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CIVPRO – RULE 43 – SCOPE Herein respondent Ombudsman, in an Order dated February 26, 1996, approved the aforesaid

resolution with modifications, by finding private respondent guilty of misconduct and meting
G.R. No. 129742 September 16, 1998 out the penalty of suspension without pay for one year. After private respondent moved for
reconsideration, respondent Ombudsman discovered that the former's new counsel had been
his "classmate and close associate" hence he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to
TERESITA G. FABIAN, petitioner,
respondent Deputy Ombudsman Jesus F. Guerrero who, in the now challenged Joint Order of
vs.
June 18, 1997, set aside the February 26, 1997 Order of respondent Ombudsman and
HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, in his capacity as Ombudsman; HON. JESUS F. GUERRERO, in
exonerated private respondent from the administrative charges.
his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon; and NESTOR V. AGUSTIN, respondents.
II
REGALADO, J.:
In the present appeal, petitioner argues that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman
Act of 1989) 1 pertinently provides that —
Petitioner has appealed to us by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the "Joint
Order" issued by public respondents on June 18, 1997 in OMB-Adm. Case No. 0-95-0411 which
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the
granted the motion for reconsideration of and absolved private respondent from
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within
administrative charges for inter alia grave misconduct committed by him as then Assistant
ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial
Regional Director, Region IV-A, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (Emphasis
I supplied)
It appears from the statement and counter-statement of facts of the parties that petitioner
However, she points out that under Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of
Teresita G. Fabian was the major stockholder and president of PROMAT Construction
Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman), 2 when a respondent is absolved of the charges
Development Corporation (PROMAT) which was engaged in the construction business. Private
in an administrative proceeding the decision of the Ombudsman is final and unappealable. She
respondent Nestor V. Agustin was the incumbent District Engineer of the First Metro Manila
accordingly submits that the Office of the Ombudsman has no authority under the law to
Engineering District (FMED) when he allegedly committed the offenses for which he was
restrict, in the manner provided in its aforesaid Rules, the right of appeal allowed by Republic
administratively charged in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Act No. 6770, nor to limit the power of review of this Court. Because of the aforecited provision
in those Rules of Procedure, she claims that she found it "necessary to take an alternative
PROMAT participated in the bidding for government construction projects including those recourse under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, because of the doubt it creates on the availability
under the FMED, and private respondent, reportedly taking advantage of his official position, of appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
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
Respondents filed their respective comments and rejoined that the Office of the Ombudsman
interceded for it in problems concerning the same in his office.
is empowered by the Constitution and the law to promulgate its own rules of procedure.
Section 13(8), Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides, among others, that the Office of the
Later, misunderstandings and unpleasant incidents developed between the parties and when Ombudsman can "(p)romulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or
petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted her perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law."
attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. She
eventually filed the aforementioned administrative case against him in a letter-complaint
Republic Act No. 6770 duly implements the Constitutional mandate with these relevant
dated July 24, 1995.
provisions:
The said complaint sought the dismissal of private respondent for violation of Section 19,
Sec. 14. Restrictions. — . . . No court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against
Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) and Section 36 of Presidential Decree No.
the decision or findings of the Ombudsman except the Supreme Court on pure questions of
807 (Civil Service Decree), with an ancillary prayer for his preventive suspension. For purposes
law.
of this case, the charges referred to may be subsumed under the category of oppression,
misconduct, and disgraceful or immoral conduct. xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 18. Rules of Procedure. — (1) The Office of the Ombudsman shall promulgate its own
On January 31, 1996, Graft Investigator Eduardo R. Benitez issued a resolution finding private
rules of procedure for the effective exercise or performance of its powers, functions, and
respondent guilty of grave misconduct and ordering his dismissal from the service with
duties.
forfeiture of all benefits under the law. His resolution bore the approval of Director Napoleon
Baldrias and Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo Aportadera of their office. xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 23. Formal Investigation. — (1) Administrative investigations by the Office of the a prayer for ancillary remedies, and ultimately followed by Constantino vs. Hon. Ombudsman
Ombudsman shall be in accordance with its rules of procedure and consistent with due Aniano Desierto, et al. 11 which was a special civil action for certiorari.
process. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx Considering, however, the view that this Court now takes of the case at bar and the issues
therein which will shortly be explained, it refrains from preemptively resolving the
Sec. 27. Effectivity and Finality of Decisions. — All previsionary orders at the Office of the controverted points raised by the parties on the nature and propriety of application of the writ
Ombudsman are immediately effective and executory. of certiorari when used as a mode of appeal or as the basis of a special original action, and
A motion for reconsideration of any order, directive or decision of the Office of the whether or not they may be resorted to concurrently or alternatively, obvious though the
Ombudsman must be filed within five (5) days after receipt of written notice and shall be answers thereto appear to be. Besides, some seemingly obiter statements in Yabut and Alba
entertained only on any of the following grounds: could bear reexamination and clarification. Hence, we will merely observe and lay down the
rule at this juncture that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 is involved only whenever an
xxx xxx xxx appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 is taken from a decision in an administrative disciplinary
Findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman when supported by substantial evidence action. It cannot be taken into account where an original action for certiorari under Rule 65 is
are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public censure or resorted to as a remedy for judicial review, such as from an incident in a criminal action.
reprimand, suspension of not more than one month salary shall be final and unappealable. III
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the After respondents' separate comments had been filed, the Court was intrigued by the fact,
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within which does not appear to have been seriously considered before, that the administrative
ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial liability of a public official could fall under the jurisdiction of both the Civil Service Commission
of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. and the Office of the Ombudsman. Thus, the offenses imputed to herein private respondent
The above rules may be amended or modified by the Office of the Ombudsman as the were based on both Section 19 of Republic Act No. 6770 and Section 36 of Presidential Decree
interest of justice may require. No. 807. Yet, pursuant to the amendment of Section 9, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 by Republic
Act No. 7902, all adjudications by the Civil Service Commission in administrative disciplinary
cases were made appealable to the Court of Appeals effective March 18, 1995, while those of
Respondents consequently contend that, on the foregoing constitutional and statutory
the Office of the Ombudsman are appealable to this Court.
authority, petitioner cannot assail the validity of the rules of procedure formulated by the
Office of the Ombudsman governing the conduct of proceedings before it, including those
rules with respect to the availability or non-availability of appeal in administrative cases, such It could thus be possible that in the same administrative case involving two respondents, the
as Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07. proceedings against one could eventually have been elevated to the Court of Appeals, while
the other may have found its way to the Ombudsman from which it is sought to be brought to
this Court. Yet systematic and efficient case management would dictate the consolidation of
Respondents also question the propriety of petitioner's proposition that, although she
those cases in the Court of Appeals, both for expediency and to avoid possible conflicting
definitely prefaced her petition by categorizing the same as "an appeal by certiorari under Rule
decisions.
45 of the Rules of Court," she makes the aforequoted ambivalent statement which in effect
asks that, should the remedy under Rule 45 be unavailable, her petition be treated in the
alternative as an original action for certiorari under Rule 65. The parties thereafter engage in Then there is the consideration that Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides
a discussion of the differences between a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 and a that "(n)o law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as
special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65. provided in this Constitution without its advice and consent," and that Republic Act No. 6770,
with its challenged Section 27, took effect on November 17, 1989, obviously in spite of that
constitutional prohibition. The conventional rule, however, is that a challenge on
Ultimately, they also attempt to review and rationalize the decisions of this Court applying
constitutional grounds must be raised by a party to the case, neither of whom did so in this
Section 27 of Republic Act. No. 6770 vis-a-vis Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07.
case, but that is not an inflexible rule, as we shall explain.
As correctly pointed out by public respondent, Ocampo IV vs. Ombudsman, et al.3 and Young
vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.4 were original actions for certiorari under Rule 65. Yabut
vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al. 5 was commenced by a petition for review on certiorari Since the constitution is intended for the observance of the judiciary and other departments
under Rule 45. Then came Cruz, Jr. vs. People, et al.,6 Olivas vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et of the government and the judges are sworn to support its provisions; the courts are not at
al.,7 Olivarez vs. Sandiganbayan, et al.,8 and Jao, et al. vs. Vasquez,9 which were for certiorari, liberty to overlook or disregard its commands or countenance evasions thereof. When it is
prohibition and/or mandamus under Rule 65. Alba vs. Nitorreda, et al. 10 was initiated by a clear that a statute transgresses the authority vested in a legislative body, it is the duty of the
pleading unlikely denominated as an "Appeal/Petition for Certiorari and/or Prohibition," with courts to declare that the constitution, and not the statute, governs in a case before them for
judgment. 12
Thus, while courts will not ordinarily pass upon constitutional questions which are not raised validity of the grant of said appellate jurisdiction to it, the Court deems it necessary that the
in the pleadings, 13 the rule has been recognized to admit of certain exceptions. It does not parties be heard thereon and the issue be first resolved before conducting further
preclude a court from inquiring into its own jurisdiction or compel it to enter a judgment that proceedings in this appellate review.
it lacks jurisdiction to enter. If a statute on which a court's jurisdiction in a proceeding depends
is unconstitutional, the court has no jurisdiction in the proceeding, and since it may determine ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to require the parties to SUBMIT their position and
whether or not it has jurisdiction, it necessarily follows that it may inquire into the arguments on the matter subject of this resolution by filing their corresponding pleadings
constitutionality of the statute. 14 within ten (10) days from notice hereof.
IV
Constitutional questions, not raised in the regular and orderly procedure in the trial are
ordinarily rejected unless the jurisdiction of the court below or that of the appellate court is The records do not show that the Office of the Solicitor General has complied with such
involved in which case it may be raised at any time or on the court's own motion. 15 The Court requirement, hence the Court dispenses with any submission it should have presented. On the
ex mero motu may take cognizance of lack of jurisdiction at any point in the case where that other hand, petitioner espouses the theory that the provision in Section 27 of Republic Act No.
fact is developed. 16 The court has a clearly recognized right to determine its own jurisdiction 6770 which authorizes an appeal by certiorari to this Court of the aforementioned
in any proceeding. 17 adjudications of the Office of the Ombudsman is not violative of Section 30, Article VI of the
Constitution. She claims that what is proscribed is the passage of a law "increasing" the
The foregoing authorities notwithstanding, the Court believed that the parties hereto should appellate jurisdiction of this Court "as provided in this Constitution," and such appellate
be further heard on this constitutional question. Correspondingly, the following resolution was jurisdiction includes "all cases in which only an error or question of law is involved." Since
issued on May 14, 1998, the material parts stating as follows: Section 5(2)(e), Article VIII of the Constitution authorizes this Court to review, revise, reverse,
modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari the aforesaid final judgment or orders "as the law or
The Court observes that the present petition, from the very allegations thereof, is "an appeal the Rules of Court may provide," said Section 27 does not increase this Court's appellate
by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the "Joint Order (Re: Motion for jurisdiction since, by providing that the mode of appeal shall be by petition for certiorari under
Reconsideration)" issued in OMB-Adm. Case No. 0-95-0411, entitled "Teresita G. Fabian vs. Rule 45, then what may be raised therein are only questions of law of which this Court already
Engr. Nestor V. Agustin, Asst. Regional Director, Region IV-A, EDSA, Quezon City," which has jurisdiction.
absolved the latter from the administrative charges for grave misconduct, among others.
We are not impressed by this discourse. It overlooks the fact that by jurisprudential
It is further averred therein that the present appeal to this Court is allowed under Section developments over the years, this Court has allowed appeals by certiorari under Rule 45 in a
27 of the Ombudsman Act of 1987 (R.A. No. 6770) and, pursuant thereto, the Office of the substantial number of cases and instances even if questions of fact are directly involved and
Ombudsman issued its Rules of Procedure, Section 7 whereof is assailed by petitioner in this have to be resolved by the appellate court. 18 Also, the very provision cited by petitioner
proceeding. It will be recalled that R.A. No. 6770 was enacted on November 17, 1989, with specifies that the appellate jurisdiction of this Court contemplated therein is to be exercised
Section 27 thereof pertinently providing that all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, over "final judgments and orders of lower courts," that is, the courts composing the integrated
directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to this Court in judicial system. It does not include the quasi-judicial bodies or agencies, hence whenever the
accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. legislature intends that the decisions or resolutions of the quasi-judicial agency shall be
reviewable by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, a specific provision to that effect is
included in the law creating that quasi-judicial agency and, for that matter, any special
The Court notes, however, that neither the petition nor the two comments thereon took
statutory court. No such provision on appellate procedure is required for the regular courts of
into account or discussed the validity of the aforestated Section 27 of R.A. No. 8770 in light
the integrated judicial system because they are what are referred to and already provided for,
of the provisions of Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution that "(n)o law shall be in Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution.
passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this
Constitution without its advice and consent."
Apropos to the foregoing, and as correctly observed by private respondent, the revised Rules
of Civil Procedure 19 preclude appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the Supreme Court via a
The Court also invites the attention of the parties to its relevant ruling in First Lepanto
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. In the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1
Ceramics, Inc. vs. The Court of Appeals, et al. (G.R. No. 110571, October 7, 1994, 237 SCRA
of Rule 45, on "Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court," explicitly states:
519) and the provisions of its former Circular No. 1-91 and Revised Administrative Circular
No. 1-95, as now substantially reproduced in Rule 43 of the 1997 revision of the Rules of
Civil Procedure. Sec. 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. — A person desiring to appeal by certiorari
from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the
Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme
In view of the fact that the appellate jurisdiction of the Court is invoked and involved in this
Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of
case, and the foregoing legal considerations appear to impugn the constitutionality and
law which must be distinctly set forth. (Emphasis ours).
This differs from the former Rule 45 of the 1964 Rules of Court which made mention only of jurisdictional issue confronting the Court. Finally, the resolution of the constitutional issue
the Court of Appeals, and had to be adopted in statutes creating and providing for appeals here is obviously necessary for the resolution of the present case. 22
from certain administrative or quasi-judicial agencies, whenever the purpose was to restrict
the scope of the appeal to questions of law. That intended limitation on appellate review, as It is, however, suggested that this case could also be decided on other grounds, short of passing
we have just discussed, was not fully subserved by recourse to the former Rule 45 but, then, upon the constitutional question. We appreciate the ratiocination of private respondent but
at that time there was no uniform rule on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies. regret that we must reject the same. That private respondent could be absolved of the charge
because the decision exonerating him is final and unappealable assumes that Section 7, Rule
Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through a petition for review on certiorari III of Administrative Order No. 07 is valid, but that is precisely one of the issues here. The
but only from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Section 1 thereof. prevailing rule that the Court should not interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman in
Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies 20 are now required to be prosecuting or dismissing a complaint is not applicable in this administrative case, as earlier
brought to the Court of Appeals on a verified petition for review, under the requirements and explained. That two decisions rendered by this Court supposedly imply the validity of the
conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform aforementioned Section 7 of Rule III is precisely under review here because of some
rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies. 21 statements therein somewhat at odds with settled rules and the decisions of this Court on the
same issues, hence to invoke the same would be to beg the question.
It is suggested, however, that the provisions of Rule 43 should apply only to "ordinary" quasi- V
judicial agencies, but not to the Office of the Ombudsman which is a "high constitutional
body." We see no reason for this distinction for, if hierarchical rank should be a criterion, that Taking all the foregoing circumstances in their true legal roles and effects, therefore, Section
proposition thereby disregards the fact that Rule 43 even includes the Office of the President 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to this Court from decisions of
and the Civil Service Commission, although the latter is even an independent constitutional the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the
commission, unlike the Office of the Ombudsman which is a constitutionally-mandated but proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the
statutorily created body. appellate jurisdiction of this Court. No countervailing argument has been cogently presented
to justify such disregard of the constitutional prohibition which, as correctly explained in First
Regarding the misgiving that the review of the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman by Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. vs. The Court of Appeals, et al. 23 was intended to give this Court a
the Court of Appeals would cover questions of law, of fact or of both, we do not perceive that measure of control over cases placed under its appellate jurisdiction. Otherwise, the
as an objectionable feature. After all, factual controversies are usually involved in indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging its appellate jurisdiction would unnecessarily
administrative disciplinary actions, just like those coming from the Civil Service Commission, burden the Court. 24
and the Court of Appeals as a trier of fact is better prepared than this Court to resolve the
same. On the other hand, we cannot have this situation covered by Rule 45 since it now applies We perforce have to likewise reject the supposed inconsistency of the ruling in First Lepanto
only to appeals from the regular courts. Neither can we place it under Rule 65 since the review Ceramics and some statements in Yabut and Alba, not only because of the difference in the
therein is limited to jurisdictional questions. * factual settings, but also because those isolated cryptic statements in Yabut and Alba should
best be clarified in the adjudication on the merits of this case. By way of anticipation, that will
The submission that because this Court has taken cognizance of cases involving Section 27 of have to be undertaken by the proper court of competent jurisdiction.
Republic Act No. 6770, that fact may be viewed as "acquiescence" or "acceptance" by it of the
appellate jurisdiction contemplated in said Section 27, is unfortunately too tenuous. The Furthermore, in addition to our preceding discussion on whether Section 27 of Republic Act
jurisdiction of a court is not a question of acquiescence as a matter of fact but an issue of No. 6770 expanded the jurisdiction of this Court without its advice and consent, private
conferment as a matter of law. Besides, we have already discussed the cases referred to, respondent's position paper correctly yields the legislative background of Republic Act No.
including the inaccuracies of some statements therein, and we have pointed out the instances 6770. On September 26, 1989, the Conference Committee Report on S.B. No. 453 and H.B. No.
when Rule 45 is involved, hence covered by Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 now under 13646, setting forth the new version of what would later be Republic Act No. 6770, was
discussion, and when that provision would not apply if it is a judicial review under Rule 65. approved on second reading by the House of Representatives. 25 The Senate was informed of
the approval of the final version of the Act on October 2, 1989 26 and the same was thereafter
Private respondent invokes the rule that courts generally avoid having to decide a enacted into law by President Aquino on November 17, 1989.
constitutional question, especially when the case can be decided on other grounds. As a
general proposition that is correct. Here, however, there is an actual case susceptible of judicial Submitted with said position paper is an excerpt showing that the Senate, in the deliberations
determination. Also, the constitutional question, at the instance of this Court, was raised by on the procedure for appeal from the Office of the Ombudsman to this Court, was aware of
the proper parties, although there was even no need for that because the Court can rule on the provisions of Section 30, Article III of the Constitution. It also reveals that Senator Edgardo
the matter sua sponte when its appellate jurisdiction is involved. The constitutional question Angara, as a co-author and the principal sponsor of S.B. No. 543 admitted that the said
was timely raised, although it could even be raised any time likewise by reason of the provision will expand this Court's jurisdiction, and that the Committee on Justice and Human
Rights had not consulted this Court on the matter, thus:
INTERPELLATION OF SENATOR SHAHANI In the situation under consideration, a transfer by the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its
rule-making power, of pending cases involving a review of decisions of the Office of the
xxx xxx xxx Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary actions to the Court of Appeals which shall now be
vested with exclusive appellate jurisdiction thereover, relates to procedure only. 33 This is so
because it is not the right to appeal of an aggrieved party which is affected by the law. That
Thereafter, with reference to Section 22(4) which provides that the decisions of the Office
right has been preserved. Only the procedure by which the appeal is to be made or decided
of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court, in reply to Senator Shahani's
has been changed. The rationale for this is that no litigant has a vested right in a particular
query whether the Supreme Court would agree to such provision in the light of Section
remedy, which may be changed by substitution without impairing vested rights, hence he can
30, Article VI of the Constitution which requires its advice and concurrence in laws
have none in rules of procedure which relate to the remedy. 34
increasing its appellate jurisdiction, Senator Angara informed that the Committee has not
yet consulted the Supreme Court regarding the matter. He agreed that the provision will
expand the Supreme Court's jurisdiction by allowing appeals through petitions for review, Furthermore, it cannot be said that the transfer of appellate jurisdiction to the Court of
adding that they should be appeals on certiorari. 27 Appeals in this case is an act of creating a new right of appeal because such power of the
Supreme Court to transfer appeals to subordinate appellate courts is purely a procedural and
not a substantive power. Neither can we consider such transfer as impairing a vested right
There is no showing that even up to its enactment, Republic Act No. 6770 was ever referred
because the parties have still a remedy and still a competent tribunal to administer that
to this Court for its advice and consent. 28
remedy. 35
VI
As a consequence of our ratiocination that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 should be struck Thus, it has been generally held that rules or statutes involving a transfer of cases from one
down as unconstitutional, and in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from court to another, are procedural and remedial merely and that, as such, they are applicable to
quasi-judicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, appeals from decisions of actions pending at the time the statute went into effect 36 or, in the case at bar, when its
the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court invalidity was declared. Accordingly, even from the standpoint of jurisdiction ex hypothesi, the
of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43. validity of the transfer of appeals in said cases to the Court of Appeals can be sustained.

There is an intimation in the pleadings, however, that said Section 27 refers to appellate WHEREFORE, Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989), together with
jurisdiction which, being substantive in nature, cannot be disregarded by this Court under its Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
rule-making power, especially if it results in a diminution, increase or modification of Ombudsman), and any other provision of law or issuance implementing the aforesaid Act and
substantive rights. Obviously, however, where the law is procedural in essence and purpose, insofar as they provide for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of the
the foregoing consideration would not pose a proscriptive issue against the exercise of the Ombudsman to the Supreme Court, are hereby declared INVALID and of no further force and
rule-making power of this Court. This brings to fore the question of whether Section 27 of effect.
Republic Act No. 6770 is substantive or procedural.
The instant petition is hereby referred and transferred to the Court of Appeals for final
It will be noted that no definitive line can be drawn between those rules or statutes which are disposition, with said petition to be considered by the Court of Appeals pro hoc vice as a
procedural, hence within the scope of this Court's rule-making power, and those which are petition for review under Rule 43, without prejudice to its requiring the parties to submit such
substantive. In fact, a particular rule may be procedural in one context and substantive in amended or supplemental pleadings and additional documents or records as it may deem
another. 29 It is admitted that what is procedural and what is substantive is frequently a necessary and proper.
question of great difficulty. 30 It is not, however, an insurmountable problem if a rational and
pragmatic approach is taken within the context of our own procedural and jurisdictional SO ORDERED.
system.

In determining whether a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court, for the practice and
procedure of the lower courts, abridges, enlarges, or modifies any substantive right, the test
is whether the rule really regulates procedure, that is, the judicial process for enforcing rights
and duties recognized by substantive law and for justly administering remedy and redress for
a disregard or infraction of them. 31 If the rule takes away a vested right, it is no; procedural. If
the rule creates a right such as the right to appeal, it may be classified as a substantive matter;
but if it operates as a means of implementing an existing right then the rule deals merely with
procedure. 32
CIVPRO – RULE 43 – OMBUDSMAN CRIMINAL CASES that Florencio's death was due to lack of care by the attending physician in administering
anaesthesia. Pursuant to its findings, the NBI recommended that Dr. Domingo Antonio and Dr.
G.R. No. 118141 September 5, 1997 Erlinda Balatbat-Reyes be charged for Homicide through Reckless Imprudence before the
Office of the City Prosecutor.
LEONILA GARCIA-RUEDA, petitioner,
vs. During the preliminary investigation, what transpired was a confounding series of events which
WILFRED L. PASCASIO, RAUL R. ARNAU, ABELARDO L. APORTADERA JR., Honorable we shall try to disentangle. The case was initially assigned to Prosecutor Antonio M. Israel, who
CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, all of the Office of the Ombudsman; JESUS F. GUERRERO, had to inhibit himself because he was related to the counsel of one of the doctors. As a result,
PORFIRIO MACARAEG, and GREGORIO A. ARIZALA, all of the Office of the City Prosecutor, the case was re-raffled to Prosecutor Norberto G. Leono who was, however, disqualified on
Manila, respondents. motion of the petitioner since he disregarded prevailing laws and jurisprudence regarding
preliminary investigation. The case was then referred to Prosecutor Ramon O. Carisma, who
issued a resolution recommending that only Dr. Reyes be held criminally liable and that the
ROMERO, J.:
complaint against Dr. Antonio be dismissed.
May this Court review the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman? The general rule has been
The case took another perplexing turn when Assistant City Prosecutor Josefina Santos Sioson,
enunciated in Ocampo v. Ombudsman1 which states:
in the "interest of justice and peace of mind of the parties," recommended that the case be re-
raffled on the ground that Prosecutor Carisma was partial to the petitioner. Thus, the case was
In the exercise of its investigative power, this Court has consistently held that courts will not transferred to Prosecutor Leoncia R. Dimagiba, where a volte face occurred again with the
interfere with the discretion of the fiscal or the Ombudsman to determine the specificity endorsement that the complaint against Dr. Reyes be dismissed and instead, a corresponding
and adequacy of the averments of the offense charged. He may dismiss the complaint information be filed against Dr. Antonio. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,
forthwith if he finds it to be insufficient in form and substance or if he otherwise finds no questioning the findings of Prosecutor Dimagiba.
ground to continue with the inquiry; or he may proceed with the investigation of the
complaint if, in his view, it is in due and proper form.
Pending the resolution of petitioner's motion for reconsideration regarding Prosecutor
Dimagiba's resolution, the investigative "pingpong" continued when the case was again
Does the instant case warrant a departure from the foregoing general rule? When a patient assigned to another prosecutor, Eudoxia T. Gualberto, who recommended that Dr. Reyes be
dies soon after surgery under circumstances which indicate that the attending surgeon and included in the criminal information of Homicide through Reckless Imprudence. While the
anaesthesiologist may have been guilty of negligence but upon their being charged, a series of recommendation of Prosecutor Gualberto was pending, the case was transferred to Senior
nine prosecutors toss the responsibility of conducting a preliminary investigation to each other State Prosecutor Gregorio A. Arizala, who resolved to exonerate Dr. Reyes from any
with contradictory recommendations, "ping-pong" style, perhaps the distraught widow is not wrongdoing, a resolution which was approved by both City Prosecutor Porfirio G. Macaraeg
to be blamed if she finally decides to accuse the City Prosecutors at the end of the line for and City Prosecutor Jesus F. Guerrero.
partiality under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Nor may she be entirely faulted for
finally filing a petition before this Court against the Ombudsman for grave abuse of discretion
Aggrieved, petitioner filed graft charges specifically for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act
in dismissing her complaint against said City Prosecutors on the ground of lack of evidence.
No. 30193 against Prosecutors Guerrero, Macaraeg, and Arizala for manifest partiality in favor
Much as we sympathize with the bereaved widow, however, this Court is of the opinion that
of Dr. Reyes before the Office of the Ombudsman. However, on July 11, 1994, the Ombudsman
the general rule still finds application in instant case. In other words, the respondent
issued the assailed resolution dismissing the complaint for lack of evidence.
Ombudsman did not commit grave abuse of discretion in deciding against filing the necessary
information against public respondents of the Office of the City Prosecutor.
In fine, petitioner assails the exercise of the discretionary power of the Ombudsman to review
the recommendations of the government prosecutors and to approve and disapprove the
The following facts are borne out by the records.
same. Petitioner faults the Ombudsman for, allegedly in grave abuse of discretion, refusing to
find that there exists probable cause to hold public respondent City Prosecutors liable for
Florencio V. Rueda, husband of petitioner Leonila Garcia-Rueda, underwent surgical operation violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.
at the UST hospital for the removal of a stone blocking his ureter. He was attended by Dr.
Domingo Antonio, Jr. who was the surgeon, while Dr. Erlinda Balatbat-Reyes was the
Preliminarily, the powers and functions of the Ombudsman have generally been categorized
anaesthesiologist. Six hours after the surgery, however, Florencio died of complications of
into the following: investigatory powers, prosecutory power, public assistance function,
"unknown cause," according to officials of the UST Hospital.2
authority to inquire and obtain information, and function to adopt, institute and implement
preventive measures.4
Not satisfied with the findings of the hospital, petitioner requested the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) to conduct an autopsy on her husband's body. Consequently, the NBI ruled
As protector of the people, the Office of the Ombudsman has the power, function and duty veracity of which can best be passed upon after a full-blown trial for it is virtually impossible
"to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials" and "to to ascertain the merits of a medical negligence case without extensive investigation, research,
investigate any act or omission of any public official when such act or omission appears to be evaluation and consultations with medical experts. Clearly, the City Prosecutors are not in a
illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient."5 competent position to pass judgment on such a technical matter, especially when there are
conflicting evidence and findings. The bases of a party's accusation and defenses are better
While the Ombudsman has the full discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case ventilated at the trial proper than at the preliminary investigation.
should be filed, this Court is not precluded from reviewing the Ombudsman's action when
there is an abuse of discretion, in which case Rule 65 of the Rules of Court may exceptionally A word on medical malpractice or negligence cases.
be invoked pursuant to Section I, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.6
In its simplest terms, the type of lawsuit which has been called medical malpractice or, more
In this regard, "grave abuse of discretion" has been defined as "where a power is exercised in appropriately, medical negligence, is that type of claim which a victim has available to him
an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility so patent and gross or her to redress a wrong committed by a medical professional which has caused bodily
as to amount to evasion of positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by, or in harm.
contemplation of law.7
In order to successfully pursue such a claim, a patient must prove that a health care provider,
From a procedural standpoint, it is certainly odd why the successive transfers from one in most cases a physician, either failed to do something which a reasonably prudent health
prosecutor to another were not sufficiently explained in the Resolution of the Ombudsman. care provider would have done, or that he or she did something that a reasonably prudent
Being the proper investigating authority with respect to misfeasance, non-feasance and provider would not have done; and that that failure or action caused injury to the patient.
12
malfeasance of public officials, the Ombudsmans should have been more vigilant and
assiduous in determining the reasons behind the "buckpassing" to ensure that no irregularity
took place. Hence, there are four elements involved in medical negligence cases: duty, breach, injury and
proximate causation.
Whether such transfers were due to any outside pressure or ulterior motive is a matter of
evidence. One would have expected the Ombudsman, however, to inquire into what could Evidently, when the victim employed the services of Dr. Antonio and Dr. Reyes, a physician-
hardly qualify as "standard operating procedure," given the surrounding circumstances of the patient relationship was created. In accepting the case, Dr. Antonio and Dr. Reyes in effect
case. represented that, having the needed training and skill possessed by physicians and surgeons
practicing in the same field, they will employ such training, care and skill in the treatment of
While it is true that a preliminary investigation is essentially inquisitorial, and is often the only their patients. 13 They have a duty to use at least the same level of care that any other
means to discover who may be charged with a crime, its function is merely to determine the reasonably competent doctor would use to treat a condition under the same circumstances.
existence of probable cause.8 Probable cause has been defined as "the existence of such fact The breach of these professional duties of skill and care, or their improper performance, by a
and circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within physician surgeon whereby the patient is injured in body or in health, constitutes actionable
the knowledge of the prosecution, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which malpractice. 14 Consequently, in the event that any injury results to the patient from want of
he was prosecuted."9 due care or skill during the operation, the surgeons may be held answerable in damages for
negligence. 15
"Probable cause is a reasonable ground of presumption that a matter is, or may be, well
founded, such a state of facts in the mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary Moreover, in malpractice or negligence cases involving the administration of anaesthesia, the
caution and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion, that a thing is so." necessity of expert testimony and the availability of the charge of res ipsa loquitur to the
The term does not mean actual and positive cause nor does it import absolute certainty. It is plaintiff; have been applied in actions against anaesthesiologists to hold the defendant liable
merely based on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of probable cause does not for the death or injury of a patient under excessive or improper anaesthesia. 16 Essentially, it
require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough requires two-pronged evidence: evidence as to the recognized standards of the medical
that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. community in the particular kind of case, and a showing that the physician in question
Precisely, there is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the negligently departed from this standard in his treatment. 17
charge. 10
Another element in medical negligence cases is causation which is divided into two inquiries:
In the instant case, no less than the NBI pronounced after conducting an autopsy that there whether the doctor's actions in fact caused the harm to the patient and whether these were
was indeed negligence on the part of the attending physicians in administering the the proximate cause of the patient's
anaesthesia. 11 The fact of want of competence or diligence is evidentiary in nature, the injury. 18 Indeed here, a causal connection is discernible from the occurrence of the victim's
death after the negligent act of the anaesthesiologist in administering the anesthesia, a fact hand, "He may motu proprio or on motion of the appellee, dismiss outright the appeal on
which, if confirmed, should warrant the filing of the appropriate criminal case. To be sure, the specified grounds." 22
allegation of negligence is not entirely baseless. Moreover, the NBI deduced that the attending
surgeons did not conduct the necessary interview of the patient prior to the operation. It In exercising his discretion under the circumstances, the Ombudsman acted within his power
appears that the cause of the death of the victim could have been averted had the proper drug and authority in dismissing the complaint against the Prosecutors and this Court will not
been applied to cope with the symptoms of malignant hyperthermia. Also, we cannot ignore interfere with the same.
the fact that an antidote was readily available to counteract whatever deleterious effect the
anaesthesia might produce. 19 Why these precautionary measures were disregarded must be
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is DISMISSED, without prejudice to
sufficiently explained.
the filing of an appeal by the petitioner with the Secretary of Justice assailing the dismissal of
her criminal complaint by the respondent City Prosecutors. No costs.
The City Prosecutors were charged with violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act which requires the following facts:
SO ORDERED.

1. The accused is a public officer discharging administrative or official functions or private


persons charged in conspiracy with them;

2. The public officer committed the prohibited act during the performance of his official duty
or in relation to his public position;

3. The public officer acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross, inexcusable
negligence; and

4. His action caused undue injury to the Government or any private party, or gave any party
any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to such parties. 20

Why did the complainant, petitioner in instant case, elect to charge respondents under the
above law?

While a party who feels himself aggrieved is at liberty to choose the appropriate "weapon from
the armory," it is with no little surprise that this Court views the choice made by the
complainant widow.

To our mind, the better and more logical remedy under the circumstances would have been
to appeal the resolution of the City Prosecutors dismissing the criminal complaint to the
Secretary of Justice under the Department of Justice's Order No. 223, 21 otherwise known as
the "1993 Revised Rules on Appeals From Resolutions In Preliminary
Investigations/Reinvestigations," as amended by Department Order No. 359, Section 1 of
which provides:

Sec. 1. What May Be Appealed. — Only resolutions of the Chief State Prosecutor/Regional
State Prosecutor/Provincial or City Prosecutor dismissing a criminal complaint may be the
subject of an appeal to the Secretary of Justice except as otherwise provided in Section 4
hereof.

What action may the Secretary of Justice take on the appeal? Section 9 of Order No. 223 states:
"The Secretary of Justice may reverse, affirm or modify the appealed resolution." On the other
CIVPRO – RULE 43 – CASES NOT COVERED August 18, 1997 for lack of merit,6 hence the present petition alleging that the NLRC committed
grave abuse of discretion.7
G.R. No. 130866 September 16, 1998
Before proceeding further into the merits of the case at bar, the Court feels that it is now
ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOME, petitioner, exigent and opportune to reexamine the functional validity and systemic practicability of the
vs. mode of judicial review it has long adopted and still follows with respect to decisions of the
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and BIENVENIDO ARICAYOS, respondents. NLRC. The increasing number of labor disputes that find their way to this Court and the
legislative changes introduced over the years into the provisions of Presidential Decree (P.D.)
No. 442 (The Labor Code of the Philippines and Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P. No.) 129 (The
REGALADO, J.:
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) now stridently call for and warrant a reassessment of
that procedural aspect.
The present petition for certiorari stemmed from a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by
herein private respondent before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Regional
We prefatorily delve into the legal history of the NLRC. It was first established in the
Arbitration Branch No. III, in San Fernando, Pampanga. Private respondent alleges that he
Department of Labor by P.D. No. 21 on October 14, 1972, and its decisions were expressly
started working as Operations Manager of petitioner St. Martin Funeral Home on February 6,
declared to be appealable to the Secretary of Labor and, ultimately, to the President of the
1995. However, there was no contract of employment executed between him and petitioner
Philippines.
nor was his name included in the semi-monthly payroll. On January 22, 1996, he was dismissed
from his employment for allegedly misappropriating P38,000.00 which was intended for
payment by petitioner of its value added tax (VAT) to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 1 On May 1, 1974, P.D. No. 442 enacted the Labor Code of the Philippines, the same to take
effect six months after its promulgation. 8 Created and regulated therein is the present NLRC
which was attached to the Department of Labor and Employment for program and policy
Petitioner on the other hand claims that private respondent was not its employee but only the
coordination only.9 Initially, Article 302 (now, Article 223) thereof also granted an aggrieved
uncle of Amelita Malabed, the owner of petitioner St. Martin's Funeral Home. Sometime in
party the remedy of appeal from the decision of the NLRC to the Secretary of Labor, but P.D.
1995, private respondent, who was formerly working as an overseas contract worker, asked
No. 1391 subsequently amended said provision and abolished such appeals. No appellate
for financial assistance from the mother of Amelita. Since then, as an indication of gratitude,
review has since then been provided for.
private respondent voluntarily helped the mother of Amelita in overseeing the business.

Thus, to repeat, under the present state of the law, there is no provision for appeals from the
In January 1996, the mother of Amelita passed away, so the latter then took over the
decision of the NLRC. 10 The present Section 223, as last amended by Section 12 of R.A. No.
management of the business. She then discovered that there were arrears in the payment of
6715, instead merely provides that the Commission shall decide all cases within twenty days
taxes and other government fees, although the records purported to show that the same were
from receipt of the answer of the appellee, and that such decision shall be final and executory
already paid. Amelita then made some changes in the business operation and private
after ten calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties.
respondent and his wife were no longer allowed to participate in the management thereof. As
a consequence, the latter filed a complaint charging that petitioner had illegally terminated his
employment.2 When the issue was raised in an early case on the argument that this Court has no jurisdiction
to review the decisions of the NLRC, and formerly of the Secretary of Labor, since there is no
legal provision for appellate review thereof, the Court nevertheless rejected that thesis. It held
Based on the position papers of the parties, the labor arbiter rendered a decision in favor of
that there is an underlying power of the courts to scrutinize the acts of such agencies on
petitioner on October 25, 1996 declaring that no employer-employee relationship existed
questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of review is given by statute; that the
between the parties and, therefore, his office had no jurisdiction over the case. 3
purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative agency within its jurisdiction and
protect the substantial rights of the parties; and that it is that part of the checks and balances
Not satisfied with the said decision, private respondent appealed to the NLRC contending that which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and unjust adjudications. 11
the labor arbiter erred (1) in not giving credence to the evidence submitted by him; (2) in
holding that he worked as a "volunteer" and not as an employee of St. Martin Funeral Home
Pursuant to such ruling, and as sanctioned by subsequent decisions of this Court, the remedy
from February 6, 1995 to January 23, 1996, or a period of about one year; and (3) in ruling that
of the aggrieved party is to timely file a motion for reconsideration as a precondition for any
there was no employer-employee relationship between him and petitioner.4
further or subsequent remedy, 12 and then seasonably avail of the special civil action of
certiorari under Rule 65, 13 for which said Rule has now fixed the reglementary period of sixty
On June 13, 1997, the NLRC rendered a resolution setting aside the questioned decision and days from notice of the decision. Curiously, although the 10-day period for finality of the
remanding the case to the labor arbiter for immediate appropriate proceedings. 5 Petitioner decision of the NLRC may already have lapsed as contemplated in Section 223 of the Labor
then filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the NLRC in its resolution dated Code, it has been held that this Court may still take cognizance of the petition for certiorari on
jurisdictional and due process considerations if filed within the reglementary period under except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance
Rule 65. 14 with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442,
as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and
Turning now to the matter of judicial review of NLRC decisions, B.P. No. 129 originally provided subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
as follows:
The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive
Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise: evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases
falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct
new trials or further proceedings. Trials or hearings in the Court of Appeals must be
(1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus,
continuous and must be completed within, three (3) months, unless extended by the Chief
and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate
Justice.
jurisdiction;

It will readily be observed that, aside from the change in the name of the lower appellate court,
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial 16 the following amendments of the original provisions of Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 were
Courts; and
effected by R.A. No. 7902, viz.:
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders, or
1. The last paragraph which excluded its application to the Labor Code of the Philippines and
awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards, or
the Central Board of Assessment Appeals was deleted and replaced by a new paragraph
commissions, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
granting the Court of Appeals limited powers to conduct trials and hearings in cases within its
accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the
jurisdiction.
third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary
Act of 1948.
2. The reference to the Labor Code in that last paragraph was transposed to paragraph (3) of
the section, such that the original exclusionary clause therein now provides "except those
The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings,
falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the
receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in
Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended,
cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and
the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph
conduct new trials or further proceedings.
(4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948." (Emphasis supplied).
These provisions shall not apply to decisions and interlocutory orders issued under the Labor
3. Contrarily, however, specifically added to and included among the quasi-judicial agencies
Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. 15
over which the Court of Appeals shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction are the Securities
and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees Compensation
Subsequently, and as it presently reads, this provision was amended by R.A. No. 7902 effective Commission and the Civil Service Commission.
March 18, 1995, to wit:
This, then, brings us to a somewhat perplexing impassè, both in point of purpose and
Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Court of Appeals shall exercise: terminology. As earlier explained, our mode of judicial review over decisions of the NLRC has
for some time now been understood to be by a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
(1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, Rules of Court. This is, of course, a special original action limited to the resolution of
and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdictional issues, that is, lack or excess of jurisdiction and, in almost all cases that have been
jurisdiction; brought to us, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial It will, however, be noted that paragraph (3), Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 now grants exclusive
Courts; and appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over all final adjudications of the Regional Trial
Courts and the quasi-judicial agencies generally or specifically referred to therein except,
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or among others, "those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or accordance with . . . the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as
commissions, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security amended, . . . ." This would necessarily contradict what has been ruled and said all along that
Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, appeal does not lie from decisions of the NLRC. 17 Yet, under such excepting clause literally
construed, the appeal from the NLRC cannot be brought to the Court of Appeals, but to this the Employees Compensation Commission to reduce the number of cases elevated to the
Court by necessary implication. Supreme Court. (Emphases and corrections ours)

The same exceptive clause further confuses the situation by declaring that the Court of Appeals xxx xxx xxx
has no appellate jurisdiction over decisions falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of B.P. No. 129, and those Senate Bill No. 1495 authored by our distinguished Colleague from Laguna provides the ideal
specified cases in Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. These cases can, of course, be situation of drastically reducing the workload of the Supreme Court without depriving the
properly excluded from the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. However, litigants of the privilege of review by an appellate tribunal.
because of the aforementioned amendment by transposition, also supposedly excluded are
cases falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the
In closing, allow me to quote the observations of former Chief Justice Teehankee in 1986 in
Labor Code. This is illogical and impracticable, and Congress could not have intended that
the Annual Report of the Supreme Court:
procedural gaffe, since there are no cases in the Labor Code the decisions, resolutions, orders
or awards wherein are within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or of any other
court for that matter. . . . Amendatory legislation is suggested so as to relieve the Supreme Court of the burden
of reviewing these cases which present no important issues involved beyond the
particular fact and the parties involved, so that the Supreme Court may wholly devote its
A review of the legislative records on the antecedents of R.A. No. 7902 persuades us that there
time to cases of public interest in the discharge of its mandated task as the guardian of
may have been an oversight in the course of the deliberations on the said Act or an imprecision
the Constitution and the guarantor of the people's basic rights and additional task
in the terminology used therein. In fine, Congress did intend to provide for judicial review of
expressly vested on it now "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
the adjudications of the NLRC in labor cases by the Supreme Court, but there was an inaccuracy
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
in the term used for the intended mode of review. This conclusion which we have reluctantly
of the Government.
but prudently arrived at has been drawn from the considerations extant in the records of
Congress, more particularly on Senate Bill No. 1495 and the Reference Committee Report on
S. No. 1495/H. No. 10452. 18 We used to have 500,000 cases pending all over the land, Mr. President. It has been cut
down to 300,000 cases some five years ago. I understand we are now back to 400,000 cases.
19
Unless we distribute the work of the appellate courts, we shall continue to mount and add
In sponsoring Senate Bill No. 1495, Senator Raul S. Roco delivered his sponsorship speech
to the number of cases pending.
from which we reproduce the following excerpts:
In view of the foregoing, Mr. President, and by virtue of all the reasons we have submitted,
The Judiciary Reorganization Act, Mr. President, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, reorganized the
the Committee on Justice and Human Rights requests the support and collegial approval of
Court of Appeals and at the same time expanded its jurisdiction and powers. Among others,
our Chamber.
its appellate jurisdiction was expanded to cover not only final judgment of Regional Trial
Courts, but also all final judgment(s), decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of quasi-
judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards and commissions, except those falling within the xxx xxx xxx
appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the
provisions of BP Blg. 129 and of subparagraph 1 of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 Surprisingly, however, in a subsequent session, the following Committee Amendment was
of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. introduced by the said sponsor and the following proceedings transpired: 20

Mr. President, the purpose of the law is to ease the workload of the Supreme Court by the Senator Roco. On page 2, line 5, after the line "Supreme Court in accordance with the
transfer of some of its burden of review of factual issues to the Court of Appeals. However, Constitution," add the phrase "THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES UNDER P.D. 442, AS
whatever benefits that can be derived from the expansion of the appellate jurisdiction of the AMENDED." So that it becomes clear, Mr. President, that issues arising from the Labor Code
Court of Appeals was cut short by the last paragraph of Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. will still be appealable to the Supreme Court.
129 which excludes from its coverage the "decisions and interlocutory orders issued under
the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the amendment is approved.

Among the highest number of cases that are brought up to the Supreme Court are labor Senator Roco. On the same page, we move that lines 25 to 30 be deleted. This was also
cases. Hence, Senate Bill No. 1495 seeks to eliminate the exceptions enumerated in Section discussed with our Colleagues in the House of Representatives and as we understand it, as
9 and, additionally, extends the coverage of appellate review of the Court of Appeals in the approved in the House, this was also deleted, Mr. President.
decision(s) of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, and
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the amendment is approved. While we do not wish to intrude into the Congressional sphere on the matter of the wisdom
of a law, on this score we add the further observations that there is a growing number of labor
Senator Roco. There are no further Committee amendments, Mr. President. cases being elevated to this Court which, not being a trier of fact, has at times been constrained
to remand the case to the NLRC for resolution of unclear or ambiguous factual findings; that
the Court of Appeals is procedurally equipped for that purpose, aside from the increased
Senator Romulo. Mr. President, I move that we close the period of Committee amendments.
number of its component divisions; and that there is undeniably an imperative need for
expeditious action on labor cases as a major aspect of constitutional protection to labor.
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the amendment is approved.
(Emphasis supplied).
Therefore, all references in the amended Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 to supposed appeals from
the NLRC to the Supreme Court are interpreted and hereby declared to mean and refer to
xxx xxx xxx petitions for certiorari under Rule 65. Consequently, all such petitions should hence forth be
initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of
Thereafter, since there were no individual amendments, Senate Bill No. 1495 was passed on courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired.
second reading and being a certified bill, its unanimous approval on third reading followed. 21
The Conference Committee Report on Senate Bill No. 1495 and House Bill No. 10452, having Apropos to this directive that resort to the higher courts should be made in accordance with
theretofore been approved by the House of Representatives, the same was likewise approved their hierarchical order, this pronouncement in Santiago vs. Vasquez, et al. 25 should be taken
by the Senate on February 20, 1995, 22 inclusive of the dubious formulation on appeals to the into account:
Supreme Court earlier discussed.
One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity on the part of
The Court is, therefore, of the considered opinion that ever since appeals from the NLRC to the petitioner, and, for that matter, the same may be said of a number of litigants who initiate
Supreme Court were eliminated, the legislative intendment was that the special civil action of recourses before us, to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking
certiorari was and still is the proper vehicle for judicial review of decisions of the NLRC. The relief directly from this Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower courts
use of the word "appeal" in relation thereto and in the instances we have noted could have in the exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction, or is even mandated by law to be
been a lapsus plumae because appeals by certiorari and the original action for certiorari are sought therein. This practice must be stopped, not only because of the imposition upon the
both modes of judicial review addressed to the appellate courts. The important distinction precious time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay, intended
between them, however, and with which the Court is particularly concerned here is that the or otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or referred to
special civil action of certiorari is within the concurrent original jurisdiction of this Court and the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to
the Court of Appeals; 23 whereas to indulge in the assumption that appeals by certiorari to the resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We, therefore, reiterate the judicial
Supreme Court are allowed would not subserve, but would subvert, the intention of Congress policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot
as expressed in the sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. 1495. be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances
justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.
Incidentally, it was noted by the sponsor therein that some quarters were of the opinion that
recourse from the NLRC to the Court of Appeals as an initial step in the process of judicial WHEREFORE, under the foregoing premises, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby
review would be circuitous and would prolong the proceedings. On the contrary, as he REMANDED, and all pertinent records thereof ordered to be FORWARDED, to the Court of
commendably and realistically emphasized, that procedure would be advantageous to the Appeals for appropriate action and disposition consistent with the views and ruling herein set
aggrieved party on this reasoning: forth, without pronouncement as to costs.

On the other hand, Mr. President, to allow these cases to be appealed to the Court of SO ORDERED.
Appeals would give litigants the advantage to have all the evidence on record be reexamined
and reweighed after which the findings of facts and conclusions of said bodies are
correspondingly affirmed, modified or reversed.

Under such guarantee, the Supreme Court can then apply strictly the axiom that factual
findings of the Court of Appeals are final and may not be reversed on appeal to the Supreme
Court. A perusal of the records will reveal appeals which are factual in nature and may,
therefore, be dismissed outright by minute resolutions. 24
CIVPRO – RULE 43 – DECISIONS OF DOJ SECRETARY no intention to abandon the project and would resume developing the properties once the
disputes had been settled in its favor.
G.R. No. 156081 October 19, 2005
Go was neither satisfied nor assured by FEPI’s statements and he made several demands upon
FERDINAND T. SANTOS, ROBERT JOHN SOBREPEÑA, and RAFAEL PEREZ DE TAGLE, JR., FEPI to return his payment of the purchase price in full. FEPI failed to heed his demands. Go
Petitioners, then filed a complaint before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). He likewise
vs. filed a separate Complaint-Affidavit for estafa under Articles 3166 and 3187 of the Revised
WILSON GO, Respondent. Penal Code before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City against petitioners as officers
of FEPI. The complaint for estafa averred that the Contract to Sell categorically stated that FEPI
was the owner of the property. However, before the HLURB, FEPI denied ownership of the
DECISION
realty. Go alleged that the petitioners committed estafa when they offered the subject
property for sale since they knew fully well that the development of the property and issuance
QUISUMBING, J.: of its corresponding title were impossible to accomplish, as the ownership and title thereto
had not yet been acquired and registered under the name of FEPI at the time of sale. Thus,
For our review on certiorari is the Decision1 dated September 2, 2002 of the Court of Appeals FEPI had grossly misrepresented itself as owner at the time of the sale of the subject property
in CA-G.R. SP No. 67388, as well as its Resolution2 dated November 12, 2002, denying to him and when it received from him the full payment, despite being aware that it was not
petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. The appellate court dismissed the petition for review yet the owner.
under Rule 433 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure for being an erroneous mode of appeal
from the Resolution4 of the Secretary of Justice. The Secretary had modified the Resolution5 of Petitioners challenged the jurisdiction of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City to conduct the
the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City in I.S. No. PSG 00-04-10205 and directed the preliminary investigation on the ground that the complainant was not from Pasig City, the
latter to file an information for estafa against petitioners. contract was not executed nor were the payments made in Pasig City. Besides, countered
petitioners, none of the elements of estafa under Articles 316 and 318 were present. They
The petitioners are corporate directors and officers of Fil-Estate Properties, Inc. (FEPI). averred that FEPI was not the owner of the project but the developer with authority to sell
under a joint venture with MSDC, who is the real owner. They further denied that FEPI ever
On October 17, 1995, FEPI allegedly entered into a Project Agreement with Manila Southcoast made any written nor oral representation to Go that it is the owner, pointing out that Go failed
Development Corporation (MSDC), whereby FEPI undertook to develop several parcels of land to positively identify who made such misrepresentation to him nor did Go say where the
in Nasugbu, Batangas allegedly owned by MSDC. Under the terms of the Agreement, FEPI was misrepresentation was made. According to petitioner, there being neither deceit nor
to convert an approximate area of 1,269 hectares into a first-class residential, commercial, misrepresentation, there could be no damage nor prejudice to respondent, and no probable
resort, leisure, and recreational complex. The said Project Agreement clothed FEPI with cause exists to indict the petitioners. Petitioners likewise insisted that they could not be held
authority to market and sell the subdivision lots to the public. criminally liable for abiding with a cease-and-desist order of the DAR.

Respondent Wilson Go offered to buy Lot 17, Block 38 from FEPI. Lot 17 measured In his reply, Go stressed that the City Prosecutor of Pasig City had jurisdiction over the case.
approximately 1,079 square meters and the purchase price agreed upon was ₱4,304,000. The He argued that the Contract to Sell specifically provided that payment be made at FEPI’s office
Contract to Sell signed by the parties was the standard, printed form prepared by FEPI. Under at Pasig City and the demand letters bore the Pasig City address. He averred that FEPI could
the terms of said contract of adhesion, Go agreed to pay a downpayment of ₱1,291,200 and a not disclaim ownership of the project since the contract described FEPI as owner without
last installment of ₱840,000 on the balance due on April 7, 1997. In turn, FEPI would execute mentioning MSDC. Additionally, the acts executed by FEPI appearing in the contract were the
a final Deed of Sale in favor of Go and deliver to Go the owner’s duplicate copy of Transfer acts of an owner and not a mere developer.
Certificate of Title (TCT) upon complete payment of the purchase price.
After the preliminary investigation, the City Prosecutor resolved to dismiss the complaint for
Go fully complied with the terms of the Contract. FEPI, however, failed to develop the estafa, thus:
property. Neither did it release the TCT to Go. The latter demanded fulfillment of the terms
and conditions of their agreement. FEPI balked. In several letters to its clients, including Wherefore, the case for estafa, under Articles 316 and 318 of the Revised Penal Code, filed
respondent Go, FEPI explained that the project was temporarily halted due to some claimants against the respondents Ferdinand Santos, Robert [John] Sobrepeña, Federico Campos, Polo
who opposed FEPI’s application for exclusion of the subject properties from the coverage of Pantaleon and Rafael Perez de Tagle, Jr. is dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. 8
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). Further, FEPI’s hands were tied by a cease
and desist order issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Said order was the The City Prosecutor found no misrepresentation stating that, (1) the Contract to Sell did not
subject of several appeals now pending before this Court. FEPI assured its clients that it had mention FEPI as the owner of the property; (2) since no Deed of Sale had been executed by
the parties, then petitioners are not yet bound to deliver the certificate of title since under The appellate court opined that a petition for review pursuant to Rule 43 cannot be availed of
both the Contract to Sell and Section 259 of Presidential Decree No. 957,10 FEPI was bound to as a mode of appeal from the ruling of the Secretary of Justice because the Rule applies only
deliver the certificate of title only upon the execution of a contract of sale; and (3) the City to agencies or officers exercising quasi-judicial functions. The decision to file an information or
Prosecutor disavowed any jurisdiction since it is the HLURB, which has exclusive jurisdiction not is an executive and not a quasi-judicial function.
over disputes and controversies involving the sale of lots in commercial subdivision including
claims involving refunds under P.D. No. 1344.11 Herein petitioners seasonably moved for reconsideration, but the motion was likewise denied
by the Court of Appeals.
Go appealed the City Prosecutor’s Resolution to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which, in
turn reversed the City Prosecutor’s findings, and held, to wit: Hence, this petition based on the following grounds:

WHEREFORE, the questioned resolution is hereby MODIFIED. The City Prosecutor of Pasig City (1) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RULE 43 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL
is directed to file an information for estafa defined and penalized under Art. 316, par. 1 of the PROCEDURE CANNOT BE AVAILED OF TO APPEAL THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF
Revised Penal Code against respondents Ferdinand Santos, Robert [John] Sobrepeña, Federico JUSTICE.14
Campos, Polo Pantaleon and Rafael Perez De Tagle, Jr. and report the action taken within ten
(10) days from receipt hereof.
(2) THE DOJ SECRETARY ERRED WHEN IT FOUND PROBABLE CAUSE AND RESOLVED TO FILE AN
INFORMATION FOR ESTAFA UNDER ART. 316, SEC. 1 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE AGAINST
SO ORDERED.12 PETITIONERS, CONSIDERING THAT: (A) Petitioners did not pretend that they, or FEPI, were the
owners of the subject property; (B) FEPI need not have been the owner at the time the
The DOJ found that there was a prima facie basis to hold petitioners liable for estafa under Contract to Sell was furnished to respondent Go; (C) There was no prejudice caused to
Article 316 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, pointing out that the elements of the offense were respondent Go; (D) There is no personal act or omission constituting a crime ascribed to any
present as evidenced by the terms of the Contract to Sell. It ruled that under the Contract, the of the Petitioners, therefore, there can be no probable cause against them; and (E) There was
petitioners sold the property to Go despite full knowledge that FEPI was not its owner. The no deceit or even intent to deceive.15
DOJ noted that petitioners did not deny the due execution of the contract and had accepted
payments of the purchase price as evidenced by the receipts. Thus, FEPI was exercising acts of To our mind, the sole issue for resolution is whether a petition for review under Rule 43 is a
ownership when it conveyed the property to respondent Go. Acts to convey, sell, encumber proper mode of appeal from a resolution of the Secretary of Justice directing the prosecutor
or mortgage real property are acts of strict ownership. Furthermore, nowhere did FEPI to file an information in a criminal case. In the course of this determination, we must also
mention that it had a joint venture with MSDC, the alleged true owner of the property. Clearly, consider whether the conduct of preliminary investigation by the prosecutor is a quasi-judicial
petitioners committed acts of misrepresentation when FEPI denied ownership after the function.
perfection of the contract and the payment of the purchase price. Since a corporation can only
act through its agents or officers, then all the participants in a fraudulent transaction are
Petitioners submit that there is jurisprudence to the effect that Rule 43 covers rulings of the
deemed liable.
Secretary of Justice since during preliminary investigations, the DOJ’s decisions are deemed as
"awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of or authorized by any quasi-judicial agency
Accordingly, an Information for estafa was filed against petitioners and Federico Campos and in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions", and its prosecutorial offices are considered
Polo Pantaleon before the MTC of Pasig City. However, the arraignment was deferred since quasi-judicial bodies/officers performing quasi-judicial functions.
Campos and Pantaleon filed a Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause, which was
granted by the trial court. Meanwhile petitioners herein filed with the Court of Appeals, a
Respondent counters that the herein petition is a dilatory tactic and emphasizes that
petition for review docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 67388. Accordingly, the trial court deferred the
"injunction will not lie to restrain criminal prosecution."
arraignment of petitioners until the petition for review was resolved.
Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure clearly shows that it governs appeals to the Court
On September 2, 2002, the appellate court disposed of CA-G.R. SP No. 67388 in this wise:
of Appeals from decisions and final orders or resolutions of the Court of Tax Appeals or quasi-
judicial agencies in the exercise of their quasi-judicial functions. The Department of Justice is
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Petition, HAVING NO MERIT, is hereby not among the agencies16 enumerated in Section 1 of Rule 43. Inclusio unius est exclusio
DENIED DUE COURSE AND ORDERED DISMISSED, with cost to Petitioners. alterius.

SO ORDERED.13 We cannot agree with petitioners’ submission that a preliminary investigation is a quasi-
judicial proceeding, and that the DOJ is a quasi-judicial agency exercising a quasi-judicial
function when it reviews the findings of a public prosecutor regarding the presence of probable and are outside the scope of a petition for review on certiorari. The cited questions require
cause. evaluation and examination of evidence, which is the province of a full-blown trial on the
merits.
In Bautista v. Court of Appeals,17 we held that a preliminary investigation is not a quasi-judicial
proceeding, thus: Second, courts cannot interfere with the discretion of the public prosecutor in evaluating the
offense charged. He may dismiss the complaint forthwith, if he finds the charge insufficient in
[t]he prosecutor in a preliminary investigation does not determine the guilt or innocence of form or substance, or without any ground. Or, he may proceed with the investigation if the
the accused. He does not exercise adjudication nor rule-making functions. Preliminary complaint in his view is sufficient and in proper form.22 The decision whether to dismiss a
investigation is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering the persons complaint or not, is dependent upon the sound discretion of the prosecuting fiscal and,
who may be reasonably charged with a crime and to enable the fiscal to prepare his complaint ultimately, that of the Secretary of Justice.23 Findings of the Secretary of Justice are not subject
or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of to review unless made with grave abuse of discretion.24 In this case, petitioners have not
determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to shown sufficient nor convincing reason for us to deviate from prevailing jurisprudence.
believe that the accused is guilty thereof. While the fiscal makes that determination, he cannot
be said to be acting as a quasi-court, for it is the courts, ultimately, that pass judgment on the WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision and the Resolution
accused, not the fiscal.18 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 67388, dated September 2, 2002 and November 12,
2002, respectively, are AFFIRMED.
Though some cases19 describe the public prosecutor’s power to conduct a preliminary
investigation as quasi-judicial in nature, this is true only to the extent that, like quasi-judicial Costs against petitioners.
bodies, the prosecutor is an officer of the executive department exercising powers akin to
those of a court, and the similarity ends at this point.20 A quasi-judicial body is as an organ of SO ORDERED.
government other than a court and other than a legislature which affects the rights of private
parties through either adjudication or rule-making.21 A quasi-judicial agency performs
adjudicatory functions such that its awards, determine the rights of parties, and their decisions
have the same effect as judgments of a court. Such is not the case when a public prosecutor
conducts a preliminary investigation to determine probable cause to file an information
against a person charged with a criminal offense, or when the Secretary of Justice is reviewing
the former’s order or resolutions.

Since the DOJ is not a quasi-judicial body and it is not one of those agencies whose decisions,
orders or resolutions are appealable to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43, the resolution of
the Secretary of Justice finding probable cause to indict petitioners for estafa is, therefore, not
appealable to the Court of Appeals via a petition for review under Rule 43. Accordingly, the
Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioners’ petition for review.

Notwithstanding that theirs is a petition for review properly under Rule 45, petitioners want
us to reverse the findings of probable cause by the DOJ after their petition for review under
Rule 43 from the court a quo failed. This much we are not inclined to do, for we have no basis
to review the DOJ’s factual findings and its determination of probable cause.

First, Rule 45 is explicit. This mode of appeal to the Supreme Court covers the judgments,
orders or resolutions of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or
any authorized court and should raise only pure question of law. The Department of Justice is
not a court.

Also, in this petition are raised factual matters for our resolution, e.g. the ownership of the
subject property, the existence of deceit committed by petitioners on respondent, and
petitioners’ knowledge or direct participation in the Contract to Sell. These are factual issues
CIVPRO – RULE 43 – NOT APPLICABLE WHERE THERE IS ERROR OF JURISDICTION 2. In 1984, the land was leased as a pineapple plantation to the Philippine Packing Corporation,
now Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (DMPI), a multinational corporation, for a period of ten (10)
G.R. No. 131457 April 24, 1998 years under the Crop Producer and Grower's Agreement duly annotated in the certificate of
title. The lease expired in April, 1994.
HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF BUKIDNON, HON. REY B. BAULA,
MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SUMILAO, BUKIDNON, NQSR MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT 3. In October, 1991, during the existence of the lease, the Department of Agrarian Reform
CORPORATION, petitioners, (DAR) placed the entire 144-hectare property under compulsory acquisition and assessed the
vs. land value at P2.38 million.4
HON. RENATO C. CORONA, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ERNESTO D. GARILAO,
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondents. 4. NQSRMDC resisted the DAR's action. In February, 1992, it sought and was granted by the
DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB), through its Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD)
MARTINEZ, J.: in DARAB Case No. X-576, a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction which ordered the
DAR Region X Director, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) of Bukidnon, the
Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of Sumilao, Bukidnon, the Land Bank of the
The dramatic and well-publicized hunger strike staged by some alleged farmer-beneficiaries in
Philippines (Land Bank), and their authorized representatives "to desist from pursuing any
front of the Department of Agrarian Reform compound in Quezon City on October 9, 1997
activity or activities" concerning the subject land "until further orders." 5
commanded nationwide attention that even church leaders and some presidential candidates
tried to intervene for the strikers' "cause."
5. Despite the DARAB order of March 31, 1992, the DAR Regional Director issued a
memorandum, dated May 21, 1992, directing the Land Bank to open a trust account for P2.38
The strikers protested the March 29, 1996 Decision 1 of the Office of the President (OP), issued
million in the name of NQSRMDC and to conduct summary proceedings to determine the just
through then Executive Secretary Ruben D. Torres in OP Case No. 96-C-6424, which approved
compensation of the subject property. NQSRMDC objected to these moves and filed on June
the conversion of a one hundred forty-four (144)-hectare land from agricultural to agro-
9, 1992 an Omnibus Motion to enforce the DARAB order of March 31, 1992 and to nullify the
industrial/institutional area. This led the Office of the President, through then Deputy
summary proceedings undertaken by the DAR Regional Director and Land Bank on the
Executive Secretary Renato C. Corona, to issue the so-called "Win-Win" Resolution 2 on
valuation of the subject property.
November 7, 1997, substantially modifying its earlier Decision after it had already become final
and executory. The said Resolution modified the approval of the land conversion to agro-
industrial area only to the extent of forty-four (44) hectares, and ordered the remaining one 6. The DARAB, on October 22, 1992, acted favorably on the Omnibus Motion by (a) ordering
hundred (100) hectares to be distributed to qualified farmer-beneficiaries. the DAR Regional Director and Land Bank "to seriously comply with the terms of the order
dated March 31, 1992;" (b) nullifying the DAR Regional Director's memorandum, dated May
21, 1992, and the summary proceedings conducted pursuant thereto; and (c) directing the
But, did the "Win-Win" Resolution culminate in victory for all the contending parties?
Land Bank "to return the claim folder of Petitioner NQSRMDC's subject Property to the DAR
until further orders."6
The above-named petitioners cried foul. They have come to this Court urging us to annul and
set aside the "Win-Win" Resolution and to enjoin respondent Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao of
7. The Land Bank complied with the DARAB order and cancelled the trust account it opened in
the Department of Agrarian Reform from implementing the said Resolution.
the name of petitioner NQSRMDC. 7
Thus, the crucial issue to be resolved in this case is: What is the legal effect of the "Win-Win"
8. In the meantime, the Provincial Development Council (PDC) of Bukidnon, headed by
Resolution issued by the Office of the President on its earlier Decision involving the same
Governor Carlos O. Fortich, passed Resolution No. 6,8 dated January 7, 1993, designating
subject matter, which had already become final and executory?
certain areas along Bukidnon-Sayre Highway as part of the Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Zones
where the subject property is situated.
The antecedent facts of this controversy, as culled from the pleadings, may be stated as
follows:
9. What happened thereafter is well-narrated in the OP (TORRES) Decision of March 29, 1996,
pertinent portions of which we quote:
1. This case involves a 144-hectare land located at San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, owned by
the Norberto Quisumbing, Sr. Management and Development Corporation (NQSRMDC), one
Pursuant to Section 20 of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code,
of the petitioners. The property is covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title No. 14371 3 of the
the Sangguniang Bayan of Sumilao, Bukidnon, on March 4, 1993, enacted Ordinance No. 24
Registry of Deeds of the Province of Bukidnon.
converting or re-classifying 144 hectares of land in Bgy. San Vicente, said Municipality, from
agricultural to industrial/institutional with a view of providing an opportunity to attract
investors who can inject new economic vitality, provide more jobs and raise the income of interposed NO. OBJECTION to the proposed conversion "as long as the development cost of
its people. the irrigation systems thereat which is P2,377.00 per hectare be replenished by the
developer . . . ." Also, the Kisolon-San Vicente Irrigators Multi Purpose Cooperative, San
Parenthetically, under said section, 4th to 5th class municipalities may authorize the Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, interposed no objection to the proposed conversion of the land
classification of five percent (5%) of their agricultural land area and provide for the manner in question "as it will provide more economic benefits to the community in terms of outside
of their utilization or disposition. investments that will come and employment opportunities that will be generated by the
projects to be put up . . . .
On 12 October 1993, the Bukidnon Provincial Land Use Committee approved the said
Ordinance. Accordingly, on 11 December 1993, the instant application for conversion was On the same score, it is represented that during the public consultation held at the Kisolan
filed by Mr. Gaudencio Beduya in behalf of NQSRMDC/BAIDA (Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Elementary School on 18 March 1995 with Director Jose Macalindong of DAR Central Office
Development Association). and DECS Undersecretary Clemente, the people of the affected barangay rallied behind their
respective officials in endorsing the project.
Expressing support for the proposed project, the Bukidnon Provincial Board, on the basis of
a Joint Committee Report submitted by its Committee on Laws, Committee on Agrarian Notwithstanding the foregoing favorable recommendation, however, on November 14,
Reform and Socio-Economic Committee approved, on 1 February 1994, the said Ordinance 1994, the DAR, thru Secretary Garilao, invoking its powers to approve conversion of lands
now docketed as Resolution No. 94-95. The said industrial area, as conceived by NQSRMDC under Section 65 of R.A. No. 6657, issued an Order denying the instant application for the
(project proponent) is supposed to have the following components: conversion of the subject land from agricultural to agro-industrial and, instead, placed the
same under the compulsory coverage of CARP and directed the distribution thereof to all
qualified beneficiaries on the following grounds:
1. Development Academy of Mindanao which constitutes following: Institute for Continuing
Higher Education; Institute for Livelihood Science (Vocational and Technical School);
Institute for Agribusiness Research; Museum, Library, Cultural Center, and Mindanao Sports 1. The area is considered as a prime agricultural land with irrigation facility;
Development Complex which covers an area of 24 hectares;
2. The land has long been covered by a Notice of Compulsory Acquisition (NCA);
2. Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Park which consists of corn processing for corn oil, corn starch,
various corn products; rice processing for wine, rice-based snacks, exportable rice; cassava 3. The existing policy on withdrawal or lifting on areas covered by NCA is not applicable;
processing for starch, alcohol and food delicacies; processing plants, fruits and fruit products
such as juices; processing plants for vegetables processed and prepared for market; cold 4. There is no clear and tangible compensation package arrangements for the beneficiaries;
storage and ice plant; cannery system; commercial stores; public market; and abattoir
needing about 67 hectares;
5. The procedures on how the area was identified and reclassified for agro-industrial project
has no reference to Memo Circular No. 54, Series of 1993, E.O. No. 72, Series of 1993, and
3. Forest development which includes open spaces and parks for recreation, horse-back E.O. No. 124, Series of 1993.
riding, memorial and mini-zoo estimated to cover 33 hectares; and
A Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Order was filed on January 9, 1995 by
4. Support facilities which comprise the construction of a 360-room hotel, restaurants, applicant but the same was denied (in an Order dated June 7, 1995). 9
dormitories and a housing project covering an area of 20 hectares.
10. Thus, the DAR Secretary ordered the DAR Regional Director "to proceed with the
The said NQSRMDC Proposal was, per Certification dated January 4, 1995, adopted by the compulsory acquisition and distribution of the property." 10
Department of Trade and Industry, Bukidnon Provincial Office, as one of its flagship projects.
The same was likewise favorably recommended by the Provincial Development Council of
11. Governor Carlos O. Fortich of Bukidnon appealed" the order of denial to the Office of the
Bukidnon; the municipal, provincial and regional office of the DAR; the Regional Office
President and prayed for the conversion/reclassification of the subject land as the same would
(Region X) of the DENR (which issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate on June 5,
be more beneficial to the people of Bukidnon.
1995); the Executive Director, signing "By Authority of PAUL G. DOMINGUEZ," Office of the
President — Mindanao; the Secretary of DILG; and Undersecretary of DECS Wilfredo D.
Clemente. 12. To prevent the enforcement of the DAR Secretary's order, NQSRMDC, on June 29, 1995,
filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, prohibition with preliminary injunction,
12 docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 37614.
In the same vein, the National Irrigation Administration, Provincial Irrigation Office,
Bagontaas Valencia, Bukidnon, thru Mr. Julius S. Maquiling, Chief, Provincial Irrigation Office,
13. Meanwhile, on July 25, 1995, the Honorable Paul G. Dominguez, then Presidential Assistant both in Butuan City, to "desist from pursuing any activity or activities covering petitioner's
for Mindanao, after conducting an evaluation of the proposed project, sent a memorandum 13 land.
to the President favorably endorsing the project with a recommendation that the DAR
Secretary reconsider his decision in denying the application of the province for the conversion On this score, we take special notice of the fact that the Quisumbing family has already
of the land. contributed substantially to the land reform program of the government, as follows: 300
hectares of rice land in Nueva Ecija in the 70's and another 400 hectares in the nearby
14. Also, in a memorandum 14 to the President dated August 23, 1995, the Honorable Rafael Municipality of Impasugong, Bukidnon, ten(10) years ago, for which they have not received
Alunan III, then Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), "just compensation" up to this time.
recommended the conversion of the subject land to industrial/institutional use with a request
that the President "hold the implementation of the DAR order to distribute the land in Neither can the assertion that "there is no clear and tangible compensation package
question." arrangements for the beneficiaries' hold water as, in the first place, there are no
beneficiaries to speak about, for the land is not tenanted as already stated.
15. On October 23, 1995, the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 37614, issued a Resolution 15
ordering the parties to observe status quo pending resolution of the petition. At the hearing Nor can procedural lapses in the manner of identifying/reclassifying the subject property for
held in said case on October 5, 1995, the DAR, through the Solicitor General, manifested before agro-industrial purposes be allowed to defeat the very purpose of the law granting
the said court that the DAR was merely "in the processing stage of the applications of farmers- autonomy to local government units in the management of their local affairs. Stated more
claimants" and has agreed to respect status quo pending the resolution of the petition. 16 simply, the language of Section 20 of R.A. No. 7160, supra, is clear and affords no room for
any other interpretation. By unequivocal legal mandate, it grants local government units
16. In resolving the appeal, the Office of the President, through then Executive Secretary autonomy in their local affairs including the power to convert portions of their agricultural
Ruben D. Torres, issued a Decision in OP Case No. 96-C-6424, dated March 29, 1996, reversing lands and provide for the manner of their utilization and disposition to enable them to attain
the DAR Secretary's decision, the pertinent portions of which read: their fullest development as self-reliant communities.

After a careful evaluation of the petition vis-a-vis the grounds upon which the denial thereof WHEREFORE, in pursuance of the spirit and intent of the said legal mandate and in view of
by Secretary Garilao was based, we find that the instant application for conversion by the the favorable recommendations of the various government agencies abovementioned, the
Municipality of Sumilao, Bukidnon is impressed with merit. To be sure, converting the land subject Order, dated November 14, 1994 of the Hon. Secretary, Department of Agrarian
in question from agricultural to agro-industrial would open great opportunities for Reform, is hereby SET ASIDE and the instant application of NQSRMDC/BAIDA is hereby
employment and bring about real development in the area towards a sustained economic APPROVED. 17
growth of the municipality. On the other hand, distributing the land to would-be
beneficiaries (who are not even tenants, as there are none) does not guarantee such 17. On May 20, 1996, DAR filed a motion for reconsideration of the OP decision.
benefits.
18. On September 11, 1996, in compliance with the OP decision of March 29, 1996, NQSRMDC
Nevertheless, on the issue that the land is considered a prime agricultural land with and the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) executed a Memorandum of
irrigation facility it maybe appropriate to mention that, as claimed by petitioner, while it is Agreement whereby the former donated four (4) hectares from the subject land to DECS for
true that there is, indeed, an irrigation facility in the area, the same merely passes thru the the establishment of the NQSR High School. 18
property (as a right of way) to provide water to the ricelands located on the lower portion
thereof. The land itself, subject of the instant petition, is not irrigated as the same was, for
When NQSRMDC was about to transfer the title over the 4-hectare donated to DECS, it
several years, planted with pineapple by the Philippine Packing Corporation.
discovered that the title over the subject property was no longer in its name. It soon found out
that during the pendency of both the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, with Preliminary
On the issue that the land has long been covered by a Notice of Compulsory Acquisition Injunction it filed against DAR in the Court of Appeals and the appeal to the President filed by
(NCA) and that the existing policy on withdrawal or lifting on areas covered by NCA is not Governor Carlos O. Fortich, the DAR, without giving just compensation, caused the cancellation
applicable, suffice it to state that the said NCA was declared null and void by the Department of NQSRMDC's title on August 11, 1995 and had it transferred in the name of the Republic of
of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) as early as March 1, 1992. Deciding in favor the Philippines under TCT No. T-50264 19 of the Registry of Deeds of Bukidnon. Thereafter, on
of NQSRMDC, the DARAB correctly pointed out that under Section 8 of R.A. No. 6657, the September 25, 1995, DAR caused the issuance of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA)
subject property could not validly be the subject of compulsory acquisition until after the No. 00240227 and had it registered in the name of 137 farmer-beneficiaries under TCT No. AT-
expiration of the lease contract with Del Monte Philippines, a Multi-National Company, or 3536 20 of the Registry of Deeds of Bukidnon.
until April 1994, and ordered the DAR Regional Office and the Land Bank of the Philippines,
19. Thus, on April 10, 1997, NQSRMDC filed a complaint 21 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) purpose, the DAR and other concerned government agencies are directed to immediately
of Malaybalay, Bukidnon (Branch 9), docketed as Civil Case No. 2687-97, for annulment and conduct the segregation survey of the area, valuation of the property and generation of
cancellation of title, damages and injunction against DAR and 141 others. The RTC then issued titles in the name of the identified farmer-beneficiaries.
a Temporary Restraining Order on April 30, 1997 22 and a Writ of Preliminary Injunction on May
19, 1997, 23 restraining the DAR and 141 others from entering, occupying and/or wresting from 3. The Department of Agrarian Reform is hereby directed to carefully and meticulously
NQSRMDC the possession of the subject land. determine who among the claimants are qualified farmer-beneficiaries.

20. Meanwhile, on June 23, 1997, an Order 24 was issued by then Executive Secretary Ruben 4. The Department of Agrarian Reform is hereby further directed to expedite payment of
D. Torres denying DAR's motion for reconsideration for having been filed beyond the just compensation to NQSRMDC for the portion of the land to be covered by the CARP,
reglementary period of fifteen (15) days. The said order further declared that the March 29, including other lands previously surrendered by NQSRMDC for CARP coverage.
1996 OP decision had already become final and executory.
5. The Philippine National Police is hereby directed to render full assistance to the
21. The DAR filed on July 11, 1997 a second motion for reconsideration of the June 23, 1997 Department of Agrarian Reform in the implementation of this Order.
Order of the President.
We take note of the Memorandum in Intervention filed by 113 farmers on October 10, 1997
22. On August 12, 1997, the said writ of preliminary injunction issued by the RTC was without ruling on the propriety or merits thereof since it is unnecessary to pass upon it at
challenged by some alleged farmers before the Court of Appeals through a petition for this time.
certiorari and prohibition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 44905, praying for the lifting of the
injunction and for the issuance of a writ of prohibition from further trying the RTC case.
SO ORDERED. 27

23. On October 9, 1997, some alleged farmer-beneficiaries began their hunger strike in front
A copy of the "Win-Win" Resolution was received by Governor Carlos O. Fortich of Bukidnon,
of the DAR Compound in Quezon City to protest the OP Decision of March 29, 1996. On
Mayor Rey B. Baula of Sumilao, Bukidnon, and NQSRMDC on November 24, 1997 28 and, on
October 10, 1997, some persons claiming to be farmer-beneficiaries of the NQSRMDC property
December 4, 1997, they filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition (under Rule 65 of
filed a motion for intervention (styled as Memorandum In Intervention) in O.P. Case No. 96-C-
the Revised Rules of Court) and injunction with urgent prayer for a temporary restraining order
6424, asking that the OP Decision allowing the conversion of the entire 144-hectare property
and/or writ of preliminary injunction (under Rule 58, ibid.), against then Deputy Executive
be set aside. 25
Secretary Renato C. Corona and DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao.

24. President Fidel V. Ramos then held a dialogue with the strikers and promised to resolve
On December 12, 1997, a Motion For Leave To Intervene 29 was filed by alleged farmer-
their grievance within the framework of the law. He created an eight (8)-man Fact Finding Task
beneficiaries, through counsel, claiming that they are real parties in interest as they were
Force (FFTF) chaired by Agriculture Secretary Salvador Escudero to look into the controversy
"previously identified by respondent DAR as agrarian reform beneficiaries on the 144-hectare"
and recommend possible solutions to the problem. 26
property subject of this case. The motion was vehemently opposed 30 by the petitioners.

25. On November 7, 1997, the Office of the President resolved the strikers' protest by issuing
In seeking the nullification of the "Win-Win" Resolution, the petitioners claim that the Office
the so-called "Win/Win" Resolution penned by then Deputy Executive Secretary Renato C.
of the President was prompted to issue the said resolution "after a very well-managed hunger
Corona, the dispositive portion of which reads:
strike led by fake farmer-beneficiary Linda Ligmon succeeded in pressuring and/or politically
blackmailing the Office of the President to come up with this purely political decision to
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Office of the President, through appease the 'farmers,' by reviving and modifying the Decision of 29 March 1996 which has
Executive Secretary Ruben Torres, dated March 29, 1996, is hereby MODIFIED as follows: been declared final and executory in an Order of 23 June 1997. . . ."31 Thus, petitioners further
allege, respondent then Deputy Executive Secretary Renato C. Corona "committed grave abuse
1. NQSRMDC's application for conversion is APPROVED only with respect to the of discretion and acted beyond his jurisdiction when he issued the questioned Resolution of 7
approximately forty-four (44) hectare portion of the land adjacent to the highway, as November 1997. . . ." 32 They availed of this extraordinary writ of certiorari "because there is
recommended by the Department of Agriculture. no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law." 33 They never filed
a motion for reconsideration of the subject Resolution "because (it) is patently illegal or
2. The remaining approximately one hundred (100) hectares traversed by an irrigation canal contrary to law and it would be a futile exercise to seek a reconsideration. . . ." 34
and found to be suitable for agriculture shall be distributed to qualified farmer-beneficiaries
in accordance with RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law with a right of way The respondents, through the Solicitor General, opposed the petition and prayed that it be
to said portion from the highway provided in the portion fronting the highway. For this dismissed outright on the following grounds:
(1) The proper remedy of petitioners should have been to file a petition for review directly The office of a writ of certiorari is restricted to truly extraordinary cases — cases in which
with the Court of Appeals in accordance with Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court; the act of the lower court or quasi-judicial body is wholly void. 45

(2) The petitioners failed to file a motion for reconsideration of the assailed "Win-Win" The aforequoted Section 1 of Rule 65 mandates that the person aggrieved by the assailed
Resolution before filing the present petition; and illegal act "may file a verified petition (for certiorari) in the proper court." The proper court
where the petition must be filed is stated in Section 4 of the same Rule 65 which reads:
(3) Petitioner NQSRMDC is guilty of forum-shopping.
Sec. 4. Where petition filed. — The petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from
These are the preliminary issues which must first be resolved, including the incident on the notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed in the Supreme Court or,
motion for intervention filed by the alleged farmer-beneficiaries. if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board, officer or
person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined
by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the same
Anent the first issue, in order to determine whether the recourse of petitioners is proper or
is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the Sandiganbayan if it is in aid of its jurisdiction. If
not, it is necessary to draw a line between an error of judgment and an error of jurisdiction.
it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise provided by
An error of judgment is one which the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction, and
law or these Rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
which error is reviewable only by an appeal. 35 On the other hand, an error of jurisdiction is one
(4a)
where the act complained of was issued by the court, officer or a quasi-judicial body without
or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack or in
excess of jurisdiction. 36 This error is correctable only by the extraordinary writ of certiorari. 37 Under the above-qouted Section 4, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Regional Trial
Court have original concurrent jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari, 46 prohibition 47 and
mandamus. 48 But the jurisdiction of these three (3) courts are also delineated in that, if the
It is true that under Rule 43, appeals from awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of
challenged act relates to acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board, officer
any quasi-judicial agency exercising quasi-judicial functions, 38 including the Office of the
or person, the petition must be filed with the Regional Trial Court which exercises jurisdiction
President, 39 may be taken to the Court of Appeals by filing a verified petition for review 40
over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. And if it involves the act or omission
within fifteen (15) days from notice of the said judgment, final order or resolution, 41 whether
of a quasi-judicial agency, the petition shall be filed only with the Court of Appeals, unless
the appeal involves questions of fact, of law, or mixed questions of fact and law. 42
otherwise provided by law or the Rules of Court. We have clearly discussed this matter of
concurrence of jurisdiction in People vs. Cuaresma, et. al.,49 through now Chief Justice Andres
However, we hold that, in this particular case, the remedy prescribed in Rule 43 is inapplicable R. Narvasa, thus:
considering that the present petition contains an allegation that the challenged resolution is
"patently illegal" 43 and was issued with "grave abuse of discretion" and "beyond his
. . . . This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari (as well as prohibition,
(respondent Secretary Renato C. Corona's) jurisdiction" 44 when said resolution substantially
mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction) is not exclusive. It is shared by this
modified the earlier OP Decision of March 29, 1996 which had long become final and
Court with Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First Instance), which may issue the writ,
executory. In other words, the crucial issue raised here involves an error of jurisdiction, not an
enforceable in any part of their respective regions. It is also shared by this Court, and by the
error of judgment which is reviewable by an appeal under Rule 43. Thus, the appropriate
Regional Trial Court, with the Court of Appeals (formerly, Intermediate Appellate Court),
remedy to annul and set aside the assailed resolution is an original special civil action for
although prior to the effectivity of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 on August 14, 1981, the
certiorari under Rule 65, as what the petitioners have correctly done. The pertinent portion of
latter's competence to issue the extraordinary writs was restricted to those "in aid of its
Section 1 thereof provides:
appellate jurisdiction." This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as
according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice of
Sec. 1. Petition for certiorari. — When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or the court to which application therefor will be directed. There is after all a hierarchy of
quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and should also serve as a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A
appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. (Citations
of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice omitted)
may require.
But the Supreme Court has the full discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition filed
xxx xxx xxx directly to it if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant.
This has been the judicial policy to be observed and which has been reiterated in subsequent
cases, namely: 50 Uy vs. Contreras, et. al., 51 Torres vs. Arranz, 52 Bercero vs. De Guzman, 53 and commenced in the courts while an administrative proceeding is pending, as in this case, in
Advincula vs. Legaspi, et. al. 54 As we have further stated in Cuaresma: order to defeat administrative processes and in anticipation of an unfavorable
administrative ruling and a favorable court ruling. This specially so, as in this case, where the
. . . . A direct invocation of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction to issue these writs court in which the second suit was brought, has no jurisdiction (citations omitted).
should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and
specifically set out in the petition. This is established policy. It is a policy that is necessary to The test for determining whether a party violated the rule against forum shopping has been
prevent inordinate demands upon the Court's time and attention which are better devoted laid down in the 1986 case of Buan vs. Lopez (145 SCRA 34), . . . and that is, forum shopping
to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one
the Court's docket. case will amount to res judicata in the other, as follows:

Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take primary jurisdiction over the present There thus exists between the action before this Court and RTC Case No. 86-36563
petition in the interest of speedy justice 55 and to avoid future litigations so as to promptly put identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same interests in both actions,
an end to the present controversy which, as correctly observed by petitioners, has sparked as well as identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the
national interest because of the magnitude of the problem created by the issuance of the same facts, and the identity on the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment
assailed resolution. Moreover, as will be discussed later, we find the assailed resolution wholly rendered in the other action, will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res
void and requiring the petitioners to file their petition first with the Court of Appeals would adjudicata in the action under consideration: all the requisites, in fine, of auter action
only result in a waste of time and money. pendant. 58

That the Court has the power to set aside its own rules in the higher interests of justice is well- It is clear from the above-quoted rule that the petitioners are not guilty of forum shopping.
entrenched, in our jurisprudence. We reiterate what we said in Piczon vs. Court of Appeals: 56 The test for determining whether a party has violated the rule against forum shopping is where
a final judgment in one case will amount to res adjudicata in the action under consideration.
Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the A cursory examination of the cases filed by the petitioners does not show that the said cases
attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities are similar with each other. The petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals sought the
that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be avoided. Time nullification of the DAR Secretary's order to proceed with the compulsory acquisition and
and again, this Court has suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their distribution of the subject property. On the other hand, the civil case in RTC of Malaybalay,
operation whenever the higher interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we Bukidnon for the annulment and cancellation of title issued in the name of the Republic of the
forego a lengthy disquisition of the proper procedure that should have been taken by the Philippines, with damages, was based on the following grounds: (1) the DAR, in applying for
parties involved and proceed directly to the merits of the case. cancellation of petitioner NQSRMDC's title, used documents which were earlier declared null
and void by the DARAB; (2) the cancellation of NQSRMDC's title was made without payment
of just compensation; and (3) without notice to NQSRMDC for the surrender of its title. The
As to the second issue of whether the petitioners committed a fatal procedural lapse when
present petition is entirely different from the said two cases as it seeks the nullification of the
they failed to file a motion for reconsideration of the assailed resolution before seeking judicial
assailed "Win-Win" Resolution of the Office of the President dated November 7, 1997, which
recourse, suffice it to state that the said motion is not necessary when the questioned
resolution was issued long after the previous two cases were instituted.
resolution is a patent nullity, 57 as will be taken up later.

The fourth and final preliminary issue to be resolved is the motion for intervention filed by
With respect to the third issue, the respondents claim that the filing by the petitioners of: (a)
alleged farmer-beneficiaries, which we have to deny for lack of merit. In their motion, movants
a petition for certiorari, prohibition with preliminary injunction (CA-G.R. SP No. 37614) with
contend that they are the farmer-beneficiaries of the land in question, hence, are real parties
the Court of Appeals; (b) a complaint for annulment and cancellation of title, damages and
in interest. To prove this, they attached as Annex "I" in their motion a Master List of Farmer-
injunction against DAR and 141 others (Civil Case No. 2687-97) with the Regional Trial Court of
Beneficiaries. Apparently, the alleged master list was made pursuant to the directive in the
Malaybalay, Bukidnon; and (c) the present petition, constitute forum shopping.
dispositive portion of the assailed "Win-Win" Resolution which directs the DAR "to carefully
and meticulously determine who among the claimants are qualified farmer-beneficiaries."
We disagree. However, a perusal of the said document reveals that movants are those purportedly "Found
Qualified and Recommended for Approval." In other words, movants are merely recommendee
The rule is that: farmer-beneficiaries.

There is forum-shopping whenever, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party The rule in this jurisdiction is that a real party in interest is a party who would be benefited or
seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. The principle injured by the judgment or is the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Real interest means a
applies not only with respect to suits filed in the courts but also in connection with litigation present substantial interest, as distinguished from a mere expectancy or a future, contingent,
subordinate or consequential interest. 59 Undoubtedly, movants' interest over the land in well-established in our jurisprudence that the decisions and orders of administrative
question is a mere expectancy. Ergo, they are not real parties in interest. agencies, rendered pursuant to their quasi-judicial authority, have upon their finality, the
force and binding effect of a final judgment within the purview of the doctrine of res judicata
Furthermore, the challenged resolution upon which movants based their motion is, as [Brillantes v. Castro, 99 Phil. 497 (1956), Ipekdijna Merchandizing Co., Inc. v. Court of Tax
intimated earlier, null and void. Hence, their motion for intervention has no leg to stand on. Appeals, G.R. No. L-15430, September 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 72.] The rule of res judicata which
forbids the reopening of a matter once judicially determined by competent authority applies
as well to the judicial and quasi-judicial acts of public, executive or administrative officers
Now to the main issue of whether the final and executory Decision dated March 29, 1996 can
and boards acting within their jurisdiction as to the judgments of courts having general
still be substantially modified by the "Win-Win" Resolution.
judicial powers [Brillantes v. Castro, supra at 503].
We rule in the negative.
The orderly administration of justice requires that the judgments/resolutions of a court or
quasi-judicial body must reach a point of finality set by the law, rules and regulations. The
The rules and regulations governing appeals to the Office of the President of the Philippines noble purpose is to write finis to disputes once and for all. 61 This is a fundamental principle in
are embodied in Administrative Order No. 18. Section 7 thereof provides: our justice system, without which there would no end to litigations. Utmost respect and
adherence to this principle must always be maintained by those who wield the power of
Sec. 7. Decisions/resolutions/orders of the Office of the President shall, except as adjudication. Any act which violates such principle must immediately be struck down.
otherwise provided for by special laws, become final after the lapse of fifteen (15) days
from receipt of a copy thereof by the parties, unless a motion for reconsideration thereof Therefore, the assailed "Win-Win" Resolution which substantially modified the Decision of
is filed within such period. March 29, 1996 after it has attained finality, is utterly void. Such void resolution, as aptly
stressed by Justice Thomas A. Street 62 in a 1918 case, 63 is "a lawless thing, which can be
Only one motion for reconsideration by any one party shall be allowed and entertained, treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head."
save in exceptionally meritorious cases. (Emphasis ours). 64

It is further provided for in Section 9 that "The Rules of Court shall apply in a suppletory WHEREFORE, the present petition is hereby GRANTED. The challenged Resolution dated
character whenever practicable. November 7, 1997, issued by the Office of the President in OP Case No. 96-C-6424, is hereby
NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. The Motion For Leave To Intervene filed by alleged farmer-
When the Office of the President issued the Order dated June 23, 1997 declaring the Decision beneficiaries is hereby DENIED.
of March 29, 1996 final and executory, as no one has seasonably filed a motion for
reconsideration thereto, the said Office had lost its jurisdiction to re-open the case, more so No pronouncement as to costs.
modify its Decision. Having lost its jurisdiction, the Office of the President has no more
authority to entertain the second motion for reconsideration filed by respondent DAR SO ORDERED.
Secretary, which second motion became the basis of the assailed "Win-Win" Resolution.
Section 7 of Administrative Order No. 18 and Section 4, Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court
mandate that only one (1) motion for reconsideration is allowed to be taken from the Decision
of March 29, 1996. And even if a second motion for reconsideration was permitted to be filed
in "exceptionally meritorious cases," as provided in the second paragraph of Section 7 of AO
18, still the said motion should not have been entertained considering that the first motion for
reconsideration was not seasonably filed, thereby allowing the Decision of March 29, 1996 to
lapse into finality. Thus, the act of the Office of the President in re-opening the case and
substantially modifying its March 29, 1996 Decision which had already become final and
executory, was in gross disregard of the rules and basic legal precept that accord finality to
administrative determinations.

In San Luis, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al. 60 we held:

Since the decisions of both the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President had
long become final and executory, the same can no longer be reviewed by the courts. It is
CIVPRO – RULE 43 – WHEN THE LAW DIRECTS OTHERWISE The Ombudsman issued an Order dated January 13, 1999 preventively suspending petitioner
Lapid, Olalia, Quiambao, Sabado, Morales and Tadeo for a period of six (6) months without pay
G.R. No. 142261 June 29, 2000 pursuant to Sec. 24 of RA 6770. On Jan. 19, 1999, the Department of the Interior and Local
Government (hereinafter the "DILG") implemented the suspension of petitioner Lapid 3 .
GOVERNOR MANUEL M. LAPID, petitioner,
vs. On November 22, 1999 the Ombudsman rendered a decision4 in the administrative case finding
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF the petitioner administratively liable for misconduct thus:
INVESTIGATION, FACT-FINDING INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (FFIB) of the Office of the
Ombudsman, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, respondents. Wherefore, premises considered, respondent Manuel M. Lapid, Clayton A. Olalia, Jovito S.
Sabado and Nestor C. Tadeo are hereby found guilty of misconduct for which they are meted
RESOLUTION out the penalty of one (1) year suspension without pay pursuant to section 25 (2) of R.A.
6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989). Respondent Marino P. Morales is hereby exonerated from
the same administrative charge for insufficiency of evidence. The complaint against
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
respondent Enrico P. Quiambao, who resigned effective June 30, 1998 was dismissed on
March 12, 1999, without prejudice to the outcome of the criminal case.5
Before us are the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and
the Department of the Interior and Local Government, represented by the Office of the
The copy of the said decision was received by counsel for the petitioner on November 25, 1999
Solicitor-General, and the Office of the Ombudsman of our 5 April 2000 Resolution.1 In this
and a motion for reconsideration was filed on November 29, 1999. The Office of the
resolution, we ordered the immediate reinstatement of petitioner Manuel Lapid to the
Ombudsman, in an Order6 dated 12 January 2000, denied the motion for reconsideration.
position of Governor of Pampanga as the respondents failed to establish the existence of a law
mandating the immediate execution of a decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in an
administrative case where the penalty imposed is suspension for one year. Petitioner then filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals on January 18, 2000
praying for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin the Ombudsman from
enforcing the questioned decision. The temporary restraining order was issued by the
The factual antecedents are as follows:
appellate court on January 19, 2000.7
On the basis of an unsigned letter dated July 20, 1998, allegedly originating from the "Mga
When the 60-day lifetime of the temporary restraining order lapsed on March 19, 2000
Mamamayan ng Lalawigan ng Pampanga," addressed to the National Bureau of Investigation,
without the Court of Appeals resolving the prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
the latter initiated an "open probe" on the alleged illegal quarrying in Pampanga & exaction of
injunction, a petition8 for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was filed with this Court on
exorbitant fees purportedly perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals with the connivance of
March 20, 2000. The petition asked for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin
high-ranking government officials. The NBI Report was endorsed to the respondent
the respondents from enforcing the assailed decision of the Ombudsman and prayed that
Ombudsman and was docketed as OMB-1-98-2067.
"after due proceedings, judgment be rendered reversing and setting aside the questioned
decision (of the Ombudsman) dated November 22, 1999 and the order January 12, 2000.9
On Oct. 26, 1998, a complaint was filed charging petitioner Gov. Manuel M. Lapid, Vice-
Governor Clayton Olalia, Provincial Administrator Enrico Quiambao, Provincial Treasurer Jovito
On March 22, 2000 the Third Division of this Court issued a Resolution requiring the
Sabado, Mabalacat Municipal Mayor Marino Morales and Senior Police Officer 4 Nestor Tadeo
respondents to comment on the petition. That same day, the Court of Appeals issued a
with alleged "Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
resolution 10 denying the petitioner's prayer for injunctive relief. The following day, or on
Service" for allegedly "having conspired between and among themselves in demanding and
March 23, 2000, the DILG implemented the assailed decision of the Ombudsman and the
collecting from various quarrying operators in Pampanga a control fee, control slip, or
highest ranking Provincial Board Member of Pampanga, Edna David, took her oath of office as
monitoring fee of P120.00 per truckload of sand, travel, or other quarry material, without a
O.I.C. — Governor of the Province of Pampanga.
duly enacted provincial ordinance authorizing the collection thereof and without issuing
receipts for its collection. They were also accused of giving unwarranted benefits to Nestor
Tadeo, Rodrigo "Rudy" Fernandez & Conrado Pangilinan who are neither officials/employees On March 24, 2000 a Motion for Leave to File Supplement to the Petition for Certiorari,
of the Provincial Government of Pampanga nor quarry operators by allowing them to collect Prohibition and Mandamus 11 and the Supplement to the Petition 12 itself were filed in view of
the said amount which was over and above the P40.00 prescribed under the present provincial the resolution of the Court of Appeals denying the petitioner's prayer for preliminary
ordinance and in allowing Tadeo, Fernandez and Pangilinan to sell and deliver to various quarry injunction. In addition to the arguments raised in the main petition, the petitioner likewise
operators booklets of official receipts which were pre-stamped with "SAND FEE P40.00." 2 raised in issue the apparent pre-judgment of the case on the merits by the Court of Appeals in
its resolution denying the prayer for preliminary injunction. In so doing, petitioner argued that
the respondent court exceeded the bounds of its jurisdiction. Proceeding from the premise
that the decision of the Ombudsman had not yet become final, the petitioner argued that the From this 5 April 2000 Resolution, the Offices of the Solicitor-General and the Ombudsman
writs of prohibition and mandamus may be issued against the respondent DILG for filed the instant motions for reconsideration.
prematurely implementing the assailed decision. Finally, the petitioner prayed for the setting
aside of the resolution issued by the Court of Appeals dated March 22, 2000 and for the The sole issue addressed by our 5 April 2000 Resolution is whether or not the decision of the
issuance of a new one enjoining the respondents from enforcing the said decision or, if it has Office of the Ombudsman finding herein petitioner administratively liable for misconduct and
already been implemented, to withdraw any action already taken until the issue of whether or imposing upon him a penalty of one (1) year suspension without pay is immediately executory
not the said decision of the Ombudsman is immediately executory has been settled. pending appeal.

The Solicitor-General and the Office of the Ombudsman filed their respective comments 1 to Petitioner was administratively charged for misconduct under the provisions of R.A. 6770, the
the petition praying for the dismissal thereof. Regarding the issue of the immediate Ombudsman Act of 1989. Section 27 of the said Act provides as follows:
enforcement of the decision of the Ombudsman, the Solicitor-General maintains that the said
decision is governed by Section 12, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court and is therefore, immediately
Sec. 27. Effectively and Finality of Decisions. — All provisionary orders of the Office of the
executory. For its part, the Office of the Ombudsman maintain that the Ombudsman Law and
Ombudsman are immediately effective and executory.
its implementing rules are silent as to the execution of decisions rendered by the Ombudsman
considering that the portion of the said law cited by petition pertains to the finality of the
decision but not to its enforcement pending appeal. The Office of the Ombudsman also stated A motion for reconsideration of any order, directive or decision of the Office of the
that it has uniformly adopted the provisions in the Local Government Code and Administrative Ombudsman must be filed within five (5) days after receipt of written notice and shall be
Code that decisions in administrative disciplinary cases are immediately executory. entertained only on the following grounds:

The Solicitor-General filed an additional comment 14 alleging that the petitioner did not xxx xxx xxx
question the executory character of the decision of the Ombudsman and that he is presenting
this argument for the first time before the Supreme Court. The appellate court should be given Findings of fact of the Office of the Ombudsman when supported by substantial evidence
an opportunity to review the case from this standpoint before asking the Supreme Court to are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public censure or
review the resolutions of the Court of Appeals. The petitioner filed a consolidated Reply 15 to reprimand, suspension of not more than one month's salary shall be final and unappealable.
the Comments of the respondents.
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the
After oral arguments before the Third Division of this Court on 5 April 2000, the Resolution 16 Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within
subject of the instant Motions for Reconsideration was issued. The Resolution provides as ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial
follows: of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

17 likewise
From the pleadings filed by the parties and after oral arguments held on April 5, 2000, the The Rules of Produce of the Office of the Ombudsman contain a similar provision.
petitioner represented by Atty. Augusto G. Panlilio, the respondent Ombudsman Section 7, Rule III of the said Rules provides as follows:
represented by its Chief Legal Counsel, and the National Bureau of Investigation and the
Department of the Interior and Local Government represented by the Solicitor General, and Sec. 7. Finality of Decision. — where the respondent is absolved of the charge and in case of
after due deliberation, the Court finds that the respondents failed to establish the existence conviction where the penalty imposed is public censure or reprimand, suspension of not
of a law mandating the immediate execution of a decision of the Ombudsman in an more than one month, or a fine not equivalent to one month salary, the decision shall be
administrative case where the penalty imposed is suspension for one year. The immediate final and unapllealable. In all other cases, the decision shall become final after the expiration
implementation of the decision of the Ombudsman against petitioner is thus premature. of ten (10) days from receipt thereof by the respondent, unless a motion for reconsideration
or petition for certiorari, shall have been filed by him as prescribed in Section 27 of R.A.
WHEREFORE, the respondents are ordered to reinstate effective immediately the petitioner 6770.
to the position of Governor of the Province of Pampanga. This case is hereby remanded to
the Court of Appeals for resolution of the appeal in CA-GR. SP No. 564744 on the merits. It is clear from the above provisions that the punishment imposed upon petitioner, i.e.
Said court is hereby directed to resolve the same with utmost deliberate dispatch. suspension without pay for one year, is no among those listed as final and unappealable,
hence, immediately executory. Section 27 states that all provisionary orders of the Office of
This is without prejudice to the promulgation of an extended decision. the Ombudsman are immediately effective and executory; and that any order, directive or
decision of the said Office imposing the penalty of censure or reprimand or suspension of not
more than one month's salary is final and unappealable. As such the legal maxim "inclusion
unius est exclusio alterus" finds application. The express mention of the things included tribunal become final. It is this final judgment which is then correctly categorized as a "final
excludes those that are not included. The clear import of these statements taken together is and executory judgment" in respect to which execution shall issue as a matter of right. 22 In
that all other decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman which impose penalties that are not other words, the fact that the Ombudsman Act gives parties the right to appeal from its
enumerated in the said section 27 are not final, unappealable and immediately executory. An decisions should generally carry with it the stay of these decisions pending appeal. Otherwise,
appeal timely filed, such as the one filed in the instant case, will stay the immediate the essential nature of these judgments as being appealable would be rendered nugatory.
implementation of the decision. This finds support in the Rules of Procedure issued by the
Ombudsman itself which states that "(I)n all other cases, the decision shall become final after The general rule is that judgments by lower courts or tribunals become executory only after it
the expiration of ten (10) days from receipt thereof by the respondent, unless a motion for has become final and executory, 2 execution pending appeal being an exception to this general
reconsideration or petition for certiorari (should now be petition for review under Rules 43) rule. It is the contention of respondents however that with respect to decisions of quasi-
shall have been filed by him as prescribed in Section 27 of R.A. 6770." judicial agencies and administrative bodies, the opposite is true. It is argued that the general
rule with respect to quasi-judicial and administrative agencies is that the decisions of such
The Office of the Solicitor General insists however that the case of Fabian vs. Desierto 18 has bodies are immediately executory even pending appeal.
voided Section 27 of R.A. 6770 and Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07. As such,
the review of decision of the Ombudsman in administrative cases is now governed by Rule 43 The contention of respondents is misplaced. There is no general legal principle that mandates
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which mandates, under Section 12 19 thereof, the that all decisions of quasi-judicial agencies are immediately executory. Decisions rendered by
immediately executory character of the decision or order appealed from. the Securities and Exchange Commission 24 and the Civil Aeronautics Board, 25 for example, are
not immediately executory and are stayed when an appeal is filed before the Court of Appeals.
The contention of the Solicitor General is not well-taken. Our ruling in the case of Fabian vs. On the other hand, the decisions of the Civil Service Commission, under the Administrative
Desierto invalidated Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 and Section 7, Rule III of Code 26 , and the Office of the President under the Local Government Code 27 , which
Administrative Order No. 07 and any other provision of law implementing the aforesaid Act respondents cite, are immediately executory even pending appeal because the pertinent laws
only insofar as they provide for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of under which the decisions were rendered mandate them to be so. The provisions of the last
the Ombudsman to the Supreme Court. The only provision affected by the Fabian ruling is the two cited laws expressly provide for the execution pending appeal of their final orders or
designation of the Court of Appeals as the proper forum and of Rule 43 of the Rules of Court decisions. The Local Government Code, under Section 68 thereof provides as follows:
as the proper mode of appeal. All other matters included in said section 27, including the
finality or non-finality of decisions, are not affected and still stand. Sec. 68. Execution Pending Appeal. — An appeal shall not prevent a decision from becoming
final and executory. The respondent shall be considered as having been placed under
Neither can respondents find support in Section 12, Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil preventive suspension during the pendency of an appeal in the event he wins such appeal.
Procedure which provides as follows: In the event the appeal results in an exoneration, he shall be paid his salary and such other
emoluments during the pendency of the appeal.
Sec. 12. Effect of Appeal. The appeal shall not stay the award, judgment, final order or
resolution sought to be reviewed unless the Court of Appeals shall direct otherwise upon Similarly, Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Chapter 6, Section 47, par. (4) of the Administrative Code
such terms as it may deem just. of 1987 provides:

On this point, respondents contend that considering the silence of the Ombudsman Act on the (4) An appeal shall not stop the decision from being from being executory, and in case the
matter of execution pending appeal, the above-quoted provision of the Rules of Court, which penalty is suspension or removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under
allegedly mandates the immediate execution of all decisions rendered by administrative and preventive suspension during the pendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal.
quasi-judicial agencies, should apply suppletorily to the provisions of the Ombudsman Act. We
do not agree. Where the legislature has seen fit to declare that the decision of the quasi-judicial agency is
immediately final and executory pending appeal, the law expressly so provides.
A judgment becomes "final and executory" by operation of law. 20 Section 27 of the
Ombudsman Act provides that any order, directive or decision of the Office of the Ombudsman Sec. 12 of Rule 43 should therefore be interpreted as mandating that the appeal will not stay
imposing a penalty of public censure or reprimand, or suspension of not more than one the award, judgment, final order or resolution unless the law directs otherwise.
month's salary shall be final and unappealable. In all other cases, the respondent therein has
the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals within ten (10) days from receipt of the written
Petitioner was charged administratively before the Ombudsman and accordingly the
notice of the order, directive or decision. In all these other cases therefore, the judgment
provisions of the Ombudsman Act should apply in his case. Section 68 of the Local Government
imposed therein will become final after the lapse of the reglementary period of appeal in of
Code only applies to administrative decisions rendered by the Office of the President or the
appeal is perfected 21 or, an appeal therefrom having been taken, the judgment in the appellate
appropriate Sanggunian against elective local government officials. Similarly, the provision in
the Administrative Code of 1987 mandating execution pending review applies specifically to SO ORDERED.
administrative decisions of the Civil Service Commission involving members of the Civil Service.

There is no basis in law for the proposition that the provisions of the Administrative Code of
1987 and the Local Government Code on execution pending review should be applied
suppletorily to the provisions of the Ombudsman Act as there is nothing in the Ombudsman
Act which provides for such suppletory application. Courts may not, in the guise of
interpretation, enlarge the scope of a statute and include therein situations not provided or
intended by the lawmakers. An omission at the time of enactment, whether careless or
calculated, cannot be judicially supplied however later wisdom may recommend the inclusion.
28

And while in one respect, the Ombudsman Law, the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Local
Government Code are in pari materia insofar as the three laws relate or deal with public
officers, the similarity ends there. It is a principle in statutory construction that where there
are two statutes that apply to a particular case, that which was specially designed for the said
case must prevail over the other. 29 In the instant case, the acts attributed to petitioner could
have been the subject of administrative disciplinary proceedings before the Office of the
President under the Local Government Code or before the Office of the Ombudsman under
the Ombudsman Act. Considering however, that petitioner was charged under the
Ombudsman Act, it is this law alone which should govern his case.

Respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, argue that the ruling against
execution pending review of the Ombudsman's decision grants a one-sided protection to the
offender found guilty of misconduct in office and nothing at all to the government as the
aggrieved party. The offender, according to respondents, can just let the case drag on until the
expiration of his office or his reelection as by then, the case against him shall become academic
and his offense, obliterated. As such, respondents conclude, the government is left without
further remedy and is left helpless in its own fight against graft and corruption.

We find this argument much too speculative to warrant serious consideration. If it perceived
that the fight against graft and corruption is hampered by the inadequacy of the provisions of
the Ombudsman Act, the remedy lies not with this Court but by legislative amendment.

As regards the contention of the Office of the Ombudsman that under Sec. 13(8), Article XI of
the 1987 Constitution, the Office of the Ombudsman is empowered to "(p)romulgate its rules
of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be
provided by law," suffice it to note that the Ombudsman rules of procedure, Administrative
Order No. 07, mandate that decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman where the penalty
imposed is other than public censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one month
salary or fine equivalent to one month salary are still appealable and hence, not final and
executory. Under these rules, which were admittedly promulgated by virtue of the rule-making
power of the Office of the Ombudsman, the decision imposing a penalty of one year
suspension without pay on petitioner Lapid is not immediately executory.

WHEREFORE, the Motions for Reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and
the Office of the Ombudsman are hereby DENIED for lack of merit.1âwphi1.nêt