G.R. No.

131457

August 19, 1999

HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF BUKIDNON, HON. REY B. BAULA, MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SUMILAO, BUKIDNON, NQSR MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. HON. RENATO C. CORONA, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ERNESTO D. GARILAO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondents. RESOLUTION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: This resolves the pending incidents before us, namely, respondents' and intervenors' separate motions for reconsideration of our Resolution dated November 17, 1998, as well as their motions to refer this case to this Court En banc. Respondents and intervenors jointly argue, in fine, that our Resolution dated November 17, 1998, wherein we voted two-two on the separate motions for reconsideration of our earlier Decision or April 24, 1998, as a result of which the Decision was deemed affirmed, did not effectively resolve the said motions for reconsideration inasmuch as the matter should have been referred to the Court sitting en banc, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4(3) of the Constitution. Respondents and intervenors also assail our Resolution dated January 27, 1999, wherein we noted without action the intervenors' "Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The Court En Banc" filed on December 3, 1998, on the following considerations, to wit: the movants have no legal personality to further seek redress before the Court after their motion for leave to intervene in this case was denied in the April 24, 1998 Decision. Their subsequent motion for reconsideration of the said decision, with a prayer to resolve the motion to the Court En Banc, was also denied in the November 17, 1998 Resolution of the Court. Besides, their aforesaid motion of December 3, 1998 is in the nature of a second motion for reconsideration which is a forbidden motion (Section 2, Rule 52 in relation to Section 4, Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). The impropriety of movants' December 3, 1998 motion becomes all the more glaring considering that all the respondents in this case did not anymore join them (movants) ill seeking a reconsideration of the November 17, 1998 Resolution. 1 Subsequently, respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed their "Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)" on December 3, 1998, accompanied by a "Manifestation and Motion"2 and a copy of the Registered Mail Bill3 evidencing filing of the said motion for reconsideration to this Court by registered mail.1âwphi1.nêt In their respective motions for reconsideration, both respondents and intervenors pray that this case be referred to this Court en banc. They contend that inasmuch as their earlier motions for reconsideration (of the Decision dated April 24, 1998) were resolved by a vote of two-two, the required number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not met. Consequently, the case should be referred to and be decided by this Court en banc, relying on the following constitutional provision: Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc.4 A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however, reveals the intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and matters, on the other hand, such that cases are "decided" while matters, which include motions, are "resolved". Otherwise put, the word "decided" must refer to "cases"; while the word "resolved" must refer to "matters", applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. This is true not only in the interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of the Constitution where these words appear. 5 With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion for reconsideration. Hence, the second sentence of the aforequoted provision speaks only of "case" and not "matter". The reason is simple. The abovequoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a motion for reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the division to muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. It is the movants' further contention in support of their plea for the referral of this case to the Court en banc that the issues submitted in their separate motions are of first impression. In the opinion penned by Mr. Justice Antonio M. Martinez during the resolution of the motions for reconsideration on November 17, 1998, the following was expressed: Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no extraordinary import to merit the attention of the Court En Banc. Specifically, the issue of whether or not the power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the DAR is no longer novel, this having been decided by this Court in the case of Province of Camarines Sur, et al. vs. Court of Appeals wherein we held that local government units need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural to non-agricultural use. The dispositive portion of the Decision in the aforecited case states: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is set aside insofar as it (a) nullifies the trial court's order allowing the Province of Camarines Sur to take possession of private respondent's property (b) orders the trial court to suspended the exportation proceedings; and (c) requires the Province of Camarines Sur to obtain the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform to convert or reclassify private respondents' property from agricultural to non-agricultural use. xxx xxx x x x(Emphasis supplied)

Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a unanimous vote of all five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court, Stated otherwise, this Second Division is of the opinion that the matters raised by movants are nothing new and do not deserve the consideration of the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court in the resolution of movants' motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate.6 The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not dispose of the earlier motions for reconsideration of the Decision dated April 24, 1998 is flawed. Consequently, the present motions for reconsideration necessarily partake of the nature of a second motion for reconsideration which, according to the clear and unambiguous language of Rule 56, Section 4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is prohibited. True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second motion for reconsideration, such as where there are extraordinarily

persuasive reasons. Even then, we have ruled that such second motions for reconsideration must be filed with express leave of court first obtained. 7 In this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave of court, but more importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional reasons for us to give due course to their second motions for reconsideration. Stripped of the arguments for referral of this incident to the Court en banc, the motions subject of this resolution are nothing more but rehashes of the motions for reconsideration which have been denied in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations contained therein have already been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the said Resolution. The crux of the controversy is the validity of the "Win-Win" Resolution dated November 7, 1997. We maintain that the same is void and of no legal effect considering that the March 29, 1996 decision of the Office of the President had already become final and executory even prior to the filing of the motion for reconsideration which became the basis of the said "Win-Win" Resolution. This ruling, quite understandably, sparked a litany of protestations on the part of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for a liberal interpretation of the rules. The sentiment was that notwithstanding its importance and far-reaching effects, the case was disposed of on a technicality. The situation, however, is not as simple as what the movants purport it to be. While it may be true that on its face the nullification of the "Win-Win" Resolution was grounded on a procedural rule pertaining to the reglementary period to appeal or move for reconsideration, the underlying consideration therefor was the protection of the substantive rights of petitioners. The succinct words of Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban are quoted in the November 17, 1998 opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, viz.: "Just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his/her case."8 In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly vested appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on the people of Bukidnon and other parts of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of the property. The issue in this case, therefore, is not a question of technicality but of substance and merit. 9 Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule once and for all on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their present motions, intervenors insist that they are real parties in interest inasmuch as they have already been issued certificates of land ownership award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal farmworkers at the plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified beneficiaries of the property. These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they have already been raised in intervenors' earlier motion for reconsideration of our April 24, 1998 Decision. Again as expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, intervenors, who are admittedly not regular but seasonal farmworkers, have no legal or actual and substantive interest over the subject land inasmuch as they have no right to own the land. Rather, their right is limited only to a just share of the fruits of the land. 10 Moreover, the "Win-Win" Resolution itself states that the qualified beneficiaries have yet to be carefully and meticulously determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform. 11 Absent any definitive finding of the Department of Agrarian Reform, intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest in the controversy as to be qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the issuance of the CLOA's to them does not grant them the requisite standing in view of the nullity of the "Win-Win" Resolution. No legal rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void. WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the following incidents, namely: intervenors' "Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The Court En Banc," dated December 3, 1998; respondents' "Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)," dated December 2, 1998; and intervenors' "Urgent Omnibus Motion For The Supreme Court Sitting En Banc To Annul The Second Division's Resolution Dated 27 January 1999 And Immediately Resolve The 28 May 1998 Motion For Reconsideration Filed By The Intervenors," dated March 2, 1999; are all DENIED with FINALITY. No further motion, pleading, or paper will be entertained in this case. SO ORDERED. Melo, J., please see separate opinion. Puno, J., in the result. I maintain my original position that the case should go to CA for further proceedings. Mendoza, J., in the result. G.R. No. 118509 September 5, 1996 LIMKETKAI SONS MILLING, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and NATIONAL BOOK STORE, respondents.

FRANCISCO, J.: Motion of petitioner Limketkai Sons Milling, Inc., for reconsideration of the Court's resolution of March 29, 1996, which set aside the Court's December 1, 1995 decision and affirmed in toto the Court of Appeals' decision dated August 12, 1994. It is argued, albeit erroneously, that the case should be referred to the Court En Banc as the doctrines laid down in Abrenica v. Gonda and De Garcia, 34 Phil. 739, Talosig v. Vda. de Nieba, 43 SCRA 473, and Villonco Realty Co. v. Bormaheco, Inc., et al., 65 SCRA 352, have been modified or reversed. A more circumspect analysis of these cases vis-a-vis the case at bench would inevitably lead petitioner to the conclusion that there was neither reversal nor modification of the doctrines laid down in the Abrenica, Talosig and Villonco cases. In fact, the inapplicability of the principle enunciated in Abrenica and Talosig to this case has already been extensively discussed in the Court's resolution, hence the same will not be addressed anew. As regard the case of Villonco, petitioner mistakenly assumes that its case has a similar factual milicu with the former. The Court finds no further need to elaborate on the issue, but will simply point out the significant fact that the offer of the buyer in Villonco, unlike in this case, was accepted by the seller, Bormaheco, Inc.; and Villonco involves a perfected contract, a factor crucially absent in the instant case as there was no meeting of the minds between the parties. What petitioner bewails the most is the present composition of the Third Division which deliverated on private respondents' motions for reconsideration and by a majority vote reversed the unanimous decision of December 1, 1995. More specifically, petitioner questions the assumption of Chief Justice Narvasa of the chairmanship of the Third Division and arrogantly rams its idea on how each Division should be chaired, i.e., the First Division should have been chaired by Chief Justice Narvasa, the Second Division by Mr. Justice Padilla, the next senior Justice, and the Third Division by Mr. Justice Regalado, the third in line. We need only to stress that the change in the membership of the three divisions of the Court was inevitable by reason of Mr. Justice Feliciano's retirement. Such reorganization is purely an internal matter of the Court to which petitioner certainly has no business at all. In fact, the current "staggered" set-up in the chairmanships of the Divisions is similar to that adopted in 1988. In that year, the Court's Third Division was likewise chaired by then Chief Justice Fernan, while the First and Second Divisions were headed by the next senior Justices — Justices Narvasa and Melencio-Herrera, respectively. Moreover, the Court invites the petitioner's attention to its Manifestation and Motion for Voluntary Inhibition, dated March 8, 1996 (Rollo, pp. 386-388), where it noted, without objection, the transfer of Mr. Chief Justice Narvasa, Mr. Justice Davide, Jr., and Mr. Justice Francisco to the Court's Third Division. In this Manifestation, petitioner merely moved for the inhibition of the Chief Justice on the ground that the Chief Justice previously acted as counsel for one of the respondents, which allegation the Chief Justice vehemently denied by saying that the information upon which the petitioner relied "it utterly without foundation in fact and is nothing but pure speculation or wistful yearning" 1 It was only after the rendition of the Court's March 29, 1996

resolution of the Court's March 29, 1996 resolution of the Court's March 29, 1996 resolution when petitioner unprecedentedly objected to the composition of the Third Division. Suffice it to say that the Court with its new membership is not obliged to follow blindly a decision upholding a party's case when, after its re-examination, the same calls for a rectification. "Indeed", said the Court in Kilosbayan, Inc. vs. Morato, et al., 250 SCRA 130, 136, "a change in the composition of the Court could prove the means of undoing an erroneous decision". And it is precisely in recognition of the fact that the Court is far from infallible that parties are duly accorded a remedy under the Rules of Court to bring to the Court's attention any error in the judgment by way of, among others, a motion for reconsideration. "More importantly than anything else", in the words of Mr. Justice Malcolm, "is that the court should be right" and to render justice where justice is due. It is therefore unfair, if not uncalled for, to brand the instant case as "one of utmost uniqueness in the annals of our judiciary." 2 Counsel for the petitioner additionally insinuates that the ponente employed a "double standard" in deciding the case and professes bewilderment at the ponente's act of purportedly taking a position in the ponencia contrary to ponente's act of purportedly taking a position in the ponencia contrary to ponente's stand in his book. 3 It is quite unfortunate that to strengthen his unmeritorious posture, the counsel for the petitioner would resort to such unfounded insinuations, conduct which to the ponente's mind borders on contempt and is inappropriate for one who belongs to the legal profession. Be that as it may, the ponente wishes to state that he has not and has never "used a double standard" 4 in his entire career in the judiciary in the adjudication of cases. And contrary to petitioner's misimpression, the ponente never took a "questionable position in his ponencia" 5 different from "his authoritative reference and textbook 6 which cited the case of Abrenica v. Gonda and De Gracia precisely because of the inherent factual differences of this case with that of Abrenica. Had counsel for the petitioner been meticulous, he would not have overlooked the fact that counsels for the other party never waived their right to object to the admission of an inadmissible evidence. The fact is that counsels for private respondents raised their persistent objections as early as the initial hearing and, when unceremoniously rebuffed for no apparent reason, registered their continuing objections. This is borne out by the records which the Court in its March 29, 1996 resolution cited. Thus: ATTY. VARGAS: Before I proceed with the cross-examination of the witness, your Honor, may we object to the particular portion of the affidavit which attempt to prove the existence of a verbal contract to sell more specifically the answers contained in pag. 3. Par. 1, the whole of the answer. xxx xxx xxx COURT: Objection overruled. ATTY. VARGAS: Your Honor, what has been denied by the Court was the motion for preliminary hearing of affirmative defenses. The statement made by the witness to prove that there was a verbal contract to sell is inadmissible an evidence in this case because an agreement must be in writing. COURT: Go ahead, that has been already overruled. ATTY. VARGAS: So may we reiterate our objection with regard to all other portions of the affidavit which deal on the verbal contract. (TSN, Feb. 28, 1989, pp. 3-5: Underscoring supplied.) 7 xxx xxx xxx ATTY. CORNAGO: Before we proceed, we would like to make of record our continuing objection in so far as questions and answers propounded to Pedro Revilla dated February 29, 1989, in so far as questions would illicit (sic) answers which would be violative of the best evidence rule in relation to Art. 1403. I refer to questions nos. 8, 13, 16 and 19 of the affidavit of this witness which is considered as his direct testimony. (T.S.N., June 29, 1990, p. 2) ATTY. CORNAGO: May we make of record our continued objection on the testimony which is violative of the best evidence rule in relation to Art. 1403 as contained in the affidavit particularly questions Nos. 12, 14, 19 and 20 of the affidavit of Alfonso Lim executed on February 24, 1989. . . (T.S.N., June 28, 1990, p. 8). 8 Petitioner may not now feign ignorance of these pertinent objections. The Court finds no cogent reason to depart from its ruling in its March 29, 1996 resolution. To reiterate: Corollarily, as the petitioner's exhibits failed to establish the perfection of the contract of the sale, oral testimony cannot take their place without violating the parol evidence rule. 9 It was therefore irregular for the trial court to have admitted in evidence testimony to prove the existence of a contract of sale of a real property between the parties despite the persistent objection made by private respondent's counsels as early as the first scheduled hearing. While said counsels cross-examined the witnesses, this, to our view, did not constitute a waiver of the parol evidence rule. The Talosig v. Vda. de Nieba, 10 and Abrenica v. Gonda and de Gracia 11 cases cited by the Court in its initial decision, which ruled to the effect that on objection against the admission of any evidence must be made at the proper time, i.e., ". . . at the time question is asked", 12 and that if not so made it will be understood to have been waived, do not apply as these two cases involved facts 13 different from the case at bench. More importantly, here, the direct testimonies of the witnesses were presented in "affidavit-form" where prompt objection to inadmissible evidence is hardly possible, whereas the direct testimonies in these cited cases were delivered orally in open court. The best that counsels could have done, and which they did, under the circumstances was to preface the cross-examination with objection. xxx xxx xxx Counsels should not be blamed and, worst, penalized for taking the pat of prudence by choosing the cross-examine the witnesses instead of keeping mum and letting the inadmissible testimony in "affidavit form" pass without challenge. We thus quote with approval the observation of public respondent Court of Appeals on this point: As a logical consequence of the above findings, it follows that the court a quo erred in allowing the appellee to introduce parol evidence to prove the existence of a perfected contract of sale over and above the objection of the counsel for the defendant-appellant. The records shows that the court a quo allowed the direct testimony of

the witnesses to be in affidavit form subject to cross-examination by the opposing counsel. If the purpose thereof was to prevent the opposing counsel from objecting timely to the direct testimony, the scheme failed for as early as the first hearing of the case on February 28, 1989 during the presentation of the testimony in affidavit form of Pedro Revilla, Jr., plaintiff-appellee's first witness, the presentation of such testimony was already objected to as inadmissible. 14 [Emphasis in the original] The other points raised by petitioner need no further discussion as they have already been considered in the resolution sought to be reconsidered, and no compelling reason is shown to urge this compelling reason is shown to urge this Court to change its stand. ACCORDINGLY, petitioner's motion for reconsideration and motion to refer the case to the Court En Banc are hereby DENIED WITH FINALITY, without prejudice to any and all appropriate actions that the Court may take not only against counsel on record for the petitioner for his irresponsible remarks, but also against other persons responsible for the reckless publicity anent this case calculated to maliciously erode the people's faith and confidence in the integrity of this Court. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., concur. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. 132601 January 19, 1999 LEO ECHEGARAY, petitioner, vs. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, ET AL., respondents. RESOLUTION

PUNO, J.: For resolution are public respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of this Court dated January 4, 1990 temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner and Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. It is the submission of public respondents that: 1. The Decision in this case having become final and executory, its execution enters the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive authority. The issuance of the TRO may be construed as trenching on that sphere of executive authority; 2. The issuance of the temporary restraining order . . . creates dangerous precedent as there will never be an end to litigation because there is always a possibility that Congress may repeal a law. 3. Congress had earlier deliberated extensively on the death penalty bill. To be certain, whatever question may now be raised on the Death Penalty Law before the present Congress within the 6-month period given by this Honorable Court had in all probability been fully debated upon . . . 4. Under the time honored maxim lex futuro, judex praeterito, the law looks forward while the judge looks at the past, . . . the Honorable Court in issuing the TRO has transcended its power of judicial review. 5. At this moment, certain circumstances/supervening events transpired to the effect that the repeal or modification of the law imposing death penalty has become nil, to wit: a. The public pronouncement of President Estrada that he will veto any law imposing the death penalty involving heinous crimes. b. The resolution of Congressman Golez, et al., that they are against the repeal of the law; c. The fact that Senator Roco's resolution to repeal the law only bears his signature and that of Senator Pimentel. In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, public respondents attached a copy of House Resolution No. 629 introduced by Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representative to reject any move to review Republic Act No. 7659 which provided for the re-imposition of death penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the position of the House of Representative on this matter, and urging the President to exhaust all means under the law to immediately implement the death penalty law." The Resolution was concurred in by one hundred thirteen (113) congressman. In their Consolidated Comment, petitioner contends: (1) the stay order. . . is within the scope of judicial power and duty and does not trench on executive powers nor on congressional prerogatives; (2) the exercise by this Court of its power to stay execution was reasonable; (3) the Court did not lose jurisdiction to address incidental matters involved or arising from the petition; (4) public respondents are estopped from challenging the Court's jurisdiction; and (5) there is no certainty that the law on capital punishment will not be repealed or modified until Congress convenes and considers all the various resolutions and bills filed before it. Prefatorily, the Court likes to emphasize that the instant motions concern matters that are not incidents in G.R. No. 117472, where the death penalty was imposed on petitioner on automatic review of his conviction by this Court. The instant motions were filed in this case, G.R. No. 132601, where the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8177 (Lethal Injection Law) and its implementing rules and regulations was assailed by petitioner. For this reason, the Court in its Resolution of January 4, 1999 merely noted the Motion to Set Aside of Rodessa "Baby" R. Echegaray dated January 7, 1999 and Entry of Appearance of her counsel dated January 5, 1999. Clearly, she has no legal standing to intervene in the case at bar, let alone the fact that the interest of the State is properly represented by the Solicitor General. We shall now resolve the basic issues raised by the public respondents. I First. We do not agree with the sweeping submission of the public respondents that this Court lost its jurisdiction over the case at bar and hence can no longer restrain the execution of the petitioner. Obviously, public respondents are invoking the rule that final judgments can no longer be altered in accord with the principle that "it is just as important that there should be a place to end as there should be a place to begin litigation." 1 To start with,

the Court is not changing even a comma of its final Decision. It is appropriate to examine with precision the metes and bounds of the Decision of this Court that became final. These metes and bounds are clearly spelled out in the Entry of Judgment in this case, viz: ENTRY OF JUDGMENT This is to certify that on October 12, 1998 a decision rendered in the above-entitled case was filed in this Office, the dispositive part of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar as petitioner seeks to declare the assailed statute (Republic Act No. 8177) as unconstitutional; but GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are concerned, which are hereby declared INVALID because (a) Section 17 contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659; and (b) Section 19 fails to provide for review and approval of the Lethal Injection Manual by the Secretary of Justice, and unjustifiably makes the manual confidential, hence unavailable to interested parties including the accused/convict and counsel. Respondents are hereby enjoined from enforcing and implementing Republic Act No. 8177 until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are appropriately amended, revised and/or corrected in accordance with this Decision. SO ORDERED. and that the same has, on November 6, 1988 become final and executory and is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgment. Manila, Philippine. Clerk of Court By: (SGD) TERESITA G. DIMAISIP Acting Chief Judicial Records Office The records will show that before the Entry of Judgment, the Secretary of Justice, the Honorable Serafin Cuevas, filed with this Court on October 21, 1998 a Compliance where he submitted the Amended Rules and Regulations implementing R.A. No. 8177 in compliance with our Decision. On October 28, 1998, Secretary Cuevas submitted a Manifestation informing the Court that he has caused the publication of the said Amended Rules and Regulations as required by the Administrative Code. It is crystalline that the Decision of this Court that became final and unalterable mandated: (1) that R.A. No. 8177 is not unconstitutional; (2) that sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement R.A. No. 8177 are invalid, and (3) R.A. No. 8177 cannot be enforced and implemented until sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement R.A. No. 8177 are amended. It is also daylight clear that this Decision was not altered a whit by this Court. Contrary to the submission of the Solicitor General, the rule on finality of judgment cannot divest this Court of its jurisdiction to execute and enforce the same judgment. Retired Justice Camilo Quiason synthesized the well established jurisprudence on this issue as follows: 2 xxx xxx xxx the finality of a judgment does not mean that the Court has lost all its powers nor the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the court loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final the court retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce it. 3 There is a difference between the jurisdiction of the court to execute its judgment and its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. The former continues even after the judgment has become final for the purpose of enforcement of judgment; the latter terminates when the judgment becomes final. 4 . . . For after the judgment has become final facts and circumstances may transpire which can render the execution unjust or impossible. 5 In truth, the arguments of the Solicitor General has long been rejected by this Court. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner, as early as 1915, this Court has unequivocably ruled in the case of Director of Prisons v. Judge of First Instance, 6 viz: This Supreme Court has repeatedly declared in various decisions, which constitute jurisprudence on the subject, that in criminal cases, after the sentence has been pronounced and the period for reopening the same cannot change or alter its judgment, as its jurisdiction has terminated . . . When in cases of appeal or review the cause has been returned thereto for execution, in the event that the judgment has been affirmed, it performs a ministerial duty in issuing the proper order. But it does not follow from this cessation of functions on the part of the court with reference to the ending of the cause that the judicial authority terminates by having then passed completely to the Executive. The particulars of the execution itself, which are certainly not always included in the judgment and writ of execution, in any event are absolutely under the control of the judicial authority, while the executive has no power over the person of the convict except to provide for carrying out of the penalty and to pardon. Getting down to the solution of the question in the case at bar, which is that of execution of a capital sentence, it must be accepted as a hypothesis that postponement of the date can be requested. There can be no dispute on this point. It is a well-known principle that notwithstanding the order of execution and the executory nature thereof on the date set or at the proper time, the date therefor can be postponed, even in sentences of death. Under the common law this postponement can be ordered in three ways: (1) By command of the King; (2) by discretion (arbitrio) of the court; and (3) by mandate of the law. It is sufficient to state this principle of the common law to render impossible that assertion in absolute terms that after the convict has once been placed in jail the trial court can not reopen the case to investigate the facts that show the need for postponement. If one of the ways is by direction of the court, it is acknowledged that even after the date of the execution has been fixed, and notwithstanding the general rule that after the (court) has performed its ministerial duty of ordering the execution . . . and its part is ended, if however a circumstance arises that ought to delay the execution, and there is an imperative duty to investigate the emergency and to order a postponement. Then the question arises as to whom the application for postponing the execution ought to be addressed while the circumstances is under investigation and so to who has jurisdiction to make the investigation. The power to control the execution of its decision is an essential aspect of jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial subtraction for our Constitution 7 vests the entirety of judicial power in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. To be sure, the important part of a litigation, whether civil or criminal, is the process of execution of decisions where supervening events may change the circumstance of the parties and compel courts to intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforseen, supervening contingencies that courts have been conceded the inherent and necessary power of control of its processes and orders to make them conformable to law and justice. 8 For this purpose, Section 6 of Rule 135 provides that "when by law jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such court or officer and if the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out by law or by these rules, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which appears conformable to the spirit of said law or rules." It bears repeating that what the Court restrained temporarily is the execution of its own Decision

to give it reasonable time to check its fairness in light of supervening events in Congress as alleged by petitioner. The Court, contrary to popular misimpression, did not restrain the effectivity of a law enacted by Congress.1âwphi1.nêt The more disquieting dimension of the submission of the public respondents that this Court has no jurisdiction to restrain the execution of petitioner is that it can diminish the independence of the judiciary. Since the implant of republicanism in our soil, our courts have been conceded the jurisdiction to enforce their final decisions. In accord with this unquestioned jurisdiction, this Court promulgated rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure which, among others, spelled out the rules on execution of judgments. These rules are all predicated on the assumption that courts have the inherent, necessary and incidental power to control and supervise the process of execution of their decisions. Rule 39 governs execution, satisfaction and effects of judgments in civil cases. Rule 120 governs judgments in criminal cases. It should be stressed that the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure was granted by our Constitutions to this Court to enhance its independence, for in the words of Justice Isagani Cruz "without independence and integrity, courts will lose that popular trust so essential to the maintenance of their vigor as champions of justice." 9 Hence, our Constitutions continuously vested this power to this Court for it enhances its independence. Under the 1935 Constitution, the power of this Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure was granted but it appeared to be co-existent with legislative power for it was subject to the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement. Thus, its Section 13, Article VIII provides: Sec.13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress have the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. The said power of Congress, however, is not as absolute as it may appear on its surface. In In re Cunanan 10 Congress in the exercise of its power to amend rules of the Supreme Court regarding admission to the practice of law, enacted the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953 11 which considered as a passing grade, the average of 70% in the bar examinations after July 4, 1946 up to August 1951 and 71% in the 1952 bar examinations. This Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. In his ponencia, Mr. Justice Diokno held that " . . . the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment — a judgment promulgated by this Court during the aforecited years affecting the bar candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly can revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may do so. Any attempt on the part of these department would be a clear usurpation of its function, as is the case with the law in question." 12 The venerable jurist further ruled: "It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license." By its ruling, this Court qualified the absolutist tone of the power of Congress to "repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. The ruling of this Court in In re Cunanan was not changed by the 1973 Constitution. For the 1973 Constitution reiterated the power of this Court "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, . . . which, however, may be repealed, altered or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa . . . ." More completely, Section 5(2)5 of its Article X provided: xxx xxx xxx Sec.5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers. xxx xxx xxx (5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the Bar, which, however, may be repealed, altered, or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Well worth noting is that the 1973 Constitution further strengthened the independence of the judiciary by giving to it the additional power to promulgate rules governing the integration of the Bar. 13 The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent judiciary. Among others, it enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its Section 5(5), Article VIII provides: xxx xxx xxx Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first time was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. The Court was also granted for the first time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987 Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this Court with Congress, more so with the Executive. If the manifest intent of the 1987 Constitution is to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, it is inutile to urge, as public respondents do, that this Court has no jurisdiction to control the process of execution of its decisions, a power conceded to it and which it has exercised since time immemorial. To be sure, it is too late in the day for public respondents to assail the jurisdiction of this Court to control and supervise the implementation of its decision in the case at bar. As aforestated, our Decision became final and executory on November 6, 1998. The records reveal that after November 6, 1998, or on December 8, 1998, no less than the Secretary of Justice recognized the jurisdiction of this Court by filing a Manifestation and Urgent Motion to compel the trial judge, the Honorable Thelma A. Ponferrada, RTC, Br. 104, Quezon City to provide him ". . . a certified true copy of the Warrant of Execution dated November 17, 1998 bearing the designated execution day of death convict Leo Echegaray and allow (him) to reveal or announce the contents thereof, particularly the execution date fixed by such trial court to the public when requested." The relevant portions of the Manifestation and Urgent Motion filed by the Secretary of Justice beseeching this Court "to provide the appropriate relief" state:

xxx xxx xxx 5. Instead of filing a comment on Judge Ponferrada's Manifestation however, herein respondent is submitting the instant Manifestation and Motion (a) to stress, inter alia, that the non-disclosure of the date of execution deprives herein respondent of vital information necessary for the exercise of his statutory powers, as well as renders nugatory the constitutional guarantee that recognizes the people's right to information of public concern, and (b) to ask this Honorable Court to provide the appropriate relief. 6. The non-disclosure of the date of execution deprives herein respondent of vital information necessary for the exercise of his power of supervision and control over the Bureau of Corrections pursuant to Section 39, Chapter 8, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, in relation to Title III, Book IV of such Administrative Code, insofar as the enforcement of Republic Act No. 8177 and the Amended Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 is concerned and for the discharge of the mandate of seeing to it that laws and rules relative to the execution of sentence are faithfully observed. 7. On the other hand, the willful omission to reveal the information about the precise day of execution limits the exercise by the President of executive clemency powers pursuant to Section 19, Article VII (Executive Department) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, which provides that the death sentence shall be carried out "without prejudice to the exercise by the President of his executive powers at all times." (Emphasis supplied) For instance, the President cannot grant reprieve, i.e., postpone the execution of a sentence to a day certain (People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56, 110 [1937]) in the absence of a precise date to reckon with. The exercise of such clemency power, at this time, might even work to the prejudice of the convict and defeat the purpose of the Constitution and the applicable statute as when the date at execution set by the President would be earlier than that designated by the court. 8. Moreover, the deliberate non-disclosure of information about the date of execution to herein respondent and the public violates Section 7, Article III (Bill of Rights) and Section 28, Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which read: Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development shall, be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest. 9. The "right to information" provision is self-executing. It supplies "the rules by means of which the right to information may be enjoyed (Cooley, A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations, 167 [1972]) by guaranteeing the right and mandating the duty to afford access to sources of information. Hence, the fundamental right therein recognized may be asserted by the people upon the ratification of the Constitution without need for any ancillary act of the Legislature (Id., at p. 165) What may be provided for by the Legislature are reasonable conditions and limitations upon the access to be afforded which must, of necessity, be consistent with the declared State policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest (Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 28). However, it cannot be overemphasized that whatever limitation may be prescribed by the Legislature, the right and the duty under Art. III, Sec. 7 have become operative and enforceable by virtue of the adoption of the New Charter." (Decision of the Supreme Court En Banc in Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530, 534535 [1987]. The same motion to compel Judge Ponferrada to reveal the date of execution of petitioner Echegaray was filed by his counsel, Atty. Theodore Te, on December 7, 1998. He invoked his client's right to due process and the public's right to information. The Solicitor General, as counsel for public respondents, did not oppose petitioner's motion on the ground that this Court has no more jurisdiction over the process of execution of Echegaray. This Court granted the relief prayed for by the Secretary of Justice and by the counsel of the petitioner in its Resolution of December 15, 1998. There was not a whimper of protest from the public respondents and they are now estopped from contending that this Court has lost its jurisdiction to grant said relief. The jurisdiction of this Court does not depend on the convenience of litigants. II Second. We likewise reject the public respondents' contention that the "decision in this case having become final and executory, its execution enters the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive department . . .. By granting the TRO, the Honorable Court has in effect granted reprieve which is an executive function." 14 Public respondents cite as their authority for this proposition, Section 19, Article VII of the Constitution which reads: Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment. He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Congress. The text and tone of this provision will not yield to the interpretation suggested by the public respondents. The provision is simply the source of power of the President to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment. It also provides the authority for the President to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Congress. The provision, however, cannot be interpreted as denying the power of courts to control the enforcement of their decisions after their finality. In truth, an accused who has been convicted by final judgment still possesses collateral rights and these rights can be claimed in the appropriate courts. For instance, a death convict who become insane after his final conviction cannot be executed while in a state of insanity. 15 As observed by Antieau, "today, it is generally assumed that due process of law will prevent the government from executing the death sentence upon a person who is insane at the time of execution." 16 The suspension of such a death sentence is undisputably an exercise of judicial power. It is not a usurpation of the presidential power of reprieve though its effects is the same — the temporary suspension of the execution of the death convict. In the same vein, it cannot be denied that Congress can at any time amend R.A. No. 7659 by reducing the penalty of death to life imprisonment. The effect of such an amendment is like that of commutation of sentence. But by no stretch of the imagination can the exercise by Congress of its plenary power to amend laws be considered as a violation of the power of the President to commute final sentences of conviction. The powers of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary to save the life of a death convict do not exclude each other for the simple reason that there is no higher right than the right to life. Indeed, in various States in the United States, laws have even been enacted expressly granting courts the power to suspend execution of convicts and their constitutionality has been upheld over arguments that they infringe upon the power of the President to grant reprieves. For the public respondents therefore to contend that only the Executive can protect the right to life of an accused after his final conviction is to violate the principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of the three branches of our government. III

Third. The Court's resolution temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner must be put in its proper perspective as it has been grievously distorted especially by those who make a living by vilifying courts. Petitioner filed his Very Urgent Motion for Issuance of TRO on December 28, 1998 at about 11:30 p.m. He invoked several grounds, viz: (1) that his execution has been set on January 4, the first working day of 1999; (b) that members of Congress had either sought for his executive clemency and/or review or repeal of the law authorizing capital punishment; (b.1) that Senator Aquilino Pimentel's resolution asking that clemency be granted to the petitioner and that capital punishment be reviewed has been concurred by thirteen (13) other senators; (b.2) Senate President Marcelo Fernan and Senator Miriam S. Defensor have publicly declared they would seek a review of the death penalty law; (b.3) Senator Paul Roco has also sought the repeal of capital punishment, and (b.4) Congressman Salacrib Baterina, Jr., and thirty five (35) other congressmen are demanding review of the same law. When the Very Urgent Motion was filed, the Court was already in its traditional recess and would only resume session on January 18, 1999. Even then, Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. called the Court to a Special Session on January 4, 1991 17 at 10. a.m. to deliberate on petitioner's Very Urgent Motion. The Court hardly had five (5) hours to resolve petitioner's motion as he was due to be executed at 3 p.m. Thus, the Court had the difficult problem of resolving whether petitioner's allegations about the moves in Congress to repeal or amend the Death Penalty Law are mere speculations or not. To the Court's majority, there were good reasons why the Court should not immediately dismiss petitioner's allegations as mere speculations and surmises. They noted that petitioner's allegations were made in a pleading under oath and were widely publicized in the print and broadcast media. It was also of judicial notice that the 11th Congress is a new Congress and has no less than one hundred thirty (130) new members whose views on capital punishment are still unexpressed. The present Congress is therefore different from the Congress that enacted the Death Penalty Law (R.A. No. 7659) and the Lethal Injection Law (R.A. No. 8177). In contrast, the Court's minority felt that petitioner's allegations lacked clear factual bases. There was hardly a time to verify petitioner's allegations as his execution was set at 3 p.m. And verification from Congress was impossible as Congress was not in session. Given these constraints, the Court's majority did not rush to judgment but took an extremely cautious stance by temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner. The suspension was temporary — "until June 15, 1999, coeval with the constitutional duration of the present regular session of Congress, unless it sooner becomes certain that no repeal or modification of the law is going to be made." The extreme caution taken by the Court was compelled, among others, by the fear that any error of the Court in not stopping the execution of the petitioner will preclude any further relief for all rights stop at the graveyard. As life was at, stake, the Court refused to constitutionalize haste and the hysteria of some partisans. The Court's majority felt it needed the certainty that the legislature will not petitioner as alleged by his counsel. It was believed that law and equitable considerations demand no less before allowing the State to take the life of one its citizens. The temporary restraining order of this Court has produced its desired result, i.e., the crystallization of the issue whether Congress is disposed to review capital punishment. The public respondents, thru the Solicitor General, cite posterior events that negate beyond doubt the possibility that Congress will repeal or amend the death penalty law. He names these supervening events as follows: xxx xxx xxx a. The public pronouncement of President Estrada that he will veto any law imposing the death penalty involving heinous crimes. b. The resolution of Congressman Golez, et al., that they are against the repeal of the law; c. The fact that Senator Roco's resolution to repeal the law only bears his signature and that of Senator Pimentel. 18 In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, the Solicitor General cited House Resolution No. 629 introduced by Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to reject any move to review R.A. No. 7659 which provided for the reimposition of death penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the position of the House of Representative on this matter and urging the President to exhaust all means under the law to immediately implement the death penalty law." The Golez resolution was signed by 113 congressman as of January 11, 1999. In a marathon session yesterday that extended up 3 o'clock in the morning, the House of Representative with minor, the House of Representative with minor amendments formally adopted the Golez resolution by an overwhelming vote. House Resolution No. 25 expressed the sentiment that the House ". . . does not desire at this time to review Republic Act 7659." In addition, the President has stated that he will not request Congress to ratify the Second Protocol in review of the prevalence of heinous crimes in the country. In light of these developments, the Court's TRO should now be lifted as it has served its legal and humanitarian purpose. A last note. In 1922, the famous Clarence Darrow predicted that ". . . the question of capital punishment had been the subject of endless discussion and will probably never be settled so long as men believe in punishment." 19 In our clime and time when heinous crimes continue to be unchecked, the debate on the legal and moral predicates of capital punishment has been regrettably blurred by emotionalism because of the unfaltering faith of the pro and anti-death partisans on the right and righteousness of their postulates. To be sure, any debate, even if it is no more than an exchange of epithets is healthy in a democracy. But when the debate deteriorates to discord due to the overuse of words that wound, when anger threatens to turn the majority rule to tyranny, it is the especial duty of this Court to assure that the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the minority fully hold. As Justice Brennan reminds us ". . . it is the very purpose of the Constitution — and particularly the Bill of Rights — to declare certain values transcendent, beyond the reach of temporary political majorities." 20 Man has yet to invent a better hatchery of justice than the courts. It is a hatchery where justice will bloom only when we can prevent the roots of reason to be blown away by the winds of rage. The flame of the rule of law cannot be ignited by rage, especially the rage of the mob which is the mother of unfairness. The business of courts in rendering justice is to be fair and they can pass their litmus test only when they can be fair to him who is momentarily the most hated by society. 21 IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court grants the public respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and lifts the Temporary Restraining Order issued in its Resolution of January 4, 1999. The Court also orders respondent trial court judge (Hon. Thelma A. Ponferrada, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 104) to set anew the date for execution of the convict/petitioner in accordance with applicable provisions of law and the Rules of Court, without further delay. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Kapunan, Mendoza, Martinez, Quisumbing, Purisima and Pardo, JJ., concur. Vitug and Panganiban, JJ., Please see Separate Opinion. Buena and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., took no part. Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice G.R. No. 132601, January 19, 1999 Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law Facts: On January 4, 1999, the SC issued a TRO staying the execution of petitioner Leo Echegaray scheduled on that same day. The public respondent Justice Secretary assailed the issuance of the TRO arguing that the action of the SC not only violated the rule on finality of judgment but also encroached on the power of the executive to grant reprieve.

Issue: Whether or not the SC, after the decision in the case becomes final and executory, still has jurisdiction over the case Held: The finality of judgment does not mean that the SC has lost all its powers or the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the SC loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final, the SC retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce it. The power to control the execution of the SC’s decision is an essential aspect of its jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial subtraction for the Constitution vests the entirety of judicial power in one SC and in such lower courts as may be established by law. The important part of a litigation, whether civil or criminal, is the process of execution of decisions where supervening events may change the circumstance of the parties and compel courts to intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforeseen, supervening contingencies that courts have been conceded the inherent and necessary power of control of its processes and orders to make them comform to law and justice. The Court also rejected public respondent’s contention that by granting the TRO, the Court has in effect granted reprieve which is an executive function under Sec. 19, Art. VII of the Constitution. In truth, an accused who has been convicted by final judgment still possesses collateral rights and these rights can be claimed in the appropriate courts. For instance, a death convict who becomes insane after his final conviction cannot be executed while in a state of insanity. The suspension of such a death sentence is indisputably an exercise of judicial power. It is not a usurpation of the presidential power of reprieve though its effects are the same as the temporary suspension of the execution of the death convict. In the same vein, it cannot be denied that Congress can at any time amend the Death Penalty Law by reducing the penalty of death to life imprisonment. The effect of such an amendment is like that of commutation of sentence. But the exercise of Congress of its plenary power to amend laws cannot be considered as a violation of the power of the President to commute final sentences of conviction. The powers of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary to save the life of a death convict do not exclude each other for the simple reason that there is no higher right than the right to life. To contend that only the Executive can protect the right to life of an accused after his final conviction is to violate the principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of the 3 branches of the government. FABIAN VS DESIERTO Facts: Petitioner Teresita Fabian was the major stockholder and President of PROMAT Construction Development Corporation which was engaged in the construction business. Private respondent Nestor Agustin was the District Engineer of the First Metro Manila Engineering District. PROMAT participated in the bidding for government construction projects, and private respondent, reportedly taking advantage of his official position, inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship. Their affair lasted for some time, in the course of which, private respondent gifted PROMAT with public works contracts and interceded for it in problems concerning the same in his office. When petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted her attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. Petitioner filed an administrative complaint against private respondent. Ombudsman found private respondent guilty of misconduct and meted out the penalty of suspension without pay for 1 year. After private respondent moved for reconsideration, the Ombudsman discovered that the private respondent’s new counsel had been his classmate and close associate, hence, he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman who exonerated private respondent from the administrative charges. Petitioner appealed to the SC by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Issue: Whether or not Section 27 of RA 6770 which provides for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of the Ombudsman to the SC in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is valid Held: The revised Rules of Civil Procedure preclude appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the SC via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through a petition for review on certiorari but only from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Sec. 1 thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified petition for review, under the requirements and conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies. Section 27 of RA 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to the SC from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Sec. 30, Art. VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of the SC. In re Edilion 16 07 2010 In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978 Facts: The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines. The IBP Board of Governors recommended to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for “stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues” to the IBP since the latter’s constitution notwithstanding due notice. Edilion contends that the provision providing for the IBP dues constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. Issue: WON the payment of IBP dues suffers constitutional infirmity? NO Held: All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the court. When the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at

large, were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6 Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State’s legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. Such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. Why? The right to practise law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

In re Arevalo 16 07 2010 LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF IBP DUES B.M. No. 1370 May 9, 2005 Facts: Petitioner sought exemption from payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12,035.00 as alleged unpaid accountability for the years 1977-2005. He alleged that after being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the Philippine Civil Service from July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and worked in, the USA in December 1986 until his retirement in the year 2003. He maintained that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the years that he was working in the Philippine Civil Service since the Civil Service law prohibits the practice of one’s profession while in government service, and neither can he be assessed for the years when he was working in the USA. He also posits that compulsory payment of the IBP annual membership dues would indubitably be oppressive to him considering that he has been in an inactive status and is without income derived from his law practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of annual membership dues would constitute deprivation of property right without due process of law. Lastly, he claims that non-practice of law by a lawyer-member in inactive status is neither injurious to active law practitioners, to fellow lawyers in inactive status, nor to the community where the inactive lawyers-members reside. Issue: WON petitioner is entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law? NO Held: There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and in the integration of the Philippine Bar — which power required members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is, indeed, imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the noble objectives and purposes of integration. Payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as one’s membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in. There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued. DECISION: DENIED. [G.R. No. 166051, April 08, 2008] SOLID HOMES, INC., PETITIONER, VS. EVELINA LASERNA AND GLORIA CAJIPE, REPRESENTED BY PROCESO F. CRUZ, RESPONDENTS. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to annul, reverse and set aside (1) the Decision[1] dated 21 July 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82153, which denied and dismissed the Petition filed before it by the petitioner for lack of merit; and (2) the Resolution[2] dated 10 November 2004 of the same court, which denied the petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. The factual antecedents of this case are as follows: On 1 April 1977, respondents Evelina Laserna and Gloria Cajipe, represented by their attorney-in-fact, Proceso F. Cruz, as buyers, entered into a Contract to Sell[3] with petitioner Solid Homes, Inc. (SHI), a corporation engaged in the development and sale of subdivision lots, as seller. The subject of the said Contract to Sell was a parcel of land located at Lot 3, Block I, Phase II, Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City, with a total area of 600 square meters, more or less. The total contract price agreed upon by the parties for the said parcel of land was P172,260.00, to be paid in the following manner: (1) the P33,060.00 down payment should be paid upon the signing of the contract; and (2) the remaining balance of P166,421.88[4] was payable for a period of three years at a monthly installment of P4,622.83 beginning 1 April 1977. The respondents made the down payment and several monthly installments. When the respondents had allegedly paid 90% of the purchase price, they demanded the execution and delivery of the Deed of Sale and the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) of the subject property upon the final payment of the balance. But the petitioner did not comply with the demands of the respondents. The respondents whereupon filed against the petitioner a Complaint for Delivery of Title and Execution of Deed of Sale with Damages, dated 28 June 1990, before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). The same was docketed as HLURB Case No. REM-073090-4511. In their Complaint, respondents alleged that as their outstanding balance was only P5,928.18, they were already demanding the execution and delivery of the Deed of Sale and the TCT of the subject property upon final payment of the said amount. The petitioner filed a Motion to Admit Answer,[5] together with its Answer[6] dated 17 September 1990, asserting that the respondents have no cause of action against it because the respondents failed to show that they had complied with their obligations under the Contract to Sell, since the respondents had not yet paid in full the total purchase price of the subject property. In view of the said non-payment, the petitioner considered the Contract to Sell abandoned by the respondents and rescinded in accordance with the provisions of the same contract. On 7 October 1992, HLURB Arbiter Gerardo L. Dean rendered a Decision[7] denying respondents’ prayer for the issuance of the Deed of Sale and the delivery of the TCT. He, however, directed the petitioner to execute and deliver the aforesaid Deed of Sale and TCT the moment that the purchase price is fully settled by the respondents. Further, he ordered the petitioner to cease and desist from charging and/or collecting fees from the respondents other than those authorized by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 957[8] and similar statutes.[9] Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner appealed[10] the aforesaid Decision to the HLURB Board of Commissioners. The case was then docketed as HLURB Case No. REM-A-1298. On 10 August 1994, the HLURB Board of Commissioners rendered a Decision,[11] modifying the 7 October 1992 Decision of HLURB Arbiter Dean. The

decretal portion of the Board’s Decision reads: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the [D]ecision of [HLURB] Arbiter Gerardo Dean dated 07 October 1992 is hereby MODIFIED to read as follows: 1. [Herein respondent][12] is hereby directed to pay the balance of P11,585.41 within the (sic) thirty (30) days from finality of this [D]ecision. 2. [Herein petitioner] is hereby directed to execute the necessary deed of sale and deliver the TCT over the subject property immediately upon full payment. 3. [Petitioner] is hereby directed to cease and desist from charging and/or collecting fees other than those authorized by P.D. 957 and other related laws. [13] (Emphasis supplied). Petitioner remained unsatisfied with the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners, thus, it appealed the same before the Office of the President, wherein it was docketed as O.P. Case No. 5919. After evaluating the established facts and pieces of evidence on record, the Office of the President rendered a Decision[14] dated 10 June 2003, affirming in toto the 10 August 1994 Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners. In rendering its Decision, the Office of the President merely adopted by reference the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners. Resultantly, petitioner moved for the reconsideration[15] of the 10 June 2003 Decision of the Office of the President. However, in an Order[16] dated 9 December 2003, the Office of the President denied the same. The petitioner thereafter elevated its case to the Court of Appeals by way of Petition for Review under Rule 43[17] of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 82153, raising the following issues, to wit: (1) the Honorable Office of the President seriously erred in merely adopting by reference the findings and conclusions of the HLURB Board of Commissioners in arriving at the questioned [D]ecision; and (2) the Honorable Office of the President seriously erred in not dismissing the complaint for lack of cause of action.[18] On 21 July 2004, the appellate court rendered a Decision denying due course and dismissing the petitioner’s Petition for Review for lack of merit, thus affirming the Decision of the Office of the President dated 10 June 2003, viz: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant [P]etition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED for lack of merit.[19] (Emphasis supplied). Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the aforesaid Decision but, it was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated 10 November 2004. Hence, this Petition. Petitioner raises the following issues for this Court’s resolution: I. WHETHER OR NOT THE [HONORABLE] COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DECISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, WHICH MERELY ADOPTS BY REFERENCE THE FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE [HLURB], IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MANDATE OF THE CONSTITUTION THAT THE DECISION SHOULD BE BASED ON THE FINDINGS OF FACTS AND LAW TO ARRIVE AT A DECISION; AND

II. WHETHER OR NOT THE [HONORABLE] COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT CONSIDERING THAT THE COMPLAINT OF THE RESPONDENTS LACKS CAUSE OF ACTION.[20] In its Memorandum,[21] the petitioner alleges that the Decision of the Office of the President, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, which merely adopted by reference the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners, without a recitation of the facts and law on which it was based, runs afoul of the mandate of Section 14, Article VIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which provides that: “No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and law on which it is based.” Office of the President, being a government agency, should have The adhered to this principle. Petitioner further avers that a full exposition of the facts and the law upon which a decision was based goes to the very essence of due process as it is intended to inform the parties of the factual and legal considerations employed to support a decision. The same was not complied with by the Office of the President when it rendered its one-page Decision dated 10 June 2003. Without a complete statement in the judgment of the facts proven, it is not possible to pass upon and determine the issues in the case, inasmuch as when the facts are not supported by evidence, it is impossible to administer justice to apply the law to the points argued, or to uphold the rights of the litigant who has the law on his side. Lastly, petitioner argues that the Complaint filed against it by the respondents stated no cause of action because the respondents have not yet paid in full the purchase price of the subject property. The right of action of the respondents to file a case with the HLURB would only accrue once they have fulfilled their obligation to pay the balance of the purchase price for the subject property. Hence, the respondents’ Complaint against the petitioner should have been dismissed outright by the HLURB for being prematurely filed and for lack of cause of action. The Petition is unmeritorious. The constitutional mandate that, “no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based,”22] does not preclude the validity of “memorandum decisions,” [ which adopt by reference the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the decisions of inferior tribunals.[23] In fact, in Yao v. Court of Appeals,[24] this Court has sanctioned the use of “memorandum decisions,” specie of succinctly written decisions by appellate courts in accordance with the provisions of Section 40,[25] B.P. Blg. a 129, as amended,[26] on the grounds of expediency, practicality, convenience and docket status of our courts. This Court likewise declared that “memorandum decisions” comply with the constitutional mandate.[27] This Court found in Romero v. Court of Appeals[28] that the Court of Appeals substantially complied with its constitutional duty when it adopted in its Decision the findings and disposition of the Court of Agrarian Relations in this wise: “We have, therefore, carefully reviewed the evidence and made a re-assessment of the same, and We are persuaded, nay compelled,

to affirm the correctness of the trial court’s factual findings and the soundness of its conclusion. For judicial convenience and expediency, therefore, We hereby adopt, by way of reference, the findings of facts and conclusions of the court a quo spread in its decision, as integral part of this Our decision.” (Underscoring supplied) In Francisco v. Permskul,[29] this Court similarly held that the following memorandum decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City did not transgress the requirements of Section 14, Article VIII of the 1997 Philippine Constitution: “MEMORANDUM DECISION After a careful perusal, evaluation and study of the records of this case, this Court hereby adopts by reference the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 63 and finds that there is no cogent reason to disturb the same. “WHEREFORE, judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed in toto.” (Underscoring supplied.) Hence, incorporation by reference is allowed if only to avoid the cumbersome reproduction of the decision of the lower courts, or portions thereof, in the decision of the higher court.[30] However, also in Permskul,[31] this Court laid down the conditions for the validity of memorandum decisions, to wit: The memorandum decision, to be valid, cannot incorporate the findings of fact and the conclusions of law of the lower court only by remote reference, which is to say that the challenged decision is not easily and immediately available to the person reading the memorandum decision. For the incorporation by reference to be allowed, it must provide for direct access to the facts and the law being adopted, which must be contained in a statement attached to the said decision. In other words, the memorandum decision authorized under Section 40 of B.P. Blg. 129 should actually embody the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the lower court in an annex attached to and made an indispensable part of the decision. It is expected that this requirement will allay the suspicion that no study was made of the decision of the lower court and that its decision was merely affirmed without a proper examination of the facts and the law on which it is based. The proximity at least of the annexed statement should suggest that such an examination has been undertaken. It is, of course, also understood that the decision being adopted should, to begin with, comply with Article VIII, Section 14 as no amount of incorporation or adoption will rectify its violation. The Court finds necessary to emphasize that the memorandum decision should be sparingly used lest it become an addictive excuse for judicial sloth. It is an additional condition for the validity that this kind of decision may be resorted to only in cases where the facts are in the main accepted by both parties and easily determinable by the judge and there are no doctrinal complications involved that will require an extended discussion of the laws involved. The memorandum decision may be employed in simple litigations only, such as ordinary collection cases, where the appeal is obviously groundless and deserves no more than the time needed to dismiss it. xxxx Henceforth, all memorandum decisions shall comply with the requirements herein set forth both as to the form prescribed and the occasions when they may be rendered. Any deviation will summon the strict enforcement of Article VIII, Section 14 of the Constitution and strike down the flawed judgment as a lawless disobedience.[32] In the case at bar, we quote verbatim the Decision dated 10 June 2003 of the Office of the President which adopted by reference the Decision dated 10 August 1994 of the HLURB Board of Commissioners: This resolves the appeal filed by [herein petitioner] Solid Homes, Inc. from the [D]ecision of the [HLURB] dated [10 August 1994]. After a careful study and thorough evaluation of the records of the case, this Office is convinced by the findings of the HLURB, thus we find no cogent reason to depart from the assailed [D]ecision. Therefore, we hereby adopt by reference the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the aforesaid [D]ecision, copy of which is hereto attached as “Annex A.” WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.[33] (Emphasis supplied). It must be stated that Section 14, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution need not apply to decisions rendered in administrative proceedings, as in the case a bar. Said section applies only to decisions rendered in judicial proceedings. In fact, Article VIII is titled “Judiciary,” all of its provisions have and particular concern only with respect to the judicial branch of government. Certainly, it would be error to hold or even imply that decisions of executive departments or administrative agencies are oblige to meet the requirements under Section 14, Article VIII. The rights of parties in administrative proceedings are not violated as long as the constitutional requirement of due process has been satisfied.[34] In the landmark case of Ang Tibay v. CIR, we laid down the cardinal rights of parties in administrative proceedings, as follows: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) The right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof. The tribunal must consider the evidence presented. The decision must have something to support itself. The evidence must be substantial. The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing,or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision.

The board or body should, in all controversial question, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reason for the decision rendered.[35] As can be seen above, among these rights are “the decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected;” that the decision be rendered “in such a manner that the parties to the proceedings can know and the various issues involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered.” Note that there is no requirement in Ang Tibay that the decision must express clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. For as long as the administrative decision is grounded on evidence, and expressed in a manner that sufficiently informs the parties of the factual and legal bases of the decision, the due process requirement is satisfied.

At bar, the Office of the President apparently considered the Decision of HLURB as correct and sufficient, and said so in its own Decision. The brevity of the assailed Decision was not the product of willing concealment of its factual and legal bases. Such bases, the assailed Decision noted, were already contained in the HLURB decision, and the parties adversely affected need only refer to the HLURB Decision in order to be able to interpose an informed appeal or action for certiorari under Rule 65. However, it bears observation that while decisions of the Office of the President need not comply with the constitutional requirement imposed on courts under Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution, the Rules of Court may still find application, although suppletory only in character and apply only whenever practicable and convenient. There is no mandate that requires the application of the Rules of Court in administrative proceedings. Even assuming arguendo that the constitutional provision invoked by petitioner applies in the instant case, the decision of the OP satisfied the standards set forth in the case of Permskul. Firstly, the Decision of the Office of the President readily made available to the parties a copy of the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners, which it adopted and affirmed in toto, because it was attached as an annex to its Decision. Secondly, the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the HLURB Board of Commissioners have been embodied in the Decision of the Office of the President and made an indispensable part thereof. With the attachment of a copy of the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners to the Decision of the Office of the President, the parties reading the latter can also directly access the factual and legal findings adopted from the former. As the Court of Appeals ratiocinated in its Decision dated 21 July 2004, “the facts narrated and the laws concluded in the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners should be considered as written in the Decision of the Office of the President. It was still easy for the parties to determine the facts and the laws on which the decision were based. Moreover, through the attached decision, the parties could still identify the issues that could be appealed to the proper tribunal.” [36] Thirdly, it was categorically stated in the Decision of the Office of the President that it conducted a careful study and thorough evaluation of the records of the present case and it was fully convinced as regards the findings of the HLURB Board of Commissioners. And lastly, the facts of the present case were not contested by the parties and it can be easily determined by the hearing officer or tribunal. Even the respondents admitted that, indeed, the total purchase price for the subject property has not yet been fully settled and the outstanding balance is yet to be paid by them. In addition, this case is a simple action for specific performance with damages, thus, there are neither doctrinal complications involved in this case that will require an extended discussion of the laws involved. Accordingly, based on close scrutiny of the Decision of the Office of the President, this Court rules that the said Decision of the Office of the President fully complied with both administrative due process and Section 14, Article VIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The Office of the President did not violate petitioner’s right to due process when it rendered its one-page Decision. In the case at bar, it is safe to conclude that all the parties, including petitioner, were well-informed as to how the Decision of the Office of the President was arrived at, as well as the facts, the laws and the issues involved therein because the Office of the President attached to and made an integral part of its Decision the Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners, which it adopted by reference. If it were otherwise, the petitioner would not have been able to lodge an appeal before the Court of Appeals and make a presentation of its arguments before said court without knowing the facts and the issues involved in its case. This Court also quotes with approval the following declaration of the Court of Appeals in its Decision on the alleged violation of petitioner’s right to due process: The contention of the [herein] petitioner that the said [D]ecision runs afoul to the Constitutional provision on due process cannot be given credence. The case already had gone through the Offices of the HLURB Arbiter and the Board of Commissioners where petitioner was given the opportunity to be heard and present its evidence, before the case reached the Office of the President which rendered the assailed [D]ecision after a thorough evaluation of the evidence presented. What is important is that the parties were given the opportunity to be heard before the [D]ecision was rendered. To nullify the assailed [D]ecision would in effect be a violation of the Constitution because it would deny the parties of the right to speedy disposition of cases.[37] Petitioner’s assertion that respondents’ complaint filed with the HLURB lacked a cause of action deserves scant consideration. Section 7 of the 1987 HLURB Rules of Procedure states that: Section 7. Dismissal of the Complaint or Opposition. – The Housing and Land Use Arbiter (HLA) to whom a complaint or opposition is assigned may immediately dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction or cause of action. (Emphasis supplied). It is noticeable that the afore-quoted provision of the 1987 HLURB Rules of Procedure used the word “may” instead of “shall,” meaning, that the dismissal of a complaint or opposition filed before the HLURB Arbiter on the ground of lack of jurisdiction or cause of action is simply permissive and not directive. The HLURB Arbiter has the discretion of whether to dismiss immediately the complaint or opposition filed before him for lack of jurisdiction or cause of action, or to still proceed with the hearing of the case for presentation of evidence. HLURB Arbiter Dean in his Decision explained thus: This Office is well aware of instances when complainants/petitioners fail, through excusable negligence, to incorporate every pertinent allegations (sic) necessary to constitute a cause of action. We will not hesitate to go outside of the complaint/petition and consider other available evidences if the same is necessary to a judicious, speedy, and inexpensive settlement of the issues laid before us or when there are reasons to believe that the [com]plaints are meritorious. “Administrative rules should be construed liberally in order to PROMOTE THEIR OBJECT AND ASSIST THE PARTIES IN OBTAINING A JUST, SPEEDY AND INEXPENSIVE DETERMINATION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE CLAIMS AND DEFENSES” (Mangubat vs. de Castro, 163 SCRA 608).[38] (Emphasis supplied). Given the fact that the respondents have not yet paid in full the purchase price of the subject property so they have yet no right to demand the execution and delivery of the Deed of Sale and the TCT, nevertheless, it was still within the HLURB Arbiter’s discretion to proceed hearing the respondents’ complaint in pursuit of a judicious, speedy and inexpensive determination of the parties’ claims and defenses. Furthermore, the Court of Appeals already sufficiently addressed the issue of lack of cause of action in its Decision, viz: The Offices below, instead of dismissing the complaint because of the clear showing that there was no full payment of the purchase price, decided to try the case and render judgment on the basis of the evidence presented. The complaint of the respondents does not totally lack cause of action because of their right against the cancellation of the contract to sell and the forfeiture of their payments

due to non-payment of their monthly amortization. xxxx The HLURB Arbiter in his [D]ecision, stated that it is undisputed that the contract price is not yet fully paid. This was affirmed by the HLURB Board of Commissioners and the Office of the President. No less than the respondents admitted such fact when they contended that they are willing to pay their unpaid balance. Without full payment, the respondents have no right to compel the petitioner to execute the Deed of Sale and deliver the title to the property. xxx. xxxx Lastly, notwithstanding such failure to pay the monthly amortization, the petitioner cannot consider the contract as cancelled and the payments made as forfeited. Section 24, PD 957 provides: “Section 24. Failure to pay installments. - The rights of the buyer in the event of his failure to pay the installments due for reasons other than the failure of the owner or developer to develop the project shall be governed by Republic Act No. 6552. x x x.” Section 4, RA 6552 or the Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act provides: “Section 4. In case where less than two years of installments were paid, the seller shall give the buyer a grace period of not less than sixty days from the date the installment became due. If the buyer fails to pay the installments due at the expiration of the grace period, the seller may cancel the contract after thirty days from receipt by the buyer of the notice of cancellation or the demand for rescission of the contract by a notarial act.” It is therefore clear from the above provisions that the petitioner cannot consider the [C]ontract to [S]ell as cancelled. The requirements above should still be complied with.[39] (Emphasis supplied). Hence, during the hearing conducted by HLURB Arbiter Dean, it became apparent that respondents’ cause of action against petitioner is not limited to the non-execution and non-delivery by petitioner of the Deed of Sale and TCT of the subject property, which is dependent on their full payment of the purchase price thereof; but also the wrongful rescission by the petitioner of the Contract to Sell. By virtue thereof, there is ample basis for HLURB Arbiter Dean not to dismiss respondents’ complaint against petitioner and continue hearing and resolving the case. As a final point. Based on the records of this case, respondents have tendered payment in the amount of P11,584.41,[40] representing the balance of the purchase price of the subject property, as determined in the 10 August 1994 Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners, and affirmed by both the Office of the President and the Court of Appeals. However, the petitioner, without any justifiable reason, refused to accept the same. In Ramos v. Sarao,[41] this Court held that tender of payment is the manifestation by debtors of their desire to comply with or to pay their obligation. If the creditor refuses the tender of payment without just cause, the debtors are discharged from the obligation by the consignation of the sum due. Consignation is made by depositing the proper amount with the judicial authority, before whom the tender of payment and the announcement of the consignation shall be proved. All interested parties are to be notified of the consignation. Compliance with these requisites is mandatory.[42] In the case at bar, after the petitioner refused to accept the tender of payment made by the respondents, the latter failed to make any consignation of the sum due. Consequently, there was no valid tender of payment and the respondents are not yet discharged from the obligation to pay the outstanding balance of the purchase price of the subject property. Since petitioner did not rescind the Contract to Sell it executed with the respondents by a notarial act, the said Contract still stands. Both parties must comply with their obligations under the said Contract. As ruled by the HLURB Board of Commissioners, and affirmed by the Office of the President and the Court of Appeals, the respondents must first pay the balance of the purchase price of the subject property, after which, the petitioner must execute and deliver the necessary Deed of Sale and TCT of said property. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. Costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED. Austria-Martinez, (Acting Chairperson), Tinga, Nachura, and Reyes, JJ., concur.

Maceda vs. Vasquez G.R. No. 102781, April 22, 1993 Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law Facts: Respondent Napoleon Abiera of PAO filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against petitioner RTC Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda. Respondent Abiera alleged that petitioner Maceda has falsified his certificate of service by certifying that all civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision for a period of 90 days have been determined and decided on or before January 31, 1989, when in truth and in fact, petitioner Maceda knew that no decision had been rendered in 5 civil and 10 criminal cases that have been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera alleged that petitioner Maceda falsified his certificates of service for 17 months. Issue: Whether or not the investigation made by the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the SC’s constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts Held: A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the SC for serious misconduct and under Sec. 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act. In the absence of any administrative action taken against him by the Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court’s power of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. Art. VIII, Sec. 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the SC administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the CA down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the SC that can oversee the judges’ and court personnel’s compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. Where a criminal complaint against a judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to the SC for determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties. A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC October 5, 1988 IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS NORTE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE.

PADILLA, J.: On 4 July 1988, Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Branch 19, sent this Court a letter which reads: Hon. Marcelo Fernan Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Manila Thru channels: Hon. Leo Medialdea Court Administrator Supreme Court of the Philippines Sir: By Executive Order RF6-04 issued on June 21, 1988 by the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Rodolfo C. Farinas, I was designated as a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice created pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 856 of 12 December 1986, as amended by Executive Order No. 326 of June 1, 1988. In consonance with Executive Order RF6-04, the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte issued my appointment as a member of the Committee. For your ready reference, I am enclosing herewith machine copies of Executive Order RF6-04 and the appointment. Before I may accept the appointment and enter in the discharge of the powers and duties of the position as member of the Ilocos (Norte) Provincial Committee on Justice, may I have the honor to request for the issuance by the Honorable Supreme Court of a Resolution, as follows: (1) Authorizing me to accept the appointment and to as assume and discharge the powers and duties attached to the said position; (2) Considering my membership in the Committee as neither violative of the Independence of the Judiciary nor a violation of Section 12, Article VIII, or of the second paragraph of Section .7, Article IX (B), both of the Constitution, and will not in any way amount to an abandonment of my present position as Executive Judge of Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, and as a member of the Judiciary; and (3) Consider my membership in the said Committee as part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge. May I please be favored soon by your action on this request. Very respectfully yours, (Sgd) RODOLFO U. MANZANO Judge An examination of Executive Order No. 856, as amended, reveals that Provincial/City Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of detainees, particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating jail congestion and improving local jail conditions. Among the functions of the Committee are— 3.3 Receive complaints against any apprehending officer, jail warden, final or judge who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of his duties and refer the same to proper authority for appropriate action;

3.5 Recommend revision of any law or regulation which is believed prejudicial to the proper administration of criminal justice. It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform administrative functions. Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for; their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc., vs. Tapucar, SP-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Blacks Law Dictionary). Furthermore, under Executive Order No. 326 amending Executive Order No. 856, it is provided that— Section 6. Supervision.—The Provincial/City Committees on Justice shall be under the supervision of the Secretary of justice Quarterly accomplishment reports shall be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Justice. Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by law shag not be designated to any agency performing quasi- judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges a administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the Court is constrained to deny his request. Former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in the case of Garcia vs. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably sets forth: 2. While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of the trust reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less. This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to help promote the laudable purposes for which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial duties. ACCORDINGLY, the aforesaid request of Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: 1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. (2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. (b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto. (c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue. (d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. (e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved. (3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned. (4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. (6) Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law

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