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Impartial and Competent Court



Claudio Teehankee, Jr. was 2 counts of murder and 1 count of frustrated murder. On appeal from the RTC, his
lawyers contended that he was denied the right to an impartial trial because the publicity of his case was
massive, overwhelming and prejudicial. The lawyers relied on a number of news accounts reporting the
progress in the investigation of the case. They presented seven (7) newspaper reporters as witnesses and the
news clippings. They claimed that because of the press, there was pressure on the Trial Court Judge from high-
ranking government officials.

ISSUE: Whether Teehankee was denied the right to an Impartial Trial.

He was not denied the right to impartial trial due to prejudicial publicity. It is true that the print and broadcast
media gave the case at bar pervasive publicity, just like all high profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and
now, we rule that the right of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free press. To be sure, responsible
reporting enhances an accused's right to a fair trial because it guards against the miscarriage of justice by
subjecting in the police, prosecutors, and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism."

Our idea of a fair and impartial judge is not that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We have not
installed the jury system whose members are overly protected from publicity lest they lose their impartiality.
Our judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence and on-camera performances of
parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to publications and publicity stunts does not per se fatally infect their

Also, it was found that the Judge voluntarily inhibited himself but the Supreme Court found no evidence
for bias against the judge.

Not Impartial
Javier v. Comelec,Pacificador 144 SCRA 194
The petitioner and the private respondent were candidates in Antique for the BatasangPambansa in
the May 1984 elections. The former appeared to enjoy more popular support but the latter had the
advantage of being the nominee of the KBL with all its perquisites of power. On May 13, 1984, the
eve of the elections, the bitter contest between the two came to a head when several followers of the
petitioner were ambushed and killed, allegedly by the latter's men. It was in this atmosphere that the
voting was held, and the post-election developments were to run true to form. Owing to what he
claimed were attempts to railroad the private respondent's proclamation, the petitioner went to the
Commission on Elections to question the canvass of the election returns. He stated that “massive
terrorism, intimidation, duress, vote-buying, fraud, tampering and falsification of election returns under
duress, threat and intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes perpetrated by the armed men of
Pacificador.” COMELEC just referred the complaints to the AFP. On May 18, 1984, the Second
Division of the Commission on Elections directed the provincial board of canvassers of Antique to
proceed with the canvass but to suspend the proclamation of the winning candidate until further
orders. On June 7, 1984, the same Second Division ordered the board to immediately convene and to
proclaim the winner without prejudice to the outcome of the case before the Commission. On July 23,
1984, the Second Division promulgated which proclaimed Arturo F. Pacificador the elected
assemblyman of the province of Antique.
This decision was signed by ChairmanVictorianoSavellano and Commissioners Jaime Opinion
and Froilan M. Bacungan. Jaime Opinion was formerly a law partner of the private respondent.
He was asked not to participate in the deliberations but insisted on participating in the case,
denying that he was biased.
The case was still being considered by the SC when on February 11, 1986, the petitioner was gunned
down. This ruthless murder was possibly one of the factors that strengthened the cause of the
Opposition in the February revolution that toppled the Marcos regime and installed the present
government under President Corazon C. Aquino.
Whether the judgement was impartial
No. Opinion was related to Pacificador (private respondent). Given the general attitude of the
Commission on Elections toward the party in power at the time, and the particular relationship
between Commissioner Opinion and Pacificador, one could not be at least apprehensive, if not
certain, that the decision of the body would be adverse to the petitioner. As in fact it was.
Commissioner Opinion's refusal to inhibit himself and his objection to the transfer of the case to
another division cannot be justified by any criterion of propriety. His conduct on this matter belied his
wounded protestations of innocence and proved the motives of the Second Division when it rendered
its decision.
"The cold neutrality of an impartial judge" as the indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster
that requirement, the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an
added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The litigants are entitled to no less than
that. They should be sure that when their rights are violated they can go to a judge who shall give
them justice. They must trust the judge, otherwise they will not go to him at all. They must believe in
his sense of fairness, otherwise they will not seek his judgment. Without such confidence, there would
be no point in invoking his action for the justice they expect. The relationship of the judge with one of
the parties may color the facts and distort the law to the prejudice of a just decision. Where this is
probable or even only possible, due process demands that the judge inhibit himself, if only out of a
sense of delicadez. Commissioner Opinion, being a lawyer, should have recognized his duty and
abided by this well-known rule of judicial conduct. For refusing to do so, he divested the Second
Division of the necessary vote for the questioned decision, assuming it could act, and rendered the
proceeding null and void. He should have refrained from taking part in deciding the case.
Hence, the judgement was not impartial.
Note: the case is moot and academic but the SC nevertheless decided the issue on impartial

Galman vs. Sandiganbayan, 144 SCRA 43 (1986)

FACTS: Assassination of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. He was killed from his plane that had just landed at
the Manila International Airport. His brain was smashed by a bullet fired point-blank into the back of his head by an
assassin. The military investigators reported within a span of three hours that the man who shot Aquino (whose identity
was then supposed to be unknown and was revealed only days later as Rolando Galman) was a communist-hired
gunman, and that the military escorts gunned him down in turn.
President was constrained to create a Fact Finding Board to investigate due to large masses of people who joined in the
ten-day period of national mourning yearning for the truth, justice and freedom.
The fact is that both majority and minority reports were one in rejecting the military version stating that "the evidence
shows to the contrary that Rolando Galman had no subversive affiliations. Only the soldiers in the staircase with Sen.
Aquino could have shot him; that Ninoy's assassination was the product of a military conspiracy, not a communist plot.
Only difference between the two reports is that the majority report found all the twenty-six private respondents above-
named in the title of the case involved in the military conspiracy; while the chairman's minority report would exclude
nineteen of them.
Then Pres. Marcos rejected the board’s findings and stated that evidence shows that Galman was the killer.
Petitioners pray for issuance of a TRO enjoining respondent court from rendering a decision in the two criminal cases
before it, the Court resolved by nine-to-two votes 11 to issue the restraining order prayed for. But ten days later, the
Court by the same nine-to-two-vote ratio in reverse, resolved to dismiss the petition and to lift the TRO issued ten days
earlier enjoining the Sandiganbayan from rendering its decision.
Thus, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging that the dismissal did not indicate the legal ground for such
action and urging that the case be set for a full hearing on the merits that the people are entitled to due process.
However, respondent Sandiganbayan issued its decision acquitting all the accused of the crime charged, declaring them
innocent and totally absolving them of any civil liability. Respondents submitted that with the Sandiganbayan's verdict of
acquittal, the instant case had become moot and academic. Thereafter, same Court majority denied petitioners' motion
for reconsideration for lack of merit.
Hence, petitioners filed their motion to admit their second motion for reconsideration alleging that respondents committed
serious irregularities constituting mistrial and resulting in miscarriage of justice and gross violation of the constitutional
rights of the petitioners and the sovereign people of the Philippines to due process of law.

ISSUE: (1) Whether or not petitioner was deprived of his rights as an accused.

RULING: YES. Petitioners' second motion for reconsideration is granted and ordering a re-trial of the said cases.
Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera affirmed the allegations in the second motion for reconsideration that he revealed
that the Sandiganbayan Justices and Tanodbayan prosecutors were ordered by Marcos to whitewash the Aquino-Galman
murder case. Malacañang wanted dismissal to the extent that a prepared resolution was sent to the Investigating Panel.
Malacañang Conference planned a scenario of trial where the former President ordered then that the resolution be
revised by categorizing the participation of each respondent; decided that the presiding justice, Justice Pamaran, (First
Division) would personally handle the trial. A conference was held in an inner room of the Palace. Only the First Lady and
Presidential Legal Assistant Justice Lazaro were with the President. The conferees were told to take the back door in
going to the room where the meeting was held, presumably to escape notice by the visitors in the reception hall waiting
to see the President.
The President had stage-managed in and from Malacañang Palace "a scripted and predetermined manner of handling and
disposing of the Aquino-Galman murder case;" and that "the prosecution in the Aquino-Galman case and the Justices who
tried and decided the same acted under the compulsion of some pressure which proved to be beyond their capacity to
resist. Alsopredetermined the final outcome of the case" of total absolution of the twenty-six respondents-accused of all
criminal and civil liability. Pres. Marcos came up with a public statement aired over television that Senator Aquino was
killed not by his military escorts, but by a communist hired gun.
More so was there suppression of vital evidence and harassment of witnesses. The disappearance of witnesses two weeks
after Ninoy's assassination. The partiality of Sandiganbayan betrayed by its decision: That President Marcos had wanted
all of the twenty-six accused to be acquitted may not be denied. In rendering its decision, the Sandiganbayan overdid
itself in favoring the presidential directive. Its bias and partiality in favor of the accused was clearly obvious. The evidence
presented by the prosecution was totally ignored and disregarded.
The record shows that the then President misused the overwhelming resources of the government and his authoritarian
powers to corrupt and make a mockery of the judicial process in the Aquino-Galman murder cases. "This is the evil of
one-man rule at its very worst."
Impartial court is the very essence of due process of law. This criminal collusion as to the handling and treatment of the
cases by public respondents at the secret Malacañangconference completely disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan and
voided ab initio its verdict. The courts would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be used as mere tools of
injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth. More so, in the case at bar where the people and the
world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity of our judicial system is at stake.

Luis A. Tabuena, et al. vs. Sandiganbayan (268 SCRA 332, February 17, 1997)
Then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos instructed Luis Tabuena, General Manager of the ManilaInternational Airport
Authority (MIAA), over the phone to pay directly to the president’soffice and in cash what the MIAA owes the Phil.
National Construction Corp. The verbalinstruction was reiterated in a Presidential memorandum.In obedience to Pres.
Marcos’ instruction, Tabuena, with the help of Gerardo Dabao
andAdolfo Peralta, the Asst. Gen. Mgr. and the Acting Finance Services Mgr. of MIAA,respectively, caus
ed the release of P55M of MIAA funds of three (3) withdrawals anddelivered the money to Mrs. Fe Roa-Gimenez,
private secretary of Marcos. Gimenez issueda receipt for all the amounts she received from Tabuena. Later, it turned
out that PNCCnever received the money.The case involves two (2) separate petitions for review by Luis Tabuena and
Adolfo Peralta.They appeal the Sandiganbayan decision convicting them of malversation of MIAA funds inthe amount of
P55M.Further, petitioners claimed that they were charged with intentional malversation, asalleged in the ame
nded information, but it would appear that they were convicted formalversation with negligence. Hence, their
conviction of a crime different from that chargedviolated their constitutional right to be informed of the accusation.

ISSUE: (1)W hether or not the Sandiganbayan convicted them of a crime not charged in the amended
information; and(2)W hether or not Tabuena and Peralta acted in good faith.
HELD:(1)No. Malversation is com m itted either intentionally or by negligence. The
Dolo or the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony. Even if the mode charged
differs from the mode proved, the same offense of malversation isinvolved.(2)Yes. Tabuena acted in strict
compliance with the MARCOS Mem orandum. The order emanated from the
Office of the President
and bears the signature of the Presidenthimself, the highest official of the land. It carries with it the presumption
that it wasregularly issued. And on its face, the memorandum is patently lawful for no law makesthe payment of an
obligation illegal. This fact, coupled with the urgent tenor for its execution constrains one to act swiftly without
question.However, a more compelling reason for the ACQUITTAL is the violation of the accused'sbasic
constitutional right to due process. Records show that the Sandiganbayan activelytook part in the
questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves.
Thequestions of the court were in the nature of cross exam inations characteristic of confrontation, probing
and insinuation. Tabuena and Peralta may not have raised the issueas an error, there is nevertheless no impediment
for the court to consider such matter asadditional basis for a reversal since the settled doctrine is that an appeal throws
the wholecase open to review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such errorsas may be found in
the judgment appealed from whether they are made the subject of assignments of error or not.The "
cold neutrality of an impartial judge
" requirement of due process was certainly deniedTabuena and Peralta when the court, with its overzealousness,
assumed the dual role of magistrate and advocate. Time and again the Court has declared that due process requiresno
less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. That the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be
impartial, to give added assurance to the parties thathis decision will be just. The parties are entitled to
no less than this, as a minimumguaranty of due process.HENCE, Luis Tabuena and Adolfo Peralta are acquitted of
the crime of malversation

He [the judge] may properly intervene in a trial of a case to promote expedition, and prevent unnecessary waste of time,
or to clear up some obscurity, but he should bear in mind that his undue interference, impatience, or participation in the
examination of witnesses, or a severe attitude on his part toward witnesses, especially those who are excited or terrified
by the unusual circumstances of a trial, may tend to prevent the proper presentation of the cause, or the ascertainment of
the truth in respect thereto.

The impartiality of the judge his avoidance of the appearance of becoming the advocate of either one side or the other of
the pending controversy is a fundamental and essential rule of special importance in criminal cases...

Our courts, while never unmindful of their primary duty to administer justice, without fear or favor, and to dispose of these
cases speedily and in as inexpensive a manner as is possible for the court and the parties, should refrain from showing
any semblance of one-sided or more or less partial attitude in order not to create any false impression in the minds of the
litigants. For obvious reasons, it is the bounden duty of all to strive for the preservation of the peoples faith in our courts.

Time and again this Court has declared that due process requires no less than the cold neutrality of an impartial
judge. Bolstering this requirement, we have added that the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be
impartial, to give added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The parties are entitled to no less than this,
as a minimum guaranty of due process.

We are well aware of the fear entertained by some that this decision may set a dangerous precedent in that those
guilty of enriching themselves at the expense of the public would be able to escape criminal liability by the mere expedient
of invoking good faith. It must never be forgotten, however, that we render justice on a case to case basis, always in
consideration of the evidence that is presented. Thus, where the evidence warrants an acquittal, as in this case, we are
mandated not only by the dictates of law but likewise of conscience to grant the same. On the other hand, it does not
follow that all those similarly accused will necessarily be acquitted upon reliance on this case as a precedent. For the
decision in this case to be a precedent, the peculiar circumstances and the evidence that led to the petitioners acquittal
must also be present in subsequent cases.
People vsOpida
Gr. No. L-46272

Alberto Opido and Virginio Marcelo were charged with murder as conspirators and sentenced to death for
killing Fabian Galvan. The basis of their conviction was the testimony of the two prosecution witnesses, neither
of whom positively said that the accused were at the scene of the crime. Their extrajudicial confessions were
then secured without the assistance of a counsel. The judge also conducted an interrogation of the two
accused and their lone witness, LilianLayug it a manner which is hardly judicious and certainly far from judicial,
at times irrelevant at worst malicious. Opida then challenged his extrajudicial confession as it has been
obtained without the assistance of a counsel and that he had been repeatedly hit with a “dos por dos” by a
police officer while he was being investigated.

Issue:Whether Opida’s constitutional right of due process has been violated.

Ruling: Yes. The constitutional rights of due process has been violated as the rights guaranteed during custodial
investigation are not supposed to be merely communicated to the suspect, especially if he is unlettered, but
must be painstakingly explained to him so he can understand their nature and significance. Moreover,
manhandling of any sort will vitiate any extrajudicial confession that may be extracted from him and renders it
inadmissible in evidence against him.
The accused who are admittedly notorious criminals nevertheless are entitled to be presumed innocent until
the contrary was proved and had a right not to be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of
law. The judge disregarded these guarantees and was in fact all eager to convict the accused, who had
manifestly earned his enmity. Thus, he was betraying a pre-judgment long before made and obviously waiting
only to be formalized.
In any event, convictions are based not on the mere appearance of the accused but on his actual commission
of crime, to be ascertained with the pure objectivity of the true judge who must uphold the law for all without
favour or malice and always with justice. The judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be
impartial, to give added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just.

El Banco Español-Filipino vs. Palanca [1918]

FACTS: EngracioPalanca was indebted to El Banco and he had his parcel of land as security to
his debt. His debt amounted to P218,294.10. His property is worth 75k more than what he owe.
Due to the failure of Engracio to make his payments, El Banco executed an instrument to
mortgage Engracio’s property. Engracio however left for China and he never returned til he
died. Since Engracio is a non resident El Banco has to notify Engracio about their intent to sue
him by means of publication using a newspaper. The lower court further orderdd the clerk of
court to furnish Engracio a copy and that it’d be sent to Amoy, China. The court eventually
granted El Banco petition to execute Engracio’s property. 7 years thereafter, Vicente surfaced
on behalf of Engracio as his administrator to petition for the annulment of the ruling. Vicente
averred that there had been no due process as Engracionever received the summons.

ISSUE:Whetherthe trial court acquired the necessary jurisdiction over the property to proceed
with the foreclosure proceeding?

HELD:Yes. The action to foreclose a mortgage is quasi in rem. The property itself is the sole
thing which is impleaded and which is the subject of the exercise of judicial power. The
jurisdiction of the court is derived from the power which it possesses over the property. The
jurisdiction over the person is non-essential.

The jurisdiction of the court over the property, considered as the exclusive object of such action,
is evidently based upon the following conditions and considerations, namely:
(1) that the property is located within the district;
(2) that the purpose of the litigation is to subject the property by sale to an obligation fixed upon
it by the mortgage; and
(3) that the court at a proper stage of the proceedings takes the property into custody, if
necessary, and expose it to sale for the purpose of satisfying the mortgage debt. An obvious
corollary is that no other relief can be granted in this proceeding than such as can be enforced
against the property.

Moreover, the decision is binding only between the parties. Further, jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant is not essential because the jurisdiction of the court is derived
from the power which it possesses over the property, and the relief granted by the court is
limited to such as can be enforced against the property itself.


FACTS: Adora Cruz, et al., filed for the recovery of the parcels of lands against Palmenco, et al. in Civil Cases
No. 630 and No. 631 of the Municipal Trial Court of Taytay, Rizal. Palmenco, et al, although occupants of a
portion of the subject parcel of land in Civil Cases No. 630 and No. 631, were not impleaded as defendants in
said cases. The MTC ruled in favor of Cruz and issued a writ of execution. This was resisted until it reached the
Supreme Court.

ISSUE: Whether the writ of execution is enforced is a violation of due process

As stated from the facts, they were not impleaded as defendants in the case for which reason any judgment
rendered in said cases and any order of writ issued therein cannot be enforced against them.

It may be laid down with certainty that the requirements of due process [are] satisfied if the following
conditions are present namely: (1) There must be a court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and
determine the matter before it; (2) jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or
over the property which is the subject of the proceedings; (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be
heard; and (4) judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing.

The 2nd requisite, jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired, is not present. This is because they were not impleaded
in the case. They were not summoned to appear and present their defenses to resist the claims of Cruz.
Lawful Hearing
FILEMON DAVID, petitioner,

Facts:In 1971, Private respondents were installed as share tenants by petitioner over separate
portions of the latter's landholding situated at Polomolok, South Cotabato, each portion having a
seeding capacity of two (2) hectares, more or less, their sharing agreement being 50-50% of the net
produce; that the parcels they were cultivating are devoted to the production of corn crops, the
produce per hectare being 60 to 70 cavans in corn cobs; that sometime in the middle part of 1973,
private respondents were no longer allowed to continue their cultivation of the subject lots as
petitioner-landholder prohibited them from doing so and took possession of said lots for no reason at
all; that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Team Office at General Santos intervened for the
immediate reinstatement of private respondents to their respective portions, but such intervention was
to no avail as petitioner-landholder refused and still refuses to reinstate them, and that because of
such unlawful act, private respondents suffered and will continue to suffer damages and litigation
On June 29, 1978, after the issues were joined, the respondent Judge issued an order directing the
Department of Agrarian Reform to cover the land in area under operation Land Transfer.
Three months later, or on September 29, 1979, respondent Judge without conducting any hearing
rendered judgment for Ricardo and Felomeno stating that they were tenants of Filemon C. David and
directing the provincial Commander, Philippine Constabular of South Cotabato to install peacefully
Ricardo and Felomeno to the land.
Petitioner seeks to annul and set aside the aforesaid order and decision of respondent Judge
Aquilizan on the ground that his right of due process was violated by not conducting a hearing before
the reinstatement of Felomeno and Ricardo.
Whether due process is observed
No. respondent judge did not conduct any hearing in the case prior to issuance of the challenged
decision, the unavoidable conclusion is that the challenged decision is null and void for want of due
process. The following requisites, as set forth in a leading case before the 1935 Constitution took
effect, must concur for procedural due process in civil cases:
"(1) there must be a court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter
before it;
(2) Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which
is the subject of the proceeding;
(3) The defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard; and
(4) Judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing."
Thus, it is well-settled rule that "no one shall be personally bound until he has had a day in court", by
which is meant, until he has been duly cited to appear, and has been afforded an opportunity to be
heard. Judgment without such citation and opportunity lacks all the attributes of a judicial
determination; it is a judicial usurpation and oppression, and can never be upheld where justice is
justly administered.Being null and void from its inception, the decision sought to be set aside does not
exist in the eyes of the law because it is "as though it had not been done. In legal contemplation, it is
no judgment at all.
Note: Even if David did not appeal, the decision cannot be considered to be final and executory
because the judgment is not a valid one.
Hence, due process is not observed and respondent judge is directed to conduct appropriate
proceedings in the case.

Pagasian v. Azura, G.R. No. RTJ-89

Facts: Judge Cesar P. Azura is charged with having knowingly rendered an unjust judgment against Oscar Palma
Pagasian. The latter’s sworn complaint draws attention to a decision rendered by His Honor in a criminal prosecution for
theft of large cattle entitled "People v. Vicente Dumo, Sr. and Vicente Dumo, Jr.," in which the complainant, the barangay
captain in the locality, was one of the witnesses for the prosecution. The complaint alleges that although the complainant,
Pagasian, was "not in any manner, shape or form an accused in said . . . case," respondent Judge - in his decision
acquitting both accused "for utter lack of evidence" — nevertheless declared him guilty of "clear violations of the
provisions of the fundamental law of the land and against human rights," and sentenced him to pay a fine of P200.00.

Barangay Captain Pagasian, after receiving a report from Luciana Degala, that she had lost a carabao, which was found,
dead, near the house of the accused Vicente Dumo, Sr.; accompanied by a policeman, he had later gone to see Dumo,
Sr. and asked him "if the cart under his house was his," and on receiving an affirmative answer, he used the cart to haul
the bull away and then deposited the cart at the municipal building of Talisayan "for safe-keeping." After pronouncing the
government evidence insufficient to prove the defendants’ guilt, the decision went on to characterize the taking of the
cart as a "confiscation," as "a seizure . . . made without any search or seizure warrant issued by any judge," and its use
in evidence as violative of the Constitution.
Issue: WON the decision of the Judge was valid
Held: NO.
Respondent Judge appears to have regrettably lost sight of an even more fundamental and familiar constitutional
precept: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law" (Sec. 1, Art. III,
Constitution). This safeguard, the first listed in the Bill of Rights, includes what is known as procedural due process that
guarantees a procedure which, according to Daniel Webster, "hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and
renders judgment only after trial." It is made more particular in a subsequent section: "No person shall be held to answer
for a criminal offense without due process of law" (Sec. 14 [a]). In said Criminal Case, the complaining witness had
absolutely no idea that he himself was on trial, like the very persons he was accusing; he consequently had no
opportunity whatsoever to present any evidence in his behalf to exculpate him from the offense which was known to
nobody except the Judge. What is worse, the complainant was punished for acts not declared by any law to constitute a
penal offense and prescribing a specific penalty therefor, in violation of another equally familiar precept, which also
appears to have escaped respondent Judge’s attention, that no act may be deemed to be, and punished as, a crime
unless so declared by law. Under the circumstances, the Court must hold that the complainant was clearly denied due
process by respondent Judge.


Facts: A case of three men who were charged for the murder of Saturnina on Sept. 13, 1974. During the hearing on Nov.
26, 1974, upon motion of the defense the Court ordered the re-investigation of the case pending submission of the Fiscal
of its reports. Couple of postponements was made until Dec. 13, 1974 hearing when the Court proceeded with the
arraignment and trial in the absence of the Fiscal and its report on re-investigation, and over the disagreement of the
defense. The CFI of Leyte relied on the private prosecutor being authorized by the Fiscal to present evidence and the
defense presumed to have waived its right over its disagreement. Trial then proceeded and the 3 found guilty of he
offense. Thus, this appeal on the constitutional requirement of due process.

Issue: Whether or not due process of law had been observed.

Held: Constitutional due process was violated, thus, case remanded to CFI for arraignment and trial. Court should have
held in abeyance the trial while the report on e-investigation was still pending. Consistent disregard of the defense
objection on the arraignment, trial, presentation of private prosecutor’s evidence, and rendition of judgment violates due
process. Prosecutor or Fiscal entrusted with the investigation is duty bound to take charge until final termination. They
shall have direction and control of the criminal prosecution over private prosecutors

GR. No. L-37051
Petitioner filed an ejectment cases for non-payment of rentals against her tenants occupying different stalls
situated in the San Lazaro Estate. Cayetano on the other hand,was an occupant adjacent to Lorenzana’s
land. When the ejectment case has been granted, the petitioner then entered and destroyed Cayetano’s
fence including flower pots trellises and electric installations and carted away the materials thereof and built
another fence 5 meters into the premises of Cayetano,boring holes into the cemented garden or patio of her
The respondent then presented to the court a motion declaring the petitioner guilty of contempt and held
liable for damages as she was not a party and that her premises is not subject to the ejectment case in which
the demolition order was secured.
Issue:Whether Cayetano’s right of due process has been violated.
RulingYes. Cayetano’s right has been violated as the requirements of due process were not sufficiently
complied. As laid down, the following are the requirements of due process: 1. There must be a court or tribunal
clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it; 2. Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired
over the person of the defendant or over the property of which is the subject of the proceedings; 3. The
defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard; 4. Judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing.
In the case, the respondent was not a party to any of the ejectment cases wherein the writs of demolition had
been issued, and that she did not make her appearance in and during the pendency of these ejectment
cases.Cayetano only went to court to protect her property from demolition after the judgment in the
ejectment cases had become final and executor. Thus, with respect to the ejectment case, respondent
remains a third person to such judgment, which does not bind her.
Suria v Juntereal
G.R. No. L-38695 July 1, 1978
FACTS:Respondent Judge in this certiorari proceeding must have been laboring under such a
state of mind when he declared petitioner Eugenio Suria in contempt of court and ordered his
arrest. It is the contention of petitioner that as there was not even a previous charge for such
alleged contumacious conduct, and consequently no prior hearing, such orders should be
nullified and set aside for being a denial of procedural due process. In this proceeding, two
previous orders requiring petitioner to reimburse private respondent for expenses incurred in
attending the sessions scheduled but thereafter cancelled in view of the absence of counsel for
petitioner were likewise challenged for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.

ISSUE: Whether due process of law was observed

HELD: The Rules of Court cannot be any clearer. The appropriate section is quite explicit: "After
charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by himself
or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for contempt: (b)
Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or command of a court,
..." In the first order assailed, petitioner was held in contempt for contumaciously failing to
report for conference in accordance with the order of the Court. In the other order complained
of, petitioner was accused of "defiantly refusing to comply" with what was required of him by
the Court. Clearly, the contemptuous conduct imputed to him, disobedience, caged for his
being given the opportunity to meet such a charge. Failure to accord such a hearing
amounts to a denial of due process. In cases of indirect contempt, as was pointed out
in Gardones v. Delgado, the party proceeded against "could not be adjudged guilty without
hearing him or without due process of law." Such a doctrine goes back to Finnick v. Peterson,a
1906 decision where this Court considered a failure to comply with a
subpoena ducestecum as constituting an indirect contempt and therefore one sought to be
held liable is entitled to the hearing or trial "then provided by the appropriate sections of
the Civil Code of Procedure" and at present by the above section of the Rules of Court.
Respondent Judge, to say the least, acted hastily in issuing the challenged orders. The
grievance complained of, the denial of procedural due process, is quite apparent. So the cases
have held with an impressive uniformity. Respondent Judge tried to make amends, by a later
order referred to, but even then, he did not quite succeed for he still considered subsisting the
contempt order issued without a hearing.
Lawful Hearing

FACTS:Alex Combate, convicted of theft, seeks to annul Judge San Jose’s decision on the ground that it was
rendered in violation of his constitutional rights. He was arraigned without the assistance of counsel and
convicted without the benefit of trial.

ISSUE: Whether he was denied a lawful trial.

Although he had pleaded not guilty, trial should have proceeded immediately. But not only was petitioner
unrepresented by counsel upon arraignment; he was neither accorded the benefit of trial. Respondent Judge
based his judgment of conviction merely on the affidavits submitted, without the petitioner having been even
given the chance to confront or cross-examine the affiants. There being a clear deprivation of petitioner's
fundamental right to due process of law, 7 the assailed Decision.

No Denial – Lost Opportunity

Sequin v. People, 3/13/89-MARTEL

Facts: The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), a government owned and controlled corporation, filed with the
Office of the Sheriff of Malolos an application for extra-judicial foreclosure of real and personal properties situated at
Bulacan involving several real and/or chattel mortgages executed by Continental Cement Corporation (CCC) engaged
mainly in the manufacture of cement, in favor of DBP. Continental Cement filed a complaint and was granted a TRO
preventing the foreclosure.
Sometime in December 1986, Proclamation No. 50 was promulgated by then President Corazon C. Aquino which
transferred the assets of the DBP to APT which included the account of CCC.
In July 1989, the accounting firm of J. C. Layawas designated by the lower court as Commissioner to resolve the main
issue in the case, that is, the determination of the actual arrearages of respondent CCC. They reported it at
P61,698,849.00. As a result, the parties filed their respective comments and objections. The Parties submitted their own
calculations CCCs computation of its exact indebtedness at P43,601,192.73, while DBP and APT computed the sum
ofP2,656,573,716.11. A hearing was scheduled for the sole purpose of examining of CCCs witnesses. The counsel for
APT failed to appear as he was allegedly ill. On that same date, the court issued an order resetting the cross-examination
for CCCs witnesses on August 24, 25 and 26, 1992. Again, the counsel for APT was not able to attend due to an alleged
serious illness (Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever). Also absent during the hearing was DBPs counsel and DBP/APTs lone
On October 5, 1992, the trial court ruled that the total indebtedness was at P61,698,849. APT insists that the lower court
as well as the Court of Appeals disregarded the principles of the due process clause when it found APT to have waived its
right to cross-examine respondents’ witnesses.
Issue: WON the court erred in waiving the rights of APT
Hel: NO. The insistence of the petitioner is without basis.Long ingrained in our jurisprudence is the principle that there
can be no denial of due process where a party had the opportunity to participate in the proceedings but did not do so.
As shown from the records, the counsel for APT was absent on several occasions. Several reasons were raised by APTs
counsel to justify his absence, such as withdrawal of previous counsel, unreadiness to conduct the cross-examinations,
and serious illness.
These flimsy excuses do not warrant consideration from this Court. The withdrawal of APTs previous counsel in the thick
of the proceedings would be a reasonable ground to seek postponement of the hearing. However, such reason
necessitates a duty, nay an obligation, on the part of the new counsel to prepare himself for the next scheduled hearing.
The essence of due process is that a party be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to support any evidence
he may have in support of his defense. What the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard, hence,
a party cannot feign denial of due process when he had been afforded the opportunity to present his side.

GADOR, respondents. [G.R. No. 125272. October 7, 1999]
Amil and private respondents Ernesto and Nila Gador executed a document entitled Deed of Pacto de Retro Sale, dated
November 14, 1987, involving the land in dispute. The parties stipulated:
That Vendor A-Retro, Candido C. Amil, for and in consideration of the sum (P30,000.00) PESOS, in hand paid to him and
receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged to his entire satisfaction, do by these presents, SELL, TRANSFER and
CONVEY, under Pacto De Retro, unto the herein Vendees A-Retro, the spouses Ernesto T. Gador and Nila A. Gador their
heirs, successors and assigns, the parcel of land together with all the improvements thereon, free from all liens and

That Vendor A-Retro, Candido C. Amil, reserve for himself the right to redeem or repurchase the property herein sold, and
the Vendees A-Retro, in turn, obligate themselves to resell the parcel of land sold, within a period of (3) YEARS, from and
after the due execution of this instrument, for the same price of (P30,000.00) PESOS, ; PROVIDED, that if the Vendor A-
Retro, Candido C. Amil, fails to exercise his right to redeem or repurchase as herein granted within the period stipulated
upon, then this conveyance shall be deemed to be an absolute and irrevocable sale, without the necessity of executing
any further deed or instituting judicial action to consolidate the ownership in the name of the Vendees A-Retro.[2]

The parties executed another document entitled Addendum to Deed of Pacto de Retro Sale, dated December 12,
1987 which provided:

The spouses Ernesto T. Gador and Nila A. Gador, are the Mortgagees of that certain parcel of land situated at Barrio
Calindagan, Dumaguete City, under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 14021 and the Party of the Second Part is the
Mortagor of said parcel of land, for and in consideration of the sum of (P30,000.00) Pesos, per Doc. No. 3; Book No. 1;
Page No. 1; Series of 1987 of Notary Public Jose G. Hernando, Jr., dated the 14th day of November, 1987, at Dumaguete

That considering that the Party of the First Part has to pay an additional sum of One Thousand and Eight Hundred
(P1,800.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, to cover costs or expenses for Capital Gains Tax and Documentary Stamps, the
Party of the Second Part hereby agrees and covenants that his right to redeem or repurchase the parcel of land subject
matter of the Mortgage, within the period stipulated, shall cover and includes said amount of (P1,800.00) or the total sum
of Thirty One Thousand Eight Hundred (P31,800.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency

Petitioner, through a new counsel, then filed a motion for new trial, which, however, was denied. He appealed to the
Court of Appeals, which, in its decision dated January 29, 1996, affirmed the decision of the trial court. The Court of
Appeals ruled:

We agree with the trial courts denial of respondent-appellants motion for new trial. Respondent had been given full
opportunity to answer and be heard. It is the duty of a party litigant to make inquiries to counsel on matters concerning his
case (Elino Ong Reyes vs. CA, 189 SCRA 46; Florendo vs. Florendo, 27 SCRA 432). In fact, respondents alleged counsel
never even entered his appearance. Under these circumstances, including those earlier adverted to, We rule that
respondent did not exercise the ordinary prudence required of him by Rule 37, section 1(a) of the Rules of Court, and his
negligence is not excusable to justify a new trial.

Issue: Whether due process of law is observed?

Held: Petitioner, through a new counsel, then filed a motion for new trial, which, however, was denied. He appealed to the Court of
Appeals, which, in its decision dated January 29, 1996, affirmed the decision of the trial court. The Court of Appeals ruled:

We agree with the trial courts denial of respondent-appellants motion for new trial. Respondent had been given full opportunity to
answer and be heard. It is the duty of a party litigant to make inquiries to counsel on matters concerning his case (Elino Ong Reyes vs.
CA, 189 SCRA 46; Florendo vs. Florendo, 27 SCRA 432). In fact, respondents alleged counsel never even entered his
appearance. Under these circumstances, including those earlier adverted to, We rule that respondent did not exercise the ordinary
prudence required of him by Rule 37, section 1(a) of the Rules of Court, and his negligence is not excusable to justify a new trial.

Valid judgment - Appeal

Respondents Balangue obtained a loan of P45,000 from petitioner Diona payable for 6 months and secured by
real estate mortgage. When the debt became due, the respondents failed to pay despite the demand, thus,
the petitioner filed a case in the court. During the trial, respondents failed to file any responsive pleadings, in
which the court declared them in default. The court also rendered judgment in favour of the petitioner, thus
grating them for the public auction of the mortgage property. Respondents then filed a motion to
correct/amend judgment and to set aside execution sale as they did not agree in writing on any rate interest,
but surprisingly, the RTC awarded 5% monthly interest.
A petition for annulment of judgment and execution sale with damages was then filed by respondent as the
portion granting petitioner 5% monthly interest rate is a violation of their right of due process. According to
respondents, the loan did not carry any interest as it was the verbal agreement of the parties that in lieu thereof
petitioner’s family can continue occupying respondents’ residential building for free until the loan is fully paid.
Whether the award of 5% monthly interest violated Balangue’s right of due process.
Yes. The award of 5% monthly interest violates the right of due process. The court ruled that a final and executor
judgment may still be set aside if, upon mere inspection thereof, its patent nullity can be shown for having been
issued without jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law.
In the case, the due process requirement is violated because respondents were not informed of the possibility
that the RTC may award 5% monthly interest. They were deprived of reasonable opportunity to refute and
present controverting evidence as they were made to believe that the complainant petitioner was seeking for
what she merely stated in her complaint.
Neither can the grant of the 5% monthly interest be considered subsumed by petitioner’s general prayer for
"other reliefs and remedies just and equitable under the premises. To repeat, the court’s grant of relief is limited
only to what has been prayed for in the complaint or related thereto, supported by evidence, and covered by
the party’s cause of action. Besides, even assuming that the awarded 5% monthly or 60% per annum interest
was properly alleged and proven during trial, the same remains unconscionably excessive and ought to be
equitably reduced in accordance with applicable jurisprudence.


Fabella v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 110379, 28 November 1997, 282 SCRA 256.

On September 17, 1990, DECS Secretary Carino issued a return-to-work order to all public
school teachers who had participated in walk-outs and strikes on various dates during the
period of September to October 1990. The mass action had been staged to demand payment of
13th month pay, allowances and passage of debt cap bill in Congress.
On October 1990, Secretary Carino filed administrative cases against respondents, who are
teachers of Mandaluyong High School. The charge sheets required respondents to explain in
writing why they should not be punished for having taken part in the mass action in violation of
civil service laws. Administrative hearings started on December 1990. Respondents, through
counsel assailed the legality of the proceedings on the following due process grounds: first, they
were not given copies of the guidelines adopted by the committee for the investigation and
denied access to evidence; second, the investigation placed the burden of proof on respondents
to prove their innocence; third, that the investigating body was illegally constituted, their
composition and appointment violated Sec.9 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
Pending the action assailing the validity of the administrative proceedings, the investigating
committee rendered a decision finding the respondents guilty and ordered their immediate

ISSUE:Whether private respondents were denied due process?

HELD:YES. In administrative proceedings, due process has been recognized to include the
(1) the right to actual or constructive notice of the institution of proceedings which may affect a
respondent’s legal rights;
(2) a real opportunity to be heard personally or with the assistance of counsel, to present
witnesses and evidence in one’s favor, and to defend one’s rights;
(3) a tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and so constituted as to afford a person
charged administratively a reasonable guarantee of honesty as well as impartiality; and
(4) a finding by said tribunal which is supported by substantial evidence submitted for
consideration during the hearing or contained in the records or made known to the parties

The legislature enacted a special law, RA 4670 known as the Magna Carta for Public School
Teachers, which specifically covers administrative proceedings involving public schoolteachers.
Section 9 of said law expressly provides that the committee to hear public schoolteachers
‘administrative cases should be composed of the school superintendent of the division as
chairman, a representative of the local or any existing provincial or national teachers’
organization and a supervisor of the division.

In the present case, the various committees formed by DECS to hear the administrative
charges against private respondents did not include “a representative of the local or, in its
absence, any existing provincial or national teacher’s organization” as required by Section
9 of RA 4670. Accordingly, these committees were deemed to have no competent
jurisdiction. Thus, all proceedings undertaken by them were necessarily void. They could
not provide any basis for the suspension or dismissal of private respondents. The inclusion
of a representative of a teachers’ organization in these committees was indispensable to
ensure an impartial tribunal. It was this requirement that would have given substance and
meaning to the right to be heard. Indeed, in any proceeding, the essence of procedural due
process is embodied in the basic requirement of notice and a real opportunity to be heard.