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LESSON not ratified by the City Council, a fact duly noted in an Audit Observation

174567- Vergara v OMB Memorandum dated 9 August 2002 and issued by the State Auditor Ruben C.
Carpio Pagaspas of the Commission on Audit; (2) 5 out of the 15 lots were registered under
the name of Philippine Sugar Estates Development Company (PSEDC) and not
The City Council issued a Resolution authorizing the Mayor to purchase the subject lots for
the construction of the new city hall. Petitioner filed a complaint against the mayor and the owned by the sellers; (3) no relocation survey prior to the sale; (4) two lots were
city treasurer before the Ombudsman for violation of Sec 3(e) of RA 3019. One of the offered by Fr. Sulpico at a lower price; (5) 4 lots were considered as road lots; (6) an
arguments raised by petitioner: the documents relating to the sale were not ratified by the existing barangay road and access road were included in the sale
city council. The Ombudsman dismissed the case for lack of probable cause. SC upheld 5. Ombudsman: issued a Resolution holding that there is no probable cause for holding
the resolution issued by the Ombudsman. According to the Court, Ombudsman’s finding respondents liable for said violation –
of probable cause, or lack of it, is entitled to great respect absent a showing of GADALEJ a. (1) subject properties have been transferred and are now registered in the
(policy of non-interference). In this case, the findings of the Ombudsman are supported by
name of City of Calamba;
substantial evidence. Re: the issue of ratification, SC held that ratification is not a condition
sine qua non for the Mayor to enter into contracts. LGC requires prior authority from the b. (2) the reasonableness of the purchase price could be deduced from the fact
City Council and not ratification. In this case, there was no bad faith on the part of the that the City bought them at 3,800 per sqm., an amount lower than their
Mayor when it purchased the subject lots since he was authorized by the City Council per zonal value at 6,000 per sqm.;
Resolution No. 28. c. (3) the terms and conditions of the sale were neither onerous or
burdensome since the City was able to immediately take possession of the
DOCTRINE lots although they have only paid 10% of the purchase price and was not
Ratification by the City Council is not condition sine qua non for a mayor to enter into required to pay interest on installment payments;
contracts; the resolution issued by the Sangguniang Panlungsod showed no evident bad
d. (4) no bad faith on the part of the Mayor since he had authority from the City
faith in purchasing the subject lots. The lack of ratification alone does not characterize the
purchase of the properties as one that gave unwarranted benefits; the Court has Council;
maintained its policy of non-interference with the Ombudsman’s exercise of its e. (5) re: alleged overpricing, the affidavit of Fr. Sulpico stated that those lots
investigatory and prosecutory powers in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. were excluded from the offer being creek easement lots;
f. (6) re: ownership, new titles were issued in the name of Panama with
FACTS PSEDC as the former registered owner;
1. Resolution No. 115. City Council of Calamba (city council) issued Resolution No. g. (7) the absence of relocation survey does not affect the validity of the
115, series 2011. It authorized Mayor Lajara to negotiate with landowners within the transactions.
vicinity of Batangas Real, Halang, and Uno, for a new city hall site. The choice for the 6. Respondents: (1) it is not sound practice to depart from the policy of non-interference
new city hall site was limited to properties owned by Pamana and a lot in Barangay in the Ombudsman’s exercise of discretion to determine whether to file an information
Saimsim, Calamba. against an accused; (2) out of the six PSEDC-owned lots, 4 were already transferred
2. Resolution No. 280. Authorizing mayor Lajara to purchase several lots owned by to Panama; (3) re: overpricing, the lower price offered by Fr. Sulpico had been
Pamana with a total area of 55, 190 sqm. He was also authorized to execute, sign superseded by his own denial of said offer during the meeting of Sangguniang
Panglungsod on November 14, 2002; (4) re: absence of ratification, Section 22 of
and deliver the required documents.
LGC spoke of prior authority not ratification; (5) re: absence of relocation survey, it
3. Pursuant to said resolutions, Mayor Lajara entered into the following agreements: (1) would not affect the validity of the transactions.
MOA which discussed the terms and conditions of the sale; (2) Deed of Sale; (3)
Deed of Real Estate Mortgage where the City mortgaged the same properties to ISSUE with HOLDING
Panaman and Prudential to secure the balance of the purchase price; (4) Deed of 1. W/N OMB committed GAOD when it dismissed the case against respondents –
Assignment of Internal Revenue, assigning the 2002-2003 IRAs of the City to Panama NO
and Prudential Bank. These documents were endorsed to the city council. a. The mandate of the Ombudsman is stated under Section 12, Article XI of the
4. Petitioner: filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Mayor Lajara and the Constitution. Section 13 of Art XI lists the powers and functions of the
city treasurer for alleged violation of Sec 3(e) of RA 3019 1– (1) the documents were Ombudsman which includes: “investigate on its own, or on complaint by any
person, any act or omission of any public official, office, or agency, when
such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.
1 b. Ombudsman Act granted the Office of the Ombudsman full administrative
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers
authority. Section 15 of the said Act reiterates the investigatory powers of
already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public the Ombudsman.
officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful.
e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party
any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government
or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions .
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however. however. could only mean actual injury or damage which must be established by evidence. d. the city mayor shall: xxx (vi) Represent the city in all its business transactions and sign in its behalf all bonds. may still review the findings of the Ombudsman on certain instances. In Rubio vs Ombudsman. W/N the documents should be ratified – NO a. The Court. contracts and obligations. is entitled to great respect absent a showing of GADALEJ. DISPOSITIVE PORTION Petition dismissed DIGESTER: Gab. the City Council issued Resolution No. Duties and Compensation. the court held that what is contextually punishable under Section 3(e) of RA 3019 is the act of causing any undue injury to any party. In this case. and such other documents upon authority of the sangguniang panlungsod or pursuant to law or ordinance. The exceptions (see doctrine). Furthermore. 2. Section 455. A legible copy of such contract shall be posted at a conspicuous place in the provincial capitol or the city. advantage or preference in the discharge of the public officers functions. are not present in this case. (b) For efficient. SC held in Pecho vs SB. Ombudsman’s findings were supported by substantial evidence. not ratification. or the giving to any private party unwarranted benefits. 2 Section 22. The ratification by the City Council is not a condition sine qua non for the local chief executive to enter into contracts on behalf of the city. Here. The Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause. or lack of it. In this case. municipal or barangay hall. Corporate Powers. xx (c) Unless otherwise provided in this Code. e. Chief Executive: Powers. there was no bad faith on the part of the Mayor in purchasing the subject lots. The Ombudsman’s power to investigate and prosecute is plenary and unqualified. It has the discretion to determine whether a criminal case should be filed or not. c. 280 which authorized Mayor Lajara to purchase the subject lots. effective and economical governance the purpose of which is the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code. Therefore. b. Ombudsman found that petitioner had not substantiated his claims against respondents. The lack of ratification alone does not characterize the purchase as one that gave unwarranted benefits to Panama or Prudential Bank or one that caused undue injury to the City. that causing undue injury to any party. 2 . The law requires prior authorization from the City Council per Section 22 (c) of the LGC and Section 4552. The court has consistently adopted a policy of non- interference in the exercise of Ombudsman’s constitutionally mandated powers. including the government. no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sanggunian concerned.