a proper and efficient manner. In
policy discouraging employees from storing personal papers and effects in their desks our view, therefore, a probable cause requirement for searches of the type at issue
or file cabinets (although the absence of such a policy does not create any here would impose intolerable burdens on public employers. The delay in correcting
expectation of privacy where it would not otherwise exist), the Court concluded that the employee misconduct caused by the need for probable cause rather than
Dr. Ortega has a reasonable expectation of privacy at least in his desk and file reasonable suspicion will be translated into tangible and often irreparable damage to
cabinets. 38 the agency's work, and ultimately to the public interest. . . .
Proceeding to the next inquiry as to whether the search conducted by hospital In sum, we conclude that the "special needs, beyond the normal need for law
officials was reasonable, the O'Connor plurality decision discussed the following enforcement make the . . . probable-cause requirement impracticable," . . . for
principles: legitimate, work-related noninvestigatory intrusions as well as investigations of work-
Having determined that Dr. Ortega had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his related misconduct. A standard of reasonableness will neither unduly burden the
office, the Court of Appeals simply concluded without discussion that the "search . . . efforts of government employers to ensure the efficient and proper operation of the
was not a reasonable search under the fourth amendment." . . . "[t]o hold that the workplace, nor authorize arbitrary intrusions upon the privacy of public employees.
Fourth Amendment applies to searches conducted by [public employers] is only to We hold, therefore, that public employer intrusions on the constitutionally protected
begin the inquiry into the standards governing such searches . . . [W]hat is privacy interests of government employees for noninvestigatory, work-related
reasonable depends on the context within which a search takes place. . . . Thus, we purposes, as well as for investigations of work-related misconduct, should be judged
must determine the appropriate standard of reasonableness applicable to the search. by the standard of reasonableness under all the circumstances. Under this
A determination of the standard of reasonableness applicable to a particular class of reasonableness standard, both the inception and the scope of the intrusion must be
searches requires "balanc[ing] the nature and quality of the intrusion on the reasonable:
individual's Fourth Amendment interests against the importance of the governmental "Determining the reasonableness of any search involves a twofold inquiry: first, one
interests alleged to justify the intrusion." . . . In the case of searches conducted by a must consider 'whether the . . . action was justified at its inception,' . . .; second, one
public employer, we must balance the invasion of the employees' legitimate must determine whether the search as actually conducted 'was reasonably related in
expectations of privacy against the government's need for supervision, control, and scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place,'" . . .
the efficient operation of the workplace.
Ordinarily, a search of an employee's office by a supervisor will be "justified at its
In our view, requiring an employer to obtain a warrant whenever the employer wished inception" when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn
to enter an employee's office, desk, or file cabinets for a work-related purpose would up evidence that the employee is guilty of work-related misconduct, or that the search
seriously disrupt the routine conduct of business and would be unduly burdensome. is necessary for a noninvestigatory work-related purpose such as to retrieve a needed
Imposing unwieldy warrant procedures in such cases upon supervisors, who would file. . . . The search will be permissible in its scope when "the measures adopted are
otherwise have no reason to be familiar with such procedures, is simply reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light
unreasonable. In contrast to other circumstances in which we have required warrants, of . . . the nature of the [misconduct]." . . . 39 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied.)
supervisors in offices such as at the Hospital are hardly in the business of
investigating the violation of criminal laws. Rather, work-related searches are merely Since the District Court granted summary judgment without a hearing on the factual
incident to the primary business of the agency. Under these circumstances, the dispute as to the character of the search and neither was there any finding made as
imposition of a warrant requirement would conflict with the "common-sense realization to the scope of the search that was undertaken, the case was remanded to said court
for the determination of the justification for the search and seizure, and evaluation of Additionally, we conclude that Simons' Fourth Amendment rights were not violated by
the reasonableness of both the inception of the search and its scope. FBIS' retrieval of Simons' hard drive from his office.
In O'Connor the Court recognized that "special needs" authorize warrantless Simons did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy with regard to the record or
searches involving public employees for work-related reasons. The Court thus laid fruits of his Internet use in light of the FBIS Internet policy. The policy clearly stated
down a balancing test under which government interests are weighed against the that FBIS would "audit, inspect, and/or monitor" employees' use of the Internet,
employee's reasonable expectation of privacy. This reasonableness test implicates including all file transfers, all websites visited, and all e-mail messages, "as deemed
neither probable cause nor the warrant requirement, which are related to law appropriate." . . . This policy placed employees on notice that they could not
enforcement. 40 reasonably expect that their Internet activity would be private. Therefore, regardless
O'Connor was applied in subsequent cases raising issues on employees' privacy of whether Simons subjectively believed that the files he transferred from the Internet
rights in the workplace. One of these cases involved a government employer's search were private, such a belief was not objectively reasonable after FBIS notified him that
of an office computer, United States v. Mark L. Simons 41 where the defendant it would be overseeing his Internet use. . . . Accordingly, FBIS' actions in remotely
Simons, an employee of a division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was searching and seizing the computer files Simons downloaded from the Internet did
convicted of receiving and possessing materials containing child pornography. not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Simons was provided with an office which he did not share with anyone, and a The burden is on Simons to prove that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in
computer with Internet access. The agency had instituted a policy on computer use his office. . . . Here, Simons has shown that he had an office that he did not share. As
stating that employees were to use the Internet for official government business only noted above, the operational realities of Simons' workplace may have diminished his
and that accessing unlawful material was specifically prohibited. The policy also legitimate privacy expectations. However, there is no evidence in the record of any
stated that users shall understand that the agency will periodically audit, inspect, and/ workplace practices, procedures, or regulations that had such an effect. We therefore
or monitor the user's Internet access as deemed appropriate. CIA agents instructed conclude that, on this record, Simons possessed a legitimate expectation of privacy in
its contractor for the management of the agency's computer network, upon initial his office.
discovery of prohibited internet activity originating from Simons' computer, to conduct In the final analysis, this case involves an employee's supervisor entering the
a remote monitoring and examination of Simons' computer. After confirming that employee's government office and retrieving a piece of government equipment in
Simons had indeed downloaded pictures that were pornographic in nature, all the files which the employee had absolutely no expectation of privacy equipment that the
on the hard drive of Simon's computer were copied from a remote work station. Days employer knew contained evidence of crimes committed by the employee in the
later, the contractor's representative finally entered Simon's office, removed the employee's office. This situation may be contrasted with one in which the criminal
original hard drive on Simon's computer, replaced it with a copy, and gave the original acts of a government employee were unrelated to his employment. Here, there was a
to the agency security officer. Thereafter, the agency secured warrants and searched conjunction of the conduct that violated the employer's policy and the conduct that
Simons' office in the evening when Simons was not around. The search team copied violated the criminal law. We consider that FBIS' intrusion into Simons' office to
the contents of Simons' computer; computer diskettes found in Simons' desk drawer; retrieve the hard drive is one in which a reasonable employer might engage. . . . 42
computer files stored on the zip drive or on zip drive diskettes; videotapes; and (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied.)
various documents, including personal correspondence. At his trial, Simons moved to
suppress these evidence, arguing that the searches of his office and computer This Court, in Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Dangerous Drugs Board 43 which
violated his Fourth Amendment rights. After a hearing, the district court denied the involved the constitutionality of a provision in R.A. No. 9165 requiring mandatory drug
motion and Simons was found guilty as charged. testing of candidates for public office, students of secondary and tertiary schools,
officers and employees of public and private offices, and persons charged before the
Simons appealed his convictions. The US Supreme Court ruled that the searches of prosecutor's office with certain offenses, have also recognized the fact that there may
Simons' computer and office did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights and the first be such legitimate intrusion of privacy in the workplace.
search warrant was valid. It held that the search remains valid under the O'Connor
exception to the warrant requirement because evidence of the crime was discovered The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the nature of the privacy
in the course of an otherwise proper administrative inspection. Simons' violation of the interest upon which the drug testing, which effects a search within the meaning of
agency's Internet policy happened also to be a violation of criminal law; this does not Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution, intrudes. In this case, the office or workplace serves
mean that said employer lost the capacity and interests of an employer. The as the backdrop for the analysis of the privacy expectation of the employees and the
warrantless entry into Simons' office was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment reasonableness of drug testing requirement. The employees' privacy interest in an
standard announced in O'Connor because at the inception of the search, the office is to a large extent circumscribed by the company's work policies, the collective
employer had "reasonable grounds for suspecting" that the hard drive would yield bargaining agreement, if any, entered into by management and the bargaining unit,
evidence of misconduct, as the employer was already aware that Simons had and the inherent right of the employer to maintain discipline and efficiency in the
misused his Internet access to download over a thousand pornographic images. The workplace. Their privacy expectation in a regulated office environment is, in fine,
retrieval of the hard drive was reasonably related to the objective of the search, and reduced; and a degree of impingement upon such privacy has been upheld.
the search was not excessively intrusive. Thus, while Simons had a reasonable (Emphasis supplied.)
expectation of privacy in his office, he did not have such legitimate expectation of Applying the analysis and principles announced in O'Connor and Simons to the case
privacy with regard to the files in his computer. at bar, we now address the following questions: (1) Did petitioner have a reasonable
. . . To establish a violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment, Simons must expectation of privacy in his office and computer files?; and (2) Was the search
first prove that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place searched or the authorized by the CSC Chair, the copying of the contents of the hard drive on
item seized. . . . And, in order to prove a legitimate expectation of privacy, Simons petitioner's computer reasonable in its inception and scope?
must show that his subjective expectation of privacy is one that society is prepared to In this inquiry, the relevant surrounding circumstances to consider include "(1) the
accept as objectively reasonable. . . . employee's relationship to the item seized; (2) whether the item was in the immediate
. . . We conclude that the remote searches of Simons' computer did not violate his control of the employee when it was seized; and (3) whether the employee took
Fourth Amendment rights because, in light of the Internet policy, Simons lacked a actions to maintain his privacy in the item." These factors are relevant to both the
legitimate expectation of privacy in the files downloaded from the Internet. subjective and objective prongs of the reasonableness inquiry, and we consider the
two questions together. 44 Thus, where the employee used a password on his transactions made using their passwords. No User may access the computer system
computer, did not share his office with co-workers and kept the same locked, he had with another User's password or account.
a legitimate expectation of privacy and any search of that space and items located 13. Passwords do not imply privacy. Use of passwords to gain access to the computer
therein must comply with the Fourth Amendment. 45 system or to encode particular files or messages does not imply that Users have an
We answer the first in the negative. Petitioner failed to prove that he had an actual expectation of privacy in the material they create or receive on the computer system.
(subjective) expectation of privacy either in his office or government-issued computer The Civil Service Commission has global passwords that permit access to all
which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not allege that he had a separate materials stored on its networked computer system regardless of whether those
enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or that his office was always materials have been encoded with a particular User's password. Only members of the
locked and not open to other employees or visitors. Neither did he allege that he used Commission shall authorize the application of the said global passwords. TCEaDI
passwords or adopted any means to prevent other employees from accessing his xxx xxx xxx 47 (Emphasis supplied.)
computer files. On the contrary, he submits that being in the public assistance office
of the CSC-ROIV, he normally would have visitors in his office like friends, associates The CSC in this case had implemented a policy that put its employees on notice that
and even unknown people, whom he even allowed to use his computer which to him they have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive on
seemed a trivial request. He described his office as "full of people, his friends, the office computers, and that the CSC may monitor the use of the computer
unknown people" and that in the past 22 years he had been discharging his functions resources using both automated or human means. This implies that on-the-spot
at the PALD, he is "personally assisting incoming clients, receiving documents, inspections may be done to ensure that the computer resources were used only for
drafting cases on appeals, in charge of accomplishment report, Mamamayan Muna such legitimate business purposes.
Program, Public Sector Unionism, Correction of name, accreditation of service, and One of the factors stated in O'Connor which are relevant in determining whether an
hardly had anytime for himself alone, that in fact he stays in the office as a paying employee's expectation of privacy in the workplace is reasonable is the existence of a
customer." 46 Under this scenario, it can hardly be deduced that petitioner had such workplace privacy policy. 48 In one case, the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit held
expectation of privacy that society would recognize as reasonable. aASDTE that a state university employee has not shown that he had a reasonable expectation
Moreover, even assuming arguendo, in the absence of allegation or proof of the of privacy in his computer files where the university's computer policy, the computer
aforementioned factual circumstances, that petitioner had at least a subjective user is informed not to expect privacy if the university has a legitimate reason to
expectation of privacy in his computer as he claims, such is negated by the presence conduct a search. The user is specifically told that computer files, including e-mail,
of policy regulating the use of office computers, as in Simons. can be searched when the university is responding to a discovery request in the
course of litigation. Petitioner employee thus cannot claim a violation of Fourth
Office Memorandum No. 10, S. 2002 "Computer Use Policy (CUP)" explicitly Amendment rights when university officials conducted a warrantless search of his
provides: computer for work-related materials. 49
POLICY As to the second point of inquiry on the reasonableness of the search conducted on
1. The Computer Resources are the property of the Civil Service Commission and petitioner's computer, we answer in the affirmative.
may be used only for legitimate business purposes. The search of petitioner's computer files was conducted in connection with
2. Users shall be permitted access to Computer Resources to assist them in the investigation of work-related misconduct prompted by an anonymous letter-complaint
performance of their respective jobs. addressed to Chairperson David regarding anomalies in the CSC-ROIV where the
3. Use of the Computer Resources is a privilege that may be revoked at any given head of the Mamamayan Muna Hindi Mamaya Na division is supposedly "lawyering"
time. for individuals with pending cases in the CSC. Chairperson David stated in her sworn
xxx xxx xxx
8. That prior to this, as early as 2006, the undersigned has received several text
No Expectation of Privacy messages from unknown sources adverting to certain anomalies in Civil Service
4. No expectation of privacy. Users except the Members of the Commission shall not Commission Regional Office IV (CSCRO IV) such as, staff working in another
have an expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, or receive on the government agency, "selling" cases and aiding parties with pending cases, all done
computer system. during office hours and involved the use of government properties;
The Head of the Office for Recruitment, Examination and Placement shall select and 9. That said text messages were not investigated for lack of any verifiable leads and
assign Users to handle the confidential examination data and processes. details sufficient to warrant an investigation;
5. Waiver of privacy rights. Users expressly waive any right to privacy in anything they 10. That the anonymous letter provided the lead and details as it pinpointed the
create, store, send, or receive on the computer through the Internet or any other persons and divisions involved in the alleged irregularities happening in CSCRO IV;
computer network. Users understand that the CSC may use human or automated 11. That in view of the seriousness of the allegations of irregularities happening in
means to monitor the use of its Computer Resources. CSCRO IV and its effect on the integrity of the Commission, I decided to form a team
6. Non-exclusivity of Computer Resources. A computer resource is not a personal of Central Office staff to back up the files in the computers of the Public Assistance
property or for the exclusive use of a User to whom a memorandum of receipt (MR) and Liaison Division (PALD) and Legal Division;
has been issued. It can be shared or operated by other users. However, he is A search by a government employer of an employee's office is justified at inception
accountable therefor and must insure its care and maintenance. when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it will turn up evidence that the
xxx xxx xxx employee is guilty of work-related misconduct. 51 Thus, in the 2004 case decided by
Passwords the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit, it was held that where a government agency's
computer use policy prohibited electronic messages with pornographic content and in
12. Responsibility for passwords. Users shall be responsible for safeguarding their addition expressly provided that employees do not have any personal privacy rights
passwords for access to the computer system. Individual passwords shall not be regarding their use of the agency information systems and technology, the
printed, stored online, or given to others. Users shall be responsible for all government employee had no legitimate expectation of privacy as to the use and
contents of his office computer, and therefore evidence found during warrantless related misfeasance of its employees. Consequently, the evidence derived from the
search of the computer was admissible in prosecution for child pornography. In that questioned search are deemed admissible. 53
case, the defendant employee's computer hard drive was first remotely examined by Petitioner's claim of violation of his constitutional right to privacy must necessarily fail.
a computer information technician after his supervisor received complaints that he His other argument invoking the privacy of communication and correspondence under
was inaccessible and had copied and distributed non-work-related e-mail messages Section 3 (1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution is also untenable considering the
throughout the office. When the supervisor confirmed that defendant had used his recognition accorded to certain legitimate intrusions into the privacy of employees in
computer to access the prohibited websites, in contravention of the express policy of the government workplace under the aforecited authorities. We likewise find no merit
the agency, his computer tower and floppy disks were taken and examined. A formal in his contention that O'Connor and Simons are not relevant because the present
administrative investigation ensued and later search warrants were secured by the case does not involve a criminal offense like child pornography. As already
police department. The initial remote search of the hard drive of petitioner's computer, mentioned, the search of petitioner's computer was justified there being reasonable
as well as the subsequent warrantless searches was held as valid under the ground for suspecting that the files stored therein would yield incriminating evidence
O'Connor ruling that a public employer can investigate work-related misconduct so relevant to the investigation being conducted by CSC as government employer of
long as any search is justified at inception and is reasonably related in scope to the such misconduct subject of the anonymous complaint. This situation clearly falls
circumstances that justified it in the first place. 52 CAHaST under the exception to the warrantless requirement in administrative searches defined
Under the facts obtaining, the search conducted on petitioner's computer was justified in O'Connor.
at its inception and scope. We quote with approval the CSC's discussion on the The Court is not unaware of our decision in Anonymous Letter-Complaint against Atty.
reasonableness of its actions, consistent as it were with the guidelines established by Miguel Morales, Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila 54 involving a
O'Connor: branch clerk (Atty. Morales) who was investigated on the basis of an anonymous
Even conceding for a moment that there is no such administrative policy, there is no letter alleging that he was consuming his working hours filing and attending to
doubt in the mind of the Commission that the search of Pollo's computer has personal cases, using office supplies, equipment and utilities. The OCA conducted a
successfully passed the test of reasonableness for warrantless searches in the spot investigation aided by NBI agents. The team was able to access Atty. Morales'
workplace as enunciated in the above-discussed American authorities. It bears personal computer and print two documents stored in its hard drive, which turned out
emphasis that the Commission pursued the search in its capacity as a government to be two pleadings, one filed in the CA and another in the RTC of Manila, both in the
employer and that it was undertaken in connection with an investigation involving a name of another lawyer. Atty. Morales' computer was seized and taken in custody of
work-related misconduct, one of the circumstances exempted from the warrant the OCA but was later ordered released on his motion, but with order to the MISO to
requirement. At the inception of the search, a complaint was received recounting that first retrieve the files stored therein. The OCA disagreed with the report of the
a certain division chief in the CSCRO No. IV was "lawyering" for parties having Investigating Judge that there was no evidence to support the charge against Atty.
pending cases with the said regional office or in the Commission. The nature of the Morales as no one from the OCC personnel who were interviewed would give a
imputation was serious, as it was grievously disturbing. If, indeed, a CSC employee categorical and positive statement affirming the charges against Atty. Morales, along
was found to be furtively engaged in the practice of "lawyering" for parties with with other court personnel also charged in the same case. The OCA recommended
pending cases before the Commission would be a highly repugnant scenario, then that Atty. Morales should be found guilty of gross misconduct. The Court En Banc
such a case would have shattering repercussions. It would undeniably cast clouds of held that while Atty. Morales may have fallen short of the exacting standards required
doubt upon the institutional integrity of the Commission as a quasi-judicial agency, of every court employee, the Court cannot use the evidence obtained from his
and in the process, render it less effective in fulfilling its mandate as an impartial and personal computer against him for it violated his constitutional right against
objective dispenser of administrative justice. It is settled that a court or an unreasonable searches and seizures. The Court found no evidence to support the
administrative tribunal must not only be actually impartial but must be seen to be so, claim of OCA that they were able to obtain the subject pleadings with the consent of
otherwise the general public would not have any trust and confidence in it. Atty. Morales, as in fact the latter immediately filed an administrative case against the
Considering the damaging nature of the accusation, the Commission had to act fast, if persons who conducted the spot investigation, questioning the validity of the
only to arrest or limit any possible adverse consequence or fall-out. Thus, on the investigation and specifically invoking his constitutional right against unreasonable
same date that the complaint was received, a search was forthwith conducted search and seizure. And as there is no other evidence, apart from the pleadings,
involving the computer resources in the concerned regional office. That it was the retrieved from the unduly confiscated personal computer of Atty. Morales, to hold him
computers that were subjected to the search was justified since these furnished the administratively liable, the Court had no choice but to dismiss the charges against him
easiest means for an employee to encode and store documents. Indeed, the for insufficiency of evidence.
computers would be a likely starting point in ferreting out incriminating evidence. The above case is to be distinguished from the case at bar because, unlike the former
Concomitantly, the ephemeral nature of computer files, that is, they could easily be which involved a personal computer of a court employee, the computer from which
destroyed at a click of a button, necessitated drastic and immediate action. Pointedly, the personal files of herein petitioner were retrieved is a government-issued
to impose the need to comply with the probable cause requirement would invariably computer, hence government property the use of which the CSC has absolute right to
defeat the purpose of the work-related investigation. regulate and monitor. Such relationship of the petitioner with the item seized (office
Worthy to mention, too, is the fact that the Commission effected the warrantless computer) and other relevant factors and circumstances under American Fourth
search in an open and transparent manner. Officials and some employees of the Amendment jurisprudence, notably the existence of CSC MO 10, S. 2007 on
regional office, who happened to be in the vicinity, were on hand to observe the Computer Use Policy, failed to establish that petitioner had a reasonable expectation
process until its completion. In addition, the respondent himself was duly notified, of privacy in the office computer assigned to him.
through text messaging, of the search and the concomitant retrieval of files from his Having determined that the personal files copied from the office computer of petitioner
computer. are admissible in the administrative case against him, we now proceed to the issue of
All in all, the Commission is convinced that the warrantless search done on computer whether the CSC was correct in finding the petitioner guilty of the charges and
assigned to Pollo was not, in any way, vitiated with unconstitutionality. It was a dismissing him from the service.
reasonable exercise of the managerial prerogative of the Commission as an employer Well-settled is the rule that the findings of fact of quasi-judicial agencies, like the
aimed at ensuring its operational effectiveness and efficiency by going after the work- CSC, are accorded not only respect but even finality if such findings are supported by
substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is such amount of relevant evidence which Further, the Commission cannot lend credence to the posturing of the appellant that
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other the line appearing in one of the documents, "Eric N. Estrellado, Epal kulang ang
equally reasonable minds might conceivably opine otherwise. 55 bayad mo," was a private joke between the person alluded to therein, Eric N.
The CSC based its findings on evidence consisting of a substantial number of drafts Estrellado, and his counsel, Atty. Solosa, and not indicative of anything more sinister.
of legal pleadings and documents stored in his office computer, as well as the sworn The same is too preposterous to be believed. Why would such a statement appear in
affidavits and testimonies of the witnesses it presented during the formal a legal pleading stored in the computer assigned to the respondent, unless he had
investigation. According to the CSC, these documents were confirmed to be similar or something to do with it? 56
exactly the same content-wise with those on the case records of some cases pending Petitioner assails the CA in not ruling that the CSC should not have entertained an
either with CSCRO No. IV, CSC-NCR or the Commission Proper. There were also anonymous complaint since Section 8 of CSC Resolution No. 99-1936 (URACC)
substantially similar copies of those pleadings filed with the CA and duly furnished the requires a verified complaint:
Commission. Further, the CSC found the explanation given by petitioner, to the effect Rule II Disciplinary Cases
that those files retrieved from his computer hard drive actually belonged to his lawyer
friends Estrellado and Solosa whom he allowed the use of his computer for drafting SEC. 8. Complaint. A complaint against a civil service official or employee shall not
their pleadings in the cases they handle, as implausible and doubtful under the be given due course unless it is in writing and subscribed and sworn to by the
circumstances. We hold that the CSC's factual finding regarding the authorship of the complainant. However, in cases initiated by the proper disciplining authority, the
subject pleadings and misuse of the office computer is well-supported by the complaint need not be under oath.
evidence on record, thus: No anonymous complaint shall be entertained unless there is obvious truth or merit to
It is also striking to note that some of these documents were in the nature of the allegation therein or supported by documentary or direct evidence, in which case
pleadings responding to the orders, decisions or resolutions of these offices or the person complained of may be required to comment.
directly in opposition to them such as a petition for certiorari or a motion for We need not belabor this point raised by petitioner. The administrative complaint is
reconsideration of CSC Resolution. This indicates that the author thereof knowingly deemed to have been initiated by the CSC itself when Chairperson David, after a spot
and willingly participated in the promotion or advancement of the interests of parties inspection and search of the files stored in the hard drive of computers in the two
contrary or antagonistic to the Commission. Worse, the appearance in one of the divisions adverted to in the anonymous letter as part of the disciplining authority's
retrieved documents the phrase, "Eric N. Estr[e]llado, Epal kulang ang bayad mo," own fact-finding investigation and information-gathering found a prima facie case
lends plausibility to an inference that the preparation or drafting of the legal pleadings against the petitioner who was then directed to file his comment. As this Court held in
was pursued with less than a laudable motivation. Whoever was responsible for these Civil Service Commission v. Court of Appeals 57
documents was simply doing the same for the money a "legal mercenary" selling Under Sections 46 and 48 (1), Chapter 6, Subtitle A, Book V of E.O. No. 292 and
or purveying his expertise to the highest bidder, so to speak. Section 8, Rule II of Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, a
Inevitably, the fact that these documents were retrieved from the computer of Pollo complaint may be initiated against a civil service officer or employee by the
raises the presumption that he was the author thereof. This is because he had a appropriate disciplining authority, even without being subscribed and sworn to.
control of the said computer. More significantly, one of the witnesses, Margarita Considering that the CSC, as the disciplining authority for Dumlao, filed the complaint,
Reyes, categorically testified seeing a written copy of one of the pleadings found in jurisdiction over Dumlao was validly acquired. (Emphasis supplied.)
the case records lying on the table of the respondent. This was the Petition for As to petitioner's challenge on the validity of CSC OM 10, S. 2002 (CUP), the same
Review in the case of Estrellado addressed to the Court of Appeals. The said deserves scant consideration. The alleged infirmity due to the said memorandum
circumstances indubitably demonstrate that Pollo was secretly undermining the order having been issued solely by the CSC Chair and not the Commission as a
interest of the Commission, his very own employer. collegial body, upon which the dissent of Commissioner Buenaflor is partly anchored,
To deflect any culpability, Pollo would, however, want the Commission to believe that was already explained by Chairperson David in her Reply to the Addendum to
the documents were the personal files of some of his friends, including one Attorney Commissioner Buenaflor's previous memo expressing his dissent to the actions and
Ponciano Solosa, who incidentally served as his counsel of record during the formal disposition of the Commission in this case. According to Chairperson David, said
investigation of this case. In fact, Atty. Solosa himself executed a sworn affidavit to memorandum order was in fact exhaustively discussed, provision by provision in the
this effect. Unfortunately, this contention of the respondent was directly rebutted by January 23, 2002 Commission Meeting, attended by her and former Commissioners
the prosecution witness, Reyes, who testified that during her entire stay in the PALD, Erestain, Jr. and Valmores. Hence, the Commission En Banc at the time saw no need
she never saw Atty. Solosa using the computer assigned to the respondent. Reyes to issue a Resolution for the purpose and further because the CUP being for internal
more particularly stated that she worked in close proximity with Pollo and would have use of the Commission, the practice had been to issue a memorandum order. 58
known if Atty. Solosa, whom she personally knows, was using the computer in Moreover, being an administrative rule that is merely internal in nature, or which
question. Further, Atty. Solosa himself was never presented during the formal regulates only the personnel of the CSC and not the public, the CUP need not be
investigation to confirm his sworn statement such that the same constitutes self- published prior to its effectivity. 59
serving evidence unworthy of weight and credence. The same is true with the other In fine, no error or grave abuse of discretion was committed by the CA in affirming the
supporting affidavits, which Pollo submitted. CSC's ruling that petitioner is guilty of grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct
At any rate, even admitting for a moment the said contention of the respondent, it prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and violation of R.A. No. 6713. The
evinces the fact that he was unlawfully authorizing private persons to use the gravity of these offenses justified the imposition on petitioner of the ultimate penalty of
computer assigned to him for official purpose, not only once but several times dismissal with all its accessory penalties, pursuant to existing rules and regulations.
gauging by the number of pleadings, for ends not in conformity with the interests of WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The Decision dated
the Commission. He was, in effect, acting as a principal by indispensable cooperation October 11, 2007 and Resolution dated February 29, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in
. . . Or at the very least, he should be responsible for serious misconduct for CA-G.R. SP No. 98224 are AFFIRMED.
repeatedly allowing CSC resources, that is, the computer and the electricity, to be
utilized for purposes other than what they were officially intended. With costs against the petitioner.