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G.R. No.

L-30671 November 28, 1973 1969, the corresponding Alias Writ of Execution [was issued] dated June 26,
1969, .... 10. On the strength of the afore-mentioned Alias Writ of Execution
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, dated June 26, 1969, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal (respondent herein)
vs. served notices of garnishment dated June 28, 1969 with several Banks,
HON. GUILLERMO P. VILLASOR, as Judge of the Court of First Instance specially on the "monies due the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the form
of Cebu, Branch I, THE PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF RIZAL, THE SHERIFF of deposits sufficient to cover the amount mentioned in the said Writ of
OF QUEZON CITY, and THE SHERIFF OF THE CITY OF MANILA, THE Execution"; the Philippine Veterans Bank received the same notice of
CLERK OF COURT, Court of First Instance of Cebu, P. J. KIENER CO., garnishment on June 30, 1969 .... 11. The funds of the Armed Forces of the
LTD., GAVINO UNCHUAN, AND INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION Philippines on deposit with the Banks, particularly, with the Philippine
CORPORATION, respondents. Veterans Bank and the Philippine National Bank [or] their branches are
public funds duly appropriated and allocated for the payment of pensions of
Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar and Solicitor Bernardo P. retirees, pay and allowances of military and civilian personnel and for
Pardo for petitioner. maintenance and operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as per
Certification dated July 3, 1969 by the AFP Controller,..."2. The paragraph
immediately succeeding in such petition then alleged: "12. Respondent
Andres T. Velarde and Marcelo B. Fernan for respondents. Judge, Honorable Guillermo P. Villasor, acted in excess of jurisdiction [or]
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in granting the
issuance of an alias writ of execution against the properties of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines, hence, the Alias Writ of Execution and notices of
FERNANDO, J.: garnishment issued pursuant thereto are null and void."3 In the answer filed
by respondents, through counsel Andres T. Velarde and Marcelo B. Fernan,
The Republic of the Philippines in this certiorari and prohibition proceeding the facts set forth were admitted with the only qualification being that the total
challenges the validity of an order issued by respondent Judge Guillermo P. award was in the amount of P2,372,331.40.4
Villasor, then of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch I,1 declaring a
decision final and executory and of an alias writ of execution directed against The Republic of the Philippines, as mentioned at the outset, did right in filing
the funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines subsequently issued in this certiorari and prohibition proceeding. What was done by respondent
pursuance thereof, the alleged ground being excess of jurisdiction, or at the Judge is not in conformity with the dictates of the Constitution. .
very least, grave abuse of discretion. As thus simply and tersely put, with the
facts being undisputed and the principle of law that calls for application It is a fundamental postulate of constitutionalism flowing from the juristic
indisputable, the outcome is predictable. The Republic of the Philippines is concept of sovereignty that the state as well as its government is immune
entitled to the writs prayed for. Respondent Judge ought not to have acted from suit unless it gives its consent. It is readily understandable why it must
thus. The order thus impugned and the alias writ of execution must be be so. In the classic formulation of Holmes: "A sovereign is exempt from suit,
nullified. not because of any formal conception or obsolete theory, but on the logical
and practical ground that there can be no legal right as against the authority
In the petition filed by the Republic of the Philippines on July 7, 1969, a that makes the law on which the right depends."5 Sociological jurisprudence
summary of facts was set forth thus: "7. On July 3, 1961, a decision was supplies an answer not dissimilar. So it was indicated in a recent decision,
rendered in Special Proceedings No. 2156-R in favor of respondents P. J. Providence Washington Insurance Co. v. Republic of the Philippines,6 with
Kiener Co., Ltd., Gavino Unchuan, and International Construction its affirmation that "a continued adherence to the doctrine of non-suability is
Corporation, and against the petitioner herein, confirming the arbitration not to be deplored for as against the inconvenience that may be caused
award in the amount of P1,712,396.40, subject of Special Proceedings. 8. On private parties, the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle to the
June 24, 1969, respondent Honorable Guillermo P. Villasor, issued an Order performance of its multifarious functions are far greater if such a fundamental
declaring the aforestated decision of July 3, 1961 final and executory, principle were abandoned and the availability of judicial remedy were not
directing the Sheriffs of Rizal Province, Quezon City [as well as] Manila to thus restricted. With the well known propensity on the part of our people to
execute the said decision. 9. Pursuant to the said Order dated June 24, go to court, at the least provocation, the loss of time and energy required to
1
defend against law suits, in the absence of such a basic principle that thereunder. The preliminary injunction issued by this Court on July 12, 1969
constitutes such an effective obstacle, could very well be imagined."7 is hereby made permanent.

This fundamental postulate underlying the 1935 Constitution is now made


explicit in the revised charter. It is therein expressly provided: "The State may
not be sued without its consent."8 A corollary, both dictated by logic and
sound sense from a basic concept is that public funds cannot be the object of
a garnishment proceeding even if the consent to be sued had been
previously granted and the state liability adjudged. Thus in the recent case of
Commissioner of Public Highways v. San Diego,9 such a well-settled
doctrine was restated in the opinion of Justice Teehankee: "The universal
rule that where the State gives its consent to be sued by private parties either
by general or special law, it may limit claimant's action 'only up to the
completion of proceedings anterior to the stage of execution' and that the
power of the Courts ends when the judgment is rendered, since government
funds and properties may not be seized under writs of execution or
garnishment to satisfy such judgments, is based on obvious considerations
of public policy. Disbursements of public funds must be covered by the
corresponding appropriation as required by law. The functions and public
services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or
disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific
objects, as appropriated by law." 10 Such a principle applies even to an
attempted garnishment of a salary that had accrued in favor of an employee.
Director of Commerce and Industry v. Concepcion, 11 speaks to that effect.
Justice Malcolm as ponente left no doubt on that score. Thus: "A rule which
has never been seriously questioned, is that money in the hands of public
officers, although it may be due government employees, is not liable to the
creditors of these employees in the process of garnishment. One reason is,
that the State, by virtue of its sovereignty, may not be sued in its own courts
except by express authorization by the Legislature, and to subject its officers
to garnishment would be to permit indirectly what is prohibited directly.
Another reason is that moneys sought to be garnished, as long as they
remain in the hands of the disbursing officer of the Government, belong to
the latter, although the defendant in garnishment may be entitled to a specific
portion thereof. And still another reason which covers both of the foregoing is
that every consideration of public policy forbids it." 12

In the light of the above, it is made abundantly clear why the Republic of the
Philippines could rightfully allege a legitimate grievance.

WHEREFORE, the writs of certiorari and prohibition are granted, nullifying


and setting aside both the order of June 24, 1969 declaring executory the
decision of July 3, 1961 as well as the alias writ of execution issued

2
G.R. No. L-1232 January 12, 1948 protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong." Considering
that the very law of its creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103, as amended),
METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION SERVICE (METRAN), Petitioner, denominates the lower tribunal as a "court" (section 1), considering the
vs. powers and duties conferred and imposed upon it (Chapter II), its incidental
JOSE MA. PAREDES, VICENTE DE LA CRUZ and ARSENIO C. ROLDAN, powers (Chapter III), the fact that Chapter IV of said Act and Rule 44 of the
Judges of Court of Industrial Relations, and THE NATIONAL LABOR Rules of Court provide for an appeal from an award, order, or decision of the
UNION, Respondents. Court of Industrial Relations to the Supreme Court, unquestionably a court of
justice, and the fact that section 20 of said Commonwealth Act No. 103
HILADO J.: confers upon the Court of Industrial Relations the power to adopt its rules of
procedure and "such other powers as generally pertain to a court of justice"
(italics supplied), and considering finally the importance in the life and
Before the Court of Industrial Relations a petition was filed in case No. 36-V economy of the nation of the industrial relations which have thus been placed
entitled "National Labor Union, versus Metropolitan Service (Metran)," under the jurisdiction of said Court of Industrial Relations, in the hearing and
wherein petitioner alleged that it was a legitimate labor organization, thirty of determination of which cases thus submitted to it, said court administers
whose affiliated members were working and under the employ of the justice between parties, we have no hesitation in holding that it is a "court of
respondent; that the respondent is a semi-governmental transportation entity, justice" within the meaning of Rule 2, section 1.
popularly known as 'Metran,' and after several other allegations concluded
with the prayer that its nine demands at length set forth in said petition be
In the case of Health vs. Steamer "San Nicolas" (7 Phil., 532), suit was
granted. In behalf of the so-called respondent an oral petition for dismissal of
the case was made before the court on October 22, 1946, "on the ground brought by H. L. Heath against the Steamer "San Nicolas." "No natural or
that the respondent belongs to the Republic of the Philippines and as such, it juridical person was named as defendant in the complaint," commented this
Court. Mr. Justice Willard, speaking for the Court, stated the important
can not be sued" (Order of C. I. R. of November 7, 1946, Annex C). By its
question calling for decision therein as follows:
aforesaid order, the court denied the motion to dismiss, citing in support of
such resolution a paragraph allegedly quoted from an opinion of Justice
Ozaeta speaking for the Supreme Court "in the case of the Manila Hotel," in "The important question discussed in the briefs in this court, and to be
the words of the order. decided, is whether such a proceeding as the one in question, directed
against the ship itself, without naming any natural or juridical person as
defendant, can be maintained in these Island." (Page 534 of cited volume.)
In behalf of the instant so-called petitioner a motion for reconsideration of
that order was filed (Annex D) but it was denied by the Court of Industrial
Relations by its resolution dated December 3, 1946 (Annex E). The Court, in resolving said question, inter alia, declared:

On December 7, 1946, a notice of appeal (Annex F) was filed by counsel, "The first question to be considered is whether this action was properly
and the case is now submitted on appeal under the provisions of Rule 44. brought against the ship and whether an action can now be maintained when
the only defendant named is neither a natural nor juridical person. Under the
It appears that the Metropolitan Transportation Service (Metran) is not a law in force prior to 1898 there was no doubt upon this subject. It was
absolutely indispensable for the maintenance of a contentious action in the
corporation nor any of the juridical entities enumerated in article 35 of the
courts of justice to have as defendant some natural or juridical person. A suit
Civil Code. Rule 3, section 1 provides:
against a ship, such as is permitted in the English and the American
admiralty courts, was unknown to the Spanish law. It is true that the Spanish
"SECTION 1. Who may be parties. - Only natural or judicial persons may be Law of Civil Procedure contained certain provisions relating to voluntary
parties in a civil action." jurisdiction in matters of commerce, but none of these provisions had any
application to a contentious suit of this character.
"Action" is defined by Rule 2, section 1, as "an ordinary suit in a court of
justice, by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or

3
"It being impossible to maintain an action of this character against a ship as 663). And the Manila Hotel case relied upon by the Court or Industrial
the only defendant a ship as the only defendant prior to June, 1901, it follows Relations in its order Annex C, is inapplicable for the reason that the
that if such action can now be maintained it must be by virtue of some Metropolitan Transportation Service (Metran) is not a corporation, nor any
provision found in the Code of Civil Procedure and which is the only new law other kind of juridical person for that matter. If the Metropolitan
now in force relating to this matter. An examination of the provisions of the Transportation Service (Metran) could not be sued and the Court of Industrial
code will show that no such action is authorized. In cannot, therefore, be now Relations could not render any decision, judgment, award or order against it,
maintained and the demurrer of Borja should have been sustained on that all the proceedings had in said court were null and void. A case very similar
ground." (Pages 537-538 of cited volume.) to the present was Salgado vs. Ramos (64 Phil., 724, 727), from which we
quote the following passage:
Under the foregoing doctrine, it is obvious that the Metropolitan
Transportation Service (Metran) could not be sued in the Court of Industrial "* * * Consequently, while the claim is actually made against the Director of
Relation. A corollary of this is that no award, order or decision could be Lands, it is juridically against the Government of the Philippine Islands of
rendered against it. If so, how could it be said that the Court of Industrial which the Director of Lands is a mere agent, in accordance with the
Relations had jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case? provisions of article 1727 of the Civil Code."

Moreover, there is another vital reason why the Court of Industrial Relations On the other hand, the instant proceedings should be considered, as we treat
lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition, much less to grant the remedies it, as having been instituted by the Government itself, since the Metropolitan
therein prayed for. It is beyond dispute that the Metropolitan Transportation Transportation Service (Metran) is a mere office or agency of said
Service (Metran) is and was at the times covered by the petition in the Court government, unincorporated and not possessing juridical personality under
of Industrial Relations an office created by Executive Order No. 59 and the law, incapable of not being sued but using (Rule 3, section 1). The very
operating under the direct supervision and control of the Department of the allegations, arguments and contentions contained in the petition clearly show
Public Works and Communications. (Petition, par. 1, admitted by respondent that to all intents and purposes said petition was being presented in behalf of
judges' answer, par. 1 and by respondent Union's answer, par. 1.) The said the Government as the real party in interest. Rule 3, section 2, provides that
office not being a juridical person, any suit, action or proceeding against it, if every action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. And
it were to produce any effect, would in practice be a suit, action or giving effect to the spirit of liberality inspiring Rule 1, section 2, and in order
proceeding against the Government itself, of which the said Metropolitan to avoid multiplicity of suits, we believe that this is a proper case for applying
Transportation Service (Metran) is a mere office or agency. Any award, order the principle that "the law considers that as done which ought to have been
or decision granting any of the Union's demands, if attempted to be done." Parenthetically, however, we may say that were we to be more
executed, would necessarily operate against the government which is really rigorous with petitioner herein in this regard, we will have to be equally
the entity rendering the services and performing the activities in question rigorous with petitioner in the Court of Industrial Relations on the same score,
through its office or agency called Metropolitan Transportation Service with the practical result that any way the proceedings before that court will
(Metran). The case is different from those of the so-called government have to be dismissed.
corporations, such as the Philippine National Bank, National Development
Company, the Manila Hotel, etc., which have been duly incorporated under It would be sophistical to say that the suit or action against the said office or
our corporation law or special charters, one of whose powers is "to sue and agency of the government is not a suit or action against the government
be sued in any court" (Corporation Law, section 13 [a]), and which actually itself, upon the ground that the prohibition only covers suits against the
engage in business; while in rendering the services and performing the government as a whole. A commonplace illustration will, we think,
activities here involved the Government has never engaged in business nor demonstrate the fallacy of such a theory: In order that it may be said that a
intends to do so. Now, it is a well-settled rule that the government cannot be man has been attacked by another, the latter does not need to deliver blows
sued without its consent (Merritt vs. Government of the Philippine Islands, 34 or shower shots all over the body of the victim injuring each and every part
Phil., 311) and here no consent of the government has been shown. This is thereof, but if the blow or the shot is inflicted upon the arm of any other part
not even a case governed by Act No. 3083 which specifies the instances of his body, we say that the victim was attacked by the aggressor. The
where this government has given its consent to be sued (Compaa General Bureau of Public Works under whose supervision the Metropolitan
de Tabacos de Filipinas vs. Government of the Philippine Islands, 45 Phil.,
4
Transportation Service (Metran) has been organized and functions is an unduly or constantly interrupted by private suits. (See also McClellan vs.
integral part of the government, just as the said office or agency. And apart State, 170, p. 662; 35 Cal. App., 605, 606) Where the government is "of the
from the consideration that neither said Bureau nor said office has any people, by the people, and for the people," such immunity from suit will only
juridical personality to be used for reasons already set forth, any suit or be the reaffirmation of the sovereignty of the people themselves as
action attempted against either will necessarily be a suit or action against the represented by their government in the face of the obvious impossibility of
government itself. constituting the entire people into one single body to exercise the powers and
enjoy the immunities of that sovereignty.
"* * * Accordingly it is well settled, as a general proposition, that, where a suit
brought against an officer or agency with relation to some matter in which Upon the whole, we are clearly of opinion that the proceedings had in the
defendant represents the state in action and liability, and the state, while not Court of Industrial Relations and now subject to this appeal are null and void,
a party to the record, is the real party against which relief is sought so that a particularly said court's order of November 1, 1946 (Annex C) and its
judgment for plaintiff, although nominally against the named defendant as an resolution of December 3, 1946 (Annex E), with the necessary consequence
individual or entity distinct from the state, will operate to control the action of that said court should be, as it is hereby, enjoined from taking any further
the state or subject it to liability, the suit is in effect one against the state and action in the case inconsistent with this decision.
cannot be maintained without its consent. Apparently for thus rule to apply
the relief asked must involve some direct or substantial interest of the state, No costs. So ordered.
as a distinct entity, apart from the mere interest a state may have in the
welfare of its citizens of the vindication of its laws. Within the inhibition of the
rules, however, are suits wherein a state officer or agency is, or will be,
required to use state property or funds in order to afford the relief demanded
* * *". (59 C. J., 307-309; italics supplied.)

In a republican state, like Philippines, government immunity from suit without


its consent is derived from the will of the people themselves in freely creating
a government "of the people, and for the people"-a representative
government through which they have agreed to exercise the powers and
discharge the duties of their sovereignty for the common good and general
welfare. In so agreeing, the citizens have solemnly undertaken to surrender
some of their private rights and interest which were calculated to conflict with
the higher rights and larger interests of the people as a whole, represented
by the government thus established by them all. One of those "higher rights,"
based upon those "larger interests" is that government immunity. The
members of the respondent Labor Union themselves are part of the people
who have freely that government and participated in that solemn undertaking.
In this sense-and a very real one it is-they are in effect attempting to use
themselves along with the rest of the people represented by their common
government-an anomalous and absurd situation indeed.

The case is radically different from a dictatorship, or an aristocratic,


oligarchical, autocratic, or monarchical government, where any similar
immunity will be the creature of the will of one man or of a powerful few. The
principle is further grounded upon the necessity of protecting the
performance of governmental and public functions from being harrassed

5
G.R. No. L-26386 September 30, 1969 Nor did the Mobil decision blaze a new trail. So it has been from the time the
Constitution took effect in 1935. Bull v. Yatco, a 1939 decision during the
PROVIDENCE WASHINGTON INSURANCE CO., plaintiff-appellant, Commonwealth, spoke to that effect. 3 Adherence to such a view is reflected
vs. in the various cases decided after independence before the Mobil Exploration
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, case. 4 The classic formulation of Holmes of this doctrine of non-suability thus
defendants-appellees. bears restatement: "A sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any
formal conception or obsolete theory, but on the logical and practical round
Quasha, Asperilla, Blanco, Zafra and Tayag for plaintiff-appellant. that there can be no legal right as against the authority that makes the law on
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General which the right depends." 5
Antonio G. Ibarra, Trial Attorney Herminio Z. Florendo and Felipe T. Cuison
for defendants-appellees. This is not to deny that while indeed logical and far from impractical the
doctrine does give rise to problems considering how widely immersed in
matters hitherto deemed outside its sphere the government is at present. Nor
is it likely considering its expanding role, demanded by the times and
warranted by the Constitution, that a halt would be called to many of its
FERNANDO, J.: activities, at times unavoidably adversely affecting private rights.
Nonetheless, a continued adherence to the doctrine of non-suability is not to
Providence Washington Insurance Co. filed, on October 21, 1966, its brief as be deplored for as against the inconvenience that may be caused private
appellant against an order of the lower court dismissing its suit for the non- parties, the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle to the
delivery of thirty cases of steel files, which cargo was insured by it against performance of its multifarious functions are far greater if such a fundamental
loss and damage, naming as defendants the Republic of the Philippines and principle were abandoned and the availability of judicial remedy were not
the Bureau of Customs as the operator of the arrastre service, thus rendering thus restricted. With the well known propensity on the part of our people to
unavoidable the invocation of the well-settled doctrine of non-suability of the go to court, at the least provocation, the loss of time and energy required to
government. Less than two months later, on December 17, 1966, our defend against law suits, in the absence of such a basic principle that
decision in Mobil Philippines Exploration, Inc. v. Customs Arrastre Service constitutes such an effective obstacle could very well be
was promulgated. 1 We there explicitly held: "The Bureau of Customs, acting imagined.1awphl.nt
as part of the machinery of the national government in the operation of the
arrastre service, pursuant to express legislative mandate and as a necessary At any rate, in case of a money claim arising from contract, express or
incident of its prime governmental function, is immune from suit, there being implied, which could serve as a basis for civil action between private, parties,
no statute to the contrary." such a consent has been given by a statute enacted by the Philippine
legislature, even before the Constitution took effect and still applicable at
As of this date, thirty-six subsequent cases, certainly a figure far from present. 6 The procedure provided for in such a statute 7 was made more
unimpressive, have been similarly decided expressly reaffirming the above expeditious by a Commonwealth Act, enabling the party or entity, who feels
ruling of governmental immunity from suit without its consent. 2 The futility of aggrieved by the final decision of the Auditor General required to decide the
this appeal is quite apparent. We affirm the lower court order of dismissal. claim within sixty days, having the right to go to this Court for final
adjudication. 8 It is worthy of note likewise that in the pursuit of its activities
The doctrine of non-suability thus holds undisputed sway. Its primacy affecting business, the government has increasingly relied on private
appears to be undeniable. For a suit of this character to prosper, there must corporations possessing the power to sue and be sued. 9
be a showing of consent either in express terms or by implication through the
use of statutory language too plain to be misinterpreted. Its absence being Thus the doctrine of non-suability of the government without its consent, as it
obvious, the lower court acted correctly. has operated in practice, hardly lends itself to the charge that it could be the
fruitful parent of injustice, considering the vast and ever-widening scope of
state activities at present being undertaken. Whatever difficulties for private

6
claimants may still exist, is, from an objective appraisal of all factors, minimal.
In the balancing of interests, so unavoidable in the determination of what.
principles must prevail if government is to satisfy the public weal, the verdict
must be, as it has been these so many years, for its continuing recognition as
a fundamental postulate of constitutional law.

WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of the lower court of May 23, 1966 is
affirmed. With costs against plaintiff-appellant.

7
G.R. No. L-36084 August 31, 1977 1. There is pertinence to this excerpt from Switzerland General Insurance
Co., Ltd. v. Republic of the Philippines: 6 "The doctrine of non-suability
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, recognized in this jurisdiction even prior to the effectivity of the [1935]
vs. Constitution is a logical corollary of the positivist concept of law which, to
HONORABLE AMANTE P. PURISIMA, the Presiding Judge of the court para-phrase Holmes, negates the assertion of any legal right as against the
of first Instance of Manila (Branch VII), and YELLOW BALL FREIGHT state, in itself the source of the law on which such a right may be predicated.
LINES, INC., respondents. Nor is this all.lwphl@it Even if such a principle does give rise to problems,
considering the vastly expanded role of government enabling it to engage in
Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Santiago business pursuits to promote the general welfare, it is not obeisance to the
M. Kapunan, Solicitor Oscar C. Fernandez and Special Attorney Renato P. analytical school of thought alone that calls for its continued applicability.
Mabugat for petitioner. Why it must continue to be so, even if the matter be viewed sociologically,
was set forth in Providence Washington Insurance Co. v. Republic thus:
"Nonetheless, a continued adherence to the doctrine of non-suability is not to
Jose Q. Calingo for private respondent. be deplored for as against the inconvenience that may be caused private
parties, the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle to the
performance of its multifarious functions are far greater if such a fundamental
principle were abandoned and the availability of judicial remedy were not
FERNANDO, Acting C.J.: thus restricted. With the well-known propensity on the part of our people to
go the court, at the least provocation, the loss of time and energy required to
The jurisdictional issued raised by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza on defend against law suits, in the absence of such a basic principle that
behalf of the Republic of the Philippines in this certiorari and prohibition constitutes such an effective obstacle, could very well be imagined." 7 It only
proceeding arose from the failure of respondent Judge Amante P. Purisima remains to be added that under the present Constitution which, as noted,
of the Court of First Instance of Manila to apply the well-known and of- expressly reaffirmed such a doctrine, the following decisions had been
reiterated doctrine of the non-suability of a State, including its offices and rendered: Del mar v. The Philippine veterans Administration; 8 Republic v.
agencies, from suit without its consent. it was so alleged in a motion to Villasor; 9 Sayson v. Singson; 10 and Director of the Bureau of Printing v.
dismiss filed by defendant Rice and Corn Administration in a pending civil Francisco. 11
suit in the sala of respondent Judge for the collection of a money claim
arising from an alleged breach of contract, the plaintiff being private 2. Equally so, the next paragraph in the above opinion from the Switzerland
respondent Yellow Ball Freight Lines, Inc. 1 Such a motion to dismiss was General Insurance Company decision is likewise relevant: "Nor is injustice
filed on September 7, 1972. At that time, the leading case of Mobil thereby cause private parties. They could still proceed to seek collection of
Philippines Exploration, Inc. v. Customs Arrastre Service, 2 were Justice their money claims by pursuing the statutory remedy of having the Auditor
Bengzon stressed the lack of jurisdiction of a court to pass on the merits of a General pass upon them subject to appeal to judicial tribunals for final
claim against any office or entity acting as part of the machinery of the adjudication. We could thus correctly conclude as we did in the cited
national government unless consent be shown, had been applied in 53 other Provindence Washington Insurance decision: "Thus the doctrine of non-
decisions. 3 There is thus more than sufficient basis for an allegation of suability of the government without its consent, as it has operated in practice,
jurisdiction infirmity against the order of respondent Judge denying the hardly lends itself to the charge that it could be the fruitful parent of injustice,
motion to dismiss dated October 4, 1972. 4 What is more, the position of the considering the vast and ever-widening scope of state activities at present
Republic has been fortified with the explicit affirmation found in this provision being undertaken. Whatever difficulties for private claimants may still exist,
of the present Constitution: "The State may not be sued without its consent." is, from an objective appraisal of all factors, minimal. In the balancing of
5 interests, so unavoidable in the determination of what principles must prevail
if government is to satisfy the public weal, the verdict must be, as it has been
The merit of the petition for certiorari and prohibition is thus obvious. these so many years, for its continuing recognition as a fundamental
postulate of constitutional law." 12

8
3. Apparently respondent Judge was misled by the terms of the contract
between the private respondent, plaintiff in his sala, and defendant Rice and
Corn Administration which, according to him, anticipated the case of a
breach of contract within the parties and the suits that may thereafter arise. 13
The consent, to be effective though, must come from the State acting
through a duly enacted statute as pointed out by Justice Bengzon in Mobil.
Thus, whatever counsel for defendant Rice and Corn Administration agreed
to had no binding force on the government. That was clearly beyond the
scope of his authority. At any rate, Justice Sanchez, in Ramos v. Court of
Industrial Relations, 14 was quite categorical as to its "not [being] possessed
of a separate and distinct corporate existence. On the contrary, by the law of
its creation, it is an office directly 'under the Office of the President of the
Philippines." 15

WHEREFORE, the petitioner for certiorari is granted and the resolution of


October 4, 1972 denying the motion to dismiss filed by the Rice and Corn
Administration nullified and set aside and the petitioner for prohibition is
likewise granted restraining respondent Judge from acting on civil Case No.
79082 pending in his sala except for the purpose of ordering its dismissal for
lack of jurisdiction. The temporary restraining order issued on February 8,
1973 by this Court is made permanent terminating this case. Costs against
Yellow Ball Freight Lines, Inc.

Antonio, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

9
[G.R. No. 91359. September 25, 1992.] strictissimi juris (Republic v. Feliciano, 148 SCRA 424). The consent of the
State to be sued must emanate from statutory authority, hence, from a
VETERANS MANPOWER AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES, INC., legislative act, not from a mere memorandum. Without such consent, the trial
Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE CHIEF OF PHILIPPINE court did not acquire jurisdiction over the public respondents.
CONSTABULARY and PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY SUPERVISORY
UNIT FOR SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION AGENCIES (PC-SUSIA), 4. ID.; ID.; REASONS BEHIND. The state immunity doctrine rests upon
Respondents. reasons of public policy and the inconvenience and danger which would flow
from a different rule. "It is obvious that public service would be hindered, and
Franciso A. Lava, Jr. and Andresito X. Fornier for Petitioner. public safety endangered, if the supreme authority could be subjected to
suits at the instance of every citizen, and, consequently, controlled in the use
and disposition of the means required for the proper administration of the
SYLLABUS government" (Siren v. U.S. Wall, 152, 19 L. ed. 129, as cited in 78 SCRA
477).

1. POLITICAL LAW; IMMUNITY FROM SUIT; THE PHILIPPINE


CONSTABULARY CHIEF AND THE PC-SUSIA MAY NOT BE SUED DECISION
WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE STATE. The State may not be sued
without its consent (Article XVI, Section 3, of the 1987 Constitution). Invoking
this rule, the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA contend that, being instrumentalities of GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
the national government exercising a primarily governmental function of
regulating the organization and operation of private detective, watchmen, or
security guard agencies, said official (the PC Chief) and agency (PC-SUSIA) This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision dated August 11,
may not be sued without the Governments consent, especially in this case 1989, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 15990, entitled "The Chief
because VMPSIs complaint seeks not only to compel the public respondents of Philippine Constabulary (PC) and Philippine Constabulary Supervisor Unit
to act in a certain way, but worse, because VMPSI seeks actual and for Security and Investigation Agencies (PC-SUSIA) v. Hon. Omar U. Amin
compensatory damages in the sum of P1,000,000.00, exemplary damages in and Veterans Manpower and Protective Services, Inc. (VMPSI)," lifting the
the same amount, and P200,000.00 as attorneys fees from said public writ of preliminary injunction which the Regional Trial Court had issued to the
respondents. Even if its action prospers, the payment of its monetary claims PC-SUSIA enjoining them from committing acts that would result in the
may not be enforced because the State did not consent to appropriate the cancellation or non-renewal of the license of VMPSI to operate as a security
necessary funds for that purpose. agency.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

2. ID.; ID.; PUBLIC OFFICIAL MAY BE SUED IN HIS PERSONAL On March 28, 1988, VMPSI filed a complaint in the Regional Trial Court at
CAPACITY IF HE ACTS, AMONG OTHERS BEYOND THE SCOPE OF HIS Makati, Metro Manila, praying the court to:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
AUTHORITY; CASE AT BAR. A public official may sometimes be held
liable in his personal or private capacity if he acts in bad faith, or beyond the "A. Forthwith issue a temporary restraining order to preserve the status quo,
scope of his authority or jurisdiction (Shauf v. Court of Appeals, supra), enjoining the defendants, or any one acting in their place or stead, to refrain
however, since the acts for which the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA are being from committing acts that would result in the cancellation or non-renewal of
called to account in this case, were performed by them as part of their official VMPSIs license;
duties, without malice, gross negligence, or bad faith, no recovery may be
had against them in their private capacities. "B. In due time, issue a writ of preliminary injunction to the same effect;

3. ID.; ID.; CONSENT TO BE SUED MUST EMANATE FROM A "C. Render decision and judgment declaring null and void the amendment of
LEGISLATIVE ACT. Waiver of the States immunity from suit, being a Section 4 of R.A. No. 5487, by PD No. 11 exempting organizations like
derogation of sovereignty, will not be lightly inferred, but must be construed PADPAO from the prohibition that no person shall organize or have an
10
interest in more than one agency, declaring PADPAO as an illegal Respondent VMPSI likewise questions the validity of paragraph 3,
organization existing in violation of said prohibition, without the illegal subparagraph (g) of the Modifying Regulations on the Issuance of License to
exemption provided in PD No. 11; declaring null and void Section 17 of R.A. Operate and Private Security Licenses and Specifying Regulations for the
No. 5487 which provides for the issuance of rules and regulations in Operation of PADPAO issued by then PC Chief Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos,
consultation with PADPAO, declaring null and void the February 1, 1982 through Col. Sabas V. Edades, requiring that "all private security
directive of Col. Sabas V. Edadas, in the name of the then PC Chief, agencies/company security forces must register as members of any
requiring all private security agencies/security forces such as VMPSI to join PADPAO Chapter organized within the Region where their main offices are
PADPAO as a prerequisite to secure/renew their licenses, declaring that located . . ." (pp. 5-6, Complaint in Civil Case No. 88-471). As such
VMPSI did not engage in cut-throat competition in its contract with MWSS, membership requirement in PADPAO is compulsory in nature, it allegedly
ordering defendants PC Chief and PC-SUSIA to renew the license of VMPSI; violates legal and constitutional provisions against monopolies, unfair
ordering the defendants to refrain from further harassing VMPSI and from competition and combinations in restraint of trade.chanrobles.com : virtual
threatening VMPSI with cancellations or non-renewal of license, without legal law library
and justifiable cause; ordering the defendants to pay to VMPSI the sum of
P1,000,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages, P1,000,000.00 as On May 12, 1986, a Memorandum of Agreement was executed by PADPAO
exemplary damages, and P200,000.00 as attorneys fees and expenses of and the PC Chief, which fixed the minimum monthly contract rate per guard
litigation; and granting such further or other reliefs to VMPSI as may be for eight (8) hours of security service per day at P2,255.00 within Metro
deemed lawful, equitable and just." (pp. 55-56, Rollo.) Manila and P2,215.00 outside of Metro Manila (Annex B, Petition).

The constitutionality of the following provisions of R.A. 5487 (otherwise On June 29, 1987, Odin Security Agency (Odin) filed a complaint with
known as the "Private Security Agency Law"), as amended, is questioned by PADPAO accusing VMPSI of cut-throat competition by undercutting its
VMPSI in its complaint:chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library contract rate for security services rendered to the Metropolitan Waterworks
and Sewerage System (MWSS), charging said customer lower than the
"SECTION 4. Who may Organize a Security or Watchman Agency. Any standard minimum rates provided in the Memorandum of Agreement dated
Filipino citizen or a corporation, partnership, or association, with a minimum May 12, 1986.
capital of five thousand pesos, one hundred per cent of which is owned and
controlled by Filipino citizens may organize a security or watchman agency: PADPAO found VMPSI guilty of cut-throat competition, hence, the PADPAO
Provided, That no person shall organize or have an interest in, more than Committee on Discipline recommended the expulsion of VMPSI from
one such agency except those which are already existing at the promulgation PADPAO and the cancellation of its license to operate a security agency
of this Decree: . . ." (As amended by P.D. Nos. 11 and 100.) (Annex D, Petition).

"SECTION 17. Rules and Regulations by Chief, Philippine Constabulary. The PC-SUSIA made similar findings and likewise recommended the
The Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, in consultation with the Philippine cancellation of VMPSIs license (Annex E, Petition).
Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc. and subject
to the provision of existing laws, is hereby authorized to issue the rules and As a result, PADPAO refused to issue a clearance/certificate of membership
regulations necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act."cralaw virtua1aw to VMPSI when it requested one.
library
VMPSI wrote the PC Chief on March 10, 1988, requesting him to set aside or
VMPSI alleges that the above provisions of R.A. No. 5487 violate the disregard the findings of PADPAO and consider VMPSIs application for
provisions of the 1987 Constitution against monopolies, unfair competition renewal of its license, even without a certificate of membership from
and combinations in restraint of trade, and tend to favor and institutionalize PADPAO (Annex F, Petition).
the Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc.
(PADPAO) which is monopolistic because it has an interest in more than one As the PC Chief did not reply, and VMPSIs license was expiring on March
security agency. 31, 1988, VMPSI filed Civil Case No. 88-471 in the RTC-Makati, Branch 135,
on March 28, 1988 against the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA. On the same date,
11
the court issued a restraining order enjoining the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA lack of jurisdiction. The writ of preliminary injunction issued on June 10,
"from committing acts that would result in the cancellation or non-renewal of 1988, is dissolved." (pp. 295-296, Rollo.)
VMPSIs license" (Annex G, Petition).
VMPSI came to us with this petition for review.
The PC chief and PC-SUSIA filed a "Motion to Dismiss, Opposition to the
Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction, and Motion to Quash the The primary issue in this case is whether or not VMPSIs complaint against
Temporary Restraining Order," on the grounds that the case is against the the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA is a suit against the State without its consent.
State which had not given consent thereto and that VMPSIs license already
expired on March 31, 1988, hence, the restraining order or preliminary The answer is yes.
injunction would not serve any purpose because there was no more license
to be cancelled (Annex H, Petition). Respondent VMPSI opposed the motion. The State may not be sued without its consent (Article XVI, Section 3, of the
1987 Constitution). Invoking this rule, the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA contend
On April 18, 1988, the lower court denied VMPSIs application for a writ of that, being instrumentalities of the national government exercising a primarily
preliminary injunction for being premature because it "has up to May 31, governmental function of regulating the organization and operation of private
1988 within which to file its application for renewal pursuant to Section 2 (e) detective, watchmen, or security guard agencies, said official (the PC Chief)
of Presidential Decree No. 199, . . ." (p. 140, Rollo.).chanrobles.com : virtual and agency (PC-SUSIA) may not be sued without the Governments consent,
law library especially in this case because VMPSIs complaint seeks not only to compel
the public respondents to act in a certain way, but worse, because VMPSI
On May 23, 1988, VMPSI reiterated its application for the issuance of a writ seeks actual and compensatory damages in the sum of P1,000,000.00,
of preliminary injunction because PC-SUSIA had rejected payment of the exemplary damages in the same amount, and P200,000.00 as attorneys
penalty for its failure to submit its application for renewal of its license and fees from said public respondents. Even if its action prospers, the payment of
the requirements therefor within the prescribed period in Section 2(e) of the its monetary claims may not be enforced because the State did not consent
Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A. 5487, as amended by to appropriate the necessary funds for that
P.D. 1919 (Annex M, Petition). purpose.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

On June 10, 1998, the RTC-Makati issued a writ of preliminary injunction Thus did we hold in Shauf v. Court of Appeals, 191 SCRA
upon a bond of P100,000.00, restraining the defendants, or any one acting in 713:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
their behalf, from cancelling or denying renewal of VMPSIs license, until
further orders from the court. "While the doctrine appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its
consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state
The PC Chief and PC-SUSIA filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the above for acts allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. The rule
order, but it was denied by the court in its Order of August 10, 1988 (Annex is that if the judgment against such officials will require the state itself to
R, Petition). perform an affirmative act to satisfy the same, such as the appropriation of
the amount needed to pay the damages awarded against them, the suit must
On November 3, 1988, the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA sought relief by a be regarded as against the state itself although it has not been formally
petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. impleaded." (Emphasis supplied.)

On August 11, 1989, the Court of Appeals granted the petition. The A public official may sometimes be held liable in his personal or private
dispositive portion of its decision reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph capacity if he acts in bad faith, or beyond the scope of his authority or
jurisdiction (Shauf v. Court of Appeals, supra), however, since the acts for
"WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari filed by petitioners PC Chief and which the PC Chief and PC-SUSIA are being called to account in this case,
PC-SUSIA is hereby GRANTED, and the RTC-Makati, Branch 135, is were performed by them as part of their official duties, without malice, gross
ordered to dismiss the complaint filed by respondent VMPSI in Civil Case No. negligence, or bad faith, no recovery may be had against them in their
88-471, insofar as petitioners PC Chief and PC-SUSIA are concerned, for private capacities.
12
"Nonetheless, a continued adherence to the doctrine of nonsuability is not to
We agree with the observation of the Court of Appeals that the Memorandum be deplored for as against the inconvenience that may be cause [by] private
of Agreement dated May 12, 1986 does not constitute an implied consent by parties, the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle to the
the State to be sued:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph performance of its multifarious functions are far greater if such a fundamental
principle were abandoned and the availability of judicial remedy were not
"The Memorandum of Agreement dated May 12, 1986 was entered into by thus restricted. With the well known propensity on the part of our people to
the PC Chief in relation to the exercise of a function sovereign in nature. The go to court, at the least provocation, the loss of time and energy required to
correct test for the application of state immunity is not the conclusion of a defend against law suits, in the absence of such a basic principle that
contract by the State but the legal nature of the act. This was clearly constitutes such an effective obstacles, could very well be imagined." (citing
enunciated in the case of United States of America v. Ruiz where the Hon. Providence Washington Insurance Co. v. Republic, 29 SCRA 598.)cralawnad
Supreme Court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED and the judgment appealed
"The restrictive application of State immunity is proper only when the from is AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.
proceedings arise out of commercial transactions of the foreign sovereign, its
commercial activities or economic affairs. Stated differently, a State may be SO ORDERED.
said to have descended to the level of an individual and can thus be deemed
to have tacitly given its consent to be sued only when it enters into a
business contract. It does not apply where the contract relates to the
exercise of its functions. (136 SCRA 487, 492.)

"In the instant case, the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by the PC
Chief and PADPAO was intended to professionalize the industry and to
standardize the salaries of security guards as well as the current rates of
security services, clearly, a governmental function. The execution of the said
agreement is incidental to the purpose of R.A. 5487, as amended, which is to
regulate the organization and operation of private detective, watchmen or
security guard agencies. (Emphasis ours.)" (pp. 258-259, Rollo.)

Waiver of the States immunity from suit, being a derogation of sovereignty,


will not be lightly inferred, but must be construed strictissimi juris (Republic v.
Feliciano, 148 SCRA 424). The consent of the State to be sued must
emanate from statutory authority, hence, from a legislative act, not from a
mere memorandum. Without such consent, the trial court did not acquire
jurisdiction over the public respondents.

The state immunity doctrine rests upon reasons of public policy and the
inconvenience and danger which would flow from a different rule. "It is
obvious that public service would be hindered, and public safety endangered,
if the supreme authority could be subjected to suits at the instance of every
citizen, and, consequently, controlled in the use and disposition of the means
required for the proper administration of the government" (Siren v. U.S. Wall,
152, 19 L. ed. 129, as cited in 78 SCRA 477). In the same vein, this Court in
Republic v. Purisima (78 SCRA 470, 473) rationalized:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

13
G.R. No. L-23139 December 17, 1966 SECTION 1. Who may be parties.Only natural or juridical persons
or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action.
MOBIL PHILIPPINES EXPLORATION, INC., plaintiff-appellant,
vs. Accordingly, a defendant in a civil suit must be (1) a natural person; (2) a
CUSTOMS ARRASTRE SERVICE and BUREAU of CUSTOMS, juridical person or (3) an entity authorized by law to be sued. Neither the
defendants-appellees. Bureau of Customs nor (a fortiori) its function unit, the Customs Arrastre
Service, is a person. They are merely parts of the machinery of Government.
Alejandro Basin, Jr. and Associates for plaintiff-appellant. The Bureau of Customs is a bureau under the Department of Finance (Sec.
Felipe T. Cuison for defendants-appellees. 81, Revised Administrative Code); and as stated, the Customs Arrastre
Service is a unit of the Bureau of Custom, set up under Customs
BENGZON, J.P., J.: Administrative Order No. 8-62 of November 9, 1962 (Annex "A" to Motion to
Dismiss, pp. 13-15, Record an Appeal). It follows that the defendants herein
cannot he sued under the first two abovementioned categories of natural or
Four cases of rotary drill parts were shipped from abroad on S.S. "Leoville" juridical persons.
sometime in November of 1962, consigned to Mobil Philippines Exploration,
Inc., Manila. The shipment arrived at the Port of Manila on April 10, 1963,
Nonetheless it is urged that by authorizing the Bureau of Customs to engage
and was discharged to the custody of the Customs Arrastre Service, the unit
in arrastre service, the law thereby impliedly authorizes it to be sued as
of the Bureau of Customs then handling arrastre operations therein. The
Customs Arrastre Service later delivered to the broker of the consignee three arrastre operator, for the reason that the nature of this function (arrastre
cases only of the shipment. service) is proprietary, not governmental. Thus, insofar as arrastre operation
is concerned, appellant would put defendants under the third category of
"entities authorized by law" to be sued. Stated differently, it is argued that
On April 4, 1964 Mobil Philippines Exploration, Inc., filed suit in the Court of while there is no law expressly authorizing the Bureau of Customs to sue or
First Instance of Manila against the Customs Arrastre Service and the be sued, still its capacity to be sued is implied from its very power to render
Bureau of Customs to recover the value of the undelivered case in the arrastre service at the Port of Manila, which it is alleged, amounts to the
amount of P18,493.37 plus other damages. transaction of a private business.

On April 20, 1964 the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on The statutory provision on arrastre service is found in Section 1213 of
the ground that not being persons under the law, defendants cannot be sued. Republic Act 1937 (Tariff and Customs Code, effective June 1, 1957), and it
states:
After plaintiff opposed the motion, the court, on April 25, 1964, dismissed the
complaint on the ground that neither the Customs Arrastre Service nor the SEC. 1213. Receiving, Handling, Custody and Delivery of Articles.
Bureau of Customs is suable. Plaintiff appealed to Us from the order of The Bureau of Customs shall have exclusive supervision and control
dismissal. over the receiving, handling, custody and delivery of articles on the
wharves and piers at all ports of entry and in the exercise of its
Raised, therefore, in this appeal is the purely legal question of the functions it is hereby authorized to acquire, take over, operate and
defendants' suability under the facts stated. superintend such plants and facilities as may be necessary for the
receiving, handling, custody and delivery of articles, and the
Appellant contends that not all government entities are immune from suit; convenience and comfort of passengers and the handling of
that defendant Bureau of Customs as operator of the arrastre service at the baggage; as well as to acquire fire protection equipment for use in
Port of Manila, is discharging proprietary functions and as such, can be sued the piers: Provided, That whenever in his judgment the receiving,
by private individuals. handling, custody and delivery of articles can be carried on by
private parties with greater efficiency, the Commissioner may, after
The Rules of Court, in Section 1, Rule 3, provide: public bidding and subject to the approval of the department head,

14
contract with any private party for the service of receiving, handling, order of the (Secretary of Finance) Executive Secretary, be
custody and delivery of articles, and in such event, the contract may authorized to undertake . . . ." (Sec. 1644, Rev. Adm. Code.) It has
include the sale or lease of government-owned equipment and no corporate existence, and its appropriations are provided for in the
facilities used in such service. General Appropriations Act. Designed to meet the printing needs of
the Government, it is primarily a service bureau and, obviously, not
In Associated Workers Union, et al. vs. Bureau of Customs, et al., L-21397, engaged in business or occupation for pecuniary profit.
resolution of August 6, 1963, this Court indeed held "that the foregoing
statutory provisions authorizing the grant by contract to any private party of xxx xxx xxx
the right to render said arrastre services necessarily imply that the same is
deemed by Congress to be proprietary or non-governmental function." The . . . Clearly, while the Bureau of Printing is allowed to undertake
issue in said case, however, was whether laborers engaged in arrastre private printing jobs, it cannot be pretended that it is thereby an
service fall under the concept of employees in the Government employed in industrial or business concern. The additional work it executes for
governmental functions for purposes of the prohibition in Section 11, private parties is merely incidental to its function, and although such
Republic Act 875 to the effect that "employees in the Government . . . shall work may be deemed proprietary in character, there is no showing
not strike," but "may belong to any labor organization which does not impose that the employees performing said proprietary function are separate
the obligation to strike or to join in strike," which prohibition "shall apply only and distinct from those emoloyed in its general governmental
to employees employed in governmental functions of the Government . . . . functions.

Thus, the ruling therein was that the Court of Industrial Relations had xxx xxx xxx
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case, but not that the Bureau of
Customs can be sued. Said issue of suability was not resolved, the resolution
Indeed, as an office of the Government, without any corporate or
stating only that "the issue on the personality or lack of personality of the
juridical personality, the Bureau of Printing cannot be sued (Sec. 1,
Bureau of Customs to be sued does not affect the jurisdiction of the lower
Rule 3, Rules of Court.) Any suit, action or proceeding against it, if it
court over the subject matter of the case, aside from the fact that amendment were to produce any effect, would actually be a suit, action or
may be made in the pleadings by the inclusion as respondents of the public
proceeding against the Government itself, and the rule is settled that
officers deemed responsible, for the unfair labor practice acts charged by
the Government cannot be sued without its consent, much less over
petitioning Unions".
its objection. (See Metran vs. Paredes, 45 Off. Gaz. 2835; Angat
River Irrigation System, et al. vs. Angat River Workers Union, et al.,
Now, the fact that a non-corporate government entity performs a function G.R. Nos. L-10943-44, December 28, 1957.)
proprietary in nature does not necessarily result in its being suable. If said
non-governmental function is undertaken as an incident to its governmental
The situation here is not materially different. The Bureau of Customs, to
function, there is no waiver thereby of the sovereign immunity from suit
repeat, is part of the Department of Finance (Sec. 81, Rev. Adm. Code), with
extended to such government entity. This is the doctrine recognized in
no personality of its own apart from that of the national government. Its
Bureau of Printing, et al. vs. Bureau of Printing Employees Association, et al.,
primary function is governmental, that of assessing and collecting lawful
L-15751, January 28, 1961: revenues from imported articles and all other tariff and customs duties, fees,
charges, fines and penalties (Sec. 602, R.A. 1937). To this function, arrastre
The Bureau of Printing is an office of the Government created by the service is a necessary incident. For practical reasons said revenues and
Administrative Code of 1916 (Act No. 2657). As such instrumentality customs duties can not be assessed and collected by simply receiving the
of the Government, it operates under the direct supervision of the importer's or ship agent's or consignee's declaration of merchandise being
Executive Secretary, Office of the President, and is "charged with the imported and imposing the duty provided in the Tariff law. Customs
execution of all printing and binding, including work incidental to authorities and officers must see to it that the declaration tallies with the
those processes, required by the National Government and such merchandise actually landed. And this checking up requires that the landed
other work of the same character as said Bureau may, by law or by merchandise be hauled from the ship's side to a suitable place in the
15
customs premises to enable said customs officers to make it, that is, it It must be remembered that statutory provisions waiving State immunity from
requires arrastre operations.1 suit are strictly construed and that waiver of immunity, being in derogation of
sovereignty, will not be lightly inferred. (49 Am. Jur., States, Territories and
Clearly, therefore, although said arrastre function may be deemed Dependencies, Sec. 96, p. 314; Petty vs. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Com.,
proprietary, it is a necessary incident of the primary and governmental 359 U.S. 275, 3 L. Ed. 804, 79 S. Ct. 785). From the provision authorizing the
function of the Bureau of Customs, so that engaging in the same does not Bureau of Customs to lease arrastre operations to private parties, We see no
necessarily render said Bureau liable to suit. For otherwise, it could not authority to sue the said Bureau in the instances where it undertakes to
perform its governmental function without necessarily exposing itself to suit. conduct said operation itself. The Bureau of Customs, acting as part of the
Sovereign immunity, granted as to the end, should not be denied as to the machinery of the national government in the operation of the arrastre service,
necessary means to that end. pursuant to express legislative mandate and as a necessary incident of its
prime governmental function, is immune from suit, there being no statute to
And herein lies the distinction between the present case and that of National the contrary.
Airports Corporation vs. Teodoro, 91 Phil. 203, on which appellant would
rely. For there, the Civil Aeronautics Administration was found have for its WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby affirmed, with
prime reason for existence not a governmental but a proprietary function, so costs against appellant. So ordered.
that to it the latter was not a mere incidental function:

Among the general powers of the Civil Aeronautics Administration


are, under Section 3, to execute contracts of any kind, to purchase
property, and to grant concessions rights, and under Section 4, to
charge landing fees, royalties on sales to aircraft of aviation gasoline,
accessories and supplies, and rentals for the use of any property
under its management.

These provisions confer upon the Civil Aeronautics Administration, in


our opinion, the power to sue and be sued. The power to sue and be
sued is implied from the power to transact private business. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

The Civil Aeronautics Administration comes under the category of a


private entity. Although not a body corporate it was created, like the
National Airports Corporation, not to maintain a necessary function of
government, but to run what is essentially a business, even if
revenues be not its prime objective but rather the promotion of travel
and the convenience of the travelling public. . . .

Regardless of the merits of the claim against it, the State, for obvious
reasons of public policy, cannot be sued without its consent. Plaintiff should
have filed its present claim to the General Auditing Office, it being for money
under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 327, which state the conditions
under which money claims against the Government may be filed.

16
G.R. No. 115634 April 27, 2000 PENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Provincial
Environment and Natural Resources) Office in Catbalogan.4 Seizure receipts
FELIPE CALUB and RICARDO VALENCIA, DEPARTMENT of were issued but the drivers refused to accept the receipts.5 Felipe Calub,
ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES (DENR), CATBALOGAN, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, then filed before the
SAMAR, petitioners, Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Samar, a criminal complaint against
vs. Abuganda, in Criminal Case No. 3795, for violation of Section 68 [78],
COURT OF APPEALS, MANUELA T. BABALCON, and CONSTANCIO Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277, otherwise
ABUGANDA, respondents. known as the Revised Forestry Code.6

On January 31, 1992, the impounded vehicles were forcibly taken by Gabon
and Abuganda from the custody of the DENR, prompting DENR Officer
QUISUMBING, J.: Calub this time to file a criminal complaint for grave coercion against Gabon
and Abuganda. The complaint was, however, dismissed by the Public
Prosecutor.7
For review is the decision1 dated May 27, 1994, of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 29191, denying the petition filed by herein petitioners for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, in order to annul the Order dated May On February 11, 1992, one of the two vehicles, with plate number FCN 143,
was again apprehended by a composite team of DENR-CENR in Catbalogan
27, 1992, by the Regional Trial Court of Catbalogan, Samar. Said Order had
denied petitioners' (a) Motion to Dismiss the replevin case filed by herein and Philippine Army elements of the 802nd Infantry Brigade at Barangay
private respondents, as well as (b) petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of Buray, Paranas, Samar. It was again loaded with forest products with an
equivalent volume of 1,005.47 board feet, valued at P10,054.70. Calub duly
the Order of said trial court dated April 24, 1992, granting an application for a
filed a criminal complaint against Constancio Abuganda, a certain Abegonia,
Writ of replevin.2
and several John Does, in Criminal Case No. 3625, for violation of Section
68 [78], Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277,
The pertinent facts of the case, borne by the records, are as follows: otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code.8

On January 28, 1992, the Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Team of In Criminal Cases Nos. 3795 and 3625, however, Abegonia and Abuganda
the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the were acquitted on the ground of reasonable doubt. But note the trial court
DENR apprehended two (2) motor vehicles, described as follows: ordered that a copy of the decision be furnished the Secretary of Justice, in
order that the necessary criminal action may be filed against Noe Pagarao
1. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. HAK-733 loaded with one thousand and all other persons responsible for violation of the Revised Forestry Code.
and twenty six (1,026) board feet of illegally sourced lumber valued For it appeared that it was Pagarao who chartered the subject vehicle and
at P8,544.75, being driven by one Pio Gabon and owned by [a ordered that cut timber be loaded on it.9
certain] Jose Vargas.
Subsequently, herein private respondents Manuela Babalcon, the vehicle
2. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. FCN-143 loaded with one thousand owner, and Constancio Abuganda, the driver, filed a complaint for the
two hundred twenty four and ninety seven (1,224.97) board feet of recovery of possession of the two (2) impounded vehicles with an application
illegally-sourced lumber valued at P9,187.27, being driven by one for replevin against herein petitioners before the RTC of Catbalogan. The trial
Constancio Abuganda and owned by [a certain] Manuela Babalcon. . court granted the application for replevin and issued the corresponding writ in
. .3 an Order dated April 24, 1992. 10 Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss which
was denied by the trial court. 11
Constancio Abuganda and Pio Gabon, the drivers of the vehicles, failed to
present proper documents and/or licenses. Thus, the apprehending team Thus, on June 15, 1992, petitioners filed with the Supreme Court the present
seized and impounded the vehicles and its load of lumber at the DENR- Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with application for
17
Preliminary Injunction and/or a Temporary Restraining Order. The Court Moreover, according to respondent appellate court, there could be no
issued a TRO, enjoining respondent RTC judge from conducting further pecuniary liability nor loss of property that could ensue against the
proceedings in the civil case for replevin; and enjoining private respondents government. It reasoned that a suit against a public officer who acted illegally
from taking or attempting to take the motor vehicles and forest products or beyond the scope of his authority could not be considered a suit against
seized from the custody of the petitioners. The Court further instructed the the State; and that a public officer might be sued for illegally seizing or
petitioners to see to it that the motor vehicles and other forest products withholding the possession of the property of another. 16
seized are kept in a secured place and protected from deterioration, said
property being in custodia legis and subject to the direct order of the Respondent court brushed aside other grounds raised by petitioners based
Supreme Court. 12 In a Resolution issued on September 28, 1992, the Court on the claim that the subject vehicles were validly seized and held in custody
referred said petition to respondent appellate court for appropriate because they were contradicted by its own findings. 17 Their petition was
disposition. 13 found without merit. 18

On May 27, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied said petition for lack of merit. Now, before us, the petitioners assign the following errors: 19
It ruled that the mere seizure of a motor vehicle pursuant to the authority
granted by Section 68 [78] of P.D. No. 705 as amended by E.O. No. 277
(1) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT MERE
does not automatically place said conveyance in custodia legis. According to
SEIZURE OF A CONVEYANCE PURSUANT TO SECTION 68-A
the appellate court, such authority of the Department Head of the DENR or
[78-A] OF P.D. NO. 705 AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER
his duly authorized representative to order the confiscation and disposition of 277 DOES NOT PLACE SAID CONVEYANCE IN CUSTODIA
illegally obtained forest products and the conveyance used for that purpose LEGIS;
is not absolute and unqualified. It is subject to pertinent laws, regulations, or
policies on that matter, added the appellate court. The DENR Administrative
Order No. 59, series of 1990, is one such regulation, the appellate court said. (2) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT
For it prescribes the guidelines in the confiscation, forfeiture and disposition THE OPERATIVE ACT GIVING RISE FOR THE SUBJECT
of conveyances used in the commission of offenses penalized under Section CONVEYANCE TO BE IN CUSTODIA LEGIS IS ITS LAWFUL
68 [78] of P.D. No. 705 as amended by E.O. No. 277. 14 SEIZURE BY THE DENR PURSUANT TO SECTION 68-A [78-A] OF
P.D. NO. 705, AS AMENDED BY E.O. NO. 277; AND
Additionally, respondent Court of Appeals noted that the petitioners failed to
observe the procedure outlined in DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series (3) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
of 1990. They were unable to submit a report of the seizure to the DENR COMPLAINT FOR REPLEVIN AGAINST THE PETITIONERS IS
Secretary, to give a written notice to the owner of the vehicle, and to render a NOT A SUIT AGAINST THE STATE.
report of their findings and recommendations to the Secretary. Moreover,
petitioners' failure to comply with the procedure laid down by DENR In brief, the pertinent issues for our consideration are:
Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990, was confirmed by the admission
of petitioners' counsel that no confiscation order has been issued prior to the (1) Whether or not the DENR-seized motor vehicle, with plate
seizure of the vehicle and the filing of the replevin suit. Therefore, in failing to number FCN 143, is in custodia legis.
follow such procedure, according to the appellate court, the subject vehicles
could not be considered in custodia legis. 15 (2) Whether or not the complaint for the recovery of possession of
impounded vehicles, with an application for replevin, is a suit against
Respondent Court of Appeals also found no merit in petitioners' claim that the State.
private respondents' complaint for replevin is a suit against the State.
Accordingly, petitioners could not shield themselves under the principle of We will now resolve both issues.
state immunity as the property sought to be recovered in the instant suit had
not yet been lawfully adjudged forfeited in favor of the government.

18
The Revised Forestry Code authorizes the DENR to seize all conveyances the offense and to dispose of the same in accordance with pertinent
used in the commission of an offense in violation of Section 78. Section 78 laws, regulations or policies on the matter.
states:
Sec. 89. Arrest; Institution of criminal actions. A forest officer or
Sec. 78. Cutting, Gathering, and/or Collecting Timber, or Other employee of the Bureau [Department] or any personnel of the
Forest Products without License. Any person who shall cut, Philippine Constabulary/Philippine National Police shall arrest even
gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from any without warrant any person who has committed or is committing in
forestland, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from his presence any of the offenses defined in this Chapter. He shall
private land, without any authority, or possess timber or other forest also seize and confiscate, in favor of the Government, the tools and
products without the legal documents as required under existing equipment used in committing the offense. . . [Emphasis supplied.]
forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with the penalties
imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code. . . Note that DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990, implements
Sections 78-A and 89 of the Forestry Code, as follows:
The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the
government of the timber or any forest products cut, gathered, Sec. 2. Conveyances Subject to Confiscation and Forfeiture. All
collected, removed, or possessed, as well as the machinery, conveyances used in the transport of any forest product obtained or
equipment, implements and tools illegally used in the area where the gathered illegally whether or not covered with transport documents,
timber or forest products are found. found spurious or irregular in accordance with Sec. 68-A [78-A] of
P.D. No. 705, shall be confiscated in favor of the government or
This provision makes mere possession of timber or other forest products disposed of in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations or policies
without the accompanying legal documents unlawful and punishable with the on the matter.
penalties imposed for the crime of theft, as prescribed in Articles 309-310 of
the Revised Penal Code. In the present case, the subject vehicles were Sec. 4. Who are Authorized to Seize Conveyance. The Secretary
loaded with forest products at the time of the seizure. But admittedly no or his duly authorized representative such as the forest officers
permit evidencing authority to possess and transport said load of forest and/or natural resources officers, or deputized officers of the DENR
products was duly presented. These products, in turn, were deemed illegally are authorized to seize said conveyances subject to policies and
sourced. Thus there was a prima facie violation of Section 68 [78] of the guidelines pertinent thereto. Deputized military personnel and
Revised Forestry Code, although as found by the trial court, the persons officials of other agencies apprehending illegal logs and other forest
responsible for said violation were not the ones charged by the public products and their conveyances shall notify the nearest DENR field
prosecutor. offices, and turn oversaid forest products and conveyances for
proper action and disposition. In case where the apprehension is
The corresponding authority of the DENR to seize all conveyances used in made by DENR field officer, the conveyance shall be deposited with
the commission of an offense in violation of Section 78 of the Revised the nearest CENRO/PENRO/RED Office as the case may be, for
Forestry Code is pursuant to Sections 78-A and 89 of the same Code. They safekeeping wherever it is most convenient and secured. [Emphasis
read as follows: supplied.]

Sec. 78-A. Administrative Authority of the Department Head or His Upon apprehension of the illegally-cut timber while being transported without
Duly Authorized Representative to Order Confiscation. In all pertinent documents that could evidence title to or right to possession of said
cases of violation of this Code or other forest laws, rules and timber, a warrantless seizure of the involved vehicles and their load was
regulations, the Department Head or his duly authorized allowed under Section 78 and 89 of the Revised Forestry Code.
representative, may order the confiscation of any forest products
illegally cut, gathered, removed, or possessed or abandoned, and all Note further that petitioners' failure to observe the procedure outlined in
conveyances used either by land, water or air in the commission of DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990 was justifiably explained.
19
Petitioners did not submit a report of the seizure to the Secretary nor give a On the second issue, is the complaint for the recovery of possession of the
written notice to the owner of the vehicle because on the 3rd day following two impounded vehicles, with an application for replevin, a suit against the
the seizure, Gabon and Abuganda, drivers of the seized vehicles, forcibly State?
took the impounded vehicles from the custody of the DENR. Then again,
when one of the motor vehicles was apprehended and impounded for the Well established is the doctrine that the State may not be sued without its
second time, the petitioners, again were not able to report the seizure to the consent. 22 And a suit against a public officer for his official acts is, in effect,
DENR Secretary nor give a written notice to the owner of the vehicle a suit against the State if its purpose is to hold the State ultimately liable. 23
because private respondents immediately went to court and applied for a writ However, the protection afforded to public officers by this doctrine generally
of replevin. The seizure of the vehicles and their load was done upon their applies only to activities within the scope of their authority in good faith and
apprehension for a violation of the Revised Forestry Code. It would be without willfulness, malice or corruption. 24 In the present case, the acts for
absurd to require a confiscation order or notice and hearing before said which the petitioners are being called to account were performed by them in
seizure could be effected under the circumstances. the discharge of their official duties. The acts in question are clearly official in
nature. 25 In implementing and enforcing Sections 78-A and 89 of the
Since there was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and the seizure Forestry Code through the seizure carried out, petitioners were performing
was in accordance with law, in our view the subject vehicles were validly their duties and functions as officers of the DENR, and did so within the limits
deemed in custodia legis. It could not be subject to an action for replevin. For of their authority. There was no malice nor bad faith on their part. Hence, a
it is property lawfully taken by virtue of legal process and considered in the suit against the petitioners who represent the DENR is a suit against the
custody of the law, and not otherwise. 20 State. It cannot prosper without the State's consent.

In Mamanteo, et. al. v. Deputy Sheriff Magumun, A.M. No. P-98-1264, Given the circumstances in this case, we need not pursue the Office of the
promulgated on July 28, 1999, the case involves property to be seized by a Solicitor General's line for the defense of petitioners concerning exhaustion
Deputy Sheriff in a replevin suit. But said property were already impounded of administrative remedies. We ought only to recall that exhaustion must be
by the DENR due to violation of forestry laws and, in fact, already forfeited in raised at the earliest time possible, even before filing the answer to the
favor of the government by order of the DENR. We said that such property complaint or pleading asserting a claim, by a motion to dismiss. 26 If not
was deemed in custodia legis. The sheriff could not insist on seizing the invoked at the proper time, this ground for dismissal could be deemed
property already subject of a prior warrant of seizure. The appropriate action waived and the court could take cognizance of the case and try it. 27
should be for the sheriff to inform the trial court of the situation by way of
partial Sheriff's Return, and wait for the judge's instructions on the proper ACCORDINGLY, the Petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Decision of the
procedure to be observed. Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29191 is SET ASIDE.1wphi1
Consequently, the Order issued by the Regional Trial Court of Catbalogan,
Note that property that is validly deposited in custodia legis cannot be the dated May 27, 1992, and the Writ of replevin issued in the Order dated April
subject of a replevin suit. In Mamanteo v. Deputy Sheriff Magumun, we 24, 1992, are ANNULLED. The Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of
elucidated further: Catbalogan, Branch 29, is directed to take possession of the subject motor
vehicle, with plate number FCN 143, for delivery to the custody of and
. . . the writ of replevin has been repeatedly used by unscrupulous appropriate disposition by petitioners. Let a copy of this decision be provided
plaintiffs to retrieve their chattel earlier taken for violation of the Tariff the Honorable Secretary of Justice for his appropriate action, against any
and Customs Code, tax assessment, attachment or execution. and all persons responsible for the abovecited violation of the Revised
Officers of the court, from the presiding judge to the sheriff, are Forestry Code.
implored to be vigilant in their execution of the law otherwise, as in
this case, valid seizure and forfeiture proceedings could easily be Costs against private respondents.1wphi1.nt
undermined by the simple devise of a writ of replevin. . . 21
SO ORDERED.

20
G.R. No. L-31635 August 31, 1971 Auditor General refused to restore its possession. It was further alleged that
on August 25, 1965, the appraisal committee of the City of Cebu approved
ANGEL MINISTERIO and ASUNCION SADAYA, petitioners, Resolution No. 90, appraising the reasonable and just price of Lot No. 647-B
vs. at P50.00 per square meter or a total price of P52,250.00. Thereafter, the
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CEBU, Fourth Branch, Presided complaint was amended on June 30, 1966 in the sense that the remedy
by the Honorable, Judge JOSE C. BORROMEO, THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY prayed for was in the alternative, either the restoration of possession or the
COMMISSIONER, and THE AUDITOR GENERAL, respondents. payment of the just compensation.

Eriberto Seno for petitioners. In the answer filed by defendants, now respondents, through the then
Solicitor General, now Associate Justice, Antonio P. Barredo, the principal
Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Acting First Assistant Solicitor defense relied upon was that the suit in reality was one against the
General Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor Norberto P. Eduardo for government and therefore should be dismissed, no consent having been
respondents. shown. Then on July 11, 1969, the parties submitted a stipulation of facts to
this effect: "That the plaintiffs are the registered owners of Lot 647-B of the
Banilad estate described in the Survey plan RS-600 GLRO Record No. 5988
and more particularly described in Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-5963
containing an area of 1,045 square meters; That the National Government in
FERNANDO, J.: 1927 took possession of Lot 647-B Banilad estate, and used the same for the
widening of Gorordo Avenue; That the Appraisal Committee of Cebu City
What is before this Court for determination in this appeal by certiorari to approved Resolution No. 90, Series of 1965 fixing the price of Lot No. 647-B
review a decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu is the question of at P50.00 per square meter; That Lot No. 647-B is still in the possession of
whether or not plaintiffs, now petitioners, seeking the just compensation to the National Government the same being utilized as part of the Gorordo
which they are entitled under the Constitution for the expropriation of their Avenue, Cebu City, and that the National Government has not as yet paid
property necessary for the widening of a street, no condemnation proceeding the value of the land which is being utilized for public use."1
having been filed, could sue defendants Public Highway Commissioner and
the Auditor General, in their capacity as public officials without thereby The lower court decision now under review was promulgated on January 30,
violating the principle of government immunity from suit without its consent. 1969. As is evident from the excerpt to be cited, the plea that the suit was
The lower court, relying on what it considered to be authoritative precedents, against the government without its consent having been manifested met with
held that they could not and dismissed the suit. The matter was then a favorable response. Thus: "It is uncontroverted that the land in question is
elevated to us. After a careful consideration and with a view to avoiding the used by the National Government for road purposes. No evidence was
grave inconvenience, not to say possible injustice contrary to the presented whether or not there was an agreement or contract between the
constitutional mandate, that would be the result if no such suit were government and the original owner and whether payment was paid or not to
permitted, this Court arrives at a different conclusion, and sustains the right the original owner of the land. It may be presumed that when the land was
of the plaintiff to file a suit of this character. Accordingly, we reverse. taken by the government the payment of its value was made thereafter and
no satisfactory explanation was given why this case was filed only in 1966.
Petitioners as plaintiffs in a complaint filed with the Court of First Instance of But granting that no compensation was given to the owner of the land, the
Cebu, dated April 13, 1966, sought the payment of just compensation for a case is undoubtedly against the National Government and there is no
registered lot, containing an area of 1045 square meters, alleging that in showing that the government has consented to be sued in this case. It may
1927 the National Government through its authorized representatives took be contended that the present case is brought against the Public Highway
physical and material possession of it and used it for the widening of the Commissioner and the Auditor General and not against the National
Gorordo Avenue, a national road, Cebu City, without paying just Government. Considering that the herein defendants are sued in their official
compensation and without any agreement, either written or verbal. There capacity the action is one against the National Government who should have
was an allegation of repeated demands for the payment of its price or return been made a party in this case, but, as stated before, with its consent."2
of its possession, but defendants Public Highway Commissioner and the
21
Then came this petition for certiorari to review the above decision. The could have passed upon the claim of plaintiffs there, now petitioners, for the
principal error assigned would impugn the holding that the case being recovery of the possession of the disputed lot, since no proceeding for
against the national government which was sued without its consent should eminent domain, as required by the then Code of Civil Procedure, was
be dismissed, as it was in fact dismissed. As was indicated in the opening instituted.9 However, as noted in Alfonso v. Pasay City, 10 this Court
paragraph of this opinion, this assignment of error is justified. The decision of speaking through Justice Montemayor, restoration would be "neither
the lower court cannot stand. We shall proceed to explain why. convenient nor feasible because it is now and has been used for road
purposes." 11 The only relief, in the opinion of this Court, would be for the
1. The government is immune from suit without its consent.3 Nor is it government "to make due compensation, ..." 12 It was made clear in such
indispensable that it be the party proceeded against. If it appears that the decision that compensation should have been made "as far back as the date
action, would in fact hold it liable, the doctrine calls for application. It follows of the taking." Does it result, therefore, that petitioners would be absolutely
then that even if the defendants named were public officials, such a principle remediless since recovery of possession is in effect barred by the above
could still be an effective bar. This is clearly so where a litigation would result decision? If the constitutional mandate that the owner be compensated for
in a financial responsibility for the government, whether in the disbursements property taken for public use 13 were to be respected, as it should, then a
of funds or loss of property. Under such circumstances, the liability of the suit of this character should not be summarily dismissed. The doctrine of
official sued is not personal. The party that could be adversely affected is governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for
government. Hence the defense of non-suability may be interposed.4 perpetrating an injustice on a citizen. Had the government followed the
procedure indicated by the governing law at the time, a complaint would have
So it has been categorically set forth in Syquia v. Almeda Lopez:5 "However, been filed by it, and only upon payment of the compensation fixed by the
judgment, or after tender to the party entitled to such payment of the amount
and this is important, where the judgment in such a case would result not
only in the recovery of possession of the property in favor of said citizen but fixed, may it "have the right to enter in and upon the land so condemned" to
also in a charge against or financial liability to the Government, then the suit appropriate the same to the public use defined in the judgment." 14 If there
were an observance of procedural regularity, petitioners would not be in the
should be regarded as one against the government itself, and, consequently,
sad plaint they are now. It is unthinkable then that precisely because there
it cannot prosper or be validly entertained by the courts except with the
was a failure to abide by what the law requires, the government would stand
consent of said Government."6
to benefit. It is just as important, if not more so, that there be fidelity to legal
norms on the part of officialdom if the rule of law were to be maintained. It is
2. It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his not too much to say that when the government takes any property for public
capacity as such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of plaintiff. use, which is conditioned upon the payment of just compensation, to be
As was clearly set forth by Justice Zaldivar in Director of the Bureau of judicially ascertained, it makes manifest that it submits to the jurisdiction of a
Telecommunications v. Aligean:7 "Inasmuch as the State authorizes only court. There is no thought then that the doctrine of immunity from suit could
legal acts by its officers, unauthorized acts of government officials or officers still be appropriately invoked. 15
are not acts of the State, and an action against the officials or officers by one
whose rights have been invaded or violated by such acts, for the protection
Accordingly, the lower court decision is reversed so that the court may
of his rights, is not a suit against the State within the rule of immunity of the
proceed with the complaint and determine the compensation to which
State from suit. In the same tenor, it has been said that an action at law or
petitioners are entitled, taking into account the ruling in the above Alfonso
suit in equity against a State officer or the director of a State department on
the ground that, while claiming to act for the State, he violates or invades the case: "As to the value of the property, although the plaintiff claims the
personal and property rights of the plaintiff, under an unconstitutional act or present market value thereof, the rule is that to determine due compensation
for lands appropriated by the Government, the basis should be the price or
under an assumption of authority which he does not have, is not a suit
value at the time that it was taken from the owner and appropriated by the
against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not be
Government." 16
sued without its consent."8

3. It would follow then that the prayer in the amended complaint of petitioners WHEREFORE, the lower court decision of January 30, 1969 dismissing the
complaint is reversed and the case remanded to the lower court for
being in the alternative, the lower court, instead of dismissing the same,
proceedings in accordance with law.
22
G.R. No. L-24294 May 3, 1974 engaged in the business of logging in an area situated in Barrio Mabayo,
Municipality of Morong, Bataan and that the American Naval Base authorities
DONALD BAER, Commander U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay, Olongapo, stopped his logging operations. He prayed for a writ of preliminary injunction
Zambales, petitioner, restraining petitioner from interfering with his logging operations. A
vs. restraining order was issued by respondent Judge on November 23, 1964.4
HON. TITO V. TIZON, as Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance Counsel for petitioner, upon instructions of the American Ambassador to the
of Bataan, and EDGARDO GENER, respondents. Philippines, entered their appearance for the purpose of contesting the
jurisdiction of respondent Judge on the ground that the suit was one against
Sycip, Salazar, Luna Manalo & Feliciano for petitioner. a foreign sovereign without its consent.5 Then, on December 12, 1964,
petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, wherein such ground was reiterated. It
was therein pointed out that he is the chief or head of an agency or
A. E. Dacanay for private respondent. instrumentality of the United States of America, with the subject matter of the
action being official acts done by him for and in behalf of the United States of
Office of the Solicitor General Camilo D. Quiason as amicus curiae. America. It was added that in directing the cessation of logging operations by
respondent Gener within the Naval Base, petitioner was entirely within the
scope of his authority and official duty, the maintenance of the security of the
Naval Base and of the installations therein being the first concern and most
FERNANDO, J.:p important duty of the Commander of the Base.6 There was, on December
14, 1964, an opposition and reply to petitioner's motion to dismiss by
respondent Gener, relying on the principle that "a private citizen claiming title
There is nothing novel about the question raised in this certiorari proceeding
and right of possession of certain property may, to recover possession of
against the then Judge Tito V. Tizon, filed by petitioner Donald Baer, then
said property, sue as individuals, officers and agents of the Government, who
Commander of the United States Naval Base, Subic Bay, Olongapo,
are said to be illegally withholding the same from him, though in doing so,
Zambales, seeking to nullify the orders of respondent Judge denying his
said officers and agents claim that they are acting for the Government." That
motion to dismiss a complaint filed against him by the private respondent,
was his basis for sustaining the jurisdiction of respondent Judge.7 Petitioner,
Edgardo Gener, on the ground of sovereign immunity of a foreign power, his
thereafter, on January 12, 1965, made a written offer of documentary
contention being that it was in effect a suit against the United States, which
evidence, including certified copies of telegrams of the Forestry Director to
had not given its consent. The answer given is supplied by a number of
Forestry personnel in Balanga, Bataan dated January 8, and January 11,
cases coming from this Tribunal starting from a 1945 decision, Raquiza v.
1965, directing immediate investigation of illegal timber cutting in Bataan and
Bradford1 to Johnson v. Turner,2 promulgated in 1954. The doctrine of
calling attention to the fact that the records of the office show no new renewal
immunity from suit is of undoubted applicability in this jurisdiction. It cannot
of timber license or temporary extension permits.8 The above
be otherwise, for under the 1935 Constitution, as now, it is expressly made
notwithstanding, respondent Judge, on January 12, 1965, issued an order
clear that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of
granting respondent Gener's application for the issuance of a writ of
international law as part of the law of the Nation."3 As will subsequently be
preliminary injunction and denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the
shown, there was a failure on the part of the lower court to accord deference
opposition to the application for a writ of preliminary injunction.9
and respect to such a basic doctrine, a failure compounded by its refusal to
take note of the absence of any legal right on the part of petitioner. Hence,
certiorari is the proper remedy. A motion for reconsideration having proved futile, this petition for certiorari
was filed with this Court. The prayer was for the nullification and setting aside
of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent Judge in the
The facts are not in dispute. On November 17, 1964, respondent Edgardo
aforesaid Civil Case No. 2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. A
Gener, as plaintiff, filed a complaint for injunction with the Court of First
resolution of March 17, 1965 was issued by this Court requiring respondents
Instance of Bataan against petitioner, Donald Baer, Commander of the
to file an answer and upon petitioner's posting a bond of P5,000.00 enjoining
United States Naval Base in Olongapo. It was docketed as Civil Case No.
them from enforcing such writ of preliminary injunction. The answer was duly
2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. He alleged that he was
forthcoming. It sought to meet the judicial question raised by the legal
23
proposition that a private citizen claiming title and right of possession of a continued: "It is clear that the courts of the Philippines including the Municipal
certain property may, to recover the same, sue as individuals officers and Court of Manila have no jurisdiction over the present case for unlawful
agents of the government alleged to be illegally withholding such property detainer. The question of lack of jurisdiction was raised and interposed at the
even if there is an assertion on their part that they are acting for the very beginning of the action. The U.S. Government has not given its consent
government. Support for such a view is found in the American Supreme to the filing of this suit which is essentially against her, though not in name.
Court decisions of United States v. Lee10 and Land v. Dollar.11 Thus the Moreover, this is not only a case of a citizen filing a suit against his own
issue is squarely joined whether or not the doctrine of immunity from suit Government without the latter's consent but it is of a citizen filing an action
without consent is applicable. Thereafter, extensive memoranda were filed against a foreign government without said government's consent, which
both by petitioner and respondents. In addition, there was a manifestation renders more obvious the lack of jurisdiction of the courts of his country. The
and memorandum of the Republic of the Philippines as amicus curiae where, principles of law behind this rule are so elementary and of such general
after a citation of American Supreme Court decisions going back to Schooner acceptance that we deem it unnecessary to cite authorities in support
Exchange v. M'faddon,12 an 1812 decision, to United States v. Belmont,13 thereof."22 Then came Marvel Building Corporation v. Philippine War
decided in 1937, the plea was made that the petition for certiorari be Damage Commission,23 where respondent, a United States agency
granted.. established to compensate damages suffered by the Philippines during
World War II was held as falling within the above doctrine as the suit against
A careful study of the crucial issue posed in this dispute yields the it "would eventually be a charge against or financial liability of the United
conclusion, as already announced, that petitioner should prevail. States Government because ..., the Commission has no funds of its own for
the purpose of paying money judgments."24 The Syquia ruling was again
explicitly relied upon in Marquez Lim v. Nelson,25 involving a complaint for
1. The invocation of the doctrine of immunity from suit of a foreign state
without its consent is appropriate. More specifically, insofar as alien armed the recovery of a motor launch, plus damages, the special defense
forces is concerned, the starting point is Raquiza v. Bradford, a 1945 interposed being "that the vessel belonged to the United States Government,
that the defendants merely acted as agents of said Government, and that the
decision.14 In dismissing a habeas corpus petition for the release of
United States Government is therefore the real party in interest."26 So it was
petitioners confined by American army authorities, Justice Hilado, speaking
in Philippine Alien Property Administration v. Castelo,27 where it was held
for the Court, cited from Coleman v. Tennessee,15 where it was explicitly
declared: "It is well settled that a foreign army, permitted to march through a that a suit against the Alien Property Custodian and the Attorney General of
friendly country or to be stationed in it, by permission of its government or the United States involving vested property under the Trading with the
Enemy Act is in substance a suit against the United States. To the same
sovereign, is exempt from the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the place."16
effect is Parreno v. McGranery,28 as the following excerpt from the opinion
Two years later, in Tubb and Tedrow v. Griess,17 this Court relied on the
ruling in Raquiza v. Bradford and cited in support thereof excerpts from the of Justice Tuason clearly shows: "It is a widely accepted principle of
international law, which is made a part of the law of the land (Article II,
works of the following authoritative writers: Vattel, Wheaton, Hall, Lawrence,
Oppenhein, Westlake, Hyde, and McNair and Lauterpacht.18 Accuracy Section 3 of the Constitution), that a foreign state may not be brought to suit
demands the clarification that after the conclusion of the Philippine-American before the courts of another state or its own courts without its consent."29
Finally, there is Johnson v. Turner,30 an appeal by the defendant, then
Military Bases Agreement, the treaty provisions should control on such
Commanding General, Philippine Command (Air Force, with office at Clark
matter, the assumption being that there was a manifestation of the
Field) from a decision ordering the return to plaintiff of the confiscated military
submission to jurisdiction on the part of the foreign power whenever
appropriate.19 More to the point is Syquia v. Almeda Lopez,20 where payment certificates known as scrip money. In reversing the lower court
decision, this Tribunal, through Justice Montemayor, relied on Syquia v.
plaintiffs as lessors sued the Commanding General of the United States
Almeda Lopez,31 explaining why it could not be sustained.
Army in the Philippines, seeking the restoration to them of the apartment
buildings they owned leased to United States armed forces stationed in the
Manila area. A motion to dismiss on the ground of non-suability was filed and The solidity of the stand of petitioner is therefore evident. What was sought
upheld by respondent Judge. The matter was taken to this Court in a by private respondent and what was granted by respondent Judge amounted
mandamus proceeding. It failed. It was the ruling that respondent Judge to an interference with the performance of the duties of petitioner in the base
acted correctly considering that the "action must be considered as one area in accordance with the powers possessed by him under the Philippine-
against the U.S. Government."21 The opinion of Justice Montemayor American Military Bases Agreement. This point was made clear in these
24
words: "Assuming, for purposes of argument, that the Philippine Bataan. The license was renewed on July 10, 1963. In 1963, he commenced
Government, through the Bureau of Forestry, possesses the "authority to logging operation inside the United States Naval Base, Subic Bay, but in
issue a Timber License to cut logs" inside a military base, the Bases November 1963 he was apprehended and stopped by the Base authorities
Agreement subjects the exercise of rights under a timber license issued by from logging inside the Base. The renewal of his license expired on July 30,
the Philippine Government to the exercise by the United States of its rights, 1964, and to date his license has not been renewed by the Bureau of
power and authority of control within the bases; and the findings of the Forestry. .. In July 1964, the Mutual Defense Board, a joint Philippines-United
Mutual Defense Board, an agency of both the Philippine and United States States agency established pursuant to an exchange of diplomatic notes
Governments, that "continued logging operation by Mr. Gener within the between the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the United States Ambassador
boundaries of the U.S. Naval Base would not be consistent with the security to provide "direct liaison and consultation between appropriate Philippine and
and operation of the Base," is conclusive upon the respondent Judge. .. The United States authorities on military matters of mutual concern,' advised the
doctrine of state immunity is not limited to cases which would result in a Secretary of Foreign Affairs in writing that: "The enclosed map shows that
pecuniary charge against the sovereign or would require the doing of an the area in which Mr. Gener was logging definitely falls within the boundaries
affirmative act by it. Prevention of a sovereign from doing an affirmative act of the base. This map also depicts certain contiguous and overlapping areas
pertaining directly and immediately to the most important public function of whose functional usage would be interfered with by the logging
any government - the defense of the state is equally as untenable as operations.'"36 Nowhere in the answer of respondents, nor in their
requiring it to do an affirmative act."32 That such an appraisal is not opposed memorandum, was this point met. It remained unrefuted.
to the interpretation of the relevant treaty provision by our government is
made clear in the aforesaid manifestation and memorandum as amicus WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari prayed for is granted, nullifying and
curiae, wherein it joined petitioner for the grant of the remedy prayed for. setting aside the writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent Judge in
Civil Case No. 2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. The injunction
2. There should be no misinterpretation of the scope of the decision reached issued by this Court on March 18, 1965 enjoining the enforcement of the
by this Court. Petitioner, as the Commander of the United States Naval Base aforesaid writ of preliminary injunction of respondent Judge is hereby made
in Olongapo, does not possess diplomatic immunity. He may therefore be permanent. Costs against private respondent Edgardo Gener.
proceeded against in his personal capacity, or when the action taken by him
cannot be imputed to the government which he represents. Thus, after the
Military Bases Agreement, in Miquiabas v. Commanding General33 and
Dizon v. The Commanding General of the Philippine-Ryukus Command,34
both of them being habeas corpus petitions, there was no question as to the
submission to jurisdiction of the respondents. As a matter of fact, in
Miquiabas v. Commanding General,35 the immediate release of the
petitioner was ordered, it being apparent that the general court martial
appointed by respondent Commanding General was without jurisdiction to try
petitioner. Thereafter, in the cited cases of Syquia, Marquez Lim, and
Johnson, the parties proceeded against were American army commanding
officers stationed in the Philippines. The insuperable obstacle to the
jurisdiction of respondent Judge is that a foreign sovereign without its
consent is haled into court in connection with acts performed by it pursuant to
treaty provisions and thus impressed with a governmental character.

3. The infirmity of the actuation of respondent Judge becomes even more


glaring when it is considered that private respondent had ceased to have any
right of entering within the base area. This is made clear in the petition in
these words: "In 1962, respondent Gener was issued by the Bureau of
Forestry an ordinary timber license to cut logs in Barrio Mabayo, Morong,
25
G.R. No. 175888 February 11, 2009 JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, AND INTERIOR AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, Respondents.
SUZETTE NICOLAS y SOMBILON, Petitioner,
vs. DECISION
ALBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs;
RAUL GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice; EDUARDO AZCUNA, J.:
ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary; RONALDO PUNO, in
his capacity as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government;
These are petitions for certiorari, etc. as special civil actions and/or for review
SERGIO APOSTOL, in his capacity as Presidential Legal Counsel; and
of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith v.
L/CPL. DANIEL SMITH, Respondents.
Hon. Benjamin T. Pozon, et al., in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212, dated January 2,
2007.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
The facts are not disputed.
G.R. No. 176051 February 11, 2009
Respondent Lance Corporal (L/CPL) Daniel Smith is a member of the United
JOVITO R. SALONGA, WIGBERTO E. TAADA, JOSE DE LA RAMA, States Armed Forces. He was charged with the crime of rape committed
EMILIO C. CAPULONG, H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., FLORIN HILBAY, and against a Filipina, petitioner herein, sometime on November 1, 2005, as
BENJAMIN POZON, Petitioners, follows:
vs.
DANIEL SMITH, SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, PRESIDENTIAL
The undersigned accused LCpl. Daniel Smith, Ssgt. Chad Brian Carpentier,
LEGAL COUNSEL SERGIO APOSTOL, SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO,
Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr. of the crime of
SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, The Special 16th Division of the
Rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
COURT OF APPEALS, and all persons acting in their capacity,
Republic Act 8353, upon a complaint under oath filed by Suzette S. Nicolas,
Respondents.
which is attached hereto and made an integral part hereof as Annex "A,"
committed as follows:
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
"That on or about the First (1st) day of November 2005, inside the Subic Bay
G.R. No. 176222 February 11, 2009 Freeport Zone, Olongapo City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accuseds (sic), being then members of the United
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), represented by Dr. States Marine Corps, except Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr., conspiring,
Carol Araullo; GABRIELA, represented by Emerenciana de Jesus; confederating together and mutually helping one another, with lewd design
BAYAN MUNA, represented by Rep. Satur Ocampo; GABRIELA and by means of force, threat and intimidation, with abuse of superior
WOMEN'S PARTY, represented by Rep. Liza Maza; KILUSANG MAYO strength and taking advantage of the intoxication of the victim, did then and
UNO (KMU), represented by Elmer Labog; KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sexually abuse and have sexual
NG PILIPINAS (KMP), represented by Willy Marbella; LEAGUE OF intercourse with or carnal knowledge of one Suzette S. Nicolas, a 22-year old
FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), represented by Vencer Crisostomo; and unmarried woman inside a Starex Van with Plate No. WKF-162, owned by
THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER, represented by Atty. Rachel Starways Travel and Tours, with Office address at 8900 P. Victor St.,
Pastores, Petitioners, Guadalupe, Makati City, and driven by accused Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr.,
vs. against the will and consent of the said Suzette S. Nicolas, to her damage
PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as and prejudice.
concurrent Defense Secretary, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO
ERMITA, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, CONTRARY TO LAW."1

26
Pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of As a result, the Makati court ordered Smith detained at the Makati jail until
the Philippines and the United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, the further orders.
United States, at its request, was granted custody of defendant Smith
pending the proceedings. On December 29, 2006, however, defendant Smith was taken out of the
Makati jail by a contingent of Philippine law enforcement agents, purportedly
During the trial, which was transferred from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of acting under orders of the Department of the Interior and Local Government,
Zambales to the RTC of Makati for security reasons, the United States and brought to a facility for detention under the control of the United States
Government faithfully complied with its undertaking to bring defendant Smith government, provided for under new agreements between the Philippines
to the trial court every time his presence was required. and the United States, referred to as the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of
December 19, 2006 which states:
On December 4, 2006, the RTC of Makati, following the end of the trial,
rendered its Decision, finding defendant Smith guilty, thus: The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of
the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the Visiting
WHEREFORE, premises considered, for failure of the prosecution to adduce Forces Agreement signed between our two nations, Lance Corporal Daniel J.
sufficient evidence against accused S/SGT. CHAD BRIAN CARPENTER, Smith, United States Marine Corps, be returned to U.S. military custody at
L/CPL. KEITH SILKWOOD AND L/CPL. DOMINIC DUPLANTIS, all of the US the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
Marine Corps assigned at the USS Essex, are hereby ACQUITTED to the
crime charged.
(Sgd.) Kristie A. Kenney (Sgd.) Alberto G. Romulo
Representative of the United States Representative of the Republic
The prosecution having presented sufficient evidence against accused of America of the Philippines
L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH, also of the US Marine Corps at the USS Essex,
this Court hereby finds him GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the DATE: 12-19-06 DATE: December 19, 2006
crime of RAPE defined under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 (a) of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 8353, and, in accordance with Article 266-
B, first paragraph thereof, hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of and the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of December 22, 2006 which states:
reclusion perpetua together with the accessory penalties provided for under
Article 41 of the same Code. The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and the
Embassy of the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the
Pursuant to Article V, paragraph No. 10, of the Visiting Forces Agreement Visiting Forces Agreement signed between the two nations, upon transfer of
entered into by the Philippines and the United States, accused L/CPL. Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith, United States Marine Corps, from the Makati
DANIEL J. SMITH shall serve his sentence in the facilities that shall, City Jail, he will be detained at the first floor, Rowe (JUSMAG) Building, U.S.
thereafter, be agreed upon by appropriate Philippine and United States Embassy Compound in a room of approximately 10 x 12 square feet. He will
authorities. Pending agreement on such facilities, accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. be guarded round the clock by U.S. military personnel. The Philippine police
SMITH is hereby temporarily committed to the Makati City Jail. and jail authorities, under the direct supervision of the Philippine Department
of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have access to the place of
Accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH is further sentenced to indemnify detention to ensure the United States is in compliance with the terms of the
complainant SUZETTE S. NICOLAS in the amount of 50,000.00 as VFA.
compensatory damages plus 50,000.00 as moral damages.
The matter was brought before the Court of Appeals which decided on
SO ORDERED.2 January 2, 2007, as follows:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, we resolved to DISMISS the


petition for having become moot.3
27
Hence, the present actions. Accordingly, the Philippines had no jurisdiction over these bases except to
the extent allowed by the United States. Furthermore, the RP-US Military
The petitions were heard on oral arguments on September 19, 2008, after Bases Agreement was never advised for ratification by the United States
which the parties submitted their memoranda. Senate, a disparity in treatment, because the Philippines regarded it as a
treaty and had it concurred in by our Senate.
Petitioners contend that the Philippines should have custody of defendant
L/CPL Smith because, first of all, the VFA is void and unconstitutional. Subsequently, the United States agreed to turn over these bases to the
Philippines; and with the expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement
in 1991, the territory covered by these bases were finally ceded to the
This issue had been raised before, and this Court resolved in favor of the
Philippines.
constitutionality of the VFA. This was in Bayan v. Zamora,4 brought by
Bayan, one of petitioners in the present cases.
To prevent a recurrence of this experience, the provision in question was
Against the barriers of res judicata vis--vis Bayan, and stare decisis vis-- adopted in the 1987 Constitution.
vis all the parties, the reversal of the previous ruling is sought on the ground
that the issue is of primordial importance, involving the sovereignty of the The provision is thus designed to ensure that any agreement allowing the
Republic, as well as a specific mandate of the Constitution. presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities in Philippine territory
shall be equally binding on the Philippines and the foreign sovereign State
The provision of the Constitution is Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 which states: involved. The idea is to prevent a recurrence of the situation in which the
terms and conditions governing the presence of foreign armed forces in our
territory were binding upon us but not upon the foreign State.
Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the
Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases,
foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Applying the provision to the situation involved in these cases, the question is
Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when whether or not the presence of US Armed Forces in Philippine territory
pursuant to the VFA is allowed "under a treaty duly concurred in by the
the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the
Senate xxx and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State."
people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a
treaty by the other contracting State.
This Court finds that it is, for two reasons.
The reason for this provision lies in history and the Philippine experience in
regard to the United States military bases in the country. First, as held in Bayan v. Zamora,5 the VFA was duly concurred in by the
Philippine Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the United States
It will be recalled that under the Philippine Bill of 1902, which laid the basis as attested and certified by the duly authorized representative of the United
for the Philippine Commonwealth and, eventually, for the recognition of States government.
independence, the United States agreed to cede to the Philippines all the
territory it acquired from Spain under the Treaty of Paris, plus a few islands The fact that the VFA was not submitted for advice and consent of the United
later added to its realm, except certain naval ports and/or military bases and States Senate does not detract from its status as a binding international
facilities, which the United States retained for itself. agreement or treaty recognized by the said State. For this is a matter of
internal United States law. Notice can be taken of the internationally known
practice by the United States of submitting to its Senate for advice and
This is noteworthy, because what this means is that Clark and Subic and the
consent agreements that are policymaking in nature, whereas those that
other places in the Philippines covered by the RP-US Military Bases
carry out or further implement these policymaking agreements are merely
Agreement of 1947 were not Philippine territory, as they were excluded from
submitted to Congress, under the provisions of the so-called CaseZablocki
the cession and retained by the US.
Act, within sixty days from ratification.6

28
The second reason has to do with the relation between the VFA and the RP- the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the
US Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951. This earlier agreement was United Nations.
signed and duly ratified with the concurrence of both the Philippine Senate
and the United States Senate. Article II. In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty, the
Parties separately and jointly by self-help and mutual aid will maintain and
The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty states:7 develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF THE Article III. The Parties, through their Foreign Ministers or their deputies, will
PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Signed at consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty
Washington, August 30, 1951. and whenever in the opinion of either of them the territorial integrity, political
independence or security of either of the Parties is threatened by external
The Parties of this Treaty armed attack in the Pacific.

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the Article IV. Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on
United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and
governments, and desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its
area. constitutional processes.

Recalling with mutual pride the historic relationship which brought their two Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be
peoples together in a common bond of sympathy and mutual ideals to fight immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such
side-by-side against imperialist aggression during the last war. measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the
measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and
Desiring to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity and their security.
common determination to defend themselves against external armed attack,
so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them Article V. For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the
stands alone in the Pacific area. Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of
either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the
Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.
Desiring further to strengthen their present efforts for collective defense for
the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more
comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area. Article VI. This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting
in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the
Agreeing that nothing in this present instrument shall be considered or United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance
of international peace and security.
interpreted as in any way or sense altering or diminishing any existing
agreements or understandings between the Republic of the Philippines and
the United States of America. Article VII. This Treaty shall be ratified by the Republic of the Philippines and
the United Nations of America in accordance with their respective
Have agreed as follows: constitutional processes and will come into force when instruments of
ratification thereof have been exchanged by them at Manila.
Article I. The parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United
Article VIII. This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Either Party may
Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by
peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and terminate it one year after notice has been given to the other party.
justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relation from
29
In withness whereof the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Noting that from time to time elements of the United States armed forces
Treaty. may visit the Republic of the Philippines;

Done in duplicate at Washington this thirtieth day of August, 1951. Considering that cooperation between the United States and the Republic of
the Philippines promotes their common security interests;
For the Republic of the Philippines:
Recognizing the desirability of defining the treatment of United States
(Sgd.) Carlos P. Romulo personnel visiting the Republic of the Philippines;

(Sgd.) Joaquin M. Elizalde Have agreed as follows:9

(Sgd.) Vicente J. Francisco Accordingly, as an implementing agreement of the RP-US Mutual Defense
Treaty, it was not necessary to submit the VFA to the US Senate for advice
and consent, but merely to the US Congress under the CaseZablocki Act
(Sgd.) Diosdado Macapagal
within 60 days of its ratification. It is for this reason that the US has certified
that it recognizes the VFA as a binding international agreement, i.e., a treaty,
For the United States of America: and this substantially complies with the requirements of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of
our Constitution.10
(Sgd.) Dean Acheson
The provision of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of the Constitution, is complied with by
(Sgd.) John Foster Dulles virtue of the fact that the presence of the US Armed Forces through the VFA
is a presence "allowed under" the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. Since the
(Sgd.) Tom Connally RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty itself has been ratified and concurred in by
both the Philippine Senate and the US Senate, there is no violation of the
(Sgd.) Alexander Wiley8 Constitutional provision resulting from such presence.

Clearly, therefore, joint RP-US military exercises for the purpose of The VFA being a valid and binding agreement, the parties are required as a
developing the capability to resist an armed attack fall squarely under the matter of international law to abide by its terms and provisions.
provisions of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The VFA, which is the
instrument agreed upon to provide for the joint RP-US military exercises, is The VFA provides that in cases of offenses committed by the members of the
simply an implementing agreement to the main RP-US Military Defense US Armed Forces in the Philippines, the following rules apply:
Treaty. The Preamble of the VFA states:
Article V
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines, Criminal Jurisdiction

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the xxx
United Nations and their desire to strengthen international and regional
security in the Pacific area; 6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is
to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military
Reaffirming their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until
1951; completion of all judicial proceedings. United States military authorities shall,
30
upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make Nothing in the Constitution prohibits such agreements recognizing immunity
such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or from jurisdiction or some aspects of jurisdiction (such as custody), in relation
judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been to long-recognized subjects of such immunity like Heads of State, diplomats
charged. In extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its and members of the armed forces contingents of a foreign State allowed to
position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the enter another States territory. On the contrary, the Constitution states that
United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law
judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States as part of the law of the land. (Art. II, Sec. 2).
shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one year
period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year Applying, however, the provisions of VFA, the Court finds that there is a
period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are different treatment when it comes to detention as against custody. The
delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by moment the accused has to be detained, e.g., after conviction, the rule that
Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do governs is the following provision of the VFA:
so.
Article V
Petitioners contend that these undertakings violate another provision of the
Constitution, namely, that providing for the exclusive power of this Court to
Criminal Jurisdiction
adopt rules of procedure for all courts in the Philippines (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5]).
They argue that to allow the transfer of custody of an accused to a foreign
power is to provide for a different rule of procedure for that accused, which xxx
also violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution (Art. III, Sec. 1.).
Sec. 10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United
Again, this Court finds no violation of the Constitution. States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate
Philippines and United States authorities. United States personnel serving
sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material
The equal protection clause is not violated, because there is a substantial assistance.
basis for a different treatment of a member of a foreign military armed forces
allowed to enter our territory and all other accused.11
It is clear that the parties to the VFA recognized the difference between
custody during the trial and detention after conviction, because they provided
The rule in international law is that a foreign armed forces allowed to enter for a specific arrangement to cover detention. And this specific arrangement
ones territory is immune from local jurisdiction, except to the extent agreed
clearly states not only that the detention shall be carried out in facilities
upon. The Status of Forces Agreements involving foreign military units
agreed on by authorities of both parties, but also that the detention shall be
around the world vary in terms and conditions, according to the situation of
"by Philippine authorities." Therefore, the Romulo-Kenney Agreements of
the parties involved, and reflect their bargaining power. But the principle
December 19 and 22, 2006, which are agreements on the detention of the
remains, i.e., the receiving State can exercise jurisdiction over the forces of accused in the United States Embassy, are not in accord with the VFA itself
the sending State only to the extent agreed upon by the parties.12 because such detention is not "by Philippine authorities."

As a result, the situation involved is not one in which the power of this Court
Respondents should therefore comply with the VFA and negotiate with
to adopt rules of procedure is curtailed or violated, but rather one in which, as
representatives of the United States towards an agreement on detention
is normally encountered around the world, the laws (including rules of facilities under Philippine authorities as mandated by Art. V, Sec. 10 of the
procedure) of one State do not extend or apply except to the extent agreed VFA.
upon to subjects of another State due to the recognition of extraterritorial
immunity given to such bodies as visiting foreign armed forces.
Next, the Court addresses the recent decision of the United States Supreme
Court in Medellin v. Texas ( 552 US ___ No. 06-984, March 25, 2008), which

31
held that treaties entered into by the United States are not automatically part Secondly, the VFA is covered by implementing legislation, namely, the Case-
of their domestic law unless these treaties are self-executing or there is an Zablocki Act, USC Sec. 112(b), inasmuch as it is the very purpose and intent
implementing legislation to make them enforceable.1avvphi1 of the US Congress that executive agreements registered under this Act
within 60 days from their ratification be immediately implemented. The
On February 3, 2009, the Court issued a Resolution, thus: parties to these present cases do not question the fact that the VFA has
been registered under the Case-Zablocki Act.1avvphi1
"G.R. No. 175888 (Suzette Nicolas y Sombilon v. Alberto Romulo, et al.);
G.R. No. 176051 (Jovito R. Salonga, et al. v. Daniel Smith, et al.); and G.R. In sum, therefore, the VFA differs from the Vienna Convention on Consular
No. 176222 (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan [BAYAN], et al. v. President Relations and the Avena decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al.). subject matter of the Medellin decision. The Convention and the ICJ decision
are not self-executing and are not registrable under the Case-Zablocki Act,
and thus lack legislative implementing authority.
The parties, including the Solicitor General, are required to submit within
three (3) days a Comment/Manifestation on the following points:
Finally, the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty was advised and consented to by
the US Senate on March 20, 1952, as reflected in the US Congressional
1. What is the implication on the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement
Record, 82nd Congress, Second Session, Vol. 98 Part 2, pp. 2594-2595.
of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Jose Ernesto Medellin v.
Texas, dated March 25, 2008, to the effect that treaty stipulations
that are not self-executory can only be enforced pursuant to The framers of the Constitution were aware that the application of
legislation to carry them into effect; and that, while treaties may international law in domestic courts varies from country to country.
comprise international commitments, they are not domestic law
unless Congress has enacted implementing statutes or the treaty As Ward N. Ferdinandusse states in his Treatise, DIRECT APPLICATION
itself conveys an intention that it be "self-executory" and is ratified on OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW IN NATIONAL COURTS, some
these terms? countries require legislation whereas others do not.

2. Whether the VFA is enforceable in the US as domestic law, either It was not the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting
because it is self-executory or because there exists legislation to Article XVIII, Sec. 25, to require the other contracting State to convert their
implement it. system to achieve alignment and parity with ours. It was simply required that
the treaty be recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State. With that,
3. Whether the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951 it becomes for both parties a binding international obligation and the
was concurred in by the US Senate and, if so, is there proof of the enforcement of that obligation is left to the normal recourse and processes
US Senate advice and consent resolution? Peralta, J., no part." under international law.

After deliberation, the Court holds, on these points, as follows: Furthermore, as held by the US Supreme Court in Weinberger v. Rossi, 13 an
executive agreement is a "treaty" within the meaning of that word in
international law and constitutes enforceable domestic law vis--vis the
First, the VFA is a self-executing Agreement, as that term is defined in
United States. Thus, the US Supreme Court in Weinberger enforced the
Medellin itself, because the parties intend its provisions to be enforceable,
precisely because the Agreement is intended to carry out obligations and provisions of the executive agreement granting preferential employment to
undertakings under the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. As a matter of fact, Filipinos in the US Bases here.
the VFA has been implemented and executed, with the US faithfully
complying with its obligation to produce L/CPL Smith before the court during Accordingly, there are three types of treaties in the American system:
the trial.

32
1. Art. II, Sec. 2 treaties These are advised and consented to by
the US Senate in accordance with Art. II, Sec. 2 of the US
Constitution.

2. ExecutiveCongressional Agreements: These are joint


agreements of the President and Congress and need not be
submitted to the Senate.

3. Sole Executive Agreements. These are agreements entered into


by the President. They are to be submitted to Congress within sixty
(60) days of ratification under the provisions of the Case-Zablocki
Act, after which they are recognized by the Congress and may be
implemented.

As regards the implementation of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, military


aid or assistance has been given under it and this can only be done through
implementing legislation. The VFA itself is another form of implementation of
its provisions.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED, and the Court of


Appeals Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212 dated January 2, 2007 is
MODIFIED. The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of
the Philippines and the United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, is
UPHELD as constitutional, but the Romulo-Kenney Agreements of
December 19 and 22, 2006 are DECLARED not in accordance with the VFA,
and respondent Secretary of Foreign Affairs is hereby ordered to forthwith
negotiate with the United States representatives for the appropriate
agreement on detention facilities under Philippine authorities as provided in
Art. V, Sec. 10 of the VFA, pending which the status quo shall be maintained
until further orders by this Court.

The Court of Appeals is hereby directed to resolve without delay the related
matters pending therein, namely, the petition for contempt and the appeal of
L/CPL Daniel Smith from the judgment of conviction.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

33
G.R. Nos. L-71998-99 June 2, 1993 occupying a total area of one thousand one hundred sixty-five (1,165) square
meters of their land.
EMILIANO R. DE LOS SANTOS, SPOUSES NORMA A. PADILLA and
ISIDORO L. PADILLA and the HEIRS OF FRANCISCO DAYRIT, Petitioners added that aside from the road, the said respondents also
petitioners, constructed, without their knowledge and consent, an artificial creek twenty
vs. three meters and twenty centimeters (23.20) wide and one hundred twenty-
THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, HON. JUDGE eight meters and sixty-nine centimeters long (128.69) occupying an area of
CICERRO C. JURADO and EDILBERTO CADIENTE, respondents. two thousand nine hundred six (2,906) square meters of their property.
Constructed in a zig-zag manner, the creek meandered through their
Isidoro L. Padilla for petitioners. property.

Joaquin G. Mendoza for E. Cadiente. Alleging that it completed, the road and the creek would "serve no public
profitable and practicable purpose but for respondents' personal profit, to the
great damage and prejudice of the taxpayers and the petitioners," the same
petitioners invoked their rights under Art. IV Secs. 1 and 2, of the Bill of
Rights of the 1973 Constitution and prayed for the issuance of restraining
ROMERO, J.: order or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the construction. They also
prayed that after hearing on the merits, judgment be rendered: (1) declaring
Questioned in the instant petition for review on certiorari is the Decision of illegal the construction of the road and artificial creek which was made
the then Intermediate Appellate Court1 affirming the December 1, 1982 order without their knowledge and consent, "without due process and without just
of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXII at Pasig2 in civil compensation and in violation of the provision of statute law and of the
Cases Nos. 46800 which states in toto: Philippine Constitution;" (2) issuing a permanent prohibition; (3) ordering
respondents to pay petitioners "jointly and collectively" P15,00.00 as
It appearing that the construction of the road and creek in attorney's fees and P600.00 for each appearance, and (4) ordering the
question was a project undertaken under the authority of the respondents to pay the costs of the suit.3
Minister of Public Works, the funding of which was the
responsibility of the National Government and that the An action for damages, Civil Case No. 46801 on the other hand, was
defendants impleaded herein are Edilberto Cadiente and founded on Art. 32, paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Civil Code and the
Nestor Agustin and not the Republic of the Philippines which constitutional provisions on the right against deprivation of property without
cannot be sued without its consent, this court hereby due process of law and without just compensation.
resolves to dismiss these two (2) cases without
pronouncement as to costs. Thereafter, the two cases were consolidated. On November 11, 1982, the
Solicitor General filed a motion to dismiss both cases on the following
SO ORDERED. grounds: (a) with respect to Civil Case No. 46800, the pendency of Civil
Case No. 46801 which involved the same parties and cause of action; (b)
Civil Cases Nos. 46800 and 46801 were both filed on July 13, 1982 by both cases were in reality suits against the state which could not be
petitioners who are co-owners under TCT No. 329945 of a parcel of land maintained without the State's consent; and (c) lack of cause of action.
located in Barrio Wawa, Binangonan, Rizal with an area of nineteen
thousand sixty-one (19,061) square meters. In Civil Case No. 46800, Consequently, the lower court issued the aforequoted Order of December 1,
petitioners alleged in the petition for prohibition that in October 1981, without 1982. Their motion for the reconsideration of said Order having been denied,
their knowledge or consent, Lorenzo Cadiente, a private contractor and the petitioners elevated (to) the cases to this Court through an "appeal by
Provincial Engineer of Rizal constructed a road nine (9) meters wide and one certiorari" which was docketed as G. R. No. 63610. The Second Division of
hundred twenty-eight meters and seventy centimeters (128.70) long this Court, however, referred the cases to the then Intermediate Appellate
34
Court pursuant to Sec. 16 of the Interim Rules.4 In due course, the Appellate indicated by the governing law at the time, a complaint would
court rendered a Decision on May 22, 1985 which disposed of the cases have been filed by it, and only upon payment of the
thus: compensation fixed by the judgment, or after tender to the
party entitled to such payment of the amount fixed, may it
Accordingly, the two actions cannot be maintained. They are "have the right to enter in and upon the land so condemned"
in reality suits against the state which has not given its to appropriate the same to the public use defined in the
consent to be sued (Minister [sic] vs. CFI, 40 SCRA 464; judgment. If there were an observance of procedural
Isberto vs. Raquiza, 67 SCRA 116; Begosa v. Chairman, regularity, petitioners would not be in the said plaint they are
PVA, 32 SCRA 466). Appellants' remedy lies elsewhere. now. It is unthinkable then that precisely because there was
a failure to abide by what the law requires, the government
would stand to benefit. It just as important, if not more so,
Appellants assert that the taking of their property in the
that there be fidelity to legal norms on the part of the
manner alleged in these two cases was without due process
officialdom if the rule of law were to be maintained. It is not
of law. This is not correct. The appealed order has not
closed the door to appellants right, if any, to just too much to say that when the government takes any
compensation for the alleged area of their land which was property for public use, which is conditioned upon the
payment of just compensation, to be judicially ascertained, it
expropriated. The court below dismissed the cases for lack
makes manifest that it submits to the jurisdiction of a court.
of consent on the part of the state to be sued herein. We
There is no thought then that the doctrine of immunity from
repeat appellants' remedy for just compensation lies
suit could still be appropriately invoked.
elsewhere.

We find the facts of the Ministerio case on all fours with the instant cases
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is in full accord with
insofar as the fact that the respondent government officials executed a
the evidence and the law and is hereby therefore affirmed in
shortcut in appropriating petitioners' property for public use is concerned. As
all its parts. Costs against appellants.
in the Amigable case, no expropriation proceedings were initiated before
construction of the projects began. In like manner, nowhere in his pleadings
SO ORDERED.5 in the cases at bar does the Solicitor General mention that the fact that
expropriation proceedings had in fact been undertaken before the road and
Consequently, petitioners elevated the cases to this Court through a petition artificial creek were constructed. Thus, quoting the answer of the defendants
for review on certiorari. The petition is anchored on the ruling of the Court in in Civil Case No. 46801, the Solicitor General summarized the facts which
Amigable v. Cuenca6 which states: ". . . . where the government takes away defendants considered as constituting justification for the construction as
property from a private landowner for public use without going through the follows:
legal process of expropriation or negotiated sale," a suit may properly be
maintained against the government. 10. The construction of the road and creek in question on the
property which at the time was said to be public property,
We hold for the petitioners. was initiated, and construction effected, through the usual
and ordinary course, as shown by the following:
That the principle of state immunity from suit cannot be invoked to defeat
petitioners' claim has long been settled. In Ministerio v. Court of First a. November 5, 1979 Engr. Data who
Instance of Cebu,7 the Court held: was the incumbent District Engineer
submitted (thru channels) plans, program of
. . . . The doctrine of governmental immunity from suit cannot works and detailed estimates for approval of
serve as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice on a higher authorities, thru the initiation of Mayor
citizen. Had the government followed the procedure Ynares and Assemblyman Gilberto Duavit;

35
b. February 18, 1980 Regional Director k. November 23, 1982 P249,000.00 was
Eduardo L. Lagunilla, MPW Region IV, released for improvement (deepening and
EDSA, Quezon City endorsed said request diverting of flow) of Binangonan River which
to the Minister of Public Works;. was a complimentary structure of
Binangonan port system;
c. February 13, 1981 Assemblyman
Gilberto Duavit sent a hand-written follow-up l. April 9, 1982 Implementation was
note regarding the project; started. Contract for this project was
approved by the Regional Director in favor
d. June 17, 1981 The undersigned of EDILBERTO CADIENTE
defendant Nestor Agustin was designated CONSTRUCTION;
Chief Civil Engineer of the Rizal Engineer
District, Vice Engr. Cresencio Data who m. May 21, 1982 Deepening slightly of
reached his compulsory retirement age; the adjacent portion of the rock bulkhead
was completed.
e. September 23, 1981 Funds in the
amount of P588,000.00 was released for 11. The construction of the structures was done in good
partial implementation of the project. The faith;
total amount requested was P1,200,000. 00;
The construction of the roadway and deepening of the creek
f. October 19, 1981 The undersigned was designated to generate for the municipality of
submitted a request to the MPWH Central Binangonan, Rizal more benefits in the form of substantial
Office seeking authority to effect revenue from fishing industry, parking area, market rentals,
implementation of the project; development site, and road system improvements. The area
covered by said public improvements is part of the Laguna
g. October 29, 1981 The Regional Lake area which is submerged in water even during dry
Director approved the plans and program of season. The municipal mayor of Binangonan, Rizal stated
works for the project in the amount of that said area is public property.8
P588,000.00;
Public respondents' belief that the property involved is public, even if
h. November 11, 1981 The Honorable buttressed by statements of other public officials, is no reason for the unjust
Minister Jesus S. Hipolito granted the taking of petitioners' property. As TCT No. 329945 shows, the property was
request to undertake the implementation of registered under the Torrens system in the names of "Emiliano R. de los
the project; Santos, married to Corazon Dayrit; and Norma Alabastro, married to Isidro L.
Padilla" as early as March 29, 1971. Had the public respondents, including
the other officials involved in the construction, performed their functions by
i. November 25, 1981 Project
exercising even the ordinary diligence expected of them as public officials,
implementation was started;
they would not have failed to note that the property is a private one. A public
infrastructure losses its laudability if, in the process of undertaking it, private
j. March 3, 1982 Construction of rock rights are disregarded. In this connection, the Court said in Republic v.
bulkhead was completed; Sandiganbayan:9

36
It can hardly be doubted that in exercising the right of
eminent domain, the State exercises its jus imperii, as
distinguished from its proprietary rights of jus gestionis. Yet,
even in that area, it has been held that where private
property has been taken in expropriation without just
compensation being paid, the defense of immunity from suit
cannot be set up by the State against an action for payment
by the owner.

Public respondents' assertion that the project had been completed on May
21, 1982 meets strong opposition from the petitioners who insist that the
project "until now is not yet finished."10 This factual issue needs
determination which only the trial court can undertake. Thus, the need for a
full blown trial on the merits. We do not subscribe to the appellate court's
suggestion that the remedy of the petitioners "lies elsewhere."

The filing of another case to determine just compensation is superfluous. The


issue may be threshed out below for practical reasons in the event that it is
shown later that it is no longer possible to prohibit the public respondents
from continuing with the public work. As held in the Amigable case, damages
may be awarded the petitioners in the form of legal interest on the price of
the land to be reckoned from the time of the unlawful taking.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED and Civil Cases Nos. 46800
and 46801 shall be REMANDED to the lower court for trial on the merits after
the Republic of the Philippines shall have been impleaded as defendant in
both cases.

37
G.R. No. L-48214 December 19, 1978 On its face, such a submission carries persuasion. Upon further reflection,
this Tribunal is impressed with the unique aspect of this petition for certiorari,
ILDEFONSO SANTIAGO, represented by his Attorney-in-Fact, dealing as it does with a suit for the revocation of a donation to the Republic,
ALFREDO T. SANTIAGO, petitioner, which allegedly fatted to conform with what was agreed to by the donee. If an
vs. order of dismissal would suffice, then the element of unfairness enters, the
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, facts alleged being hypothetically admitted. It is the considered opinion of this
represented by the Director, Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Regional Court then that to conform to the high dictates of equity and justice, the
Director, Region IX, Zamboanga City, respondent, presumption of consent could be indulged in safely. That would serve to
accord to petitioner as plaintiff, at the very least, the right to be heard.
certiorari lies.
Ahmad D. Sahak for petitioner.

Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Octavio R. 1. This is not to deny the obstacle posed by the constitutional provision. It is
Ramirez and Solicitor Mariano M. Martinez for respondents. expressed in language plain and unmistakable: "The State may not be sued
without its consent. 8 The Republic cannot be proceeded against unless it
allows itself to be sued. Neither can a department, bureau, agency, office, or
instrumentality of the government where the suit, according to the then
Justice, now Chief Justice, Castro in Del Mar v. Philippine Veterans
FERNANDO, J.: Administration, 9 may result "in adverse consequences to the public treasury,
whether in the disbursements of funds or loss of property. 10 Such a doctrine
The first impression yielded by a perusal of this petition for certiorari is its was reiterated in the following cases: Republic v. Villasor, 11 Sayson v.
inherent weakness considering the explicit provision in the present Singson, 12 Director of the Bureau of Printing v. Francisco, 13 and Republic
Constitution prohibiting a suit against the Republic without its consent. 1 v. Purisima. 14
Here petitioner Ildefonso Santiago 2 filed on August 9, 1976 an action in the
Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City naming as defendant the 2. It is contended by counsel for petitioner that the above constitutional
government of the Republic of the Philippines represented by the Director of provision would be given a retroactive application in this case if the suit for
the Bureau of Plant Industry. 3 His plea was for the revocation of a deed of the revocation of donation were dismissed. That is not the case at all. In
donation executed by him and his spouse in January of 1971, 4 with the Republic v. Purisima, this Court made clear that such a basic postulate is
Bureau of Plant Industry as the donee. As alleged in such complaint, such part and parcel of the system of government implanted in the Philippines
Bureau, contrary to the terms of the donation, failed to "install lighting from the time of the acquisition of sovereignty by the United States, and
facilities and water system on the property donated and to build an office therefore, was implicit in the 1935 Constitution even in the absence of any
building and parking [lot] thereon which should have been constructed and explicit language to that effect. This it did in a citation from Switzerland
ready for occupancy on or before December 7, 1974. 5 That led him to General Insurance Co., Ltd. v. Republic of the Philippines: 15 "The doctrine
conclude that under the circumstances, he was exempt from compliance with of non-suability recognized in this jurisdiction even prior to the effectivity of
such an explicit constitutional command. The lower court, in the order the [1935] Constitution is a logical corollary of the positivist concept of law
challenged in this petition, was of a different view. It sustained a motion to which, to paraphrase Holmes, negates the assertion of any legal right as
dismiss on the part of the defendant Republic of the Philippines, now named against the state, in itself the source of the law on which such a right may be
as one of the respondents, the other respondent being the Court of First predicated. Nor is this all. Even if such a principle does give rise to problems,
Instance of Zamboanga City, Branch II. It premised such an order on the considering the vastly expanded role of government enabling it to engage in
settled "rule that the state cannot be sued without its consent. This is so, business pursuits to promote the general welfare, it is not obeisance to the
because the New Constitution of the Philippines expressly provides that the analytical school of thought alone that calls for its continued applicability. 16
state may not be sued without its consent. 6 Solicitor General Estelito P. That is the teaching of the leading case of Mobil Philippines Exploration, Inc.
Mendoza, 7 in the com ment on the petition filed with this Court, is for the v. Customs Arrastre Service, 17 promulgated in December of 1966. As a
affirmance of the order of dismissal of respondent Court precisely to accord matter of fact, the Switzerland General Insurance Co. decision was the thirty-
deference to the above categorical constitutional mandate. seventh of its kind after Mobil. Clearly, then, the contention that to dismiss
38
the suit would be to give the applicable constitutional provision a retroactive decided the way it was. The remedy, where the liability is based on contract,
effect is, to put it at its mildest, untenable. according to this Court, speaking through Justice J. P. Bengzon, is for
plaintiff to file a claim with the general office in accordance with the
3. Petitioner's counsel invoked Santos v. Santos, 18 a 1952 decision. A more controlling statute, Commonwealth Act No. 327. 32 To repeat, that doctrine
thorough analysis ought to have cautioned him against reliance on such a has been adhered to ever since. The latest case in point is Travelers
case. It was therein clearly pointed out that the government entity involved Indemnity Company v. Barber Steamship Lines, Inc. 33 Justice Aquino's
was originally the National Airports Corporation. Thereafter, it "was abolished opinion concluded with this paragraph: "It is settled that the Bureau of
by Executive Order No. 365, series of 1950, and in its place and stead the Customs, acting as part of the machinery of the national government in the
Civil Aeronautics Administration was created and took over all the assets and operation of the arrastre service, is immune from suit under the doctrine of
assumed all the liabilities of the abolished corporation. The Civil Aeronautics non-suability of the State. The claimant's remedy to recover the loss or
Administration, even if it is not a juridical entity, cannot legally prevent a party damage to the goods under the custody of the customs arrastre service is to
or parties from enforcing their proprietary rights under the cloak or shield of file a claim with the Commission in Audit as contemplated in Act No. 3083
lack of juridical personality, because to took over all the powers and and Commonwealth Act No. 327. 34 With the explicit provision found in the
assumed all the obligations of the defunct corporation which had entered into present Constitution, the fundamental principle of non-suability becomes
the contract in question." 19 Then came National Shipyard and Steel even more exigent in its command.
Corporation v. Court of Industrial Relations, 20 a 1963 decision, where the
then Justice, later Chief Justice, Concepcion, as ponente, stated that a 5. The reliance on Santos v. Santos as a prop for this petition having failed, it
government-owned and controlled corporation "has a personality of its own would ordinarily follow that this suit cannot prosper. Nonetheless, as set forth
distinct and separate from that of the government. ... Accordingly, it may sue at the outset, there is a novel aspect that suffices to call for a contrary
and be sued and may be subjected to court processes just like any other conclusion. It would be manifestly unfair for the Republic, as donee, alleged
corporation. (Section 13, Act 1459, as amended). 21 In three recent to have violated the conditions under which it received gratuitously certain
decisions, Philippine National Bank v. Court of Industrial Relations, 22 property, thereafter to put as a barrier the concept of non-suitability. That
Philippine National Bank v. Honorable Judge Pabalan, 23 and Philippine would be a purely one-sided arrangement offensive to one's sense of justice.
National Railways v. Union de Maquinistas, 24 this constitutional provision on Such conduct, whether proceeding from an individual or governmental
non-suability was unavailing in view of the suit being against a government- agency, is to be condemned. As a matter of fact, in case it is the latter that is
owned or controlled corporation. That point apparently escaped the attention culpable, the affront to decency is even more manifest. The government, to
of counsel for petitioner. Hence Santos v. Santos is hardly controlling. paraphrase Justice Brandeis, should set the example. If it is susceptible to
the charge of having acted dishonorably, then it forfeits public trust-and
4. It is to be noted further that the trend against the interpretation sought to rightly so.
be fastened in the broad language of Santos v. Santos is quite discernible.
Not long after, in Araneta v. Hon. M. Gatmaitan, 25 decided in 1957, it was 6. Fortunately, the constitutional provision itself snows a waiver. Where there
held that an action [against] Government officials, is essentially one against is consent, a suit may be filed. Consent need not be express. It can be
the Government, ... . 26 In the same year, this Court, in Angat River Irrigation implied. So it was more than implied in Ministerio v. Court of First Instance of
System v. Angat River Workers 27 Union, after referring to the "basic and Cebu: 35 "The doctrine of governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as
fundamental principle of the law that the Government cannot be sued before an instrument for perpetrating an injustice on a citizen. 36 The fact that this
courts of justice without its consent," pointed out that "this privilege of non- decision arose from a suit against the Public Highways Commissioner and
suability of the Government" covers with the mantle of its protection "an the Auditor General for failure of the government to pay for land necessary to
entity," in this case, the Angat River Irrigation System. 28 Then, in 1960, widen a national highway, the defense of immunity without the consent
came Lim v. Brownell, Jr., 29 where there was a reaffirmation of the doctrine proving unavailing, is not material. The analogy is quite obvious. Where the
that a "claim [constituting] a charge against, or financial liability to, the government ordinarily benefited by the taking of the land, the failure to
Government cannot be entertained by the courts except with the consent of institute the necessary condemnation proceedings should not be a bar to an
said government. 30 Bureau of Printing v. Bureau of Printing Employees ordinary action for the collection of the just compensation due. Here, the
Association 31 came a year later; it reiterated such a doctrine. It was not alleged failure to abide by the conditions under which a donation was given
surprising therefore that in 1966, Mobil Philippines Exploration, Inc. was should not prove an insuperable obstacle to a civil action, the consent
39
likewise being presumed. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact that
while a donation partakes of a contract, there is no money claim, and
therefore reliance on Commonwealth Act No. 327 would be futile.

7. Our decision, it must be emphasized, goes no further than to rule that a


donor, with the Republic or any of its agency being the donee, is entitled to
go to court in case of an alleged breach of the conditions of such donation.
He has the right to be heard. Under the circumstances, the fundamental
postulate of non-suability cannot stand in the way. It is made to
accommodate itself to the demands of procedural due process, which is the
negation of arbitrariness and inequity. The government, in the final analysis,
is the beneficiary. It thereby manifests its adherence to the highest ethical
standards, which can only be ignored at the risk of losing the confidence of
the people, the repository of the sovereign power. The judiciary under this
circumstance has the grave responsibility of living up to the ideal of
objectivity and impartiality, the very essence of the rule of law. Only by
displaying the neutrality expected of an arbiter, even if it happens to be one
of the departments of a litigant, can the decision arrived at, whatever it may
be, command respect and be entitled to acceptance.

WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari prayed for is granted and the order of
dismissal of October 20, 1977 is nullified, set aside and declared to be
without force and effect. The Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City,
Branch II, is hereby directed to proceed with this case, observing the
procedure set forth in the Rules of Court. No costs.

40
G.R. No. 84607 March 19, 1993 MARCELO SANTOS, EMIL SAYAO, BAYANI UMALI, REMIGIO MAHALIN,
BONG MANLULO, ARMANDO MATIENZO, CARLO MEDINA, LITO
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GEN. RAMON MONTANO, GEN. NOVENARIO, and ROSELLA ROBALE, respondents.
ALFREDO LIM, GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL. EDGAR DULA
TORRES, COL. CEZAR NAZARENO, MAJ. FILEMON GASMEN, PAT. G.R. No. 84645 March 19, 1993
NICANOR ABANDO, PFC SERAFIN CEBU, JR., GEN. BRIGIDO
PAREDES, COL. ROGELIO MONFORTE, PFC ANTONIO LUCERO, PAT. ERLINDA C. CAYLAO, ANATALIA ANGELES PEREZ, MYRNA
JOSE MENDIOLA, PAT. NELSON TUASON, POLICE CORPORAL BAUTISTA, CIPRIANA EVANGELIO, ELMA GRAMPA, AMELIA
PANFILO ROGOS, POLICE LT. JUAN B. BELTRAN, PAT. NOEL GUTIERREZ, NEMESIO LAKINDANUM, PURITA YUMUL, MIGUEL
MANAGBAO, MARINE THIRD CLASS TRAINEE (3CT) NOLITO NOGATO, ARABE, TERESITA ARJONA, RONALDO CAMPOMANES AND
3CT ALEJANDRO B. NAGUIO, JR., EFREN ARCILLAS, 3CT AGERICO CARMENCITA ARDONI VDA. DE CAMPOMANES, ROGELIO DOMUNICO,
LUNA, 3CT BASILIO BORJA, 3CT MANOLITO LUSPO, 3CT CRISTITUTO in their capacity as heirs of the deceased (ROBERTO C. CAYLAO,
GERVACIO, 3CT MANUEL DELA CRUZ, JR., MARINE (CDC) BN., (CIVIL SONNY "BOY" PEREZ, DIONESIO GRAMPA, ANGELITO GUTIERREZ,
DISTURBANCE CONTROL), MOBILE DISPERSAL TEAM (MDT), LT. BERNABE LAKINDANUM, ROBERTO YUMUL, LEOPOLDO ALONZO,
ROMEO PAQUINTO, LT. LAONGLAANG GOCE, MAJ. DEMETRIO DE LA ADELFA ARIBE, DANILO ARJONA, VICENTE CAMPOMANES, RONILO
CRUZ, POLICE CAPTAIN RODOLFO NAVAL, JOHN DOE, RICHARD DOMUNICO) respectively; and (names of sixty-two injured victims)
DOE, ROBERTO DOE AND OTHER DOES, petitioners, EDDIE AGUINALDO, FELICISIMO ALBASIA, NAPOLEON BAUTISTA,
vs. DANILO CRUZ, EDDIE MENSOLA, ALBERT PITALBO, VICENTE ROSEL,
HON. EDILBERTO G. SANDOVAL, Regional Trial Court of Manila, RUBEN CARRIEDO, JOY CRUZ, HONORIO LABAMBA, JR. EFREN
Branch IX, ERLINDA C. CAYLAO, ANATALIA ANGELES PEREZ, MYRNA MACARAIG, SOLOMON MANALOTO, ROMEO DURAN, NILO TAGUBAT,
BAUTISTA, CIPRIANA EVANGELIO, ELMA GRAMPA, AMELIA JUN CARSELLAR, JOEY CLEMENTE, GERARDO COYOCA, LUISITO
GUTIERREZ, NEMESIO LAKINDANUM, PURITA YUMUL, MIGUEL DACO, BENJAMIN DELA CRUZ, ARTHUR FONTANILLA, WILSON
ARABE, TERESITA ARJONA, RONALDO CAMPOMANES AND GARCIA, CARLOS SIRAY, JOSE PERRAS TOMAS VALLOS, ARNOLD
CARMENCITA ARDONI VDA. DE CAMPOMANES, ROGELIO DOMUNICO, ENAJE, MARIANITA DIMAPILIS, FRANCISCO ANGELES, MARCELO
in their capacity as heirs of the deceased (ROBERTO C. CAYLAO, ESGUERRA, JOSE FERRER, RODEL DE GUIA, ELVIS MENDOZA,
SONNY "BOY" PEREZ, DIONESIO BAUTISTA, DANTE EVANGELIO, VICTORINO QUIJANO, JOEY ADIME, RESIENO ADUL, ALBERTO
ADELFA ARIBE, DANILO ARJONA, VICENTE CAMPOMANES, RONILO TARSONA, CARLOS ALCANTARA, MAMERTO ALIAS, EMELITO
DOMUNICO) respectively; and (names of sixty-two injured victims) ALMONTE, BENILDA ALONUEVO, EMMA ABADILLO, REYNALDO
EDDIE AGUINALDO, FELICISIMO ALBASIA, NAPOLEON BAUTISTA, CABALLES, JR., JAIME CALDETO, FABIAN CANTELEJO, RODRIGO
DANILO CRUZ, EDDIE MENSOLA, ALBERT PITALBO, VICENTE ROSEL, CARABARA, ENRIQUE DELGADO, JUN DELOS SANTOS, MARIO
RUBEN CARRIEDO, JOY CRUZ, HONORIO LABAMBA, JR., EFREN DEMASACA, FRANCISCO GONZALES, ERNESTO GONZALES, RAMIRO
MACARAIG, SOLOMON MANALOTO, ROMEO DURAN, NILO TAGUBAT, JAMIL, JUAN LUCENA, PERLITO SALAYSAY, JOHNNY SANTOS,
JUN CARSELLAR, JOEY CLEMENTE, GERARDO COYOCA, LUISITO MARCELO SANTOS, EMIL SAYAO, BAYANI UMALI, REMIGIO MAHALIN,
DACO, BENJAMIN DELA CRUZ, ARTHUR FONTANILLA, WILSON BONG MANLULO, ARMANDO MATIENZO, CARLO MEDINA, LITO
GARCIA, CARLOS SIRAY, JOSE PERRAS, TOMAS VALLOS, ARNOLD NOVENARIO, ROSELLA ROBALE, petitioners,
ENAJE, MARIANITA DIMAPILIS, FRANCISCO ANGELES, MARCELO vs.
ESGUERRA, JOSE FERRER, RODEL DE GUIA, ELVIS MENDOZA, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, and HONORABLE EDILBERTO G.
VICTORIANO QUIJANO, JOEY ADIME, RESIENO ADUL, ALBERTO SANDOVAL, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 9, respondents.
TARSONA, CARLOS ALCANTARA, MAMERTO ALIAS, EMELITO
ALMONTE, BENILDA ALONUEVO, EMMA ABADILLO, REYNALDO
The Solicitor General for the Republic of the Philippines.
CABALLES, JR., JAIME CALDETO, FABIAN CANTELEJO, RODRIGO
CARABARA, ENRIQUE DELGADO, JUN DELOS SANTOS, MARIO
DEMASACA, FRANCISCO GONZALES, ERNESTO GONZALES, RAMIRO Structural Alternative Legal Assistance for Grassroots for petitioners in
JAMIL, JUAN LUCENA, PERLITO SALAYSAY, JOHNNY SANTOS, 84645 & private respondents in 84607.

41
On the other hand, the Order3 , dated August 8, 1988, denied the motions
filed by both parties, for a reconsideration of the abovecited Order,
CAMPOS, JR., J.: respondent Judge finding no cogent reason to disturb the said order.

People may have already forgotten the tragedy that transpired on The massacre was the culmination of eight days and seven nights of
January 22, 1987. It is quite ironic that then, some journalists called it a encampment by members of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas
Black Thursday, as a grim reminder to the nation of the misfortune that (KMP) at the then Ministry (now Department) of Agrarian Reform (MAR) at
befell twelve (12) rallyists. But for most Filipinos now, the Mendiola the Philippine Tobacco Administration Building along Elliptical Road in
massacre may now just as well be a chapter in our history books. For Diliman, Quezon City.
those however, who have become widows and orphans, certainly they
would not settle for just that. They seek retribution for the lives taken The farmers and their sympathizers presented their demands for what they
that will never be brought back to life again. called "genuine agrarian reform". The KMP, led by its national president,
Jaime Tadeo, presented their problems and demands, among which were:
Hence, the heirs of the deceased, together with those injured (Caylao (a) giving lands for free to farmers; (b) zero retention of lands by landlords;
group), instituted this petition, docketed as G.R. No. 84645, under and (c) stop amortizations of land payments.
Section 1 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking the reversal and
setting aside of the Orders of respondent Judge Sandoval,1 dated May The dialogue between the farmers and the MAR officials began on January
31 and August 8, 1988, dismissing the complaint for damages of herein 15, 1987. The two days that followed saw a marked increase in people at the
petitioners against the Republic of the Philippines in Civil Case No. 88- encampment. It was only on January 19, 1987 that Jaime Tadeo arrived to
43351. meet with then Minister Heherson Alvarez, only to be informed that the
Minister can only meet with him the following day. On January 20, 1987, the
Petitioner, the Republic of the Philippines, through a similar remedy, meeting was held at the MAR conference room. Tadeo demanded that the
docketed as G.R. No. 84607, seeks to set aside the Order of respondent minimum comprehensive land reform program be granted immediately.
Judge dated May 31, 1988, in Civil Case No. 88-43351 entitled "Erlinda Minister Alvarez, for his part, can only promise to do his best to bring the
Caylao, et al. vs. Republic of the Philippines, et al." matter to the attention of then President Aquino, during the cabinet meeting
on January 21, 1987.
The pertinent portion of the questioned Order2 dated May 31, 1988, reads as
follows: Tension mounted the following day. The farmers, now on their seventh day of
encampment, barricaded the MAR premises and prevented the employees
from going inside their offices. They hoisted the KMP flag together with the
With respect however to the other defendants, the
Philippine flag.
impleaded Military Officers, since they are being charged in
their personal and official capacity, and holding them liable, if
at all, would not result in financial responsibility of the At around 6:30 p.m. of the same day, Minister Alvarez, in a meeting with
government, the principle of immunity from suit can not Tadeo and his leaders, advised the latter to instead wait for the ratification of
conveniently and correspondingly be applied to them. the 1987 Constitution and just allow the government to implement its
comprehensive land reform program. Tadeo, however, countered by saying
that he did not believe in the Constitution and that a genuine land reform
WHEREFORE, the case as against the defendant Republic
of the Philippines is hereby dismissed. As against the rest of cannot be realized under a landlord-controlled Congress. A heated
the defendants the motion to dismiss is denied. They are discussion ensued between Tadeo and Minister Alvarez. This
notwithstanding, Minister Alvarez suggested a negotiating panel from each
given a period of ten (10) days from receipt of this order
side to meet again the following day.
within which to file their respective pleadings.

42
On January 22, 1987, Tadeo's group instead decided to march to (1) The first line was composed of policemen from police
Malacaang to air their demands. Before the march started, Tadeo talked to stations Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and the Chinatown
the press and TV media. He uttered fiery words, the most telling of which detachment of the Western Police District. Police Colonel
were: Edgar Dula Torres, Deputy Superintendent of the Western
". . . inalis namin ang barikada bilang kahilingan ng ating Presidente, pero Police District, was designated as ground commander of the
kinakailangan alisin din niya ang barikada sa Mendiola sapagkat bubutasin CDC first line of defense. The WPD CDC elements were
din namin iyon at dadanak ang dugo . . . ."4 positioned at the intersection of Mendiola and Legarda
Streets after they were ordered to move forward from the top
The farmers then proceeded to march to Malacaang, from Quezon of Mendiola bridge. The WPD forces were in khaki uniform
Memorial Circle, at 10:00 a.m. They were later joined by members of other and carried the standard CDC equipment aluminum
sectoral organizations such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bagong shields, truncheons and gas masks.
Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), League of Filipino Students (LFS) and
Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML). (2) At the second line of defense about ten (10) yards behind
the WPD policemen were the elements of the Integrated
At around 1:00 p.m., the marchers reached Liwasang Bonifacio where they National Police (INP) Field Force stationed at Fort Bonifacio
held a brief program. It was at this point that some of the marchers entered from the 61st and 62nd INP Field Force, who carried also
the eastern side of the Post Office Building, and removed the steel bars the standard CDC equipment truncheons, shields and gas
surrounding the garden. Thereafter, they joined the march to Malacaang. At masks. The INP Field Force was under the command of
about 4:30 p.m., they reached C.M. Recto Avenue. Police Major Demetrio dela Cruz.

In anticipation of a civil disturbance, and acting upon reports received by the (3) Forming the third line was the Marine Civil Disturbance
Capital Regional Command (CAPCOM) that the rallyists would proceed to Control Battalion composed of the first and second
Mendiola to break through the police lines and rush towards Malacaang, companies of the Philippine Marines stationed at Fort
CAPCOM Commander General Ramon E. Montao inspected the Bonifacio. The marines were all equipped with shields,
preparations and adequacy of the government forces to quell impending truncheons and M-16 rifles (armalites) slung at their backs,
attacks. under the command of Major Felimon B. Gasmin. The
Marine CDC Battalion was positioned in line formation ten
(10) yards farther behind the INP Field Force.
OPLAN YELLOW (Revised) was put into effect. Task Force Nazareno under
the command of Col. Cesar Nazareno was deployed at the vicinity of
Malacaang. The civil disturbance control units of the Western Police District At the back of the marines were four (4) 6 x 6 army trucks,
under Police Brigadier General Alfredo S. Lim were also activated. occupying the entire width of Mendiola street, followed
immediately by two water cannons, one on each side of the
street and eight fire trucks, four trucks on each side of the
Intelligence reports were also received that the KMP was heavily infiltrated
by CPP/NPA elements and that an insurrection was impending. The threat street. The eight fire trucks from Fire District I of Manila
under Fire Superintendent Mario C. Tanchanco, were to
seemed grave as there were also reports that San Beda College and Centro
supply water to the two water cannons.
Escolar University would be forcibly occupied.

Stationed farther behind the CDC forces were the two Mobile
In its report, the Citizens' Mendiola Commission (a body specifically tasked to
investigate the facts surrounding the incident, Commission for short) stated Dispersal Teams (MDT) each composed of two tear gas
that the government anti-riot forces were assembled at Mendiola in a grenadiers, two spotters, an assistant grenadier, a driver and
the team leader.
formation of three phalanges, in the following manner:

43
In front of the College of the Holy Spirit near Gate 4 of give the name and address of said victim. Thirty-nine (39) were wounded by
Malacaang stood the VOLVO Mobile Communications Van gunshots and twelve (12) sustained minor injuries, all belonging to the group
of the Commanding General of CAPCOM/INP, General of the marchers.
Ramon E. Montao. At this command post, after General
Montao had conferred with TF Nazareno Commander, Of the police and military personnel, three (3) sustained gunshot wounds and
Colonel Cezar Nazareno, about the adequacy and readiness twenty (20) suffered minor physical injuries such as abrasions, contusions
of his forces, it was agreed that Police General Alfredo S. and the like.
Lim would designate Police Colonel Edgar Dula Torres and
Police Major Conrado Francisco as negotiators with the
In the aftermath of the confrontation, then President Corazon C. Aquino
marchers. Police General Lim then proceeded to the WPD
issued Administrative Order No. 11,7 (A.O. 11, for brevity) dated January 22,
CDC elements already positioned at the foot of Mendiola
1987, which created the Citizens' Mendiola Commission. The body was
bridge to relay to Police Colonel Torres and Police Major
composed of retired Supreme Court Justice Vicente Abad Santos as
Francisco the instructions that the latter would negotiate with
Chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Y. Feria and Mr. Antonio U.
the marchers.5 (Emphasis supplied) Miranda, both as members. A.O. 11 stated that the Commission was created
precisely for the "purpose of conducting an investigation of the disorder,
The marchers, at around 4:30 p.m., numbered about 10,000 to 15,000. From deaths, and casualties that took place in the vicinity of Mendiola Bridge and
C.M. Recto Avenue, they proceeded toward the police lines. No dialogue Mendiola Street and Claro M. Recto Avenue, Manila, in the afternoon of
took place between the marchers and the anti-riot squad. It was at this January 22, 1987". The Commission was expected to have submitted its
moment that a clash occurred and, borrowing the words of the Commission findings not later than February 6, 1987. But it failed to do so. Consequently,
"pandemonium broke loose". The Commission stated in its findings, to wit: the deadline was moved to February 16, 1987 by Administrative Order No.
13. Again, the Commission was unable to meet this deadline. Finally, on
. . . There was an explosion followed by throwing of February 27, 1987, it submitted its report, in accordance with Administrative
pillboxes, stones and bottles. Steel bars, wooden clubs and Order No. 17, issued on February 11, 1987.
lead pipes were used against the police. The police fought
back with their shields and truncheons. The police line was In its report, the Commission recapitulated its findings, to wit:
breached. Suddenly shots were heard. The demonstrators
disengaged from the government forces and retreated
(1) The march to Mendiola of the KMP led by Jaime Tadeo,
towards C.M. Recto Avenue. But sporadic firing continued
together with the other sectoral groups, was not covered by
from the government forces. any permit as required under Batas Pambansa Blg. 880, the
Public Assembly Act of 1985, in violation of paragraph (a)
After the firing ceased, two MDTs headed by Lt. Romeo Section 13, punishable under paragraph (a), Section 14 of
Paquinto and Lt. Laonglaan Goce sped towards Legarda said law.
Street and lobbed tear gas at the remaining rallyist still
grouped in the vicinity of Mendiola. After dispersing the (2) The crowd dispersal control units of the police and the
crowd, the two MDTs, together with the two WPD MDTs, military were armed with .38 and .45 caliber handguns, and
proceeded to Liwasang Bonifacio upon order of General
M-16 armalites, which is a prohibited act under paragraph
Montao to disperse the rallyists assembled thereat.
4(g), Section 13, and punishable under paragraph (b),
Assisting the MDTs were a number of policemen from the
Section 14 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 880.
WPD, attired in civilian clothes with white head bands, who
were armed with long firearms.6 (Emphasis ours)
(3) The security men assigned to protect the WPD, INP Field
Force, the Marines and supporting military units, as well as
After the clash, twelve (12) marchers were officially confirmed dead, although
the security officers of the police and military commanders
according to Tadeo, there were thirteen (13) dead, but he was not able to

44
were in civilian attire in violation of paragraph (a), Section (11) Tear gas was not used at the start of the disturbance to
10, Batas Pambansa 880. disperse the rioters. After the crowd had dispersed and the
wounded and dead were being carried away, the MDTs of
(4) There was unnecessary firing by the police and military the police and the military with their tear gas equipment and
crowd dispersal control units in dispersing the marchers, a components conducted dispersal operations in the Mendiola
prohibited act under paragraph (e), Section 13, and area and proceeded to Liwasang Bonifacio to disperse the
punishable under paragraph (b), Section 14, Batas remnants of the marchers.
Pambansa Blg. 880.
(12) No barbed wire barricade was used in Mendiola but no
(5) The carrying and use of steel bars, pillboxes, darts, lead official reason was given for its absence.8
pipe, wooden clubs with spikes, and guns by the marchers
as offensive weapons are prohibited acts punishable under From the results of the probe, the Commission recommended9 the criminal
paragraph (g), Section 13, and punishable under paragraph prosecution of four unidentified, uniformed individuals, shown either on tape
(e), Section 14 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 880. or in pictures, firing at the direction of the marchers. In connection with this, it
was the Commission's recommendation that the National Bureau of
(6) The KMP farmers broke off further negotiations with the Investigation (NBI) be tasked to undertake investigations regarding the
MAR officials and were determined to march to Malacaang, identities of those who actually fired their guns that resulted in the death of or
emboldened as they are, by the inflammatory and incendiary injury to the victims of the incident. The Commission also suggested that all
utterances of their leader, Jaime Tadeo "bubutasin namin the commissioned officers of both the Western Police District and the INP
ang barikada . . Dadanak and dugo . . . Ang nagugutom na Field Force, who were armed during the incident, be prosecuted for violation
magsasaka ay gagawa ng sariling butas. . . of paragraph 4(g) of Section 13, Batas Pambansa Blg. 880, the Public
Assembly Act of 1985. The Commission's recommendation also included the
prosecution of the marchers, for carrying deadly or offensive weapons, but
(7) There was no dialogue between the rallyists and the
government forces. Upon approaching the intersections of whose identities have yet to be established. As for Jaime Tadeo, the
Commission said that he should be prosecuted both for violation of
Legarda and Mendiola, the marchers began pushing the
paragraph (a), Section 13, Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 for holding the rally
police lines and penetrated and broke through the first line of
without a permit and for violation of Article 142, as amended, of the Revised
the CDC contingent.
Penal Code for inciting to sedition. As for the following officers, namely: (1)
Gen. Ramon E. Montao; (2) Police Gen. Alfredo S. Lim; (3) Police Gen.
(8) The police fought back with their truncheons and shields. Edgar Dula Torres; (4) Police Maj. Demetrio dela Cruz; (5) Col. Cezar
They stood their ground but the CDC line was breached. Nazareno; and (5) Maj. Felimon Gasmin, for their failure to make effective
There ensued gunfire from both sides. It is not clear who use of their skill and experience in directing the dispersal operations in
started the firing. Mendiola, administrative sanctions were recommended to be imposed.

(9) At the onset of the disturbance and violence, the water The last and the most significant recommendation of the Commission was for
cannons and tear gas were not put into effective use to the deceased and wounded victims of the Mendiola incident to be
disperse the rioting crowd. compensated by the government. It was this portion that petitioners (Caylao
group) invoke in their claim for damages from the government.
(10) The water cannons and fire trucks were not put into
operation because (a) there was no order to use them; (b) Notwithstanding such recommendation, no concrete form of compensation
they were incorrectly prepositioned; and (c) they were out of was received by the victims. Thus, on July 27, 1987, herein petitioners,
range of the marchers. (Caylao group) filed a formal letter of demand for compensation from the
Government. 10 This formal demand was indorsed by the office of the

45
Executive Secretary to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Under our Constitution the principle of immunity of the government from suit
on August 13, 1987. The House Committee on Human Rights, on February is expressly provided in Article XVI, Section 3. The principle is based on the
10, 1988, recommended the expeditious payment of compensation to the very essence of sovereignty, and on the practical ground that there can be
Mendiola victims. 11 no legal right as against the authority that makes the law on which the right
depends. 12 It also rests on reasons of public policy that public service
After almost a year, on January 20, 1988, petitioners (Caylao group) were would be hindered, and the public endangered, if the sovereign authority
constrained to institute an action for damages against the Republic of the could be subjected to law suits at the instance of every citizen and
Philippines, together with the military officers, and personnel involved in the consequently controlled in the uses and dispositions of the means required
Mendiola incident, before the trial court. The complaint was docketed as Civil for the proper administration of the government. 13
Case No. 88-43351.
This is not a suit against the State with its consent.
On February 23, 1988, the Solicitor General filed a Motion to Dismiss on the
ground that the State cannot be sued without its consent. Petitioners Firstly, the recommendation made by the Commission regarding
opposed said motion on March 16, 1988, maintaining that the State has indemnification of the heirs of the deceased and the victims of the incident by
waived its immunity from suit and that the dismissal of the instant action is the government does not in any way mean that liability automatically
contrary to both the Constitution and the International Law on Human Rights. attaches to the State. It is important to note that A.O. 11 expressly states that
the purpose of creating the Commission was to have a body that will conduct
Respondent Judge Sandoval, in his first questioned Order, dismissed the an "investigation of the disorder, deaths and casualties that took place." 14 In
complaint as against the Republic of the Philippines on the ground that there the exercise of its functions, A.O. 11 provides guidelines, and what is
was no waiver by the State. Petitioners (Caylao group) filed a Motion for relevant to Our discussion reads:
Reconsideration therefrom, but the same was denied by respondent judge in
his Order dated August 8, 1988. Consequently, Caylao and her co-petitioners 1 Its conclusions regarding the existence of probable cause
filed the instant petition. for the commission of any offense and of the persons
probably guilty of the same shall be sufficient compliance
On the other hand, the Republic of the Philippines, together with the military with the rules on preliminary investigation and the charges
officers and personnel impleaded as defendants in the court below, filed its arising therefrom may be filed directly with the proper court.
petition for certiorari. 15

Having arisen from the same factual beginnings and raising practically In effect, whatever may be the findings of the Commission, the same shall
identical issues, the two (2) petitions were consolidated and will therefore be only serve as the cause of action in the event that any party decides to
jointly dealt with and resolved in this Decision. litigate his/her claim. Therefore, the Commission is merely a preliminary
venue. The Commission is not the end in itself. Whatever recommendation it
The resolution of both petitions revolves around the main issue of whether or makes cannot in any way bind the State immediately, such recommendation
not the State has waived its immunity from suit. not having become final and, executory. This is precisely the essence of it
being a fact-finding body.
Petitioners (Caylao group) advance the argument that the State has impliedly
Secondly, whatever acts or utterances that then President Aquino may have
waived its sovereign immunity from suit. It is their considered view that by the
recommendation made by the Commission for the government to indemnify done or said, the same are not tantamount to the State having waived its
the heirs and victims of the Mendiola incident and by the public addresses immunity from suit. The President's act of joining the marchers, days after
the incident, does not mean that there was an admission by the State of any
made by then President Aquino in the aftermath of the killings, the State has
liability. In fact to borrow the words of petitioners (Caylao group), "it was an
consented to be sued.
act of solidarity by the government with the people". Moreover, petitioners
rely on President Aquino's speech promising that the government would
46
address the grievances of the rallyists. By this alone, it cannot be inferred except when it has given its consent, it cannot be invoked by both the military
that the State has admitted any liability, much less can it be inferred that it officers to release them from any liability, and by the heirs and victims to
has consented to the suit. demand indemnification from the government. The principle of state immunity
from suit does not apply, as in this case, when the relief demanded by the
Although consent to be sued may be given impliedly, still it cannot be suit requires no affirmative official action on the part of the State nor the
maintained that such consent was given considering the circumstances affirmative discharge of any obligation which belongs to the State in its
obtaining in the instant case. political capacity, even though the officers or agents who are made
defendants claim to hold or act only by virtue of a title of the state and as its
agents and servants. 22 This Court has made it quite clear that even a "high
Thirdly, the case does not qualify as a suit against the State.
position in the government does not confer a license to persecute or
recklessly injure another." 23
Some instances when a suit against the State is proper are: 16
The inescapable conclusion is that the State cannot be held civilly liable for
(1) When the Republic is sued by name; the deaths that followed the incident. Instead, the liability should fall on the
named defendants in the lower court. In line with the ruling of this court in
(2) When the suit is against an unincorporated government agency; Shauf vs. Court of Appeals, 24 herein public officials, having been found to
have acted beyond the scope of their authority, may be held liable for
(3) When the, suit is on its face against a government officer but the case is damages.
such that ultimate liability will belong not to the officer but to the government.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error and no grave abuse of discretion
While the Republic in this case is sued by name, the ultimate liability does committed by respondent Judge in issuing the questioned orders, the instant
not pertain to the government. Although the military officers and personnel, petitions are hereby DISMISSED.
then party defendants, were discharging their official functions when the
incident occurred, their functions ceased to be official the moment they SO ORDERED.
exceeded their authority. Based on the Commission findings, there was lack
of justification by the government forces in the use of firearms. 17 Moreover,
the members of the police and military crowd dispersal units committed a
prohibited act under B.P. Blg. 880 18 as there was unnecessary firing by
them in dispersing the marchers. 19

As early as 1954, this Court has pronounced that an officer cannot shelter
himself by the plea that he is a public agent acting under the color of his
office when his acts are wholly without authority. 20 Until recently in 1991, 21
this doctrine still found application, this Court saying that immunity from suit
cannot institutionalize irresponsibility and non-accountability nor grant a
privileged status not claimed by any other official of the Republic. The military
and police forces were deployed to ensure that the rally would be peaceful
and orderly as well as to guarantee the safety of the very people that they
are duty-bound to protect. However, the facts as found by the trial court
showed that they fired at the unruly crowd to disperse the latter.

While it is true that nothing is better settled than the general rule that a
sovereign state and its political subdivisions cannot be sued in the courts

47
G.R. No. 91391 January 24, 1991 Sec. 14, Rule 6 or even under Sec. 12 as third-party defendant
requires leave of Court to determine the propriety thereof. No such
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, in his capacity as Solicitor General, petitioner leave has been sought. Consideration thereof cannot be entertained
vs. at this time nor may therefore, the Motion to Dismiss the same be
THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division) and JUAN PONCE considered. (Rollo, p. 329; Annex "H", Petition)
ENRILE, respondents.
Respondent Enrile then requested leave from the Sandiganbayan to implead
Ponce Enrile, Cayetano Reyes & Manalastas for private respondent. the petitioner and the PCGG officials as party defendants for lodging this
alleged "harassment suit" against him.

The motion was granted in a resolution dated June 8, 1989, to wit:


GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
In respect to defendant Juan Ponce Enrile's Manifestation and
Motion dated February 23, 1989, praying for leave to implead
The petitioner challenges the resolutions dated June 8, 1989 and November
additional parties to his counterclaim, the Court, finding reason in the
2, 1989 of the Sandiganbayan issued in Civil Case No. 0033 which granted
aforesaid Manifestation and Motion, grants leave to implead the
the motion of private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the defendants in
the civil case, to implead the petitioner as additional party defendant in defendants named in the counterclaim and admits defendant Juan
Enrile's counterclaim in the same civil case and denied the petitioner's Ponce Enrile's answer with counterclaim.
motion for reconsideration.
This is without prejudice to the defenses which said defendants may
put forth individually or in common, in their personal capacities or
On July 31, 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Presidential
otherwise. (Rollo, p. 27)
Commission on Good Government (PCGG) with the assistance of Solicitor
General Francisco Chavez filed with the respondent Sandiganbayan a
complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 0033 against Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. In a later resolution dated November 2, 1989, respondent Sandiganbayan
and Juan Ponce Enrile, among others, for reconveyance, reversion and denied a motion to reconsider the June 8, 1989 resolution. The dispositive
accounting, restitution and damages. portion of the resolution states:

After the denial of his motion to dismiss, respondent Enrile filed his answer WHEREFORE, the Motions for Reconsideration of the Solicitor
with compulsory counterclaim and cross-claim with damages. General and former PCGG officials Ramon Diaz, Quintin Doromal,
Orlando Romero, Ramon Rodrigo and Mary Concepcion Bautista are
The Republic filed its reply to the answer and motion to dismiss the denied, but, considering these motions as in the nature of motions to
counterclaim. The motion was opposed by respondent Enrile. dismiss counterclaim/answers, resolution of these motions is held in
abeyance pending trial on the merits. (Rollo, p. 31)
On January 30, 1989, respondent Sandiganbayan issued a resolution, to wit:
Thereafter, all the PCGG officials filed their answer to the counterclaims
invoking their immunity from suits as provided in Section 4 of Executive
The resolution of the Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim against the Order No. 1. Instead of filing an answer, the petitioner comes to this Court
Plaintiff government is deferred until after trial, the grounds relied assailing the resolutions as rendered with grave abuse of discretion
upon not appearing to be indubitable. amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

On the matter of the additional parties (Solicitor General Chavez, Ex-


PCGG Chairman Diaz, former Commissioners Doromal, Rodrigo,
Romero and Bautista), the propriety of impleading them either under
48
The lone issue in this petition is the propriety of impleading the petitioner as ordered, authorized, allowed or tolerated the filing of the utterly
additional party defendant in the counterclaim filed by respondent Enrile in baseless complaint against Defendant.
Civil Case No. 0033.
Solicitor General Francisco Chavez assisted or cooperated in, or
It may be noted that the private respondent did not limit himself to general induced or instigated, the filing of this harassment suit against
averments of malice, recklessness, and bad faith but filed specific charges Defendant.
that then PCGG Chairman Jovito Salonga had already cleared the
respondent and yet, knowing the allegations to be false, the petitioner still In so ordering, authorizing, allowing and tolerating the institution of
filed the complaint. This can be gleaned from excerpts found in respondent the action against Defendant, all the aforenamed officers, with malice
Enrile's Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim and Cross-Claim: and in evident bad faith, and with grave abuse of power and in
excess of their duty and authority, unjustly and unlawfully obstructed,
xxx xxx xxx defeated, violated, impeded or impaired the constitutional rights and
liberties of Defendant . . . . (Rollo, pp. 260-262)
Defendant-in-counterclaim Francisco Chavez was the Solicitor
General who assisted the PCGG in filing and maintaining the instant On the other hand, the petitioner submits that no counter-claim can be filed
Complaint against Defendant. As the incumbent Solicitor General, he against him in his capacity as Solicitor General since he is only acting as
continues to assist the PCGG in prosecuting this case. counsel for the Republic. He cites the case of Borja v. Borja, 101 Phil. 911
[1957] wherein we ruled:
He is sued in his personal and official capacities.
. . . The appearance of a lawyer as counsel for a party and his
On or about October 1986, the PCGG, speaking through the then participation in a case as such counsel does not make him a party to
Chairman, now Senate President, Hon. Jovito R. Salonga, found and the action. The fact that he represents the interests of his client or
declared that "not one of the documents left by then President and that he acts in their behalf will not hold him liable for or make him
Mrs. Ferdinand E. Marcos including the 2,300-page evidence turned entitled to any award that the Court may adjudicate to the parties,
over to the PCGG by the US State Department implicates Enrile." other than his professional fees. The principle that a counterclaim
Chairman Salonga stressed that in view of the PCGG's findings, he cannot be filed against persons who are acting in representation of
refused to yield to the "pressure" exerted on him to prosecute another such as trustees in their individual capacities
Defendant. (Chambers v. Cameron, 2 Fed. Rules Service, p. 155; 29 F. Supp.
742) could be applied with more force and effect in the case of a
counsel whose participation in the action is merely confined to the
xxx xxx xxx
preparation of the defense of his client. Appellant, however, asserted
that he filed the counterclaim against said lawyer not in his individual
Notwithstanding the findings of the PCGG that there was absolutely capacity but as counsel for the heirs of Quintin de Borja. But as we
no evidence linking Defendant to the illegal activities of former have already stated that the existence of a lawyer-client relationship
President and Mrs. Ferdinand E. Marcos, the PCGG, this time does not make the former a party to the action, even this allegation
composed of Chairman Ramon Diaz, the Commissioners Quintin of appellant will not alter the result We have arrived at (at pp. 924-
Doromal, Ramon Rodrigo, Orlando Romero and Mary Concepcion 925)
Bautista, filed the Complaint against Defendant, among others, on or
about 22 July 1987.
Thus, the petitioner argues that since he is simply the lawyer in the case,
exercising his duty under the law to assist the Government in the filing and
Defendant has reasons to believe, and so alleges that Chairman prosecution of all cases pursuant to Section 1, Executive Order No. 14, he
Diaz, and Commissioners Doromal, Rodrigo, Romero and Bautista cannot be sued in a counterclaim in the same case.

49
Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena correctly observed that there is no With respect to the qualifications expressed by Mr. Justice Feliciano
general immunity arising solely from occupying a public office. in his separate opinion, I just wish to point out two things: First, the
main opinion does not claim absolute immunity for the members of
The general rule is that public officials can be held personally accountable for the Commission. The cited section of Executive Order No. 1 provides
acts claimed to have been performed in connection with official duties where the Commission's members immunity from suit thus: "No civil action
they have acted ultra vires or where there is a showing of bad faith. We ruled shall lie against the Commission or any member thereof for anything
in one case: done or omitted in the discharge of the task contemplated by this
order." No absolute immunity like that sought by Mr. Marcos in his
Constitution for himself and his subordinates is herein involved. It is
A number of cases decided by the Court where the municipal mayor
understood that the immunity granted the members of the
alone was held liable for back salaries of, or damages to dismissed
Commission by virtue of the unimaginable magnitude of its task to
municipal employees, to the exclusion of the municipality, are not
applicable in this instance. In Salcedo v. Court of Appeals (81 SCRA recover the plundered wealth and the State's exercise of police
power was immunity from liability for damages in the official
408 [1978]) for instance, the municipal mayor was held liable for the
back salaries of the Chief of Police he had dismissed, not only discharge of the task granted the members of the Commission much
because the dismissal was arbitrary but also because the mayor in the same manner that judges are immune from suit in the official
refused to reinstate him in defiance of an order of the Commissioner discharge of the functions of their office . . . " (at pp. 581-582)
of Civil Service to reinstate.
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano stated in the same case:
In Nemenzo v. Sabillano (25 SCRA 1 [1968]), the municipal mayor
was held personally liable for dismissing a police corporal who It may be further submitted, with equal respect, that Section 4 (a) of
possessed the necessary civil service eligibility, the dismissal being Executive Order No. 1 was intended merely to restate the general
done without justifiable cause and without any administrative principle of the law of public officers that the PCGG or any member
investigation. thereof may not be held civilly liable for acts done in the performance
of official duty, provided that such member had acted in good faith
In Rama v. Court of Appeals (G.R. Nos. L-44484, L-44842, L-44591, and within the scene of his lawful authority. It may also be assumed
that the Sandiganbayan would have jurisdiction to determine whether
L-44894, March 16 1987), the governor, vice-governor, members of
the PCGG or any particular official thereof may be held liable in
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, provincial auditor, provincial
damages to a private person injured by acts of such manner. It would
treasurer and provincial engineer were ordered to pay jointly and
severally in their individual and personal capacity damages to some seem constitutionally offensive to suppose that a member or staff
200 employees of the province of Cebu who were eased out from member of the PCGG could not be required to testify before the
Sandiganbayan or that such members were exempted from
their positions because of their party affiliations. (Laganapan v.
complying with orders of this Court. (at pp. 586- 587)
Asedillo, 154 SCRA 377 [1987])

Moreover, the petitioner's argument that the immunity proviso under Section Immunity from suit cannot institutionalize irresponsibility and non-
4(a) of Executive Order No. 1 also extends to him is not well-taken. A mere accountability nor grant a privileged status not claimed by any other official of
the Republic. (id., at page 586)
invocation of the immunity clause does not ipso facto result in the charges
being automatically dropped.
Where the petitioner exceeds his authority as Solicitor General acts in bad
In the case of Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Pea (159 faith, or, as contended by the private respondent, "maliciously conspir(es)
SCRA 556 [1988]) then Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, added a with the PCGG commissioners in persecuting respondent Enrile by filing
against him an evidently baseless suit in derogation of the latter's
clarification of the immunity accorded PCGG officials under Section 4(a) of
constitutional rights and liberties" (Rollo, p. 417), there can be no question
Executive Order No. 1 as follows:
that a complaint for damages may be filed against him. High position in

50
government does not confer a license to persecute or recklessly injure to a respondent may appear too personal and biased. It is likewise
another. The actions governed by Articles 19, 20, 21, and 32 of the Civil unreasonable to require Government Prosecutors to defend themselves
Code on Human Relations may be taken against public officers or private against counterclaims in the very same cases they are prosecuting.
citizens alike. The issue is not the right of respondent Enrile to file an action
for damages. He has the right. The issue is whether or not that action must As earlier stated, we do not suggest that a lawyer enjoys a special immunity
be filed as a compulsory counterclaim in the case filed against him. from damage suits. However, when he acts in the name of a client, he should
not be sued on a counterclaim in the very same case he has filed only as
Under the circumstances of this case, we rule that the charges pressed by counsel and not as a party. Any claim for alleged damages or other causes
respondent Enrile for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code arising from of action should be filed in an entirely separate and distinct civil action.
the filing of an alleged harassment suit with malice and evident bad faith do
not constitute a compulsory counterclaim. To vindicate his rights, Senator WHEREFORE, the present petition is GRANTED. The questioned
Enrile has to file a separate and distinct civil action for damages against the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan are SET ASIDE insofar as they allow the
Solicitor General. counterclaim filed against the petitioner.

In the case of Tiu Po v. Bautista, (103 SCRA 388 [1981]), we ruled that SO ORDERED.
damages claimed to have been suffered as a consequence of an action filed
against the petitioner must be pleaded in the same action as a compulsory
counterclaim. We were referring, however, to a case filed by the private
respondent against the petitioners or parties in the litigation. In the present
case, the counterclaim was filed against the lawyer, not against the party
plaintiff itself.

To allow a counterclaim against a lawyer who files a complaint for his clients,
who is merely their representative in court and not a plaintiff or complainant
in the case would lead to mischievous consequences.

A lawyer owes his client entire devotion to his genuine interest, warm zeal in
the maintenance and defense of his rights and the exertion of his utmost
learning and ability. (See Agpalo, Legal Ethics [1980] p. 147 citing Javier v.
Cornejo, 63 Phil. 293 [1936]; In re Tionko, 43 Phil. 191 [1922]; In re: Atty. C.
T. Oliva, 103 Phil. 312 [1958]; Lualhati v. Albert, 57 Phil. 86 [1932]; Toguib v.
Tomol, Jr., G.R. Adm. Case No. 554, Jan. 3, 1969; People v. Macellones, 49
SCRA 529 [1973]; Tan Kui v. Court of Appeals, 54 SCRA 199 [1973]). A
lawyer cannot properly attend to his duties towards his client if, in the same
case, he is kept busy defending himself.

The problem is particularly perplexing for the Solicitor General.1wphi1 As


counsel of the Republic, the Solicitor General has to appear in controversial
and politically charged cases. It is not unusual for high officials of the
Government to unwittingly use shortcuts in the zealous desire to expedite
executive programs or reforms. The Solicitor General cannot look at these
cases with indifferent neutrality. His perception of national interest and
obedience to instructions from above may compel him to take a stance which
51
G.R. No. 182358 February 20, 2013 government suppliers of pharmaceutical products in case of adverse findings
regarding their products (e.g. substandard, fake, or misbranded) or violations
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, and MA. committed by them during their accreditation.
MARGARITA M. GALON, Petitioners,
vs. In line with Memorandum No. 171-C, the DOH, through former
PHIL PHARMA WEALTH, INC., Respondent. Undersecretary Ma. Margarita M. Galon (Galon), issued Memorandum No.
209 series of 2000,10 inviting representatives of 24 accredited drug
DECISION companies, including herein respondent Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. (PPI) to a
meeting on October 27, 2000. During the meeting, Undersecretary Galon
DEL CASTILLO, J.: handed them copies of a document entitled "Report on Violative Products"11
issued by the Bureau of Food and Drugs12 (BFAD), which detailed violations
or adverse findings relative to these accredited drug companies products.
The state may not be sued without its consent. Likewise, public officials may Specifically, the BFAD found that PPIs products which were being sold to
not be sued for acts done in the perfom1ance of their official functions or the public were unfit for human consumption.
within the scope of their authority.
During the October 27, 2000 meeting, the 24 drug companies were directed
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the October 25, 2007 Decision2 to submit within 10 days, or until November 6, 2000, their respective
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 85670, and its March 31, explanations on the adverse findings covering their respective products
2008 Reso1ution3 denying petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.4 contained in the Report on Violative Products.

Factual Antecedents Instead of submitting its written explanation within the 10-day period as
required, PPI belatedly sent a letter13 dated November 13, 2000 addressed
On December 22, 1998, Administrative Order (AO) No. 27 series of 1998 5 to Undersecretary Galon, informing her that PPI has referred the Report on
was issued by then Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Alfredo G. Violative Products to its lawyers with instructions to prepare the
Romualdez (Romualdez). AO 27 set the guidelines and procedure for corresponding reply. However, PPI did not indicate when its reply would be
accreditation of government suppliers of pharmaceutical products for sale or submitted; nor did it seek an extension of the 10-day period, which had
distribution to the public, such accreditation to be valid for three years but previously expired on November 6, 2000, much less offer any explanation for
subject to annual review. its failure to timely submit its reply. PPIs November 13, 2000 letter states:

On January 25, 2000, Secretary Romualdez issued AO 10 series of 20006 Madam,


which amended AO 27. Under Section VII7 of AO 10, the accreditation period
for government suppliers of pharmaceutical products was reduced to two This refers to your directive on 27 October 2000, on the occasion of the
years. Moreover, such accreditation may be recalled, suspended or revoked meeting with selected accredited suppliers, during which you made known to
after due deliberation and proper notice by the DOH Accreditation the attendees of your requirement for them to submit their individual
Committee, through its Chairman. comments on the Report on Violative Products (the "Report") compiled by
your office and disseminated on that date.
Section VII of AO 10 was later amended by AO 66 series of 2000, 8 which
provided that the two-year accreditation period may be recalled, suspended In this connection, we inform you that we have already instructed our lawyers
or revoked only after due deliberation, hearing and notice by the DOH to prepare on our behalf the appropriate reply to the Report furnished to us.
Accreditation Committee, through its Chairman. Our lawyers in time shall revert to you and furnish you the said reply.

On August 28, 2000, the DOH issued Memorandum No. 171-C9 which Please be guided accordingly.
provided for a list and category of sanctions to be imposed on accredited
52
Very truly yours, heard before the Bureau and to submit evidence impeaching the correctness
of the finding or charge in question.
(signed)
ATTY. ALAN A.B. ALAMBRA For what it claims was an undue suspension of its accreditation, PPI prayed
that AO 10, Memorandum No. 171-C, Undersecretary Galons suspension
Vice-President for Legal and Administrative Affairs14 order contained in her November 23, 2000 letter, and AO 14 be declared null
and void, and that it be awarded moral damages of 5 million, exemplary
In a letter-reply15 dated November 23, 2000 Undersecretary Galon found damages of 1 million, attorneys fees of 1 million, and costs of suit. PPI
likewise prayed for the issuance of temporary and permanent injunctive
"untenable" PPIs November 13, 2000 letter and therein informed PPI that,
relief.
effective immediately, its accreditation has been suspended for two years
pursuant to AO 10 and Memorandum No. 171-C.
In their Amended Answer,22 the DOH, former Secretary Romualdez, then
In another December 14, 2000 letter16 addressed to Undersecretary Galon, Secretary Dayrit, and Undersecretary Galon sought the dismissal of the
Complaint, stressing that PPIs accreditation was suspended because most
PPI through counsel questioned the suspension of its accreditation, saying
of the drugs it was importing and distributing/selling to the public were found
that the same was made pursuant to Section VII of AO 10 which it claimed
by the BFAD to be substandard for human consumption. They added that the
was patently illegal and null and void because it arrogated unto the DOH
DOH is primarily responsible for the formulation, planning, implementation,
Accreditation Committee powers and functions which were granted to the
BFAD under Republic Act (RA) No. 372017 and Executive Order (EO) No. and coordination of policies and programs in the field of health; it is vested
175.18 PPI added that its accreditation was suspended without the benefit of with the comprehensive power to make essential health services and goods
available to the people, including accreditation of drug suppliers and
notice and hearing, in violation of its right to substantive and administrative
regulation of importation and distribution of basic medicines for the public.
due process. It thus demanded that the DOH desist from implementing the
suspension of its accreditation, under pain of legal redress.
Petitioners added that, contrary to PPIs claim, it was given the opportunity to
On December 28, 2000, PPI filed before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig present its side within the 10-day period or until November 6, 2000, but it
failed to submit the required comment/reply. Instead, it belatedly submitted a
City a Complaint19 seeking to declare null and void certain DOH
November 13, 2000 letter which did not even constitute a reply, as it merely
administrative issuances, with prayer for damages and injunction against the
informed petitioners that the matter had been referred by PPI to its lawyer.
DOH, former Secretary Romualdez and DOH Undersecretary Galon.
Docketed as Civil Case No. 68200, the case was raffled to Branch 160. On Petitioners argued that due process was afforded PPI, but because it did not
February 8, 2002, PPI filed an Amended and Supplemental Complaint,20 this timely avail of the opportunity to explain its side, the DOH had to act
immediately by suspending PPIs accreditation to stop the distribution
time impleading DOH Secretary Manuel Dayrit (Dayrit). PPI claimed that AO
and sale of substandard drug products which posed a serious health risk to
10, Memorandum No. 171-C, Undersecretary Galons suspension order
the public. By exercising DOHs mandate to promote health, it cannot be said
contained in her November 23, 2000 letter, and AO 14 series of 200121 are
that petitioners committed grave abuse of discretion.
null and void for being in contravention of Section 26(d) of RA 3720 as
amended by EO 175, which states as follows:
In a January 8, 2001 Order,23 the trial court partially granted PPIs prayer for
a temporary restraining order, but only covering PPIs products which were
SEC. 26. x x x
not included in the list of violative products or drugs as found by the BFAD.
(d) When it appears to the Director [of the BFAD] that the report of the
Bureau that any article of food or any drug, device, or cosmetic secured In a Manifestation and Motion24 dated July 8, 2003, petitioners moved for the
dismissal of Civil Case No. 68200, claiming that the case was one against
pursuant to Section twenty-eight of this Act is adulterated, misbranded, or not
the State; that the Complaint was improperly verified; and lack of authority of
registered, he shall cause notice thereof to be given to the person or persons
the corporate officer to commence the suit, as the requisite resolution of
concerned and such person or persons shall be given an opportunity to be
PPIs board of directors granting to the commencing officer PPIs Vice
53
President for Legal and Administrative Affairs, Alan Alambra, the authority WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Order dated June 14,
to file Civil Case No. 68200 was lacking. To this, PPI filed its 2004 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 160, is hereby
Comment/Opposition.25 REVERSED and SET-ASIDE. ACCORDINGLY, this case is REMANDED to
the trial court for further proceedings.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
SO ORDERED.30
In a June 14, 2004 Order,26 the trial court dismissed Civil Case No. 68200,
declaring the case to be one instituted against the State, in which case the Petitioners sought, but failed, to obtain a reconsideration of the Decision.
principle of state immunity from suit is applicable. Hence, they filed the present Petition.

PPI moved for reconsideration,27 but the trial court remained steadfast.28 Issue

PPI appealed to the CA. Petitioners now raise the following lone issue for the Courts resolution:

Ruling of the Court of Appeals Should Civil Case No. 68200 be dismissed for being a suit against the
State?31
Docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 85670, PPIs appeal centered on the issue of
whether it was proper for the trial court to dismiss Civil Case No. 68200. Petitioners Arguments

The CA, in the herein assailed Decision,29 reversed the trial court ruling and Petitioners submit that because PPIs Complaint prays for the award of
ordered the remand of the case for the conduct of further proceedings. The damages against the DOH, Civil Case No. 68200 should be considered a suit
CA concluded that it was premature for the trial court to have dismissed the against the State, for it would require the appropriation of the needed amount
Complaint. Examining the Complaint, the CA found that a cause of action to satisfy PPIs claim, should it win the case. Since the State did not give its
was sufficiently alleged that due to defendants (petitioners) acts which consent to be sued, Civil Case No. 68200 must be dismissed. They add that
were beyond the scope of their authority, PPIs accreditation as a in issuing and implementing the questioned issuances, individual petitioners
government supplier of pharmaceutical products was suspended without the acted officially and within their authority, for which reason they should not be
required notice and hearing as required by Section 26(d) of RA 3720 as held to account individually.
amended by EO 175. Moreover, the CA held that by filing a motion to
dismiss, petitioners were deemed to have hypothetically admitted the Respondents Arguments
allegations in the Complaint which state that petitioners were being sued in
their individual and personal capacities thus negating their claim that Civil Apart from echoing the pronouncement of the CA, respondent insists that
Case No. 68200 is an unauthorized suit against the State.
Civil Case No. 68200 is a suit against the petitioners in their personal
capacity for acts committed outside the scope of their authority.
The CA further held that instead of dismissing the case, the trial court should
have deferred the hearing and resolution of the motion to dismiss and Our Ruling
proceeded to trial. It added that it was apparent from the Complaint that
petitioners were being sued in their private and personal capacities for acts
done beyond the scope of their official functions. Thus, the issue of whether The Petition is granted.
the suit is against the State could best be threshed out during trial on the
merits, rather than in proceedings covering a motion to dismiss. The doctrine of non-suability.

The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:

54
The discussion of this Court in Department of Agriculture v. National Labor suability [only] if it has entered into a contract in its proprietary or private
Relations Commission32 on the doctrine of non-suability is enlightening. capacity. [However,] when the contract involves its sovereign or
governmental capacity[,] x x x no such waiver may be implied."37 "Statutory
The basic postulate enshrined in the constitution that (t)he State may not be provisions waiving [s]tate immunity are construed in strictissimi juris. For,
sued without its consent, reflects nothing less than a recognition of the waiver of immunity is in derogation of sovereignty."38
sovereign character of the State and an express affirmation of the unwritten
rule effectively insulating it from the jurisdiction of courts. It is based on the The DOH can validly invoke state immunity.
very essence of sovereignty. x x x [A] sovereign is exempt from suit, not
because of any formal conception or obsolete theory, but on the logical and a) DOH is an unincorporated agency which performs sovereign or
practical ground that there can be no legal right as against the authority that governmental functions.
makes the law on which the right depends. True, the doctrine, not too
infrequently, is derisively called the royal prerogative of dishonesty because
In this case, the DOH, being an "unincorporated agency of the government"39
it grants the state the prerogative to defeat any legitimate claim against it by can validly invoke the defense of immunity from suit because it has not
simply invoking its nonsuability. We have had occasion to explain in its consented, either expressly or impliedly, to be sued. Significantly, the DOH is
defense, however, that a continued adherence to the doctrine of non-suability
an unincorporated agency which performs functions of governmental
cannot be deplored, for the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle
character.
to the performance of its multifarious functions would be far greater in
severity than the inconvenience that may be caused private parties, if such
fundamental principle is to be abandoned and the availability of judicial The ruling in Air Transportation Office v. Ramos40 is relevant, viz:
remedy is not to be accordingly restricted.
An unincorporated government agency without any separate juridical
The rule, in any case, is not really absolute for it does not say that the state personality of its own enjoys immunity from suit because it is invested with an
may not be sued under any circumstance. On the contrary, as correctly inherent power of sovereignty. Accordingly, a claim for damages against the
phrased, the doctrine only conveys, the state may not be sued without its agency cannot prosper; otherwise, the doctrine of sovereign immunity is
consent; its clear import then is that the State may at times be sued. The violated. However, the need to distinguish between an unincorporated
States consent may be given either expressly or impliedly. Express consent government agency performing governmental function and one performing
may be made through a general law or a special law. x x x Implied consent, proprietary functions has arisen. The immunity has been upheld in favor of
on the other hand, is conceded when the State itself commences litigation, the former because its function is governmental or incidental to such
thus opening itself to a counterclaim or when it enters into a contract. In this function; it has not been upheld in favor of the latter whose function was not
situation, the government is deemed to have descended to the level of the in pursuit of a necessary function of government but was essentially a
other contracting party and to have divested itself of its sovereign immunity. business.41
This rule, x x x is not, however, without qualification. Not all contracts entered
into by the government operate as a waiver of its non-suability; distinction b) The Complaint seeks to hold the DOH solidarily and jointly liable with
must still be made between one which is executed in the exercise of its the other defendants for damages which constitutes a charge or
sovereign function and another which is done in its proprietary capacity.33 financial liability against the state.

As a general rule, a state may not be sued. However, if it consents, either Moreover, it is settled that if a Complaint seeks to "impose a charge or
expressly or impliedly, then it may be the subject of a suit.34 There is express financial liability against the state,"42 the defense of non-suability may be
consent when a law, either special or general, so provides. On the other properly invoked. In this case, PPI specifically prayed, in its Complaint and
hand, there is implied consent when the state "enters into a contract or it Amended and Supplemental Complaint, for the DOH, together with
itself commences litigation."35 However, it must be clarified that when a state Secretaries Romualdez and Dayrit as well as Undersecretary Galon, to be
enters into a contract, it does not automatically mean that it has waived its held jointly and severally liable for moral damages, exemplary damages,
non-suability. 36 The State "will be deemed to have impliedly waived its non- attorneys fees and costs of suit.43 Undoubtedly, in the event that PPI
succeeds in its suit, the government or the state through the DOH would
55
become vulnerable to an imposition or financial charge in the form of which will require an appropriation from the state of the needed amount.
damages. This would require an appropriation from the national treasury Thus, based on the foregoing considerations, the Complaint against them
which is precisely the situation which the doctrine of state immunity aims to should likewise be dismissed for being a suit against the state which
protect the state from. absolutely did not give its consent to be sued. Based on the foregoing
considerations, and regardless of the merits of PPIs case, this case
The mantle of non-suability extends to complaints filed against public deserves a dismissal. Evidently, the very foundation of Civil Case No. 68200
officials for acts done in the performance of their official functions. has crumbled at this initial juncture.

As regards the other petitioners, to wit, Secretaries Romualdez and Dayrit, PPI was not denied due process.
and Undersecretary Galon, it must be stressed that the doctrine of state
immunity extends its protective mantle also to complaints filed against state However, we cannot end without a discussion of PPIs contention that it was
officials for acts done in the discharge and performance of their duties.44 denied due process when its accreditation was suspended "without due
"The suability of a government official depends on whether the official notice and hearing." It is undisputed that during the October 27, 2000
concerned was acting within his official or jurisdictional capacity, and whether meeting, Undersecretary Galon directed representatives of pharmaceutical
the acts done in the performance of official functions will result in a charge or companies, PPI included, to submit their comment and/or reactions to the
financial liability against the government."45 Otherwise stated, "public officials Report on Violative Products furnished them within a period of 10 days. PPI,
can be held personally accountable for acts claimed to have been performed instead of submitting its comment or explanation, wrote a letter addressed to
in connection with official duties where they have acted ultra vires or where Undersecretary Galon informing her that the matter had already been
there is showing of bad faith."46 Moreover, "[t]he rule is that if the judgment referred to its lawyer for the drafting of an appropriate reply. Aside from the
against such officials will require the state itself to perform an affirmative act fact that the said letter was belatedly submitted, it also failed to specifically
to satisfy the same, such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay mention when such reply would be forthcoming. Finding the foregoing
the damages awarded against them, the suit must be regarded as against explanation to be unmeritorious, Undersecretary Galon ordered the
the state x x x. In such a situation, the state may move to dismiss the suspension of PPIs accreditation for two years. Clearly these facts show that
[C]omplaint on the ground that it has been filed without its consent." 47 PPI was not denied due process. It was given the opportunity to explain its
side. Prior to the suspension of its accreditation, PPI had the chance to rebut,
It is beyond doubt that the acts imputed against Secretaries Romualdez and explain, or comment on the findings contained in the Report on Violative
Dayrit, as well as Undersecretary Galon, were done while in the performance Products that several of PPIs products are not fit for human consumption.
and discharge of their official functions or in their official capacities, and not However, PPI squandered its opportunity to explain. Instead of complying
in their personal or individual capacities. Secretaries Romualdez and Dayrit with the directive of the DOH Undersecretary within the time allotted, it
were being charged with the issuance of the assailed orders. On the other instead haughtily informed Undersecretary Galon that the matter had been
hand, Undersecretary Galon was being charged with implementing the referred to its lawyers. Worse, it impliedly told Undersecretary Galon to just
assailed issuances. By no stretch of imagination could the same be wait until its lawyers shall have prepared the appropriate reply. PPI however
categorized as ultra vires simply because the said acts are well within the failed to mention when it will submit its "appropriate reply" or how long
scope of their authority. Section 4 of RA 3720 specifically provides that the Undersecretary Galon should wait. In the meantime, PPIs drugs which are
BFAD is an office under the Office of the Health Secretary. Also, the Health included in the Report on Violative Products are out and being sold in the
Secretary is authorized to issue rules and regulations as may be necessary market. Based on the foregoing, we find PPIs contention of denial of due
to effectively enforce the provisions of RA 3720.48 As regards Undersecretary process totally unfair and absolutely lacking in basis. At this juncture, it would
Galon, she is authorized by law to supervise the offices under the DOHs be trite to mention that "[t]he essence of due process in administrative
authority,49 such as the BFAD. Moreover, there was also no showing of bad proceedings is the opportunity to explain ones side or seek a reconsideration
faith on their part. The assailed issuances were not directed only against PPI. of the action or ruling complained of. As long as the parties are given the
The suspension of PPIs accreditation only came about after it failed to opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered, the demands of due
submit its comment as directed by Undersecretary Galon. It is also beyond process are sufficiently met. What is offensive to due process is the denial of
dispute that if found wanting, a financial charge will be imposed upon them the opportunity to be heard. The Court has repeatedly stressed that parties

56
who chose not to avail themselves of the opportunity to answer charges
against them cannot complain of a denial of due process."50

Incidentally, we find it inieresting that in the earlier case of Department q(


Health v. Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. 51 respondent filed a Complaint against
DOH anchored on the same issuances which it assails in the present case.
In the earlier case of Department of Health v. Phil Pharmawealth, Jnc., 52 PPI
submitted to the DOH a request for the inclusion of its products in the list of
accredited drugs as required by AO 27 series of 1998 which was later
amended by AO 10 series of 2000. In the instant case, however, PPI
interestingly claims that these issuances are null and void.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. Civil Case


No. 68200 is ordered DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

57
G.R. No. 177168, August 03, 2015 730.10cralawrednad

NAVY OFFICERS' VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC. (NOVAI), Petitioner, v. Barely a month after, or on October 25, 1965, Pres. Macapagal issued
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. Proclamation No. 47811 "reserving for the veterans rehabilitation, medicare
and training center site purposes" an area of 537,520 square meters of the
DECISION land previously declared as AFP Officers' Village under Proclamation No.
461, and placed the reserved area under the administration of the Veterans
Federation of the Philippines (VFP).
BRION, J.:
The property is within the 537,520 square-meter parcel of land reserved in
We resolve the present petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the VFP's favor.
December 28, 2006 decision2 and March 28, 2007 resolution3 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 85179. On November 15, 1991, the property was the subject of a Deed of
Sale12between the Republic of the Philippines, through former Land
The CA reversed and set aside the August 20, 2004 decision 4 of the Management Bureau (LMB) Director Abelardo G. Palad, Jr., (Dir. Palad) and
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 67, Pasig City, that dismissed the petitioner NOVAI. The deed of sale was subsequently registered and
complaint filed by the Republic of the Philippines (respondent or the from which TCT No. T-15387 was issued in NOVAI's name.
Republic) for the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-
15387 issued in the name of Navy Officers' Village Association, Inc. or The Republic's Complaint for Cancellation of Title
NOVAI (petitioner).
In its complaint13 filed with the RTC on December 23, 1993, the Republic
The Factual Antecedents sought to cancel NOVAFs title based on the following grounds: (a) the land
covered by NOVAFs title is part of a military reservation; (b) the deed of sale
TCT No. T-15387,5 issued in NOVAI's name, covers a 475,009 square-meter conveying the property to NOVAI, which became the basis for the issuance
parcel of land (the property)6 situated inside the former Fort Andres Bonifacio of TCT No. 15387, is fictitious; (c) the LMB has no records of any application
Military Reservation (FBMR) in Taguig, Metro Manila. made by NOVAI for the purchase of the property, and of the NOVAFs alleged
payment of P14,250,270.00 for the property; and (d) the presidential
The property previously formed part of a larger 15,812,684 square-meter proclamation, i.e., Proclamation No. 2487, claimed to have been issued by
parcel of land situated at the former Fort William McKinley, Rizal, which was then President Corazon C. Aquino in 1991 that authorized the transfer and
covered by TCT No. 61524 issued in the name of the Republic of the titling of the property to NOVAI, is fictitious.
Philippines.
NOVAI's Answer to the Complaint
On July 12, 1957, then President Carlos P. Garcia issued Proclamation No.
4237 "reserving for military purposes certain parcels of the public domain In its answer (which was later amended) to the Republic's complaint, NOVAI
situated in the municipalities of Pasig, Taguig, Paraaque, province of Rizal, counter-argued that the property was no longer part of the public dominion,
and Pasay City," which included the 15,812,684 square-meter parcel of land as the land had long been segregated from the military reservation pursuant
covered by TCT No. 61524. to Proclamation No. 461.

On September 29, 1965, then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal issued NOVAI claimed that, contrary to the Republic's contention that there were no
Proclamation No. 4618 which excluded from Fort McKinley "a certain portion records of the sale, it had actually filed a letter-application for a sales patent
of land embraced therein, situated in the municipalities of Taguig and over the property with the LMB which prepared, verified and approved the
Paraaque, Province of Rizal, and Pasay City," with an area of 2,455,310 property's plan and technical description; and that the LMB delivered to it a
square meters, and declared the excluded area as "AFP Officers' Village" to copy of the deed of sale, signed and executed by Dir. Palad, after it had paid
be disposed of under the provisions of Republic Act Nos. 2749 and a portion of the P14,250,270.00 purchase price, corresponding taxes, and
58
other charges, with the balance to be paid in installments.
Also, the CA held that there can be no presumption of regularity in the
Also, NOVAI contended that, since any alleged irregularities that may have execution of the subject deed of sale given the questionable circumstances
attended the sale pertained only to formalities, the proper remedy for the that surrounded the alleged sale of the property to NOVAI, 14e.g., NOVAI's
Republic was to file an action for reformation of instrument, not for failure to go through the regular process in the Department of Environment
cancellation of title. In any event, it added that the Republic's cause of action and Natural Resources (DENR) or the LMB Offices in the filing of an
had prescribed because its title to the property had already become application for sales patent and in the conduct of survey and investigation;
indefeasible. the execution of the deed of sale without payment of the full purchase price
as required by policy; and the appearances of forgery and falsification of Dir.
The RTC's decision Palad's signature on the deed of sale and on the receipts issued to NOVAI
for its installment payments on the property, among others.
The RTC narrowed down the issues to: (a) the character of the property in
question, i.e., whether the property in question was part of the FBMR, and Lastly, the CA held that the Court's observations and ruling in Republic of the
hence, inalienable; and (b) the validity of the deed of sale conveying the Philippines v. Southside Homeowners Association, Inc (Southside) 15 is
property to NOVAI, i.e., whether the title over the property was acquired by applicable to the present case. In Southside, the Republic similarly sought
NOVAI through fraud. The RTC resolved both issues in NOVAI's favor. the cancellation of title - TCT No. 15084 - issued in favor of Southside
Homeowners Association, Inc. (SHAI) over a 39.99 hectare area of land
In its decision, the RTC ruled that: (a) the property is alienable and situated in what was known as the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group
disposable in character, as the land falls within the area segregated from the (JUSMAG) housing area in Fort Bonifacio. The Court cancelled the certificate
FBMR pursuant to Proclamation No. 461; (b) the subject deed of sale should of title issued to SHAI, as the latter failed to prove that the JUSMAG area had
be presumed valid on its face, as it was executed with all the formalities of a been withdrawn from the military reservation and had been declared open for
notarial certification; (c) notwithstanding the claims of forgery, the signature disposition. The Court therein ruled that, since the JUSMAG area was still
of Dir. Palad on the deed of sale appeared genuine and authentic; and (d) part of the FBMR, its alleged sale to SHAI is necessarily void and of no
NOVAI's title to the property had attained indefeasibility since the Republic's effect.
action for cancellation of title was filed close to two (2) years from the
issuance of the title. NOVAI sought reconsideration of the CA's decision, which the CA denied in
its March 28, 2007 resolution;16 hence, this petition.
The CA's decision
The Petition
The CA reversed and set aside the RTC's decision. It ruled that the
property is inalienable land of the public domain; thus, it cannot be disposed NOVAI alleges that the CA erred in declaring that: (a) the property is
of or be the subject of a sale. It pointed out that, since NOVAI failed to inalienable land of the public domain, (b) the deed of sale and Proclamation
discharge its burden of proving the existence of Proclamation No. 2487 - the No. 2487 were void and nonexistent, respectively, (c) the Republic's action
positive governmental act that would have removed the property from the for cancellation of title was not barred by prescription, and (d) the ruling in
public domain the property remained reserved for veterans rehabilitation Southside was applicable to the present case.
purposes under Proclamation No. 478, the latest executive issuance
affecting the property. In support of its petition, NOVAI raises the following
arguments:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Since the property is inalienable, the CA held that the incontestability and
indefeasibility generally accorded to a Torrens title cannot apply because the (a)The property is no longer part of the public domain because, by virtue of
property, as in this case, is unregistrable land; that a title issued by reason or Proclamation No. 461, s. of 1965, the property was excluded from the
on account of any sale, alienation, or transfer of an inalienable property is FBMR and made available for disposition to qualified persons, subject to
void and a patent nullity; and that, consequently, the Republic's action for the the provisions of R.A. Nos. 274 and 720 in relation to the Public Land Act;
cancellation of NOVAI's title cannot be barred by prescription. (b)The deed of sale was, in all respects, valid and enforceable, as it was
59
shown to have been officially executed by an authorized public officer (d)NOVAI, a private corporation, is disqualified from purchasing the property
under the provisions of the Public Land Act, and celebrated with all the because R.A. Nos. 274 and 730, and the Public Land Act only allow the
formalities of a notarial certification; sale of alienable and disposable public lands to natural persons, not
(c) Proclamation No. 2487 is to be presumed valid until proven otherwise; that juridical persons; and
the Republic carried the burden of proving that Proclamation No. 2487 (e)The Court's decision in Southside applies to the present case because of
was a forgery, and that it failed to discharge this burden; the strong factual and evidentiary relationship between the two cases.
(d)The CA should not have considered as evidence the testimony of Senator
Franklin Drilon on the nonexistence of Proclamation No. 2487 because BCDA's Comment-in-Intervention
such testimony was given by Senator Drilon in another case17 and was not
formally offered in evidence by the Republic during the trial of the present On December 28, 2007, and while the case was pending before this Court,
case before the RTC; the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) filed a motion for
(e)The action for cancellation of title filed by the Republic is already barred by leave to file comment-in-intervention and to admit the attached comment-in-
prescription because it was filed only on December 23, 1993, or close to intervention.19cralawrednad
two (2) years from the issuance of NOVAI's title on January 9, 1992; and
(f) The case of Southside is not a cognate or companion case to the present In a resolution dated February 18, 2008,20 the Court allowed the BCDA's
case because the two cases involve completely dissimilar factual and intervention.
doctrinal bases; thus, the Court's observations and ruling in Southside
should not be applied to the present case. As the Republic has done, the BCDA contends that NOVAI is disqualified
from acquiring the property given the constitutional and statutory provisions
The Republic's Comment to the Petition that prohibit the acquisition of lands of the public domain by a corporation or
association; that any sale of land in violation of the Constitution or of the
Procedurally, the Republic assails the propriety of the issues raised by provisions of R.A. Nos. 274 and 730, and the Public Land Act are null and
NOVAI, such as "whether Proclamation No. 2487 and the signature of LMB void; and that any title which may have been issued by mistake or error on
Director Palad on the assailed deed of sale are forged or fictitious," and the part of a public official can be cancelled at any time by the State.
"whether the Republic had presented adequate evidence to establish the
spuriousness of the subject proclamation," which are factual in nature and The BCDA further contends that NOVAI miserably failed to comply with the
not allowed in a Rule 45 petition. legal requirements for the release of the property from the military
reservation. More specifically, (1) the Director of Lands did not cause the
On the petition's substance, the Republic counters property's subdivision, including the determination of the number of
that:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary prospective applicants and the area of each subdivision lot which should not
exceed one thousand (1,000) square meters for residential purposes; (2) the
(a)The property is inalienable public land incapable of private appropriation purchase price for the property was not fixed by the Director of Lands as
because, while the property formed part of the area segregated from the approved by the DENR Secretary; (3) NOVAI did not pay the purchase price
FBMR under Proclamation No. 461, it was subsequently reserved for a or a portion of it to the LMB; and (4) the Deed of Sale was not signed by the
specific public use or purpose under Proclamation No. 478; President of the Republic of the Philippines or by the Executive Secretary,
(b)Proclamation No. 2487, which purportedly revoked Proclamation No. 478, but was signed only by the LMB Director.
does not legally exist and thus cannot be presumed valid and
constitutional unless proven otherwise; the presumption of validity and Also, the BCDA observed that NOVAI was incorporated only on December
constitutionality of a law applies only where there is no dispute as to the 11, 1991, while the deed of sale was purportedly executed on November 15,
authenticity and due execution of the law in issue; 1991, which shows that NOVAI did not yet legally exist at the time of the
(c) The deed of sale executed by NOVAI and by Dir. Palad was undeniably property's purported sale.
forged, as Dir. Palad categorically denied having signed the deed of sale,
and a handwriting expert from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) OUR RULING
confirmed that Dir. Palad's signature was indeed a forgery;18
60
be affected by the proceeding,27 such interest being actual, material, direct
We resolve to DENY NOVAI's petition for review on certiorari as we find no and immediate, not simply contingent and expectant.28cralawrednad
reversible error committed by the CA in issuing its December 28, 2006
decision and March 28, 2007 resolution. As a general rule, intervention cannot be made at the appeal stage. Section
2, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court, governing interventions, provides that "the
I. Procedural Objections motion to intervene may be filed at any time before rendition of judgment by
the trial court." This rule notwithstanding, intervention may be allowed after
A. In the filing of the present petition before this Court judgment where it is necessary to protect some interest which cannot
otherwise be protected, and may be allowed for the purpose of preserving
Under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, a party desiring to appeal the intervenor's right to appeal.29 "The rule on intervention, like all other rules
from a judgment or final order of the CA shall raise only questions of law of procedure, is intended to make the powers of the Court fully and
which must be distinctly set forth. completely available for justice x x x and aimed to facilitate a comprehensive
adjudication of rival claims overriding technicalities on the timeliness of the
A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct filing thereof."30cralawrednad
application of law or jurisprudence on a certain state of facts. 21 The issue
does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence Thus, in exceptional cases, the Court may allow intervention although the
presented, the truth or falsehood of the facts being admitted.22 In contrast, a trial court has already rendered judgment. In fact, the Court had allowed
question of fact exists when a doubt or difference arises as to the truth or intervention in one case even when the petition for review was already
falsehood of facts or when the query invites the calibration of the whole submitted for decision before it.31cralawrednad
evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses; the existence
and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances, as well as their relation In the present case, the BCDA is indisputably the agency specifically created
to each other and to the whole; and the probability of the under R.A. No. 722732 to own, hold and/or administer military reservations
situation.23cralawrednad including, among others, those located inside the FBMR. If we are to affirm
the CA's decision, the BCDA stands to benefit as a favorable ruling will
The rule that only questions of law may be the subject of a Rule 45 Petition enable it to pursue its mandate under R.A. No. 7227. On the other hand, if
before this Court, however, has exceptions.24 Among these exceptions is we reverse the CA's decision, it stands to suffer as the contrary ruling will
when there is conflict between the factual findings of the RTC and that greatly affect the BCDA's performance of its legal mandate as it will lose the
of the CA. property without the opportunity to defend its right in court.

In this case, the CA totally reversed the RTC on the nature and character of Indeed, the BCDA has such substantial and material interest both in the
the land, in question, and on the,validity of the deed of sale between the outcome of the case and in the disputed property that a final adjudication
parties. Due to the conflicting findings of the RTC and the CA on these cannot be made in its absence without affecting such interest. Clearly, the
issues, we are allowed to reexamine the facts and the parties' evidence in BCDA's intervention is necessary; hence, we allow the BCDA's intervention
order to finally resolve the present controversy. although made beyond the period prescribed under Section 2, Rule 19 of the
Rules of Court.
B. On BCD A's Intervention
II. Substantive Issues
In its reply25cralawred to the BCDA's comment-in-intervention, NOVAI
primarily objects to the BCDA's intervention because it was made too late. A. The property is non-disposable land of the public domain reserved
for public or quasi-public use or purpose
Intervention is a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is
permitted by the court to make himself a party, either joining the plaintiff or We agree with the CA that the property remains a part of the public domain
defendant, or demanding something adverse to both of them.26 Its purpose is that could not have been validly disposed of in NOVAI's favor. NOVAI failed
to enable such third party to protect or preserve a right or interest which may to discharge its burden of proving that the property was withdrawn from the
61
intended public or quasi-public use or purpose.
Lands of the public domain classified as alienable and disposable are further
While the parties disagree on the character and nature of the property at the classified, under Section 9 of C.A. No. 141, according to their use or purpose
time of the questioned sale, they agree, however, that the property formed into: (1) agricultural; (2) residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar
part of the FBMR - a military reservation belonging to the public domain. We productive purposes; (3) educational, charitable, or other similar purposes;
note that the FBMR has been the subject of several presidential and (4) reservations for townsites and for public and quasi-public uses.
proclamations and statues issued subsequent to Proclamation No. 423, Section 9 also authorizes the President to make the classifications and, at
which either removed or reserved for specific public or quasi-public use or any time, transfer lands from one class to another.
purpose certain of its portions.
Section 83 of C.A. No. 141 defines public domain lands classified as
On the one hand, NOVAI argues that Proclamation No. 461 had already reservations for public and quasi-public uses as "any tract or tracts of
transferred the property from the State's "public domain" to its "private land of the public domain" which the President, by proclamation and upon
domain." On the other hand, the respondents argue that Proclamation No. recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, may
478, in relation with RA 7227 and EO No. 40, had reverted the property to designate "as reservations for the use of the Republic of the Philippines or
the inalienable property of the "public domain." any of its branches, or of the inhabitants thereof or "for quasi-public uses or
purposes when the public interest requires it."34 Under Section 88 of the
The classification and disposition of lands of the public domain are governed same Act, these "reserved tract or tracts of lands shall be non-alienable
by Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 141 or the Public Land Act, the country's and shall not be subject to occupation, entry, sale, lease or other
primary law on the matter. disposition until again declared alienable under the provisions of [CA
No. 141] or by proclamation of the President."35cralawrednad
Under Section 6 of C.A. No. 141, the President of the Republic of the
Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and As these provisions operate, the President may classify lands of the public
Natural Resources, may, from time to time, classify lands of the public domain as alienable and disposable, mineral or timber land, and transfer
domain into alienable or disposable, timber and mineral lands, and transfer such lands from one class to another at any time.
these lands from one class to another for purposes of their administration
and disposition. Within the class of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, the
President may further classify public domain lands, according to the use or
Under Section 7 of C.A. No. 141, the President may, from time to time, upon purpose to which they are destined, as agricultural: residential, commercial,
recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and industrial, etc.; educational, charitable, etc.; and reservations for townsites
for purposes of the administration and disposition of alienable and disposable and for public and quasi-public uses; and, he may transfer such lands from
public lands, declare what lands are open to disposition or concession under one class to the other at any time.
the Acts' provisions.33cralawrednad
Thus, the President may, for example, transfer a certain parcel of land from
Section 8 of C.A. No. 141 sets out the public lands open to disposition or its classification as agricultural (under Section 9 [a]), to residential,
concession and the requirement that they have been officially delimited and commercial, industrial, or for similar purposes (under Section 9 [b]) and
classified, and when practicable, surveyed. Section 8 excludes (by declare it available for disposition under any of the modes of disposition of
implication) from disposition or concession, public lands which have been alienable and disposable public lands available under C.A. No. 141, as
reserved for public or quasi-public uses; appropriated by the Government; or amended.
in any manner have become private property, or those on which a private
right authorized and recognized by the Act or any other valid law may be The modes of disposition of alienable and disposable lands available under
claimed. Further, Section 8 authorizes the President to suspend the C.A. No. 141 include: (1) by homestead settlement (Chapter IV), by sale
concession or disposition of lands previously declared open to disposition, (Chapter V), by lease (Chapter VI) and by confirmation of imperfect or
until again declared open to disposition by his proclamation or by act of incomplete titles (Chapters VII and VIII) for agricultural lands under Title II of
Congress. C.A. No. 141 as amended; (2) by sale or by lease for residential, commercial,
62
or industrial lands under Title III of C.A. No. 141, as amended; (3) by uses: (1) are non-alienable and non-disposable in view of Section 88 (in
donation, sale, lease, exchange or any other form for educational and relation with Section 8) of CA No. 141 specifically declaring them as non-
charitable lands under Title IV of C.A. No. 141, as amended; and (4) by sale alienable and not subject to disposition; and (2) they remain public domain
by public auction for townsite reservations under Chapter XI, Title V of C.A. lands until they are actually disposed of in favor of private persons.
No. 141, as amended.
Complementing and reinforcing this interpretation - that lands designated as
Once these parcels of lands are actually acquired by private persons, either reservations for public and quasi-public uses are non-alienable and non-
by sale, grant, or other modes of disposition, they are removed from the disposable and retain their character as land of the public domain is the Civil
mass of land of the public domain and become, by operation of law, their Code with its provisions on Property that deal with lands in general. We find
private property. these provisions significant to our discussion and interpretation as lands are
property, whether they are public lands or private lands.36cralawrednad
With particular regard, however, to parcels of land classified as reservations
for public and quasi-public uses (under Section 9 [d]), when the President In this regard, Article 419 of the Civil Code classifies property as either of
transfers them to the class of .alienable and disposable public domain lands public dominion or of private ownership. Article 420 37 defines property of the
destined for residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar purposes (under public dominion as those which are intended for public use or, while not
Section 9 [b]), or some other class under Section 9, these reserved public intended for public use, belong to the State and are intended for some public
domain lands become available for disposition under any of the available service. Article 421, on the other hand, defines patrimonial property as all
modes of disposition under C.A. No. 141, as provided above. Once these re- other property of the State which is not of the character stated in Article 420.
classified lands (to residential purposes from reservation for public and While Article 422 states that public dominion property which is no longer
quasi-public uses) are actually acquired by private persons, they become intended for public use or service shall form part of the State's patrimonial
private property. property.

In the meantime, however, and until the parcels of land are actually granted Thus, from the perspective of the general Civil Code provisions on Property,
to, acquired, or purchased by private persons, they remain lands of the public lands which are intended for public use or public service such as
domain which the President, under Section 9 of C.A. No. 141, may classify reservations for public or quasi-public uses are property of the public
again as reservations for public and quasi-public uses. The President may dominion and remain to be so as long as they remain reserved.
also, under Section 8 of C.A. No. 141, suspend their concession or
disposition. As property of the public dominion, public lands reserved for public or quasi-
public uses are outside the commerce of man.38 They cannot be subject to
If these parcels of land are re-classified as reservations before they are sale, disposition or encumbrance; any sale, disposition or encumbrance of
actually acquired by private persons, or if the President suspends their such property of the public dominion is void for being contrary to law and
concession or disposition, they shall not be subject to occupation, entry, sale, public policy.39cralawrednad
lease, or other disposition until again declared open for disposition by
proclamation of the President pursuant to Section 88 in relation with Section To be subject to sale, occupation or other disposition, lands of the public
8 of C.A. No. 141. domain designated as reservations must first be withdrawn, by act of
Congress or by proclamation of the President, from the public or quasi-public
Thus, in a limited sense, parcels of land classified as reservations for public use for which it has been reserved or otherwise positively declared to have
or quasi-public uses under Section 9 (d) of C.A. No. 141 are still non- been converted to patrimonial property, pursuant to Sections 8 and 88 of
alienable and non-disposable, even though they are, by the general C.A. No. 141 and Article 422 of the Civil Code.40 Without such express
classification under Section 6, alienable and disposable lands of the public declaration or positive governmental act, the reserved public domain lands
domain. By specific declaration under Section 88, in relation with Section 8, remain to be public dominion property of the State.41cralawrednad
these lands classified as reservations are non-alienable and non-disposable.
To summarize our discussion:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In short, parcels of land classified as reservations for public or quasi-public
63
(1) Lands of the public domain classified as reservations for public or quasi- use of the VRMTC. With the issuance of Proclamation No. 478, the property
public uses are non-alienable and shall not be subject to disposition, was transferred back to that class of public domain land reserved for public
although they are, by the general classification under Section 6 of C.A. No. or quasi-public use or purpose which, consistent with Article 420 of the Civil
141, alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, until declared open Code, is property of the public dominion, not patrimonial property of the
for disposition by proclamation of the President; and State.

(2) Lands of the public domain classified as reservations are property of the Even under the parties' deed of sale, Proclamation No. 2487, not
public dominion; they remain to be property of the public dominion until Proclamation No. 461, was used as the authority for the transfer and sale of
withdrawn from the public or quasi-public use for which they have been the property to NOVAI. The subject deed of sale pertinently
reserved, by act of Congress or by proclamation of the President, or reads:cralawlawlibrary
otherwise positively declared to have been converted to patrimonial property. "This DEED OF SALE, made and executed in Manila, Philippines, by the
Director of Lands, Pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 878 and in
Based on these principles, we now examine the various issuances affecting representation of the Republic of the Philippines, hereinafter referred to as
the property in order to determine the property's character and nature, i.e., the Vendor, in favor of THE NAVY OFFICERS VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
whether the property remains public domain property of the State or has (NOVA) and residing in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila, referred to as the
become its private property. Vendee, WITNESSETH:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

For easier reference, we reiterate the various presidential proclamations and xxxx
statutes affecting the property:cralawlawlibrary
(1)Proclamation No. 423, series of 1957 - established the FBMR, a military WHEREAS, pursuant to Presidential proclamation No. 478 as amended
reservation; the property falls within the FBMR; by proclamation No. 2487 in relation to the provision of Act No. 3038 and
(2)Proclamation No. 461, series of (September) 1965 - segregated, from the similar Acts supplemented thereto, the Vendee applied for the purchase of a
FBMR, a portion of Parcel 3, plan Psd-2031, which includes the property, portion of the above-described Property which portion is identical to Lot 3,
for disposition in favor of the AFPOVAI; Swo-000183 and more particularly described on page two hereof;
(3)Proclamation No. 478, series of (October) 1965 reserved the property
in favor of the Veterans Rehabilitation and Medical Training Center xxxx
(VRMTC); and
(4)RA No. 7227 (1992), as implemented by EO No. 40, series of 1992 - WHEREAS, the Vendee has complied with all other conditions required by
subject to certain specified exemptions, transferred the military camps Act No. 3038 in relation to Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, and the
within Metro Manila, among others, to the BCDA. rules and regulation promulgated thereunder.
1. Proclamation No. 461 was not the legal basis for the property's sale in
favor of NOVAI x x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, the legal basis of the property's sale could not have been
We agree with the respondents that while Proclamation No. 461, issued in Proclamation No. 461.
September 1965, removed from the FBMR a certain parcel of land that
includes the property, Proclamation No. 478, issued in October 1965, in turn 2. Proclamation No. 2487 which purportedly revoked Proclamation No. 478
segregated the property from the area made available for disposition under does not legally exist; hence, it did not withdraw the property from the
Proclamation No. 461, and reserved it for the use of the VRMTC. reservation or from the public dominion

We find it clear that Proclamation No. 478 was issued after, not before, Neither can Proclamation No. 2487 serve as legal basis for the property's
Proclamation No. 461. Hence, while Proclamation No. 461 withdrew a certain sale in NOVAI's favor. Proclamation No. 2487 purportedly revoked
area or parcel of land from the FBMR and made the covered area available Proclamation No. 478 and declared the property open for disposition in favor
for disposition in favor of the AFPOVAI, Proclamation No. 478 subsequently of NOVAI.
withdrew the property from the total disposable portion and reserved it for the
64
The Republic and the BCD A (now respondents) argue that Proclamation No. DOJ Secretary Drilon stated that: "Proclamation No. 2487 is null and void x x
2487 does not legally exist; it could not have served to release the property x. [It] does not exist in the official records of the Office of the President x x x
from the mass of the non-alienable property of the State. [and] could riot have been issued by the former President since the last
Proclamation issued during her term was proclamation No. 932 dated 19
Hence, even if NOVAI relies on Proclamation No. 2487 - on which it did not June 1992."46cralawrednad
as it relied on Proclamation No. 4.61 - the sale and NOVAI's title are still
void. NOVAI, on the other hand, claims in defense that Proclamation No. In this regard, we quote with approval the CA's observations in its December
2487 is presumed valid and constitutional, and the burden of proving 28, 2006 decision:cralawlawlibrary
otherwise rests on the respondents. Cast against this backdrop, it stands to reason enough that the defendant-
appellee NOVAI was inevitably duty bound to prove and establish the very
In insisting on the presumptive validity of law, NOVAI obviously failed to existence, as well as the genuineness or authenticity, of this Presidential
grasp and appreciate the thrust of the respondents' arguments, including the Proclamation No. 2487. For certain inexplicable reasons, however, the
impact of the evidence which they presented to support the question they defendant-appellee did not do so, but opted to build up and erect its case
raised regarding the authenticity of Proclamation No. 2487. upon Presidential Proclamation No. 461.

Rather than the validity or constitutionality of Proclamation No. 2487, what To be sure, the existence of Presidential Proclamation No. 2487 could be
the respondents assailed was its legal existence, not whether it was easily proved, and established, by its publication in the Official Gazette.
constitutional or not. Put differently, they claimed that Proclamation No. 2487 But the defendant-appellee could not, as it did not, submit or present
was never issued by former Pres. Aquino; hence, the presumptive validity any copy or issue of the Official Gazette mentioning or referring to this
and constitutionality of laws cannot apply. Presidential Proclamation No. 2487, this even in the face of the
Government's determined and unrelenting claim that it does not exist at all.47
Accordingly, after the respondents presented their evidence, it was NOVAI's (Emphasis supplied)
turn to present its own evidence sufficient to rebut that of the respondents. A final point, we did not fail to notice the all too obvious and significant
On this point, we find the Republic's evidence sufficiently convincing to show difference between the proclamation number of Proclamation No. 2487 and
that Proclamation No. 2487 does not legally exist. These pieces of evidence the numbers of the proclamations actually issued by then President Corazon
include:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary C. Aquino on or about that time.

First, the October 26, 1993 letter of the Solicitor General to the Office of the We take judicial notice that on September 25, 1991 - the very day when
President inquiring about the existence of Proclamation No. Proclamation No. 2487 was supposedly issued - former Pres. Aquino issued
2487.42cralawrednad Proclamation No. 80048 and Proclamation No. 801.49 Previously, on
September 20, 1991, Pres. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 799;50 and
Second, the November 12, 1993 letter-reply of the Office of the President thereafter, on September 27, 1991, she issued Proclamation No.
informing the Solicitor General that Proclamation No. 2487 "is not among the 802.51cralawrednad
alleged documents on file with [its] Office."43cralawrednad
Other proclamations issued around or close to September 25, 1991, included
Third, the testimony of the Assistant Director of the Records Office in the following:cralawlawlibrary
Malacaang confirming that indeed, after verifying their records or of the 1. Proclamation No. 750 issued on July 1, 1991;52cralawrednad
different implementing agencies, "[t]here is no existing document(s) in [their]
possession regarding that alleged Proclamation No. 2487;"44 and 2. Proclamation No. 760 issued on July 18, 1991;53cralawrednad

Fourth and last, the October 11, 1993 Memorandum of then Department of 3. Proclamation No. 770 issued on August 12, 1991;54cralawrednad
Justice Secretary Frahklin M. Drilon (DOJ Secretary Drilon) to the NBI to
investigate, among others, the circumstances surrounding the issuance of 4. Proclamation No. 780 issued on August 26, 1991;55cralawrednad
Proclamation No. 2487.45 Notably, this October 11, 1993 Memorandum of
65
5. Proclamation No. 790 issued on September 3, 1991; 56cralawrednad
As a consequence, when R.A. No. 7227 took effect in 1992, the property
6. Proclamation No. 792 issued on September 5, 1991; 57cralawrednad subject of this case, which does not fall among the areas specifically
designated as exempt from the law's operation 67 was, by legal fiat,
7. Proclamation No. 797 issued on September 11, 1991;58cralawrednad transferred to the BCDA's authority.

8. Proclamation No. 798 issued on September 12, 1991;59cralawrednad B. As the property remains a reserved public domain land, its sale and
the title issued pursuant to the sale are void
9. Proclamation No. 804 issued on September 30, 1991;60cralawrednad
As the property remains a reserved public domain land, it is outside the
10. Proclamation No. 805 issued on September 30, 1991;61cralawrednad commerce of man. Property which are intended for public or quasi- public
use or for some public purpose are public dominion property of the State68
11. Proclamation No. 806 issued on October 2, 1991;62cralawrednad and are outside the commerce of man. NOVAI, therefore, could not have
validly purchased the property in 1991.
12. Proclamation No. 810 issued on October 7, 1991;63cralawrednad
We reiterate and emphasize that property which has been reserved for public
13. Proclamation No. 820 issued on October 25, 1991;64cralawrednad or quasi-public use or purpose are non-alienable and shall not be subject to
sale or other disposition until again declared alienable by law or by
14. Proclamation No. 834 issued on November 13, 1991;65 and proclamation of the President.69 Any sale or disposition of property of the
public dominion is void for being contrary to law and public
15. Proclamation No. 840 issued on November 26, 1991.66 policy.70cralawrednad
This list shows that the proclamations issued by former Pres. Aquino
followed a series or sequential pattern with each succeeding issuance Since the sale of the property, in this case, is void, the title issued to NOVAI
bearing a proclamation number one count higher than the proclamation is similarly void ab initio. It is a well-settled doctrine that registration under the
number of the preceding Presidential Proclamation. It also shows that on or Torrens System does not, by itself, vest title as it is not a mode of acquiring
about the time Proclamation No. 2487 was purportedly issued, the ownership;71 that registration under the Torrens System merely confirms the
proclamation numbers of the proclamations issued by President Aquino did registrant's already existing title.72cralawrednad
not go beyond the hundreds series.
Accordingly, the indefeasibility of a Torrens title does not apply in this case
It is highly implausible that Proclamation No. 2487 was issued on September and does not attach to NOVAI's title. The principle of indefeasibility does not
25, 1991, or on any day close to September 25, 1991, when the apply when the sale of the property and the title based thereon are null and
proclamations issued for the same period were sequentially numbered and void. Hence, the Republic's action to declare the nullity of NOVAI's void title
bore three-digit proclamation numbers. has not prescribed.

As Proclamation No. 2487 does not legally exist and therefore could not have NOVAI insists that the deed of sale carries the presumption of regularity in
validly revoked Proclamation No. 478, we find, as the CA also correctly did, the performance of official duties as it bears all the earmarks of a valid deed
that Proclamation No. 478 stands as the most recent manifestation of the of sale and is duly notarized.
State's intention to reserve the property anew for some public or quasi-public
use or purpose. Thus, consistent with Sections 88, in relation with Section 8, While we agree that duly notarized deeds of sale carry the legal presumption
of C.A. No. 141 and Article 420 of the Civil Code, as discussed above, the of regularity in the performance of official duties,73 the presumption of
property which was classified again as reservation for public or quasi-public regularity in the performance of official duties, like all other disputable legal
use or purpose is non-alienable and not subject to disposition; it also remains presumptions, applies only in the absence of clear and convincing evidence
property of the public dominion; hence, non-alienable and non-disposable establishing the contrary.74cralawrednad
land of the public domain.
66
When, as in this case, the evidence on record shows not only that the a. The absence, on file with the LMB, of any request for approval of any
property was reserved for public use or purpose, and thus, non-disposable - survey plan or of an approved survey plan in NOVAI's name covering
a fact that on its own defeats all the evidence which the petitioner may have the property.79 The approved survey plan relating to Lot 3, SWO-13-
had to support the validity of the sale - but also shows that the sale and the 000183 subject of NOVAI's TCT No. 15387 pertains to the AFPOVAI
circumstances leading to it are void in form and in substance, the disputable under Proclamation No. 461;80cralawrednad
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties certainly cannot
apply. b. The technical description, which the DENR prepared for the property
as covered by TCT No. T-15387, was issued upon NOVAI's request
C. Even assuming that Proclamation No. 2487 legally exists, the sale of only for purposes of reference, not for registration of title, and was
the property to NOVAI is illegal. based on the approved survey plan of the AFPOVAI;81cralawrednad

1. Dir. Palad did not have the authority to sell and convey the property. c. There is no record of any public land application filed by NOVAI with
the LMB or with the DENR Office for the purchase of the property or
The subject deed of sale points to Proclamation No. 2487, purportedly of any parcel of land in Metro Manila;82cralawrednad
amending Proclamation No. 478, in relation with Act No. 3038,75 as legal
basis for authorizing the sale. d. LMB Dir. Palad categorically denied signing and executing the deed
of sale;83cralawrednad
Section 176 of Act No. 3038 authorizes the sale or lease only: (i) of land of the
private domain, not land of the public domain; and (ii) by the Secretary of e. The findings of the NBI handwriting; expert, detailed in the
Agriculture and Natural Resources, not by the LMB Director. Section 277 of Questioned Documents Report No. 815-1093 dated October 29,
the said Act, in fact, specifically exempts from its coverage "land necessary 1993,84 revealed that the, signature of LMB Director Palad as it
for the public service." As the sale was executed by the LMB Director appeared on the Deed of Sale and his standard/sample signature as
covering the property that was reserved for the use of the VRMTC, it, they appeared on the submitted comparison documents "were not
therefore, clearly violated the provisions of Act No. 3038. written by one and the same person,"85 and concluded that "[t]he
questioned signature of 'ABELARDG G. PALAD, JR.' xxx is a
2. The area subject of the sale far exceeded the area that the Director of TRACED FORGERY by carbon process;"86 and
Lands is authorized to convey.
f. Lastly, the LMB Cashier's Office did not receive the amount of
Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 87878 which, per the Deed of Sale, purportedly P14,250,270.00 allegedly paid by NOVAI as consideration for the
authorized the Director of Lands, representing the Republic, to sell the property. The receipts87 - O.R. No. 8282851 dated November 28,
property in favor of NOVAI, limits the authority of the Director of Lands to 1991, for P160,000.00 and O.R. No. 317024 dated December 23,
sign patents or certificates covering lands to ten (10) hectares. 1992, for P200,000.00 - which NOVAI presented as evidence of its
alleged payment bore official receipt numbers which were not among
In this case, the subject deed of sale covers a total area of 475,009 square the series of official receipts issued by the National Printing Office to
meters or 47.5009 hectares. Obviously, the area covered by the deed of sale the LMB, and in fact, were not among the series used by the LMB on
and which NOVAI purportedly purchased, far exceeds the area that the the pertinent dates.88
Director of Lands is authorized to convey under B.P. Blg. 878.
In sum, we find - based on the facts, the law, and jurisprudence - that the
3. The evidence on record and the highly suspect circumstances surrounding
property, at the time of the sale, was a reserved public domain land. Its sale,
the sale fully supports the conclusion that the property's sale to NOVAI is
therefore, and the corresponding title issued in favor of petitioner NOVAI, is
fictitious, thus, void.
void.
We note the following irregularities that attended the sale of the property to WHEREFORE, we hereby DENY the present petition for review on certiorari.
NOVAI:
No reversible error attended the decision dated December 28, 2006, and the
67
resolution dated March 28, 2007, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
85179.

SO ORDERED.cha

68
G.R. No. 195990, August 05, 2015 (Rafael) married to Concepcion Gozo (Concepcion) pursuant to the
Homestead Patent granted by the President of the Philippines on 22 August
HEIRS OF RAFAEL GOZO REPRESENTED BY CASTILLO GOZO AND 1953.6
RAFAEL GOZO, JR., Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE UNION MISSION
CORPORATION OF THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH In view of Rafael's prior death, however, his heirs, Concepcion, and their six
(PUMCO), SOUTH PHILIPPINE UNION MISSION OF SDA (SPUMCO) AND children, namely, Abnera, Benia, Castillo, Dilbert, Filipinas and Grace caused
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH AT SIMPAK, LALA, LANAO DEL the extrajudicial partition of the property. Accordingly, the Register of Deeds
NORTE REPRESENTED BY BETTY PEREZ , Respondents. of Lanao del Norte issued a new certificate of title under Transfer Certificate
of Title (TCT) No. (T-347)-2927 under the names of the heirs on 13 January
DECISION 1954.

On 30 July 1992, Concepcion caused the survey and the subdivision of the
PEREZ, J.: entire property including the portion occupied by PUMCO-SDA.8 It was at this
point that respondents brought to the attention of Concepcion that the 5,000
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 filed by petitioners Heirs of Rafael square-meter portion of the property is already owned by respondent
Gozo seeking to reverse and set aside the 10 November 2010 Decision 2 of PUMCO-SDA in view of the Deed of Donation she executed together with
the Court of Appeals and its 14 February 2011 Resolution3 in CA-G.R. CV her husband in their favor in 1937. When Concepcion, however, verified the
No. 00188. The assailed decision and resolution reversed the 30 June 2004 matter with the Register Deeds, it appeared that the donation was not
Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte annotated in the title. The absence of annotation of the so-called
and held that the action for nullification and recovery of possession filed by encumbrance in the title prompted petitioners not to recognize the donation
the petitioners is already, barred by laches. The dispositive portion of the claimed by the respondents. The matter was left unresolved until Concepcion
Court of Appeals Decision reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary died and the rest of the owners continued to pursue their claims to recover
the subject property from the respondents.
ACCORDINGLY, the Decision dated 30 June 2004 of the court a quo is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The South Philippine Union Mission of the A compromise was initially reached by the parties wherein the petitioners
Seventh Day Adventist Church remains the absolute owner of the donated were allowed by respondents to harvest from the coconut trees planted on
property.4ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary the subject property but a misunderstanding ensued causing respondents to
file a case for qualified theft against the petitioners.
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The Facts
On 19 June 2000 or around six decades after the Deed of Donation was
executed, petitioners filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Document,
Petitioners claim that they are the heirs of the Spouses Rafael and
Recovery of Possession and Ownership with Damages against PUMCO-
Concepcion Gozo (Spouses Gozo) who, before their death, were the original
SDA before the RTC of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.9 In their-Complaint
owners of a parcel of land with an area 236,638 square meters located in
docketed as Civil Case No. 21-201, petitioners claimed that the possession
Sitio Simpak, Brgy. Lala, Municipality of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte. The
of PUMCO-SDA on the subject property was merely tolerated by petitioners
respondents claim that they own a 5,000 square-meter portion of the
and therefore could not ripen into ownership.10 In addition, petitioners argued
property. The assertion is based on the 28 February 1937 Deed of Donation5
that the signatures of the Spouses Gozo were forged underscoring the stark
in favor of respondent Philippine Union Mission Corporation of the Seventh
contrast between the genuine signatures of their parents from the ones
Day Adventist (PUMCO-SDA). Respondents took possession of the subject
appearing in the deed.11 Finally, petitioners averred that granting for the sake
property by introducing improvements thereon through the construction of a
of argument that the said signatures were genuine, the deed of donation will
church building, and later on, an elementary school. On the date the Deed of
remain invalid for lack of acceptance which is an essential requisite for a
Donation is executed in 1937, the Spouses Gozo were not the registered
valid contract of donation.12
owners of the property yet although they were the lawful possessors thereof.
It was only on 5 October 1953 that the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No.
For their part, respondents insisted on the validity of the donation and on the
P-642 covering the entire property was issued in the name of Rafael Gozo
69
genuineness of the signatures of the donors who had voluntarily parted with
their property as faithful devotees of the church for the pursuit of social and Petitioners are now before this Court via this instant Petition for Review on
religious ends.13 They further contended that from the moment the Spouses Certiorari seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals Decision and
Gozo delivered the subject property to respondents in 1937, they were Resolution on the sole ground that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
already in open, public, continuous and adverse possession thereof in the THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING AND
concept of an owner.14 A considerable improvement was claimed to have SETTING ASIDE THE DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO ON THE
been introduced into the property in the form of church and school GROUND OF LACHES.20ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
buildings.15 The argument of the petitioners, therefore, that the donation was ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
invalid for lack of acceptance, a question which came 63 years after it was The Court's Ruling
executed, is already barred by laches.
While the opposing parties center their arguments and counterarguments on
After the pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued. Both parties the timeliness of raising the question of the validity of' donation, a careful
adduced documentary and testimonial evidence to support their respective scrutiny of the records, however, reveals a significant fact that at the time the
positions. Deed of Donation was executed by the Spouses Gozo on 28 February 1937,
the subject property was part of the inalienable public domain. It was only
On 30 June 2004, the RTC rendered a Decision16 in favor of the petitioners almost after two decades later or on 5 October 1953 that the State ceded its
thereby declaring that they are the rightful owners of the subject property right over the land in favor of the Spouses Gozo by granting their patent
since the contract of donation which purportedly transferred the. ownership of application and issuing an original certificate of title in their favor. Prior to
the subject property to PUMCO-SDA is void for lack of acceptance. In such conferment of title, the Spouses Gozo possessed no right to dispose of
upholding the right of the petitioners to the land, the court a quo held that an the land which, by all intents and purposes, belongs to the State.
action or defense for the declaration of nullity of a contract does not
prescribe. Anent the claim that petitioners slept on their rights, the RTC Under the Regalian doctrine, which is embodied in Article XII, Section 2 of
adjudged that the equitable doctrine of laches is inapplicable in the case at our Constitution, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is
bar because the action of the registered owners to recover possession is the source of any asserted right to any ownership of land. All lands not
based on Torrens title which cannot be barred by laches. The RTC disposed appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to
in this wise:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the
rendered in favor of the [petitioners], to wit: State remain part of the inalienable public domain.21

(1) Declaring the 5,000 square meter portion of the land covered by TCT The classification of public lands is an exclusive prerogative of the executive
[No.] (T-347)-292 part of the common property of the [petitioners]; and department of the government and not the Courts. In the absence of such
(2) Declaring the Deed of Donation as void. classification, the land remains as an unclassified land until it is released
therefrom and rendered open to disposition. This is in consonance with the
The [petitioners], however, are not entitled to damages, attorney's fees and Regalian doctrine that all lands of the public domain belong to the State and
cost of litigation prayed for.17ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land and
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC Decision18 and ordered charged with the conservation of such patrimony.22
the dismissal of petitioners' complaint on the ground of laches. The appellate
court opined that petitioners failed to assert their rights over the land for more All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed
than 60 years, thus, laches had set in. Even if petitioners were the registered to belong to the State. Accordingly, all public lands not shown to have been
owners of the land in dispute, laches would still bar them from recovering reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private
possession of the same. person by the State remain part of the alienable public domain. As already
well-settled in jurisprudence, no public land can be acquired by private
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by the petitioners was likewise denied persons without any grant, express or implied, from the government; and it is
by the appellate court in a Resolution19 dated 14 February 2011. indispensable that the person claiming title to public land should show that
70
his title was acquired from the State or any other mode of acquisition
recognized by law. To prove that the land subject of an application for SEC. 9. For the purpose of their administration and disposition, the lands of
registration is alienable, the applicant must establish the existence of a the public domain alienable or open to disposition shall be classified,
positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an according to the use or purposes to which such lands are destined, as
executive order, an administrative action, investigation reports of Bureau of follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Lands investigators, and a legislative act or a statute. The applicant may also (a) Agricultural;cralawlawlibrary
secure a certification from the Government that the land applied for is (b) Residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar productive
alienable and disposable.23 purposes;cralawlawlibrary
(c) Educational, charitable, or other similar purposes; and
Commonwealth Act No. 141, also known as the Public Land Act, as (d) Reservations for townsites and for public and quasi-public uses.
amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073, remains to this day the existing The President, upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and
general law governing the classification and disposition of lands of the public Natural Resources, shall from time to time make the classifications provided
domain, other than timber and mineral lands. The following provisions under for in this section, and may, at any time and in a similar manner, transfer
Title I, Chapter II of the Public Land Act, as amended, is very specific on how lands from one class to another.25cralawredChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
lands of the public domain become alienable or disposable:24 By virtue of Presidential Decree No. 705, otherwise known as the Revised
SEC. 6. The President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Forestry Code, the President delegated to the DENR Secretary the power to
Agriculture and Natural Resources, shall from time to time classify the lands determine which of the unclassified lands of the public domain are (1)
of the public domain into:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary needed for forest purposes and declare them as permanent forest to form
(a) Alienable or disposable, part of the forest reserves; and (2) not needed for forest purposes and
(b) Timber, and declare them as alienable and disposable lands.26
(c) Mineral lands,ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from one class Per the Public Land Act, alienable and disposable public lands suitable for
to another, for the purposes of their administration and disposition. agricultural purposes can be disposed of only as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SEC. 7. For the purposes of the administration and disposition of alienable or 1. For homestead settlement;cralawlawlibrary
disposable public lands, the Batasang Pambansa or the President, upon 2. By sale;cralawlawlibrary
recommendation by the Secretary of Natural Resources, may from time to 3. By lease; and
time declare what public lands are open to disposition or concession under 4. By confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles:
this Act.
(a) By judicial legalization;cralawlawlibrary
xxxx (b) By administrative legalization (free patent).27
Homestead over alienable and disposable public agricultural land is
SEC. 8. Only those lands shall be declared open to disposition or concession granted after compliance by an applicant with the conditions and
which have been officially delimited and classified and, when practicable, requirements laid down under Title II, Chapter IV of the Public Land Act, the
surveyed, and which have not been reserved for public or quasi-public uses, most basic of which are quoted below:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
nor appropriated by the Government, nor in any manner become private SEC. 12. Any citizen of the Philippines over the age of eighteen years, or the
property, nor those on which a private right authorized and recognized by this head of a family, who does not own more than twenty-four hectares of land in
Act or any other valid law may be claimed, or which, having been reserved or the Philippines or has not had the benefit of any gratuitous allotment of more
appropriated, have ceased to be so. However, the President may, for than twenty-four hectares of land since the occupation of the Philippines by
reasons of public interest, declare lands of the public domain open to the United States, may enter a homestead of not exceeding twenty-four
disposition before the same have had their boundaries established or been hectares of agricultural land of the public domain.
surveyed, or may, for the same reason, suspend their concession or
disposition until they are again declared open to concession or disposition by SEC. 13. Upon the filing of an application for a homestead, the Director of
proclamation duly published or by Act of the Congress. Lands, if he finds that the application should be approved, shall do so and
71
authorize the applicant to take possession of the land upon the payment of It is beyond question that at the time the gratuitous transfer was effected by
five pesos, Philippine currency, as entry fee. Within six months from and after the Spouses Gozo on 28 February 1937, the subject property was part of
the date of the approval of the application, the applicant shall begin to work the public domain and is outside the commerce of man. It was only on 5
the homestead, otherwise he shall lose his prior right to the land. October 1953 that the ownership of the property was vested by the State to
the Spouses Gozo by virtue of its issuance of the OCT pursuant to the
SEC. 14. No certificate shall be given or patent issued for the land applied for Homestead Patent granted by the President of the Philippines on 22 August
until at least one-fifth of the land has been improved and cultivated. The 1953. Hence, the donation of the subject property which took place before 5
period within which the land shall be cultivated shall not be less than one nor October 1953 is null and void from the very start.33
more than five years, from and after the date of the approval of the
application. The applicant shall, within the said period, notify the Director of As a void contract, the Deed of Donation produces no legal effect
Lands as soon as he is ready to acquire the title. If at the date of such notice, whatsoever. Quod nullum est, nullum producit effectum34 That which is a
the applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the Director of Lands, that he nullity produces no effect.35 Logically, it could not have transferred title to the
has resided continuously for at least one year in the municipality in which the subject property from the Spouses Gozo to PUMCO-SDA and there can be
land is located, or in a municipality adjacent to the same and has cultivated no basis for the church's demand for the issuance of title under its name.
at least one-fifth of the land continuously since the approval of the Neither does the church have the right to subsequently dispose the property
application, and shall make affidavit that no part of said land has been nor invoke acquisitive prescription to justify its occupation. A void contract is
alienated or encumbered, and that he has complied with all the requirements not susceptible to ratification, and the action for the declaration of absolute
of this Act, then, upon the payment of five pesos, as final fee, he shall be nullity of such contract is imprescriptible. 36
entitled to a patent.28ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
It is clear under the law that before compliance with the foregoing conditions The lack of respondents' right over the property was confirmed when the
and requirements the applicant has no right over the land subject of the Spouses Gozo had the entire property, including the portion occupied by the
patent and therefore cannot dispose the same even if such disposal was church, surveyed and patented, and covered by their homestead patent.
made gratuitously. It is an established principle that no one can give what Further, after a certificate of title was issued under their names, the Spouses
one does not have, nemo dat quod non habet.29 It is true that gratuitous Gozo did not effect the annotation thereon of the supposed donation.
disposal in donation may consist of a thing or a right but the term right must Registration is the operative act that gives validity to the transfer or creates a
be understood in a "proprietary" sense over which the possessor has jus lien upon the land.37 Indeed it has been ruled that where there was nothing in
disponendi.30 This is because in true donations there results a consequent the certificate of title to indicate any cloud or vice in the ownership of the
impoverishment of the donor or diminution of his assets.31 In Republic v. property, or any encumbrance thereon, the purchaser is not required to
Court of Appeals,32 the Court declared the contract of donation, executed by explore farther than what the Torrens title upon its face indicates in quest for
the donor who has no proprietary right over the object of the contract, null any hidden defect or inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right
and void, viz:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary thereto.38 If the rule were otherwise, the efficacy and conclusiveness of the
Even on the gratuitous assumption that a donation of the military "camp site" certificate of title which the Torrens system seeks to insure would entirely be
was executed between Eugenio de Jesus and Serafin Marabut, such futile and nugatory.39 The public shall then be denied of its foremost
donation would anyway be void because Eugenio de Jesus held no motivation for respecting and observing the Land Registration Act.40
dominical rights over the site when it was allegedly donated by him in
1936. In that year, Proclamation No. 85. of President Quezon already Just as significantly, the homestead application of the Spouses Gozo over
withdrew the area from sale or settlement and reserved it for military the entire area of the property including that occupied by respondents and
purposes, x x x Eugenio de Jesus cannot be said to be possessed of that the issuance in their favor of the corresponding title without any complaint or
"proprietary" right over the whole 33 hectares in 1936 including the disputed objection from the respondents, remove the case of the petitioners from the
12.8081 hectares for at the time this 12.8081-hectare lot had already been operation of the doctrine of laches.
severed from the mass disposable public lands by Proclamation No. 85 and
excluded from the Sales Award. Impoverishment of Eugenio's asset as a And, further than the issuance of an original title, the entire property was
result of such donation is therefore farfetched. (Emphasis made subject of an extrajudicial partition of the property by the Gozo heirs
supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary resulting in the issuance of TCTs in their names in 1954. Again, in no
72
instance during the partition did the respondents make known their claim
over the property.

Clearly from the facts, the petitioners asserted their rights repeatedly; it was
the respondents who kept silent all throughout about the supposed donee's
rights.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby


GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated 10 November 2010 and Resolution
dated 14 February 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 00188
are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

73
G.R. No. 211362 February 24, 2015 On March 25, 2014, Filipina P. Cudia, acting for herself and in behalf of her
son Cadet 1 CL Cudia, filed a motion for leave to intervene, attaching thereto
FIRST CLASS CADET ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA of the Philippine Military the petition-in-intervention.4 Per Resolution dated March 31, 2014, the Court
Academy, represented by his father RENATO P. CUDIA, who also acts granted the motion and resolved to await respondents' comment on the
on his own behalf, and BERTENI CATALUNA CAUSING, Petitioners, petition.5
vs.
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY A manifestation was then filed by petitioners on April 3, 2014, recommending
(PMA), THE HONOR COMMITTEE (HC) OF 2014 OF THE PMA and HC the admission of the petition-in-intervention and adopting it as an integral part
MEMBERS, and the CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD (CRAB), of their petition.6 On May 20, 2014, petitioner-intervenor filed a manifestation
Respondents. with motion for leave to admit the Final Investigation Report of the
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) dated April 25, 2014.7 The Report8
x-----------------------x was relative to CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-0029 filed by the spouses Renato
and Filipina Cudia (Spouses Cudia), for themselves and in behalf of their
FILIPINA P. CUDIA, in behalf of CADET FIRST CLASS ALDRIN JEFF P. son, against the PMA Honor Committee (HC) members and Major Vladimir
CUDIA, and on her own behalf, Petitioner-Intervenor. P. Gracilla (Maj. Gracilla)9 for violation of Cadet lCL Cudia's rights to due
process, education, and privacy of communication. Subsequently, on June 3,
2014, petitioners filed a motion for leave to adopt the submission of the CHR
DECISION Report.10 The manifestation was granted and the motion was noted by the
Court in its Resolution dated July 7, 2014.
PERALTA, J.:
After filing three motions for extension of time,11 respondents filed their
The true test of a cadet's character as a leader rests on his personal Consolidated Comment12 on June 19, 2014. In a motion, petitioner-
commitment to uphold what is morally and ethically righteous at the most intervenor filed a Reply, which was later adopted by petitioners.13 Submitted
critical and trying times, and at the most challenging circumstances. When a as Annex "A" of the Reply was a copy of the CHR Resolution dated May 22,
cadet must face a dilemma between what is true and right as against his 2014 regarding CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-0029.14 We noted and granted
security, well-being, pleasures and comfort, or dignity, what is at stake is his the same on August 11, 2014 and October 13, 2014.
honor and those that [define] his values. A man of an honorable character
does not think twice and chooses the fore. This is the essence of and. the Petitioner-intervenor twice filed a manifestation with motion to submit the
Spirit of the Honor Code - it is championing truth and righteousness even if it case for early resolution,15 which the Court noted in a Resolution dated
may mean the surrender of one's basic rights and privileges.1 August 11, 2014 and October 3, 2014.16

The Procedural Antecedents The Facts

Six days prior to the March 16, 2014 graduation ceremonies of the Philippine Cadet 1 CL Cudia was a member of Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 of the PMA,
Military Academy (PMA), petitioners Renato P. Cudia, acting for himself and the country's premiere military academy located at Fort Gregorio del Pilar in
in behalf of his son, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia (Cadet JCL Baguio City. He belonged to the "A" Company and was the Deputy Baron of
Cudia), and Berteni Catalufta Causing filed this petition for certiorari, his class. As claimed by petitioners and petitioner-intervenor (hereinafter
prohibition, and mandamus with application for extremely urgent temporary collectively called "petitioners," unless otherwise indicated), he was
restraining order (TRO).2 supposed to graduate with honors as the class salutatorian, receive the
Philippine Navy Saber as the top Navy cadet graduate, and be
In a Resolution dated March 1 7, 2014, the Court denied the prayer for TRO commissioned as an ensign of the Philippine Navy.
and instead, required respondents to file their comment on the petition.3

74
On November 14, 2013, the combined classes of the Navy and Air Force 1 On December 28, 2013, Maj. Hindang submitted his reply to Maj. Leander
CL cadets had a lesson examination (LE) on Operations Research (OR432) pointing out that, based on his investigation, the 4th period class was not
under Dr. Maria Monica C. Costales (Dr. Costales) at the PMAFI Room. Per dismissed late. As a result, Maj. Leander sustained the penalty imposed.
published schedule from the Headquarters Academic Group, the 4th period Petitioners alleged that Cadet 1 CL Cudia came to know of the denial of his
class in OR432 was from 1 :30-3:00 p.m. (1330H-1500H), while the 5th request only on January 24, 2014 upon inquiry with Maj. Leander.
period class in ENG412 was from 3:05-4:05 p.m. (1505H-1605H).
Several days passed, and on January 7, 2014, Cadet lCL Cudia was
Five days after, Professor Juanita Berong (Prof. Berong) of the 5th period informed that Maj. Hindang reported him to the HC21 for violation of the
class issued a Delinquency Report (DR) against Cadet 1 CL Cudia because Honor Code. The Honor Report stated:
he was "[/]ate for two (2) minutes in his Eng 412 class x x x. "17 Cadets 1 CL
Narciso, Arcangel, Miranda, Pontillas, Diaz, Otila, and Dela Cruz were also Lying that is giving statement that perverts the truth in his written appeal,
reported late for five minutes.18 stating that his 4th period class ended at l 500H that made him late in the
succeeding class.22
On December 4, 2013, the DRs reached the Department of Tactical Officers.
They were logged and transmitted to the Company Tactical Officers ( CTO) Upon asking the HC Chairman, Cadet 1 CL Mike Anthony P. Mogol (Cadet 1
for explanation of the concerned cadets. Two days later, Cadet lCL Cudia CL Mogol), as to what Maj. Hindang meant in his Report, Cadet lCL Cudia
received his DR. learned that it was based on Maj. Hindang's conversations with their
instructors and classmates as well as his statement in the request for
In his Explanation of Report dated December 8, 2013, Cadet lCL Cudia reconsideration to Maj. Leander. He then verbally applied for and was
reasoned out that: "I came directly from OR432 Class. We were dismissed a granted an extension of time to answer the charge against him because Dr.
bit late by our instructor Sir."19 Costales, who could shed light on the matter, was on emergency leave.

On December 19, 2013, Major Rommel Dennis Hindang (Maj. Hindang), the On January 13, 2014, Dr. Costales sent text messages to Cadet lCL Cudia,
CTO of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, meted out to him the penalty of 11 demerits and conveying:
13 touring hours. Immediately, Cadet lCL Cudia clarified with Maj. Hindang
his alleged violation. The latter told him that the basis of the punishment was Gud pm cdt cudia. Mam belandres gave me bkground na. She told me its a
the result of his conversation with Dr. Costales, who responded that she report dated november. When maj hindang ask me, no time referens.
never dismissed her class late, and the protocol to dismiss the class 10-15 (04:25:11 P.M.)
minutes earlier than scheduled. When he expressed his intention to appeal
and seek reconsideration of the punishment, he was advised to put the
All the while I thot he was refering to dismisal during last day last december.
request in writing. Hence, that same day, Cadet 1 CL Cudia addressed his
Whc i told, i wud presume they wil finish early bee its grp work. (04:29:21
Request for Reconsideration of Meted Punishment to Maj. Benjamin L.
P.M.)23
Leander, Senior Tactical Officer (STO), asserting:
The next day, Cadets lCL Cudia and Arcangel approached Dr. Costales, who
I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th period
reaffirmed that she and Maj. Hindang were not in the same time reference
class ended 1500H and our 5th period class, which is ENG412, started
when the latter asked her.
1500H also. Immediately after 4t period class, I went to my next class without
any intention of being late Sir.20
Later, Cadet 1 CL Cudia submitted his letter of explanation on the Honor
Report. He averred:
A day after, Maj. Leander instructed Maj. Hindang to give his comments on
the request of Cadet 1 CL Cudia and to indicate if there were other cadets
belonging to the same section who were also late. Sir, We had an LE that day (14 November 2013) in OR432 class. When the
first bell rang (1455), I stood up, reviewed my paper and submitted it to my

75
instructor, Ms. Costales. After which, I and Cadet lcl Arcangel asked for I agree and consider that because Cadet CUDIA is
some query with regards (sic) to the deductions of our previous LE. Our under my instruction to wait, and the other cadets
instructor gladly answered our question. She then told me that she will give still have business with me, it is reasonable enough
the copy of our section grade, so I waited at the hallway outside the ACAD5 for him to say that "Our class was dismissed a bit
office, and then she came out of the room and gave me a copy of the grades. late" (dealing with matter of seconds or a minute
Cadet Arcangel, Cadet Narciso and I immediately went to our 5ti period class particularly 45 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds)
which is ENG412.
And with concern to (sic) OR432 class, I can say it
With these statements, I would like to clarify the following: ended on time (1500H).

1. How could this be lying? (signed)


M COSTALES
2. What is wrong with the side of Maj. Hindang (why did he
come up to that honor report)? w/ attached certification

3. What are his assumptions? 5. I was transparent and honest in explaining the 2-minute
delay and did not attempt to conceal anything that happened
I appeal, in the name of clarity, fairness and truth[,] that my case be or I did.
reopened and carefully reviewed for I did not violate the honor code/system, I
can answer NO to both questions (Did I intend to deceive? Did I intend to 6. Furthermore, CPT DULA WAN PA, the Tactical Officer of
take undue advantage?) and for the following reasons: Hawk Company[,] and I had a conversation with regards
(sic) to the same matter for which he can give important
1. The honor report of Maj. Hindang was already settled and points of my case.
finalized given the fact that no face-to-face personal
conversation with Ms. Costales was conducted to clarify 7. Cadet lcl DIAZ "D" Co can also stand as a witness that I
what and when exactly was the issue at hand. waited for Ms. Costales. 24

2. Statements of the respondents support my explanation. On January 15, 2014, the HC constituted a team to conduct a preliminary
investigation on the reported honor violation of Cadet 1 CL Cudia. The
3. My explanation to my appeal to my DR (Request for Foxtrot Company was designated as the investigating team and was
reconsideration of meted punishment) further supports my composed of Cadet 1 CL Hasigan as Presiding Officer, and Cadets 1 CL
explanation in my delinquency report. Mogol, lCL Raguindin, 2CL Gumilab, 2CL Saldua, 3CL Espejo, and 3CL
Poncardas as members.25 Soon after, the team submitted its Preliminary
Investigation Report recommending that the case be formalized.
4. My understanding of the duration of the "CLASS" covers
not just a lecture in a typical classroom instruction but
includes every transaction and communication a teacher The formal investigation against Cadet 1 CL Cu di a then ensued. The
does with her students, especially that in our case some Presiding Officer was Cadet 1 CL Rhona K. Salvacion, while the nine (9)
cadets asked for queries, and I am given instruction by voting members were Cadets lCL Jairus 0. Fantin, lCL Bryan Sonny S.
which (sic) were directly related to our CLASS. Her Arlegui, 1 CL Kim Adrian R. Martal, 1 CL J eanelyn P. Cabrido, 1 CL
transaction and communication with our other classmates ShuAydan G. Ayada, 1 CL Dalton John G. Lagura, 2CL Renato A. Carifio,
may have already ended but ours extended for a little bit. Jr., 2CL Arwi C. Martinez, and 2CL Niko Angelo C. Tarayao.26 Acting as
recorders tasked to document the entire proceedings were 4CL Jennifer A.

76
Cuarteron and 3CL Leoncio Nico A. de Jesus 11.27 Those who observed the is with us, I used the term "CLASS", I used the word "DISMISSED" because I
trial were Cadets 1 CL Balmeo, Dag-uman, Hasigan, Raguindin, Paulino, was under instruction (to wait for her to give the section grade) by the
Arcangel, and Narciso; Cadets 2CL Jocson and Saldua, Jr.; and Cadet 3CL instructor, Ms. Costales. The other cadets (lCL MIRANDA, lCL ARCANGEL)
Umaguing.28 still have queries and business with her that made me decide to use the word
"CLASS", while the others who don't have queries and business with her (ex:
The first formal hearing started late evening of January 20, 2014 and lasted lCL NARCISO and 1 CL DIAZ) were also around.
until early morning the next day. Cadet lCL Cudia was informed of the charge
against him, as to which he pleaded "Not Guilty." Among those who testified Note:
were Cadet 1 CL Cudia, Maj. Hindang, and Cadets 1 CL Arcangel and
Narciso. On the second night of the hearing held on January 21, 2014, Cadet The four named cadets were also reported late.
1 CL Cudia again appeared and was called to the witness stand along with
Cadets Brit and Barrawed. Dr. Costales also testified under oath via phone
Reference: Para 171. 0. (Leaving the Classroom Prior to Dismissal
on a loudspeaker. Deliberation among the HC voting members followed. Time)(Sec XVII, CCAFPR s2008)
After that, the ballot sheets were distributed. The members cast their votes
through secret balloting and submitted their accomplished ballot sheets
together with their written justification. The result was 8-1 in favor of a guilty It is stated in this reference that "Cadets shall not linger in the place of
verdict. Cadet lCL Dalton John G. Lagura (Cadet lCL Lagura) was the lone instruction after the section has been dismissed. EXCEPT when told or
dissenter. Allegedly, upon the order ofHC Chairman Cadet 1 CL Mogol, the allowed to do so by the instructor or by any competent authority for official
Presiding Officer and voting members went inside a chamber adjoining the purposes. "
court room for further deliberation. After several minutes, they went out and
the Presiding Officer announced the 9-0 guilty verdict. Cadet 1 CL Cudia, The instruction by Ms. Costales was given to me before the two bells rang
who already served nine (9) touring hours, was then informed of the (indicating the end of class hour, 1500H). I waited for her for about 45
unanimous votes finding him guilty of violating the Honor Code. He was seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds, that made me to decide to write "a little
immediately placed in the PMA Holding Center until the resolution of his bit late" in my explanation. Truly, the class ENDED 1500H but due to official
appeal. purpose (instruction by Ms. Costales to wait) and the conflict in academic
schedule (to which I am not in control of the circumstances, 4th PD class
On January 24, 2014, Cadet ICL Cudia filed a written appeal addressed to 1330H-1500H and 5th PD class 1500H-1 600H), and since Ms. Costales, my
the HC Chairman, the full text of which stated: other classmates, and I were there, I used the word "CLASS".

WRITTEN APPEAL 19 December 2013

14 NOVEMBER 2013 I was informed that my delinquency report was awarded, 11 Demerits and 13
Touring hours. Not because I don't want to serve punishment, but because I
know I did nothing wrong, I obeyed instruction, and believing that my reason
This is when I was reported for "Late for two (2) minutes in Eng412 class",
is justifiable and valid, that is why I approached our tactical officer, MAJ
my explanation on this delinquency report when I received it, is that "Our
HINDANG PAF, to clarify and ask why it was awarded that day.
class was dismissed a (little) bit late and I came directly from 4th period class
... etc". Knowing the fact that in my delinquency report, it is stated that
ENG412 classes started 1500H and I am late for two minutes, it is logical In our conversation, he said that he had a phone call to my instructor and he
enough for I (sic) to interpret it as "I came 1502H during that class". This is even added that they have a protocol to dismiss the class, 15 minutes or 10
the explanation that came into my mind that time. (I just cannot recall the minutes before 1500H. I explained:
exact words I used in explaining that delinquency report, but what I want to
say is that I have no intention to be late). In my statements, I convey my Sir, I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th
message as "since I was not the only one left in that class, and the instructor period class ended 1500H and our 5th period class, which is ENG412,

77
started 1500H also. Immediately after 4th period class, I went to my next really recall an account that is more than two (2) months earlier.
class without any intention of being late Sir. According to my records, there was a lecture followed by an LE
during (sic) on 14 November 2013. To determine the time of my
These statements are supplementary to my explanation in my delinquency dismissal, maybe it can be verified with the other members of class I
report, in here, I specified the conflict in the schedule and again, I have no was handling on that said date.30
intention to be late. After explaining it further with these statements, my
tactical officer said that since I was reported in a written form, I should make Respondents contend that the HC denied the appeal the same day, January
an appeal in a written form. Thinking that he already understood what I want 24, as it found no reason to conduct a re-trial based on the arguments and
to say, I immediately made an appeal that day stating the words that I used evidence presented.31 Petitioners, however, claim that the written appeal
in having conversation with him.29 was not acted upon until the filing of the petition-in-intervention.32

Attached to the written appeal was a Certification dated January 24, 2014, From January 25 to February 7, 2014, respondents allege that the
wherein Dr. Costales attested: Headquarters Tactics Group (HTG) conducted an informal review to check
the findings of the HC. During the course of the investigation, Prof. Berong
1. That Cadet MIRANDA, ARCANGEL, [and] NARCISO was (sic) was said to have confirmed with the Officer-in-Charge of the HC that classes
with Cadet CUDIA in making query about their latest grades in started as scheduled (i.e., 3:05 p.m. or 1505H), and that Cadet lCL
OR432 and/or results of UEl outside the ACADS office. The following Barrawed, the acting class marcher of ENG412, verified before the
facts may explain their queries on 14 November 2013: Commandant, Assistant Commandant, and STO that the class started not
earlier than scheduled.
a. That I held my class in the PMAFI room instead of room
104. Meantime, on February 4, 2014, the OIC of the HC forwarded the Formal
Investigation Report to the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) for review. The next
b. That OR432 releases grades every Wednesday and day, the SJA found the report to be legally in order.
cadets are informed during Thursday, either in class or
posted grades in the bulletin board (grades released was [sic On February 8, 2014, Colonel Rozzano D. Briguez (Col. Briguez), the
J based on the previous LEs: latest LE before UE was Commandant of Cadets, affirmed the HC findings and recommended to Vice
Decision Trees). Admiral Edgar Abogado, then PMA Superintendent, the separation from the
PMA of Cadet lCL Cudia for violation of the First Tenet of the Honor Code
(Lying, pursuant to Sec. VII.12.b of the CCAFPR S-2008). On the same date,
c. That UE papers were already checked but not yet
Special Orders No. 26 was issued by the PMA Headquarters placing Cadet 1
recorded due to (sic) other cadets have not taken the UE.
CL Cudia on indefinite leave of absence without pay and allowances effective
Cadets were allowed to verify scores but not to look at the
February 10, 2014 pending approval of his separation by the AFPGHQ,
papers.
barring him from future appointment and/or admission as cadet, and not
permitting him to qualify for any entrance requirements to the PMA. 33
d. Last 23 January 2014, Captain Dulawan clarified if indeed
Cadet NARCISO and ARCANGEL verified grades. The two
Two days later, Vice Admiral Abogado approved the recommendation to
cadets said that they verified something with me after the
dismiss Cadet 1 CL Cudia.
OR432 class and they were with Cadet CUD IA. That the
statements of the three (3) cadets are all the same and
consistent, thus[,] I honor that as true. On February 13, 2014, Cadet lCL Cudia submitted a letter to the Office of the
Commandant of Cadets requesting for reinstatement by the PMA of his
status as a cadet.34
2. As to the aspect of dismissing late, I could not really account for
the specific time that I dismissed the class. To this date, I [cannot]

78
Four days passed, Annavee P. Cudia (Annavee ), the sister of Cadet 1 CL approval of the latter's request for extension, the CRAB would continue to
Cudia, posted his plight in her Face book account. The day after, the review the case and submit its recommendations based on whatever
Spouses Cudia gave a letter to Major General Oscar Lopez (Maj. Gen. evidence and testimonies received, and that it could not favorably consider
Lopez), the new PMA Superintendent, asking to recognize the 8-1 voting of his request for copies of the HC minutes, relevant documents, and video
the HC.35 Copies of which were furnished to the AFP Chief of Staff and footages and recordings of the HC hearings since it was neither the
other concerned military officials. Subsequently, Maj. Gen. Lopez was appropriate nor the authorized body to take action thereon.39 Subsequently,
directed to review Cadet lCL Cudia's case. The latter, in turn, referred the upon verbal advice, Cadet 1 CL Cudia wrote a letter to Maj. Gen. Lopez
matter to the Cadet Review and Appeals Board (CRAB). reiterating his request.40

On February 19, 2014, Cadet lCL Cudia made his personal appeal letter to Two days after, the Spouses Cudia filed a letter-complaint before the CHR-
Maj. Gen. Lopez. On even date, the AFP Chief of Staff ordered a Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Office against the HC members and
reinvestigation following the viral Facebook post of Annavee demanding the Maj. Gracilla for alleged violation of the human rights of Cadet lCL Cudia,
intervention of the military leadership. particularly his rights to due process, education, and privacy of
communication.41
Petitioners claim that, on February 21, 2014, Special Order No. 1 was issued
directing all PMA cadets to ostracize Cadet 1 CL Cudia by not talking to him On March 4, 2014, Cadet 1 CL Cudia, through the PAO, moved for additional
and by separating him from all activities/functions of the cadets. It is said that time, until March 19, 2014, to file his appeal and submit evidence. PAO also
any violation shall be a "Class 1" offense entailing 45 demerits, 90 hours wrote a letter to AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista (Gen.
touring, and 90 hours confinement. Cadet 1 CL Cudia was not given a copy Bautista) seeking for immediate directive to the PMA to expeditiously and
of the order and learned about it only from the media.36 According to an favorably act on Cadet 1CL Cudia's requests.42
alleged news report, PMA Spokesperson Major Agnes Lynette Flores (Maj.
Flores) confirmed the HC order to ostracize Cadet 1 CL Cudia. Among his Exactly a week prior to the commencement exercises of Siklab Diwa Class,
offenses were: breach of confidentiality by putting documents in the social the following events transpired:
media, violation of the PMA Honor Code, lack of initiative to resign, and
smearing the name of the PMA.37
On March 10, 2014, Annavee sought the assistance of PAO Chief Public
Attorney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta.43 On the other hand, the CRAB
On February 24, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia requested the CRAB for additional submitted a report to the AFP-GHQ upholding the dismissal of Cadet 1 CL
time, until March 4, 2014, to file an appeal on the ground that his intended Cudia.44
witnesses are in on-the-job training ( OJT).38 As additional evidence to
support his appeal, he also requested for copies of the Minutes of the HC
On March 11, 2014, PAO received a letter from Maj. Gen. Lopez stating the
proceedings, relevant documents pertaining to the case, and video footages
denial of Cadet 1CL Cudia's requests for extension of time to file an Appeal
and recordings of the HC hearings.
Memorandum in view of the ample time already given, and to be furnished
with a copy of relevant documents because of confidentiality and
The next day, Cadet 1 CL Cudia and his family engaged the services of the presumption of regularity of the HC proceedings.45 Cadet 1CL Cudia,
Public Attorney's Office (PAO) in Baguio City. through PAO, then filed an Appeal Memorandum46 before the CRAB.

The CRAB conducted a review of the case based on the following: (a) letter On March 12, 2014, Spouses Cudia wrote a letter to President Benigno
of appeal of the Spouses Cudia dated February 18, 2014; (b) directive from Simeon C. Aquino III (Pres. Aquino), who is the Commander-in-Chief of the
the AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case; and ( c) guidance from Maj. Gen. AFP, attaching thereto the Appeal Memorandum.47 On the same day,
Lopez. Special Orders No. 48 was issued by the PMA constituting a Fact-Finding
Board/Investigation Body composed of the CRAB members and PMA senior
On February 26, 2014, Brigadier General Andre M. Costales, Jr. (Brig. Gen. officers to conduct a deliberate investigation pertaining to Cadet 1CL Cudia's
Costales, Jr.), the CRAB Chairman, informed Cadet lCL Cudia that, pending Appeal Memorandum.48 The focus of the inquiry was not just to find out
79
whether the appeal has merit or may be considered but also to investigate of the punishment imposed. Also, your son was afforded sufficient time to file
possible involvement of other cadets and members of the command related his appeal from the date he was informed of the final verdict on January 21,
to the incident and to establish specific violation of policy or regulations that 2014, when the decision of the Honor Committee was read to him in person,
had been violated by other cadets and members of the HC.49 until the time the PMA CRAB conducted its review on the case. Moreover,
the continued stay of your son at the Academy was voluntary. As such, he
On March 13, 2014, the Cudia family and the Chief Public Attorney had a remained subject to the Academy's policy regarding visitation. Further, there
dialogue with Maj. Gen. Lopez. On March 14, 2014, the CHR-CAR came out was no violation of his right to due process considering that the procedure
with its preliminary findings, which recommended the following: undertaken by the Honor Committee and PMA CRAB was consistent with
existing policy. Thus, the previous finding and recommendation of the Honor
Committee finding your son, subject Cadet guilty of "Lying" and
a. For the PMA and the Honor Committee to respect and uphold the
recommending his separation from the Academy is sustained.
8 Guilty - 1 Not guilty vote;

b. For the PMA and the Honor Committee to officially pronounce Cdt In view of the foregoing, this Headquarters resolved to deny your appeal for
Cudia as Not Guilty of the charge filed against him before the Honor lack of merit.51 Thereafter, the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body issued
its Final Investigation Report on March 23, 2014 denying Cadet 1 CL Cudia's
Committee;
appeal.52 Subsequently, on April 28, 2014, the special investigation board
tasked to probe the case submitted its final report to the President.53
c. For the PMA to restore Cadet Cudia's rights and entitlements as a Pursuant to the administrative appeals process, the DND issued a
full-fledge graduating cadet and allow him to graduate on Sunday, 16 Memorandum dated May 23, 2014, directing the Office of AFP Chief of Staff
March 2014; to submit the complete records of the case for purposes of DND review and
recommendation for disposition by the President.54
d. For the PMA to fully cooperate with the CHR in the investigation of
Cudia's Case.50 Meanwhile, on May 22, 2014, the CHR-CAR issued its Resolution with
respect to CHR-CAR Case No. 2014-0029, concluding and recommending
On March 15, 2014, Cadet 1CL Cudia and his family had a meeting with as follows:
Pres. Aquino and Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire
T. Gazmin. The President recommended that they put in writing their appeal, WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Commission on Human
requests, and other concerns. According to respondents, the parties agreed Rights-CAR Office finds PROBABLE CAUSE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
that Cadet 1 CL Cudia would not join the graduation but it was without VIOLATIONS against the officers and members of the PMA Honor
prejudice to the result of the appeal, which was elevated to the AFP Chief of Committee and .. certain PMA officials, specifically for violations of the rights
Staff. The President then tasked Gen. Bautista to handle the reinvestigation of CADET ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA to dignity, due process, education,
of the case, with Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez supervising the group conducting privacy/privacy of communication, and good life.
the review.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the CHR-CAR Office RESOLVED to
Four days after Siklab Diwa Class' graduation day, petitioner Renato S. indorse to competent authorities for their immediate appropriate action on the
Cudia received a letter dated March 11, 2014 from the Office of the AFP following recommendations:
Adjutant General and signed by Brig. Gen. Ronald N. Albano for the AFP
Chief of Staff, affirming the CRAB' s denial of Cadet 1 CL Cudia' s appeal. It
held: 1. The Philippine Military Academy must set aside the "9-
Guilty, 0-Not Guilty" verdict against Cadet Aldrin Jeff P.
Cudia, for being null and void; to uphold and respect the "8-
After review, The Judge Advocate General, APP finds that the action of the Guilty, 1-Not Guilty" voting result and make an official
PMA CRAB in denying the appeal for reinvestigation is legally in order. There pronouncement of NOT GUILTY in favor of Cadet Cudia;
was enough evidence to sustain the finding of guilt and the proprietary (sic)

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2. The PMA, the AFP Chief of Staff, and the President in 3.6 Cdt lCL JEANEL YN P. CABRIDO, now 2nd Lt.
whose hands rest the ends of justice and fate of Cadet of the AFP
Cudia, to:
3.7 Cdt lCL KIM ADRIAN R. MARTAL, now 2nd Lt.
2.1 officially proclaim Cadet Cudia a graduate and of the AFP
alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy;
3.8 Cdt lCL JAIRUS 0. FANTIN, now 2nd Lt. of the
2.2 issue to Cadet Cudia the corresponding Diploma AFP
for the degree of Bachelors of Science; and
3.9 Cdt lCL BRYAN SONNY S. ARLEGUI, now 2nd
2.3 Issue to Cadet Cudia the corresponding official Lt. of the AFP
transcript 'of his academic records for his BS
degree, without conditions therein as to his status as 3.10 Cdt lCL DALTON JOHN G. LAGURA, now 2nd
a PMA cadet. Lt. of the AFP

3. The Public Attorneys' Office to provide legal services to 3.11 Cdt 1 CL BIANCHIHEIMER L. EDRA, now 2nd
Cadet Cudia in pursuing administrative, criminal and civil Lt. of the AFP
suits against the officers and members of the Honor
Committee named hereunder, for violation of the Honor
3.12 Cdt 4CL JENNIFER A. CUARTERON
Code and System and the Procedure in Formal
(recorder)
Investigation, dishonesty, violation of the secrecy of the
ballot, tampering the true result of the voting, perjury,
intentional omission in the Minutes of substantive part of the 3.13 Cdt 3CL LEONCIO NICO A. DE JESUS II
formal trial proceedings which are prejudicial to the interest (record)
of justice and Cadet Cudia's fundamental rights to dignity,
non-discrimination and due process, which led to the 4. The Office of the AFP Chief of Staff and the PMA
infringement of his right to education and even transgressing competent authorities should investigate and file appropriate
his right to a good life. charges against Maj. VLADIMIR P. GRACILLA, for violation
of the right to privacy of Cadet Cudia and/or failure, as
3.1 Cdt lCL MIKE ANTHONY MOGUL, now 2nd Lt. intelligence officer, to ensure the protection of the right to
of the AFP privacy of Cudia who was then billeted at the PMA Holding
Center;
3.2 Cdt lCL RHONA K. SALVACION, now 2nd Lt. of
the AFP 5. The Office of the AFP Chief of Staff and PMA competent
authorities should investigate Maj. DENNIS ROMMEL
HINDANG for his failure and ineptness to exercise his
3.3 Cdt 2CL ARWI C. MARTINEZ responsibility as a competent Tactical Officer and a good
father of his cadets, in this case, to Cadet Cudia; for failure
3.4 Cdt 2CL RENATO A. CARINO, JR. to respect exhaustion of administrative remedies;

3.5 Cdt 2CL NIKOANGELOC. TARAYAO 6. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of
the Armed Forces of the Philppines, the PMA
Superintendent, to immediately cause the comprehensive
81
review of all rules of procedures, regulations, policies, After carefully studying the records of the case of Cadet Cudia, the decision
including the so-called practices in the implementation of the of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the
Honor Code; and, thereafter, adopt new policies, rules of Honor Code System of the AFP Cadet Corps, this Office has found no
procedures and relevant regulations which are human-rights substantial basis to disturb the findings of the AFP and the PMA Cadet
based and consistent with the Constitution and other Review Appeals Board (CRAB). There is no competent evidence to support
applicable laws; the claim that the decision of the Honor Committee members was initially at 8
"Guilty" votes and 1 "Not Guilty" vote. The lone affidavit of an officer, based
7. The Congress of the Philippines to consider the on his purported conversation with one Honor Committee member, lacks
enactment of a law defining and penalizing ostracism and personal knowledge on the deliberations of the said Committee and is
discrimination, which is apparently being practiced in the hearsay at best.
PMA, as a criminal offense in this jurisdiction;
Similarly, the initial recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights
8. His Excellency The President of the Philippines to certify cannot be adopted as basis that Cadet Cudia's due process rights were
as priority, the passage of an anti-ostracism and/or anti- violated. Apart from being explicitly preliminary in nature, such
discrimination law; and recommendations are anchored on a finding that there was an 8-1 vote
which, as discussed above, is not supported by competent evidence.
9. Finally, for the AFP Chief of Staff and the PMA authorities
to ensure respect and protection of the rights of those who In the evaluation of Cadet Cudia's case, this Office has been guided by the
testified for the cause of justice and truth as well as human precept that military law is regarded to be in a class of its own, "applicable
rights of Cadet Cudia. only to military personnel because the military constitutes an armed
organization requiring a system of discipline separate from that of civilians"
RESOLVED FURTHER, to monitor the actions by the competent authorities (Gonzales v. Abaya, G.R. No. 164007, 10 August 2005 citing Calley v.
Callaway, 519 F. 2d 184 [1975] and Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 US 83 [1953]).
on the foregoing CHR recommendations.
Thus, this Office regarded the findings of the AFP Chief, particularly his
conclusion that there was nothing irregular in the proceedings that ensued,
Let copy of this resolution be served by personal service or by substituted as carrying great weight.
service to the complainants (the spouses Renato and Filipina Cudia; and
Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia), and all the respondents. Also, to the PMA
Superintendent, the AFP Chief of Staff, the Secretary of National Defense, Accordingly, please be informed that the President has sustained the findings
His Excellency The President of the Philippines, The Public Attorneys' Office. of the AFP Chief and the PMA CRAB.56

The Issues
SO RESOLVED.55

On June 11, 2014, the Office of the President sustained the findings of the To petitioners, the issues for resolution are:
AFP Chief of Staff and the CRAB. The letter, which was addressed to the
Spouses Cudia and signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., I.
stated in whole:
WHETHER THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY, THE HONOR
This refers to your letters to the President dated 12 March 2014 and 26 COMMITTEE AND THE CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD
March 2014 appealing for a reconsideration of the decision of the Philippine COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DISMISSING CADET
Military Academy (PMA) Honor Committee on the case of your son, Cadet 1 FIRST CLASS ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA FROM THE ACADEMY IN UTTER
CL Aldrin Jeff Cudia. DISREGARD OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS CONSIDERING THAT:

82
A. Despite repeated requests for relevant documents regarding his PROCEDURAL GROUNDS
case, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia was deprived of his right to
have access to evidence which would have proven his defense, I.
would have totally belied the charge against him, and more
importantly, would have shown the irregularity in the Honor
THE MANDAMUS PETITION PRAYING THAT CADET CUDIA BE
Committee's hearing and rendition of decision
INCLUDED IN THE LIST OF GRADUATES OF SIKLAB DIWA CLASS OF
2014 AND BE ALLOWED TO TAKE PART IN THE COMMENCEMENT
B. Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia was vaguely informed of the EXERCISES HAS ALREADY BEEN RENDERED MOOT.
decisions arrived at by the Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and
Appeals Board and the Philippine Military Academy
II.

C. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE PETITIONS ARE ACTUALLY FACTUAL
the Philippine Military Academy have afforded Cadet First Class WHICH ARE BEYOND THE SCOPE OF A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI,
Aldrin Jeff Cudia nothing but a sham trial
PROHIBITION AND MANDAMUS.

D. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and
III.
the Philippine Military Academy violated their own rules and
principles as embodied in the Honor Code
MANDAMUS DOES NOT LIE TO COMPEL RESPONDENTS TO GRANT
THE RELIEFS PRAYED FOR. IV. IT IS PREMATURE TO INVOKE
E. The Honor Committee, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board and
JUDICIAL REDRESS PENDING THE DECISION OF THE PRESIDENT ON
the Philippine Military Academy, in deciding Cadet First Class Aldrin
CADET CUDIA'S APPEAL.
Jeff Cudia's case, grossly and in bad faith, misapplied the Honor
Code so as to defy the 1987 Constitution, notwithstanding the
unquestionable fact that the former should yield to the latter. V.

II WITH UTMOST DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE COURT MUST


EXERCISE CAREFUL RESTRAINT AND REFRAIN FROM UNDULY OR
PREMATURELY INTERFERING WITH LEGITIMATE MILITARY MATTERS.
WHETHER THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY, THE HONOR
COMMITTEE AND THE CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD
COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT SUBSTANTIVE GROUNDS
CADET FIRST CLASS ALDRIN JEFF P. CUDIA LIED, THEREBY
VIOLATING THE HONOR CODE VI.

III CADET CUDIA HAS NECESSARILY AND VOLUNTARILY RELINQUISHED


CERTAIN CIVIL LIBERTIES BY VIRTUE OF HIS ENTRY INTO THE PMA.
WHETHER THE RESULT OF THE FACT-FINDING INVESTIGATION
INDEPENDENTLY CONDUCTED BY THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN VII.
RIGHTS IS OF SUCH GREAT WEIGHT AND PERSUASIVE NATURE THAT
THIS HONORABLE COURT MAY HONOR, UPHOLD AND RESPECT57 THE PMA ENJOYS THE ACADEMIC FREEDOM WHICH AUTHORIZES IT
TO IMPOSE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES AND PUNISHMENT AS IT
On the other hand, in support of their prayer to dismiss the petition, DEEMS FIT AND CONSISTENT WITH THE PECULIAR NEEDS OF THE
respondents presented the issues below: ACADEMY.

83
VIII. Respondents argue that the mandamus aspect of the petition praying that
Cadet 1 CL Cudia be included in the list of graduating cadets and for him to
CADET CUDIA WAS PROPERLY AFFORDED PROCEDURAL DUE take part in the commencement exercises was already rendered moot and
PROCESS. academic when the graduation ceremonies of the PMA Siklab Diwa Class
took place on March 16, 2014. Also, a petition for mandamus is improper
since it does not lie to compel the performance of a discretionary duty.
The PMA has regulatory authority to administratively terminate cadets
Invoking Garcia v. The Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
despite the absence of statutory authority.
Theology,59 respondents assert that a mandamus petition could not be
availed of to compel an academic institution to allow a student to continue
Violation of the Honor Code warrants the administrative dismissal of a guilty studying therein because it is merely a privilege and not a right. In this case,
cadet. there is a clear failure on petitioners' part to establish that the PMA has the,
ministerial duty to include Cadet 1 CL Cudia in the list, much less award him
Cadet Cudia violated the first tenet of the Honor Code by providing untruthful with academic honors and commission him to the Philippine Navy. Similar to
statements in the explanation for his tardiness. the case of University of San Agustin, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,60 it is
submitted that the PMA may rightfully exercise its discretionary power on
The higher authorities of the PMA did not blindly adopt the findings of the who may be admitted to study pursuant to its academic freedom.
Honor Committee.
In response, petitioners contend that while the plea to allow Cadet 1 CL
The procedural safeguards in a student disciplinary case were properly Cudia to participate in the PMA 2014 commencement exercises could no
accorded to Cadet Cudia. longer be had, the Court may still grant the other reliefs prayed for. They add
that Garcia enunciated that a respondent can be ordered to act in a particular
The subtle evolution in the voting process of the Honor Committee, by manner when there is a violation of a constitutional right, and that the
incorporating executive session/chambering, was adopted to further certiorari aspect of the petition must still be considered because it is within
strengthen the voting procedure of the Honor Committee. Cadet Lagura the province of the Court to determine whether a branch of the government
voluntarily changed his vote without any pressure from the other voting or any of its officials has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
members of the Honor Committee. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess thereof.

Ostracism is not a sanctioned practice of the PMA. We agree that a petition for mandamus is improper.

The findings of the Commission on Human Rights are not binding on the Under Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, a petition for
Honorable Court, and are, at best, recommendatory. mandamus may be filed when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or
person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station. It may
Cadet Cudia was not effectively deprived of his future when he was
also be filed when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person
dismissed from the PMA.58
unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to
which such other is entitled.
The Ruling of the Court
For mandamus to lie, the act sought to be enjoined must be a ministerial act
PROCEDURAL GROUNDS or duty. An act is ministerial if the act should be performed "[under] a given
state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal
Propriety of a petition for mandamus authority, without regard to or the exercise of [the tribunal or corporation's]
own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done." The
tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person must have no choice but to

84
perform the act specifically enjoined by law. This is opposed to a Similarly, petitioner-intervenor seeks for the following reliefs:
discretionary act whereby the officer has the choice to decide how or when to
perform the duty.61 A. xxx

In this case, petitioners pray for, among others: Also, after due notice and B. a Writ of Mandamus be issued commanding:
hearing, it is prayed of the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to:
a.) The PMA, Honor Committee, and CRAB to respect and
1. direct the PMA to include Cadet Cudia in the list of graduates of uphold the 8 Guilty -1 Not Guilty vote;
Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 of the PMA, including inclusion in the
yearbook;
b.) The PMA, Honor Committee, and CRAB to officially
pronounce Cadet Cudia as Not Guilty of the charge filed
2. direct the PMA to allow Cadet Cudia to take part in the against him before the Honor Committee;
commencement exercises if he completed all the requirements for
his baccalaureate degree;
c.) The PMA to restore Cadet Cudia's rights and entitlements
as a full-fledged graduating cadet, including his diploma and
3. direct the PMA to award unto Cadet Cudia the academic honors awards.63
he deserves, and the commission as a new Philippine Navy ensign;
Anent the plea to direct the PMA to include Cadet 1 CL Cudia in the list of
4. direct the Honor Committee to submit to the CRAB of the PMA all graduates of Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 and to allow him to take part in the
its records of the proceedings taken against Cadet Cudia, including commencement exercises, the same was rendered moot and academic
the video footage and audio recordings of the deliberations and when the graduation ceremonies pushed through on March 16, 2014 without
voting, for the purpose of allowing the CRAB to conduct intelligent including Cadet 1 CL Cudia in the roll of graduates.
review of the case of Cadet Cudia;
With respect to the prayer directing the PMA to restore Cadet 1 CL Cudia's
5. direct the PMA's CRAB to conduct a review de nova of all the rights and entitlements as a full-fledged graduating cadet, including his
records without requiring Cadet Cudia to submit new evidence if it diploma, awards, and commission as a new Philippine Navy ensign, the
was physically impossible to do so; same cannot be granted in a petition for mandamus on the basis of academic
freedom, which We shall discuss in more detail below. Suffice it to say at this
6. direct the PMA's CRAB to take into account the certification signed point that these matters are within the ambit of or encompassed by the right
by Dr. Costales, the new evidence consisting of the affidavit of a of academic freedom; therefore, beyond the province of the Court to
military officer declaring under oath that the cadet who voted "not decide.64 The powers to confer degrees at the PMA, grant awards, and
guilty" revealed to this officer that this cadet was coerced into commission officers in the military service are discretionary acts on the part
changing his vote, and other new evidence if there is any; of the President as the AFP Commander-in-Chief. Borrowing the words of
Garcia:
7. direct the PMA's CRAB to give Cadet Cudia the right to a counsel
who is allowed to participate actively in the proceedings as well as in There are standards that must be met. There are policies to be pursued.
the cross-examinations during the exercise of the right to confront Discretion appears to be of the essence. In terms of Hohfeld's terminology,
witnesses against him; and what a student in the position of petitioner possesses is a privilege rather
than a right. She [in this case, Cadet 1 CL Cudia] cannot therefore satisfy the
8. direct the Honor Committee in case of remand of the case by the prime and indispensable requisite of a mandamus proceeding.65
CRAB to allow Cadet Cudia a representation of a counsel.62

85
Certainly, mandamus is never issued in doubtful cases. It cannot be availed when the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged
against an official or government agency whose duty requires the exercise of facts. When there is no dispute as to fact, the question of whether or not the
discretion or judgment.66 For a writ to issue, petitioners should have a clear conclusion drawn therefrom is correct is a question of law.69 The petition
legal right to the thing demanded, and there should be an imperative duty on does not exclusively present factual matters for the Court to decide. As
the part of respondents to perform the act sought to be mandated.67 pointed out, the all-encompassing issue of more importance is the
determination of whether a PMA cadet has rights to due process, to
The same reasons can be said as regards the other reliefs being sought by education, and to property in the context of the Honor Code and the Honor
petitioners, which pertain to the HC and the CRAB proceedings. In the System, and, if in the affirmative, the extent or limit thereof. Notably, even
absence of a clear and unmistakable provision of a law, a mandamus petition respondents themselves raise substantive grounds that We have to resolve.
does not lie to require anyone to a specific course of conduct or to control or In support of their contention that the Court must exercise careful restraint
review the exercise of discretion; it will not issue to compel an official to do and should refrain from unduly or prematurely interfering in legitimate military
anything which is not his duty to do or which is his duty not to do or give to matters, they argue that Cadet 1 CL Cudia has necessarily and voluntarily
the applicant anything to which he is not entitled by law.68 relinquished certain civil liberties by virtue of his entry into the PMA, and that
the Academy enjoys academic freedom authorizing the imposition of
The foregoing notwithstanding, the resolution of the case must proceed disciplinary measures and punishment as it deems fit and consistent with the
peculiar needs of the PMA. These issues, aside from being purely legal
since, as argued by petitioners, the Court is empowered to settle via petition
being purely legal questions, are of first impression; hence, the Court must
for certiorari whether there is grave abuse of discretion on the part of
not hesitate to make a categorical ruling.
respondents in dismissing Cadet 1 CL Cudia from the PMA.

Factual nature of the issues Exhaustion of administrative remedies

Respondents assert that the Court must decline jurisdiction over the petition
According to respondents, the petition raises issues that actually require the
pending President Aquinos resolution of Cadet 1 CL Cudia' appeal. They
Court to make findings of fact because it sets forth several factual disputes
which include, among others: the tardiness of Cadet 1 CL Cudia in , his say that there is an obvious non-exhaustion of the full administrative process.
While Cadet 1 CL Cudia underwent the review procedures of his guilty
ENG412 class and his explanation thereto, the circumstances that transpired
verdict at the Academy level - the determination by the SJA of whether the
in the investigation of his Honor Code violation, the proceedings before the
HC acted according to the established procedures of the Honor System, the
HC, and the allegation that Cadet 1 CL Lagura was forced to change his vote
assessment by the Commandant of Cadets of the procedural and legal
during the executive session/"chambering."
correctness of the guilty verdict, the evaluation of the PMA Superintendent to
warrant the administrative separation of the guilty cadet, and the appellate
In opposition, petitioners claim that the instant controversy presents legal review proceedings before the CRAB - he still appealed to the President,
issues. Rather than determining which between the two conflicting versions who has the utmost latitude in making decisions affecting the military. It is
of the parties is true, the case allegedly centers on the application, contended that the President's power over the persons and actions of the
appreciation, and interpretation of a person's rights to due process, to members of the armed forces is recognized in B/Gen. (Ret.) Gudani v.
education, and to property; the interpretation of the PMA Honor Code and Lt./Gen. Senga70 and in Section 3171 of Commonwealth Act (CA.) No. 1
Honor System; and the conclusion on whether Cadet 1 CL Cudia's (also known as "The National Defense Act''). As such, the President could
explanation constitutes lying. Even if the instant case involves questions of still overturn the decision of the PMA. In respondents' view, the filing of this
fact, petitioners still hold that the Court is empowered to settle mixed petition while the case is pending resolution of the President is an
questions of fact and law. Petitioners are correct. irresponsible defiance, if not a personal affront. For them, comity dictates that
courts of justice should shy away from a dispute until the system of
There is a question of law when the issue does not call for an examination of administrative redress has been completed.
the probative value of evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts
being admitted and the doubt concerns the correct application of law and
jurisprudence on the matter. On the other hand, there is a question of fact
86
From the unfolding of events, petitioners, however, consider that President 6. when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an
Aquino effectively denied the appeal of Cadet 1 CL Cudia. They claim that alter ego of the President bear the implied and assumed approval of
his family exerted insurmountable efforts to seek reconsideration of the HC the latter;
recommendation from the APP officials and the President, but was in vain.
The circumstances prior to, during, and after the PMA 2014 graduation rites, 7. when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be
which was attended by President Aquino after he talked to Cadet lCL Cudia's unreasonable;
family the night before, foreclose the possibility that the challenged findings
would still be overturned. In any case, petitioners insist that the rule on 8. when it would amount to a nullification of a claim;
exhaustion of administrative remedies is not absolute based on the Corsiga
v. Defensor72 and Verceles v. BLR-DOLE73 rulings.
9. when the subject matter is a private land in land case
proceedings;
We rule for petitioners.
10. when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate
In general, no one is entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or threatened
remedy; and
injury until the prescribed administrative remedy has been exhausted. The
rationale behind the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is that
"courts, for reasons of law, comity, and convenience, should not entertain 11. when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial
suits unless the available administrative remedies have first been resorted to intervention.76
and the proper authorities, who are competent to act upon the matter
complained of, have been given the appropriate opportunity to act and Petitioners essentially raise the lack of due process in the dismissal of Cadet
correct their alleged errors, if any, committed in the administrative forum."74 1 CL Cudia from the PMA. Thus, it may be a ground to give due course to
In the U.S. case of Ringgold v. United States,75 which was cited by the petition despite the non-exhaustion of administrative remedies. Yet more
respondents, it was specifically held that in a typical case involving a decision significant is the fact that during the pendency of this case, particularly on
by military authorities, the plaintiff must exhaust his remedies within the June 11, 2014, the Office of the President finally issued its ruling, which
military before appealing to the court, the doctrine being designed both to sustained the findings of the AFP Chief and the CRAB. Hence, the
preserve the balance between military and civilian authorities and to occurrence of this supervening event bars any objection to the petition based
conserve judicial resources. on failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Nonetheless, there are exceptions to the rule. In this jurisdiction, a party may Court's interference within military affairs
directly resort to judicial remedies if any of the following is present:
Respondents cite the U.S. cases of Bois v. Marsh77 and Schlesinger v.
1. when there is a violation of due process; Councilman78 to support their contention that judicial intervention would
pose substantial threat to military discipline and that there should be a
2. when the issue involved is purely a legal question; deferential review of military statutes and regulations since political branches
have particular expertise and competence in assessing military needs.
Likewise, in Orloff v. Willoughby79 and Parker v. Levy,80 it was allegedly
3. when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack
opined by the U.S. Supreme Court that the military constitutes a specialized
or excess of jurisdiction; community governed by a separate discipline from that of the civilian.
According to respondents, the U.S. courts' respect to the military recognizes
4. when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency that constitutional rights may apply differently in the military context than in
concerned; civilian society as a whole. Such military deference is exercised either by
refusing to apply due process and equal protection doctrines in military cases
5. when there is irreparable injury; or applying them but with leniency.

87
In respondents' view, although Philippine courts have the power of judicial or dismissal of cadets and midshipmen. While it recognized the
review in cases attended with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or "constitutional permissibility of the military to set and enforce uncommonly
excess of jurisdiction, policy considerations call for the widest latitude of high standards of conduct and ethics," it said that the courts "have expanded
deference to military affairs. Such respect is exercised by the court where the at an accelerated pace the scope of judicial access for review of military
issues to be resolved entail a substantial consideration of legitimate determinations." Later, in Kolesa v. Lehman,88 it was opined that it has been
governmental interest. They suppose that allowing Cadet 1 CL Cudia's case well settled that federal courts have jurisdiction "where there is a substantial
to prosper will set an institutionally dangerous precedent, opening a claim that prescribed military procedures violates one's constitutional rights."
Pandora's box of other challenges against the specialized system of By 1983, the U.S. Congress eventually made major revisions to the Uniform
discipline of the PMA. They state that with the PMA's mandate to train cadets Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) by expressly providing, among others; for a
for permanent commission in the AFP, its disciplinary rules and procedure direct review by the U.S. Supreme Court of decisions by the military's highest
necessarily must impose h different standard of conduct compared with appellate authority.89
civilian institutions.
Even without referring to U.S. cases, the position of petitioners is still
Petitioners, on the other hand, consider that this Court is part of the State's formidable. In this jurisdiction, Section 1 Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution
check-and-balance machinery, specifically mandated by Article VIII of the expanded the scope of judicial power by mandating that the duty of the
1987 Constitution to ensure that no branch of the government or any of its courts of justice includes not only "to settle actual controversies involving
officials acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of, rights which are legally demandable and enforceable" but also "to determine
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. They assert that judicial whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
non-interference in military affairs is not deemed as absolute even in the U.S. or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
They cite Schlesinger and Parker, which were invoked by respondents, as Government" even if the latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or
well as Burns v. Wilson81 and Harmon v. Brucker,82 wherein the U.S. ministerial functions.90 Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious
Supreme Court reviewed the proceedings of military tribunals on account of and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or
issues posed concerning due process and violations of constitutional rights. where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of
Also, in Magno v. De Villa83 decided by this Court, petitioners note that We, passion or personal hostility, which must be so patent and gross as to
in fact, exercised the judicial power to determine whether the APP and the amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the
members of the court martial acted with grave abuse o.f discretion in their duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.91
military investigation.
The proceedings of the Cadet Honor Committee can, for purposes of the Due
Petitioners' contentions are tenable. Process Clause, be considered a governmental activity. As ruled in Andrews:

Admittedly, the Constitution entrusts the political branches of the The relationship between the Cadet Honor Committee and the separation
government, not the courts, with superintendence and control over the process at the Academy has been sufficiently formalized, and is sufficiently
military because the courts generally lack the competence and expertise interdependent, so as to bring that committee's activities within the definition
necessary to evaluate military decisions and they are ill-equipped to of governmental activity for the purposes of our review. While the Academy
determine the impact upon discipline that any particular intrusion upon has long had the informal practice of referring all alleged violations to the
military authority might have.84 Nevertheless, for the sake of brevity, We rule Cadet Honor Committee, the relationship between that committee and the
that the facts as well as the legal issues in the U.S. cases cited by separation process has to a degree been formalized. x x x
respondents are not on all fours with the case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia. Instead,
what applies is the 1975 U.S. case of Andrews v. Knowlton,85 which similarly Regardless of whether the relationship be deemed formal or informal, the
involved cadets who were separated from the United States Military Honor Committee under its own procedures provides that a single "not guilty"
Academy due to Honor Code violations. Following Wasson v. Trowbridge86 vote by a member ends the matter, while a "guilty" finding confronts a cadet
and Hagopian v. Knowlton,87 Andrews re-affirmed the power of the district with the hard choice of either resigning or electing to go before a Board of
courts to review procedures used at the service academies in the separation Officers. An adverse finding there results not only in formal separation from

88
the Academy but also in a damaging record that will follow the cadet through and the Honor System in deciding Cadet lCL Cudia's case considering that
life. Accordingly, we conclude that the Cadet Honor Committee, acting not these should not be implemented at the expense of human rights, due
unlike a grand jury, is clearly part of the process whereby a cadet can process, and fair play. Further, under the doctrine of constitutional
ultimately be adjudged to have violated the Cadet Honor Code and be supremacy, they can never overpower or defy the 1987 Constitution since
separated from the Academy. Therefore, the effect of the committee's the former should yield to the latter. Petitioners stress that the statement that
procedures and determinations on the separation process is sufficiently "a cadet can be compelled to surrender some civil rights and liberties in order
intertwined with the formal governmental activity which may follow as to bring for the Code and System to be implemented" simply pertains to what cadets
it properly under judicial review92 have to sacrifice in order to prove that they are men or women of integrity
and honor, such as the right to entertain vices and the right to freely choose
No one is above the law, including the military. In fact, the present what they want to say or do. In the context of disciplinary investigation, it
Constitution declares it as a matter of principle that civilian authority is, at all does not contemplate a surrender of the right to due process but, at most,
times, supreme over the military.93 Consistent with the republican system of refers to the cadets' rights to privacy and to remain silent.
checks and balances, the Court has been entrusted, expressly or by
necessary implication, with both the duty and the obligation of determining, in We concur with the stand of petitioners.
appropriate cases, the validity of any assailed legislative or executive
action.94 Of course, a student at a military academy must be prepared to subordinate
his private interests for the proper functioning of the educational institution he
SUBSTANTIVE GROUNDS attends to, one that is with a greater degree than a student at a civilian public
school.99 In fact, the Honor Code and Honor System Handbook of the PMA
Cadet's relinquishment of certain civil liberties expresses that, "[as] a training environment, the Cadet Corps is a society
which has its own norms. Each member binds himself to what is good for
him, his subordinates, and his peers. To be part of the Cadet Corps requires
Respondents assert that the standard of rights applicable to a cadet is not
the surrender of some basic rights and liberties for the good of the
the same as that of a civilian because the former' s rights have already been
recalibrated to best serve the military purpose and necessity. They claim that group."100
both Gudani and Lt. Col. Kapunan, Jr. v. Gen. De Villa95 recognized that, to
a certain degree, individual rights of persons in the military service may be It is clear, however, from the teachings of Wasson and Hagopian, which were
curtailed by the rules of military discipline in order to ensure its effectiveness adopted by Andrews, that a cadet facing dismissal from the military academy
in fulfilling the duties required to be discharged under the law. Respondents for misconduct has constitutionally protected private interests (life, liberty, or
remind that, as a military student aspiring to a commissioned post in the property); hence, disciplinary proceedings conducted within the bounds of
military service, Cadet 1 CL Cudia voluntarily gave up certain civil and procedural due process is a must.101 For that reason, the PMA is not
political rights which the rest of the civilian population enjoys. The deliberate immune from the strictures of due process. Where a person's good name,
surrender of certain freedoms on his part is embodied in the cadets' Honor reputation, honor, or integrity is at stake because of what the government is
Code Handbook. It is noted that at the beginning of their academic life in the doing to him, the minimal requirements of the due process clause must be
PMA, Cadet 1 CL Cudia, along with the rest of Cadet Corps, took an oath satisfied.102 Likewise, the cadet faces far more severe sanctions of being
and undertaking to stand by the Honor Code and the Honor System. expelled from a course of college instruction which he or she has pursued
with a view to becoming a career officer and of probably
To say that a PMA cadet surrenders his fundamental human rights, including
the right to due process, is, for petitioners, contrary to the provisions of being forever denied that career.103
Section 3, Article II of the 1987 Constitution,96 Executive Order (E.O.) No.
17897 (as amended by E.O. No. 100598), AFP Code of Ethics, Oath of The cases of Gudani and Kapunan, Jr. are inapplicable as they do not
Cadet Corps to the Honor Code and the Honor System, military specifically pertain to dismissal proceedings of a cadet in a military academy
professionalism, and, in general, military culture. They maintain that the HC, due to honor violation. In Gudani, the Court denied the petition that sought to
the CRAB, and the PMA, grossly and in bad faith misapplied the Honor Code annul the directive from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which'
89
enjoined petitioners from testifying before the Congress without her consent. and impose discipline upon its students. Also, consistent with lsabelo, Jr. v.
We ruled that petitioners may be subjected to military discipline for their Perpetual Help College of Rizal, Inc.109 and Ateneo de Manila University v.
defiance of a direct order of the AFP Chief of Staff. On the other hand, in Capulong,110 the PMA has the freedom on who to admit (and, conversely, to
Kapunan, Jr., this Court upheld the restriction imposed on petitioner since the expel) given the high degree of discipline and honor expected from its
conditions for his "house arrest" (particularly, that he may not issue any press students who are to form part of the AFP.
statements or give any press conference during the period of his detention)
are justified by the requirements of military discipline. In these two cases, the For respondents, Cadet 1 CL Cudia cannot, therefore, belatedly assail the
constitutional rights to information, transparency in matters of public concern, Honor Code as basis of the HC' s decision to recommend his dismissal from
and to free speech - not to due process clause - were restricted to better the PMA. When he enlisted for enrolment and studied in the PMA for four
serve the greater military purpose. Academic freedom of the PMA years, he knew or should have been fully aware of the standards of discipline
imposed on all cadets and the corresponding penalty for failing to abide by
Petitioners posit that there is no law providing that a guilty finding by the HC these standards.
may be used by the PMA to dismiss or recommend the dismissal of a cadet
from the PMA. They argue that Honor Code violation is not among those In their Reply, petitioners counter that, as shown in lsabelo, Jr. and Ateneo,
listed as justifications for the attrition of cadets considering that the Honor academic freedom is not absolute and cannot be exercised in blatant
Code and the Honor System do not state that a guilty cadet is automatically disregard of the right to due process and the 1987 Constitution. Although
terminated or dismissed from service. To them, the Honor Code and Honor schools have the prerogative to choose what to teach, how to teach, and who
System are "gentleman's agreement" that cannot take precedence over to teach, the same does not go so far as to deprive a student of the right to
public interest - in the defense of the nation and in view of the taxpayer's graduate when there is clear evidence that he is entitled to the same since, in
money spent for each cadet. Petitioners contend that, based on the Civil such a case, the right to graduate becomes a vested right which takes
Code, all written or verbal agreements are null and void if they violate the precedence over the limited and restricted right of the educational institution.
law, good morals, good customs, public policy, and public safety.
While both parties have valid points to consider, the arguments of
In opposition, respondents claim that the PMA may impose disciplinary respondents are more in line with the facts of this case. We have ruled that
measures and punishment as it deems fit and consistent with the peculiar the school-student relationship is contractual in nature. Once admitted, a
needs of the Academy. Even without express provision of a law, the PMA student's enrolment is not only semestral in duration but for the entire period
has regulatory authority to administratively dismiss erring cadets since it is he or she is expected to complete it.111 An institution of learning has an
deemed reasonably written into C.A. No. 1. Moreover, although said law obligation to afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the course they
grants to the President the authority of terminating a cadet's appointment, seek to pursue.112 Such contract is imbued with public interest because of
such power may be delegated to the PMA Superintendent, who may exercise the high priority given by the Constitution to education and the grant to the
direct supervision and control over the cadets. State of supervisory and regulatory powers over a educational
institutions.113
Respondents likewise contend that, as an academic institution, the PMA has
the inherent right to promulgate reasonable norms, rules and regulations that The school-student relationship has also been held as reciprocal. "[It] has
it may deem necessary for the maintenance of school discipline, which is consequences appurtenant to and inherent in all contracts of such kind -it
specifically mandated by Section 3 (2),104 Article XIV of the 1987 gives rise to bilateral or reciprocal rights and obligations. The school
Constitution. As the premiere military educational institution of the AFP in undertakes to provide students with education sufficient to enable them to
accordance with Section 30,105 Article III of C.A. No. 1 and Sections 58 and pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the students
59,106 Chapter 9, Subtitle II, Title VIII, Book IV of E.O. No. 292 agree to abide by the academic requirements of the school and to observe its
("Administrative Code of 1987"), the PMA is an institution that enjoys rules and regulations."114
academic freedom guaranteed by Section 5 (2),107 Article XIV of the 1987
Constitution. In Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,108 it
Academic freedom or, to be precise, the institutional autonomy of universities
was held that concomitant with such freedom is the right and duty to instill
and institutions of higher learning,115 has been enshrined in our
90
Constitutions of 1935, 1973, and 1987.116 In Garcia, this Court espoused Moreover, the school has an interest in teaching the student discipline, a
the concurring opinion of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter in necessary, if not indispensable, value in any field of learning. By instilling
Sweezy v. New Hampshire,117 which enumerated "the four essential discipline, the school teaches discipline. Accordingly, the right to discipline
freedoms" of a university: To determine for itself on academic grounds (1) the student likewise finds basis in the freedom "what to teach." Incidentally,
who may teach, (2) what may be taught, (3) how it shall be taught, and (4) the school not only has the right but the duty to develop discipline in its
who may be admitted to study.118 An educational institution has the power students. The Constitution no less imposes such duty.
to adopt and enforce such rules as may be deemed expedient for its
government, this being incident to the very object of incorporation, and [All educational institutions] shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster
indispensable to the successful management of the college.119 It can decide love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of
for itself its aims and objectives and how best to attain them, free from national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights
outside coercion or interference except when there is an overriding public and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop
welfare which would call for some restraint.120 Indeed, "academic freedom moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative
has never been meant to be an unabridged license. It is a privilege that thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and promote
assumes a correlative duty to exercise it responsibly. An equally telling vocational efficiency.
precept is a long recognized mandate, so well expressed in Article 19 of the
Civil Code, that every 'person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the
In Angeles vs. Sison, we also said that discipline was a means for the school
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and
to carry out its responsibility to help its students "grow and develop into
observe honesty and good faith."'121
mature, responsible, effective and worthy citizens of the community."

The schools' power to instill discipline in their students is subsumed in their Finally, nowhere in the above formulation is the right to discipline more
academic freedom and that "the establishment of rules governing university-
evident than in "who may be admitted to study." If a school has the freedom
student relations, particularly those pertaining to student discipline, may be
to determine whom to admit, logic dictates that it also has the right to
regarded as vital, not merely to the smooth and efficient operation of the
determine whom to exclude or expel, as well as upon whom to impose lesser
institution, but to its very survival."122 As a Bohemian proverb puts it: "A
sanctions such as suspension and the withholding of graduation
school without discipline is like a mill without water." Insofar as the water privileges.126
turns the mill, so does the school's disciplinary power assure its right to
survive and continue operating.123 In this regard, the Court has always
recognized the right of schools to impose disciplinary sanctions, which The power of the school to impose disciplinary measures extends even after
includes the power to dismiss or expel, on students who violate disciplinary graduation for any act done by the student prior thereto. In University of the
rules.124 In Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,125 this Phils. Board of Regents v. Court of Appeals,127 We upheld the university's
Court elucidated: withdrawal of a doctorate degree already conferred on a student who was
found to have committed intellectual dishonesty in her dissertation. Thus:
The right of the school to discipline its students is at once apparent in the
third freedom, i.e., "how it shall be taught." A school certainly cannot function Art. XIV, 5 (2) of the Constitution provides that "[a]cademic freedom shall be
in an atmosphere of anarchy. enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning." This is nothing new. The 1935
Constitution and the 1973 Constitution likewise provided for the academic
freedom or, more precisely, for the institutional autonomy of universities and
Thus, there can be no doubt that the establishment of an educational
institutions of higher learning. As pointed out by this Court in Garcia v.
institution requires rules and regulations necessary for the maintenance of an
Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, it is a freedom
orderly educational program and the creation of an educational environment
granted to "institutions of higher learning" which is thus given "a wide sphere
conducive to learning. Such rules and regulations are equally necessary for of authority certainly extending to the choice of students." If such institution of
the protection of the students, faculty, and property. higher learning can decide who can and who cannot study in it, it certainly
can also determine on whom it can confer the honor and distinction of being
its graduates.
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Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was obtained educational institution of the AFP, it certainly has the right to invoke
through fraud, a university has the right to revoke or withdraw the honor or academic freedom in the enforcement of its internal rules and regulations,
distinction it has thus conferred. This freedom of a university does not which are the Honor Code and the Honor System in particular.
terminate upon the "graduation" of a student, .as the Court of Appeals held.
For it is precisely the "graduation" of such a student that is in question. It is The Honor Code is a set of basic and fundamental ethical and moral
noteworthy that the investigation of private respondent's case began before principle. It is the minimum standard for cadet behavior and serves as the
her graduation. If she was able to join the graduation ceremonies on April 24, guiding spirit behind each cadet's action. It is the cadet's responsibility to
1993, it was because of too many investigations conducted before the Board maintain the highest standard of honor. Throughout a cadet's stay in the
of Regents finally decided she should not have been allowed to graduate. PMA, he or she is absolutely bound thereto. It binds as well the members of
the Cadet Corps from its alumni or the member of the so-called "Long Gray
Wide indeed is the sphere of autonomy granted to institutions of higher Line."
learning, for the constitutional grant of academic freedom, to quote again
from Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, "is Likewise, the Honor Code constitutes the foundation for the cadets' character
not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging fashion." development. It defines the desirable values they must possess to remain
part of the Corps; it develops the atmosphere of trust so essential in a
Under the U.P. Charter, the Board of Regents is the highest governing body military organization; and it makes them professional military soldiers.133 As
of the University of the Philippines. It has the power to confer degrees upon it is for character building, it should not only be kept within the society of
the recommendation of the University Council. It follows that if the cadets. It is best adopted by the Cadet Corps with the end view of applying it
conferment of a degree is founded on error or fraud, the Board of Regents is outside as an officer of the AFP and as a product of the PMA.134
also empowered, subject to the observance of due process, to withdraw what
it has granted without violating a student's rights. An institution of higher The Honor Code and System could be justified as the primary means of
learning cannot be powerless if it discovers that an academic degree it has achieving the cadets' character development and as ways by which the
conferred is not rightfully deserved. Nothing can be more objectionable than Academy has chosen to identify those who are deficient in conduct.135 Upon
bestowing a university's highest academic degree upon an individual who the Code rests the ethical standards of the Cadet Corps and it is also an
has obtained the same through fraud or deceit. The pursuit of academic institutional goal, ensuring that graduates have strong character,
excellence is the university's concern. It should be empowered, as an act of unimpeachable integrity, and moral standards of the highest order.136 To
self-defense, to take measures to protect itself from serious threats to its emphasize, the Academy's disciplinary system as a whole is characterized
integrity. as "correctional and educational in nature rather than being legalistic and
punitive." Its purpose is to teach the cadets "to be prepared to accept full
While it is true that the students are entitled to the right to pursue their responsibility for all that they do or fail to do and to place loyalty to the
education, the USC as an educational institution is also entitled to pursue its service above self-interest or loyalty to friends or associates. "137 Procedural
academic freedom and in the process has the concomitant right to see to it safeguards in a student disciplinary case
that this freedom is not jeopardized.128
Respondents stress that Guzman v. National University138 is more
It must be borne in mind that schools are established, not merely to develop appropriate in determining the minimum standards for the imposition of
the intellect and skills of the studentry, but to inculcate lofty values, ideals disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions. Similarly, with the guideposts
and attitudes; nay, the development, or flowering if you will, of the total set in Andrews, they believe that Cadet 1 CL Cudia was accorded due
man.129 Essentially, education must ultimately be religious, i.e., one which process.
inculcates duty and reverence.130 Under the rubric of "right to education,"
students have a concomitant duty to learn under the rules laid down by the On the other hand, petitioners argue that the HC, the CRAB and the PMA fell
school.131 Every citizen has a right to select a profession or, course of short in observing the important safeguards laid down in Ang Tibay v.
study, subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic CIR139 and Non v. Judge Dames II,140 which set the minimum standards to
requirements.132 The PMA is not different. As the primary training and satisfy the demands of procedural due process in the imposition of
92
disciplinary sanctions. For them, Guzman did not entirely do away with the administrative proceedings. The essence of due process is simply an
due process requirements outlined in Ang Tibay as the Court merely stated opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an
that the minimum requirements in the Guzman case are more apropos. opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of
the action or ruling complained of. So long as the party is given the
Respondents rightly argued. opportunity to advocate her cause or defend her interest in due course, it
cannot be said that there was denial of due process.
Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong141 already settled the issue as it
held that although both Ang Tibay and Guzman essentially deal with the A formal trial-type hearing is not, at all times and in all instances, essential to
requirements of due process, the latter case is more apropos since it due process - it is enough that the parties are given a fair and reasonable
specifically deals with the minimum standards to be satisfied in the imposition opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy and to present
of disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions. That Guzman is the supporting evidence on which a fair decision can be based. "To be heard"
authority on the procedural rights of students in disciplinary cases was does not only mean presentation of testimonial evidence in court - one may
reaffirmed by the Court in the fairly recent case of Go v. Colegio De San also be heard through pleadings and where the opportunity to be heard
Juan De Letran.142 through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of due process.150

In Guzman, the Court held that there are minimum standards which must be The PMA Honor Code explicitly recognizes that an administrative proceeding
met to satisfy the demands of procedural due process, to wit: conducted to investigate a cadet's honor violation need not be clothed with
the attributes of a judicial proceeding. It articulates that The Spirit of the
(1) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any Honor Code guides the Corps in identifying and assessing misconduct. While
cadets are interested in legal precedents in cases involving Honor violations,
accusation against them; (2) they shall have the right to answer the charges
those who hold the Spirit of the Honor Code dare not look into these
against them, with the assistance of counsel, if desired; (3) they shall be
precedents for loopholes to justify questionable acts and they are not to
informed of the evidence against them; ( 4) they shall have the right to
interpret the system to their own advantage.
adduce evidence in their own behalf; and (5) the evidence must be duly
considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the
school authorities to hear and decide the case.143 The Spirit of the Honor Code is a way for the cadets to internalize Honor in a
substantive way. Technical and procedural misgivings of the legal systems
may avert the true essence of imparting the Spirit of the Code for the reason
We have been consistent in reminding that due process in disciplinary cases
involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings similar to those that it can be used to make unlawful attempt to get into the truth of matters
prescribed for actions and proceedings in courts of justice;144 that the especially when a cadet can be compelled to surrender some civil rights and
liberties in order for the Code and System to be implemented. By virtue of
proceedings may be summary;145 that cross-examination is not an essential
being a cadet, a member of the CCAFP becomes a subject of the Honor
part of the investigation or hearing;146 and that the required proof in a
Code and System. Cadet's actions are bound by the existing norms that are
student disciplinary action, which is an administrative case, is neither proof
logically applied through the Code and System in order to realize the
beyond reasonable doubt nor preponderance of evidence but only
substantial evidence or "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might Academy's mission to produce leaders of character - men of integrity and
accept as adequate to support a conclusion."147 honor.151

One of the fundamental principles of the Honor System also states:


What is crucial is that official action must meet minimum standards of
fairness to the individual, which generally encompass the right of adequate
notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.148 As held in De La Salle 2. The Honor System correlates with legal procedures of the state's Justice
University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals:149 System but it does not demean its Spirit by reducing the Code to a
systematic list of externally observed rules. Where misinterpretations and
loopholes arise through legalism and its technicalities, the objective of
Notice and hearing is the bulwark of administrative due process, the right to
building the character of the cadets becomes futile. While, generally, Public
which is among the primary rights that must be respected even in
93
Law penalizes only the faulty acts, the Honor System tries to examine both full context must therefore be considered in each case.157 (Emphasis
the action and the intention.152 supplied)

Like in other institutions of higher learning, there is aversion towards undue Wasson, which was cited by Hagopian, broadly outlined the minimum
judicialization of an administrative hearing in the military academy. It has standards of due process required in the dismissal of a cadet. Thus:
been said that the mission of the military is unique in the sense that its
primary business is to fight or be ready to fight wars should the occasion [W]hen the government affects the private interests of individuals, it may not
arise, and that over-proceduralizing military determinations necessarily gives proceed arbitrarily but must observe due process of law. x x x Nevertheless,
soldiers less time to accomplish this task.153 Extensive cadet investigations the flexibility which is inherent in the concept of due process of law precludes
and complex due process hearing could sacrifice simplicity, practicality, and the dogmatic application of specific rules developed in one context to entirely
timeliness. Investigations that last for several days or weeks, sessions that distinct forms of government action. "For, though 'due process of law'
become increasingly involved with legal and procedural' points, and legal generally implies and includes actor, reus, judex, regular allegations,
motions and evidentiary objections that are irrelevant and inconsequential opportunity to answer, and a trial according to some settled course of judicial
tend to disrupt, delay, and confuse the dismissal proceedings and make proceedings, * * * yet, this is not universally true." x x x Thus, to determine in
them unmanageable. Excessive delays cannot be tolerated since it is unfair any given case what procedures due process requires, the court must
to the accused, to his or her fellow cadets, to the Academy, and, generally, to carefully determine and balance the nature of the private interest affected
the Armed Forces. A good balance should, therefore, be struck to achieve and of the government interest involved, taking account of history and the
fairness, thoroughness, and efficiency.154 Considering that the case of precise circumstances surrounding the case at hand.
Cadet 1 CL Cudia is one of first impression in the sense that this Court has
not previously dealt with the particular issue of a dismissed cadet's right to While the government must always have a legitimate concern with the
due process, it is necessary for Us to refer to U.S. jurisprudence for some
subject matter before it may validly affect private interests, in particularly vital
guidance. Notably, our armed forces have been patterned after the U.S.
and sensitive areas of government concern such as national security and
Army and the U.S. military code produced a salutary effect in the military
military affairs, the private interest must yield to a greater degree to the
justice system of the Philippines.155 Hence, pertinent case laws interpreting
governmental. x x x Few decisions properly rest so exclusively within the
the U.S. military code and practices have persuasive, if not the same, effect discretion of the appropriate government officials than the selection, training,
in this jurisdiction.
discipline and dismissal of the future officers of the military and Merchant
Marine. Instilling and maintaining discipline and morale in these young men
We begin by stating that U.S. courts have uniformly viewed that "due who will be required to bear weighty responsibility in the face of adversity --
process" is a flexible concept, requiring consideration in each case of a at times extreme -- is a matter of substantial national importance scarcely
variety of circumstances and calling for such procedural protections as the within the competence of the judiciary. And it cannot be doubted that
particular situation demands.156 Hagopian opined: because of these factors historically the military has been permitted greater
freedom to fashion its disciplinary procedures than the civilian authorities.
In approaching the question of what process is due before governmental
action adversely affecting private interests may properly be taken, it must be We conclude, therefore, that due process only requires for the dismissal of a
recognized that due process is not a rigid formula or simple rule of thumb to Cadet from the Merchant Marine Academy that he be given a fair hearing at
be applied undeviatingly to any given set of facts. On the contrary, it is a which he is apprised of the charges against him and permitted a defense. x x
flexible concept which depends upon the balancing of various factors, x For the guidance of the parties x x x the rudiments of a fair hearing in broad
including the nature of the private right or interest that is threatened, the outline are plain. The Cadet must be apprised of the specific charges against
extent to which the proceeding is adversarial in character, the severity and him. He must be given an adequate opportunity to present his defense both
consequences of any action that might be taken, the burden that would be from the point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence.
imposed by requiring use of all or part of the full panoply of trial-type We do not suggest, however, that the Cadet must be given this opportunity
procedures, and the existence of other overriding interests, such as the both when demerits are awarded and when dismissal is considered. The
necessity for prompt action in the conduct of crucial military operations. The

94
hearing may be procedurally informal and need not be adversarial.158 jurisdictions, the factual findings of administrative tribunals are ordinarily
(Emphasis supplied) accorded respect if not finality by the Court, unless such findings are not
supported by evidence or vitiated by fraud, imposition or collusion; where the
In Andrews, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that Wasson and Hagopian are procedure which led to the findings is irregular; when palpable errors are
equally controlling in cases where cadets were separated from the military committed; or when a grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, or
academy for violation of the Honor Code. Following the two previous cases, it capriciousness is manifest.162 In the case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, We find no
was ruled that in order to be proper and immune from constitutional infirmity, reason to deviate from the general rule. The grounds therefor are discussed
a cadet who is sought to be dismissed or separated from the academy must below seriatim:
be afforded a hearing, be apprised of the specific charges against him, and
be given an adequate opportunity to present his or her defense both from the As to the right to be represented by a counsel
point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence.159
Conspicuously, these vital conditions are not too far from what We have For petitioners, respondents must be compelled to give Cadet 1 CL Cudia
already set in Guzman and the subsequent rulings in Alcuaz v. Philippine the right to be represented by a counsel who could actively participate in the
School of Business Administration160 and De La Salle University, Inc. v. proceedings like in the cross-examination of the witnesses against him
Court of Appeals.161 before the CRAB or HC, if remanded. This is because while the CRAB
allowed him to be represented by a PAO lawyer, the counsel was only made
In this case, the investigation of Cadet 1 CL Cudia' s Honor Code violation an observer without any right to intervene and demand respect of Cadet 1 CL
followed the prescribed procedure and existing practices in the PMA. He was Cudia's rights.163 According to them, he was not sufficiently given the
notified of the Honor Report from Maj. Hindang. He was then given the opportunity to seek a counsel and was not even asked if he would like to
opportunity to explain the report against him. He was informed about his have one. He was only properly represented when it was already nearing
options and the entire process that the case would undergo. The preliminary graduation day after his family sought the assistance of the PAO. Petitioners
investigation immediately followed after he replied and submitted a written assert that Guzman is specific in stating that the erring student has the right
explanation. Upon its completion, the investigating team submitted a written to answer the charges against him or her with the assistance of counsel, if
report together with its recommendation to the HC Chairman. The HC desired.
thereafter reviewed the findings and recommendations. When the honor case
was submitted for formal investigation, a new team was assigned to conduct On the other hand, respondents cited Lumiqued v. Exevea164 and Nera v.
the hearing. During the formal investigation/hearing, he was informed of the The Auditor General165 in asserting that the right to a counsel is not
charge against him and given the right to enter his plea. He had the chance imperative in administrative investigations or non-criminal proceedings. Also,
to explain his side, confront the witnesses against him, and present evidence based on Cadet lCL Cudia's academic standing, he is said to be obviously
in his behalf. After a thorough discussion of the HC voting members, he was not untutored to fully understand his rights and express himself. Moreover,
found to have violated the ' Honor Code. Thereafter, the guilty verdict the confidentiality of the HC proceedings worked against his right to be
underwent the review process at the Academy level - from the OIC of the represented by a counsel. In any event, respondents claim that Cadet 1 CL
HC, to the SJA, to the Commandant of Cadets, and to the PMA Cudia was not precluded from seeking a counsel's advice in preparing his
Superintendent. A separate investigation was also conducted by the HTG. defense prior to the HC hearing.
Then, upon the directive of the AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case, a review
was conducted by the CRAB. Further, a Fact-Finding Board/Investigation Essentially, petitioners claim .. that Cadet lCL Cudia is guaranteed the right
Body composed of the CRAB members and the PMA senior officers was
to have his counsel not just in assisting him in the preparation for the
constituted to conduct a deliberate investigation of the case. Finally, he had
investigative hearing before the HC and the CRAB but in participating fully in
the opportunity to appeal to the President. Sadly for him, all had issued
said hearings. The Court disagrees.
unfavorable rulings.
Consistent with Lumiqued and Nera, there is nothing in the 1987 Constitution
It is well settled that by reason of their special knowledge and expertise
stating that a party in a non-litigation proceeding is entitled to be represented
gained from the handling of specific matters falling under their respective
by counsel. The assistance of a lawyer, while desirable, is not indispensable.
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Further, in Remolona v. Civil Service Commission,166 the Court held that "a In the case before Us, while the records are bereft of evidence that Cadet 1
party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, CL Cudia was given the option or was able to seek legal advice prior to
irrespective of the nature of the charges and of the respondent's capacity to and/or during the HC hearing, it is indubitable that he was assisted by a
represent himself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person counsel, a PAO lawyer to be exact, when the CRAB reviewed and
being investigated with counsel." Hence, the administrative body is under no reinvestigated the case. The requirement of due process is already satisfied
duty to provide the person with counsel because assistance of counsel is not since, at the very least, the counsel aided him in the drafting and filing of the
an absolute requirement. Appeal Memorandum and even acted as an observer who had no right to
actively participate in the proceedings (such as conducting the cross-
More in point is the opinion in Wasson, which We adopt. Thus: examination). Moreover, not to be missed out are the facts that the offense
committed by Cadet 1 CL Cudia is not criminal in nature; that the hearings
before the HC and the CRAB were investigative and not adversarial; and that
The requirement of counsel as an ingredient of fairness is a function of all of
Cadet lCL Cudia's excellent-academic standing puts him in the best position
the other aspects of the hearing. Where the proceeding is non-criminal in
to look after his own vested interest in the Academy.
nature, where the hearing is investigative and not adversarial and the
government does not proceed through counsel, where the individual
concerned is mature and educated, where his knowledge of the events x x x As to the confidentiality of records of the proceedings
should enable him to develop the facts adequately through available sources,
and where the other aspects of the hearing taken as a whole are fair, due Petitioners allege that when Maj. Gen. Lopez denied in his March 11, 2014
process does not require representation by counsel.167 letter Cadet lCL Cudia's request for documents, footages, and recordings
relevant to the HC hearings, the vital evidence negating the regularity of the
To note, U.S. courts, in general, have declined to recognize a right to HC trial and supporting his defense have been surely overlooked by the
representation by counsel, as a function of due process, in military academy CRAB in its case review. Indeed, for them, the answers on whether Cadet 1
disciplinary proceedings.168 This rule is principally motivated by the policy of CL Cudia was deprived of due process and whether he lied could easily be
"treading lightly on the military domain, with scrupulous regard for the power unearthed from the video and other records of the HC investigation.
and authority of the military establishment to govern its own affairs within the Respondents did not deny their existence but they refused to present them
broad confines of constitutional due process" and the courts' views that for the parties and the Court to peruse. In particular, they note that the
disciplinary proceedings are not judicial in nature and should be kept Minutes of the HC dated January 21, 2014 and the HC Formal Investigation
informal, and that literate and educated cadets should be able to defend Report dated January 20, 2014 were considered by the CRAB but were not
themselves.169 In Hagopian, it was ruled that the importance of informality in furnished to petitioners and the Court; hence, there is no way to confirm the
the proceeding militates against a requirement that the cadet be accorded truth of the alleged statements therein. In their view, failure to furnish these
the right to representation by counsel before the Academic Board and that documents could only mean that it would be adverse if produced pursuant to
unlike the welfare recipient who lacks the training and education needed to Section 3 (e), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court.172
understand his rights and express himself, the cadet should be capable of
doing so.170 In the subsequent case of Wimmer v. Lehman,171 the issue For lack of legal basis on PMA' s claim of confidentiality of records,
was not access to counsel but the opportunity to have counsel, instead of petitioners contend that it is the ministerial duty of the HC to submit to the
oneself, examine and cross-examine witnesses, make objections, and argue CRAB, for the conduct of intelligent review of the case, all its records of the
the case during the hearing. Disposing of the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals proceedings, including video footages of the deliberations and voting. They
for the Fourth Circuit was not persuaded by the argument that an individual likewise argue that PMA' s refusal to release relevant documents to Cadet 1
of a midshipman's presumed intelligence, selected because he is expected CL Cudia under the guise of confidentiality reveals another misapplication of
to be able to care for himself and others, often under difficult circumstances, the Honor Code, which merely provides: "A cadet who becomes part of any
and who has full awareness of what he is facing, with counsel's advice, was investigation is subject to the existing regulations pertaining to rules of
deprived of due process by being required to present his defense in person confidentiality and, therefore, must abide to the creed of secrecy. Nothing
at an investigatory hearing. shall be disclosed without proper guidance from those with authority" (IV.
The Honor System, Honor Committee, Cadet Observer). This provision, they

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say, does not deprive Cadet 1 CL Cudia of his right to obtain copies and Humanitarian Law that the PMA has included in its curriculum. Assuming that
examine relevant documents pertaining to his case. said Order was issued, respondents contend that it purely originated from the
cadets themselves, the sole purpose of which was to give a strong voice to
Basically, petitioners want Us to assume that the documents, footages, and the Cadet Corps by declaring that they did not tolerate Cadet 1 CL Cudia's
recordings relevant to the HC hearings are favorable to Cadet 1 CL Cudia's honor violation and breach of confindentiality of the HC proceedings.
cause, and, consequently, to rule that respondents' refusal to produce and
have them examined is tantamount to the denial of his right to procedural More importantly, respondents add that it is highly improbable and unlikely
due process. They are mistaken. that Cadet 1 CL Cudia was ostracized by his fellow cadets. They manifest
that as early as January 22, 2014, he was already transferred to the Holding
In this case, petitioners have not particularly identified any documents, Center. The practice of billeting an accused cadet at the Holding Center is
witness testimony, or oral or written presentation of facts submitted at the provided for in the Honor Code Handbook. Although within the PMA
hearing that would support Cadet 1 CL Cudia's defense. The Court may compound, the Holding Center is off-limits to cadets who do not have any
require that an administrative record be supplemented, but only "where there business to conduct therein. The cadets could not also ostracize him during
is a 'strong showing or bad faith or improper behavior' on the part of the mess times since Cadet 1 CL Cudia opted to take his meals at the Holding
agency,"173 both of which are not present here. Petitioners have not Center. The circumstances obtaining when Special Order No. 1 was issued
specifically indicated the nature of the concealed evidence, if any, and the clearly foreclose the possibility that he was ostracized in common areas
reason for withholding it. What they did was simply supposing that Cadet 1 accessible to other cadets. He remained in the Holding Center until March
CL Cudia's guilty verdict would be overturned with the production and 16, 2014 when he voluntarily left the PMA. Contrary to his claim, guests were
examination of such documents, footages, and recordings. As will be further also free to visit him in the Holding Center.
shown in the discussions below, the requested matters, even if denied, would
not relieve Cadet 1 CL Cudia's predicament. If at all, such denial was a However, petitioners swear that Cadet 1 CL Cudia suffered from ostracism in
harmless procedural error since he was not seriously prejudiced thereby. the PMA. The practice was somehow recognized by respondents in their
Consolidated Comment and by PMA Spokesperson Maj. Flores in a news
As to the ostracism in the PMA report. The CHR likewise confirmed the same in its Resolution dated May 22,
2014. For them, it does not matter where the ostracism order originated from
because the PMA appeared to sanction it even if it came from the cadets
To petitioners, the CRAB considered only biased testimonies and evidence
themselves. There was a tacit approval of an illegal act. If not, those cadets
because Special Order No. 1 issued on February 21, 2014, which directed
responsible for ostracism would have been charged by the PMA officials.
the ostracism of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, left him without any opportunity, to
secure statements of his own witnesses. He could not have access to or Finally, it is claimed that Cadet 1 CL Cudia did not choose to take his meals
approach the cadets who were present during the trial and who saw the 8-1 at the Holding Center as he was not allowed to leave the place. Petitioners
opine that placing the accused cadet in the Holding Center is inconsistent
voting result. It is argued that the Order directing Cadet 1 CL Cudia's
with his or her presumed innocence and certainly gives the implication of
ostracism is of doubtful legal validity because the Honor Code unequivocally
ostracism.
announced: "x x x But by wholeheartedly dismissing the cruel method of
ostracizing Honor Code violators, PMA will not have to resort to other
humiliating means and shall only have the option to make known among its We agree with respondents. Neither the petition nor the petition-
alumni the names of those who have not sincerely felt remorse for violating inintervention attached a full text copy or even a pertinent portion of the
the Honor Code." alleged Special Order No. 1, which authorized the ostracism of Cadet 1 CL
Cudia. Being hearsay, its existence and contents are of doubtful veracity.
Hence, a definite ruling on the matter can never be granted in this case.
On their part, respondents assert that neither the petition nor the petition-in-
intervention attached a full text copy of the alleged Special Order No. 1. In
any case, attributing its issuance to PMA is improper and misplaced because The Court cannot close its eyes though on what appears to be an admission
of petitioners' admission that ostracism has been absolutely dismissed as an of Cadet 1 CL Mogol during the CHR hearing that, upon consultation with the
Academy-sanctioned activity consistent with the trend in International entire class, the baron, and the Cadet Conduct Policy Board, they issued an

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ostracism order against Cadet 1 CL Cudia.174 While not something new in a Headquarters sometime in February-March 2014. Even then, he received no
military academy,175 ostracism's continued existence in the modem times decision/recommendation on his case, verbally or in writing. The PMA
should no longer be countenanced. There are those who argue that the commencement exercises pushed through with no written decision from the
"silence" is a punishment resulting in the loss of private interests, primarily CRAB or the PMA on his appeal. The letter from the Office of the Adjutant
that of reputation, and that such penalty may render illusory the possibility of General of the AFP was suspiciously delayed when the Cudia family
vindication by the reviewing body once found guilty by the HC.176 received the same only on March 20, 2014. Moreover, it fell short in laying
Furthermore, in Our mind, ostracism practically denies the accused cadet's down with specificity the factual and legal bases used by the CRAB and even
protected rights to present witnesses or evidence in his or her behalf and to by the Office of the Adjutant General. There remains no proof that the CRAB
be presumed innocent until finally proven otherwise in a proper proceeding. and the PMA considered the evidence presented by Cadet 1 CL Cudia, it
being uncertain as to what evidence was weighed by the CRAB, whether the
As to Cadet 1 CL Cudia's stay in the Holding Center, the Court upholds the same is substantial, and whether the new evidence submitted by him was
same. The Honor Code and Honor System Handbook provides that, in case ever taken into account.
a cadet has been found guilty by the HC of violating the Honor Code and has
opted not to resign, he or she may stay and wait for the disposition of the In refutation, respondents allege the existence of PMA's practice of orally
case. In such event, the cadet is not on full-duty status and shall be billeted declaring the HC finding, not putting it in a written document so as to protect
at the HTG Holding Center.177 Similarly, in the U.S., the purpose of the integrity of the erring cadet and guard the confidentiality of the HC
"Boarders Ward" is to quarter those cadets who are undergoing separation proceedings pursuant to the Honor System. Further, they aver that a copy of
actions. Permitted to attend classes, the cadet is sequestered , therein until the report of the CRAB, dated March 10, 2014, was not furnished to Cadet 1
final disposition of the case. In Andrews, it was opined that the segregation of CL Cudia because it was his parents who filed the appeal, hence, were the
cadets in the Ward was a proper exercise of the discretionary authority of ones who were given a copy thereof.
Academy officials. It relied on the traditional doctrine that "with respect to
decisions made by Army authorities, 'orderly government requires us to tread Petitioners' contentions have no leg to stand on. While there is a
lightly on the military domain, with scrupulous regard for the power and constitutional mandate stating that "[no] decision shall be rendered by any
authority of the military establishment to govern its own affairs within the court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on
broad confines of constitutional due process.'" Also, in Birdwell v. which it is based,"179 such provision does not apply in Cadet 1 CL Cudia's
Schlesinger,178 the "administrative segregation" was held to be a case. Neither Guzman nor Andrews require a specific form and content of a
reasonable exercise of military discipline and could not be considered an decision issued in disciplinary proceedings. The Honor Code and Honor
invasion of the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. System Handbook also has no written rule on the matter. Even if the
provision applies, nowhere does it demand that a point-by-point
Late and vague decisions consideration and resolution of the issues raised by the parties are
necessary.180 What counts is that, albeit furnished to him late, Cadet 1 CL
It is claimed that Cadet 1 CL Cudia was kept in the dark as to the charge Cudia was informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual
against him and the decisions arrived at by the HC, the CRAB, and the PMA. and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the reviewing body, assuring
No written decision was furnished to him, and if any, the information was that it went through the processes of legal reasoning. He was not left in the
unjustly belated and the justifications for the decisions were vague. He had to dark as to how it was reached and he knows exactly the reasons why he lost,
constantly seek clarification and queries just to be apprised of what he was and is able to pinpoint the possible errors for review.
confronted with.
As to the blind adoption of the HC findings
Petitioners relate that upon being informed of the "guilty" verdict, Cadet 1 CL
Cudia immediately inquired as to the grounds therefor, but Cadet 1 CL Mogol Petitioners assert that, conformably with Sections 30 and 31 of C.A. No. 1,
answered that it is confidential since he would still appeal the same. By only President Aquino as the Commander-in-Chief has the power to appoint
March 11, 2014, Maj. Gen. Lopez informed Cadet 1 CL Cudia that the CRAB and remove a cadet for a valid/legal cause. The law gives no authority to the
already forwarded their recommendation for his dismissal to the General HC as the sole body to determine the guilt or innocence of a cadet. It also

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does not empower the PMA to adopt the guilty findings of the HC as a basis actually violated the Honor Code.181 It is given the responsibility of
for recommending the cadet's dismissal. In the case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, it administering the Honor Code and, in case of breach, its task is entirely
is claimed that the PMA blindly followed the HC's finding of guilt in investigative, examining in the first instance a suspected violation. As a
terminating his military service. means of encouraging self-discipline, without ceding to it any authority to
make final adjudications, the Academy has assigned it the function of
Further, it is the ministerial duty of the CRAB to conduct a review de nova of identifying suspected violators.182 Contrary to petitioners' assertion, the HC
all records without requiring Cadet 1 CL Cudia to submit new evidence if it is does not have the authority to order the separation of a cadet from the
physically impossible for him to do so. In their minds, respondents cannot Academy. The results of its proceedings are purely recommendatory and
claim that the CRAB and the PMA thoroughly reviewed the HC have no binding effect. The HC determination is somewhat like an
recommendation and heard Cadet lCL Cudia's side. As clearly stated in the indictment, an allegation, which, in Cadet 1 CL Cudia's case, the PMA-CRAB
letter from the Office of the AFP Adjutant General, "[in] its report dated March investigated de novo.183 In the U.S., it was even opined that due process
10, 2014, PMA CRAB sustained the findings and recommendations of the safeguards do not actually apply at the Honor Committee level because it is
Honor Committee x x x It also resolved the appeal filed by the subject only a "charging body whose decisions had no effect other than to initiate de
Cadet." However, the Final Investigation Report of the CRAB was dated nova proceedings before a Board of Officers."184
March 23, 2014. While such report states that a report was submitted to the
AFP General Headquarters on March 10, 2014 and that it was only on March Granting, for argument's sake, that the HC is covered by the due process
12, 2014 that it was designated as a Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body, clause and that irregularities in its proceedings were in fact committed, still,
it is unusual that the CRAB would do the same things twice. This raised a We cannot rule for petitioners. It is not required that procedural due process
valid and well-grounded suspicion that the CRAB never undertook an in- be afforded at every stage of developing disciplinary action. What is required
depth investigation/review the first time it came out with its report, and the is that an adequate hearing be held before the final act of dismissing a cadet
Final Investigation Report was drafted merely as an afterthought when the from the military academy.185 In the case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, the OIC of
lack of written decision was pointed out by petitioners so as to remedy the HC, the SJA, the Commandant of Cadets, and the PMA Superintendent
apparent lack of due process during the CRAB investigation and review. reviewed the HC findings. A separate investigation was also conducted by
the HTG. Then, upon the directive of the AFP-GHQ to reinvestigate the case,
Despite the arguments, respondents assure that there was a proper a review was conducted by the CRAB. Finally, a Fact-Finding
assessment of the procedural and legal correctness of the guilty verdict Board/Investigating Body composed of the CRAB members and the PMA
against Cadet 1 CL Cudia. They assert that the higher authorities of the PMA senior officers was constituted to conduct a deliberate investigation of the
did not merely rely on the findings of the HC, noting that there was also a case. The Board/Body actually held hearings on March 12, 13, 14 and 20,
separate investigation conducted by the HTG from January 25 to February 7, 2014. Instead of commendation, petitioners find it "unusual" that the CRAB
2014. Likewise, contrary to the contention of petitioners that the CRAB would do the same things twice and suspect that it never undertook an in-
continued with the review of the case despite the absence of necessary depth investigation/review the first time it came out with its report. Such
documents, the CRAB conducted its own review of the case and even assertion is mere conjecture that deserves scant consideration.
conducted another investigation by constituting the Fact-Finding
Board/Investigating Body. For respondents, petitioners failed to discharge the As to the dismissal proceedings as sham trial
burden of proof in showing bad faith on the part of the PMA. In the absence
of evidence to the contrary and considering further that petitioners' According to petitioners, the proceedings before the HC were a sham. The
allegations are merely self-serving and baseless, good faith on the part of the people behind Cadet ICL Cudia's charge, investigation, and conviction were
PMA' s higher authorities is presumed and should, therefore, prevail. actually the ones who had the intent to deceive and who took advantage of
the situation. Cadet 1 CL Raguindin, who was a senior HC member and was
We agree with respondents. the second in rank to Cadet 1 CL Cudia in the Navy cadet 1 CL, was part of
the team which conducted the preliminary investigation. Also, Cadet I CL
The Honor Committee, acting on behalf of the Cadet Corps, has a limited Mogol, the HC Chairman, previously charged Cadet 1 CL Cudia with honor
role of investigating and determining whether or not the alleged offender has violation allegedly for cheating (particularly, conniving with and tutoring his

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fellow cadets on a difficult topic by giving solutions to a retake exam) but the there was bias against him, he should have resorted to the procedure for the
charge was dismissed for lack of merit. Even if he was a non-voting member, removal of HC members provided for in the Honor Code Handbook.
he was in a position of influence and authority. Thus, it would be a futile
exercise for Cadet 1 CL Cudia to resort to the procedure for the removal of Finally, respondents declare that there is no reason or ill-motive on the part
HC members.186 of the PMA to prevent Cadet 1 CL Cudia from graduating because the
Academy does not stand to gain anything from his dismissal. On the
Further, no sufficient prior notice of the scheduled CRAB hearing was given contrary, in view of his academic standing, the separation militates against
to Cadet I CL Cudia, his family, or his PAO counsel. During one of her visits PMA' s mission to produce outstanding, honorable, and exceptional cadets.
to him in the Holding Center, petitioner-intervenor was advised to convince
his son to resign and immediately leave the PMA. Brig. Gen. Costales, who The Court differs with petitioners.
later became the CRAB Head, also categorically uttered to Annavee: "Your
brother, he lied!" The CRAB conferences were merely used to formalize his
Partiality, like fraudulent intent, can never be presumed. Absent some
dismissal and the PMA never really intended to hear his side. For petitioners, showing of actual bias, petitioners' allegations do not hold water. The mere
these are manifestations of PMA's clear resolve to dismiss him no matter imputation of ill-motive without proof is speculative at best. Kolesa teaches
what.
us that to sustain the challenge, specific evidence must be presented to
overcome
For their part, respondents contend that the CllR's allegation that Maj.
Hindang acted in obvious bad faith and that he failed to discharge his duty to a presumption of honesty and integrity in those serving as adjudicators; and
be a good father of cadets when he "paved the road to [Cadet 1 CL Cudia's] it must convince that, under a realistic appraisal of psychological tendencies
sham trial by the Honor Committee" is an unfounded accusation. They note
and human weaknesses, conferring investigative and adjudicative powers on
that when Maj. Hindang was given the DR of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, he revoked
the same individual poses such a risk of actual bias or prejudgment that the
the penalty awarded because of his explanation. However, all revocations of
practice must be forbidden if the guarantee of due process is to be
awarded penalties are subject to the review of the STO. Therefore, it was at
implemented.187
the instance of Maj. Leander and the established procedure followed at the
PMA that Maj. Hindang was prompted to investigate the circumstances
surrounding Cadet 1 CL Cudia's tardiness. Respondents add that bad faith Although a CTO like Maj. Hindang must decide whether demerits are to be
cannot likewise be imputed against Maj. Hindang by referring to the actions awarded, he is not an adversary of the cadet but an educator who shares an
taken by Maj. Jekyll Dulawan, the CTO of Cadets 1 CL Narciso and Arcangel identity of interest with the cadet, whom he counsels from time to time as a
who also arrived late for their next class. Unlike the other cadets, Cadet 1 CL future leader.188 When the occasion calls for it, cadets may be questioned
Cudia did not admit his being late and effectively evaded responsibility by as to the accuracy or completeness of a submitted work. A particular point or
ascribing his tardiness to Dr. Costales. issue may be clarified. In this case, the question asked of Cadet 1 CL Cudia
concerning his being late in class is proper, since there is evidence indicating
that a breach of regulation may have occurred and there is reasonable cause
As to the CHR' s finding that Cadet 1 CL Mogol was likewise "in bad faith and
to believe that he was involved in the breach of regulations.189
determined to destroy [Cadet 1 CL] Cudia, for reasons of his own" because
the former previously reported the latter for an honor violation in November
2013, respondents argue that the bias ascribed against him is groundless as For lack of actual proof of bad faith or ill-motive, the Court shall rely on the
there is failure to note that Cadet 1 CL Mogol was a non-voting member of non-toleration clause of the Honor Code, i.e., "We do not tolerate those who
the HC. Further, he cannot be faulted for reporting a possible honor violation violate the Code." Cadets are reminded that they are charged with a
since he is the HC Chairman and nothing less is expected of him. tremendous duty far more superior to their personal feeling or friendship.190
Respondents emphasize that the representatives of the HC are elected from They must learn to help others by guiding them to accept the truth and do
each company, while the HC Chairman is elected by secret ballot from the what is right, rather than tolerating actions against truth and justice.191
incoming first class representatives. Thus, if Cadet 1 CL Cu'dia believed that Likewise, cadets are presumed to be characteristically honorable; they
cannot overlook or arbitrarily ignore the dishonorable action of their peers,
seniors, or subordinates.192 These are what Cadet 1 CL Mogol exactly did,
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although he was later proven to have erred in his accusation. Note that even front of my table. I told and asked him, "Talagang nadali si Cudia ah
the Honor Code and Honor System Handbook recognizes that interpretation ... ano ha ang nangyari? Mag-Tagalog or mag-Bisaya ka." He
of one's honor is generally subjective.193 replied, "Talagang NOT GUILTY ang vote ko sa kanya sir", and I
asked him, "Oh, bakit naging guilty di ha pag may isang nag NOT
Moreover, assuming, for the sake of argument, that Cadets 1 CL' Raguindin GUILTY, abswelto na? He replied "Chinamber ako sir, bale pinapa-
and Mogol as well as Brig. Gen. Costales have an axe to grind against Cadet justify kung bakit NOT GUILTY vote ko, at na-pressure din ako sir
1 CL Cudia and were bent on causing, no matter what, the latter's downfall, kaya binago ko, sir." So, I told him, "Sayang sya, matalino at mabait
their nefarious conduct would still be insignificant. This is so since the HC pa naman" and he replied "oo nga sir". After that conversation, I let
(both the preliminary and formal investigation), the CRAB, and the Fact- him go.194
Finding Board/Investigating Body are collegial bodies. Hence, the claim that
the proceedings/hearings conducted were merely a farce because the three It is claimed that the HC gravely abused its discretion when it committed
personalities participated therein is tantamount to implying the existence of a voting manipulation since, under the rules, it is required to have a unanimous
conspiracy, distrusting the competence, independence, and integrity of the nine (9) votes finding an accused cadet guilty. There is nothing in the
other members who constituted the majority. Again, in the absence of procedure that permits the HC Chairman to order the "chambering" of a
specifics and substantial evidence, the Court cannot easily give credence to member who voted contrary to the majority and subjects him or her to
this baseless insinuation. reconsider in order to reflect a unanimous vote. Neither is there an order
from the Chief of Staff or the President sanctioning the HC procedure or
As to the HC executive session/chambering approving any change therein pursuant to Sections 30 and 31 of C.A. No. 1.
The HC, the CRAB, and the PMA violated their own rules and principles as
Petitioners narrate that there was an irregular administrative hearing in the embodied in the Honor Code. Being a clear deviation from the established
procedures, the second deliberation should be considered null and void.
case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia because two voting rounds took place. After the
result of the secret balloting, Cadet 1 CL Mogol ordered the voting members
to go to a room without the cadet recorders. Therein, the lone dissenter, Petitioners further contend that the requirement of unanimous vote involves a
Cadet lCL Lagura, was asked to explain his "not guilty" vote. Pressured to substantive right which cannot be unceremoniously changed without a
change his vote, he was made to cast a new one finding Cadet 1 CL Cudia corresponding amendment/revision in the Honor Code and Honor System
guilty. The original ballot was discarded and replaced. There was no record Handbook. In their view, "chambering" totally defeats the purpose of voting
of the change in vote from 8-1 to 9-0 that was mentioned in the HC formal by secret ballot as it glaringly destroys the very essence and philosophy
report. behind the provisions of the Honor System, which is to ensure that the voting
member is free to vote what is in his or her heart and mind and that no one
The Affidavit of Commander Junjie B. Tabuada executed on March 6, 2014 can pressure or persuade another to change his or her vote. They suggest
that if one voting member acquits an accused cadet who is obviously guilty of
was submitted by petitioners since he purportedly recalled Cadet 1 CL
the offense, the solution is to remove him or her from the HC through the
Lagura telling him that he was pressured to change his "not guilty" vote after
vote of non-confidence as provided for in the Honor Code.195 Anent the
the voting members were "chambered." In the sworn statement, Commander
above arguments, respondents contend that a distinction must be made
Tabuada said:
between the concepts of the Honor Code and the Honor System. According
to them, the former sets the standard for a cadet's, minimum ethical and
1. That after CDT lCL CUDIA [was] convicted for honor violation, I moral behavior and does not change, while the latter is a set of rules for the
[cannot] remember exactly the date but sometime in the morning of conduct of the observance and implementation of the Honor Code and may
23rd or 24th of January 2014, I was in my office filling up forms for undergo necessary adjustments as may be warranted by the incumbent
the renewal of my passport, CDT 1CL LAGURA entered and had members of the HC in order to be more responsive to the moral training and
business with my staff; character development of the cadets. The HC may provide guidelines when
the Honor System can be used to supplement regulations. This being so, the
2. When he was about to leave I called him. "Lags, halika muna voting process is continuously subject to change.
dito," and he approached me and I let him sit down on the chair in
101
Respondents note that, historically, a non-unanimous guilty verdict sa Chamber. Nung nasa chamber kami, nagsalita [yung] mga nagvote ng
automatically acquits a cadet from the charge of Honor violation. The voting Guilty tapos isa-isa nagsabi kung bakit ang boto nila Guilty. Nung pakinggan
members only write either "guilty" or "not guilty" in the voting sheets without ko, eh naliwanagan ako. Pinalitan ko yung boto ko from Not Guilty to Guilty
stating their name or their justification. However, this situation drew criticisms Sir." He replied: "Sayang si Cudia ano?" And I said: "Oo nga sir, [s]ayang si
since there were instances where a reported cadet already admitted his Cudia, mabait pa naman at matalino."196
honor violation but was acquitted due to the lone vote of a sympathetic voting
member. Cadet 1 CL Lagura restated the above in the Counter-Affidavit executed on
March 12, 2014, which he submitted before the CHR wherein he attested to
In the case of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, the HC adopted an existing practice that the following:
should the voting result in 7-2 or 8-1 the HC would automatically sanction a
jury type of discussion called "executive session" or "chambering," which is 3. I was chosen to be a voting member of the Honor Committee for
intended to elicit the explanation and insights of the voting member/s. This Honor Code violation committed by Cadet Cudia, for "lying". As a
prevents the tyranny of the minority or lone dissenter from prevailing over the voting member, we are the one who assess or investigate the case
manifest proof of guilt. The assailed voting practice has been adopted and whether the reported Cadet is Guilty for his actions or not.
widely accepted by the PMA Siklab Diwa Class of 2014 since their first year
in the Academy. The allegations of conspiracy and sham trial are, therefore,
4. I was the only one who INITIALLY voted "NOT GUILTY" among
negated by the fact that such practice was in place and applied to all cases
the nine (9) voting members of the Honor Committee in the case of
of honor violations, not solely to the case of Cadet 1CL Cudia.
Cdt Cudia for Lying.

It is emphasized by respondents that any decision to change vote rests


5. I initially voted "NOT GUILTY" for the reason that after the
solely on the personal conviction of the dissenter/s, without any compulsion
proceedings and before the presiding Officer told the members to
from the other voting members. There can also be no pressuring to change
vote, I was confused of the case of Cadet Cudia. I have gathered
one's vote to speak of since a vote may only be considered as final when the
some facts from the investigation to make my decision but for me it is
Presiding Officer has affixed his signature. not yet enough to give my verdict of guilty to Cdt Cudia so I decided
to vote "NOT GUILTY" with a reservation in my mind that we will still
To debunk Commander Tabuada's statements, respondents raise the be discussing our verdicts if we will arrive at 8-1 or 7-2. Thus, I can
argument that the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body summoned Cadet 1 still change my vote if I may be enlightened with the other's
CL Lagura for inquiry. Aside from his oral testimony made under oath, he justifications.
submitted to the Board/Body an affidavit explaining that:
6. After the votes were collected, the Presiding Officer told us that
11. Sometime on 23rd or 24th of January 2014, I went to the Department of the vote is 8 for guilty and 1 for not guilty. By way of practice and as I
Naval Warfare to ask permission if it is possible not to attend the Navy duty predicted, we were told to go inside the anteroom for executive
for the reason that I will be attending our baseball game outside the meeting and to discuss our respective justifications. I have been a
Academy. member for two (2) years and the voting committee will always go for
executive meeting whenever it will meet 8-1 or 7-2 votes.
12. After I was permitted not to attend my Navy Duty and when I was about
to exit out of the Office, CDR JUNJIE B T ABU ADA PN, our Head 7. I listened to them and they listened to me, then I saw things that
Department Naval Warfare Officer, called my attention. I approached him enlightened my confusions that time. I gave a thumbs-up sign and
and he said: "Talagang nadali si Cudia ah. Ano ba talaga ang nangyari?" At asked for another sheet of voting paper. I then changed my vote
first, I was hesitant to answer because of the confidentiality of the Honor from "NOT GUILTY" to "GUILTY" and the voting members of the
Committee proceedings. He again said: "Wag kang mag-alala, atin, atin lang Honor Committee came up with the final vote of nine (9) votes for
ito, alam ko naman na bawal magsabi." Then I answered: "Ako yung isang guilty and zero (0) votes for not guilty.
not guilty Sir. Kaya [yung] Presiding Officer nagsabi na pumunta muna kami
102
9. Cdt Cudia was called inside the courtroom and told that the verdict changed his vote. Finally, petitioners note the admission of Cadet 1 CL
was GUILTY of LYING. After that, all persons inside the courtroom Lagura during the CHR investigation that he was the only one who was given
went back to barracks. another ballot sheet while in the chamber and that he accomplished it in the
barracks which he only submitted the following day. However, as the CHR
10. Right after I changed to sleeping uniform, I was approached by found, the announcement of the 9-0 vote was done immediately after the HC
Cdt Jocson and Cdt Cudia, inquiring and said: "Bakit ka naman came out from the chamber and before Cadet 1 CL Lagura submitted his
nagpalit ng boto? ., I answered: "Nasa process yan, may mali talaga accomplished ballot sheet.
sa rason mo." They also asked who were inside the Chamber and I
mentioned only Cdt Arlegui and Cdt Mogol. That was the last time We rule for respondents.
that Cdt Cudia and Cdt Jocson talked to me.
As to the manner of voting by the HC members, the Honor Code tersely
11. Sometime on 23rd or 24th of January 2014, I went to the provides:
Department of Naval Warfare to asked (sic) permission if it is
possible not to attend the Navy duty for the reason that I will be After a thorough discussion and deliberation, the presiding member of the
attending our baseball game outside the Academy. Board will call for the members to vote whether the accused is GUILTY or
NOT GUILTY. A unanimous vote (9 votes) of GUILTY decides that a cadet is
12. After I was permitted not to attend my Navy Duty and when I was found guilty of violating the Honor Code.198
about to exit out of the Office, CDR JUNJIE B TABUADA PN, our
Head Department Naval Warfare Officer, called my attention. I From the above-quoted provision, it readily appears that the HC practice of
approached him and he said: "Talagang nadali si Cudia ah. Ano ba conducting "executive session" or "chambering" is not at all prohibited. The
talaga ang nangyari?" At first, I was hesitant to answer because of HC is given leeway on the voting procedures in' actual cases taking into
the confidentiality of the Honor Committee proceedings. He again account the exigency of the times. What is important is that, in the end, there
said: "Wag kang mag-alala, atin, atin lang ito, alam ko naman na must be a unanimous nine votes in order to hold a cadet guilty of violating
bawal magsabi. " Then I answered: "Ako yung isang not guilty Sir. the Honor Code.
Kaya [yung} Presiding Officer nagsabi na pumunta muna kami sa
Chamher. Nung nasa chamber kami, nagsalita [yung] mga nagvote
Granting, for argument's sake, that the HC violated its written procedure,199
ng Guilty tapos isa-isa nagsabi kung bakit ang boto nila Guilty. Nung
We still rule that there is nothing inherently wrong with the practice of
pakinggan ko, eh naliwanagan aka. Pinalitan ko yung boto ko from "chambering" considering that the presence of intimidation or force cannot
Not Guilty to Guilty Sir. " He replied: "Sayang si Cudia ano?" And I automatically be inferred therefrom. The essence of secret balloting and the
said: "Oo nga sir, [s]ayang si Cudia, mabait pa naman at matalino.
freedom to vote based on what is in the heart and mind of the voting member
"197
is not necessarily diluted by the fact that a second/final voting was
conducted. As explained by Cadet 1CL Mogol before the CRAB:
Still not to be outdone, petitioners argue that the very fact that Cadet 1 CL
Lagura, as the lone dissenter, was made to explain in the presence of other 13. x x x [The] dissenting voter would have to explain his side and insights
HC members, who were in disagreement with him, gives a semblance of
regarding the case at hand. The other members, on the other hand, would be
intimidation, force, or pressure. For them, the records of the HC proceedings,
given the chance to explain their votes as well as their insights to the
which were not presented assuming they actually exist, could have been the
dissenting voter. The decision to change the vote of the dissenting voter
best way to ensure that he was free to express his views, reject the opinion
rests solely on his personal conviction. Thus, if he [or she] opted not to
of the majority, and stick to his decision. Also, it was pointed out that Cadet 1 change his/her vote despite the discussion, his [or her] vote is accorded
CL Lagura failed to clearly explain in his affidavit why he initially found Cadet respect by the Honor Committee.200
1 CL Cudia "not guilty" and what made him change his mind. His use of
general statements like he "was confused of the case " and "saw things that
enlightened my confusions " could hardly suffice to establish why he It is elementary that intimidation or force is never presumed. Mere allegation
is definitely not evidence.1wphi1 It must be substantiated and proved
103
because a person is presumed to be innocent of a crime or wrong and that claim that Dr. Costales never categorically stated that Cadet lCL Cudia was
official duty has been regularly performed.201 lying. She recognized the confusion. Her text messages to him clarified his
alleged violation. Also, the CHR noted during its investigation that she could
The oral and written statements of Cadet 1 CL Lagura should settle the not exactly recall what happened in her class on November 14, 2013.
issue. Before the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating Body and the CHR, he
consistently denied that he was pressured by the other voting members of Furthermore, petitioners reasoned out that when respondents stated that
the HC. His representation must be accepted as it is regardless of whether ENG412 class started at 3:05 p.m., it proves that Cadet 1 CL Cudia was
he has satisfactorily elaborated his decision to change his vote. Being the obviously not late. If, as indicated in his Delinquency Report, he was late two
one who was "chambered," he is more credible to clarify the issue. In case of (2) minutes in his 1500-1600H class in ENG 412, he must have arrived 3:02
doubt, We have to rely on the faith that Cadet 1 CL Lagura observed the p.m. Respondents, however, claim that the class started at 3:05 p.m. Thus,
Honor Code, which clearly states that every cadet must be his or her own Cadet 1 CL Cudia was not late.
Final' Authority in honor; that he or she should not let other cadets dictate on
him or her their sense of honor.202 Moreover, the Code implies that any Relative to his explanation to the delinquency report, petitioners were of the
person can have confidence that a cadet and any graduate of the PMA will view that what appears to have caused confusion in the minds of
be fair and just in dealing with him; that his actions, words and ways are respondents is just a matter of semantics; that the entire incident was a
sincere and true.203 product of inaccuracy, not lying. It is malicious for them to insinuate that
Cadet 1 CL Cudia purposely used incorrect language to hide the truth. Citing
As to the other alleged "irregularities" committed such as not putting on Merriam Webster's Dictionary, petitioners argue that "dismiss" means to
record the initial/first voting and Cadet 1CL Lagura's bringing of his ballot permit or cause to leave, while "class" refers to a body of students meeting
sheet to and accomplishing it in the barracks, the Court shall no longer dwell regularly to study the same subject. According to them, these two words do
on the same for being harmless procedural errors that do not materially affect not have definite and precise meanings but are generic terms. Other than the
the validity of the HC proceedings. words "class" and "dismiss" used by Cadet 1 CL Cudia, which may actually
be used in their generic sense, there is nothing deceiving about what he said.
Cadet 1 CL Cudia 's alleged untruthful statements Thus, the answer he chose might be wrong or not correct, but it is not false
or not true.
Petitioners insist that Cadet 1 CL Cudia did not lie. According to them, there
is no clear time reference as to when was the actual dismissal or what was For petitioners, Cadet lCL Cudia's explanations are evidently truthful and with
the exact time of dismissal - whether it should be the dismissal inside the no intent to deceive or mislead. He did not manipulate any fact and was
room or the dismissal after the section grade was given by Dr. Costales -in truthful of his explanation. His .. statements were clear and unambiguous but
the minds of Cadet 1 CL Cudia, Maj. Hindang, and the HC investigators and were given a narrow-minded interpretation. Even the Honor Code
voting members. They claim that during long examinations, the time of acknowledges that "[e]xperience demonstrates that human communication is
dismissal was usually five minutes before the class was set to end and the imperfect at best, and some actions are often misinterpreted."
protocol of dismissing the class 15 minutes earlier was not observed. When
Maj. Hindang stated in accusatory language that Cadet 1 CL Cudia perverted Lastly, petitioners contend that Cadet 1 CL Cudia's transcript of records
the truth by stating that OR432 class ended at 1500H, he did not state what reflects not only his outstanding academic performance but proves his good
was the true time of dismissal. He did not mention whether the truth he was conduct during his four-year stay in the Academy. He has above-average
relying on was 5 or 15 minutes before the scheduled end of class. grades in Conduct, with grades ranging from 96 to 100 in Conduct I to XI. His
propensity to lie is, therefore, far from the truth.
It is also averred that Cadet 1 CL Cudia's only business was to ask Dr.
Costales a query such that his business was already finished as soon as she On the other hand, respondents were equally adamant to contend that Cadet
gave an answer. However, a new business was initiated by Dr. Costales, 1 CL Cudia was obviously quibbling, which, in the military parlance, is
which is, Cadet 1 CL Cudia must stay and wait for the section grade. At that tantamount to lying. He fell short in telling a simple truth. He lied by making
point in time, he was no longer in control of the circumstances. Petitioners
104
untruthful statements in his written explanation. Respondents want Us to upon factual matters as it is not duty-bound to analyze and weigh again the
consider the following: evidence considered in the proceedings below. Moreover, We reiterate the
long standing rule that factual findings of administrative tribunals are
First, their OR432 class was not dismissed late. During the formal ordinarily accorded respect if not finality by the Court. In this case, as shown
investigation, Dr. Costales testified that a class is dismissed as long as the in the previous discussions, there is no evidence that the findings of the
instructor is not there and the bell has rung. In cases of lesson examinations investigating and reviewing bodies below are not supported by evidence or
(LE), cadets are dismissed from the time they have answered their vitiated by fraud, imposition or collusion; that the procedure which led to the
respective LEs. Here, as Cadet Cudia stated in his Request for findings is irregular; that palpable errors were committed; or that a grave
Reconsideration of Meted Punishment, "We had an LE that day (14 abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, or capriciousness is manifest. With respect
November 2013) in OR432 class. When the first bell rang (1455), I stood up, to the core issue of whether lying is present in this case, all investigating and
reviewed my paper and submitted it to my instructor, Ms. Costales. xxx" reviewing bodies are in consonance in holding that Cadet 1 CL Cudia in truth
Clearly, at the time Cadet Cudia submitted his papers, he was already and in fact lied.
considered dismissed. Thus, he cannot claim that his [OR432] class ended at
3:00 in the afternoon (1500H) or "a bit late." For purposes of emphasis though, We shall supplement some points.

Second, Cadet Cudia was in control of the circumstances leading to his As succinctly worded, the Honor Code of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of
tardiness. After submitting his paper, Cadet Cudia is free to leave and attend the Philippines (CCAFP) states: "We, the Cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor
his next class. However, he initiated a conversation with Dr. Costales tolerate among us those who do. "
regarding their grades. He was not under instruction by Dr. Costales to stay
beyond the period of her class. The First Tenet of the Honor-Code is "We do not lie. " Cadets violate the
Honor Code by lying if they make an oral or written statement which is
Furthermore, during the investigation of the Fact-Finding Board/Investigating contrary to what is true or use doubtful information with the intent to deceive
Body, Dr. Costales clarified her statements in her written explanation. She or mislead.205 It is expected that every cadet's word is accepted without
explained that the "instruction to wait" is a response to Cadet Cudia' s challenge on its truthfulness; that it is true without qualification; and that the
request and that it was not her initiated instruction. Clearly, there was no cadets must answer directly, completely and truthfully even though the
directive from Dr. Costales for Cadet Cudia and the other cadets to stay. On answer may result in punitive action under the CCPB and CCAFPR.206
the contrary, it was them who wanted to meet with the instructor. Third,
contrary to Cadet Cudia's explanation, his subsequent class, ENG412, did To refresh, in his Explanation of Report dated December 8, 2013, Cadet 1
not exactly start at 3:00 in the afternoon (1500H). In the informal review CL Cudia justified that: "I came directly from OR432 Class. We were
conducted by the HTG to check the findings of the HC, Professor Berong dismissed a bit late by our instructor Sir." Subsequently, in his Request for
confirmed that her English class started as scheduled (3:05 in the afternoon, Reconsideration of Meted Punishment to Maj. Leander, he reasoned out as
or 1505H) and not earlier. Cadet 1 CL Barrawed, the acting class marcher of follows:
ENG412 also testified that their class started as scheduled (3 :05 in the
afternoon, or 1505) and not earlier.204 I strongly believe that I am not in control of the circumstances, our 4th period
class ended 1500H and our 5th period class, which is ENG412, started
Respondents were unimpressed with the excuse that Cadet 1 CL Cudia had 1500H also. Immediately after 4t period class, I went to my next class without
no intention to mislead or deceive but merely used wrong and unfitting words any intention of being late Sir.207
in his explanations. For them, considering his academic standing, it is highly
improbable that he used incorrect language to justify his mistake. In this case, the Court agrees with respondents that Cadet 1 CL Cudia
Respondents' arguments are tenable. committed quibbling; hence, he lied in violation of the Honor Code.

The issue of whether Cadet 1 CL Cudia committed lying is an issue of fact.


Following an Honor Reference Handbook, the term "Quibbling" has been
Unfortunately for petitioners, the Court, not being a trier of facts, cannot pass
defined in one U.S. case as follows:
105
A person can easily create a false impression in the mind of his listener by term includes "every transaction and communication a teacher does with her
cleverly wording what he says, omitting relevant facts, or telling a partial students." Clearly, it does not take too much intelligence to conclude that
truth. When he knowingly does so with the intent to deceive or mislead, he is Cadet 1 CL Cudia should have been accurate by pinpointing who were with
quibbling. Because it is an intentional deception, quibbling is a form of him when he was late in the next class. His deceptive explanation is made
lying.208 more obvious when compared with what Cadets 1 CL Archangel and Narciso
wrote in their DR explanation, which was: "We approached our instructor
The above definition can be applied in the instant case. Here, instead of after our class."212
directly and completely telling the cause of his being late in the ENG412
class of Prof. Berong, Cadet 1 CL Cudia chose to omit relevant facts, Further, it is unimportant whether the time of dismissal on November 14,
thereby, telling a half-truth. 2013 was five or fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled end of class. Worth
noting is that even Dr. Costales, who stood as a witness for Cadet 1 CL
The two elements that must be presented for a cadet to have committed an Cudia, consistently admitted before the HC, the Fact-Finding
honor violation are: Board/Investigating Body, and the CHR that he was already dismissed when
he passed his LE paper.213 During the hearing of the Board/Body, she also
declared that she merely responded to his request to see the results of the
1. The act and/or omission, and
UE 1 and that she had reservations on the phrases "under my instruction"
and "dismissed a bit late" used in his letter of explanation to the HC. In
2. The intent pertinent to it. addition, Dr. Costales manifested her view before the CHR that the act of
Cadet 1 CL Cudia of inquiring about his grade outside their classroom after
Intent does not only refer to the intent to violate the Honor Code, but intent to he submitted his LE paper is not part of the class time because the
commit or omit the act itself.209 consultation, being cadet-initiated, is voluntary.214 Assuming, for the sake of
argument, that a new business was initiated by Dr. Costales when Cadet 1
The basic questions a cadet must always seek to answer unequivocally are: CL Cudia was asked to stay and wait for the section grade, still, this does not
acquit him. Given such situation, a responsible cadet who is fully aware of
1. Do I intend to deceive? the time constraint has the last say, that is, to politely decline the invitation
and immediately go to the next class. This was not done by Cadet 1 CL
Cudia. Thus, it cannot be said that he already lost control over the
2. Do I intend to take undue advantage?
circumstances.

If a cadet can answer NO to BOTH questions, he or she is doing the


It is apparent, therefore, that Cadet 1 CL Cudia cunningly chose words which
honorable thing.210
led to confusion in the minds of respondents and eventually commenced the
HC inquiry. His case is not just a matter of semantics and a product of plain
Intent, being a state of mind, is rarely susceptible of direct proof, but must and simple inaccuracy. There is manipulation of facts and presentation of
ordinarily be inferred from the facts, and therefore, can only be proved by untruthful explanation constitutive of Honor Code violation.
unguarded expressions, conduct and circumstances generally.211 In this
case, Cadet 1 CL Cudia's intent to deceive is manifested from the very act of
Evidence of prior good conduct cannot clear Cadet 1 CL Cudia .. While his
capitalizing on the use of the words "dismiss" and "class." The truth of the
Transcript of Records (TOR) may reflect not only his outstanding academic
matter is that the ordinary usage of these two terms, in the context of an
performance but his excellent grade in subjects on Conduct during his four-
educational institution, does not correspond to what Cadet 1 CL Cudia is
year stay in the PMA,215 it does not necessarily follow that he is innocent of
trying to make it appear. In that sense, the words are not generic and have
the offense charged. It is enough to say that "evidence that one did or did not
definite and precise meaning.
do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or did not
do the same or similar thing at another time."216 While the TOR may be
By no stretch of the imagination can Cadets 1 CL Cudia, Miranda, Arcangel, received to prove his identity or habit as an exceptional PMA student, it does
and Narciso already constitute a "class." The Court cannot agree that such
106
not show his specific intent, plan, or scheme as cadet accused of committing risked this when he entered the Academy.218 We adopt the ruling in
a specific Honor Code violation. Andrews219 wherein it was held that, while the penalty is severe, it is
nevertheless reasonable and not arbitrary, and, therefore, not in violation of
Dismissal from the PMA as unjust and cruel punishment due process. It quoted the disposition of the district court, thus:

Respondents insist that violation of the Honor Code warrants separation of The fact that a cadet will be separated from the Academy upon a finding that
the guilty cadet from the cadet corps. Under the Cadet Corps Armed Forces he has violated the Honor Code is known to all cadets even prior to the
of the Philippines Regulation (CCAFPR), a violation of the Cadet Honor Code beginning of their careers there. The finding of a Code violation by
is considered Grave (Class 1) delinquency which merits a recommendation hypothesis includes a finding of scienter on the part of the offender. While
for a cadet's dismissal from the PMA Superintendent. The same is likewise separation is admittedly a drastic and tragic consequence of a cadet's
clear from the Honor Code and Honor System Handbook. Cadet 1 CL Cudia transgression, it is not an unconstitutionally arbitrary one, but rather a
is, therefore, presumed to know that the Honor Code does not accommodate reasonable albeit severe method of preventing men who have suffered
a gradation or degree of offenses. There is no difference between a little lie ethical lapses from becoming career officers. That a policy of admonitions or
and a huge falsehood. Respondents emphasize that the Honor Code has lesser penalties for single violations might be more compassionate --or even
always been considered as an absolute yardstick against which cadets have more effective in achieving the intended result --is quite immaterial to the
measured themselves ever since the PMA began and that the Honor Code question of whether the harsher penalty violates due process.220
and System seek to assure that only those who are able to meet the high
standards of integrity and honor are produced by the PMA. As held in Nature of the CHR Findings
Andrews, it is constitutionally permissible for the military "to set and enforce
uncommonly high standards of conduct and ethics. " Thus, in violating the Petitioners contend that the PMA turned a blind eye on the CHR's
Honor Code, Cadet 1 CL Cudia forfeits his privilege to graduate from the recommendations. The CHR, they note, is a constitutional body mandated by
PMA. the 1987 Constitution to investigate all forms of human rights violations
involving civil and political rights, and to conduct investigative monitoring of
On their part, petitioners concede that if it is proven that a cadet breached economic, social, and cultural rights, particularly of vulnerable sectors of
the Honor Code, the offense warrants his or her dismissal since such a policy society. Further, it was contended that the results of CHR's investigation and
may be the only means to maintain and uphold the spirit of integrity in the recommendations are so persuasive that this Court, on several occasions
military.217 They maintain though that in Cadet 1 CL Cudia's case there is like in the cases of Cruz v. Sec. of Environment & Natural Resources221 and
no need to distinguish between a "little lie" and a "huge falsehood" since he Ang Ladlad LGBT Party v. Commission on Elections,222 gave its findings
did not lie at all. Absent any intent to deceive and to take undue advantage, serious consideration. It is not, therefore, too late for the Court to hear what
the penalty imposed on him is considered as unjust and cruel. Under the an independent and unbiased fact-finding body has to say on the case.
circumstances obtaining in this case, the penalty of dismissal is not
commensurate to the fact that he is a graduating cadet with honors and what In opposition, respondents assert that Simon, Jr. v. Commission on Human
he allegedly committed does not amount to an academic deficiency or an Rights223 ruled that the CHR is merely a recommendatory body that is not
intentional and flagrant violation of the PMA non-academic rules and empowered to arrive at a conclusive determination of any controversy.
regulations. Citing Non, petitioners argue that the penalty imposed must be
proportionate to the offense. Further, lsabelo, Jr. is squarely applicable to the
We are in accord with respondents.
facts of the case. Cadet 1 CL Cudia was deprived of his right to education,
the only means by which he may have a secure life and future.
The findings of fact and the conclusions of law of the CHR are merely
recommendatory and, therefore, not binding to this Court. The reason is that
Considering Our finding that Cadet 1 CL Cudia in truth and in fact lied and the CHR's constitutional mandate extends only to the investigation of all
his acceptance that violation of the Honor Code warrants the ultimate penalty
forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.224 As held
of dismissal from the PMA, there is actually no more dispute to resolve.
in Cario v. Commission on Human Rights225 and a number of subsequent
Indeed, the sanction is clearly set forth and Cadet 1 CL Cudia, by contract,
cases,226 the CHR is only a fact-finding body, not a court of justice or a
107
quasi-judicial agency. It is not empowered to adjudicate claims on the merits "Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge,
or settle actual case or controversies. The power to investigate is not the arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary
same as adjudication: defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a
court case) on the merits of issues raised: xx to pass judgment on: settle
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of judicially: x x x act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon
adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: xx to award or grant
findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and judicially in a case of controversy x x x."
political rights. But fact-finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to
the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial
official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the authority.1wphi1 To determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its
facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide,
considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. xx Implies a judicial
conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment. "226
applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy
may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject All told, petitioners are not entitled to moral and exemplary damages in
to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This accordance with Articles 19, 2217, 2219 and 2229 of the Civil Code. The
function, to repeat, the Commission does not have. dismissal of Cadet 1 CL Cudia from the PMA did not effectively deprive him
of a future. Cliche though it may sound, being a PMA graduate is not the "be-
xxxx all and end-all" of his existence. A cadet separated from the PMA may still
continue to pursue military or civilian career elsewhere without suffering the
[i]t cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of stigma attached to his or her dismissal. For one, as suggested by
justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or respondents, DND-AFP Circular No. 13, dated July 15, 1991, on the
adjudge. Whether in the popular or the technical sense, these terms have enlistment and reenlistment in the APP Regular Force, provides under
well understood and quite distinct meanings. Section 14 (b) thereof that priority shall be given to, among others, the ex-
PMA or PAFFFS cadets.227 If the positions open does not appeal to his
interest for being way below the rank he could have achieved as a PMA
"Investigate, "commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or
graduate, Cadet 1 CL Cudia could still practice other equally noble
delve or probe into, research on, study. The dictionary definition of
profession or calling that is best suited to his credentials, competence, and
"investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically: "to
search or inquire into: x x x to subject to an official probe x x x: to conduct an potential. Definitely, nobody can deprive him of that choice.
official inquiry;" The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find
out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The dismissal of Cadet First Class
of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia from the Philippine Military Academy is hereby
into by application of the law to the facts established by the inquiry. AFFIRMED. No costs.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up SO ORDERED.
step by step by patient inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search
into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by
careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to
inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn described as
"(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require
a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; xx x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise,
for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter or
matters."
108
G.R. No. L-40779 November 28, 1975 for admission at the UST Graduate School; 7 Petitioner then subsequently
made inquiries in said school, as to the possibilities for her pursuing her
EPICHARIS T. GARCIA, petitioner, graduate studies for an for M.A. in Theology, and she was informed that she
vs. could enroll at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties, but that she would have to
THE FACULTY ADMISSION COMMITTEE, LOYOLA SCHOOL OF fulfill their requirements for Baccalaureate in Philosophy in order to have her
THEOLOGY, herein represented by FR. ANTONIO B. LAMBINO, degree later in Theology which would entail about four to five years more
respondent. of studies whereas in the Loyola School of Studies to which she is being
unlawfully refused readmission, it would entail only about two years more; 8.
Epicharis T Garcia in her own behalf. That Petitioner, considering that time was of the essence in her case, and not
wanting to be deprived of an opportunity for gaining knowledge necessary for
her life's work, enrolled as a special student at said UST Ecclesiastical
Bengzon, Villegas, Zarraga, Narciso and Cudala for respondents. Faculties, even if she would not thereby be credited with any academic units
for the subject she would take; 9. That Petitioner could have recourse neither
to the President of her school, Fr. Jose Cruz, he being with the First Couple's
entourage now in Red China, nor with the Secretary of Education, since this
FERNANDO, J.: is his busiest time of the year, and June 11, 1975 is the last day for
registration; ... "2 She prayed for a writ of mandamus for the purpose of
The specific issue posed by this mandamus proceeding to compel the allowing her to enroll in the current semester. She made it more specific in a
Faculty Admission Committee of the Loyola School of Theology, represented pleading she called Amended Petition so that she would be allowed cross-
by Father Antonio B. Lambino, to allow petitioner Epicharis T. Garcia, to enrollment even beyond the June 11, 1975 deadline for registration and that
continue studying therein is whether she is deemed possessed of such a whatever units may be accredited to her in the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties
right that has to be respected. That is denied not only on general principle, be likewise recognized by respondent. Her petition included the letter of
but also in view of the character of the particular educational institution respondent Father Lambino which started on a happy note that she was
involved. It is a seminary. It would appear therefore that at most she can lay given the grade of B+ and B in two theology subjects, but ended in a manner
claim to a privilege, no duty being cast on respondent school. Moreover, as a far from satisfactory for her, as shown by this portion thereof: "Now, you will
reinforcement to such an obvious conclusion, there is the autonomy have to forgive me for going into a matter which is not too pleasant. The
recognized by the Constitution in this explicit language: "All institutions of faculty had a meeting after the summer session and several members are
higher learning shall enjoy academic freedom."1 The petition must therefore strongly opposed to having you back with us at Loyola School of Theology. In
fail. the spirit of honesty may I report this to you as their reason: They felt that
your frequent questions and difficulties were not always pertinent and had
the effect of slowing down the progress of the class; they felt you could have
Petitioner alleged: "3. That in summer, 1975, Respondent admitted Petitioner
tried to give the presentation a chance and exerted more effort to understand
for studies leading to an M.A. in Theology; 4. That on May 30, 1975, when
the point made before immediately thinking of difficulties and problems. The
Petitioner wanted to enroll for the same course for the first semester, 1975-
way things are, I would say that the advisability of your completing a program
76, Respondent told her about the letter he had written her, informing her of
(with all the course work and thesis writing) with us is very questionable. That
the faculty's decision to bar her from re-admission in their school; 5. That the
you have the requisite intellectual ability is not to be doubted. But it would
reasons stated in said letter, dated May 19, 1975 ... do not constitute valid
seem to be in your best interests to work with a faculty that is more
legal ground for expulsion, for they neither present any violation of any of the
compatible with your orientation. I regret to have to make this report, but I am
school's regulation, nor are they indicative of gross misconduct; 6. That from
only thinking of your welfare."3
June 25, 1975, Petitioner spent much time and effort in said school for the
purpose of arriving at a compromise that would not duly inconvenience the
professors and still allow her to enjoy the benefits of the kind of instruction This Court, in a resolution of June 23, 1975, required comment on the part of
that the school has to offer, but all in vain; she was in fact told by Fr. Pedro respondent Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology.4 As
Sevilla, the school's Director, that the compromises she was offering were submitted on behalf of Father Lambino, it set forth the following:
unacceptable, their decision was final, and that it were better for her to seek "Respondent is the Chairman of the Faculty Admission Committee of the
109
Loyola School of Theology, which is a religious seminary situated in Loyola 1. In respondent's memorandum, it was made clear why a petition for
Heights, Quezon City; In collaboration with the Ateneo de Manila University, mandamus is not the proper remedy. Thus: "Petitioner cannot compel by
the Loyola School of Theology allows some lay students to attend its classes mandamus, the respondent to admit her into further studies in the Loyola
and/or take courses in said Loyola School of Theology but the degree, if any, School of Theology. For respondent has no clear duty to so admit the
to be obtained from such courses is granted by the Ateneo de Manila petitioner. The Loyola School of Theology is a seminary for the priesthood.
University and not by the Loyola School of Theology; For the reason above Petitioner is admittedly and obviously not studying for the priesthood, she
given, lay students admitted to the Loyola School of Theology to take up being a lay person and a woman. And even assuming ex gratia argumenti
courses for credit therein have to be officially admitted by the Assistant Dean that she is qualified to study for the priesthood, there is still no duty on the
of the Graduate School of the Ateneo de Manila University in order for them part of respondent to admit her to said studies, since the school has clearly
to be considered as admitted to a degree program; Petitioner in the summer the discretion to turn down even qualified applicants due to limitations of
of 1975 was admitted by respondent to take some courses for credit but said space, facilities, professors and optimum classroom size and component
admission was not an admission to a degree program because only the considerations."8 No authorities were cited, respondent apparently being of
Assistant Dean of the Ateneo de Manila Graduate School can make such the view that the law has not reached the stage where the matter of
admission; That in the case of petitioner, no acceptance by the Assistant admission to an institution of higher learning rests on the sole and
Dean of the Ateneo de Manila Graduate School was given, so that she was uncontrolled discretion of the applicant. There are standards that must be
not accepted to a degree program but was merely allowed to take some met. There are policies to be pursued. Discretion appears to be of the
courses for credit during the summer of 1975; Furthermore, petitioner was essence. In terms of Hohfeld's terminology, what a student in the position of
not charged a single centavo by the Loyola School of Theology and/or the petitioner possesses is a privilege rather than a right. She cannot therefore
Ateneo de Manila University in connection with the courses she took in the satisfy the prime and indispensable requisite of a mandamus proceeding.
summer of 1975, as she was allowed to take it free of charge; That Such being the case, there is no duty imposed on the Loyola School of
respondent Fr. Antonio B. Lambino, S.J., and/or the Loyola School of Theology. In a rather comprehensive memorandum of petitioner, who
Theology thru its Faculty Admission Committee, necessarily has discretion unfortunately did not have counsel, an attempt was made to dispute the
as to whether to admit and/or to continue admitting in the said school any contention of respondent. There was a labored effort to sustain her stand, but
particular student, considering not only academic or intellectual standards but it was not sufficiently persuasive. It is understandable why. It was the skill of
also other considerations such as personality traits and character orientation a lay person rather than a practitioner that was evident. While she pressed
in relation with other students as well as considering the nature of Loyola her points with vigor, she was unable to demonstrate the existence of the
School of Theology as a seminary. The Petition for Mandamus therefore clear legal right that must exist to justify the grant of this writ.
does not lie, as there is no duty, much less a clear duty, on the part of
respondent to admit the petitioner therein in the current year to take up 2. Nor is this all. There is, as previously noted, the recognition in the
further courses in the Loyola School of Theology."5 It was likewise alleged in Constitution of institutions of higher learning enjoying academic freedom. It is
the aforesaid comment that as set forth in the letter of May 19, 1975, the more often identified with the right of a faculty member to pursue his studies
decision not to allow petitioner to take up further courses in said seminary "is in his particular specialty and thereafter to make known or publish the result
not arbitrary, as it is based on reasonable grounds, ... ."6 Then reference of his endeavors without fear that retribution would be visited on him in the
was made to the availability of non-judicial remedies which petitioner could event that his conclusions are found distasteful or objectionable to the
have pursued.7 The prayer was for the dismissal of the petition for lack of powers that be, whether in the political, economic, or academic
merit. Petitioner sought permission to reply and it was granted. Thereafter, establishments. For the sociologist, Robert McIver it is "a right claimed by the
she had a detailed recital of why under the circumstances she is entitled to accredited educator, as teacher and as investigator, to interpret his findings
relief from the courts. In a resolution of August 8, 1975, this Court considered and to communicate his conclusions without being subjected to any
the comment of respondent as answer and required the parties to file their interference, molestation, or penalization because these conclusions are
respective memoranda. That they did, and the petition was deemed unacceptable to some constituted authority within or beyond the institution."
submitted for decision. As was made clear at the outset, we do not see merit 9 As for the educator and philosopher Sidney Hook, this is his version: "What
in it. It must therefore be dismissed. is academic freedom? Briefly put, it is the freedom of professionally qualified
persons to inquire, discover, publish and teach the truth as they see it in the
field of their competence. It is subject to no control or authority except the
110
control or authority of the rational methods by which truths or conclusions are laid on the shoulders of the law governing body .'" 14 Justice Frankfurter,
sought and established in these disciplines." 10 with his extensive background in legal education as a former Professor of the
Harvard Law School, referred to what he called the business of a university
3. That is only one aspect though. Such a view does not comprehend fully and the four essential freedoms in the following language: "It is the business
the scope of academic freedom recognized by the Constitution. For it is to be of a university to provide that atmosphere which is most conducive to
noted that the reference is to the "institutions of higher learning" as the speculation, experiment and creation. It is an atmosphere in which there
recipients of this boon. It would follow then that the school or college itself is prevail "the four essential freedoms" of a university to determine for itself
possessed of such a right. It decides for itself its aims and objectives and on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be
how best to attain them. It is free from outside coercion or interference save taught, and who may be admitted to study." 15 Thus is reinforced the
possibly when the overriding public welfare calls for some restraint. It has a conclusion reached by us that mandamus does not lie in this case.
wide sphere of autonomy certainly extending to the choice of students. This
constitutional provision is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a 4. It is not an easy matter then to disregard the views of persons
gradging fashion. That would be to frustrate its purpose, nullify its intent. knowledgeable in the field, to whom cannot be imputed lack of awareness of
Former President Vicente G. Sinco of the University of the Philippines, in his the need to respect freedom of thought on the part of students and scholars.
Philippine Political Law, is similarly of the view that it "definitely grants the Moreover, it could amount to minimizing the full respect that must be
right of academic freedom to the university as an institution as distinguished accorded the academic freedom expressly granted by the Constitution "to
from the academic freedom of a university professor." 11 He cited the institutions of higher learning." It is equally difficult to yield conformity to the
following from Dr. Marcel Bouchard, Rector of the University of Dijon, France, approach taken that colleges and universities should be looked upon as
President of the conference of rectors and vice-chancellors of European public utilities devoid of any discretion as to whom to admit or reject.
universities: " "It is a well-established fact, and yet one which sometimes Education, especially higher education, belongs to a different, and certainly
tends to be obscured in discussions of the problems of freedom, that the higher, category.
collective liberty of an organization is by no means the same thing as the
freedom of the individual members within it; in fact, the two kinds of freedom 5. It only remains to be added that the futility that marked the persistence of
are not even necessarily connected. In considering the problems of petitioner to continue her studies in the Loyola School of Theology is the
academic freedom one must distinguish, therefore, between the autonomy of result solely of a legal appraisal of the situation before us. The decision is not
the university, as a corporate body, and the freedom of the individual to be construed as in any way reflecting on the scholastic standing of
university teacher." " 12 Also: "To clarify further the distinction between the petitioner. There was on the part of respondent due acknowledgment of her
freedom of the university and that of the individual scholar, he says: "The intelligence. Nonetheless, for reasons explained in the letter of Father
personal aspect of freedom consists in the right of each university teacher Lambino, it was deemed best, considering the interest of the school as well
recognized and effectively guaranteed by society to seek and express the as of the other students and her own welfare, that she continue her graduate
truth as he personally sees it, both in his academic work and in his capacity work elsewhere. There was nothing arbitrary in such appraisal of the
as a private citizen. Thus the status of the individual university teacher is at circumstances deemed relevant. It could be that on more mature reflection,
least as important, in considering academic freedom, as the status of the even petitioner would realize that her transfer to some other institution would
institutions to which they belong and through which they disseminate their redound to the benefit of all concerned. At any rate, as indicated earlier, only
learning."' 13 He likewise quoted from the President of the Queen's the legal aspect of the controversy was touched upon in this decision.
University in Belfast, Sir Eric Ashby: "'The internal conditions for academic
freedom in a university are that the academic staff should have de facto WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit.
control of the following functions: (i) the admission and examination of
students; (ii) the curricula for courses of study; (iii) the appointment and
tenure of office of academic staff; and (iv) the allocation of income among the
different categories of expenditure. It would be a poor prospect for academic
freedom if universities had to rely on the literal interpretation of their
constitutions in order to acquire for their academic members control of these
four functions, for in one constitution or another most of these functions are
111
G.R. No. L-44251 May 31, 1977 place on April 24, 1974, was attended by petitioner as well as complainant
with his two witnesses. One of them. Leonardo de Lara, submitted an
FELIX MONTEMAYOR, petitioner, affidavit. Petitioner sought the postponement of the investigation to May 3,
vs. 1974. It was granted. On that occasion, he was furnished a copy of the
ARANETA UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION, JUAN SALCEDO, JR., TOMAS affidavit of the other witness, Macario Lacanilao. The accusation centered on
DAVID, MARTIN CELINO, MARCELO AMIANA, as Members of the Panel conversations on sex and immoral advances committed against the person
of Investigators, Members of the Board of Trustees, FR. ROMEO of Leonardo de Lara. There was cross-examination by petitioner of the
PELAYO and the HONORABLE SECRETARY OF LABOR, respondents. witnesses against him. With the assistance of counsel, he filed on May 28,
1974 a motion to dismiss or to hold the hearing in abeyance. He likewise filed
E. B. Garcia & Associates for petitioner. an affidavit to sustain his defense on June 17, 1974. The report and
recommendation of the investigating committee came on July 8, 1974. It was
adverse to petitioner, who was found morally responsible for the act
Marcelo C. Amiana for private respondents. complained of. The recommendation was for his demotion in rank by one
degree. The then President Juan Salcedo, Jr., on August 5, 1974, adopted
Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza Assistant Solicitor General Reynato S. such recommendation and thereafter referred the same to the Board of
Puno and Solicitor Jesus V. Diaz respondent Secretary of Labor. Trustees of private respondent for appropriate action. Subsequently, on
November 8, 1974, with new charges being filed by Professor Luis R.
Almazan, one Jaime Castaneda, and Jesus Martinez against petitioner for
conduct unbecoming of a faculty member, another committee was appointed.
FERNANDO, J.: Then came his preventive suspension, ordered to last until the administrative
investigation was concluded. There was a motion by petitioner for the
postponement of the hearing set for November 18 and 19, 1974, but the
The protection to labor mandate is more of a reality with the present
same was denied. The hearing proceeded in his absence. There was
Constitution expressly providing for security, of tenure. 1 Moreover, for a
testimony by Professor Luis Almazan and Jaime Castaneda. Thereafter, on
university professor, aptly referred to as a tiller in the vineyard of the mind,
December 5, 1974, the Committee submitted its report finding the charges
there is the guarantee of academic freedom. 2 Nonetheless, for cause duly
against petitioner to have been sufficiently established and recommending to
shown there may be a forced termination of his services. It is essential
the President and the Board of Trustees of the Araneta University
though that prior to his removal, procedural due process be observed. The
Foundation his separation from the University, in accordance with Sections
grievance alleged by petitioner in this case, a university professor, was that
116 and 351 of the Manual of Policies of the University. The Committee
there was a failure to comply with such a requisite. When therefore
found as established: "1. That immoral advances on several occasions have
respondent Secretary of Labor granted a clearance to the private
been made by respondent [herein petitioner] on Prof. Luis Almazan 2. That
respondent, the Araneta University Foundation,3 for his dismissal for
immoral advances have also been made by respondent on Jaime
immorality he instituted this certiorari proceeding. A thorough and exhaustive
Castaneda, a student- employee of the university on several occasions; 3.
comment, considered as the answer, filed by Solicitor General Estelito P.
That said immoral advances were frustrated because both Professor
Mendoza 4 with full support from the record, negates such a contention.
Almazan and Mr. Castaneda had refused to accept them; 4. That both
There is no basis for a reversal. certiorari does not lie.
witnesses and victims of said immoral advances have declared that the
behavior of respondent was detrimental [and] prejudicial to the moral and
It is undisputed that petitioner Felix Montemayor was a fulltime professor of educational standards of the Araneta University Foundation; 5. That because
respondent Araneta University Foundation, serving as head of its Humanities of said behavior, respondent should not continue as Professor in the
and Psychology Department, Previously, he was on the faculty of other University; and 6. That the acts of respondent complained of are offensive to
educational institutions. There was, on April 17, 1974, a complaint for good morals [and] inimical to the welfare of students and greatly prejudicial to
immorality lodged against him by the Chaplain of the Araneta University [the] interest and educational objectives of University, hence the same are
Foundation for alleged immorality. Its then President, Dr. Juan Salcedo, Jr., highly reprehensible." 5 His dismissal was then ordered on December 10,
created a committee to investigate such charge. The first hearing, which took 1974, effective November 15, 1974, the date of his preventive suspension.
112
The University, on December 12, 1974, filed with the National Labor learning, it was pointed out in Garcia v. The Faculty Admission, Committee 13
Relations Commission a report of his suspension and application for that academic freedom "is more often Identified with the right of a faculty
clearance to terminate his employment. Meanwhile, on November 21, 1974, member to pursue his studies in his particular specialty and thereafter to
petitioner in turn lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations make known or publish the result of his endeavors without fear that
Commission against private respondents for reinstatement and payment of retribution would be visited on him in the event that his conclusions are found
back wages and salaries, with all the privileges, benefits and increments distasteful or objectionable to the powers that be, whether in the political,
attendant thereto. There was a motion to dismiss on the part of the latter. economic, or academic establishments. For the sociologist, Robert Maclver,
Both the labor arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission found in it is 'a right claimed by the accredited educator, as teacher and as
favor of petitioner. He was ordered reinstated to his former position with back investigator, to interpret his findings and to communicate his conclusions
wages and without loss of seniority and other privileges. Petitioner's without being subjected to any interference, molestation, or penalization
complaint for unfair labor practice was, however, dismissed. Private because these conclusions are unacceptable to some constituted authority
respondents appealed to respondent Secretary of Labor who, on July 14, within or beyond the institution.'" 14 Tenure, according to him, is of the
1976, set aside the Commission's order for his reinstatement. He found essence of such freedom. For him, without tenure that assures a faculty
petitioner's dismissal justified, Nor was he persuaded by the plea that there member "against dismissal or professional penalization on grounds other
was denial of due process. He was satisfied with the procedure followed by than professional incompetence or conduct that in the judgment of his
private respondent. Moreover, he could not have ignored the fact that the colleagues renders him unfit" for membership in the faculty, the academic
controversy between the parties was passed upon and the parties heard on right becomes non-existent, 15 Security of tenure, for another scholar, Love
their respective contentions in the proceedings before the labor agencies. joy, is "the chief practical requisite for academic freedom" of a university
Respondent University was, however, required to pay complainant the professor. 16 As with Maclver, he did not rule out removal but only "for some
amount of P14,480.00 representing the latter's accrued back wages which grave cause," Identified by him as "proved incompetence or moral
the former voluntarily offered to extend him. Dissatisfied with the Secretary's delinquency." 17
decision, petitioner filed this instant petition for certiorari.
3. The charge leveled against petitioner, that of making homosexual
1. The present Constitution, as noted, expanded the scope of the protection advances to certain individuals, if proved, did amount to a sufficient cause for
to labor mandate by specifying that the State shall assure the right of workers removal. The crucial question therefore is whether it was shown that he was
to security of tenure. This Court, as stressed in Philippine Air Lines, Inc. v. guilty of such immoral conduct. He is thus entitled to the protection of
Philippine Air Lines Employees Associations 6 is called upon to manifest procedural due process. To paraphrase Webster, there must be a hearing
realty to a constitutional command." 7 Subsequently, in Almira v. B. F. before condemnation, with the investigation to proceed in an orderly manner,
Goodrich Philippines, 8 it was the ruling of this Tribunal that even where and judgment to be rendered only after such inquiry. As far back as 1915, the
disciplinary action against an employee is warranted, "where a penalty less American Association of University Professors adopted the principle that
punitive [than dismissal] would suffice, whatever missteps may be committed "every university or college teacher should be entitled before dismissal or
ought not to be visited with a consequence so severe." 9 An instructor or demotion, to have the charges against him stated in writing, in specific terms
member of a teaching staff of a university was held, in the leading case of and to have a fair trial on these charges before a special or permanent
Feati University v. Bautista, 10 to be an employee. As such, he is entitled to judicial committee of the faculty or by the faculty at large. At such trial the
that security of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution. The explicit teacher accused should have full opportunity to present evidence."18 Thus
pronouncement in Feati University v. Bautista was foreshadowed by Far the phrase, academic due process, hag gained currency, Joughin referred to
Eastern University v. Court of Industrial Relations, 11 a 1962 decision. While it as a system of procedure designed to yield the beat possible judgment
a faculty member such as petitioner may be dismissed, it must be for cause. when an adverse decision against a professor may be the consequence with
What is more, there must be clearance from the Secretary of Labor. So it is stress on the clear, orderly, and fair way of reaching a conclusion. 19
provided in the Labor Code.12
4. The procedure followed in the first investigation of petitioner, conducted in
2. The stand taken by petitioner as to his being entitled to security of tenure June of 1974, did satisfy the procedural due process requisite. The same
is reinforced by the provision on academic freedom which, as noted, is found cannot be said of the November, 1974 inquiry when the petitioner had to face
in the Constitution. While reference therein is to institutions of higher anew a similar charge of making homosexual advances. As admitted in the
113
exhaustive comment of the Solicitor General: "On November 16, 1974, thus: "All the foregoing clearly shows that petitioner was afforded his day in
Montemayor, through counsel, moved for the postponement of the hearing court. Finally, and more significant, is the fact that petitioner claims denial of
set for November 18 and 19, 1974 but the same was rejected by the due process in the proceeding had before the investigating committees and
committee. The hearing proceeded as scheduled in the absence of Professor not in the proceedings before the NLRC wherein, as shown heretofore, he
Montemayor and his counsel. In said hearing, Prof. Luis Almazan and Jaime was given the fullest opportunity to present his case." 23
Castaneda testified. On December 5, 1974, the Committee submitted its
report finding the charges against Montemayor to have been sufficiently 5. The comment of the Solicitor General was submitted on January 4, 1977.
established and recommending to the President and the Board of Trustees of The memorandum for petitioner was submitted on April 25. What
the Araneta University Foundation his separation from the University, in immediately calls attention is that no attempt was made to refute specifically
accordance with Sections 116 and 351 of the Manual of Policies of the such recital of the Solicitor General, of decisive significance as far as the due
University." 20 It does appear therefore that the members of such process issue is concerned. Instead, the emphasis was on the alleged
investigating committee failed to show full awareness of the demands of commission of an unfair labor practice by private respondent. Inasmuch as
procedural due process. A motion by petitioner for postponement of the the Arbiter as well as the National Labor Relations Commission absolved
hearing, apparently the first one made, was denied. What is worse, in his private respondent from the charge of unfair labor practice, it would appear
absence the matter was heard with the committee losing no time in that the emphasis of counsel for petitioner was misplaced. Accordingly, there
submitting its report finding the charges against petitioner to have been is nothing in the record that would militate against the contention of the
sufficiently established and recommending his removal. If that were all, Solicitor General that there was an observance of procedural due process.
respondent Secretary of Labor cannot be sustained. certiorari would lie. But
such deficiency was remedied, as pointed out in the same comment of the
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed No. costs.
Solicitor General, by the fact "that petitioner was able to present his case
before the Labor Commission ." 21 Then he continued: "Thus, the record
discloses that at a mediation conference held on December 9, 1974, the
parties appeared and, after all efforts at conciliation had failed, they agreed
to submit their dispute for compulsory arbitration. Several hearings were
conducted by Labor Arbiter Atty. Daniel Lucas, Jr., wherein petitioner
submitted his evidence supported by his affidavit impugning the regularity of
the proceedings before the investigating committees and assailing the
legality of his removal. The entire record of the administrative proceedings,
including the transcript of the stenographic notes taken therein, was elevated
to the Labor Commission for review. Petitioner herein, thru counsel, moved
for reinstatement during the pendency of the case. In another motion, he
prayed for the consolidation and joint hearing of his complaint for unfair labor
practice against herein private respondents (NLRC Case No. R-IV-1060-74)
with that of the application for clearance filed by the University to terminate
Montemayor's employment. On the other hand, the University moved to
dismiss the complaint for unfair labor practice against its officials on the
ground that they were not complainant's employers and that their
participation in the administrative case against the latter was official in
nature. Respondent University also presented the affidavit of Thomas P. G.
Neill Dean of the Institute of Agricultural Business Administration and
Chairman of the Committee created to investigate the charges of immorality
against petitioner attesting to the regularity of the proceedings and the
validity of the dismissal." 22 The legal aspect as to the procedural due
process having been satisfied was then summarized by the Solicitor General
114
G.R. No. L-45551 February 16, 1982 in the Office of the City Fiscal of Manila against the private respondents Picar
and Patawaran. Later, the complaint was ammended to assault and/or
JOSE S. ANGELES and GILBERTO G. MERCADO, in his capacity as physical injuries. The case was dismissed as against private respondent
Dean of Institute of Technology, FEU, petitioners, Wilfredo Patawaran but an information for slight physical injuries was filed
vs. against private respondent Edgardo Picar in the City Court of Manila. 3
HON. RAFAEL S. SISON, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of However, during the pendency of this case, on July 8, 1977, the criminal
Manila, EDGARDO PICAR and WILFREDO PATAWARAN, represented case for slight physical injuries against Edgardo Picar was dismissed on the
by his father WENCESLAO PATAWARAN, respondents. basis of an affidavit of desistance 4 submitted by petitioner Jose Angeles
before the City Court of Manila, Branch VIII, stating among others, that the
subject incident was only "a result of a misunderstanding and nobody is to be
blamed."
FERNANDEZ, J.:
Acting on the administrative complaint filed before his Office by the petitioner
Jose Angeles, the Dean of the Institute, petitioner Gilberto Mercado,
This is a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of First immediately created a committee headed by him to investigate the complaint.
Instance of Manila, Branch XXVII, dated December 29, 1976 in Civil Case The private respondents Picar and Patawaran questioned the authority of the
No. 101222 entitled, "Edgardo Picar and Wilfredo Patawaran, represented by Dean and his committee to conduct the administrative investigation because
his father, Wenceslao Patawaran, Plaintiffs, versus Jose S. Angeles, Dean the act complained of the alleged assault of Professor Angeles at the Oak
Gilberto G. Mercado in his capacity as Dean of the Institute of Technology, Barrel Restaurant is not within his authority to investigate. They contend
Defendants," the dispositive part of which reads: that the Dean's authority to investigate under the Code of Conduct of FEU
(as amended) from where he derives that power, is limited to acts done or
WHEREFORE, the petition prayed for by the plaintiffs is committed within the premises of the compound of the University. The Dean
hereby GRANTED, and the defendants are hereby proceeded to conduct the challenged administrative investigation. Thus the
perpetually enjoined from further proceeding with the private respondents, Picar and Patawaran, the latter being then a minor, was
administrative investigation against the plaintiffs. represented by his father, Wenceslao Patawaran, filed on February 13, 1976
in the Court of First Instance of Manila a complaint 5 with petition for issuance
So ordered. 1 of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the petitioners from proceeding
with the administrative investigation against the private respondents.
The records disclose that sometime in November 1975 the petitioner, Jose
Angeles, initiated an administrative case before the Office of the Dean, Forthwith, the respondent judge issued on the same day, February 13, 1976,
Gilberto G. Mercado, of the Institute of Technology, Far Eastern University, an Order 6 temporarily restraining the petitioners from further proceeding with
by filing a complaint 2 against the private respondents Edgardo Picar and the administrative investigation against the private respondents, and setting
Wilfredo Patawaran for alleged breach of the university's rules and the motion for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction for hearing.
regulations. In the said complaint, it is alleged that on October 20, 1975, Jose
Angeles, a professor in the Institute of Technology of Far Eastern University On March 10, 1976, the petitioners filed their answer to the complaint and an
(FEU), was assaulted by Edgardo Picar and Wilfredo Patawaran, both opposition to the petition for injunction. 7
students in mechanical engineering in the said institute at the Oak Barrel
Restaurant located at P. Gomez Street, Quiapo, Manila on the occasion of Over the opposition of the petitioners, the respondent Judge issued an Order
the birthday party of Professor Alfonso Bernabe, the Secretary of the Institute 8
on June 7, 1976 granting the writ of preliminary injunction and enjoining the
of Technology of FEU. petitioners from proceeding with the administrative investigation of private
respondents until further orders from the Court.
The same incident became also the subject of a criminal complaint for
assault against a person in authority instituted by the petitioner Jose Angeles

115
On July 13, 1976, the petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the order of REGULATIONS OF FEU A PRIVATE SCHOOL, UPON THE
the respondent judge and to lift the order granting plaintiffs' petition for GROUND THAT THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A
preliminary injunction. 9 The private respondents opposed the said motion for PRIVATE SCHOOL AND A PUBLIC SCHOOL.
reconsideration on August 10, 1976. 10
III
On October 11, 1976, the respondent Judge issued an order denying the
petitioners' motion for reconsideration. 11 THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN FINDING THAT
THE CONDUCT OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IN
Consequently, the petitioners filed on November 17, 1976, a motion for MAULING PETITIONER JOSE S. ANGELES, A FACULTY
summary judgment stating, among others, that "since the issue before this MEMBER OF FEU, OUTSIDE THE PREMISES OF THE
Court is one of law and not of fact, and therefore, there exists no genuine SCHOOL IS NOT PRESCRIBED BY THE RULES AND
controversy as to any material fact, summary judgment will lie to effectuate REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN THE SERVICE MANUAL
the prompt disposition of this case." 12 FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS .

Finding no objection to the rendition of a summary judgment, the private IV


respondents filed to that effect a manifestation 13 on December 8, 1976.
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN FINDING THAT
On December 29, 1976, the respondent judge rendered the decision under FEU, THROUGH PETITIONER GILBERTO G. MERCADO,
review, perpetually enjoining the petitioners from further proceeding with the IS LEGALLY INHIBITED FROM INVESTIGATING PRIVATE
administrative investigation against the private respondents. RESPONDENTS FOR CONDUCT PRESCRIBED BY ITS
RULES AND REGULATIONS BECAUSE OF THE
From this decision, the petitioners interposed an appeal to this Court, PENDENCY OF CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST SAID
assigning the following as errors: RESPONDENTS. 14

I The main legal issue presented in this petition is whether a school through its
duly authorized representative has the jurisdiction to investigate its student or
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN FINDING THAT students for an alleged misconduct committed outside the school premises
and beyond school hours.
FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY ("FEU", FOR BREVITY),
THROUGH PETITIONER GILBERTO G. MERCADO WHO
IS THE DEAN OF THE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, IS The petitioners contend that the mauling incident, subject matter of this case,
NOT AUTHORIZED TO INVESTIGATE AND DISCIPLINE was sought to be investigated under and pursuant to the following rules and
THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS, WHO ARE STUDENTS regulations of the Manual of Registration for Private Schools. 15
OF SAID UNIVERSITY, FOR THEIR CONDUCT OUTSIDE
OF SCHOOL HOURS AND NOT WITHIN THE SCHOOL (1) Paragraph l45, Section IX:
PREMISES WHICH DIRECTLY AFFECTS THE GOOD
ORDER AND WELFARE OF THE SCHOOL. Every private school is required to maintain good school
discipline. No cruel or physically harmful punishment shall be
II imposed nor shall corporal punishment be countenanced.
The school rules governing discipline and the corresponding
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN FINDING THAT sanctions therefor must be clearly specified and defined in
THE SERVICE MANUAL FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS writing and made known to the students and/or their parents
APPLIES TO, AND OVERRIDES THE RULES AND or guardians. Schools shall have the authority and

116
prerogative to promulgate such rules and regulations as they school records or transfer forms, or securing or using such
may deem necessary from time to time effective as of the forged transfer credentials.
promulgation unless otherwise specified.
In accordance with the above-quoted provision, the Advisory Council of FEU
No penalty shall be imposed upon any student, except for approved on December 2, 1971, the Code of Conduct 16 for all students to
cause as defined in this Manual and/or in the school's rules observe. The pertinent articles provide:
and regulations duly promulgated and only after due
investigation shall have been conducted. Article 1 General Behavior

(2) Paragraph l46, Section IX: Section 2. Students shall not use language or commit acts
which are disrespectful, vulgar, or indecent, or which in any
The three categories of disciplinary administrative sanctions manner may cause or tend to cause molestation or injury to
which may be imposed upon erring students, commensurate other members of the university community.
with the nature and gravity of the violation of school rules
and regulations committed, are: xxx xxx xxx

a. Dropping a school may drop from its rolls during the Article V Penalties
school year or term a student who is considered undesirable.
The student who is dropped should be issued immediately
Section 1. Violation of any of the provisions of this Code of
his transfer credentials.
Conduct shall be punished, after due investigation by
reprimand, dropping, suspension or expulsion in accordance
b. Suspension a school may suspend an erring student with the Manual of Regulation for Private Schools taking into
during the school year or term for a maximum period not account the following factors:
exceeding 20% of the prescribed school days. Suspension
which will involve the loss of the entire year or term shall not
a) previous record of the student;
be effective unless approved by the Director of Private
Schools.
b) inherent gravity of the offense committed;
c. Expulsion the penalty of expulsion is an extreme form
of administrative sanction which debars the student from all c) position of the aggrieved person
public and private schools. To be valid and effective the
penalty of expulsion requires the approval of the Secretary of d) established precedents; and
Education. Expulsion is usually considered proper
punishment for gross misconduct or dishonesty and/or such e) other related circumstances, such as the pertinent and
offenses as hazing, carrying deadly weapons, immorality, applicable mitigating and aggravating circumstances found
drunkenness, vandalism, hooliganism, assaulting a teacher in the Revised Penal Code.
or any other school authority, or his agent or student,
instigating, leading or participating in concerted activities Section 2. In cases not covered by this Code, the categories
leading to a stoppage of classes, preventing or threatening of disciplinary administrative sanctions contained in the
students or faculty members or school authorities from Manual of Regulations for Private Schools shall apply upon
discharging their duties, or from attending classes or the ground provided in said Manual.
entering the school premises, forging or tampering (with)

117
xxx xxx xxx provided by school authorities shall be deemed to extend
outside of school premises and activities, the term "school
Article VI Enforcement discipline" would be a misnomer. We must consider the fact
that FEU as an institution can exercise only such powers
expressly conferred, so that any authority not so given shall
Section 1. The Deans and Principals shall enforce the
be deemed to be withheld. In the absence of an express
provision of this Code of Conduct.
provision on this matter, this Court could not see any reason
why paragraph 155 of the Service Manual relative to public
There shall be created in each Institute and School a schools should not be applied by way of analogy considering
committee on Discipline, Manners and Morals, composed of that there is actually no difference between a private and a
two faculty members and one student, all appointed by the public school. The objective for the promulgation of rules and
Dean or Principal, as the case may be, to investigate cases regulations with respect to both institutions are one and the
of violations of this Code of Conduct referred to it by the same. Section 155, among others, states:
corresponding Dean or Principal.
School authorities are not, under ordinary
Section 4. In cases involving a student and a faculty circumstances, warranted in applying school
member, the Dean or the Principal concerned shall conduct punishment of pupils for acts committed
the hearing. Where the case involves a student and an outside of the jurisdiction of the school
administrative personnel, the President may appoint a building and grounds ... As a rule ... the
Committee to investigate the same which shall submit its authority and responsibility of the school
findings and recommendations to the President for decision. stop at the border of the school grounds,
and any action taken for acts committed
Thus, the petitioner Mercado contends that in his capacity as Dean of the without these boundaries should in general
Institute of Technology, he is charged under Sections 1 and 4 of Article VI of be left to the Police authorities, the courts of
the Code of Conduct of FEU with the duty of conducting a hearing in cases justice and the family concerned.
involving a student and a faculty member in furtherance of the university's
legally recognized right to discipline its students. Of course, there are certain exceptions as correctly pointed
out by the defendants, which are also provided in the same
On the other hand, the private respondents submit that to apply the above- Section 155, but then, considering that defendants moved
quoted rules to the instant case would be "capricious, malicious, palpably for a summary judgment without presenting any evidence to
unreasonable, arbitrary or a clear abuse of discretion" 17 and that "any prove that the case of the plaintiffs fall under any of the
investigation by the school of the said incident will be violative of the private aforequoted exceptions, the Court has no other alternative
respondents' right to privacy and peace of mind." 18 except to apply the general rule. 20

The respondent judge opined that the instant case falls under the general Implicit in Paragraph 155 of the Service Manual, Fourth Revision quoted by
rule that the power of the school ends at the border of its campus. 19 His the respondent judge and reproduced as follows:
basis is Section 9, paragraph 145 of the Manual of Regulations for Private
Schools the opening paragraph of which states: "Every private school is A pupil who has committed an immoral act outside of the
required to maintain good school discipline." He explains thus: school jurisdiction would be a source of danger to other
pupils in the school building, and such pupil might with
What other interpretation could be placed on the phrase reason be excluded from the school. There are certain
"school discipline" except that it is a norm of action that must borderline cases, however, which are hard to decide, and for
be observed within a school. If the rules and regulations which no definite rules can be laid down. Should pupils in a

118
concerted effort attempt to run a teacher out of town or try to school premises should, in general, be left to the police authorities, the courts
make life outside of school unbearable for him, such action of justice, and the family concerned. 21
might well be taken as having a direct and vital effect on the
school and therefore as coming under school discipline. However, this rule is not rigid or one without exceptions. It is the better view
Pupils engaged in school matters elsewhere than on the that there are instances when the school might be called upon to exercise its
school grounds, such as school athletic affairs and trips, power over its student or students for acts committed outside the school and
parades, literary contests, etc., are considered under the beyond school hours in the following:
jurisdiction of the school.
a) In cases of violations of school policies or regulations occurring in
is the recognition of the school's authority and power to expel a pupil who connection with a school sponsored activity off-campus; or 22
has committed an immoral act outside of the school premises since the latter
would be a "source of danger to other pupils in the school building."
b) In cases where the misconduct of the student involves his status as a
student or affects the good name or reputation of the school.
If the power to expel or to punish an immoral act committed outside the
school premises is recognized in this provision, why is the power to
Common sense dictates that the school retains its power to compel its
investigate the act of a student in mauling a faculty member outside the
students in or off-campus to a norm of conduct compatible with their standing
school premises not be accorded the same recognition?
as members of the academic community. Hence, when as in the case at bar,
the conduct complained of directly affects the suitability of the alleged
It is thus error for respondent judge to state that there is nothing in the violators as students, there is no reason why the school can not impose the
authorities relied upon by the defendants, petitioners herein, which compels same disciplinary action as when the act took place inside the campus.
any school authority to administratively discipline students for incidents
committed outside the school compound on an occasion which is not school-
There is a showing from the records of this case that the proximate cause of
sponsored or connected with any activity of the school. the alleged mauling incident, subject of the administrative investigation in
question, is attributable to the professor-student relationship of the parties
A college or any school for that matter, has a dual responsibility to its concerned.
students. One is to provide opportunities for learning and the other is to help
them grow and develop into mature, responsible, effective and worthy The sworn statement 23 of the petitioner Jose Angeles submitted to the
citizens of the community. Discipline is one of the means to carry out the petitioner Dean Gilberto Mercado, as Head of the Investigating Committee
second responsibility. states, inter alia:

Thus, there can be no doubt that the establishment of an educational


4. That sometime after the end of this first semester
institution requires rules and regulations necessary for the maintenance of an mentioned earlier, Eduardo Picar under the influence of
orderly educational program and the creation of an educational environment liquor accosted me along the corridor of the Institute building
conducive to learning. Such rules and regulations are equally necessary for
and asked for an explanation why Mr. Garcia gave him a
the protection of the students, faculty, and property. The power of school
failing grade in Shop 302. I told him I had no Idea.
officials to investigate, an adjunct of its power to suspend or expel, is a
necessary corollary to the enforcement of such rules and regulations and the
maintenance of a safe and orderly educational environment conducive to 5. That from this time on, said Picar stopped being cordial to
learning. me and sometimes would look daggers at me whenever we
meet on the campus.
The respondent judge correctly stated that the general rule is that the
authority of the school is co-extensive with its territorial jurisdiction, or its 6. That also sometime last July 1975, Wilfredo Patawaran
school grounds, so that any action taken for acts committed outside the accosted me along the corridors of the Technology building

119
and asked me to enroll him in my class. But I told him that I moot and academic 25 is unmeritorious. The pendency or the dismissal of the
had already enough students for one section. criminal action does not abate the administrative proceeding which involves
the same cause of action. 26 The administrative action before the school
7. That from this time on, this Patawaran avoided me and authorities can proceed independently of the criminal action because these
together with Picar they would show their contempt of me, by two actions are based on different considerations. In the former, the private
facial expressions, whenever we met on the corridors of the respondent's suitability or propriety as a student which is the paramount
Technology building or in the campus. concern and interest of the school is involved, while in the latter, what is at
stake is his being a citizen who is subject to the penal statutes and is the
These statements clearly establish the necessity for an Administrative primary concern of the State.
investigation of the alleged mauling incident because it cannot be denied that
the same is a violation of the norms of decency and good taste which is Hence, there being no withdrawal of the complaint filed by petitioner Jose
antithetical to one of the school's duties vis-a-vis the family, that of Angeles before the petitioner Dean Gilberto Mercado, the administrative
developing the moral character of the youth. 24 investigation should proceed.

Moreover, from the facts of record, the alleged mauling of petitioner Jose Therefore, as aptly stated by the petitioners 27 to affirm the decision of the
Angeles at the Oak Barrel Restaurant in Quiapo, Manila can be regarded as respondent Judge would give nothing less than a license to students of a
a continuation or the climax of the alleged display of animosities by private school, public or private, to assault and maul their teachers or professors
respondents Picar and Patawaran towards Angeles which began at the without fear of being subjected to discipline by the school as long as the
corridors of the FEU Institute of Technology building. assault takes place off-campus or beyond school hours.

Precisely, the administrative investigation in question is proper in order that WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila sought to
the duly authorized school officials can determine whether the continued be reviewed is hereby set aside and the writ of preliminary injunction issued
presence of private respondents, Picar and Patawaran, as students of FEU by the respondent judge is hereby dissolved, without pronouncement as to
and/or petitioner, Jose Angeles, as faculty member, within the university costs.
premises is detrimental to the maintenance of a moral climate conducive to
learning. SO ORDERED.

Furthermore, the true test of a school's right to investigate, or otherwise,


suspend or expel a student for a misconduct committed outside the school
premises and beyond school hours is not the time or place of the offense, but
its effect upon the morale and efficiency of the school and whether it, in fact,
is adverse to the school's good order welfare and the advancement of its
students.

Likewise the power of the school over its students does not cease absolutely
when they leave the school premises, and that conduct outside of school
hours may subject a student to school discipline if it directly affects the good
order and welfare of the school or has a direct and immediate effect on the
discipline or general welfare of the school.

The private respondent's averment that the dismissal of the criminal case
against private respondent Picar upon the filing of the affidavit of desistance
of petitioner Jose Angeles has the effect of rendering this instant petition
120
G.R. No. 134625 August 31, 1999 After going over private respondent's dissertation, Dr. Medina informed
CSSP Dean Consuelo Joaquin-Paz that there was a portion in private
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES BOARD OF REGENTS, respondent's dissertation that was lifted, without proper acknowledgment,
CHANCELLOR ROGER POSADAS, DR. EMERLINDA ROMAN, DEAN from Balfour's Cyclopaedia of India and Eastern and Southern Asia (1967),
CONSUELO PAZ, DR. ISAGANI MEDINA, DR. MARIA SERENA DIOKNO, volume I, pp. 392-401 (3 v., Edward Balfour 1885 reprint) and from John
DR. OLIVIA CAOILI, DR. FRANCISCO NEMENZO II, DEAN PACIFICO Edye's article entitled "Description of the Various Classes of Vessels
AGABIN, CARMELITA GUNO, and MARICHU LAMBINO, petitioners, Constructed and Employed by the Natives of the Coasts of Coromandel,
vs. Malabar, and the Island of Ceylon for their Coasting Navigation" in the Royal
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and AROKIASWAMY WILLIAM MARGARET Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Journal, volume I, pp. 1-14
CELINE, respondents. (1833).2

MENDOZA, J.: Nonetheless, private respondent was allowed to defend her dissertation on
February 5, 1993. Four (4) out of the five (5) panelists gave private
For review before the Court is the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 in CA- respondent a passing mark for her oral defense by affixing their signatures
on the approval form. These were Drs. Manuel, Quiason, Skandarajah, and
G.R. SP No. 42788, dated December 16, 1997, which granted private
Teodoro. Dr. Quiason added the following qualification to his signature:
respondent's application for a writ of mandatory injunction, and its resolution,
dated July 13, 1998, denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
Ms. Arokiaswamy must incorporate the suggestions I made during
The antecedent facts are as follows: the successful defense of her P.D. thesis.3

Dr. Medina did not sign the approval form but added the following comment:
Private respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine is a citizen of India
and holder of a Philippine visitor's visa. Sometime in April 1988, she enrolled
in the doctoral program in Anthropology of the University of the Philippines Pipirmahan ko ang pagsang-ayon/di pagsang-ayon kapag nakita ko
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) in Diliman, Quezon City. na ang mga revisions ng dissertation.4

After completing the units of course work required in her doctoral program, Dr. Teodoro added the following note to his signature:
private respondent went on a two-year leave of absence to work as Tamil
Programme Producer of the Vatican Radio in the Vatican and as General Kailangang isagawa ang mga mahahalagang pagbabago at ipakita
Office Assistant at the International Right to Life Federation in Rome. She sa panel and bound copies.5
returned to the Philippines in July 1991 to work on her dissertation entitled,
"Tamil Influences in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines." In a letter, dated March 5, 1993 and addressed to her thesis adviser, Dr.
Manuel, private respondent requested a meeting with the panel members,
On December 22, 1992, Dr. Realidad S. Rolda, chairperson of the U.P. especially Dr. Medina, to discuss the amendments suggested by the panel
Department of Anthropology, wrote a letter to Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, members during the oral defense. The meeting was held at the dean's office
CSSP Associate Dean and Graduate Program Director, certifying that private with Dean Paz, private respondent, and a majority of the defense panel
respondent had finished her dissertation and was ready for her oral defense. present.6 During the meeting, Dean Paz remarked that a majority vote of the
Dr. Rolda suggested that the oral defense be held on January 6, 1993 but, in panel members was sufficient for a student to pass, notwithstanding the
a letter, dated February 2, 1993, Dr. Serena Diokno rescheduled it on failure to obtain the consent of the Dean's representative.
February 5, 1993. Named as members of the dissertation panel were Drs. E.
Arsenio Manuel, Serafin Quiason, Sri Skandarajah, Noel Teodoro, and On March 24, 1993, the CSSP College Faculty Assembly approved private
Isagani Medina, the last included as the dean's representative.1wphi1.nt respondent's graduation pending submission of final copies of her
dissertation.

121
In April 1993, private respondent submitted copies of her supposedly revised Unibersidad ng Pilipinas
dissertation to Drs. Manuel, Skandarajah, and Quiason, who expressed their Quezon Hall, Diliman, Q.C.
assent to the dissertation. Petitioners maintain, however, that private
respondent did not incorporate the revisions suggested by the panel Mahal na Dr. Ibe,
members in the final copies of her dissertation.
Mahigpit ko pong hinihiling na huwag munang isama ang pangalan ni Ms.
Private respondent left a copy of her dissertation in Dr. Teodoro's office April Arokiaswam[y] William Margaret Celine sa listahan ng mga bibigyan ng degri
15, 1993 and proceeded to submit her dissertation to the CSSP without the na Ph.D. (Anthropology) ngayon[g] semester, dahil sa mga malubhang
approvals of Dr. Medina and Dr. Teodoro, relying on Dean Paz's March 5, bintang nya sa ilang myembro ng panel para sa oral defense ng disertasyon
1993 statement. nya at sa mga akusasyon ng ilan sa mga ito sa kanya.

Dr. Teodoro later indicated his disapproval, while Dr. Medina did not sign the Naniniwala po kami na dapat mailinaw muna ang ilang bagay bago makonfer
approval form.7 ang degri kay Ms. Arokiaswam[y]. Kelangan po ito para mapangalagaan ang
istandard ng pinakamataas na degree ng Unibersidad.
Dean Paz then accepted private respondent's dissertation in partial fulfillment
of the course requirements for the doctorate degree in Anthropology. (Sgd.)

In a letter to Dean Paz, dated April 17, 1993, private respondent expressed CONSUELO JOAQUIN-PAZ, Ph.D.
concern over matters related to her dissertation. She sought to explain why Dekano
the signature of Dr. Medina was not affixed to the revision approval form.
Private respondent said that since she already had the approval of a majority
Apparently, however, Dean Paz's letter did not reach the Board of Regents
of the panel members, she no longer showed her dissertation to Dr. Medina on time, because the next day, April 22, 1993, the Board approved the
nor tried to obtain the latter's signature on the revision approval form. She University Council's recommendation for the graduation of qualified students,
likewise expressed her disappointment over the CSSP administration and
including private respondent. Two days later, April 24, 1993, private
charged Drs. Diokno and Medina with maliciously working for the disapproval
respondent graduated with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in
of her dissertation, and further warned Dean Paz against encouraging
Anthropology.
perfidious acts against her.
On the other hand, Dean Paz also wrote a letter to private respondent, dated
On April 17, 1993, the University Council met to approve the list of
April 21, 1993, that she would not be granted an academic clearance unless
candidates for graduation for the second semester of school year 1992-1993.
she substantiated the accusations contained in her letter dated April 17,
The list, which was endorsed to the Board of Regents for final approval,
1993.
included private respondent's name.
In her letter, dated April 27, 1993, private respondent claimed that Dr.
On April 21, 1993, Dean Paz sent a letter to Dr. Milagros Ibe, Vice
Medina's unfavorable attitude towards her dissertation was a reaction to her
Chancellor for Academic Affairs, requesting the exclusion of private
failure to include him and Dr. Francisco in the list of panel members; that she
respondent's name from the list of candidates for graduation, pending
made the revisions proposed by Drs. Medina and Teodoro in the revised
clarification of the problems regarding her dissertation. Her letter reads: 8 draft of her dissertation; and that Dr. Diokno was guilty of harassment.

Abril 21, 1993


In a letter addressed to Dean Paz, dated May 1, 1993, Dr. Medina formally
charged private respondent with plagiarism and recommended that the
Dr. Milagros Ibe doctorate granted to her be withdrawn.9
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

122
On May 13, 1993, Dean Paz formed an ad hoc committee, composed of that she had not been afforded due process and claiming that U.P. could no
faculty members from various disciplines and chaired by Eva Duka-Ventura, longer withdraw her degree since her dissertation had already been accepted
to investigate the plagiarism charge against private respondent. Meanwhile, by the CSSP.15
she recommended to U.P. Diliman Chancellor, Dr. Emerlinda Roman, that
the Ph.D. degree conferred on private respondent be withdrawn.10 Meanwhile, the U.P. Office of Legal Services justified the position of the
University Council in its report to the Board of Regents. The Board of
In a letter, dated June 7, 1993, Dean Paz informed private respondent of the Regents, in its February 1, 1994 and March 24, 1994 meetings, further
charges against her.11 deferred action thereon.

On June 15, 1993, the Ventura Committee submitted a report to Dean Paz, On July 11, 1994, private respondent sent a letter to the Board of Regents
finding at least ninety (90) instances or portions in private respondent's thesis requesting a re-investigation of her case. She stressed that under the Rules
which were lifted from sources without proper or due acknowledgment. and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline, it was the student
disciplinary tribunal which had jurisdiction to decide cases of dishonesty and
On July 28, 1993, the CSSP College Assembly unanimously approved the that the withdrawal of a degree already conferred was not one of the
recommendation to withdraw private respondent's doctorate degree and authorized penalties which the student disciplinary tribunal could impose.
forwarded its recommendation to the University Council. The University
Council, in turn, approved and endorsed the same recommendation to the On July 28, 1994, the Board of Regents decided to release private
Board of Regents on August 16, 1993. respondent's transcript of grades without annotation although it showed that
private respondent passed her dissertation with 12 units of credit.
On September 6, 1993, the Board of Regents deferred action on the
recommendation to study the legal implications of its approval. 12 On August 17, 1994, Chancellor Roger Posadas issued Administrative Order
No. 94-94 constituting a special committee composed of senior faculty
Meanwhile, in a letter, dated September 23, 1993, U.P. Diliman Chancellor members from the U.P. units outside Diliman to review the University
Emerlinda Roman summoned private respondent to a meeting on the same Council's recommendation to withdraw private respondent's degree. With the
day and asked her to submit her written explanation to the charges against approval of the Board of Regents and the U.P. Diliman Executive Committee,
her. Posadas created a five-man committee, chaired by Dr. Paulino B. Zafaralla,
with members selected from a list of nominees screened by Dr. Emerenciana
During the meeting, Chancellor Roman informed private respondent of the Arcellana, then a member of the Board of Regents. On August 13, 1994, the
members of the Zafaralla committee and private respondent met at U.P. Los
charges and provided her a copy of the findings of the investigating
Baos.
committee.13 Private respondent, on the other hand, submitted her written
explanation in a letter dated September 25, 1993.
Meanwhile, on August 23, 1994, the U.P. Diliman Registrar released to
Another meeting was held on October 8, 1993 between Chancellor Roman private respondent a copy of her transcript of grades and certificate of
graduation.
and private respondent to discuss her answer to the charges. A third meeting
was scheduled on October 27, 1993 but private respondent did not attend it,
alleging that the Board of Regents had already decided her case before she In a letter to Chancellor Posadas, dated September 1, 1994, private
could be fully heard. respondent requested that the Zafaralla committee be provided with copies
of the U.P. Charter (Act No. 1870), the U.P. Rules and Regulations on
Student Conduct and Discipline, her letter-response to Chancellor Roman,
On October 11, 1993, private respondent wrote to Dr. Emil Q. Javier, U.P.
dated September 25, 1993, as well as all her other communications.
President, alleging that some members of the U.P. administration were
playing politics in her case.14 She sent another letter, dated December 14,
1993, to Dr. Armand Fabella, Chairman of the Board of Regents, complaining

123
On September 19, 1994, Chancellor Posadas obtained the Zafaralla Ms. Margaret Celine Arokiaswamy William
Committee's report, signed by its chairman, recommending the withdrawal of Department of Anthropology
private respondent's doctorate degree. The report stated:16 College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City
After going through all the pertinent documents of the case and interviewing
Ms. Arokiaswamy William, the following facts were established: Dear Ms. Arokiaswamy William:

1. There is overwhelming evidence of massive lifting from a This is to officially inform you about the action taken by the Board of Regents
published source word for word and, at times, paragraph by at its 1081st and 1082nd meetings held last 17 November and 16 December
paragraph without any acknowledgment of the source, even by a 1994 regarding your case, the excerpts from the minutes of which are
mere quotation mark. At least 22 counts of such documented liftings attached herewith.
were identified by the Committee. These form part of the
approximately ninety (90) instances found by the Committee created Please be informed that the members present at the 1081st BOR meeting on
by the Dean of the College and subsequently verified as correct by 17 November 1994 resolved, by a majority decision, to withdraw your Ph.D.
the Special Committee. These instances involved the following forms degree as recommended by the U.P. Diliman University Council and as
of intellectual dishonesty: direct lifting/copying without concurred with by the External Review Panel composed of senior faculty
acknowledgment, full/partial lifting with improper documentation and from U.P. Los Baos and U.P. Manila. These faculty members were chosen
substitution of terms or words (e.g., Tamil in place of Sanskrit, by lot from names submitted by the University Councils of U.P. Los Baos
Tamilization in place of Indianization) from an acknowledged source and U.P. Manila.
in support of her thesis (attached herewith is a copy of the
documents for reference); and
In reply to your 14 December 1994 letter requesting that you be given a good
lawyer by the Board, the Board, at its 1082nd meeting on 16 December
2. Ms. Arokiaswamy William herself admits of being guilty of the 1994, suggested that you direct your request to the Office of Legal Aid,
allegation of plagiarism. Fact is, she informed the Special Committee College of Law, U.P. Diliman.
that she had been admitting having lifted several portions in her
dissertation from various sources since the beginning.
Sincerely yours,

In view of the overwhelming proof of massive lifting and also on the (Sgd.)
admission of Ms. Arokiaswamy William that she indeed plagiarized, the
VIVENCIO R. JOSE
Committee strongly supports the recommendation of the U.P. Diliman
Secretary of the University
Council to withdraw the doctoral degree of Ms. Margaret Celine Arokiaswamy
and of the Board of Regents
William.
On January 18, 1995, private respondent wrote a letter to Commissioner
On the basis of the report, the University Council, on September 24, 1994,
Sedfrey Ordoez, Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, asking the
recommended to the Board of Regents that private respondent be barred in
commission's intervention.18 In a letter, dated February 14, 1995, to
the future from admission to the University either as a student or as an
Secretary Ricardo Gloria, Chairman of the Board of Regents, she asked for a
employee.
reinvestigation of her case. She also sought an audience with the Board of
Regents and/or the U.P. President, which request was denied by President
On January 4, 1995, the secretary of the Board of Regents sent private Javier, in a letter dated June 2, 1995.
respondent the following letter:17
On August 10, 1995, private respondent then filed a petition for mandamus
4 January 1995 with a prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and damages,

124
which was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-95-24690 and assigned to Branch Petitioners argue that private respondent failed to show that she had been
81 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.19 She alleged that petitioners unlawfully excluded from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which
had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without justification and without she is entitled so as to justify the issuance of the writ of mandamus. They
affording her procedural due process. She prayed that petitioners be ordered also contend that she failed to prove that the restoration of her degree is a
to restore her degree and to pay her P500,000.00 as moral and exemplary ministerial duty of U.P. or that the withdrawal of the degree violated her right
damages and P1,500,000.00 as compensation for lost of earnings. to the enjoyment of intellectual property.

On August 6, 1996, the trial court, Branch 227, rendered a decision On the other hand, private respondent, unassisted by counsel, argue that
dismissing the petition for mandamus for lack of merit.20 Private respondent petitioners acted arbitrarily and with grave abuse of discretion in withdrawing
appealed to the Court of Appeals, which on December 16, 1997, reversed her degree even prior to verifying the truth of the plagiarism charge against
the lower court. The dispositive portion of the appellate court's decision her; and that as her answer to the charges had not been forwarded to the
reads:21 members of the investigating committees, she was deprived of the
opportunity to comment or refute their findings.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is hereby reversed
and set aside. Respondents are ordered to restore to petitioner her In addition, private respondent maintains that petitioners are estopped from,
degree of Ph.D. in Anthropology. withdrawing her doctorate degree; that petitioners acted contrary to 9 of the
U.P. Charter and the U.P. Rules and Regulations of Student Conduct and
No pronouncement as to costs. Discipline of the University, which according to her, does not authorize the
withdrawal of a degree as a penalty for erring students; and that only the
college committee or the student disciplinary tribunal may decide disciplinary
SO ORDERED.
cases, whose report must be signed by a majority of its members.
Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend:
We find petitioners' contention to be meritorious.
I
Mandamus is a writ commanding a tribunal, corporation, board or person to
do the act required to be done when it or he unlawfully neglects the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting
GRANTING THE WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND ORDERING PETITIONERS from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use
TO RESTORE RESPONDENT'S DOCTORAL DEGREE. and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, there being
no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 23
II In University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Ligot-Telan,24 this Court
ruled that the writ was not available to restrain U.P. from the exercise of its
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN academic freedom. In that case, a student who was found guilty of
HOLDING THAT THE DOCTORAL DEGREE GIVEN RESPONDENT BY dishonesty and ordered suspended for one year by the Board of Regents,
U.P. CANNOT BE RECALLED WITHOUT VIOLATING HER RIGHT TO filed a petition for mandamus and obtained from the lower court a temporary
ENJOYMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TO JUSTICE AND restraining order stopping U.P. from carrying out the order of suspension. In
EQUITY. setting aside the TRO and ordering the lower court to dismiss the student's
petition, this Court said:
III
[T]he lower court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the writ of
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN preliminary injunction of May 29, 1993. The issuance of the said writ
DEPRIVING PETITIONERS OF THEIR RIGHT TO SUBSTANTIVE DUE was based on the lower court's finding that the implementation of the
PROCESS.22 disciplinary sanction of suspension on Nadal "would work injustice to
125
the petitioner as it would delay him in finishing his course, and In this case, private respondent was informed in writing of the charges
consequently, in getting a decent and good paying job." Sadly, such against her29 and afforded opportunities to refute them. She was asked to
a ruling considers only the situation of Nadal without taking into submit her written explanation, which she forwarded on September 25,
account the circumstances, clearly of his own making, which led him 1993.30 Private respondent then met with the U.P. chancellor and the
into such a predicament. More importantly, it has completely members of the Zafaralla committee to discuss her case. In addition, she
disregarded the overriding issue of academic freedom which sent several letters to the U.P. authorities explaining her position.31
provides more than ample justification for the imposition of a
disciplinary sanction upon an erring student of an institution of higher It is not tenable for private respondent to argue that she was entitled to have
learning. an audience before the Board of Regents. Due process in an administrative
context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to those in the courts
From the foregoing arguments, it is clear that the lower court should of justice.32 It is noteworthy that the U.P. Rules do not require the attendance
have restrained itself from assuming jurisdiction over the petition filed of persons whose cases are included as items on the agenda of the Board of
by Nadal. Mandamus is never issued in doubtful cases, a showing of Regents.33
a clear and certain right on the part of the petitioner being required. It
is of no avail against an official or government agency whose duty Nor indeed was private respondent entitled to be furnished a copy of the
requires the exercise of discretion or judgment.25 report of the Zafaralla committee as part of her right to due process. In
Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong,34 we held:
In this case, the trial court dismissed private respondent's petition precisely
on grounds of academic freedom but the Court of Appeals reversed holding Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were
that private respondent was denied due process. It said: not accorded the opportunity to see and examine the written
statements which became the basis of petitioners' February 14, 1991
It is worthy to note that during the proceedings taken by the College order, they were denied procedural due process. Granting that they
Assembly culminating in its recommendation to the University were denied such opportunity, the same may not be said to detract
Council for the withdrawal of petitioner's Ph.D. degree, petitioner was from the observance of due process, for disciplinary cases involving
not given the chance to be heard until after the withdrawal of the students need not necessarily include the right to cross examination.
degree was consummated. Petitioner's subsequent letters to the An administrative proceeding conducted to investigate students'
U.P. President proved unavailing.26 participation in a hazing activity need not be clothed with the
attributes of a judicial proceeding. . .
As the foregoing narration of facts in this case shows, however, various
committees had been formed to investigate the charge that private In this case, in granting the writ of mandamus, the Court of Appeals held:
respondent had committed plagiarism and, in all the investigations held, she
was heard in her defense. Indeed, if any criticism may be made of the First. Petitioner graduated from the U.P. with a doctorate degree in
university proceedings before private respondent was finally stripped of her Anthropology. After graduation, the contact between U.P. and
degree, it is that there were too many committee and individual investigations petitioner ceased. Petitioner is no longer within the ambit of the
conducted, although all resulted in a finding that private respondent disciplinary powers of the U.P. As a graduate, she is entitled to the
committed dishonesty in submitting her doctoral dissertation on the basis of right and enjoyment of the degree she has earned. To recall the
which she was conferred the Ph.D. degree. degree, after conferment, is not only arbitrary, unreasonable, and an
act of abuse, but a flagrant violation of petitioner's right of enjoyment
Indeed, in administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is simply to intellectual property.
the opportunity to explain one's side of a controversy or a chance seek
reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.27 A party who has Second. Respondents aver that petitioner's graduation was a
availed of the opportunity to present his position cannot tenably claim to have mistake.
been denied due process.28
126
Unfortunately this "mistake" was arrived at after almost a year after the recommendation of the University Council.39 If follows that if the
graduation. Considering that the members of the thesis panel, the conferment of a degree is founded on error or fraud, the Board of Regents is
College Faculty Assembly, and the U.P. Council are all men and also empowered, subject to the observance of due process, to withdraw what
women of the highest intellectual acumen and integrity, as it has granted without violating a student's rights. An institution of higher
respondents themselves aver, suspicion is aroused that the alleged learning cannot be powerless if it discovers that an academic degree it has
"mistake" might not be the cause of withdrawal but some other conferred is not rightfully deserved. Nothing can be more objectionable than
hidden agenda which respondents do not wish to reveal. bestowing a university's highest academic degree upon an individual who
has obtained the same through fraud or deceit. The pursuit of academic
At any rate, We cannot countenance the plight the petitioner finds excellence is the university's concern. It should be empowered, as an act of
herself enmeshed in as a consequence of the acts complained of. self-defense, to take measures to protect itself from serious threats to its
Justice and equity demand that this be rectified by restoring the integrity.
degree conferred to her after her compliance with the academic and
other related requirements. While it is true that the students are entitled to the right to pursue
their educaiton, the USC as an educational institution is also entitled
Art. XIV, 5 (2) of the Constitution provides that "[a]cademic freedom shall be to pursue its academic freedom and in the process has the
enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning." This is nothing new. The 1935 concomitant right to see to it that this freedom is not jeopardized.40
Constitution35 and the 1973 Constitution36 likewise provided for the academic
freedom or, more precisely, for the institutional autonomy of universities and In the case at bar, the Board of Regents determined, after due investigation
institutions of higher learning. As pointed out by this Court in Garcia vs. conducted by a committee composed of faculty members from different U.P.
Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology,37 it is a freedom units, that private respondent committed no less than ninety (90) instances of
granted to "institutions of higher learning" which is thus given "a wide sphere intellectual dishonesty in her dissertation. The Board of Regents' decision to
of authority certainly extending to the choice of the students." If such withdraw private respondent's doctorate was based on documents on record
institution of higher learning can decide who can and who cannot study in it, including her admission that she committed the offense.41
it certainly can also determine on whom it can confer the honor and
distinction of being its graduates. On the other hand, private respondent was afforded the opportunity to be
heard and explain her side but failed to refute the charges of plagiarism
Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was obtained against her. Her only claim is that her responses to the charges against her
through fraud, a university has the right to revoke or withdraw the honor or were not considered by the Board of Regents before it rendered its decision.
distinction it has thus conferred. This freedom of a university does not However, this claim was not proven. Accordingly, we must presume
terminate upon the "graduation" of a student, as the Court of Appeals held. regularity in the performance of official duties in the absence of proof to the
For it is precisely the "graduation" of such a student that is in question. It is contrary.42
noteworthy that the investigation of private respondent's case began before
her graduation. If she was able to join the graduation ceremonies on April 24, Very much the opposite of the position of the Court of Appeals that, since
1993, it was because of too many investigations conducted before the Board private respondent was no longer a student of the U.P., the latter was no
of Regents finally decided she should not have been allowed to graduate. longer within the "ambit of disciplinary powers of the U.P.," is private
respondent's contention that it is the Student Disciplinary Tribunal which had
Wide indeed is the sphere of autonomy granted to institutions of higher jurisdiction over her case because the charge is dishonesty. Private
learning, for the constitutional grant of academic freedom, to quote again respondent invoke 5 of the U.P. Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct
from Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, "is and Discipline which provides:
not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging fashion."
Jurisdiction. All cases involving discipline of students under these
Under the U.P. Charter, the Board of Regents is the highest governing body rules shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the student disciplinary
of the University of the Philippines.38 It has the power confer degrees upon
127
tribunal, except the following cases which shall fall under the
jurisdiction of the appropriate college or unit;

(a) Violation of college or unit rules and regulations by


students of the college, or

(b) Misconduct committed by students of the college or unit


within its classrooms or premises or in the course of an
official activity;

Provided, that regional units of the University shall have original


jurisdiction over all cases involving students of such units.

Private respondent argues that under 25 (a) of the said Rules and
Regulations, dishonesty in relation to one's studies (i.e., plagiarism) may be
punished only with suspension for at least one (1) year.

As the above-quoted provision of 5 of the Rules and Regulations indicates,


the jurisdiction of the student disciplinary tribunal extend only to disciplinary
actions. In this case, U.P. does not seek to discipline private respondent.
Indeed, as the appellate court observed, private respondent is no longer
within "the ambit of disciplinary powers of the U.P." Private respondent
cannot even be punished since, as she claims, the penalty for acts of
dishonesty in administrative disciplinary proceedings is suspension from the
University for at least one year. What U.P., through the Board of Regents,
seeks to do is to protect its academic integrity by withdrawing from private
respondent an academic degree she obtained through fraud.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED


and the petition for mandamus is hereby DISMISSED.1wphi1.nt

SO ORDERED.

128
G.R. No. 161172 December 13, 2004 Cum Laude ..1.75

NADINE ROSARIO M. MORALES, petitioner, Provided, that all the grades in all subjects prescribed in the
vs. curriculum, as well as subjects that qualify as electives, shall be
THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, included in the computation of the weighted average grade; provided
respondent. further that in cases where the electives taken are more than those
required in the program, the following procedure will be used in
selecting the electives to be included in the computation of the
weighted average grade:
DECISION
(I) For students who did not shift programs, consider the
required number of electives in chronological order.

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: (II) For students who shifted from one program to another,
the electives to be considered shall be selected according to
the following order of priority:
"It is an accepted principle that schools of learning are given ample
discretion to formulate rules and guidelines in the granting of honors
for purposes of graduation. This is part of academic freedom. Within (1) Electives taken in the program where the student
the parameters of these rules, it is within the competence of is graduating will be selected in chronological order.
universities and colleges to determine who are entitled to the grant of
honors among the graduating students. Its discretion on this (2) Electives taken in the previous program and
academic matter may not be disturbed much less controlled by the acceptable as electives in the second program will
courts unless there is grave abuse of discretion in its exercise."1 be selected in chronological order.

The Case (3) Prescribed courses taken in the previous


program, but qualify as electives in the second
Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision2 of the Court program will be selected in chronological order.5
of Appeals3 dated 28 November 2003, reversing the 05 September 2002
Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 87. The Facts

The pivotal issue from which this case arose is the interpretation and In the school year 1997-1998, petitioner Nadine Rosario M. Morales
application of Article 410 of the University of the Philippines (UP) Code which transferred from the UP Manila campus, where she was taking up Speech
provides: Pathology, to UP Diliman and enrolled in the European Languages
undergraduate program under the College of Arts and Letters. Said program
ART. 410. Students who complete their courses with the following has three curricula, namely, Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Upon the
absolute minimum weighted average grade shall be graduated with petitioners transfer, she chose the Plan A curriculum and elected French as
her major and German as her minor. Under the Plan A curriculum, the
honors:
student is required to complete 141 units worth of subjects in the University,
27 of which should be electives in his or her minor field of study.
Summa Cum Laude .. 1.20
During the first semester of school year 1997-1998, the petitioner enrolled in
Magna Cum Laude .1.45 the subjects German 10 and German 11 where she obtained the grades of

129
1.0 in both subjects. At the start of the second semester, however, the explaining why petitioners German 10 and 11 grades should be included in
petitioner changed her language minor from German to Spanish, while the computation of her GWA.
maintaining French as her major.
These letters were taken up on a no-name basis during the 68th meeting of
By the end of the first semester of school year 1999-2000, the petitioner was the University Council on 10 April 2000 upon the University Registrars
included in the list of candidates for graduation "with probable honors" issued endorsement. After deliberating on the matter, the University Council, by a
by the College of Arts and Letters of UP Diliman. The inclusion of the vote of 207 in favor and 4 against, affirmed the recommendation of the
petitioner in the said list was based on the computation made by the College European Languages Department and the College of Arts and Letters of not
of Arts and Letters of the petitioners General Weighted Average (GWA) awarding the cum laude honors to the petitioner.
inclusive of her grades of 1.0 in German 10 and 11. According to the
colleges computation, the petitioner had a GWA of 1.725, clearly above the In view of the adverse decision of the University Council, the petitioner,
minimum weighted average grade6 for conferment of cum laude honors.7 together with her parents, wrote UP President Francisco A. Nemenzo, on 18
Petitioner obtained an average of 1.708 for her remaining subjects in her final April 2000, asking that the merits of petitioners case be reviewed and, if
semester in the University, bringing her GWA to 1.729, which is definitely deemed appropriate, the same be elevated to the UP Board of Regents in
higher than the 1.75 average grade required for cum laude honors. order to correct the error in the computation of the petitioners GWA.

During the assessment for graduation though, the petitioner was not granted At the 1142nd meeting of the Board of Regents held on 26 May 2000,
cum laude honors because her grades of 1.0 in the subjects German 10 and petitioners appeal was thus discussed, and it was resolved that said appeal
11, which she took when her minor was still German, were excluded in the be returned to the University Council for further consideration, with full
computation of her GWA, thus bringing her GWA to 1.760, which is lower disclosure of who is involved in the matter.
than the minimum weighted average grade required for the conferment of
cum laude honors.
Petitioners case was then again considered by the University Council during
its 69th meeting held on 21 June 2000. After much deliberation, the
Prof. Edwin Thaddeus L. Bautista, Chair of the Department of European University Council, by a vote of 99 for, 12 against, and 6 abstentions,
Languages, explained that a student following the Plan A curriculum is resolved to reaffirm its earlier decision of 10 April 2000 denying the award of
required to major in one European language other than Spanish, and minor cum laude honors to petitioner.
in another or any of the disciplines allowed under the curriculum. In
petitioners case, her major is French and her minor is Spanish, thus, Upon the denial of the appeal, petitioners parents, on petitioners behalf and
German does not fit into her curriculum. Furthermore, the Plan A curriculum for themselves, submitted a Notice of Appeal dated 27 June 2000 to the
does not allow for free electives. Electives under said curriculum must be
Board of Regents through President Nemenzo and, subsequently, an Appeal
major language electives, which, in the case of petitioner, must have been
Memorandum and Supplemental Memorandum dated 24 and 30 August
taken from French courses in either literature or translation. German 10 and
2000, respectively. The appeal was taken up during the 1144th meeting of
11, being basic language courses, do not fall under electives as
the Board of Regents held on 31 August 2000. After a thorough discussion
contemplated in the Plan A curriculum. on the proper interpretation and application of Article 410 of the UP Code,
the Board of Regents, by a vote of 9 against 2, elected to deny the appeal.
Maintaining that the colleges manner of computing her grades was Petitioners parents thereafter filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but the
erroneous, the petitioner wrote Dr. Ofelia Silapan, College Secretary of the same was also denied.
College of Arts and Letters, on 06 April 2000, requesting that her German
language subjects (i.e., German 10 and 11) be included in the computation of
Assailing the decision of the UP Board of Regents as erroneous, petitioner,
her GWA, it appearing that such had been done in connection with the on 21 March 2001, brought a petition for certiorari and mandamus before the
inclusion of her name in the list of those graduating "with probable honors."
RTC, which resolved the case in her favor under Order of 05 September
Said letter was followed-up by another letter signed by petitioners father, and
2002. According to the said Order, the UP Board of Regents gravely abused
addressed to Dr. Elena L. Samonte, University Registrar, on 08 April 2000,
its discretion in the improper application of its academic discretion in
130
interpreting Article 410 of the UP Code. The lower court, hence, required the This is not a simple matter of determining what the [sic] law is
respondent UP Board of Regents to re-compute petitioners grades by applicable on a given or specific set of facts. Indeed, the facts itself
including her grades in German 10 and 11 and to confer upon petitioner cum [sic] must be determined and reviewed, before a legal adjudication
laude honors. The respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration on 07 could be made.
October 2002, which was subsequently denied by the lower court. Upon said
denial, the respondent appealed the RTCs Order to the Court of Appeals by To be sure, questions of law are attendant in the instant appeal, but
filing a Notice of Appeal dated 14 February 2003. to resolve the same, a review and determination of [the] facts, based
on evidence and matters on record, is necessary before such issues
The petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal on 24 April 2003, could be resolved. The Court, therefore, as a legal reviewer of issues
advancing that the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of of fact and law, is competent, and legally empowered, to take
the appeal, inasmuch as it raised only questions of law. Said argument was cognizance of and resolve the instant appeal.8
reiterated in petitioners Memorandum, together with the position that the
lower court was correct to find that respondent had gravely abused its Having resolved the issue of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals went on to
discretion in arbitrarily excluding petitioners grades in German 10 and 11 determine whether the lower court erred in not finding that academic freedom
from the computation of her GWA. should apply in the instant case. According to the appellate court, the RTCs
Order involved an intrusion on the discretion and authority of the UP Board of
The respondent, for its part, contended that the lower court failed to take into Regents in the matter of whether or not to confer academic honors upon the
consideration the interpretation of the pertinent provision of the UP Code petitioner. The Court of Appeals stated that the lower court violated UPs
arrived at by the University Council during its deliberations. It instead, constitutionally protected right to academic freedom when it substituted its
substituted its own interpretation in violation of the academic freedom of UP own interpretation of the internal rules and regulations of the University for
as an institution of higher learning. that of the UP Board of Regents, and applied the same to the petitioners
case. The appellate court further made a determination that respondent is
Noting the identity of the arguments raised by petitioner in both her Motion to not guilty of grave abuse of discretion in deciding not to confer academic
Dismiss and Memorandum, the Court of Appeals, in a resolution, deemed the honors upon the petitioner, inasmuch as respondent proceeded fairly in
case submitted for decision. In deciding the appeal, the appellate court reaching its decision, giving the petitioner and her parents ample opportunity
initially determined whether only questions of law are involved in the case. to present their case. Accordingly, on 28 November 2003, the Court of
Eventually, the appellate court declared that an analysis of the facts of the Appeals issued a decision granting the UP Board of Regents appeal:
case is indispensable. According to the Court of Appeals:
The Order, dated September 5, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of
To resolve these issues, an incursion or investigation of the facts Quezon City, Branch 87 is hereby SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof,
attending the case of the petitioner-appellee is indispensable. The judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition for certiorari
Court must sift through the contrasting evidence submitted to and mandamus filed by petitioner-appellee Nadine Rosario M.
determine the specific situation of appellees academic standing, and Morales.9
the chronology of appellees scholastic progress, her grades and
scholastic average, as well as what particular rules were used or Claiming that the Court of Appeals committed grave and reversible errors in
misused by the Respondent Board, and by the lower court, in coming issuing its 28 November 2003 decision, petitioner filed before this Court a
up with its respective decisions. The Court is called upon to make a Petition for Review on Certiorari, raising the following assignment of
calibration and resolution of all these elements, and to determine the errors:10
existence and relevancy [sic] of specific surrounding circumstances,
its relation to each other and to the whole and the probabilities of the I
situation.

131
The Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction over respondents appeal of We agree with petitioner that respondents appeal to the appellate court
the RTCs Order (the CA Appeal) because the essential facts here raises only questions of law. There is a question of law when the issue does
were never in dispute, this case involves purely questions of law. not call for an examination of the probative value of evidence presented, the
truth or falsehood of facts being admitted and the doubt concerns the correct
II application of law and jurisprudence on the matter.11 On the other hand,
there is a question of fact when the doubt or controversy arises as to the
The RTC correctly required respondent to confer cum laude honors truth or falsity of the alleged facts. When there is no dispute as to fact, the
on petitioner because respondent gravely abused its discretion in question of whether or not the conclusion drawn therefrom is correct is a
refusing to comply with Article 410 of the UP Code (which question of law.12
respondent itself issued) and in arbitrarily excluding petitioners
grades in German 10 and 11 from the computation of her GWA. The Contrary to what the Court of Appeals postulates, the resolution of the issues
Court of Appeals therefore gravely erred in reversing the RTCs presented by respondent UP Board of Regents does not necessitate an
Order. incursion of the facts attending the case. Whether the lower court erred in
finding that respondent gravely abused its discretion in interpreting and
applying the provisions of the UP Code on the case of petitioner is a question
According to the petitioner, it was erroneous for the appellate court to
of law, the determination of which calls for the analysis of the proper
assume jurisdiction over respondents appeal of the RTC Order as said
application of law and jurisprudence. While the Court of Appeals is correct in
appeal involved purely questions of law, and that respondents should have
saying that in order to resolve the issues raised by the parties, the court must
challenged said Order directly with the Supreme Court through a Petition for
Review on Certiorari and not before the Court of Appeals through a Notice of consider all the facts and evidence presented in the case, it does not,
Appeal. The petitioner further argues that it was error for the Court of however, rule on the truth or falsity of such facts, based on the evidence and
matters on record. It must be stressed that the facts were admitted by both
Appeals to rule that respondents refusal to interpret and apply Article 410 of
the UP Code in order to confer cum laude honors to petitioner did not parties. Therefore, any conclusion based on these facts would not involve a
calibration of the probative value of such pieces of evidence, but would be
constitute grave abuse of discretion. Lastly, petitioner advances that the
limited to an inquiry of whether the law was properly applied given the state
appellate court mischaracterized this case as one involving academic
freedom, thus condoning respondents alleged injustice to petitioner. of facts of the case.

Ruling of the Court It is thus evident that the controversy centered on, and the doubt arose with
respect to, the correct interpretation and application of Rule 410 of the UP
Code in relation to petitioners situation and not as to any fact or evidence
First, we shall endeavor to dispose of the issue of jurisdiction. advanced by the parties. And since the appeal brought by respondent UP
Board of Regents before the Court of Appeals raises only questions of law,
Petitioner submits that this case involves only the interpretation of a rule (i.e., the proper mode of appeal is by way of a petition for certiorari under Rule
Article 410 of the UP Code) and the determination of whether the subjects 45.13 Therefore, the appellate court did not have jurisdiction to take
German 10 and 11 can be considered as "qualified electives" under the cognizance of and to resolve respondents appeal.
assailed rule in relation to petitioners situation. According to petitioner, the
facts of the case have never been in dispute. Both petitioner and respondent The above conclusion, however, will not deter this Court from proceeding
have presented the same pieces of evidence, albeit of course, their with the judicial determination of the basic legal issues herein. We must bear
respective interpretations and positions on the legal effects of their common in mind that procedural rules are intended to ensure the proper
evidence are different. Petitioner also points out that the total absence of administration of law and justice. The rules of procedure ought not to be
questions of fact is precisely the reason why the RTC did not require, and the applied in a very rigid, technical sense, for they are adopted to help secure,
parties themselves did not demand, an evidentiary hearing for the case not override, substantial justice.14 A deviation from its rigid enforcement may
before the lower court. thus be allowed to attain its prime objective, for after all, the dispensation of
justice is the core reason for the existence of courts.15 Noting that this case

132
involves the exercise of a fundamental right - academic freedom no less - of Cum Laude .... 1.75
the State University, and that the petitioner has, in any event, raised before
us the legal question of whether the RTC correctly required respondent to Provided, that all the grades in all subjects prescribed in the
confer cum laude honors on the petitioner because of respondents alleged curriculum, as well as subjects that qualify as electives, shall be
grave abuse of discretion, for pragmatic reasons and consideration of justice included in the computation of the weighted average grade; provided
and equity, the Court must go on to resolve the second assignment of error. further that in cases where the electives taken are more than those
required in the program, the following procedure will be used in
As enunciated by this Court in the case of University of San Carlos v. Court selecting the electives to be included in the computation of the
of Appeals,16 the discretion of schools of learning to formulate rules and weighted average grade:
guidelines in the granting of honors for purposes of graduation forms part of
academic freedom. And such discretion may not be disturbed much less (I) For students who did not shift programs, consider the required
controlled by the courts, unless there is grave abuse of discretion in its number of electives in chronological order.
exercise. Therefore, absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion, the
courts may not disturb the Universitys decision not to confer honors to (II) For students who shifted from one program to another, the
petitioner.
electives to be considered shall be selected according to the
following order of priority:
"Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or in other words, where the (1) Electives taken in the program where the student is
power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or graduating will be selected in chronological order.
personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or
to act at all in contemplation of law."17 (2) Electives taken in the previous program and acceptable
as electives in the second program will be selected in
chronological order.
A judicious review of the records will show that the respondent proceeded
fairly in evaluating petitioners situation, giving her and her parents ample
opportunity to present their side on different occasions and before different (3) Prescribed courses taken in the previous program, but
fora, i.e., the Department of European Languages, the College of Arts and qualify as electives in the second program will be selected in
Letters, the University Council and finally, the Board of Regents. Contrary to chronological order.18
the trial courts findings, there is no showing that respondent acted arbitrarily
or capriciously in interpreting Article 410 of the UP Code and consequently As can be seen from the minutes of the meetings of the University Council
not conferring academic honors on petitioner. and the Board of Regents, petitioners case was subjected to an exhaustive
and judicious deliberation. During the 68th Meeting of the University Council,
For clarity, Article 410 of the UP Code is again quoted hereunder: where petitioners case was first submitted to the body for discussion on a
no-name basis, a member raised the issue of whether German 10 and 11
could be counted as electives in the program of petitioner, to which the
ART. 410. Students who complete their courses with the following
University Registrar replied that the students program is European
absolute minimum weighted average grade shall be graduated with
Languages, major in French, minor in Spanish under which German 10 and
honors:
11 are not required in the checklist; neither can these subjects be considered
electives as said electives should be non-language electives. Since the
Summa Cum Laude .. 1.20 student chose Spanish as her minor language, German 10 and 11 are
excess subjects.19 Another member argued that if the student had satisfied
Magna Cum Laude 1.45 all the requirements in the curriculum, then German 10 and 11 should be
included in the computation of the GWA since the student had good
grades.20 To this, Dean Josefina Agravante of the College of Arts and
133
Letters replied that while they empathize with the student and her parents, account all subjects that qualify as electives. Thus, those electives may not
this same rule had been applied in the past, and if the student would be only be part of the Plan A curriculum but are part of the program. On the
allowed to graduate with honors, she (Dean Agravante) will be forced to contrary, Vice President Diokno29 said that the understanding of the
recommend the same for the other students who were denied the same Department and the University Council is that subjects that qualify as
request in the past.21 At the 1142nd Meeting of the Board of Regents, both electives must be in the curriculum. Otherwise, the student can take anything
positions of the petitioner and the University Council on the proper they want. Vice President Diokno stated further that in cases where there are
interpretation of Article 410 of the UP Code were presented before the Board free electives, the electives are applied chronologically. Moreover, the Plan A
and an agreement was reached among the members to return petitioners curriculum, incidentally, does not allow free electives, therefore, there was
appeal to the University Council for further consideration, with full disclosure nothing to put in chronologically. This has always been the practice of the
of who is involved in the matter. Department which is being supported by the College Assembly and the
University Council.30
Upon the appeals return to the University Council, the issue of whether the
University rule allows for excess electives more than those required by the Further discussing the matter, Regent Hernandez requested for an
program was raised. Prof. Cao22 answered this query by pointing to Section interpretation of Article 41031 on the issue of whether or not the German
2 of Article 41023 which provides for the manner of selecting which electives subjects which are supposedly electives should be included in the
shall be considered. Since the rule provides for an order of priority, it is clear computation of the petitioners GWA. Atty. Azura,32 University General
that not all electives taken by a student may be included in the computation Counsel, explained that the words "subjects that qualify as electives" must be
of the GWA. Dean Yu,24 on the other hand, pointed out that the more basic read in conjunction with the immediately preceding qualifying phrase "in the
issue is whether German 10 and 11 can be considered as electives under curriculum." Where the first conjunctive part contains the descriptive
petitioners curriculum within the contemplation of the assailed rule. Dean Yu phrase/modifier "in the curriculum," so too must the second conjunctive part
further stated that the determination of which subjects will qualify as electives be subject to the same modifier. Thus, "subjects that qualify as electives" is
is best left to the Department of European Languages and the students modified by the words "in the curriculum." In other words, in the computation
curriculum. To this issue, Prof. Bautista, Chair of the Department of of the GWA, the grades of subjects prescribed in the curriculum and the
European Languages, replied that this matter had been taken up again at the grades of subjects that qualify as electives in the curriculum are included.
Department level and they stood by their decision that in the Plan A of the BA Seen in this light, the view that German 10 and 11 must be considered in the
European Languages program, there is a major and a minor language. There computation of petitioners GWA, being electives in the European Languages
are no free electives and for the minor language, subjects that fall under the undergraduate program, is incorrect. The word program in Article 41033
same language were the ones counted. In the case of Ms. Morales, she must be interpreted in the context of a particular curriculum. A student fulfills
initially thought that she would minor in German so she took German 10 and the requirements of a program by following a certain curriculum. Atty. Azura
11 during her first semester in UP Diliman, but eventually, she changed her said that the University Council, in excluding German 10 and 11 from the
minor to Spanish. He said that the Advising Committee of the Department computation of petitioners GWA, effectively ruled that these subjects do not
allows a student to change his major or minor, but courses which had been qualify as electives in the course curriculum for a degree in BA European
previously taken before the shifting of major or minor are not counted as part Languages, major in French, minor in Spanish.34
of the courses with credit in the curriculum. As to the interpretation of the
rules, Dean Tabunda25 said that it is a matter of course that the traditional In deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration submitted by petitioner, the
interpretation of the Department be taken. And the Department made it clear Board of Regents, during its 1147th Meeting, reviewed the interpretation of
that a free elective is different from a course taken as a minor. With respect petitioners curriculum. University General Counsel, Prof. Marvic Leonen,
to the question of what interpretation should prevail, she (Dean Tabunda) explained that the interpretation of the required subjects or allowable
believed that the traditional interpretation must be taken into account.26 electives in the curriculum must be taken in the context of the entire courses.
A student in Plan A is required to take:
In trying to get into the heart of the issue, the Board of Regents, at its 1144th
Meeting, went into an examination of Rule 410.27 Regent Hernandez28 Minor Language 12/Elective.b
considers the rule as referring to the computation of the GWA, not only with
respect to the subjects prescribed in the curriculum, but also takes into
134
Minor Language 13/Elective.b It must be stressed that it is the policy of the University to thoroughly
evaluate all candidates for graduation with honors to ensure that students do
Minor Language 20/Elective.b not earn extra credits in order to increase their GWA. A perusal of petitioners
official transcript of records36 will show that the subjects German 10 and 11
are in excess of the requirements of the program (i.e., 141 units, 27 of which
Minor Language 21/Elective.b
are electives in the minor field of study), to illustrate:
Minor Language 30/Elective.b
Subjects Number of
Units Earned
Minor Language 40/Elective.b
General Education Subjects (i.e. common 69
subjects for BA programs and required
Minor Language 31/Elective.b
subjects under the BA European Languages
program)
The numbered sequencing of the courses therefore clearly implies that if French (major) 45
German 10 and 11 would be equivalent to Minor Language 10 and 11, then
German 12, 13, 20, 21, 30, 40, 31 should have been taken by the student. Spanish (minor) 27
The pattern would be different if the student took up Spanish. This is so German 6
because there are no Spanish 12, 13, and 21 offered. This also explains why Total Units 147
footnote "b" that uniformly qualifies the quoted entries states:
The fact that the UP Board of Regents chose to accept the interpretation of
(b) Courses in English, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Article 410 of the UP Code as construed by the University Council based on
Filipino, Panitikan ng Pilipinas, Speech, Theater Arts, Art Studies, its time-honored interpretation and application of said rule, after the latter has
Social Science, Philosophy, Music, Fine Arts, Education, Mass deliberated on the matter twice, vis--vis petitioners interpretation, is not
Communication or Tourism. As minor discipline, these non-language tantamount to a whimsical exercise of judgment on the part of the
electives must be taken only in one department provided that the respondent. It is not grave abuse of discretion on the part of the UP Board of
prerequisites has/have been satisfied. For those taking Spanish as Regents to uphold the decisions of the Department of European Languages,
minor, the following are recommended: Spanish 3, 20, 30, 31, 40, the College of Arts and Letters and the University Council, when said
60, 80, 100 and 105.35 decisions were reached after a thorough discussion of the merits of
petitioners case in relation to the established interpretation and analysis of
The first two sentences in the footnote could not refer to "minor language." its very own internal rules.
The last sentence, on the other hand, could not refer to the entry "elective."
There is nothing in the footnote that could be read to imply that the In the case of University of the Philippines v. Ayson,37 UP has been likened
"electives" could be language courses other than those enumerated in the to an administrative agency whose findings must be accorded respect within
footnotes first sentence. Petitioner argues that German 10 and 11 should be its areas of competence. Well-settled is the principle that by reason of the
appreciated as the minor languages 10 and 11 required. And that the special knowledge and expertise of administrative agencies over matters
Spanish subjects should be taken as the "elective" subjects in the curriculum. falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass judgment
The difficulty with this position is that the description of "elective" is very clear thereon; thus, their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded
and leaves no further room for interpretation. For purposes of graduation and great respect, if not finality, by the courts.38 Accordingly, the conclusion
for honors, petitioner has to abide by the requirements of the curriculum. arrived at by the UP Board of Regents that petitioners grades in German 10
Petitioners decision to shift her minor language caused the exclusion of her and 11 should not be included in computing her GWA must be respected and
grades in German 10 and 11 in the computation of her GWA. given finality, the interpretation and application of Article 410 of the UP Code
being within the competence and expertise of the Department of European

135
Languages, the College of Arts and Letters and the University Council to
make.

Therefore, it was error on the part of the lower court to rule that respondents
discretion has been gravely abused, thus justifying the substitution of judicial
discretion in the interpretation of Article 410 of the UP Code. The decision of
the lower court in substituting its own interpretation of the Universitys internal
rules for that of the respondent UP Board of Regents, is an intrusion into the
constitutionally protected right of the University to academic freedom.

Sec. 5 (2), Article XIV of the Constitution provides that "[a]cademic freedom
shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning." Academic freedom
accords an institution of higher learning the right to decide for itself its aims
and objectives and how best to attain them. This constitutional provision is
not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging fashion.39
Certainly, the wide sphere of autonomy given to universities in the exercise
of academic freedom extends to the right to confer academic honors. Thus,
exercise of academic freedom grants the University the exclusive discretion
to determine to whom among its graduates it shall confer academic
recognition, based on its established standards. And the courts may not
interfere with such exercise of discretion unless there is a clear showing that
the University has arbitrarily and capriciously exercised its judgment. Unlike
the UP Board of Regents that has the competence and expertise in granting
honors to graduating students of the University, courts do not have the
competence to constitute themselves as an Honors Committee and
substitute their judgment for that of the University officials.

Therefore, for failure to establish that the respondent committed grave abuse
of discretion in not conferring cum laude honors to petitioner, the lower court
erred in mandating that petitioners grades be re-computed including her
marks in German 10 and 11 and to confer upon petitioner academic honors.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the UP Board of


Regents on 31 August 2000 denying the appeal of the petitioner is
AFFIRMED. The Order of the Regional Trial Court dated 05 September 2002
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

136
Ito yung isang kulang sa Art XI We agree with the view of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its
Opposition filed on 16 August 2012, that the first issue has already been
G.R. No. 189434 March 12, 2014 raised and exhaustively discussed in our 25 April 2012 Decision. In fact, the
discussion on the first issue is merely a restatement of petitioners original
assertions that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction to render summary
FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., Petitioner, judgment over the assets of Arelma. According to petitioners, the judgment in
vs. Civil Case No. 0141 applied only to the Swiss deposits subject of our
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Presidential Decision in G.R. No. 152154, which were also listed in the Petition for
Commission on Good Government, Respondent. Forfeiture.

x-----------------------x It is clear from our 25 April 2012 Decision that this is a distorted reading of
the facts.1wphi1 The said Petition for Forfeiture described among others, a
G.R. No. 189505 corporate entity by the name "Arelma, Inc.," which maintained an account
and portfolio in Merrill Lynch, New York, and which was purportedly
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, Petitioner, organized for the purpose of hiding ill-gotten wealth.1 The Decision of this
vs. Court in G.R. No. 152154 affirmed the partial summary judgment only over
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. the Swiss deposits which the Sandiganbayan declared as forfeited in favor of
the State.
RESOLUTION
This cannot be construed as a bar to a subsequent judgment over numerous
SERENO, C.J.: other assets and properties expressly sought to be forfeited in Civil Case No.
0141. Respondent Republics success in obtaining summary judgment over
the Swiss accounts does not mean its preclusion from seeking partial
On 25 April 2012, this Court rendered a Decision affirming the 2 April 2009
summary judgment over a different subject matter covered by the same
Decision of the Sandiganbayan and declaring all the assets of Arelma, S.A.,
petition for forfeiture. In fact, Civil Case No. 0141 pertains to the recovery of
an entity created by the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, forfeited in favor of the
all the assets enumerated therein, such as (1) holding companies, agro-
Republic of the Philippines. The anti-graft court found that the totality of
industrial ventures and other investments; (2) landholdings, buildings,
assets and properties acquired by the Marcos spouses was manifestly and
condominium units, mansions; (3) New York properties; (4) bills amounting to
grossly disproportionate to their aggregate salaries as public officials, and
Php 27,744,535, time deposits worth Php 46.4 million, foreign currencies and
that petitioners were unable to overturn the prima facie presumption of ill-
jewelry seized by the United States customs authorities in Honolulu, Hawaii;
gotten wealth, pursuant to Section 2 of Republic Act No. (RA) 1379.
(5) USD 30 million in the custody of the Central Bank in dollar-denominated
Treasury Bills; shares of stock, private vehicles, and real estate in the United
Petitioners seek reconsideration of the denial of their petition, reiterating the States, among others.2
following arguments:
The Swiss Deposits Decision, G.R. No. 152154, dealt only with the summary
1. That the Sandiganbayan erred in granting the Motion for Partial judgment as to the five Swiss accounts, because the 2000 Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment because a) the Republic had earlier stated that Summary Judgment dated 7 March 2000 specifically identified the five Swiss
it will file a separate forfeiture action regarding the assets of Arelma accounts. It did not include the Arelma account. To subscribe to the view of
and b) Civil Case No. 0141 had already terminated; and petitioners is to forever bar the State from recovering the assets listed above,
including the properties it had specifically identified in its petition for
2. That the Sandiganbayan does not possess territorial jurisdiction forfeiture. As we have discussed in our Decision, the ruling of the
over the res or the Arelma proceeds, which are held by Merrill Lynch Sandiganbayan is rightly characterized as a separate judgment, and allowed
in the United States. by the Rules of Court under Section 5 of Rule 36:

137
Separate judgments.When more than one claim for relief is presented in Deposits case: "Petitioner Republic has the right to a speedy disposition of
an action, the court, at any stage, upon a determination of the issues material this case. It would readily be apparent to a reasonable mind that respondent
to a particular claim and all counterclaims arising out of the transaction or Marcoses have been deliberately resorting to every procedural device to
occurrence which is the subject matter of the claim, may render a separate delay the resolution hereofThe people and the State are entitled to
judgment disposing of such claim. The judgment shall terminate the action favorable judgment, free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays x
with respect to the claim so disposed of and the action shall proceed as to x x."8
the remaining claims. In case a separate judgment is rendered, the court by
order may stay its enforcement until the rendition of a subsequent judgment In any case, we find that the Sandiganbayan did not err in granting the
or judgments and may prescribe such conditions as may be necessary to Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, despite the fact that the Arelma
secure the benefit thereof to the party in whose favor the judgment is account and proceeds are held abroad. To rule otherwise contravenes the
rendered. intent of the forfeiture law, and indirectly privileges violators who are able to
hide public assets abroad: beyond the reach of the courts and their recovery
Petitioners further insist that "Civil Case No. 0141 does not involve the by the State. Forfeiture proceedings, as we have already discussed
Arelma account because the respondent unequivocally reserved its right to exhaustively in our Decision, are actions considered to be in the nature of
file a separate forfeiture petition concerning it." However, petitioners failed to proceedings in rem or quasi in rem, such that:
prove that such a reservation was made, and never even substantiated how
such reservation could operate to deprive the State of its right to file for Jurisdiction over the res is acquired either (a) by the seizure of the property
separate judgment. There is nothing in Republic Act 13793 or in the Rules under legal process, whereby it is brought into actual custody of the law; or
which prohibits the graft court from taking cognizance of the Motion for (b) as a result of the institution of legal proceedings, in which the power of
Partial Summary Judgment only because of statements allegedly made by the court is recognized and made effective. In the latter condition, the
one party. This Court cannot countenance the view advanced by petitioners property, though at all times within the potential power of the court, may not
defeating the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over violations of R.A. Nos. be in the actual custody of said court.9
3019 and 1379,4 where the laws themselves do not provide for such
limitations.
The concept of potential jurisdiction over the res, advanced by respondent, is
not at all new. As early as Perkins v. Dizon, deciding a suit against a non-
Petitioner Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. acknowledges that "the subject matter of the resident, the Court held: "In order that the court may exercise power over the
case (i.e. the power/authority to determine whether an asset may be forfeited res, it is not necessary that the court should take actual custody of the
under R.A. 1379) is within the (Sandiganbayans) jurisdiction."5 However, he property, potential custody thereof being sufficient. There is potential custody
objects to the graft courts purported lack of territorial jurisdiction on the when, from the nature of the action brought, the power of the court over the
theory that forfeiture is an action in rem. He argues that the Sandiganbayan property is impliedly recognized by law."10
must first acquire territorial jurisdiction over the Arelma proceeds before the
judgment may be enforced.
Finally, we take note of the Decision rendered by the Appellate Division of
the New York Supreme Court on 26 June 2012. In Swezey v. Merrill Lynch,
At the outset, this theory fails to make a distinction between the issuance of a Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., the foreign court agreed with the dismissal of
judgment, and its execution. It is basic that the execution of a Courts the turnover proceeding against the Arelma assets initiated by alleged
judgment is merely a ministerial phase of adjudication.6 The authority of the victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime. It reasoned that
Sandiganbayan to rule on the character of these assets as ill-gotten cannot the Republic was a necessary party, but could not be subject to joinder in
be conflated with petitioners concerns as to how the ruling may be effectively light of its assertion of sovereign immunity:
enforced.
(The Republic's) national interests would be severely prejudiced by a
More importantly, petitioner should be reminded of his earlier insistence that turnover proceeding because it has asserted a claim of ownership regarding
R.A. 1379 is penal, therefore petitions for forfeiture filed under this law are the Arelma assets that rests on several bases: the Philippine forfeiture law
actions in personam, not in rem.7 We reiterate our observations in the Swiss that predated the tenure of President Marcos; evidence demonstrating that
138
Marcos looted public coffers to amass a personal fortune worth billions of
dollars; findings by the Philippine Supreme Court and Swiss Federal
Supreme Court that Marcos stole related assets from the Republic; and,
perhaps most critically, the recent determination by the Philippine Supreme
Court that Marcos pilfered the money that was deposited in the Arelma
brokerage account. Consequently, allowing the federal court judgment
against the estate of Marcos to be executed on property that may rightfully
belong to the citizens of the Philippines could irreparably undermine the
Republic's claim to the Arelma assets.

xxxx

The Republic's declaration of sovereign immunity in this case is entitled to


recognition because it has a significant interest in allowing its courts to
adjudicate the dispute over property that may have been stolen from its
public treasury and transferred to New York through no fault of the Republic.
The high courts of the United States, the Philippines and Switzerland have
clearly explained in decisions related to this case that wresting control over
these matters from the Philippine judicial system would disrupt international
comity and reciprocal diplomatic self-interests.11

These statements made by the foreign court; based on principles of comity


and reciprocity, are highlighted if only to assuage petitioner's concerns on the
effective enforcement of the Decision and this Resolution. WHEREFORE,
the Motions for Reconsideration of the Decision dated 25 April 2012 filed by
petitioners Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. are
hereby DENIED with FINALITY.

SO ORDERED.

139