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Civil and Political Law

DENNIS A. B. FUNA v. THE CHAIRMAN, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION,


FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III, et. al. G.R. No. 191672, 25 November 2014, EN BANC
(Bersamin, J.)
Section 1, Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution expressly describes all the Constitutional
Commissions as “independent.” Although their respective functions are essentially executive in nature,
they are not under the control of the President of the Philippines in the discharge of such functions. Each
of the Constitutional Commissions conducts its own proceedings under the applicable laws and its own
rules and in the exercise of its own discretion.

Facts:

In 2010, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Francisco T. Duque III (Duque) as
Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, which was thereafter confirmed by the Commission on
Appointments. Subsequently, President Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 864 (EO 864). Pursuant to it,
Duque was designated as a member of the Board of Directors or Trustees in an ex officio capacity of the
following government-owned or government-controlled corporations: (a) Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS); (b) Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH), (c) the Employees
Compensation Commission (ECC), and (d) the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF).

Petitioner Dennis A.B. Funa, in his capacity as taxpayer, concerned citizen and lawyer, filed the
instant petition challenging the constitutionality of EO 864, as well as Section 14, Chapter 3, Title I-A, Book
V of Executive Order No. 292 (EO 292), otherwise known as The Administrative Code of 1987, and the
designation of Duque as a member of the Board of Directors or Trustees of the GSIS, PHIC, ECC and HDMF
for being clear violations of Section 1 and Section 2, Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution.

ISSUE:

Does the designation of Duque as member of the Board of Directors or Trustees of the GSIS,
PHILHEALTH, ECC and HDMF, in an ex officio capacity, impair the independence of the CSC and violate the
constitutional prohibition against the holding of dual or multiple offices for the Members of the
Constitutional Commissions?

RULING:

Yes. The Court partially grants the petition. The Court upholds the constitutionality of Section 14,
Chapter 3, Title I-A, Book V of EO 292, but declares unconstitutional EO 864 and the designation of Duque
in an ex officio capacity as a member of the Board of Directors or Trustees of the GSIS, PHILHEALTH, ECC
and HDMF.
Garcia vs. J. Drilon and Garcia, G. R.
No. 179267, 25 June 2013
Nature of the Case: Petition for Review of Republic Act (R.A.) 9262

Facts:

Private respondent Rosalie filed a petition before the RTC of Bacolod City a Temporary
Protection Order against her husband, Jesus, pursuant to R.A. 9262, entitled “An Act Defining
Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims,
Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes.” She claimed to be a victim of physical,
emotional, psychological and economic violence, being threatened of deprivation of custody of
her children and of financial support and also a victim of marital infidelity on the part of
petitioner.

The TPO was granted but the petitioner failed to faithfully comply with the conditions set forth
by the said TPO, private-respondent filed another application for the issuance of a TPO ex
parte. The trial court issued a modified TPO and extended the same when petitioner failed to
comment on why the TPO should not be modified. After the given time allowance to answer,
the petitioner no longer submitted the required comment as it would be an “axercise in futility.”

Petitioner filed before the CA a petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction and TRO on,
questioning the constitutionality of the RA 9262 for violating the due process and equal
protection clauses, and the validity of the modified TPO for being “an unwanted product of an
invalid law.”

The CA issued a TRO on the enforcement of the TPO but however, denied the petition for failure
to raise the issue of constitutionality in his pleadings before the trial court and the petition for
prohibition to annul protection orders issued by the trial court constituted collateral attack on
said law.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Thus, this petition is filed.

Issues:

Whether or no the CA erred in dismissing the petition on the theory that the issue of
constitutionality was not raised at the earliest opportunity and that the petition constitutes a
collateral attack on the validity of the law.
WON the CA committed serious error in failing to conclude that RA 9262 is discriminatory,
unjust and violative of the equal protection clause.

WON the CA committed grave mistake in not finding that RA 9262 runs counter to the due
process clause of the Constitution

WON the CA erred in not finding that the law does violence to the policy of the state to protect
the family as a basic social institution

WON the CA seriously erredin declaring RA 9262 as invalid and unconstitutional because it
allows an undue delegation of judicial power to Brgy. Officials.

Held:

1. Petitioner contends that the RTC has limited authority and jurisdiction, inadequate to tackle
the complex issue of constitutionality. Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider
the constitutionality of a statute. The question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
possible time so that if not raised in the pleadings, it may not be raised in the trial and if not
raised in the trial court, it may not be considered in appeal.

2. RA 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. Equal protection
simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to
rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workerkers’
Union, the Court ruled that all that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable,
which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for
real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; not limited to existing
conditions only; and apply equally to each member of the class. Therefore, RA9262 is based on
a valid classification and did not violate the equal protection clause by favouring women over
men as victims of violence and abuse to whom the Senate extends its protection.

3. RA 9262 is not violative of the due process clause of the Constitution. The essence of due
process is in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in
support of one’s defense. The grant of the TPO exparte cannot be impugned as violative of the
right to due process.

4. The non-referral of a VAWC case to a mediator is justified. Petitioner’s contention that by


not allowing mediation, the law violated the policy of the State to protect and strengthen the
family as a basic autonomous social institution cannot be sustained. In a memorandum of the
Court, it ruled that the court shall not refer the case or any issue therof to a mediator. This is so
because violence is not a subject for compromise.

5. There is no undue delegation of judicial power to Barangay officials. Judicial power includes
the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on any part of any branch of the
Government while executive power is the power to enforce and administer the laws. The
preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is an executive, not a judicial,
function. The same holds true with the issuance of BPO. Assistance by Brgy. Officials and other
law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty executive function.

The petition for review on certiorari is denied for lack of merit.


G.R. No. 202809, July 02, 2014 - DENNIS L. GO, Petitioner, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.

Facts:

Petitioner filed a petition for naturalization under Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 473, the
Revised Naturalization Law. Aside from his presentation of all other requirements, petitioner
presented, as witnesses, Dr. Anlacan, Dr. Tordesillas, Silvino Ong, Teresita Go, and Juan Go.

Dr. Anlacan testified that based on the psychiatric examination he conducted on petitioner,
he had no psychiatric abnormality at the time of the test. Dr. Tordesillas, on the other hand, reported
that petitioner’s medical examination results were normal. Ong, a friend of petitioner’s family, said
that he had known petitioner since childhood through his association with the family in times of
celebration. Teresita described him as a peace-loving person who participated in activities sponsored
by his school and the barangay. Lastly, Juan, a businessman by profession, also claimed that he knew
petitioner personally.

The RTC rendered a decision granting the petition for naturalization ruling that the petitioner
possessed the qualifications set forth by law. But the CA reversed and set aside said decision. Hence,
this petition.

Issue:
Whether or not Go’s petition for naturalization should be granted.

Ruling:

No. Jurisprudence dictates that in judicial naturalization, the application must show
substantial and formal compliance with C.A. No. 473. In other words, an applicant must comply with
the jurisdictional requirements, establish his or her possession of the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications enumerated under the law, and present at least two (2) character witnesses to
support his allegations.

In Ong v. Republic of the Philippines, the Court listed the requirements for character witnesses,
namely:

1. That they are citizens of the Philippines; 


2. That they are “credible persons”; 


3. That they personally know the petitioner; 


4. That they personally know him to be a resident of the Philippines for the period of time required
by law; 

5. That they personally know him to be a person of good repute; 


6. That they personally know him to be morally irreproachable; 


7. That he has, in their opinion, all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines;
and 


8. That he “is not in any way disqualified under the provisions” of the Naturalization Law. 


The records of the case show that the joint affidavits executed by petitioner’s witnesses did not
establish their own qualification to stand as such in a naturalization proceeding. In turn, petitioner
did not present evidence proving that the persons he presented were credible. In the words of the
CA, “he did not prove that his witnesses had good standing in the community, known to be honest
and upright, reputed to be trustworthy and reliable, and that their word may be taken at face value,
as a good warranty of the worthiness of petitioner.”

Furthermore, the background checks done on petitioner yielded negative results due to the
uncooperative behavior of the members of his household. In fact, petitioner himself disobliged when
asked for an interview by BOI agents. To the Court, this is a display of insincerity to embrace Filipino
customs, traditions and ideals.

Finally, it is noteworthy that petitioner’s failure to state his former residence in the petition was
fatal to his application for naturalization. Indeed, this omission had deprived the trial court of
jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.

Hence, the petition for naturalization is dismissed without prejudice.


PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM V. ROMARS INTERNATIONAL
G.R. No. 189669
February 16, 2015
Venue is jurisdictional

FACTS:
Petitioners received information that respondent was selling, offering for sale, or distributing
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by illegally refilling the steel cylinders manufactured by and bearing the
duly registered trademark and device of respondent Petron. Petron then obtained the services of a paralegal
investigation team who went to respondent's premises located in San Juan, Baao, Camarines Sur, bringing
along four empty cylinders of Shellane, Gasul, Total and Superkalan and asked that the same be refilled.
Respondent's employees then refilled said empty cylinders at respondent's refilling station. Petitioners then
requested the NBI to further investigate this matter. They witnessed trucks coming from respondent's
refilling facility loaded with Gasul, Shellane and Marsflame cylinders, which then deposit said cylinders in
different places, one of them a store called “Edrich Enterprises”.
Thus, the NBI, in behalf of Petron and Shell, filed with the Regional Trial Court of Naga City
(RTC-Naga), two separate Applications for Search Warrant. The RTC-Naga City issued an Order granting
said Applications and Search Warrant Nos. 2002-27 and 2002-28 were issued. On the same day, the NBI
served the warrants at the respondent's premises in an orderly and peaceful manner, and articles or items
described in the warrants were seized.
On November 4, 2002, respondent filed a Motion to Quash Search Warrants, where the only
grounds cited were: (a) there was no probable cause; (b) there had been a lapse of four weeks from the date
of the test-buy to the date of the search and seizure operations; (c) most of the cylinders seized were not
owned by respondent but by a third person; and (d) Edrich Enterprises is an authorized outlet of Gasul and
Marsflame. In an Order dated February 21, 2003, the RTC-Naga denied the Motion to Quash.
However, on March 27, 2003, respondent's new counsel filed an Appearance with Motion for
Reconsideration. It was only in said motion where respondent raised for the first time, the issue of the
impropriety of filing the Application for Search Warrant at the RTC-Naga City when the alleged crime was
committed in a place within the territorial jurisdiction of the RTC-Iriga City. Respondent pointed out that
the application filed with the RTC-Naga failed to state any compelling reason to justify the filing of the
same in a court which does not have territorial jurisdiction over the place of the commission of the crime,
as required by Section 2 (b), Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
In an Order dated July 28, 2003, the RTC-Naga issued an Order granting respondent's Motion for
Reconsideration, thereby quashing the Search Warrants. Petitioner then appealed to the CA, but the
appellate court, in its Decision dated March 13, 2009, affirmed the RTC Order quashing the search warrants.
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the CA Decision was denied per Resolution dated September 14,
2009.

ISSUES:
1. Whether venue in an application for search warrant is jurisdictional? - NO
2. Whether the issue of lack of jurisdiction may be waived and may even be raised for the first time
on appeal? - NO

HELD:
SEC. 2. Court where applications for search warrant shall be filed. - An application for search
warrant shall be filed with the following:
cralawred
(a) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed.

(b) For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial region where the
crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the
judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.

However, if the criminal action has already been filed, the application shall only be made in the
court where the criminal action is pending.

However, the CA gravely erred in equating the proceedings for applications for search warrants with
criminal actions themselves. Proceedings for said applications are not criminal in nature and, thus, the rule
that venue is jurisdictional does not apply thereto. Evidently, the issue of whether the application should
have been filed in RTC-Iriga City or RTC-Naga, is not one involving jurisdiction because, as stated in the
afore-quoted case, the power to issue a special criminal process is inherent in all courts.

Unfortunately, the foregoing reasoning of the CA, is inceptionally flawed, because as pronounced by the
Court in Malaloan v. Court of Appeals, and reiterated in the more recent Worldwide Web Corporation v.
People of the Philippines, to wit: an application for a search warrant is a “special criminal process,” rather
than a criminal action. The basic flaw in this reasoning is in erroneously equating the application for and
the obtention of a search warrant with the institution and prosecution of a criminal action in a trial court. It
would thus categorize what is only a special criminal process, the power to issue which is inherent in all
courts.

Moreover, the Court must again emphasize its previous admonition in Spouses Anunciacion v.
Bocanegra,that:

We likewise cannot approve the trial court's act of entertaining supplemental motions x x x which
raise grounds that are already deemed waived. To do so would encourage lawyers and litigants to
file piecemeal objections to a complaint in order to delay or frustrate the prosecution of the
plaintiff's cause of action.
ARNOLD VICENCIO v. HON. HEYNALOO A. VILLAR, et al.
G.R. No. 182069, 3 July 2012, EN BANC (Sereno, J.)
The mandate of the Commission on Audit is to observe the policy that government funds and property should be
fully protected and conserved; and that irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant expenditures or uses of such funds and
property should be prevented.

The City Council or the Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Malabon (SPM), presided by Hon. Benjamin
Galauran, then acting Vice-Mayor, adopted and approved City Ordinance No. 15-2003, entitled “An
Ordinance Granting Authority to the City Vice-Mayor, Hon. Jay Jay Yambao, to Negotiate and Enter into
Contract for Consultancy Services for Consultants in the Sanggunian Secretariat Tasked to Function in
their Respective Areas of Concern.”

Arnold Vicencio was elected City Vice-Mayor of Malabon. By virtue of this office, he also became the
Presiding Officer of the SPM and, at the same time, the head of the Sanggunian Secretariat. Vicencio,
representing the City Government of Malabon City, entered into Contracts for Consultancy Services.
After the signing of their respective contracts, the three consultants rendered consultancy services to
the SPM. Thereafter, the three consultants were correspondingly paid for their services pursuant to the
contracts therefor. However, an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) was issued disallowing the
amount for being an improper disbursement. Aggrieved by the disallowance, Vicencio appealed it to the
Adjudication and Settlement Board (ASB) of the Commission on Audit (COA) which subsequently denied
it.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Commission on Audit committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction when it affirmed ASB’s decision relative to the
disallowance of disbursements concerning the services rendered by hired consultants for the Sangguniang
Panlungsod ng Malabon
HELD:

Under Section 456 of R.A. 7160, or the Local Government Code, there is no inherent authority on the
part of the city vice-mayor to enter into contracts on behalf of the local government unit, unlike that
provided for the city mayor. Thus, the authority of the vice-mayor to enter into contracts on behalf of
the city was strictly circumscribed by the ordinance granting it. Ordinance No. 15-2003 specifically
authorized Vice-Mayor Yambao to enter into contracts for consultancy services. As this is not a power or
duty given under the law to the Office of the Vice-Mayor, Ordinance No. 15-2003 cannot be construed
as a “continuing authority” for any person who enters the Office of the Vice-Mayor to enter into
subsequent, albeit similar, contracts.

The COA’s assailed Decision was made in faithful compliance with its mandate and in judicious exercise
of its general audit power as conferred on it by the Constitution. The COA was merely fulfilling its
mandate in observing the policy that government funds and property should be fully protected and
conserved; and that irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant expenditures or uses of such funds
and property should be prevented. Thus, no grave abuse of discretion may be imputed to the COA.