Recent Cases Penned by Justice Carpio-Morales

Santos-Concio v. DOJ, 29 Jan 2008 Remedial A complaint for purposes of conducting a preliminary investigation differs from a complaint for purposes of instituting a criminal prosecution. There should be no confusion about the objectives, since preliminary investigation is conducted precisely to elicit further facts or evidence. Being generally inquisitorial, the preliminary investigation stage is often the only means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a crime, to enable the preparation of a complaint or information. As clearly worded in Section 3 Rule 112, the complaint is not entirely the affidavit of the complainant, for the affidavit is treated as a component of the complaint. The phraseology recognizes that all necessary allegations need not be contained in a single document. It is unlike a criminal "complaint or information" where the averments must be contained in one document charging only one offense, non-compliance with which renders it vulnerable to a motion to quash. PLDT v. CIR, 31 Jan 2008 Taxation Tax refunds, like tax exemptions, are construed strictly against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority, and the taxpayer bears the burden of establishing the factual basis of his claim for a refund. It is incumbent on PLDT as a claimant for refund on behalf of each of the separated employees to show that (1) each employee received the income payments as part of gross income and (2) the fact of withholding (Section 32(B) 6 (b) of the National Internal Revenue Code). Silkair v. CIR, 6 Feb 2008 Taxation The proper party to question, or seek a refund of, an indirect tax is the statutory taxpayer, the person on whom the tax is imposed by law and who paid the same even if he shifts the burden thereof to another. The exemption granted under Section 135 (b) of the NIRC of 1997 and Article 4(2) of the Air Transport Agreement between RP and Singapore cannot, without a clear showing of legislative intent, be construed as including indirect taxes. Statutes granting tax exemptions must be construed in strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing authority, and if an exemption is found to exist, it must not be enlarged by construction. People v. Gandia, 6 Feb 2008 Remedial An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. Citibank v. NLRC, 6 Feb 2008 Labor While it is true that the Rules of the NLRC must be liberally construed and that the NLRC is not bound by the technicalities of law and procedure, the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC itself must not be the first to arbitrarily disregard specific provisions of the Rules which are precisely intended to assist the parties in obtaining just, expeditious, and inexpensive settlement of labor disputes. One such rule is the requirement for the submission of verified position papers within fifteen days from the date of the last conference, after which, the parties may not allege and present evidence on any new matter. The general prayer for “other reliefs” is applicable to those which are warranted by the law and facts alleged in the basic pleadings and not on a newly created issue. When an employee, despite repeated warnings from the employer, obstinately refuses to curtail a bellicose inclination such that it erodes the morale of co-employees, the same may be a ground for dismissal for serious misconduct. Acts destructive of the morale of one’s coemployees may be considered serious misconduct. Nicolas v. Sandiganbayan, 11 Feb 2008 Remedial A demurrer to evidence is an objection by one of the parties in an action to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law to make out a case or sustain the issue. The party filing the demurrer in effect challenges the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence. The Court is thus tasked to ascertain if there is competent or sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt. DBP v. Teston, 14 Feb 2008 Remedial, Political, Civil The concept of restitution as a consequence of rescission presupposes that the requirements of due process are followed. To require DBP to return the alleged P1,000,000 without first giving it an opportunity to present evidence would violate the Constitutional provision that "[n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” As DBP further contends, the Court of Appeals based its order for the refund of P1,000.000 on documents submitted before it. These documents, however, were not only mere photocopies but were never formally offered in evidence, contrary to the provision sof Section 3 of Rule 130 and Section 3 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. Hanjin v. Judge, 29 Feb 2008 Remedial, Criminal Motion for reconsideration as condition precedent for the filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65; exceptions. In violations of R.A. No. 3019 committed prior to the EDSA Revolution, the government as the aggrieved party could not have known of the violations at the time the questioned transactions were made. Moreover, no person would have dared to question the legality of those transactions. Thus, the counting of the prescriptive period commenced from the date of discovery of the offense after an exhaustive investigation by the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Behest Loans. The Court will not interfere with the Ombudsman’s determination as to the existence or non-existence of probable cause except if there is grave abuse of discretion. Elements of violations of Section 3(e) and (g) of RA 3019.

Yamamoto v. NLII, 16 Apr 2008 Mercantile, Civil Yamamoto, whom some of the officers of NLII want to kick out of said corporation, was advised in a letter that, before he gets out, he could reacquire the machinery which he contributed to NLII, provided that the value of said machines would be deducted from his capital contribution. The advice was followed by a request for Yamamoto to give his "comments on all the above, soonest." RULING: Promissory estoppel does not lie against respondents because what was proffered to Yamamoto was not a promise, but a mere offer, subject to his acceptance. Without acceptance, a mere offer produces no obligation. The mere ownership by a single stockholder of even all or nearly all of the capital stocks of a corporation is not by itself a sufficient ground to disregard the separate corporate personality. The elements of the applicability of the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate fiction must first be proven. Under the trust fund doctrine, the capital stock, property, and other assets of a corporation are regarded as equity in trust for the payment of corporate creditors which are preferred over the stockholders in the distribution of corporate assets. The distribution of corporate assets and property cannot be made to depend on the whims and caprices of the stockholders, officers, or directors of the corporation unless the indispensable conditions and procedures for the protection of corporate creditors are followed. Tan v. PCIB, 23 Apr 2008 Criminal Elements of a violation of BP 22. The total amount of the dishonored checks issued by petitioner was more than fully satisfied prior to respondent’s letter of demand. Such payment of the dishonored checks obliterated the criminal liability of petitioner. Penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the accused. And since penal laws should not be applied mechanically, the Court must determine whether the application of the penal law is consistent with the purpose and reason of the law. In the present case, it finds in the negative. OCA v. Judge, 30 Apr 2008 Ethics The Court finds that respondent is guilty of gross discourtesy in the course of official duties for failure to accord respect for the person and rights of the Judge. The belligerence he showed to the Judge, reflected in his letter to the Judge which was presented as evidence—a case of res ipsa loquitur—betrays his below-par conduct as a court employee. People v. Custodio, 4 Apr 2008 Remedial, Civil A rape victim is also entitled to an award of exemplary damages as it was proven, although not alleged in the informations, during the trial that the use of deadly weapon attended the commission of each of the crimes. While such circumstance cannot be appreciated for the purpose of fixing a heavier penalty, it can be considered as basis for an award of exemplary damages. Ortega v. SSC, 25 Jun 2008 Remedial

The petition was filed as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 but it contains a rider averring that it was filed also as a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. RULING: A party should not join both petitions in one pleading. A petition cannot be subsumed simultaneously under Rule 45 and Rule 65, nor may it delegate upon the court the task of determining under which rule the petition should fall. The remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive. China v. Co, 17 Sept 2008 Remedial Requisites for a writ of preliminary injunction: (a) the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial; (b) the right of the complainant is clear and unmistakable; and (c) there is an urgent and permanent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. Since a preliminary mandatory injunction commands the performance of an act, it does not preserve the status quo and is thus more cautiously regarded than a mere prohibitive injunction. Accordingly, the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction is justified only in a clear case, free from doubt or dispute. Ang v. CA, 29 Sept 2008 Civil In declaring that he owned and had clean title to the vehicle at the time the Deed of Absolute Sale was forged, Soledad gave an implied warranty of title. In pledging that he "will defend the same from all claims or any claim whatsoever [and] will save the vendee from any suit by the government of the Republic of the Philippines," Soledad gave a warranty against eviction. The prescriptive period to file a breach of an implied warranty is six months after the delivery of the vehicle, following Art. 1571. Requisites of a breach of the warranty against eviction in Article 1547. Calamba v. NLRC, 25 Nov 2008 Labor Participation in a strike and intransigence to a return-towork order must be duly proved in order to justify immediate dismissal in a "national interest" case. There is nothing in the records that would bear out Dr. Lanzanas' actual participation in the strike. The medical director's Memorandum is more than a general directive to all union officers and members to return-to-work. Mere membership in a labor union does not ipso facto mean participation in a strike. Dr. Merceditha’s dismissal was worse, it having been effected without any just or authorized cause and without observance of due process. In fact, petitioner never proferred any valid cause except its view that "her marriage to [Dr. Lanzanas] has given rise to the presumption that her sympath[y] [is] with her husband; [and] that when [Dr. Lanzanas] declared that he was going to boycott the scheduling of their workload by the medical doctor, he was presumed to be speaking for himself [and] for his wife.” The circulation of a watchlist containing names of alleged union members intended to prevent employment of workers in other hospitals (or other companies) constitutes unfair labor practice, thereby giving a right of action for damages by the employees prejudiced. PNB v. Deang, 8 Dec 2008 Remedial

A motion for extension of time to file a pleading must be filed before the expiration of the period sought to be extended. The court's discretion to grant a motion for extension is conditioned upon such motion's timeliness, the passing of which renders the court powerless to entertain or grant it. Altres v. Empleo, 10 Dec 2008 Remedial For the guidance of the bench and bar, the Court restates in capsule form the jurisprudential pronouncements respecting non-compliance with the requirements on, or submission of defective, verification and certification against forum shopping: 1) Non-compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective verification is distinct from non-compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective certification against forum shopping. 2) As to verification, non-compliance therewith or a defect therein does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. The court may order its submission or correction or act on the pleading if the attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with the Rule may be dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may be served thereby. 3) Verification is deemed substantially complied with when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct. 4) As to certification against forum shopping, noncompliance therewith or a defect therein, unlike in verification, is generally not curable by its subsequent submission or correction thereof, unless there is a need to relax the Rule on the ground of "substantial compliance" or presence of "special circumstances or compelling reasons." 5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed by all the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign will be dropped as parties to the case. Under reasonable or justifiable circumstances, however, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense, the signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the Rule. 6) The certification against forum shopping must be executed by the party-pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for reasonable or justifiable reasons, the partypleader is unable to sign, he must execute a Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of record to sign on his behalf. Madrigalejos v. Geminilou, 24 Dec 2008 Labor Constructive dismissal is a cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or diminution in pay or both; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee. The test of constructive dismissal is whether a reasonable person in the employee's position would have felt compelled to give up his job under the circumstances. Garcia v. PAL, 20 Jan 2009 Labor

The Court reaffirms the principle that even if the order of reinstatement of the Labor Arbiter is reversed on appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to reinstate and pay the wages of the dismissed employee during the period of appeal until reversal by the higher court. It settles the view that the Labor Arbiter's order of reinstatement is immediately executory and the employer has to either readmit them to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to their dismissal, or to reinstate them in the payroll, and that failing to exercise the options, employer must pay the employee’s salaries. However, the employee may be barred from collecting the accrued wages, if it is shown that the delay in enforcing the reinstatement pending appeal was without fault on the part of the employer, such as when the employer is under corporate rehabilitation. People v. Antonio, 20 Jan 2009 Remedial For a rape victim’s supposed Affidavit of Desistance to warrant a new trial, it must deny the truth of her complaint, not merely seek the withdrawal of appellant’s prosecution. Her statement that there is no sufficient basis for her father to be convicted of rape and it is unjust to convict her father and let him suffer ("walang sapat na batayan at hindi makatarungan na mahatulan at magdusa ang aking amang si Elpidio Antonio") is just a legal conclusion. Spouses v. Dizon, 21 Jan 2009 Civil The presumption of equitable mortgage is not conclusive. It may be rebutted by competent and satisfactory proof of the contrary. Here, ample evidence supports petitioners’ claim that the transaction between them and respondent was one of sale with option to repurchase. While after the sale of the property respondent remained therein, her stay was not in the concept of an owner. Also, considering that the assessed value of the land and its improvements at the time of the sale was P29,850, the P550,000 purchase price is not inadequate. Macasero v. , 30 Jan 2009 Labor An illegally dismissed employee is entitled to two separate and distinct reliefs: backwages and reinstatement. In instances where reinstatement is no longer feasible because of strained relations between the employee and the employer, separation pay in lieu of reinstatement is granted. The normal consequences of respondents’ illegal dismissal, then, are reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, and payment of backwages computed from the time compensation was withheld up to the date of actual reinstatement. Where reinstatement is no longer viable, separation pay equivalent to 1 month salary for every year of service should be awarded. The payment of separation pay is in addition to payment of backwages. People v. Corpuz, 30 Jan 2009 Remedial, Criminal The supposed stepfather-stepdaughter relationship between appellant and AAA, was alleged in each of the Informations. This relationship as a qualifying circumstance presupposes that the victim’s mother and the accused contracted marriage. The prosecution, however, did not present proof that AAA’s mother and appellant did contract marriage. What appellant claimed is that they are merely common-law spouses ("live-in" partners), which could also qualify the offense but only if the same is alleged in each of the Informations and proven at the trial.

The appellate court thus correctly held that appellant committed 6 counts of simple rape. RFM v. Kasapian, 4 Feb 2009 Labor If the terms of a CBA are clear and have no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, as the literal meaning thereof shall prevail. As such, the daily-paid employees must be paid their regular salaries on the holidays which are so declared by the national government, regardless of whether they fall on rest days, per the CBA. If the parties intended the provision in question to cover payment only during holidays falling on work or weekdays, it should have been so incorporated therein. Central v. Citytrust, 4 Feb 2009 Mercantile The contract between the bank and its depositor is governed by the provisions of the Civil Code on simple loan. The depositor lends money to the bank and the bank agrees to pay the depositor on demand. The savings deposit agreement between the bank and the depositor is the contract that determines the rights and obligations of the parties. The law imposes on banks high standards in view of the fiduciary nature of banking, which standards are deemed written into every deposit agreement. MERALCO v. Hsing, 12 Feb 2009 Criminal MERALCO admitted that no police officer or ERB representative was present during the inspection, removal and subsequent replacement of the electric meters alleged to have been tampered with, hence, the requirement of the law was not complied with – a lapse fatal to MERALCO’s cause. It also did not present the allegedly tampered meters. By such failure, the allegations of meter tampering are unsubstantiated. Pan v. Peña, 13 Feb 2009 Political A reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It alters the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them to make the bureaucracy more responsive to the needs of the public clientele as authorized by law. It could result in the loss of one’s position through removal or abolition of an office. A reorganization, however, must pass the test of good faith, otherwise it is void ab initio. People v. Dela Cruz, 24 Feb 2009 Remedial, Criminal Any oral or documentary evidence is hearsay if its probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of the witnesses but on the knowledge of some other person who was never presented on the witness stand, because it is the opportunity to cross-examine which negates the claim that the matters testified to by a witness are hearsay. Convicted for both robbery and carnapping, appellant argues that even if the allegation on the loss of some cash were true, the same should be absorbed in carnapping since carnapping and robbery have the same element of taking with intent to gain. Carnapping refers specifically to the taking of a motor vehicle. It does not cover the

taking of cash or personal property which is not a motor vehicle. La Rosa v. Ambassador, 13 Mar 2009 Labor Abandonment is a matter of intention and cannot lightly be inferred or legally presumed. Two requisites must concur: (1) the employee must have failed to report for work or must have been absent without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) there must have been a clear intention on the part of the employee to sever the employment relationship as manifested by some overt acts. The second element is the more determinative factor. Abandonment as a just ground for dismissal thus requires clear, willful, deliberate, and unjustified refusal of the employee to resume employment. Mere absence or failure to report for work, even after notice to return, is not tantamount to abandonment. Quesada v. CA, 13 March 2009 Remedial The relief that should be granted to the judgment creditorplaintiff in a complaint for revival of a judgment depends upon the contents of the judgment in said complaint, and not on what was granted in the judgment sought to be revived. Somer v. International, 13 March 2009 Mercantile, Civil While Opinions issued by the SEC are not binding upon the courts, they have a persuasive effect. A private corporation going to the aid of a sister corporation acts for the best interest of both corporations for in doing so, the two are enhancing, boosting, and promoting a common interest, the interest of "family" owning both corporations. Also, Courts are loathe to overturn decisions of the management of a corporation in the conduct of its business via its Board of Directors. The ratification and/or approval by the corporation of the acts of its agents/officers may be ascertained through the acquiescence in his acts of a particular nature, with actual or constructive thereof, whether within or beyond the scope of his ordinary powers. Equity rule: if one maintains silence when, in conscience he ought to speak, equity will debar him from speaking when, in conscience, he ought to remain silent. Westmont v. Inland, 23 Mar 2009 Mercantile The general rule remains that, in the absence of authority from the board of directors, no person, not even its officers, can validly bind a corporation. If a corporation, however, consciously lets one of its officers, or any other agent, to act within the scope of an apparent authority, it will be estopped from denying such officer’s authority. A corporation should first prove by clear evidence that its corporate officer is not in fact authorized to act on its behalf before the burden of evidence shifts to the other party to prove, by previous specific acts, that an officer was clothed by the corporation with apparent authority. Motorola v. Ambrocio, 30 Mar 2009 Labor Not only was there a considerable delay of 11 days beyond the 15-day reglementary period; no explanation therefor was proffered by respondents. That respondents numbered

more than a hundred does not, per se, justify the relaxation of procedural rules. The unexplained delay in the filing of their MR before the appellate court is not just an excusable technical lapse. More importantly, it is a jurisdictional defect which rendered the Resolution sought to be reconsidered final and executory. Virgen v. Barraquio, 16 Apr 2009 Labor Resignation is defined as the voluntary act of an employee who finds himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service and he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment. Bacolod v. Dela Cruz, 30 Apr 2009 Labor On the twin-notice rule: The letter of suspension sent to respondent did not comply with the required first notice, the purpose of which is to apprise the employee of the cause for termination and to give him reasonable opportunity to explain his side. Neither did the confrontation before the barangay council constitute as first notice—to give the employee ample opportunity to be heard with the assistance of counsel, if he so desires. Hearings before the barangay council do not afford the employee ample opportunity to be represented by counsel if he so desires because the Local Government Code mandates that "[i]n all katarungang pambarangay proceedings, the parties must appear in person without the assistance of counsel or his representatives, except for minors and incompetents who may be assisted by their next-of-kin who are not lawyers." People v. Dioneda, 30 Apr 2009 Remedial Forthright witnesses, such as the one here (a child), are not immune from committing minor inaccuracies in their narration of events. Trivial inconsistencies and inconsequential discrepancies on minor details in the testimonies of witness do not impair their credibility. They could, in fact, be badges of truth for they manifest spontaneity and erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. As long as the inconsistencies are immaterial or irrelevant to the elements of the crime and do not touch on material facts crucial to the guilt or innocence of the accused as in the present case, these are not valid grounds to reverse a conviction.