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C. The Judicial Department Examining the statutory provision which is here invoked, it is first noted
that power is attempted to be granted to the members of the Supreme
1. Judicial Power Court sitting as a board of arbitrators and to the Supreme Court as an
entity. It is next seen that the decision of a majority of the members of the
2. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court is made final. And it is finally observed that the franchise
a. Composition granted the Manila Electric Company by the Government of the Philippine
Islands, although only a contract between the parties to it, is now made to
b. Mode of Sitting effect the rights of persons not signatories to the covenant.

c. Appointments and qualifications


The law calls for arbitration which represents a method of the parties'
Republic v. Sereno, G.R No. 237428, May 11, 2018 own choice. A submission to arbitration is a contract. The parties to an
(PDF!) arbitration agreement may not oust the courts of jurisdiction of the
matters submitted to arbitration. These are familiar rules which find
d. No non-judicial work for judges support in articles 1820 and 1821 of the Civil Code. Citation of authority is
hardly necessary, except that it should be recalled that in the Philippines,
G.R. No. L-37878 November 25, 1932 and in the United States for that matter, it has been held that a clause in a
contract, providing that all matters in dispute between the parties shall be
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, referred to arbitrators and to them alone, is contrary to public policy and
vs. cannot oust the courts of jurisdiction (Wahl and Wahl vs. Donaldson, Sims
PASAY TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., ET AL., respondents. & Co. [1903], 2 Phil., 301; Puentebella vs. Negros Coal Co. [1927], 50 Phil.,
69; Vega vs. San Carlos Milling Co. [1924], 51 Phil., 908; District of
Columbia vs. Bailey [1897], 171 U. S., 161.)
Ross, Lawrence & Selph for petitioner.
Rivera & Francisco for respondent Pasay Transportation Co.
P. A. Remigio for respondent E. B. Gutierrez. A. M. Zarate for respondent We would not be understood as extending the principles governing
Raymundo Transportation Co. arbitration and award too far. Unless the arbitration agreement is such as
Vicente Ampil for respondent J. Ampil. absolutely to close the doors of the courts against the parties, the courts
should look with favor upon such amicable arrangements. We can also
perceive a distinction between a private contract for submission to
arbitration and agreements to arbitrate falling within the terms of a
statute enacted for such purpose and affecting others than the parties to
MALCOLM, J.: a particular franchise. Here, however, whatever else may be said in
extenuation, it remains true that the decision of the board of arbitrators is
The preliminary and basic question presented by the petition of the made final, which if literally enforced would leave a public utility, not a
Manila Electric Company, requesting the members of the Supreme Court, party to the contract authorized by Act No. 1446, without recourse to the
sitting as a board of arbitrators, to fix the terms upon which certain courts for a judicial determination of the question in dispute.
transportation companies shall be permitted to use the Pasig bridge of the
Manila Electric Company and the compensation to be paid to the Manila Counsel for the petitioner rely principally on the case of Tallassee Falls
Electric Company by such transportation companies, relates to the validity Mfg. Co. vs. Commissioner's Court [1908], 158 Ala., 263. It was there held
of section 11 of Act No. 1446 and to the legal right of the members of the that an Act of a state legislature authorizing the commissioners' court of a
Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, to act on the petition. Act certain county to regulate and fix the rate of toll to be charged by the
No. 1446 above referred to is entitled. "An Act granting a franchise to owners of a bridge is not unconstitutional as delegating legislative power
Charles M. Swift to construct, maintain, and operate an electric railway, to the courts. But that is not the question before us. Here the question is
and to construct, maintain, and operate an electric light, heat, and power not one of whether or not there has been a delegation of legislative
system from a point in the City of Manila in an easterly direction to the authority to a court. More precisely, the issue concerns the legal right of
town of Pasig, in the Province of Rizal." Section 11 of the Act provides: the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators the
"Whenever any franchise or right of way is granted to any other person or decision of a majority of whom shall be final, to act in that capacity.
corporation, now or hereafter in existence, over portions of the lines and
tracks of the grantee herein, the terms on which said other person or
We run counter to this dilemma. Either the members of the Supreme
corporation shall use such right of way, and the compensation to be paid
Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, exercise judicial functions, or the
to the grantee herein by such other person or corporation for said use,
members of the Supreme Court, sitting as board of arbitrators, exercise
shall be fixed by the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of
administrative or quasi judicial functions. The first case would appear not
arbitrators, the decision of a majority of whom shall be final."
to fall within the jurisdiction granted the Supreme Court. Even conceding
that it does, it would presuppose the right to bring the matter in dispute
When the petition of the Manila Electric Company was filed in this court, it before the courts, for any other construction would tend to oust the
was ordered that the petitioner be required to serve copies on the courts of jurisdiction and render the award a nullity. But if this be the
Attorney-General and the transportation companies affected by the proper construction, we would then have the anomaly of a decision by the
petition. Thereafter, the Attorney-General disclaimed any interest in the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, taken
proceedings, and opposition was entered to the petition by a number of therefrom to the courts and eventually coming before the Supreme Court,
public utility operators. On the submission of memoranda after an oral where the Supreme Court would review the decision of its members
hearing, the petition was made ready for resolution. acting as arbitrators. Or in the second case, if the functions performed by
the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, be
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considered as administrative or quasi judicial in nature, that would result result, the members of the Supreme Court decline to proceed further in
in the performance of duties which the members of the Supreme Court the matter.
could not lawfully take it upon themselves to perform. The present
petition also furnishes an apt illustration of another anomaly, for we find Avanceña, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Hull,
the Supreme Court as a court asked to determine if the members of the Vickers, Imperial and Butte, JJ., concur.
court may be constituted a board of arbitrators, which is not a court at
all.lawphil.net
A.M. No. 198-J May 31, 1971

The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands represents one of the three
PAZ M. GARCIA, complainant,
divisions of power in our government. It is judicial power and judicial
vs.
power only which is exercised by the Supreme Court. Just as the Supreme
HON. CATALINO MACARAIG, JR., respondent.
Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction
usurpations by any other department of the government, so should it as
strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by RESOLUTION
implication conferred on it by the Organic Act. The Supreme Court and its
members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to
perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected
with the administering of judicial functions. BARREDO, J.:

The Organic Act provides that the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands Administrative complaint filed by one Paz M. Garcia against the Honorable
shall possess and exercise jurisdiction as heretofore provided and such Catalino Macaraig, Jr., formerly Judge of the Court of First Instance of
additional jurisdiction as shall hereafter be prescribed by law (sec. 26). Laguna, Branch VI, now Undersecretary of Justice, in his former capacity
When the Organic Act speaks of the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the as judge, for alleged "dishonesty, violation of his oath of office as judge ...
Supreme Court, it could not only mean the exercise of "jurisdiction" by the gross incompetence, violation of Republic Act 296 or the Judiciary Act of
Supreme Court acting as a court, and could hardly mean the exercise of 1948, as amended, (particularly) Sections 5, 55 and 58 thereof, committed
"jurisdiction" by the members of the Supreme Court, sitting as a board of (allegedly) as follows:
arbitrators. There is an important distinction between the Supreme Court
as an entity and the members of the Supreme Court. A board of
2. That from July 1, 1970 up to February 28, 1971 inclusive, as such
arbitrators is not a "court" in any proper sense of the term, and possesses
incumbent Judge, respondent herein, has not submitted his monthly
none of the jurisdiction which the Organic Act contemplates shall be
reports containing the number of cases filed, disposed of, decided and/or
exercised by the Supreme Court.lawph!l.net
resolved, the number of cases pending decisions for one month, two
months to over three months, together with the title, number, number of
In the last judicial paper from the pen of Chief Justice Taney, it was said: hours of court session held a day, etc., as evidenced by the certificate
issued by Hon. Eulalio D. Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, Dept. of Justice,
The power conferred on this court is exclusively judicial, and it cannot be copy of which is hereto attached as Annex "A", Item No. 1, in violation of
required or authorized to exercise any other. . . . Its jurisdiction and Circular No. 10 of the Dept. of Justice dated February 6, 1952, copy of
powers and duties being defined in the organic law of the government, which is hereto attached as Annex "B";
and being all strictly judicial, Congress cannot require or authorize the
court to exercise any other jurisdiction or power, or perform any other 3. That he has not submitted his certificate of service (New Judicial Form
duty. . . . The award of execution is a part, and an essential part of every No. 86, Revised 1966) from July to December, 1970 and from January to
judgment passed by a court exercising judicial power. It is no judgment, in February, 1971 inclusive as evidenced by the certificate issued by Judge
the legal sense of the term, without it. Without such an award the Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, Dept. of Justice Annex "A", Item No. 2
judgment would be inoperative and nugatory, leaving the aggrieved party thereof;
without a remedy. It would be merely an opinion, which would remain a
dead letter, and without any operation upon the rights of the parties,
4. That as incumbent Judge of Branch VI, Court of First Instance of Laguna
unless Congress should at some future time sanction it, and pass a law
and San Pablo and knowing fully well that he has never performed his
authorizing the court to carry its opinion into effect. Such is not the
official duties or discharged the duties appertaining to his office, he has
judicial power confided to this court, in the exercise of its appellate
collected and was paid his salaries from July to December, 1970 and from
jurisdiction; yet it is the whole power that the court is allowed to exercise
January to February 1971 as evidenced by the certificate issued by the
under this act of Congress. . . . And while it executes firmly all the judicial
cashier Mrs. Santos of the Department of Justice hereto attached as
powers entrusted to it, the court will carefully abstain from exercising any
Annex "C" and the certificate of Mr. Pichay Annex "A", last paragraph
power that is not strictly judicial in its character, and which is not clearly
thereof, aggravated by his repeated failure to submit the certificate of
confided to it by the Constitution. . . . (Gordon vs. United States [1864], 2
service in flagrant violation of action 5 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as
Wall., 561; 117 U. S., 697 Appendix.)
amended which provides as follows:

Confirming the decision to the basic question at issue, the Supreme Court
... District judges, judges of City Courts, and municipal Judges shall certify
holds that section 11 of Act No. 1446 contravenes the maxims which guide
on their application for leave, and upon salary vouchers presented by
the operation of a democratic government constitutionally established,
them for payment, or upon the payrolls upon which their salaries are paid,
and that it would be improper and illegal for the members of the Supreme
that all special proceedings, applications, petitions, motions, and all civil
Court, sitting as a board of arbitrators, the decision of a majority of whom
and criminal cases which have been under submission for decision or
shall be final, to act on the petition of the Manila Electric Company. As a
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determination for a period of ninety days or more have been determined building refused to reduce the rent to P300 a month. The next suitable
and decided on or before the date of making the certificate and ... no space selected by respondent was the second floor of the Laguna
salary shall be paid without such certificate' (Emphasis supplied). Development Bank. After a month's negotiations, the municipality finally
signed a lease agreement with the owner on October 26, 1970. Another
5. That his deliberate failure to submit the monthly reports from July to month passed before the municipal government could release the amount
December, 1970 and from January, 1971 to February, 1971 stating therein necessary for the improvements to convert the space that was rented,
the number of hours of session that the Court holds daily, the which was a big hall without partitions, into a courtroom and offices for
accomplishments of the Court constitutes a clear violation of Sections 55 the personnel of the court and for the assistant provincial fiscal.
and 58 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended. Thereafter, upon respondent's representations, the provincial government
appropriated the amount of P5,000 for the purchase of the supplies and
materials needed by the court. Early in December, 1970 respondent also
6. That by his deliberate violation of his Oath of Office as a District Judge
placed his order for the necessary equipment with the Property Officer of
of the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo, Branch VI he has
the Department of Justice but, unfortunately, the appropriation for the
manifested such moral bankruptcy as to deny his fitness to perform or
equipment of courts of first instance was released only on December 23,
discharge official duties in the administration of justice.
1970 and the procurement of the equipment chargeable against this
allotment is still under way (please see enclosed certification of the
7. That on June 29, 1970, respondent Judge wrote to the Honorable Financial Officer of the Department of Justice marked Annex "A").
Secretary of Justice informing him that he was entering upon the
performance of his duties, which letter of his reads in full:
"When respondent realized that it would be sometime before he could
actually preside over his court, he applied for an extended leave (during
'I have the honor to inform you that I am entering upon the performance the 16 years he had worked in the Department of Justice, respondent had,
of the duties of the office of Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna due to pressure of duties, never gone on extended leave, resulting in his
and San Pablo City (Branch VI) today, June 29, 1970.' forfeiting all the leave benefits he had earned beyond the maximum ten
months allowed by the law). The Secretary of Justice, however, prevailed
That such actuation of deliberately telling a deliberate falsehood upon respondent to forego his leave and instead to assist him, without
aggravates his moral bankruptcy incompatible to the requirements of the being extended a formal detail, whenever respondent was not busy
highest degree of honesty, integrity and good moral character attending to the needs of his court.
appertaining to holding the position of Judge in the administration of
justice. "Charges Have No Basis -- .

Upon being so required, in due time, respondent filed an answer alleging "Complainant has charged respondent with dishonesty, violation of his
pertinently that: oath of office, grave incompetence and violation of Sections 5, 55 and 58
of the Judiciary Act.
THE FACTS
"It is respectfully submitted that -- .
Respondent took his oath as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna
and San Pablo City with station at Calamba on June 29, 1970. The court, "A. Respondent's inability to perform his judicial duties under the
being one of the 112 newly created CFI branches, had to be organized circumstances mentioned above does not constitute incompetence.
from scratch. After consultations with the officials of the province of Respondent was like every lawyer who gets his first appointment to the
Laguna, the municipality of Calamba and the Department of Justice, bench, eager to assume his judicial duties and rid himself of the stigma of
respondent decided to accept the offer of the Calamba Municipal being 'a judge without a sala', but forces and circumstances beyond his
Government to supply the space for the courtroom and offices of the control prevented him from discharging his judicial duties.
court; to utilize the financial assistance promised by the Laguna provincial
government for the purchase of the necessary supplies and materials; and
"B. Respondent's collection of salaries as judge does not constitute
to rely on the national government for the equipment needed by the
dishonesty because aside from the time, effort and money he spent in
court (Under Section 190 of the Revised Administrative Code, all these
organizing the CFI at Calamba, he worked in the Department of Justice
items must be furnished by the provincial government. The provincial
(please see enclosed certification of Undersecretary of Justice Guillermo S.
officials of Laguna, however, informed the respondent that the province
Santos marked Annex 'B'). Indeed, even if respondent did no more than
was not in a position to do so).
exert efforts to organize his court, he could, as other judges have done,
have collected his salaries as judge without being guilty of dishonesty.
As to the space requirements of the court, the Municipal Mayor of
Calamba assured the respondent that the court could be accommodated
"Incidentally, when respondent took his oath as CFI judge which position
in the west wing of the Calamba municipal building as soon as the office of
then carried a salary of P19,000 per annum, he automatically ceased to be
the municipal treasurer and his personnel are transferred to another
Chief of the Technical Staff of the Department of Justice and Member of
location. When the projected transfer of the municipal treasurer's office
the Board of Pardons and Parole, positions from which he was receiving
was about to be effected, the treasurer and several municipal councilors
P16,200 and P8,000 per annum, respectively. Also, in anticipation of the
objected. The municipal mayor then requested the respondent to look
judicial duties which he was about to assume, respondent took a leave of
over some of the office spaces for rent in Calamba, with the commitment
absence from his professorial lecturer's duties in the U.P. College of Law
that the municipal government will shoulder the payment of the rentals.
where he was receiving approximately P600 a month.
Respondent's first choice was the second floor of the Republic Bank
branch in Calamba, but the negotiations failed when the owner of the
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"C. Sections 5, 55 and 58 of the Judiciary Act and Circular No. 10 dated this juncture, the only point We settle is that complainant's theory of
February 6, 1952 of the Department of Justice are not applicable to a dishonesty cannot hold water.
Judge not actually discharging his judicial duties.
Admittedly respondent has not prepared and submitted any of the reports
"The Department of Justice has never required judges who have not of accomplishments and status of cases in his sala which are usually
actually started, to perform their judicial duties to comply with the required of judges under existing laws as well as the corresponding
abovementioned statutory-provisions and circular (please see enclosed circulars of the Department of Justice. The reason is simple. He has not yet
certification of Judge Eulalio D. Pichay, Judicial Superintendent, marked started performing any judicial functions. None of those laws and circulars
Annex 'C'). apply to him for all of them contemplate judges who are actually holding
trials and hearings and making decisions and others. On the other hand,
"Moreover, a reading of these sections and circular makes evident the respondent Could not be blamed for taking his oath as he did, for he had a
folly of requiring a judge who has not entered into the Performance of his valid confirmed appointment in his favor. In other words, he simply made
judicial duties to comply with them. Taking Section 5, how could a judge himself available for the purpose for which he was appointed. That he
who has not started to discharge his judicial duties certify that 'all special could not actually hold office in the court to which he was appointed was
proceedings, applications, petitions, motions, and all civil and criminal not of his making. The other officials in charge of providing him therewith
cases, which have been under submission for decision or determination seem to have been caught unprepared and have not had enough time to
for a period of ninety days or more have been determined and decided on have it read. Conceivably, under the law, with the permission of this Court,
or before the date of making the certificate.' And bow could such a judge respondent could have been assigned to another court pending all these
hold court in his place of permanent station as required by Section 55; preparations, but that is something within the initiative control of the
observe the hours of daily sessions of the court as prescribed by Section Secretary of Justice and nor of the respondent.
58; and render the reports required by Circular No. 10 when his court is
not yet in physical existence Clearly, therefore, Sections 5, 55 and 58 of Of course, none of these is to be taken as meaning that this Court looks
the Judiciary Act and Circular No. 10 cannot apply to such a judge." . with favor at the practice of long standing to be sure, of judges being
detailed in the Department of Justice to assist the Secretary even if it were
In view of the nature of the allegations of complainant and respondent in only in connection with his work of exercising administrative authority
their respective complaint and answer and considering, in the light thereof, over the courts. The line between what a judge may do and what he may
that the material facts are more or less undisputed, the Court feels that not do in collaborating or working with other offices or officers under the
this case can be disposed of without any further proceeding. other great departments of the government must always be kept clear
and jealously observed, least the principle of separation of powers on
which our government rests by mandate of the people thru the
After mature study and deliberation, the Court is convinced that the
Constitution be gradually eroded by practices purportedly motivated by
complaint must be dismissed. To begin with, We cannot discern any tinge
good intentions in the interest of the public service. The fundamental
of dishonesty in the actuations for the respondent complained of. As We
advantages and the necessity of the independence of said three
see it, the situation is not exactly as complainant has attempted to portray
departments from each other, limited only by the specific constitutional
it. Complainant's theory is that respondent collected or received salaries
precepts a check and balance between and among them, have long been
as judge when in fact he has never acted as such, since the date he took
acknowledged as more paramount than the serving of any temporary or
his oath up to the filing of the complaint. In the sense that respondent has
passing governmental conveniences or exigencies. It is thus of grave
not yet performed any judicial function, it may be admitted that
importance to the judiciary under our present constitutional scheme of
respondent has not really performed the duties of judge. What is lost sight
government that no judge or even the lowest court in this Republic should
of, however, is that after taking his oath and formally assuming this
place himself in a position where his actuations on matters submitted to
position as judge, respondent had a perfect right to earn the salary of a
him for action or resolution would be subject to review and prior approval
judge even in the extreme supposition that he did not perform any judicial
and, worst still, reversal, before they can have legal effect, by any
function for he could, while preparing himself for his new job or for any
authority other than the Court of Appeals or this Supreme Court, as the
good reason, take a leave, as in fact, he had planned to do, were it not for
case may be. Needless to say, this Court feels very strongly that, it is best
the request of the Secretary of Justice for him to forego the idea and,
that this practice is discontinued.
instead, help the Department in whatever way possible which would not,
it must be presumed, impair his position as a judge. This is more so, when,
as in this case, the government officials or officers in duty bound to WHEREFORE, the herein administrative complaint is hereby dismissed. Let
furnish him the necessary place and facilities for his court and the a copy of this resolution be furnished the Secretary of Justice.
performance of his functions have failed to provide him therewith without
any fault on his part. That respondent took it upon himself to personally
work for early action on the part of the corresponding officials in this
direction and, in his spare time, made himself available to the Department e.Salary
of Justice to assist the Secretary, what with his vast experience, having
worked therein for sixteen years, is, far from being dishonesty, to his G.R. No. 78780 July 23, 1987
credit. In the circumstances, it was certainly not improper that he
rendered some kind of service to the government, since he was receiving DAVID G. NITAFAN, WENCESLAO M. POLO, and MAXIMO A. SAVELLANO,
salaries, while being unable to perform his regular duties as judge without JR., petitioners,
any fault on, his part. As to whether or not in doing so he, placed in vs.
jeopardy the independence of the judiciary and failed to act according to COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and THE FINANCIAL OFFICER,
the correct norm of conduct which a judge should observe vis-a-vis service SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
to the other departments of the government will be discussed a non. At
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RESOLUTION constitutional protection against decrease of their salaries during their


continuance in office.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
A comparison of the Constitutional provisions involved is called for. The
Petitioners, the duly appointed and qualified Judges presiding over 1935 Constitution provided:
Branches 52, 19 and 53, respectively, of the Regional Trial Court, National
Capital Judicial Region, all with stations in Manila, seek to prohibit and/or ... (The members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts)
perpetually enjoin respondents, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by law, which shall not
and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court, from making any be diminished during their continuance in office ... 1 (Emphasis supplied).
deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries.
Under the 1973 Constitution, the same provision read:
In a nutshell, they submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments
or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or diminution The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme
of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the court, and of judges of inferior courts shall be fixed by law, which shall not
1987 Constitution mandating that "(d)uring their continuance in office, be decreased during their continuance in office. ... 2 (Emphasis ours).
their salary shall not be decreased," even as it is anathema to the Ideal of
an independent judiciary envisioned in and by said Constitution."
And in respect of income tax exemption, another provision in the same
1973 Constitution specifically stipulated:
It may be pointed out that, early on, the Court had dealt with the matter
administratively in response to representations that the Court direct its
No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee,
Finance Officer to discontinue the withholding of taxes from salaries of
including constitutional officers, shall be exempt from payment of income
members of the Bench. Thus, on June 4, 1987, the Court en banc had
tax. 3
reaffirmed the Chief Justice's directive as follows:

The provision in the 1987 Constitution, which petitioners rely on, reads:
RE: Question of exemption from income taxation. — The Court
REAFFIRMED the Chief Justice's previous and standing directive to the
Fiscal Management and Budget Office of this Court to continue with the The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme
deduction of the withholding taxes from the salaries of the Justices of the Court, and of judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their
Supreme Court as well as from the salaries of all other members of the continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. 4(Emphasis
judiciary. supplied).

That should have resolved the question. However, with the filing of this The 1987 Constitution does not contain a provision similar to Section 6,
petition, the Court has deemed it best to settle the legal issue raised Article XV of the 1973 Constitution, for which reason, petitioners claim
through this judicial pronouncement. As will be shown hereinafter, the that the intent of the framers is to revert to the original concept of
clear intent of the Constitutional Commission was to delete the proposed "non-diminution "of salaries of judicial officers.
express grant of exemption from payment of income tax to members of
the Judiciary, so as to "give substance to equality among the three The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission relevant to
branches of Government" in the words of Commissioner Rigos. In the Section 10, Article VIII, negate such contention.
course of the deliberations, it was further expressly made clear, specially
with regard to Commissioner Joaquin F. Bernas' accepted amendment to The draft proposal of Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution
the amendment of Commissioner Rigos, that the salaries of members of read:
the Judiciary would be subject to the general income tax applied to all
taxpayers.
Section 13. The salary of the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court and of judges of the lower courts shall be fixed by law.
This intent was somehow and inadvertently not clearly set forth in the During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be diminished nor
final text of the Constitution as approved and ratified in February, 1987 subjected to income tax. Until the National Assembly shall provide
(infra, pp. 7-8). Although the intent may have been obscured by the failure otherwise, the Chief Justice shall receive an annual salary of
to include in the General Provisions a proscription against exemption of _____________ and each Associate Justice ______________
any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, from pesos. 5(Emphasis ours)
payment of income tax, the Court since then has authorized the
continuation of the deduction of the withholding tax from the salaries of
During the debates on the draft Article (Committee Report No. 18), two
the members of the Supreme Court, as well as from the salaries of all
Commissioners presented their objections to the provision on tax
other members of the Judiciary. The Court hereby makes of record that it
exemption, thus:
had then discarded the ruling in Perfecto vs. Meer and Endencia vs. David,
infra, that declared the salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt from
payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution MS. AQUINO. Finally, on the matter of exemption from tax of the salary of
of their salaries during their continuance in office. The Court hereby justices, does this not violate the principle of the uniformity of taxation
reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are properly subject to a and the principle of equal protection of the law? After all, tax is levied not
general income tax law applicable to all income earners and that the on the salary but on the combined income, such that when the judge
payment of such income tax by Justices and Judges does not fall within the receives a salary and it is comingled with the other income, we tax the
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income, not the salary. Why do we have to give special privileges to the government involving a reduction of income and yet are still subject to
salary of justices? income tax. So, they are not the only citizens whose income is reduced by
accepting service in government.
MR. CONCEPCION. It is the independence of the judiciary. We prohibit the
increase or decrease of their salary during their term. This is an indirect Commissioner Rigos accepted the proposed amendment to the
way of decreasing their salary and affecting the independence of the amendment. Commissioner Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr. then moved for a
judges. suspension of the session. Upon resumption, Commissioner Bernas
announced:
MS. AQUINO. I appreciate that to be in the nature of a clause to respect
tenure, but the special privilege on taxation might, in effect, be a violation During the suspension, we came to an understanding with the original
of the principle of uniformity in taxation and the equal protection clause. 6 proponent, Commissioner Rigos, that his amendment on page 6,. line 4
would read: "During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be
xxx xxx xxx DECREASED."But this is on the understanding that there will be a provision
in the Constitution similar to Section 6 of Article XV, the General
Provisions of the 1973 Constitution, which says:
MR. OPLE. x x x

No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee,


Of course, we share deeply the concern expressed by the sponsor,
including constitutional officers, shall be exempt from payment of income
Commissioner Roberto Concepcion, for whom we have the highest
tax.
respect, to surround the Supreme Court and the judicial system as a whole
with the whole armor of defense against the executive and legislative
invasion of their independence. But in so doing, some of the citizens So, we put a period (.) after "DECREASED" on the understanding that the
outside, especially the humble government employees, might say that in salary of justices is subject to tax.
trying to erect a bastion of justice, we might end up with the fortress of
privileges, an island of extra territoriality under the Republic of the When queried about the specific Article in the General Provisions on
Philippines, because a good number of powers and rights accorded to the non-exemption from tax of salaries of public officers, Commissioner
Judiciary here may not be enjoyed in the remotest degree by other Bernas replied:
employees of the government.
FR BERNAS. Yes, I do not know if such an article will be found in the
An example is the exception from income tax, which is a kind of economic General Provisions. But at any rate, when we put a period (.) after
immunity, which is, of course, denied to the entire executive department "DECREASED," it is on the understanding that the doctrine in Perfecto vs.
and the legislative. 7 Meer and Dencia vs. David will not apply anymore.

And during the period of amendments on the draft Article, on July 14, The amendment to the original draft, as discussed and understood, was
1986, Commissioner Cirilo A. Rigos proposed that the term "diminished" finally approved without objection.
be changed to "decreased" and that the words "nor subjected to income
tax" be deleted so as to "give substance to equality among the three THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bengzon). The understanding, therefore, is
branches in the government. that there will be a provision under the Article on General Provisions.
Could Commissioner Rosario Braid kindly take note that the salaries of
Commissioner Florenz D. Regalado, on behalf of the Committee on the officials of the government including constitutional officers shall not be
Judiciary, defended the original draft and referred to the ruling of this exempt from income tax? The amendment proposed herein and accepted
Court in Perfecto vs. Meer 8 that "the independence of the judges is of far by the Committee now reads as follows: "During their continuance in
greater importance than any revenue that could come from taxing their office, their salary shall not be DECREASED"; and the phrase "nor
salaries." Commissioner Rigos then moved that the matter be put to a subjected to income tax" is deleted.9
vote. Commissioner Joaquin G. Bernas stood up "in support of an
amendment to the amendment with the request for a modification of the The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the
amendment," as follows: constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the
Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987
FR. BERNAS. Yes. I am going to propose an amendment to the amendment Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the
saying that it is not enough to drop the phrase "shall not be subjected to Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with
income tax," because if that is all that the Gentleman will do, then he will the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of
just fall back on the decision in Perfecto vs. Meer and in Dencia vs. the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be
David [should be Endencia and Jugo vs. David, etc., 93 Phil. 696[ which given effect.10 The primary task in constitutional construction is to
excludes them from income tax, but rather I would propose that the ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the
statement will read: "During their continuance in office, their salary shall framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution.11it may also
not be diminished BUT MAY BE SUBJECT TO GENERAL INCOME TAX."IN be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were
support of this position, I would say that the argument seems to be that guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.12 1avvphi1
the justice and judges should not be subjected to income tax because they
already gave up the income from their practice. That is true also of Besides, construing Section 10, Articles VIII, of the 1987 Constitution,
Cabinet members and all other employees. And I know right now, for which, for clarity, is again reproduced hereunder:
instance, there are many people who have accepted employment in the
7

The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme The mentioned 1st Indorsement has two (2) attachments. First, an
Court, and of judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their anonymous letter by "Concerned Employees of the Supreme Court"
continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. (Emphasis addressed to Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez referring to charges for disbarment
supplied). brought by Mr. Miguel Cuenco against Mr. Justice Marcelo B. Fernan and
asking Mr. Gonzalez "to do something about this." The second attachment
it is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing is a copy of a telegram from Mr. Miguel Cuenco addressed to Hon. Raul M.
another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but such rate must Gonzalez, where Mr. Cuenco refers to pleadings he apparently filed on 29
be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of enactment, or February 1988 with the Supreme Court in Administrative Case No. 3135,
if lower, it would be applicable only to those appointed after its approval. which, in the opinion of Mr. Cuenco, made improper any "intervention" by
It would be a strained construction to read into the provision an Mr. Raul Gonzalez. Mr. Cuenco, nonetheless, encourages Mr. Gonzalez "to
exemption from taxation in the light of the discussion in the Constitutional file responsive pleading Supreme Court en banc to comply with Petition
Commission. Concerned Employees Supreme Court asking Tanodbayan's intervention.

With the foregoing interpretation, and as stated heretofore, the ruling The Court DIRECTED the Clerk of Court to FURNISH Mr. Raul M Gonzales a
that "the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a copy of the per curiam Resolution, dated 17 February 1988 of the Court in
dimunition thereof, and so violates the Constitution" in Perfecto vs. Administrative Case No. 3135 entitled "Miguel Cuenco v. Honorable
Meer,13 as affirmed in Endencia vs. David 14 must be declared discarded. Marcelo B. Fernan" in which Resolution, the Court Resolved to dismiss the
The framers of the fundamental law, as the alter ego of the people, have charges made by complaint Cuenco against Mr.Justice Fernan for utter
expressed in clear and unmistakable terms the meaning and import of lack of merit. In the same Resolution, the Court Resolved to require
Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution that they have adopted complainant Cuenco to show cause why he should not be administratively
dealt with for making unfounded serious accusations against Mr. Justice
Fernan. Upon request of Mr. Cueco, the Court had granted him an
Stated otherwise, we accord due respect to the intent of the people,
extension of up to 30 March 1988, Mr. Cuenco filed a pleading which
through the discussions and deliberations of their representatives, in the
appears to be an omnibus pleading relating to, inter alia, Administrative
spirit that all citizens should bear their aliquot part of the cost of
Case No. 3135. Insofar as Administrative Case No. 3135 is concerned, the
maintaining the government and should share the burden of general
Court treated this pleading as a Motion for Reconsideration. By a per
income taxation equitably.
curiam Resolution dated 15 April 1988, the Court denied with finality Mr
Cuenco's Motion for Reconsideration.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for Prohibition is hereby dismissed.
It is important to underscore the rule of constitution law here involved.
Teehankee, C.J., Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, This principle may be succinctly formulated in the following terms. A
Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur. public officer who under the Constitution is required to be a Member of
Yap, J., is on leave. the Philippine Bar as a qualification for the office held by him and who
may be removed from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged
f. Tenure with disbarment during the incumbency of such public officer. Further,
such public officer, during his incumbency, cannot be charged criminally
g. Removal before the Sandiganbayan or any other court with any offence which
carries with it the penalty of removal from office, or any penalty service of
A.M. No. 88-4-5433 April 15, 1988 which would amount to removal from office.

IN RE FIRST INDORSEMET FROM HONORABLE RAUL M. GONZALEZ The Court dealt with this matter in its Resolution of 17 February 1988 in
DATED 16 MARCH 1988 REQUESTING HONORABLE JUSTICE MARCELO B. Administrative Case No. 3135 in the following terms:
FERNAN TO COMMENT ON AN ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT.
There is another reason why the complaining for disbarment here must be
RESOLUTION dismissed. Members of the Supreme Court must, under Article VIII (7) (1)
of the Constitution, be members of the Philippine Bar and may be
removed from office only by impeachment (Article XI [2], Constitution). To
grant a complaint for disbarment of a Member of the Court during the
Member's incumbency, would in effect be to circumbent and hence to run
PER CURIAM:
afoul of the constitutional mandate theat Members of the Court may be
removed from office only by impeachment for and conviction of certain
The Court CONSIDERED the 1st Indorsement dated 16 March 1988 from offenses listed in Article XI (2) of the Constitution. Precisely the same
Mr. Raul M. Gonzalez, "Tanodbayan/Special; Prosecutor" forwarding to Mr. situation exists in respect of the Ombudsman and his deputies (Article XI
Justice Marcelo B. Fernan a "letter-complaint, dated 14 December 1987 [8] in relation to Article XI [2], Id.), a majority of the members of the
with enclosure of the Concerned Employees of the Supreme Court," Commission on Elections (Article IX [C] [1] [1] in relation to Article XI [2], Id.
together with a telegram of Miguel Cuenco, for "comment within ten (10) and the members of the Commission on Audit who are not certified public
days from receipt hereof." Mr. Justice Fernan had brought this 1st accountants (Article XI [D] [1][1], Id.), all of whom are constitutionally
Indorsement to the attention of the Court en banc in view of the required to be members of the Philippine Bar. (Emphasis supplied)
important implications of policy raised by said 1st Indorsement.

This is not the first time the Court has had occasion to rule on this matter.
In Lecaroz v. Sandiganbayan, 1 the Court said:
8

The broad power of the New Constitution vests the respondent court with violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics or other supposed misbehavior.
jurisdiction over "public officers and employees, including those in What the Court is saying is that there is a fundamental procedural
government-owned or controlled corporations." There are exceptions, requirements that must be observed before such liability may be
however, like constitutional officers, particularly those declared to be determined and enforced. A Member of the Supreme Court must first be
removed by impeachment. Section 2, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution removed from office via the constitutional route of impeachment under
provides: Sections 2 and 3 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. Should the tenure
of the Supreme Court Justice be thus terminated by impeachment, he may
Sec. 2 The President, the Members of the Supreme Court, and the then be held to answer either criminally or administratively (by
Members of the Constitutional Commissions shall be removed from office disbarment proceedings) for any wrong or misbehavior that may be
on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the proven against him in appropriate proceedings.
Constitution, treason, bribery, other high crimes, or graft and corruption."
The above rule rests on the fundamental principles of judicial
Thus, the above provision proscribes removal from office of the independence and separation of powers. The rule is important because
aforementioned constitutional officers by any other method; otherwise, to judicial independence is important. Without the protection of this rule,
allow a public officer who may be removed solely by impeachment to be Members of the Supreme Court would be brought against them by
charged criminally while holding his office, would be violative of the clear unsuccessful litigants or their lawyers or by other parties who, for any
mandate of the fundamental law. number of reasons might seek to affect the exercise of judicial authority
by the Court.
Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, in his authoritative dissertation on the
New Constitution, states that "judgement in cases of impeachment shall It follows from the foregoing that a fiscal or other prosecuting officer
be limited to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of should forthwith and motu proprio dismiss any charges brought against a
honor, trust, or profit under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party Member of this Court. The remedy of a person with a legitimate grievance
convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution trial, and is to file impeachment proceedings.
punishment, in accordance with law. The above provision is a
reproduction of what was found in the 1935 Constitution. It is quite The Clerk of Court is hereby DIRECTED to serve a copy of this Resolution
apparent from the explicit character of the above provision that the effect upon Hon. Raul M. Gonzales and Mr Miguel Cuenco.
of impeachment is limited to the loss of position and disqualification to
hold any office of honor, trust or profit under the Republic. It is equally Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano,
manifest that the party this convicted may be proceeded against, tried and Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
thereafter punished in accordance with law. There can be no clearer
expression of the constitutional intent as to the scope of the
Fernan, J., took no part.
impeachment process (The Constitution f the Philippines, pp. 465-466)."
The clear implication is, the party convicted in the impeachment
proceeding shall nevertheless be liable and subject of prosecution, trial and Guetierrez, J., J., is on leave.
punishment according to law; and that if the same does not result in a
conviction and the official is not thereby removed, the filing of a criminal h. Fiscal autonomy
action "in accordance with law" may not prosper. 2
i. Jurisdiction

The provisions of the 1973 Constitution we referred to above in Lecaroz v.


Sandiganbayan are substantially reproduced in Article XI of the 1987 G.R. No. L-25024 March 30, 1970
Constitution:
TEODORO C. SANTIAGO, JR. Minor, Represented by his Mother, Mrs.
Sec. 2 The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Angelita C. Santiago, petitioner-appellant,
Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the vs.
Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and MISS JUANITA BAUTISTA, ROSALINDA ALPAS, REBECCA MATUGAS,
conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft MILKITA INAMAC, ROMEO AGUSTIN, AIDA CAMINO, LUNA SARMAGO,
and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other AURORA LORENA, SOLEDAD FRANCISCO and MR. FLOR
public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by MARCELO, respondents-appellees.
law, but not by impeachment.
Teodoro M. Santiago for petitioner-appellant.
Sec. 3 xxx xxx xxx
Ramon C. Carag for respondent-apellees.
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than
removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the
Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be
liable and subject to prosecution, trial and punishment according to law. BARREDO, J.:

It is important to make clear that the Court is not here saying that it Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Cotabato
Members or the other constitutional officers we referred to above are dismissing, on a motion to dismiss, its Civil Case No. 2012 — for certiorari,
entitled to immunity from liability for possibly criminal acts or for alleged injunction and damages — on the ground that the complaint therein
9

states no cause of action, and from the subsequent order of the court a discriminating abuses committed by the respondent teachers in the
quo denying the motion for the reconsideration of the said order of disputed selection of honor pupils they made; that petitioner personally
dismissal. appealed the matter to the School Principal, to the District Supervisor, and
to the Academic Supervisor, but said officials "passed the buck to each
The record shows that at the time Civil Case No. 2012 was commenced in other" to delay his grievances, and as to appeal to higher authorities will
the court below, appellant Teodoro Santiago, Jr. was a pupil in Grade Six be too late, there is no other speedy and adequate remedy under the
at the public school named Sero Elementary School in Cotabato City. As circumstances; and, that petitioner and his parents suffered mental and
the school year 1964-1965 was then about to end, the "Committee On The moral damages in the amount of P10,000.00. They prayed the court,
Rating Of Students For Honor" was constituted by the teachers concerned among others, to set aside the final list of honor students in Grade VI of
at said school for the purpose of selecting the "honor students" of its the Sero Elementary School for that school year 1964-1965, and, during
graduating class. With the school Principal, Mrs. Aurora Lorena, as the pendency of the suit, to enjoin the respondent teachers from officially
chairman, and Juanita Bautista, Rosalinda Alpas, Rebecca Matugas, Milkita and formally publishing and proclaiming the said honor pupils in Grade VI
Inamac, Romeo Agustin, Aida Camino and Luna Sarmago, as members, the in the graduation exercises the school was scheduled to hold on the 21st
above-named committee deliberated and finally adjudged Socorro of May of that year 1965. The injunction prayed for was denied by the
Medina, Patricia Liñgat and Teodoro C. Santiago, Jr. as first, second and lower court in its order of May 20, 1965, the said court reasoning out that
third honors, respectively. The school's graduation exercises were the graduation exercises were then already set on the following day, May
thereafter set for May 21, 1965; but three days before that date, the 21, 1965, and the restraining of the same would be shocking to the school
"third placer" Teodoro Santiago, Jr., represented by his mother, and with authorities, parents, and the community who had eagerly looked forward
his father as counsel, sought the invalidation of the "ranking of honor to the coming of that yearly happy event. As scheduled, the graduation
students" thus made, by instituting the above-mentioned civil case in the exercises of the Sero Elementary School for the school year 1964-1965
Court of First Instance of Cotabato, against the above-named committee was held on May 21, with the same protested list of honor students.
members along with the District Supervisor and the Academic Supervisor
of the place. Having been required by the above-mentioned order to answer the
petition within ten (10) days, respondents moved for the dismissal of the
The corresponding complaint filed alleged, inter alia: that case instead. Under date of May 24, 1965, they filed a motion to dismiss,
plaintiff-petitioner Teodoro C. Santiago, Jr. is a sixth grader at the Sero on the grounds (1) that the action for certiorari was improper, and (2) that
Elementary School in Cotabato City scheduled to be graduated on May even assuming the propriety of the action, the question brought before
21st, 1965 with the honor rank of third place, which is disputed; that the the court had already become academic. This was opposed by petitioner.
teachers of the school had been made respondents as they compose the
"Committee on the Rating of Student for Honor", whose grave abuse of In an order dated June 4, 1965, the motion to dismiss of respondents was
official discretion is the subject of suit, while the other defendants were granted, the court reasoning thus:
included as Principal, District Supervisor and Academic Supervisor of the
school; that Teodoro Santiago, Jr. had been a consistent honor pupil from The respondents now move to dismiss the petition for being improper and
Grade I to Grade V of the Sero Elementary School, while Patricia Liñgat for being academic. In order to resolve the motion to dismiss, the Court
(second placer in the disputed ranking in Grade VI) had never been a close has carefully examined the petition to determine the sufficiency of the
rival of petitioner before, except in Grade V wherein she ranked third; that alleged cause of action constituting the special civil action of certiorari.
Santiago, Jr. had been prejudiced, while his closest rival had been so much
benefited, by the circumstance that the latter, Socorro Medina, was
The pertinent portions of the petition alleging 'grave abuse of discretion'
coached and tutored during the summer vacation of 1964 by Mrs. Alpas
are found in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. These allegations may be
who became the teacher of both pupils in English in Grade VI, resulting in
substantially summarized as follows: Paragraph 3 alleges that since grades
the far lead Medina obtained over the other pupil; that the committee
one to six, the students closely contending for class honors were Socorro
referred to in this case had been illegally constituted as the same was
Medina, Teodoro Santiago, Jr., Dolores Dalican and Patricia Liñgat.
composed of all the Grade VI teachers only, in violation of the Service
Manual for Teachers of the Bureau of Public Schools which provides that
the committee to select the honor students should be composed of all Socorro Medina obtained first honor thrice (grades I, V and VI); once
teachers in Grades V and VI; that there are direct and circumstantial second honor (grade IV), and twice third place (grades II and III).
matters, which shall be proven during the trial, wherein respondents have
exercised grave abuse of discretion and irregularities, such as the changing Teodoro Santiago, Jr. obtained first place once (grade IV); four times
of the final ratings on the grading sheets of Socorro Medina and Patricia second place (grades I, II, III, and V) and once third place (grade VI).
Liñgat from 80% to 85%, and some teachers giving petitioner a starting
grade of 75% in Grade VI, which proves that there has already an intention Dolores Dalican obtained twice first place (grades II, III); once third place
to pull him to a much lower rank at the end of the school year; that (grade I).
several district examinations outside of teachers' daily units and other
than periodical tests were given, ratings in which were heavily considered
Patricia Liñgat once third place (grade V); and once second place (grade
in the determination of periodical ratings, whereas according to the
VI).
Academic Supervisor and Acting Division Superintendent of schools of the
place such district examinations were not advisable; that there was a
unanimous agreement and understanding among the respondent teachers That as now ranked in the graduation Liñgat is given second place while
to insult and prejudice the second and third honors by rating Socorro Teodoro Santiago, Jr., is given the third place only. This is the ranking now
Medina with a perfect score, which is very unnatural; that the words "first disputed by petitioner, Teodoro Santiago, Jr.
place" in petitioner's certificate in Grade I was erased and replaced with
the words "second place", which is an instance of the unjust and
10

Paragraph 4 alleges that Socorro Medina was tutored in the summer of give effective remedies, but petitioner negligently abandoned them.
1964 by Mrs. Rosalinda Alpas who became her English teacher in the sixth Petitioner cannot now claim that he lacked any plain, speedy and
grade; that as such, Mrs. Alpas unjustly favored Socorro against her rivals. adequate remedy.

Paragraph 5 alleges that the teachers who composed the committee on NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
honor students are all grade six teachers while the Service Manual For
Teachers provides that the committee shall be composed of the teachers Allegations relating to the alleged 'grave abuse of discretion' on the part
from the fifth and sixth grades. of teachers refer to errors, mistakes, or irregularities rather than to real
grave abuse of discretion that would amount to lack of jurisdiction. Mere
Paragraph 6 alleges that there are direct and circumstantial evidence commission of errors in the exercise of jurisdiction may not be corrected
showing the change of ratings of Socorro Medina and Patricia Liñgat from by means of certiorari.
80% to 85% and the intention to junk petitioner to a lower rank.
In view of the foregoing, the Court is of the opinion, and so holds, that the
Paragraph 7 alleges that the giving of district examinations upon which petition states no cause of action and should be, as it is hereby dismissed.
ratings were partly based were not advisable.
Upon receipt of a copy of the above-quoted order, the petitioner moved
Paragraph 8 alleges that the teachers rated Socorro Medina a perfect for the reconsideration thereof, but the same proved to be futile, hence,
pupil which is unnatural. this appeal.

Paragraph 9 alleges that on the first grade certificate of the petitioner the Appellant here assails the holding of the lower court that his petition
word "First Place" was erased and changed to "Second Place". states no cause of action on the grounds — discussed by the court a
quo in the appealed order above-quoted — (1) that the petition does not
Paragraph 10 alleges that petitioner personally appealed to the school comply with the second paragraph of Sec. 1 of Rule 65 because it has not
authorities but they only 'passed the buck to each other.' been accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment or order
subject thereof, together with copies of all pleadings and documents
relevant and pertinent thereto; (2) that administrative remedies were not
SECOND PARAGRAPH VIOLATED
first exhausted; and (3) that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the teachers who constituted the committee referred to. On the
Rule 65, Section 1 of the Rules of Court provides: other hand, appellees maintain that the court below did not err in
dismissing the case on said grounds. Further, they argue in favor of the
'Section 1. Petition for certiorari. — When any tribunal, board, or officer questioned order of dismissal upon the additional ground that the
exercising judicial functions, has acted without or in excess of its or his "committee on the ratings of students for honor" whose actions are here
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion and there is no appeal, nor condemned by appellant is not the "tribunal, board or officer exercising
any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a judicial functions" against which an action for certiorari may lie under
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court Section 1 of Rule 65.
alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered
annulling or modifying the proceedings, as the law requires, of such The last point raised by appellees deserves first consideration, for if really
tribunal, board or officer.' the said committee of teachers does not fall within the category of
the tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial functions contemplated by
'The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the Rule 65, further discussion of the issues raised by appellant may no longer
judgment or order subject thereof, together with copies of all pleadings be necessary. To resolve this problem the following tests may be
and documents relevant and pertinent thereto.' employed:

It is striking, indeed, that this petition has not been accompanied by a In this jurisdiction certiorari is a special civil action instituted against 'any
certified true copy of the judgment or order complained of, together with tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial functions.' (Section 1, Rule 67.)
all pleadings and documents which are relevant thereto, as required by A judicial function is an act performed by virtue of judicial powers; the
the second, paragraph of the aforequoted rule. This violation renders the exercise of a judicial function is the doing of something in the nature of
petition extremely indefinite and uncertain. There is no written formal the action of the court (34 C.J. 1182). In order that a special civil action of
judgment or order of respondents that is submitted for revision or certiorari may be invoked in this jurisdiction the following circumstances
correction of this Court. This violation is fatal to the petition. must exist: (1) that there must be a specific controversy involving rights of
persons or property and said controversy is brought before a tribunal,
ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES NEGLECTED board or officer for hearing and determination of their respective rights
and obligations.
All that the petition alleges is that the petitioner personally appealed to
the school authorities who only 'passed the buck to each other.' This 'Judicial action is an adjudication upon the rights of parties who in general
allegation does not show that petitioner formally availed of and exhausted appear or are brought before the tribunal by notice or process, and upon
the administrative remedies of the Department of Education. The petition whose claims some decision or judgment is rendered. It implies
implies that this is the first formal complaint of petitioner against his impartiality, disinterestedness, a weighing of adverse claims, and is
teachers. The administrative agencies of the Department of Education inconsistent with discretion on the one hand — for the tribunal must
could have investigated the grievances of the petitioner with dispatch and decide according to law and the rights of the parties — or with dictation
11

on the other; for in the first instance it must exercise its own judgment subdivision of the sovereign power which belongs to the judiciary, or, at
under the law, and not act under a mandate from another power. ... The least, which does not belong to the legislative or executive department. If
character of its action in a given case must decide whether that action is the matter, in respect to which it is exercised, belongs to either of the two
judicial, ministerial, or legislative, or whether it be simply that of a public last-named departments of government, it is not judicial. As to what is
agent of the country or State, as in its varied jurisdictions it may by turns judicial and what is not seems to be better indicated by the nature of a
be each.' (In Re Saline County Subscription, 100 Am. Dec. 337, 338, cited in thing, than its definition.' (Whealing & Elm Grove Railroad Co. Appt. v.
Southeastern Greyhound Lines v. Georgia Public Service Commission, 181 Town of Triadelphia, et al., 4 L.R.A. (N. S.) pp. 321, 328-329.) [Emphasis
S. E. 836-837.) supplied]1

'It may be said generally that the exercise of judicial function is to 'WHAT ARE JUDICIAL OR QUASI JUDICIAL ACTS. It is difficult, if not
determine what the law is, and what the legal rights of parties are, with impossible, precisely to define what are judicial or quasi judicial acts, and
respect to a matter in controversy; and whenever an officer is clothed there is considerable conflict in the decisions in regard thereto, in
with that authority, and undertakes to determine those questions, he acts connection with the law as to the right to the writ of certiorari. It is clear,
judicially.' (State ex rel. Board of Commissioners of St. Louis County, et al. however, that it is the nature of the act to be performed, rather than of the
v. Dunn, 90 N. W. 772-773.) office, board, or body which performs it, that determines whether or not it
is the discharge of a judicial or quasi-judicial function. It is not essential
(2) the tribunal, board or officer before whom the controversy is brought that the proceedings should be strictly and technically judicial, in the
must have the power and authority to pronounce judgment and render a sense in which that word is used when applied to the courts of justice, but
decision on the controversy construing and applying the laws to that end. it is sufficient if they are quasi judicial. It is enough if the officers act
judicially in making their decision, whatever may be their public
character. ...' "In State ex rel. Board of Commrs. vs. Dunn (86 Minn. 301,
'The phrase "judicial power" is not capable of a precise definition which
304), the following statements were made:
would be applicable to all cases. The term has been variously defined as
the authority to determine the rights of persons or property by arbitrating
between adversaries in specific controversies at the instance of a party 'The precise line of demarkation between what are judicial and what are
thereto; the authority exercised by that department of government which administrative or ministerial functions is often difficult to determine. The
is charged with the declaration of what the law is and its construction so exercise of judicial functions may involve the performance of legislative or
far as it is written law; the authority or power vested in the judges or in administrative duties, and the performance of administrative or
the courts; the authority vested in some court, officer, or persons to hear ministerial duties, may, in a measure, involve the exercise of judicial
and determine when the rights of persons or property or the propriety of functions. It may be said generally that the exercise of judicial functions is
doing an act is the subject matter of adjudication; the power belonging to to determine what the law is, and what the legal rights of parties are, with
or emanating from a judge as such; the power conferred upon a public respect to a matter in controversy; and whenever an officer is clothed
officer, involving the exercise of judgment and discretion in the with that authority, and undertakes to determine those questions, he acts
determination of questions of right in specific cases affecting the interest judicially.'2
of persons or property, as distinguished from ministerial power or
authority to carry out the mandates of judicial power or the law; the It is evident, upon the foregoing authorities, that the so called committee
power exercised by courts in hearing and determining cases before them, on the rating of students for honor whose actions are questioned in this
or some matter incidental thereto, and of which they have jurisdiction; case exercised neither judicial nor quasi judicial functions in the
the power of a court to decide and pronounce a judgment; the power performance of its assigned task. From the above-quoted portions of the
which adjudicates upon and protects the rights and interests of individual decision cited, it will be gleaned that before tribunal board, or officer may
citizens, and to that end construes and applies the law. "Judicial power" exercise judicial or quasi judicial acts, it is necessary that there be a law
implies the construction of laws and the adjudication of legal rights. It that give rise to some specific rights of persons or property under which
includes the power to hear and determine but not everyone who may adverse claims to such rights are made, and the controversy ensuing
hear and determine has judicial power. The term "judicial power" does therefrom is brought, in turn, before the tribunal, board or officer clothed
not necessarily include the power to hear and determine a matter that is with power and authority to determine what that law is and thereupon
not in the nature of a suit or action between the parties.' (34 C.J. adjudicate the respective rights of the contending parties. As pointed out
1183-1184.) . by appellees,3 however, there is nothing on record about any rule of law
that provides that when teachers sit down to assess the individual merits
(3) the tribunal, board or officer must pertain to that branch of the of their pupils for purposes of rating them for honors, such function
sovereign power which belongs to the judiciary, or at least, which does involves the determination of what the law is and that they are therefore
not belong to the legislative or executive department. automatically vested with judicial or quasi judicial functions. Worse still,
this Court has not even been appraised by appellant of the pertinent
provisions of the Service Manual of Teachers for Public Schools appellees
... the distinction between legislative or ministerial functions and judicial
allegedly violated in the composition of the committee they constituted
functions is difficult to point out. What is a judicial function does not
thereunder, and, in the performance of that committee's duties.
depend solely upon the mental operation by which it is performed or the
importance of the act. In solving this question, due regard must be had to
the organic law of the state and the division of power of government. In At any rate, the situation brought before Us in this case, the seemingly
the discharge of executive and legislative duties, the exercise of discretion one of first impression, is not without substantial parallel. In the case
and judgment of the highest order is necessary, and matters of the of Felipe vs. Leuterio, etc., et al.,4 the issue presented for determination
greatest weight and importance are dealt with. It is not enough to make a was whether or not the courts have the authority to reverse the award of
function judicial that it requires discretion, deliberation, thought, and the board of judges of an oratorical contest, and this Court declared that
judgment. It must be the exercise of discretion and judgment within that the judiciary has no power to reverse the award of the board of judges of
12

that contest and, for that matter, it would not interfere in literary contests, of Section 1 of Rule 65. To be sure, the lower court's holding that
beauty contests and similar competitions. It was reasoned out thus: appellant's failure to accompany his petition with a copy of the judgment
or order subject thereof together with copies of all pleadings and
For more than thirty years oratorical tilts have been held periodically by documents relevant and pertinent thereto "is fatal to his cause" is
schools and colleges in this islands. Inter-collegiate oratorical competitions supported not only by the provision of that Rule but by precedents as well.
are of more recent origin. Members of this court have taken part in them In the case of Alajar, et al. vs. Court of Industrial Relations,5where it was
either as contestants in their school days (In the College of Law, U.P. claimed by therein petitioners that the respondent court had acted with
annual oratorical contest, first prize was awarded to Justice Montemayor grave abuse of discretion in estimating certain rice harvests involved in
in 1914 and to Justice Labrador in 1916), or as members of the board of the case in terms of cavans instead of cans, allegedly in complete
judges afterwards. They know some few verdicts did not reflect the disregard of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Batangas in
audience's preference and that errors have sometimes been ascribed to Expropriation Proceedings No. 84 and of this Court in G.R. No.
the award of the judges. Yet no party ever presumed to invoke judicial L-6191,6 and in ordering thereafter the division of the said rice harvests on
intervention; for it is unwritten law in such contests that the board's the ratio of 70-30 in favor of the tenants, this Court denied the petition
decision is final and unappealable. for certiorari on the ground, among others, of failure on the part of said
petitioners to attach to their petition copies of the decisions allegedly
violated. Speaking thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes then, this Court held:
Like the ancient tournaments of the Sword, these tournaments of the
Word apply the highest tenets of sportsmanship: finality of referee's
verdict. No alibis, no murmurs of protest. The participants are supposed to The petition is patently without merit. In the first place, it is not even
join the competition to contribute to its success by striving their utmost: sufficient in form and substance to justify the issuance of the writ of
the prizes are secondary. certiorari prayed for. It charges that the Court of Industrial Relations
abused its discretion in disregarding the decision of the Court of First
Instance of Batangas in Expropriation Proceedings No. 84 and of this Court
No rights to the prizes may be asserted by the contestants, because theirs
in G.R. No. L-6191; yet it does not attach to the petition the decisions
was merely the privilege to compete for the prize, and that privilege did
allegedly violated by the Court below and point out which particular
not ripen into a demandable right unless and until they were proclaimed
portion or portions thereof have been disregarded by the respondent
winners of the competition by the appointed arbiters or referees or
Court.
judges.

The same principle was applied in the more recent case of NAWASA vs.
Incidentally, these school activities have been imported from the United
Municipality of Libmanan, et al.,7 wherein this Court dismissed (by
States. We found in American jurisprudence no litigation questioning the
Resolution) the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by the National
determination of the board of judges.
Waterworks and Sewerage Authority against the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur, and the municipality of Libmanan. In the following
Now, the fact that a particular action has had no precedent during a long language, this Court emphasized the importance of complying with the
period affords some reason for doubting the existence of the right sought said requirement of Rule 65:
to be enforced, especially where occasion for its assertion must have
often arisen; and courts are cautious before allowing it, being loath to
While paragraph 3 of the petition speaks of the complaint filed by the
establish a new legal principle not in harmony with the generally accepted
respondent municipality with the respondent court for recovery of
views thereon. (See C.J.S. Vol. 1, p. 1012.)
property with damages (Civil Case No. L-161) no copy thereof is attached
to the petition.
We observe that in assuming jurisdiction over the matter, the respondent
judge reasoned out that where there is a wrong there is a remedy and
Similarly, paragraph 4 of the petition mentions the decision rendered by
that courts of first instance are courts of general jurisdiction.
the respondent court on December 10, 1965, but no copy thereof is
attached to the petition.
The flaw in his reasoning lies in the assumption that Imperial suffered
some wrong at the hands of the board of judges. If at all, there
Again, paragraph 5 of the petition speaks of the order of default entered
was error on the part of one judge, at most. Error and wrong do not mean
by the respondent court and of the motion for reconsideration filed by
the same thing. 'Wrong' as used in the aforesaid principle is the
petitioner in the case above-mentioned, but no copy of the order of
deprivation or violation of a right. As stated before, a contestant has no
default is attached to its petition.
right to the prize unless and until he or she is declared winner by the
board of referees or judges.
Bearing in mind that the petition under consideration was filed for the
purpose of enjoining the respondent court from executing the decision
Granting that Imperial suffered some loss or injury, yet in law there are
rendered in Civil Case No. L-161, the importance of the missing pleadings
instances of 'damnum absque injuria'. This is one of them. If fraud or
is obvious.
malice had been proven, it would be a different proposition. But then her
action should be directed against the individual judge or judges who
fraudulently or maliciously injured her. Not against the other judges. Moreover, the petition is also for the purpose of securing an order
commanding the respondent court to approve either the original or the
amended record on appeal filed petition, but no copy of either is attached
But even were We to assume for the moment, as the court below
to its petition.
apparently did, that judicial intervention might be sought in cases of this
nature, still, We are inclined to sustain the order of dismissal appealed
from for failure on the part of appellant to comply with the requirements In view of the foregoing, the petition under consideration is dismissed.
13

It might be true, as pointed out by appellant, that he received a copy of judiciary has no power to reverse - on the ground of error - the award of
the programme of the graduation exercises held by the Sero Elementary the board of judges of an oratorical contest.
School in the morning of the very day of that graduation exercises,
implying that he could not have attached then a copy thereof (to show the
decision of the committee of teachers in the ranking of students
complained of) to his petition. The stubborn fact remains, however, that DECISION
appellant had known of such decision of the said committee of teachers
much earlier, as shown by the circumstance that according to him, even
before the filing of his petition with the lower court on the 19th of May,
BENGZON, J.:
1965, he had personally appealed the said committee's decision with
various higher authorities of the above-named school, who merely passed
the buck to each other. Moreover, appellant mentions in his petition
various other documents or papers — as the Service Manual for Teachers Statement of the case. The issue in this litigation is whether the courts
allegedly violated by appellees in the constitution of their committee; have the authority to reverse the award of the board of judges of an
altered grading sheets; and erasures in his Grade I certificate — which oratorical competition.
appellant never bothered to attach to his petition. There could be no
doubt then that he miserably failed to comply with the requirement of In an oratorical contest held in Naga, Camarines Sur, first honor was given
Rule 65 above-mentioned. With this conclusion, it is no longer necessary by the board of five judges to Nestor Nosce, and second honor to Emma
to pass upon the other two errors assigned by appellant. Imperial. Six days later, Emma asked the court of first instance of that
province to reverse the award, alleging that one of the judges had fallen
FOR THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment appealed from is into error in grading her performance. After a hearing, and over the
affirmed, with costs against appellant. objection of the other four judges of the contest, the court declared
Emma Imperial winner of the first place. Hence this special civil action
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, challenging the court’s power to modify the board’s verdict.
Fernando, Teehankee and Villamor, JJ., concur.
The facts. There is no dispute about the facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
library
[G.R. No. L-4606. May 30, 1952.]

1. On March 12, 1950 a benefit inter-collegiate oratorical contest was held


RAMON B. FELIPE, SR., as Chairman, Board of Judges, Petitioner, v. HON.
in Naga City. The contestants were eight, among them Nestor Nosce,
JOSE N. LEUTERIO, Judge, Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur,
Emma Imperial and Luis General, Jr.
EMMA IMPERIAL, represented by her guardian-ad-litem JUSTO V.
IMPERIAL, and SOUTHERN LUZON COLLEGE, Respondents.
2. There were five judges of the competition, the petitioner Ramon B.
Felipe, Sr. being the Chairman.
Ramon Felipe, Jr., and L. B. Karingal for Petitioner.

3. After the orators had delivered their respective pieces, and after the
Ezequiel S. Grageda and Victoriano Yamzon for respondents Judge
judges had expressed their votes, the Chairman publicly announced their
Leuterio and Emma Imperial.
decision awarding first prize to Nestor Nosce, second prize to Emma
Imperial, third prize to Menandro Benavides and fourth place to Luis
Padilla & San Juan for respondent Southern Luzon College.
General, Jr.
SYLLABUS
4. Four days afterwards, Emma Imperial addressed a letter to the Board of
1. ORATORICAL COMPETITION; PRIZES; RIGHTS TO PRIZES IN ORATORICAL Judges protesting the verdict, and alleging that one of the judges had
COMPETITION. — No rights to the prizes may be asserted by the committed a mathematical mistake, resulting in her getting second place
contestants in an oratorical competition, because theirs was merely the only, instead of the first, which she therefore claimed.
privilege to compete for the prize, and that privilege did not ripen into
demandable right unless and until they were proclaimed winners of the 5. Upon refusal of the Board to amend their award, she filed a complaint
competition by the appointed arbiters or referees or judges. in the court of first instance.

2. COURTS; STARE DECISIS; PARTICULAR ACTION NO PRECEDENT. — The 6. At the contest the five judges were each furnished a blank form wherein
fact that a particular action has had no precedent during a long period he gave the participants grades according to his estimate of their abilities,
affords some reason for doubting the existence of the right sought to be giving number 1 to the best, number 2 to the second best etc., down to
enforced, especially where occasion for its assertion must have often number 8. Then the grades were added, and the contestant receiving the
arisen. lowest number got first prize, the next second prize, etc.

3. ORATORICAL COMPETITION; ERROR AND WRONG, DISTINGUISHED. — 7. The sums for the first four winners were: Nosce 10; Imperial 10;
Error and wrong do not mean the same thing. "Wrong" as used in the legal Benavides 17, General 17, the board of judges having voted as
principle that where there is a wrong there is a remedy, is the deprivation follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
or violation of a right.
Judge Nosce Imperial Benavides General
4. ID.; LITERARY CONTESTS; COURT’S INTERFERENCE. — Generally, the
Felipe Sr. 3 1 2 4
14

the calculations or processes leading to such vote.


Obias 1 2 4 3
Probably for the above reasons the board refused to "correct" the alleged
Rodriguez 1 4 5 3 error.

Prado 3 2 1 3 The situation then is this: Days after a contest has been conducted and the
winners announced, one of the judges confesses he made a mistake, that
Moll 2 1 5 4 the ratings he gave the second place winner should have been such as
would entitle her to first place. The other judges refuse to alter their
___ ___ ___ ___ verdict. May the matter be brought to the court to obtain a new award,
reversing the decision of the board of judges?
10 10 17 17
For more than thirty years oratorical tilts have been held periodically by
8. It appearing that Nestor Nosce and Emma Imperial had tied for first schools and colleges in these islands. Inter-collegiate oratorical
place, the chairman, apparently with the consent of the board, broke the competitions are of more recent origin. Members of this court have taken
tie by awarding first honors to Nosce and second honors to Imperial. part in them either as contestants in their school days 1 , or as members
of the board of judges afterwards. They know some (few) verdicts did not
9. For the convenience of the judges the typewritten forms contained reflect the audience’s preference and that errors have sometimes been
blank spaces in which, after the names of the rival orators and their ascribed to the award of the judges. Yet no party ever presumed to invoke
respective orations, the judge could jot down the grades he thought the judicial intervention; for it is unwritten law in such contests that the
contestants deserved according to "Originality", "Timeliness", "English", board’s decision is final and unappealable.
"Stage Personality", "Pronunciation and Enunciation" and "Voice." From
such data he made up his vote. Like the ancient tournaments of the Sword, these tournaments of the
Word apply the highest tenets of sportsmanship: finality of the referee’s
10. It was discovered later that the form filled by Delfin Rodriguez, one of verdict. No alibis, no murmurs of protest. The participants are supposed to
the judges, gave Imperial and General the following ratings under the join the competition to contribute to its success by striving their utmost:
above headings: Imperial 19-15-15-18-14-14 Total 94 - Place 4th General the prizes are secondary.
19-15-15 or 14-19-14-14 Total 95 — Place 3rd.
No rights to the prizes may be asserted by the contestants, because their’s
11. Imperial asserts that her total should be 95 instead of 94 and therefore was merely the privilege to compete for the prize, and that privilege did
should rank 3rd place in Rodriguez’ vote. And if she got 3 from Rodriguez, not ripen into a demandable right unless and until they were proclaimed
her total vote should have been 9 instead of ten, with the result that she winners of the competition by the appointed arbiters or referees or
copped first place in that speaking joust. judges.

12. Rodriguez testified that he made a mistake in adding up Imperial’s Incidentally, these school activities have been imported from the United
ratings; that she should have been given a total of 95, or place No. 3, the States. We found in American jurisprudence no litigation questioning the
same as General; that he was not disposed to break the tie between her determination of the board of judges.
and General and insisted that he wanted to give rank 3 to Imperial and
rank 3 also to General. Now, the fact that a particular action has had no precedent during a long
period affords some reason for doubting the existence of the right sought
Discussion. Although it would seem anomalous for one judge to give the to be enforced, especially where occasion for its assertion must have
same rank to two contestants, we will concede for the moment that Delfin often arisen; and courts are cautious before allowing it, being loath to
Rodriguez could have given 3 to Imperial and also 3 to General. establish a new legal principle not in harmony with the generally accepted
views thereon. (See C. J. S. Vol. 1, p. 1012).
However if deductions are to be made from his recorded vote (Exhibit 3)
one may infer that after the contest and before submitting his vote he We observe that in assuming jurisdiction over the matter, the respondent
decided to give General an edge over Imperial. How? Under the caption judge reasoned out that where there is a wrong there is a remedy and
"English" General was given by him at first "14", later increased to "15." that courts of first instance are courts of general jurisdiction.
Evidently because after he had added the ratings of Imperial and
(erroneously) reached the sum of 94, he added the ratings of General The flaw in his reasoning lies in the assumption that Imperial suffered
(which were the same as Imperial with 14 under "English") and some wrong at the hands of the board of judges. If at all, there was error
(mistakenly) reached 94 also. So what did he do? He raised the 14 to 15 on the part of one judge, at most. Error and wrong do not mean the same
and thus gave General 95 to place him over Imperial’s 94. (Mistakingly thing. "Wrong" as used in the aforesaid legal principle is the deprivation or
again, because with 15 General got 96 instead of 95). violation of a right. As stated before, a contestant has no right to the prize
unless and until he or she is declared winner by the board of referees or
But to us the important thing is Rodriguez’ vote during and immediately judges.
after the affair. His vote in Exhibit 3 definitely gave General place No. 3
and Imperial place No. 4. His calculations recorded on Exhibit 3 were not Granting that Imperial suffered some loss or injury, yet in law there are
material. In fact the Chairman did not bother to fill out the blank spaces in instances of "damnum absque injuria." This is one of them. If fraud or
his own form, and merely set down his conclusions giving 1 to Imperial, 2 malice had been proven, it would be a different proposition. But then her
to Benavides etc. without specifying the ratings for "Voice", "English", action should be directed against the individual judge or judges who
"Stage Personality" etc. In other words what counted was the vote; not fraudulently or maliciously injured her. Not against the other judges.
15

Copacabana Apartment-Hotel. JRM originally owned and operated not


By the way, what is herein stated must not be understood as applying to only Copacabana but also Tropicana Apartment-Hotel. The principal
those activities which the Government has chosen to regulate with the stockholders of JRM were the brothers Joseph, Manuel, Vicente and
creation of the Games and Amusements Board in Executive Order No. 392, Roman, all surnamed Yu. Upon the death of Joseph on October 12, 1975,
Series 1950. although both Copacabana and Tropicana continued technically as owned
by JRM, the controlling (70%) interest in Copacabana was lodged in the
Judgment. In view of all the foregoing, we are of the opinion and so surviving heirs of Joseph, with brothers Manuel and Roman having a 15%
declare, that the judiciary has no power to reverse the award of the board interest each. JRM was placed under the management of the heirs of
of judges of an oratorical contest. For that matter it would not interfere in Joseph. The brothers Manuel, Roman and Vicente were allowed 100%
literary contests, beauty contests and similar competitions. equity interest in Tropicana, which was operated separately from JRM.
Eventually, Tropicana and Copacabana became competing businesses.
Wherefore the order in controversy is hereby set aside. No costs.
Ricardo Valladolid, petitioner in G.R. No. 52364 and respondent in G.R. No.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Tuason, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo and Labrador, JJ., 53349, after the death of Joseph, was employed by JRM in 1977 as a
concur. telephone switchboard operator. He was subsequently transferred to the
position of clerk-collector by Mrs. Lourdes T. Yu, President of JRM.
Feria, J., concurs in the result.
According to the affidavit of Daniel T. Yu, Executive Vice-President,
attached to the position paper submitted by JRM before the Regional
j. Deliberations Director, the transfer was motivated by the fact:

k. Voting
xxx xxx xxx
l. Requirements as to decisions
That as such switchboard operator numerous telephone conversations
G.R. No. L-52364 March 25, 1983 and communications relating to business and confidential matters were
intercepted and relayed to Tropicana Apartment-Hotel, a competitor;
RICARDO VALLADOLID, petitioner,
vs. That to confirm suspicion on Ricardo Valladolid as the person responsible
HON. AMADO G. INCIONG, Deputy Minister of Labor, and COPACABANA for said interception and relay, Mrs. Lourdes T. Yu, President of JRM & Co.,
APARTMENT-HOTEL, respondents. Inc. sent him on an errand to Manila Hotel to bring flowers on the
occasion of Wedding Anniversary of Mr. & Mrs. Yu Hong Ty. Matters
G.R. No.L-53349 March 25, 1983 which Mrs. Lourdes Yu told him in confidence and admonitions not to tell
anyone, reached Tropicana people;

J.R.M. & CO., INC. as owner and operator of Copacabana


Apartment-Hotel petitioners, xxx xxx xxx 1
vs.
HON. AMADO G. INCIONG, as Deputy Minister of Labor,HON. The affidavit further disclosed:
FRANCISCO L. ESTRELLA, as Regional Director of the National Capital
Region, Ministry of Labor, nd RICARDO VALLADOLID, respondents. xxx xxx xxx

Daniel Co for petitioner Ricardo Valadolid. That while serving in his capacity as clerk/collector, copies of Accounts
Receivables, reach Tropicana Management although said copies were not
The Solicitor General for respondents. referred to them;

Vicente V. Ocampo & Antonio V. de Ocampo for J.R.M. & Co., Inc. That conferred (sic) on numerous confidential matters taken in the office
of Copacabana Apartment-Hotel reached Tropicana Apartment-Hotel;

That to finally and fully confirmed suspicions that Ricardo Valladolid was
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: the person responsible for the aforementioned disclosures, a plan for the
entrapment was conceived by the management of Copacabana
Apartment- Hotel;
The Order dated December 26, 1979 of the Deputy Minister of Labor
affirming the Order of May 2, 1979 for reinstatement without backwages
issued by Regional Director Francisco L. Estrella in Case No. That on November 9, 1979, pursuance of said plan, a cash voucher for
R4-STF-2-1316-79 entitled, "Ricardo C. Valladolid, Jr. vs. Copacabana P500,000.00 supposedly in payment for representation expenses to
Apartment-Hotel," is being assailed by the parties in these petitions. myself with the corresponding check were prepared and issued
respectively by Juan V. Bermudo, Apartment-Hotel Manager, who
thereafter called Ricardo Valladolid and asked the latter to bring the said
J. R. M. & Co., Inc. (hereinafter referred to as JRM), as petitioner in G.R. No.
cash voucher and check to my room which he did; few minutes later I
53349, is also the respondent in G.R. No. 52364 named therein as
16

came down to the office and asked Mr. Ricardo Valladolid to prepare the Valladolid reported for work on February 16, 1979. The Executive Vice-
corresponding deposit slip to Pacific Banking Corporation for said check; President, Mr. Daniel Yu, allegedly refused to admit him and instead asked
him to resign. JRM maintains that Valladolid left the office that same day
That thereafter, the aforementioned cash voucher, corresponding check and never returned, because he was reprimanded for his unauthorized
and deposit slip were kept in the hotel vault with no other person other absences.
than myself, Juan Bermudo and Ricardo Valladolid having any knowledge
of preparation and existence thereof; On February 22, 1979, Valladolid filed a Complaint for Illegal Dismissal
with vacation and sick leave pay. 6
That unknown to Ricardo Villadolid, the aforementioned check, cash
voucher and deposit slip were cancelled; On February 24, 1979, JRM sent a letter to Valladolid signed by Daniel T.
Yu, advising him of his preventive suspension effective February 26, 1979
That on December 4, 1978, Mr. Manuel Yu Chua, came to Copacabana preparatory to the termination of his services 10 days from receipt of a
Apartment-Hotel as minority stockholder of the latter, vehemently copy of the application for clearance to dismiss him. The grounds given
demanding for an accounting of Copacabana books; were: (1) Willful Breach of Trust for having divulged, in various instances,
confidential business matters to competitors of the company; and (2)
Gross Neglect of Duty for having been absent without leave or notice for
That he strongly charged that information reached him that I received a
more than 25 days, to the detriment of the company. 7
disbursement of P500,000.00 from Copacabana Apartment-Hotel as
representation expenses in my capacity as Executive Vice-President
thereof; On February 28, 1979, JRM filed said application for clearance with the
Ministry of Labor. 8 The application for clearance and Valladolid's
complaint for Illegal Dismissal were consolidated and docketed as
That at this juncture, I brought out the cancelled cash voucher, check and
R4-STF-2-1316-79. The parties submitted their respective position papers
deposit slip with mouth agape Manuel Yu Chua, could do nothing else but
and documentary evidence. On May 2, 1979, the Regional Director issued
admit that in fact, his informer within Copacabana Apartment-Hotel was
the following challenged Order:
no other than Mr. Ricardo C. Villadolid;

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the application for clearance with


That I then informed Manuel Yu Chua, that under the circumstances, I
preventive suspension is hereby denied. Respondent is hereby ordered to
could no longer repose any trust whatsoever on Ricardo Valladolid and
reinstate complainant to his former position without backwages and
requested him to take the latter to Tropicana Apartment-Hotel and just
without loss of seniority rights. Let the time this case was pending be
swap him with someone else; Mr. Manuel Yu Chua directed me to tell
considered as complainant's suspension for his absences.
Valladolid to see him;

The claim for vacation sick leave pay is dismissed for failure to
That after few days, Ricardo Valladolid came back and told me that
substantiate the same.
Manuel Yu Chua has no place for him at Tropicana Apartment-Hotel; in
this conversation, Ricardo Valladolid apologized for having betrayed the
trust that we had reposed on him, especially after Mrs. Lourdes T. Yu had Valladolid appealed the foregoing order to the Minister of Labor seeking
told him to stay impartial; that he then having done this for Manuel Yu modification of the same, praying for the award of backwages from the
Chua, the latter could not even accept him in Tropicana Apartment-Hotel; time he was illegally dismissed on February 16, 1979 to the date of his
actual reinstatement. JRM also appealed the said Order.
xxx xxx xxx 2
On December 26, 1979, the Deputy Minister of Labor, in a succinct Order,
dismissed both appeals after finding "no sufficient justification or valid
The entrapment scheme was corroborated by the affidavits of Sofia Mo.
reason to alter, modify, much less reverse the Order appealed from."
Gianan, External Auditor of J.R.M. & Co., Inc., and Juan V. Bermudo,
Copacabana Apartment-Hotel Manager, which affidavits formed part of
JRM's position paper filed before the agency below. 3 The cancelled Cash On January 21, 1980, Valladolid filed a Petition for certiorari with this
Voucher, the uncashed check, and the unused deposit slip, all in the Court, docketed as G.R. No. 52364, praying for a modification of the Order
respective amounts of P500,000.00 were also attached to the same of December 26, 1979 of the Deputy Minister of Labor so as to grant him
position paper as Exhibits "4", "5" and "6". backwages. This Court resolved. on February 4, 1980, to give due course
to the petition, and required the parties to submit simultaneous
memoranda.
On December 29, 1978, or after the entrapment scheme had been
effected, Valladolid filed a written request for a five (5) day vacation leave
starting December 30, 1978 with the Manager of Copacabana, stating On March 12, 1980, JRM also filed a petition for certiorari with this Court
therein that he would report for work on January 5, 1979. 4 He did not assailing that same Order. This Court gave due course to the petition and
report for work on January 5 but sent a telegram from Bicol on January 8, consolidated the same with G.R. No. 52364. Thereafter, the parties filed
1979 requesting for 15 days sick leave as he was confined for flu at the Dr. their respective memoranda.
Estrellado Clinic. 5 On January 23, 1979, Valladolid's wife allegedly called
up JRM informing the company through its accountant, Eddie Escueta, The non-award of backwages is the only issue being raised by Valladolid
that her husband was still sick and requested for 30 days sick leave, which claiming that the Orders in question are contrary to law and evidence, and
was allegedly granted. This was denied by JRM. were issued arbitrarily and capriciously with grave abuse of discretion,
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction.
17

JRM, on the other hand, assails the said Orders on the following grounds: confidence in the latter. And although Manuel Yu, who owns 15% of the
equity holding of Copacabana, and being a member of the Board of
I Directors of JRM had a right to know the business standing of said
establishment, there is basis to believe that he would not have been able
to pinpoint the particular "disbursement" of P500,000.00, if the same had
That respondent Deputy Minister of Labor committed grave abuse of
not been leaked out to him.
discretion when in his questioned order in effect sustained the finding of
respondent Regional Director that there is no evidence to support the
dismissal of private respondent. Loss of confidence is a valid ground for dismissing an employee. Proof
beyond reasonable doubt of the employee's misconduct is not required, it
being sufficient that there is some basis for the same or that the employer
II
has reasonable ground to believe that the employee is responsible for the
misconduct and his participation therein renders him unworthy of the
That respondent Deputy Minister Amado Inciong and Regional Director trust and confidence demanded of his position. 11 However, as this was
Francisco Estrella committed grave abuse of discretion when they Valladolid's first offense, as found by the Regional Director, dismissal from
arbitrarily failed to consider in their respective orders under review, the service is too harsh a punishment, considering that he had not been
established jurisprudence. previously admonished, warned or suspended for any misdemeanor.
Besides as clerk-collector, he need not be given access to facts relative to
III the business of Copacabana, which, if divulged to Tropicana would be to
the former's prejudice.
That respondent Regional Director committed grave abuse of discretion
when he held that preventive suspension is equivalent to dismissal. Moreover, we find basis for the finding of the Regional Director that
Valladolid was terminated without prior clearance. J.R.M. sent a
IV memorandum to Valladolid on February 24, 1979 advising him of his
preventive suspension effective February 26, 1979 pending approval of
the application for clearance to dismiss him. The clearance application was
That the order of respondent Hon. Amado Inciong was a capricious and
filed on February 28, 1979. However, even prior to that date, or on
whimsical exercise of judgment when it failed to state the facts and
February 22, 1979, Valladolid had already filed a complaint for Illegal
conclusion of law upon which it is based.
Dismissal. This shows that Valladolid was indeed refused admittance on
February 16, 1979 when he reported back to work, so that he was
V practically dismissed before he was formally notified of his suspension
leading to his dismissal, in violation of the requirement of Section 3, Rule
That respondent Regional Director Francisco Estrella acted in excess of his XIV, Book V, Rules & Regulation Implementing the Labor Code. 12 And as
jurisdiction when, without any statutory authority or transcending beyond provided in Section 2 of the same Rule, any dismissal without prior
his jurisdiction, he absolutely disregarded procedural requirement in the clearance shall be "conclusively presumed to be termination of
hearing of the present controversy, thus depriving petitioner of its right to employment without a just cause."
due process.
JRM cannot claim that it was deprived of due process considering that
Valladolid, in his affidavit dated March 29, 1979, denied having committed applications for clearance have to be summarily investigated and a
any breach of trust. 9 In corroboration, he presented the affidavits of Mr. decision required to be rendered within ten (10) days from the filing of the
Manuel Yu dated March 20, 1979 and March 29, 1979, wherein the latter opposition 13 As this Court had occasion to hold there is no violation of
stated that Valladolid was "one of Copacabana's most hard-working and due process where the Regional Director merely required the submission
efficient employees;" that Valladolid's work is "mere routinary collection of position papers and resolved the case summarily thereafter. 14
and clerical in nature which do not involve trust (or) confidential business
or trade secrets which he may 'divulge' to other companies." 10 Nor is the questioned Order of the Deputy Minister of Labor violative of
Section 9, Article X of the Constitution, which requires a statement of the
On this issue, the Regional Director ruled that "there is no evidence on facts and the conclusions of law upon which it is based. That prescription
record that Valladolid furnished copies of receivables or divulged applies to decisions of Courts of record. The Ministry of Labor is an
confidential business matters to Mr. Manuel Yu and the 'Tropicana People' administrative body with quasi-judicial functions. Section 5, Rule XIII, Book
including the P500,000.00 'entrapment scheme.'" V, Ibid, states that proceedings in the NLRC shall be non-litigious and
summary in nature without regard to legal technicalities obtaining in
That finding is not supported by the records. The affidavits attached to courts of law. As the Deputy Minister was in full accord with the findings
petitioner's position paper adequately show that JRM did not act on mere of fact and the conclusions of law drawn from those facts by the Regional
suspicion but on the contrary, acted prudently when it first transferred Director, there was no necessity of discussing anew the issues raised
Valladolid from switchboard operator where he could eavesdrop on therein.
telephone conversations, to a less crucial position of clerk-collector. But
even in the latter capacity, JRM's fears were confirmed as shown by the JRM admits that Valladolid requested for leave for 5 days from December
entrapment scheme. Manuel Yu's certification as to Valladolid's 30, 1978, and thereafter for 15 days, but denies that he notified the
trustworthiness cannot be given much weight not only because it was company of his absences subsequent to this. The Regional Director ruled
disproved by the entrapment contrived but more so because even Manuel that the absences of Valladolid were unauthorized but did not amount to
Yu himself refused to employ him at Tropicana when Daniel Yu had gross neglect of duty or abandonment of work which requires deliberate
suggested that Tropicana absorb Valladolid because JRM had lost refusal to resume employment or a clear showing in terms of specific
18

circumstances that the worker does not intend to report for work. We On 29 January 1981 petitioner was again dismissed for lack of confidence
agree. But as Valladolid had been AWOL, no error was committed by by then Municipal Mayor Alvin Dans under Administrative Order No. 54,
respondent Regional Director in ordering his reinstatement without Series of 1981. Upon denial of his Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner
backwages. 16 filed Case No. 43, a suit for mandamus and Damages with Preliminary
Injunction against the Municipal Mayor, the Municipal Treasurer, and the
WHEREFORE, both Petitions for certiorari are hereby denied. No costs. Sangguniang Bayan of Isabela, Basilan, before the then Court of First
Instance in Basilan Province, Branch 1, praying for reinstatement "with full
backwages and other rights inherent in the position." He also filed Case No.
SO ORDERED.
45 with the same Court seeking that he and his wife be paid their back
salaries from 1 February 1980 to 31 May 1980 pursuant to the Decision of
Plana, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur. the Merit Systems Board on 16 February 1981.

Teehankee, J., took no part. On 20 February 1984, during the pendency of the said case, the
Sangguniang Bayan of Isabela, Basilan, abolished the subject position in its
Resolution No. 902, Series of 1984, and Ordinance No. 336, pursuant to
the provisions of the Local Government Code.
G.R. No. 78648 January 24, 1989
On 5 December 1984, petitioner and his wife, on the one hand, and on the
RAFAEL N. NUNAL, petitioner, other, Mayor Dans in his capacity both as Municipal Mayor and as
vs. Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Bayan of Isabela, Basilan, the
COMMISSION ON AUDIT AND MUNICIPALITY OF ISABELA, Municipal Treasurer and the Provincial Fiscal (p. 4, Reply To Comment of
BASILAN, respondents. COA), entered into a Compromise Agreement stipulating, among others,
that:
Romulo D. Plagata for petitioner.
l. The respondents shall pay petitioner Rafael Nunal all back salaries and
other emoluments due him by reason of his employment as Municipal
RESOLUTION
Administrator of Isabela, Basilan, covering the period from January 1, 1980
to August 15, 1984, together with accumulated vacation/sick leaves,
mid-year and Christmas bonuses in 1982 and 1983, and separation pay
under the Local Government Code, which are reflected in the computation
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: hereto attached and made an integral part hereof... (p. 13, Rollo)

For resolution is petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the Minute Under the same Compromise Agreement, petitioner was also considered
Resolution of this Court of 11 May 1988 dismissing the Petition as "retired" upon receipt of the monetary considerations mentioned
for certiorari "for failure of the petitioner to sufficiently show that the therein.
public respondent had committed grave abuse of discretion in holding,
among others, that the compromise agreement of the parties is not On 12 December 1984, the Court approved the Compromise Agreement.
enforceable against the Municipality of Isabela, the latter not having been
impleaded as an indispensable party in the case.
On 1 April 1985, petitioner collected his retirement benefits although,
concededly, no provision for the same had been included in the
In the present Motion, petitioner contends: Compromise Agreement (Petition, p. 6; Rollo, P. 9).

1. The decision does not clearly and distinctly express the facts and the On 17 September 1985, petitioner filed his claim for separation pay in the
law on which it is based; amount of P54,092.50 to which he is allegedly entitled due to the
abolition of the position of Municipal Administrator, which separation pay
2. The Municipality of Isabela, Basilan, is bound by the compromise is provided for by the Local Government Code (B.P. 337, Section 76).
agreement; and
On 6 January 1986 the Municipal treasurer forwarded petitioner's claim to
3. Public respondent "Commission on Audit (COA, for short) gravely the Provincial Auditor of Basilan. On 11 January, 1986, in a First
abused its discretion in denying the lawful claim for separation pay by Indorsement, the Provincial Auditor opined that the claim was legal and
your petitioner." (Motion for Reconsideration, p. 1; Rollo, p. 67) proper but payment thereof was made subject to availability of funds and
the ruling of the Regional Office of the Commission on Audit, Region IX,
The facts disclose that on 24 February 1986 petitioner was appointed as Zamboanga City.
Municipal Administrator of Isabela, Basilan. On 1 February 1980 he was
administratively charged and dismissed from the service for dishonesty, On 12 February 1986, in a 2nd Indorsement, the Regional Director of the
misconduct and for lack of confidence. On appeal, the Merit Systems Commission on Audit, Region IX, Zamboanga City, reversed the Provincial
Board exonerated petitioner and reinstated him to his position as Auditor of Basilan and denied petitioner's claim for separation pay.
Municipal Administrator on 8 May 1980. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was forwarded to the Commission
on Audit (COA), Central Office, Quezon City.
19

On 13 October 1986 the COA Central Office, in its Decision No. 388, not official or employee so affected shall be reinstated in another vacant
only denied petitioner's claim for separation pay but also disallowed the position without diminution of salary. Should such position not be
other payments made to petitioner. It held:. available, the official or employee affected shall be granted a separation
pay equivalent to one month salary for every year of service over and
Premises considered, and it appearing that Mr. Nunal has been paid back above the monetary privileges granted to officials and employees under
salaries and other emoluments in the total amount of P90,362.96 existing law.'
pursuant to the Compromise Agreement, supra, this Commission hereby
directs that any and all payments made to Mr. Nunal corresponding to the cannot be validly invoked as legal basis for the claim for separation pay.
period when he was no longer in the government service should be Moreover, the fact remains that as earlier seen Mr. Nunal has already
disallowed in audit without prejudice to his right of recourse against the been paid his retirement benefits under the existing retirement law. His
officials personally liable for his unlawful dismissal. (pp. 15-16, Rollo) entitlement, therefore, to separation pay under Batas Pambansa Blg. 337
is offensive to the general policy of the government prohibiting payment
Thus, this recourse by petitioner alleging grave abuse of discretion by COA, of double retirement benefits to an employee. (p. 4, COA Decision No. 388;
which Petition we had previously dismissed in our Resolution of 11 May p. 15, Rollo)
1988 as heretofore adverted to.
To grant double gratuity is unwarranted (See Cajiuat, et al. vs. Mathay, Sr.,
It appearing, however, that the Compromise agreement was duly signed G.R. No. L-39743, 124 SCRA 710, September 24, 1983).
by Mayor Alvin Dans as Mayor and as Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang
Bayan, by the Municipal Treasurer, and by the Provincial Fiscal as their It may be that the matter of separation pay was included in the
lawyer (Motion for Reconsideration, p. 3); that the case was one for Compromise Agreement. Nonetheless, it could not be granted outright
reinstatement and backwages; and following the ruling of this Court in but still had to be claimed and passed in audit, and has been aptly denied
Gementiza vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. Nos. L-41717-33, 113 SCRA 477, April by COA. And although petitioner did file suit against the Municipality for
12, 1982), the Municipality of Isabela should be deemed as impleaded in reinstatement, it does not follow that he was not effectively dismissed
this case, it being apparent that the officials concerned had been sued in such that he could still be considered an incumbent whose position had
their official capacity. been abolished. A dismissed employee can be considered as not having
left his office only upon reinstatement and should be given a comparable
It should be noted that before the Court below, respondents sued position and compensation at the time of reinstatement (Cristobal vs.
petitioner Mayor alone. However, respondents, too, prayed for a Writ of Melchor, No. L-43203, 101 SCRA 857, December 29, 1980).
mandamus to compel petitioner Mayor to reinstate them with back
salaries and damages. Respondents, therefore, actually intended to sue Finally, a word on petitioner's contention that the Resolution of this Court
petitioner in his official capacity. Failure to implead the Municipality and under date of 11 May 1988 is not in accordance with Section 14, Article
other municipal authorities should not deter this Court, in the interests of VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
justice and equity, from including them herein as respondents. (at p. 488)
Sec. 14. No decision shall be rendered by any Court without expressing
The Compromise Agreement, therefore, must be held binding on the therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.
Municipality of Isabela, which was not, in any way, deprived of its day in
Court (Gabutas vs. Castellanes, L- 17323, 14 SCRA 376, June 23, 1965). No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the
Thus, the payments to petitioner of the sums of P68,389.25 as back Court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis
salaries, P21,387.71 as total accumulated vacation/sick leaves, P772.75 as therefor.
Christmas bonus, and the back salaries of Mrs. Nanie B. Nunal in the sum
of P3,096.00, have to be upheld. It likewise appears that retirement
In the first place, our "Resolution" of 11 May 1988 was not a "Decision"
benefits bad also been collected by petitioner on 1 April 1985.
within the meaning of the Constitutional requirement. This mandate is
applicable only in cases "submitted for decision," i.e., given due course
In respect, however, of the separation pay claimed by petitioner, we and after the filing of Briefs or Memoranda and/or other pleadings, as the
uphold the ruling of the COA reading in part: case may be. It is not applicable to an Order or Resolution refusing due
course to a Petition for Certiorari. In the second place, the assailed
Anent the second issue, this Commission believes and so holds that the Resolution does state the legal basis for the dismissal of the Petition and
instant claim for separation pay in addition to the retirement benefits thus complies with the Constitutional provision. (Tayamura, et al., vs. IAC,
earlier received by claimant is bereft of any legal basis. Culled from the et al., G.R. No. 76355, May 21, 1987 [en banc]; see also Que vs. People,
records is the fact that Mr. Nunal was dismissed from the service on G.R. Nos. L-75217-18, 154 SCRA 160, September 21, 1987).
January 29, 1981 and has not been reinstated to the service until his
position of Municipal Administrator of Isabela was abolished. In other It may be added that the Writ of certiorari dealt with in Rule 65 of the
words, he was no longer in, or had already been separated from, the Rules of Court is a prerogative Writ, never demandable as a matter of
service when the said position was abolished. Evidently then, his right, "never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion." (Bouvier's
separation from the service was not attributable to the abolition of the Law Dictionary, 3d Rev. [8th ed.]; Francisco, The Revised Rules, 1972 ed.,
position but was due to his dismissal and, therefore, Section 76 of Batas Vol. IV- B, pp. 4546, citing 14 C.J.S., 121-122).
Pambansa Blg. 337 which provides —
ACCORDINGLY, the Resolution of this Court of 11 May 1988 is hereby
'Section 76.-Abolition of Position. When the position of an official or PARTIALLY RECONSIDERED in that the disallowance by respondent
employee under the civil service is abolished by law or ordinance, the Commission on Audit of the amounts ordered paid by the Court of First
20

Instance of Basilan, Branch 1, in its Decision dated 12 December 1984, is of the Quezon City Prosecutor which found probable cause and
hereby SET ASIDE, but its disallowance of petitioner's claim for separation accordingly filed charges for consummated rape and attempted rape by
pay of P54,092.50, is hereby SUSTAINED. No costs. means of force and intimidation committed on December 23, 1991 and
January 17, 1992 against accused-appellant Marcelino Bugarin. No bail
SO ORDERED. was recommended "considering that the evidence of guilt of the
respondent is strong." The cases were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
Q-92-28785 and Q-92-28786 and raffled to Branch 88 of the Quezon City
Paras, Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Regional Trial Court.

On May 7, 1992, four more charges for rape by means of force and
intimidation committed on November 1989, May 1990, June 1990 and
G.R. Nos. 110817-22 June 13, 1997 March 14, 1991 were filed against accused-appellant. Docketed as
Criminal Cases Nos. Q-92-31157 to 31160, the additional cases were
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, raffled to Branch 97 of the same court. These cases were eventually
vs. consolidated and assigned to Branch 88.
MARCELINO A. BUGARIN, accused-appellant.
The informations in the six cases alleged as follows:

Crim Case No. 92-31157


MENDOZA, J.:
That on or about the month of June 1990 In Quezon City, Philippines, the
This is an appeal from the decision, 1 dated February 11, 1993, which the said accused by means of force and intimidation, did then and there,
Regional Trial Court, Branch 97 of Quezon City rendered in Criminal Cases wilfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the undersigned MARY
Nos. Q-92-28785 to 86 and Q-92-31157 to 31160, finding JANE BUGARIN y ASUNCION, a minor, 15 years of age, without her consent
accused-appellant Marcelino Bugarin guilty of four counts of and against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
consummated rape and one count of attempted rape and sentencing him
as follows: The crime was attended by the aggravating circumstance of relationship.

WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable Crim. Case No. 92-31158
doubt as charged of multiple (3 Counts) rape and one count of attempted
rape, and in accordance with Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code
That on or about the month of November, 1989 in Quezon City,
sentences him to prison terms as follows:
Philippines, the said accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then
and there, wilfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the
1) For each of the four counts of the above rape, reclusion perpetua. undersigned MARY JANE BUGARIN y ASUNCION without her consent and
against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
2) For the attempted rape, two (2) years and four (4) months in the
minimum penalty to four (4) years in the maximum period and to The crime was attended by the aggravating circumstance of relationship.
indemnify the private complainant in the amount of P50,000.00 as moral
damages and exemplary damages of P50,000.00 to deter sexual crimes of
Crim. Case No. 92-31159
the sort committed by accused.

That on or about the 14th day of March, 1991 in Quezon City, Philippines,
SO ORDERED.
the said accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there,
wilfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the undersigned
The complainant, Maryjane Bugarin, is the daughter of accused- appellant. MARYJANE BUGARIN y ASUNCION, a minor, 15 years of age, without her
On February 22, 1992, accompanied by her mother, Regina Bugarin, and consent and against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
her maternal aunt, Nena Padecio, she complained to the Central Police
District Command that she had been repeatedly raped by
The crime was attended by the aggravating circumstance of relationship.
accused-appellant. In her sworn statement she related how, on nine
different occasions between November 1989 and January 17, 1992, her
father entered the common sleeping area of their house in Payatas, Crim. Case No. 92-31160
Quezon City and, after holding her knees and spreading her legs,
succeeded in inserting his penis into her vagina and kissed her breasts. She That on or about the month of May 1990 in Quezon City, Philippines, the
claimed that, on January 17, 1992, her father molested her by "kissing her said accused by means of force and intimidation, did then and there
vagina" and that only by repeatedly kicking him did he desist from wilfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the undersigned
molesting her any further. MARYJANE BUGARIN y ASUNCION, a minor, 15 years of age, without her
consent and against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
Complainant was examined on the same date by Emmanuel I. Aranas, PNP
Medico-Legal Officer, who found that she was "in non-virgin state The crime was attended by the aggravating circumstance of relationship.
physically." 2 On February 25, 1992, she returned to the police station to
file formal charges against her father. The case was referred to the Office
21

Crim. Case No. 92-28785 the moral ascendancy of the father over her took the place of force and
intimidation in rape.
That on or about the 17th day of January, 1992, in Quezon City, Metro
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, We take up first accused-appellant's charge that the decision of the trial
the above-named accused, with lewd designs and by means of force and court does not state the grounds therefor. Indeed, the Constitution
intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously provides in part in Art. VIII, §14 that "No decision shall be rendered by any
commence the commission of the crime of Rape directly by overt acts, by court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the
then and there kissing the nipples and the vagina of the undersigned law on which it is based." This requirement is reiterated and implemented
MARYJANE BUGARIN Y ASUNCION, a minor, and about to lay on top of her, by the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides in Rule 120, §2:
all against her will, however, the said accused did not perform all the acts
of execution which would have produced the crime of Rape by reason of Sec. 2. Form and contents of judgment. — The judgment must be written
some causes other than his own spontaneous desistance, that is, in the official language, personally and directly prepared by the judge and
undersigned complainant push him away, to the damage and prejudice of signed by him and shall contain clearly and distinctly a statement of the
the undersigned in such amount as may be awarded to her under the facts proved or admitted by the accused and the law upon which the
provisions of the New Civil Code. judgment is based.

Crim. Case No. 92-28786 If it is of conviction, the judgment shall state (a) the legal qualification of
the offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused, and the
That on or about the 23rd day of December, 1991, in Quezon City, Metro aggravating or mitigating circumstances attending the commission thereof,
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, if there are any; (b) the participation of the accused in the commission of
the above-named accused, with lewd designs and by means of force and the offense, whether as principal, accomplice, or accessory after the fact;
intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have (c) the penalty imposed upon the accused; and (d) the civil liability or
sexual intercourse with the undersigned MARYJANE BUGARIN Y damages caused by the wrongful act to be recovered from the accused by
ASUNCION, a minor, without her consent and against her will, to her the offended party, if there is any, unless the enforcement of the civil
damage and prejudice in such amount as may be awarded to her under liability by a separate action has been reserved or waived.
the provisions of the New Civil Code.
In case of acquittal, unless there is a clear showing that the act from which
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty in each case, the civil liability might arise did not exist, the judgment shall make a
after which trial ensued. Under questioning by the prosecutor, Maryjane finding on the civil liability of the accused in favor of the offended party.
Bugarin narrated how her father sexually assaulted her in their family's
common sleeping area while no one was at home and threatened her if The decision of the trial court falls short of this requirement in at least
she told anyone about what happened. three respects. First, it does not contain an evaluation of the evidence of
the parties and a discussion of the legal questions involved. It does not
Accused-appellant denied the charges against him. He claimed to be God explain why the trial court considered the complainant's testimony
fearing and morally upright and that his wife, Regina Bugarin, must have credible despite the fact that, as accused-appellant points out,
induced their daughter to file the complaints against him because his wife complainant could not remember the time of the day when she was
blamed him for financially neglecting their family since 1989. allegedly raped. It does not explain why accused-appellant's licking of
complainant's genital constituted attempted rape and not another crime.
In rebuttal, the prosecution presented Regina Bugarin who testified that a Second, the complainant testified that she had been raped five times, to
good mother would not expose her child to humiliation just to get back at wit, in November 1989, on December 24, 1989, in June 1990, on March 14,
her husband. She further claimed that her daughter, who had been raised 1991, and on December 23, 1991, and that once, on January 17, 1992, she
properly and taught to be honest, could not have fabricated the charges was molested by her father who licked her private part, for which reason
against the accused-appellant. six informations were filed against him, but the decision found the
accused-appellant guilty of only four counts of rape (which the trial court
erroneously said three counts) and one count of attempted rape, without
In a two-page decision, promulgated on February 11, 1993, the trial court,
explaining whether accused-appellant was being acquitted of one charge
after giving a summary of the testimonies of the complainant and
of rape. Third, the decision is so carelessly prepared that it finds the
accused-appellant, laconically ruled:
accused-appellant guilty of three counts of consummated rape but
sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua "for each of
The issue is simple. Is the private complainant credible in her story of how the four counts of . . . rape."
she was raped? The answer of this Court is an undoubtful and a definite
yes.
Maryjane claimed she had been raped on December 24, 1989, but the
information in Criminal Case No. Q-92-31160 is far rape allegedly
Accused-appellant questions the trial court's decision on the ground that: committed in May 1990. It must be for this reason that the trial court
(1) the testimony of Maryjane Bugarin is not credible; (2) the elements of convicted accused-appellant of only four counts of rape, instead of five.
force and intimidation had not been proved; and (3) the decision of the But the trial court should have explained so, if this was really the reason,
trial court does not state the facts and law upon which it was based. and expressly acquitted the accused-appellant of the charge under this
information.
On the other hand, the Solicitor General, representing the prosecution,
contends that complainant, who was only 15 years old when she reported
the crime, was not likely to concoct charges against her father and that
22

The requirement that the decisions of courts must be in writing and that A — (witness crying) When he entered the room, he embraced me and
they must set forth clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which touched the different parts of my body and he informed me that when I
they are based serves many functions. It is intended, among other things, grow up, I would not become innocent.
to inform the parties of the reason or reasons for the decision so that if
any of them appeals, he can point out to the appellate court the findings Q — What do you mean by those words that he told you that when you
of facts or the rulings on points of law with which he disagrees. More than grow up you would not be innocent?
that, the requirement is an assurance to the parties that, in reaching
judgment, the judge did so through the processes of legal reasoning. It is,
A — So that when I grow up I will know what he will be doing.
thus, a safeguard against the impetuosity of the judge, preventing him
from deciding by ipse dexit. Vouchsafed neither the sword nor the purse
by the Constitution but nonetheless vested with the sovereign prerogative Q — What did he do?
of passing judgment on the life, liberty or property of his fellowmen, the
judge must ultimately depend on the power of reason for sustained public A — He touched my knees and spread them out and then holding my
confidence in the justness of his decision. The decision of the trial court in breast and he put his sex organ inside me.
this case disrespects the judicial function.
Q — When you say inside me, what do you mean?
We would normally remand this case to the trial court for compliance with
the constitutional requirement for decisions. But this case has been A — His sex organ entered my what, I am fertile.
pending for sometime and further delay can be avoided if the Court simply
reviews the whole evidence. After all, the records of the trial court contain
Q — What do you mean by what?
the transcript of stenographic notes, the complainant's sworn statement
dated February 22, 1992, the resolution of the prosecutor, and the
statement of the arresting officer, on the basis of which the Court may A — My sex organ, sir.
properly decide the case. 3 For this reason the Court has decided to review
this case despite the failure of the trial court to make detailed findings of Q — What did you do when your father tried to put his sex organ to your
facts and a statement of the reasons underlying its decision. sex organ?

Now it is settled that when the complainant in a rape case, more so if she A — I was trying to push his body away from me, and I said to him, father,
is a minor, 4 testifies that she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is I don't like it, ayoko po.
necessary to prove the commission of the crime. 5 Care must be taken,
however, that her testimony is credible for a conviction to be justified Q — Despite your pleas, what happened next?
based on her testimony alone. 6 In this case, Maryjane Bugarin testified on
November 25, 1992 7 as follows:
A — He still continued what he is doing, and when I fainted, he suddenly
moved back.
Q — On November 1989, was your father residing with you or was he
living with you?
Q — After he moved back, what transpired afterwards?

A — Yes, sir.
A — He went out and I was left crying.

Q — Now, on November, 1989 do you remember any unusual incident


Q — After this first incident, were there any other similar incident which
that happened, if any?
happened, if any?

A — Yes, sir, when he entered the room.


A — There are, sir, but I can't recall when.

Q — When you say "he," are you referring to Marcelino Bugarin?


Q — How many times more or less?

A — Yes, sir.
A — Around four (4) times.

Q — If Marcelino Bugarin is present today, would you be able to identify


Q — After November 1989?
him?

A — Including November 1989.


A — Yes, sir. (witness is pointing to a man wearing a green t-shirt who
answers by the name Marcelino Bugarin when asked by the Court).
Q — How about on December 24, 1989, do you remember where you
were?
Q — On November 1989, you were mentioning that "he", referring to the
accused, entered your room, what happened?
A — Yes, sir. I was in our house.
23

Q — Do you remember any unusual or extraordinary incident that A — That's it again, I was in the room and again he embraced me made
happened on December 24, 1989? me lie down then kiss my sex organ and then, he placed again his sex
organ inside my sex organ.
A — Yes, sir. It is the same thing that he did to me.
Q — How about December 23, 1991, do you remember where you were?
Q — Please explain what the same thing he do to you?
A — I was also in the house.
A — He embraced and kissed me on my cheek, my neck and also my
breast. Q — What happened?

Q — What happened next? A — I was lying down and he lied there beside me and told me to accede
to his desire.
A — He was spreading my legs.
Q — What do you mean to accede to his desire?
Q — Then, after spreading your legs, what did the accused do?
A — He wanted to use me again.
A — He let his sex organ touched my sex organ.
Q — Then, he actually used you?
Q — After that, what happened next?
A — Yes, sir.
A — I cried again.
Q — Now, on January 17, 1992, do you remember where you were?
Q — When you cried again, what did your father do, if any?
A — I was also in our house.
A — His face became scaring.
Q — Would you kindly tell what happened in your house on this day?
Q — Now, after December 24, 1989 incident, do you remember where
you were sometime in June 1990? A — He licked my sex organ.

A — I was in our house. Q — After that, what did he do next?

Q — Specifically, in June of 1990, do you remember any unusual incident A — He was threatening me.
that happened?
Q — What did you do when he threatened you?
A — The same thing happened, over and over.
A — I was so afraid. (witness is crying)
Q — What do you mean by the same thing happened, over and over?
Q — What did the accused to after threatening you?
A — He would embraced me and then kissed me and touched my breast
and kissed my nipples. A — He was doing nothing. He was just walking beside me.

Q — And, besides in embracing, kissing and kissing your nipples, what else Q — What happened after you saw him walking just beside you on that
did your father do on June 1990? date?

A — He kissed also my sex organ. A — None, sir. I was just crying.

Q — Beside kissing your sex organ, what else did he do, if any? The accused-appellant claims that Maryjane's testimony contains
inconsistencies which indicate that the charges against him were
A — He placed inside my sex organ his sex organ. fabricated. He points to the failure of complainant on cross-examination
to state in some instances the exact date and time she was allegedly raped,
Q — In March 14, 1991, where were you? and to the fact that it took complainant two years before reporting the
incidents and that the prosecution did not present the medico-legal officer
who examined the complainant. Accused-appellant also claims that no
A — I was also in our house.
evidence was adduced to prove that the rape was committed by force and
intimidation.
Q — Do you remember what happened, if any, On March 14, 1991?
24

The failure of the complainant to state in some cases the exact date and aunt. Indeed, a survey conducted by the University of the Philippines
time of the commission of rape is a minor matter and can be expected Center for Women's Studies showed that victims of rape committed by
when a witness is recounting the details of a humiliating experience which their fathers took much longer in reporting the incidents to the authorities
are painful and difficult to recall in open court and in the presence of than did other victims. Many factors account for this difference: the fact
other people. 8 Indeed, this Court has ruled that complainant's failure to that the father lives with the victim and constantly exerts moral authority
recall some details of the crime, instead of suggesting prevarication, over her, the threat he might make against her, the victim's fear of her
precisely indicates spontaneity and is to be expected from a witness who mother and other relatives.
is of tender age and unaccustomed to court proceedings.
Nor is it entirely true that no evidence of force and intimidation had been
Besides, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential adduced during the trial. Maryjane testified that she tried to resist her
element of the crime. 9 The precise time of the crime has no substantial father's advances but, on several occasions, she was overpowered by him.
bearing on its commission, 10 especially since in this case the date and She was embraced and thus prevented from escaping. 15 At other times
time of the commission of the crime is not material to the she was intimidated by menacing looks cast on her 16and by threats of
accused-appellant's defense. Indeed, accused-appellant's contention is harm. 17 Indeed, even if there was no violence or force employed against
only that he could not have raped his daughter in the common bedroom her, the moral influence of accused-appellant over the complainant
at nighttime because the place where they sleep is shut off from the rest sufficed to make the crime rape. 18
of their house by a curtain.
Nor is a medical examination an indispensable element in prosecutions for
Suffice it to state that lust is no respecter of time and place. 11 Our cases rape. 19 That the prosecution did not present the medico-legal officer is,
record instances of rape committed inside family dwellings when other therefore, not an obstacle to a finding of guilt in this case.
occupants are asleep. 12 In the case at bar, Maryjane testified that the
accused-appellant was able to rape her by sending out her siblings to play We think the evidence in this case proves beyond all reasonable doubt
with their neighbors' children, and while her mother was at work from 3 that Maryjane had been raped on four occasions by accused-appellant:
p.m. to 11 p.m. Complainant explained her apparent inability to recall the November 1989, June 1990, March 14, 1991, and December 23, 1991.
exact dates of the assaults upon her, thus: Complainant has no motive to incriminate her father. To the contrary, she
testified that she was close to him. The absence of a motive lends greater
Q — Madam witness, you mentioned that you were raped sometime credence to her testimony. 20 Neither does her mother have any reason to
November 1989, June 1990, December 24, 1989, March 14, 1991, falsely accuse Marcelino Bugarin. Regina Bugarin suspected her husband
December 23, 1991, how come that you knew very well the date as of having an affair with her sister in 1980 and confronted him, but she
December 24, March 14, December 23; or rather, how come that your continued to live with him. This fact makes it unlikely that she would use
complaint is only sometime in the early part of 1991? her daughter to destroy her husband more than ten years later. A mother
would not expose her child to public trial, if the charges she makes are not
A — I remember because that was closed to the birthday of my brother. true. 21

Q — How about March 14, how come you knew very well that you were We find no evidence, however, to find accused-appellant guilty of the
molested by your father? charge in Criminal Case No. Q-92-31160 for alleged rape committed in
May 1990. There is no evidence to prove that accused-appellant raped
complainant on that date. Her testimony is to the effect that she was
A — Because at that time, our class will almost end and we were given
raped on another date, December 24, 1989. But accused-appellant cannot
clearances.
be convicted for this as no complaint was formally filed regarding it.
Accused-appellant must accordingly be acquitted of the charge in Criminal
Q — What day is your last school day? Case No. Q-92-31160.

A — I cannot remember, sir. Nor do we think that accused-appellant is guilty of attempted rape
committed on January 17, 1992 as the trial court held. Maryjane testified:
Q — Is it usual that you knew very well March 14, and you do not know
very well your last day of your school day? Q — Now, on January 17, 1992, do you remember where you were?

A — Because March 14 is our clearance. A — I was also in our house.

Neither does the delay in making a criminal accusation impair the Q — Would you kindly tell what happened in your house on this day?
credibility of a witness if such delay is satisfactorily explained. 13 In People
v. Coloma, 14 where the complainant was also only 13 years old when first
A — He licked my sex organ.
molested by her father, the Court adverted to the father's moral and
physical control over the young complainant in explaining the delay of
eight years before the complaint against her father was made. In this case, Q — After that, what did he do next?
Maryjane must have been overwhelmed by fear and confusion, and
shocked that her own father had defiled her. After all, she had been very A — He was threatening me.
close to him. She also testified that she was afraid to tell her mother
because the latter might be angered, so that she finally confided to her Q — What did you do when he threatened you?
25

A — I was so afraid. (witness is crying) QUIASON, J.:

Q — What did the accused to after threatening you? This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised
Rules of Court seeking to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals in
A — He was doing nothing. He was just walking beside me. CA-G.R. CR No. 05877, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

Q — What happened after you saw him walking just beside you on that WHEREFORE, FINDING the decision appealed from to be in accordance
date? with law and evidence, the same is hereby AFFIRMED except as to
Criminal Case No. 21-87 where, for reasons above discussed, the
accused-appellant is ACQUITTED (Rollo, p. 33).
A — None, sir. I was just crying.

CA-G.R. CR No. 05877 was an appeal by petitioner from the decision of the
The intent to commit rape is not apparent from the act described. It
Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Cavite City in Criminal Cases Nos. 21-87 to
cannot be inferred from this act (licking complainant's genital) alone that
29-87, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
his intention was to have sexual intercourse with her because it has not
been shown that he had at least placed himself on top of the
complainant. 22 The act imputed to him cannot be considered a WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds Danilo Hernandez
preparatory act to sexual intercourse. 23 Accused-appellant is instead guilty beyond reasonable doubt in the following cases: Crim. Case No.
guilty of acts of lasciviousness. It can at least be inferred from his act of 21-87, for Estafa and he is hereby ordered sentenced to an indeterminate
kissing the genital of the complainant that he was moved by lewd prison term from Twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal,
designs. 24 as minimum to Twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum and
to pay the offended party Remedios de Leon in the amount of
P150,000.00 corresponding to the value of jewelries embezzled and
Although relationship, as an aggravating circumstance, is alleged only in
unreturned and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 22-87, for Estafa, he is
Criminal Cases Nos. Q-92-31157 to 31160, this circumstance was
hereby ordered sentenced for an indeterminate prison term of Twelve (12)
nonetheless proved during the trial in Criminal Case No. Q-92-28785 and,
years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum to Twenty (20)
therefore, should also be appreciated in that case to justify the imposition
years of reclusion temporal. as maximum and to pay the offended party
of the penalty in its maximum period.
Remedios de Leon in the amount of P100,000.00 for the value of the
jewelries embezzled and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 23-87, Violation
WHEREFORE, the decision dated February 11, 1993 of the Regional Trial of BP 22, he is hereby sentenced to eight (8) months of prision
Court of Quezon City is SET ASIDE and another one is RENDERED finding correccional and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 25-87, for Estafa, he is
accused-appellant Marcelino Bugarin GUILTY of four counts of hereby sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of from Twelve (12)
consummated rape in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-92-28786, Q-92-31157, years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum to Twenty (20)
Q-92-31158, and Q-92-31159 and SENTENCED to reclusion perpetua and years of reclusion temporal, as maximum and to pay the offended party
ORDERED to INDEMNIFY the complainant Maryjane Bugarin in the amount Remedios de Leon in the amount of P250,000.00 for the value of the
of P30,000.00 in damages for each count of rape committed; and of acts jewelries embezzled and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 26-87, for Viol.
of lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. Q-92-28785, for which he is of BP 22, he is hereby sentenced to eight (8) months of prision
SENTENCED to suffer imprisonment from 6 months of arresto mayor, as correccional and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 27-87, for Estafa, he is
minimum, to six 6 years ofprision correccional, as maximum. hereby sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of from Twelve (12)
years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum to twenty (20)
In Criminal Case No. Q-92-31160, accused-appellant is hereby ACQUITTED. years of reclusion temporal, as maximum and to pay the offended party
Remedios de Leon in the amount of P280,000.00 for the value of jewelries
SO ORDERED. embezzled and to pay the costs; Crim. Case No. 28-87, for Estafa, he is
hereby sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of from twelve (12)
years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum to twenty (20)
Regalado, Romero, Puno and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
years of reclusion temporal, as maximum and to pay the offended party
Remedios de Leon in the amount of P100,000.00 value of the jewelries
embezzled and to pay the costs; Crim. case No. 29-87, for Viol. of BP 22,
he is hereby sentenced to eight (8) months of prision correccional, and to
G.R. No. 104874 December 14, 1993 pay the costs (Rollo, pp. 49-50).

DANILO HERNANDEZ, petitioner, It appears that sometime in August 1986, petitioner was introduced to
vs. Remedios de Leon by his aunt, as one engaged in the business of buying
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE and selling jewelry (TSN, March 17, 1987, pp. 18, 20).
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
In their first transaction, petitioner paid in cash the several pieces of
Marcelo Y. Hernandez for petitioner. jewelry which he bought from de Leon. In their subsequent dealings,
petitioner either paid in cash or by way of postdated checks (TSN, March
The Solicitor General for People of the Philippines. 17, 1987, pp. 22-23). On one occasion, petitioner issued post-dated checks
with the aggregate amount of P275,000.00. These checks bounced.
However, upon notice of dishonor by the drawee banks concerned,
petitioner paid de Leon cash in exchange for the dishonored checks. Some
26

checks were likewise exchanged with cash even prior to their due date On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the conviction of petitioner was
(TSN, March 17, 1987, pp. 33, 37). affirmed as to Criminal Cases nos. 22-87, 23-87, 24-87, 25-87, 26-87, 27-87,
28-87 and 29-87, and reversed as to Criminal Case No. 21-87.
Several days before October 20, 1986, petitioner told de Leon that he was
interested in buying some more pieces of jewelry (TSN, March 17, 1987, p. In this petition, petitioner claims that his conviction of nine distinct
60). On that date, at around 10:00 A.M., petitioner, together with his offenses subject of nine separate informations in a single judgment is
common-law wife, Rosemarie Rodriguez, and two other companions, reversible error, This contention is untenable.
went to the house of de Leon in Cavite City (TSN, March 17, 1987, p. 70).
Petitioner selected a pair of 2-carat diamond earrings worth P150,000.00 The case of United States v. Tanjuatco, 1 Phil. 116, relied upon by
for which he issued BPI Check No. 798246 payable to "cash" in the said petitioner, is distinguishable from the instant case. In Tanjuatco, we held
amount and post-dated it to October 26, 1986. The amount of the check that the trial court improperly rendered a single judgment for two
was filled in by Rosemarie Rodriguez and petitioner affixed his signature as offenses in one of the two criminal cases, in the absence of a
drawer (TSN, March 17, 1987, p. 69). consolidation of the two cases. In the case at bench, the trial court
rendered a judgment for each of the nine separate informations, albeit in
Petitioner and Rodriguez returned to de Leon's house at about 7:00 P.M. the same decision.
and bought one choker with 20 diamond stones and one bracelet with 16
diamond stones, for which he issued BPI Check No. 798247 payable to We further stated in Tanjuatco that the trial court violated "an essential
"cash" in the amount of P250,000.00 and postdated it to October 27, 1986. right of the accused, inasmuch as he is entitled, although accused of two
Petitioner specifically instructed de Leon to give him one week to confer offenses, to a trial in each of the two cases upon the proofs adduced in
with his buyer before de Leon negotiates the check. The check was also each individual case, and upon the allegations set forth in each
prepared by Rodriguez and signed by petitioner (TSN, March 17, 1987, pp. information. It is not permissible to take into account or consider in one
73-79). case the facts proved in the other, and vice versa" (at pp. 117-118).

In the evening of October 22, 1986, petitioner again went to the house of The trial of the nine criminal cases was conducted jointly without any
de Leon and bought one heart-shaped diamond set. In payment thereof, objection from petitioner. Even had he signified his opposition to the joint
he issued BPI Check No. 798248 payable to "cash" in the amount of trail, such opposition would have been unavailing. A consolidation of trails,
P280,000.00 and post-dated it to November 9, 1986 (TSN, March 17, 1987, at the court's discretion, is allowed in "charges for offenses founded on
pp. 84-89). the same facts, or forming part of a series of offenses of similar character"
(1985 Rules on Criminal procedure, Rule 119, Sec. 14).
On October 23, 1986, petitioner made a long-distance call to de Leon and
inquired whether she still had jewelry for sale. When she said that she did, Petitioner also complains that while he assigned eight errors, the Court of
petitioner made an appointment with her. Petitioner arrived at de Leon's Appeals did not make a complete findings of fact as to the last two
house at around 2:30 P.M. The two went to a restaurant, where petitioner assigned errors (Rollo, pp. 11-12).
selected a set of earrings and a ring, each piece with a 1-carat diamond
(TSN, March 31, 1987, pp. 15-16). In payment for the set, petitioner issued
In the last two assigned errors, petitioner claims that the trial court erred:
to de Leon BPI Check No. 798250 payable to "cash" in the amount of
P100,000.00 and dated that same day (October 23, 1992). Petitioner told
de Leon that the check was funded and that she could even withdraw the VII
amount on that day. De Leon did not encash the check for the bank was
closed (TSN, March 31, 1987, pp. 16, 19). IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT IN
CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 21-87 TO 29-87 NOTWITHSTANDING ABSENCE OF
In the evening of October 24, 1986, petitioner with Rodriguez went to de INCULPATORY EVIDENCE AND PRESENCE OF NUMEROUS PROOFS
Leon's house and bought a 5-carat diamond piece. In payment thereof, NEGATING THE SOUNDNESS OF SUCH VERDICT.
petitioner indorsed to de Leon ASB Check No. 245964 in the amount of
P150,000.00 post-dated to November 10, 1986 and issued by one Enrique VIII
Araneta (TSN, March 31, 1987, pp. 21-26).
IN PRONOUNCING THE ACCUSED, THROUGH A SINGLE JUDGMENT, GUILTY
BPI Checks Nos. 798246, 798247 and 798250 were drawn against OF ALL THE NINE DISTINCT OFFENSES COVERED BY THE NINE SEPARATE
insufficient funds, while BPI Check no. 798248 and ASB Check No. 245964 INFORMATIONS SUBJECT MATTER OF CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 21-87 TO
were drawn against a closed account. 29-87, INCLUSIVE (Rollo, p. 56).

Petitioner was charged in nine informations with estafa and violation of Obviously, the Court of Appeals did not deem it necessary to make a
B.P. Blg. 22. separate findings of fact for said assigned errors, because they were just
the necessary consequences of the previous, assigned errors.
At his arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charges (Rollo, pp.
16-17). Petitioner next questions: (i) as violative of the constitutional mandate
that decisions shall contain the facts and the law on which they are based
After a joint trial, petitioner was convicted of the nine charges in a joint (1987 Constitution, Art. VIII, sec. 14, par. 1), the decision of the Court of
decision. Appeals which merely adopted the statement of facts of the Solicitor
general in the appellee's brief, and (ii) as violative of the constitutional
27

mandate requiring that any denial of a motion for reconsideration must Development Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Commission, 19 SCRA 861
state the legal basis thereof (1987 Constitution, Art. VIII, Sec. 14, par. 2), [1967]).
the denial of his motion of reconsideration on the basis of a comparison of
said motion with the "comment thereon" (Rollo, pp. 10-12). Self-serving statements are inadmissible because the adverse party is not
given the opportunity for cross-examination, and their admission would
In its decision the Court of Appeals merely stated: "The facts of the case as encourage fabrication of testimony. This cannot be said of a party's
summarized in the Appellee's Brief are as follows: " and the quoted in full testimony in court made under oath, with full opportunity on the part of
the statement of facts of the Solicitor General (Rollo, p. 20). According to the opposing party for cross-examination.
petitioner, the Court of Appeals did not make its own "independent
judicial opinion" by such act of adopting the statement of facts made by It is not true that none of the alleged witnesses to the transactions was
the advance party (Rollo, p. 11). presented in court (Rollo, p. 13). Yolanda Dela Rosa, an eye-witness to
some of the transactions, testified for the prosecution. Assuming that Dela
What the Court of Appeals, in effect, said was that it found the facts as Rosa was not presented as a witness, the testimony of de Leon sufficed to
presented by the Solicitor General as supported by the evidence. The sustain the conviction of petitioner. The conviction of an accused may be
constitutional mandate only requires that the decision should state the on the basis of the testimony of a single witness (People v. Rumeral, 200
facts on which it is based. There is no proscription made in the briefs or SCRA 194 [1991]). In determining the value and credibility of evidence,
memoranda of the parties, instead of rewriting the same in its own words. witnesses are to be weighed, not counted (People v. Villalobos, 209 SCRA
304 [1992] ).
Precisely briefs or memoranda are required in order to aid the courts in
the writing of decisions. Petitioner also contends that while he was condemned by the trial court
to pay civil indemnity, no evidence was actually presented in court to
We note that aside from adopting the statement of facts of the Solicitor prove the existence, ownership and worth of the pieces of jewelry other
General, the Court of Appeals also made findings of facts in the course of than the checks (Rollo, p. 14).
its discussion of the assignment of errors.
The existence of the jewelry was established by de Leon herself, who
As to the denial of the motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals testified that petitioner even selected the pieces of jewelry before buying
stated in its Resolution dated March 30, 1992: them.

Acting on the motion for reconsideration filed by the accused-appellant of As to the ownership of the jewelry, we held in People v. Dy, 109 SCRA 400
the decision dated December 13, 1991 and the comment thereon of the [1981] that:
Solicitor General, the Court finds no cogent reason that could justify a
modification or reversal of the decision sought to be reconsidered. Ownership is not a necessary element of the crime of estafa, . . . In estafa,
the person prejudiced or then immediate victim of the fraud need not be
Accordingly, the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED for the owner of the goods. This, Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
lack of merit (Rollo, p. 35). provides that "Any person who shall defraud another (it does say 'owner')
by any means mentioned herein below shall be punished . . . ." All that is
necessary is that the loss should have fallen on someone other than the
The denial, therefore, was based on the ground that the Court of Appeals
perpetrators of the crime. . . ." (at p. 408).
did not find any "cogent reason that could justify a modification or
reversal of the decision sought to be reconsidered."
The trial court based the civil indemnity on the actual price of the jewelry
as agreed upon by petitioner and de Leon at the time of the transactions
Petitioner claims that the decision of the trial court is not supported by
and this is reflected by the face value of the checks.
the evidence, which is contrary to the findings of the Court of Appeals that
said decision is "in accordance with law and the evidence" (Rollo, p. 12).
He points out that the appellate court should not have believed the trial Petitioner further contends that the trial court erred in admitting the
court's conclusion that "the sole testimony of the offended party would checks in evidence without the prosecution first proving that his signature
have sufficed to sustain her assertions (Rollo, p. 47). He claims that on the checks were authentic (Rollo, pp. 13-14). If petitioner claims that
self-serving declarations of a party favorable to himself are not admissible his signatures on the checks were forged, the burden is on him to prove
and that none of the alleged witnesses to the transactions were such fact. He who alleges must prove his allegations.
presented.
In the trial court, petitioner presented a certification issued by the San
The common objection known as "self-serving" is not correct because Juan Police Station to the effect that he reported as lost several blank
almost all testimonies are self-serving. The proper basis for objection is checks, to wit: BPI Checks Nos. 798246, 798247, 798248, 798249, and
"hearsay" (Wenke, Making and Meeting Objections, 69). 798250, and AB Check No. 245964. We agree with the trial court when it
gave little weight to the certification. Like the trial court, we wonder why
petitioner never filed a criminal case against de Leon, if said checks were
Petitioner fails to take into account the distinction between self-serving
really stolen.
statements and testimonies made in court. Self-serving statements are
those made by a party out of court advocating his own interest; they do
not include a party's testimony as a witness in court (National Lastly, petitioner contends that because "the amounts covered by the
checks were deposited by the offended party in her savings account with
28

the Prudential Bank, it becomes the liability of the bank by its acceptance believe them as such, when they were in fact counterfeit. The case was
to pay for the amounts of the checks" (Rollo, pp. 14-15). docketed as Criminal Case No. C-155713.

Both accused pleaded not guilty. At the trial, the prosecution


The case of Banco de Oro v. Equitable Banking Corporation, 157 SCRA 188
presented evidence tending to establish the foregoing narration of
(1988) cited by petitioner as authority, dealt with the negligence of a
facts. Further, the State presented witnesses Atty. Hofilena of the Castillo
collecting bank which facilitated the payment by the drawee bank of the
Laman Tan and Pantaleon Law Offices who underwent a familiarization
value of a check with a forged endorsement and signature of the payee.
seminar from PEMCO in 1990 on how to distinguish a genuine GE starter
No such issue is involved in the case at bench.
from a counterfeit, and Allan de la Cruz, PEMCOs marketing
manager. Both described a genuine GE starter as having a stenciled
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of silk-screen printing which includes the GE logo... back to back around the
Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs de oficio. starter, a drumlike glowbulb and a condenser/capacitor shaped like an
M&M candy with the numbers .006." They then compared and examined
SO ORDERED. random samples of the seized starters with the genuine GE products. They
concluded that the seized starters did not possess the full design
Cruz, Davide, Jr. and Bellosillo, JJ., concur. complement of a GE original. They also observed that some of the seized
starters did not have capacitors or if they possessed capacitors, these
were not shaped like M&M. Still others merely had sticker jackets with
prints of the GE logo. Mr. de la Cruz added that only Hankuk Stars of Korea
manufactured GE starters and if these were imported by PEMCO, they
would cost P7.00 each locally. As TCCs starters cost P1.60 each, the
witnesses agreed that the glaring differences in the packaging, design and
[G.R. No. 132428. October 24, 2000] costs indisputably proved that TCCs GE starters were counterfeit.

The defense presented YAO as its lone witness. YAO admitted that
as general manager, he has overall supervision of the daily operation of
the company. As such, he has the final word on the particular brands of
GEORGE YAO, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and THE PEOPLE
products that TCC would purchase and in turn sold. He also admitted that
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
TCC is not an accredited distributor of GE starters. However, he disclaimed
liability for the crime charged since (1) he had no knowledge or
DECISION information that the GE starters supplied to TCC were fake; (2) he had not
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: attended any seminar that helped him determine which TCC products
were counterfeit; (3) he had no participation in the manufacture, branding,
stenciling of the GE names or logo in the starters; (4) TCCs suppliers of the
In this petition for review on certiorari, George Yao (hereafter YAO)
starters delivered the same already branded and boxed; and (5) he only
assails the 25 April 1995 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.
discussed with the suppliers matters regarding pricing and peak-volume
16893 which dismissed his appeal and ordered the remand of the records
items.
of the case to the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 52, Caloocan* City
(hereafter MeTC) for execution. YAO was convicted by said MeTC for In its 13-page 20 October 1993 decision,[2] the MeTC acquitted
unfair competition. Roxas but convicted YAO. In acquitting Roxas, the trial court declared that
the prosecution failed to prove that he was still one of the Board of
YAOs legal dilemma commenced in June 1990 when the Philippine
Directors at the time the goods were seized. It anchored its conviction of
Electrical Manufacturing Company (hereafter PEMCO) noticed the
YAO on the following: (1) YAOs admission that he knew that the starters
proliferation locally of General Electric (GE) lamp starters. As the only local
were not part of GEs line products when he applied with PEMCO for TCCs
subsidiary of GE-USA, PEMCO knew that it was a highly unlikely market
accreditation as distributor; (2) the prosecutions evidence (Exhibit G-7), a
situation considering that no GE starter was locally manufactured or
delivery receipt dated 25 May 1989 issued by Country Supplier Center, on
imported since 1983.PEMCO commissioned Gardsmarks, Inc. to conduct a
which a TCC personnel noted that the 2000 starters delivered were GE
market survey. Gardsmarks, Inc., thru its trademark specialist, Martin
starters despite the statement therein that they were China starters; this
Remandaman, discovered that thirty (30) commercial establishments sold
fact gave rise to a presumption that the TCC personnel knew of the
GE starters. All these establishments pointed to Tradeway Commercial
anomaly and that YAO as general manager and overall supervisor knew
Corporation (hereafter TCC) as their source. Remandaman was able to
and perpetrated the deception of the public; (3) the fact that no genuine
purchase from TCC fifty (50) pieces of fluorescent lamp starters with the
GE starter could be sold from 1986 whether locally manufactured or
GE logo and design. Assessing that these products were counterfeit,
imported or at the very least in such large commercial quantity as those
PEMCO applied for the issuance of a search warrant. This was issued by
seized from TCC; and (4) presence of the elements of unfair competition.
the MeTC, Branch 49, Caloocan City. Eight boxes, each containing 15,630
starters, were thereafter seized from the TCC warehouse in Caloocan City. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows:

Indicted before the MeTC, Branch 52, Caloocan City for unfair
competition under Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code were YAO, who For the failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused, Alfredo
was TCCs President and General Manager, and Alfredo Roxas, a member Roxas, of Unfair Competition under Article 189 (1) of the Revised Penal
of TCCs Board of Directors. The indictment[1] charged YAO and Roxas of Code ... i.e., to prove that he was Chairman of the Board of the Tradeway
having mutually and in conspiracy sold fluorescent lamp starters which Commercial Corporation on October 10, 1990, as well as to have him
have the General Electric (GE) logo, design and containers, making them identified in open court during the trial, he is acquitted of the same.
appear as genuine GE fluorescent lamp starters; and inducing the public to
29

But because the prosecution proved the guilt of the other accused, long become final and executory and ordering the records of the case
George Yao, beyond reasonable doubt as principal under the said Article remanded to said court for the proper execution of judgment. The
189 (1) for Unfair Competition, he is convicted of the same. In the absence pertinent portion of the Resolution reads:
of any aggravating or mitigating circumstances alleged/proven, and
considering the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is In Our resolution, dated February 28, 1995, accused-appellant was
sentenced to a minimum of four (4) months and twenty-one (21) days of granted an extension of twenty (20) days from February 10, 1995, or until
arresto mayor to a maximum of one (1) year and five (5) months of prision March 12, 1995 within which to file appellants brief.
correccional.
To date, no appellants brief has been filed.
This case was prosecuted by the law offices of Castillo Laman Tan and
Pantaleon for ... PEMCO ... Considering that no document was submitted
From the Manifestation, filed on March 24, 1995, by City Prosecutor
by the private complainant to show how the claim ofP300,000 for
Gabriel N. dela Cruz, Kalookan City, it would appear that:
consequential damages was reached and/or computed, the court is not in
a position to make a pronouncement on the whole amount. However, the
offender, George Yao, is directed to pay PEMCO the amount of P20,000 by xxx
way of consequential damages under Article 2202 of the New Civil Code,
and to pay the law offices of Castillo, Laman Tan and Pantaleon the 2. George Yao received a copy of the RTCs decision on August 16, 1994,
amount of another P20,000.00 as PEMCOs attorneys fees under Article and filed a motion for reconsideration on August 30, 1994. On October 3,
2208 (11) of the same. 1994, George Yao received a copy of the RTCs order, dated September 28,
1994, denying his motion for reconsideration.
This decision should have been promulgated in open court on July 28,
1993 but the promulgation was reset for August 31, 1993 in view of the 3. On October 4, 1994, George Yao filed a notice of appeal by registered
absence of parties; it was again re-set for today. mail.

Promulgated this 20th day of October, 1993 in Kalookan City, We will assume from the said Manifestation that the decision of the RTC
Philippines.[3] and the order denying YAOs motion for reconsideration were sent to and
received by YAOs counsel.
YAO filed a motion for reconsideration, which the MeTC denied in
its order[4] of 7 March 1994. Proceeding from said assumption, Yao had fifteen (15) days from August
16, 1994 to elevate his case to this Court. On August 30, 1994, or fourteen
YAO appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City (RTC). The (14) days thereafter, Yao filed a motion for reconsideration. When he
appeal was docketed as Criminal Case No. C-47255(94) and was assigned received the Order denying his aforesaid motion on October 3, 1994, he
to Branch 121 of the court. had one more day left to elevate his case to this Court by the proper mode
On 24 May 1994, Presiding Judge Adoracion G. Angeles of Branch of appeal, which is by petition for review. Yao, however, on October 4,
121 issued an order[5] directing the parties to file their respective 1994, filed a notice of appeal by registered mail informing the RTC that he
memoranda. is appealing his conviction to the Court of Appeals. By then, the fifteen (15)
day period had already elapsed.
On 4 July 1994 YAO filed his Appeal Memorandum.[6]

Without waiting for the Memorandum on Appeal of the prosecution, That notwithstanding, the Branch Clerk of Court, RTC, Branch 121,
which was filed only on 20 August 1994,[7] Judge Adoracion Angeles transmitted to this Court the entire records of the case, thru a transmittal
rendered on 27 July 1994 a one-page Decision[8] which affirmed in toto the letter, dated October 13, 1994, and received by the Criminal Section of
MeTC decision. In so doing, she merely quoted the dispositive portion of this Court on October 28, 1994. YAOs counsel, on February 20, 1995, filed
the MeTC and stated that [a]after going over the evidence on record, the with this Court, a motion for extension of period to file brief for
Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the Metropolitan accused-appellant which was granted in Our resolution mentioned in the
Trial Court. opening paragraph of this resolution.

YAO filed a motion for reconsideration[9] and assailed the decision Petitions for review shall be filed within the period to appeal. This period
as violative of Section 2, Rule 20 of the Rules of Court. [10] In its order[11] of has already elapsed even when Yao filed a notice of appeal by registered
28 September 1994, the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration as mail, with the RTC of Kalookan City. Worse, the notice of appeal is
devoid of merit and reiterated that the findings of the trial court are procedurally infirm.
entitled to great weight on appeal and should not be disturbed on appeal
unless for strong and cogent reasons.
YAO filed an Urgent Motion to Set Aside Entry of Judgment
On 4 October 1994, YAO appealed to the Court of Appeals by filing a contending that the 25 April 1995 resolution did not specifically
notice of appeal.[12] dismiss the appeal, for which reason, there was no judgmenton which an
entry of judgment could be issued. He also argued that the attendant
The appealed case was docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 16893. In its procedural infirmities in the appeal, if any, were cured with the issuance
Resolution[13] of 28 February 1995, the Court of Appeals granted YAO an of the 28 February 1995 resolution granting him twenty (20) days from 10
extension of twenty (20) days from 10 February or until 12 March 1995 February 1995 or until 12 March 1995 within which to file an appellants
within which to file the Appellants Brief. However, on 25 April 1995 the brief and in compliance thereto, consequently filed his appellants brief on
Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution[14] declaring that [t]he decision 2 March 1995.[15]
rendered on July 27, 1994 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 121, has
30

In its Resolution[16] of 26 January 1998, the Court of Appeals denied There is no dispute that YAO availed of the wrong procedural
the Urgent Motion to Set Aside the Entry of Judgment for lack of remedy in assailing the RTC decision. It is clear from the records that YAO
merit. It considered the 25 April 1995 resolution as having in effect received a copy of the adverse RTC judgment on 16 August 1994. He has
dismissed the appeal, [hence] the Entry of Judgment issued on May 26, fifteen (15) days or until 31 August 1994 within which to file either a
1995... was proper. motion for reconsideration or a petition for review with the Court of
Appeals. Fourteen (14) days thereafter or on 30 August 1994, YAO opted
In this petition for review on certiorari, YAO reiterates the to file a motion for reconsideration the pendency of which tolled the
arguments he raised in his Urgent Motion to Set Aside the Entry of running of the period. He received a copy of the RTCs order denying the
Judgment of the Court of Appeals, thus: (1) that the entry of judgment motion for reconsideration on 3 October 1994. He had therefore, only one
was improvidently issued in the absence of a final resolution specifically day left, 4 October 1994 as the last day, within which to file with the Court
dismissing the appeal; (2) the procedural infirmity in the appeal, if any, has of Appeals a petition for review.[18]However, on said date, YAO filed a
been cured; and (3) the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of notice of appeal. He palpably availed of the wrong mode of appeal. And
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in denying him (YAO) due since he never instituted the correct one, he lost it.
process of law.
The right to appeal is not a constitutional, natural or inherent
In support of his first argument, YAO cites Section 1, Rule 11 of the right. It is a statutory privilege of statutory origin and, therefore, available
Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals, thus: only if granted or provided by statute.[19] Since the right to appeal is not a
natural right nor a part of due process, it may be exercised only in the
SEC. 1. Entry of Judgment. -- Unless a motion for reconsideration is filed or manner and in accordance with the provisions of law.[20] Corollarily, its
an appeal is taken to the Supreme Court, judgments and final resolutions requirements must be strictly complied with.
of the Court of Appeals shall be entered upon the expiration of fifteen (15)
days after notice to parties. That an appeal must be perfected in the manner and within the
period fixed by law is not only mandatory but
jurisdictional.[21] Non-compliance with such legal requirements is
YAO claims that the 25 April 1995 resolution of the Court of Appeals
fatal,[22]for it renders the decision sought to be appealed final and
was not a judgment on his appeal nor was it a final resolution
executory,[23] with the end result that no court can exercise appellate
contemplated in the Internal Rules since it did not specifically dismiss his
jurisdiction to review the decision.[24]
appeal. A fortiori, the entry of judgment was improvidently issued for lack
of legal basis. In the light of these procedural precepts, YAOs petition appears to
be patently without merit and does not deserve a second look. Hence, the
YAO also repeats his argument that any procedural infirmity in the
reasons he enumerated to persuade this Court to grant his petition and
appeal was cured when the RTC gave due course to the appeal, elevated
reinstate his appeal are obviously frivolous if not downright trivial. They
the records to the Court of Appeals which in turn issued on 13 December
need not even be discussed here.
1994 a notice to file his Appellants Brief and granted him until 12 March
1995 within which to file the appellants brief. In the normal and natural course of events, we should dismiss the
petition outright, if not for an important detail which augurs well for YAO
Finally, YAO asserts that he was denied due process considering
and would grant him a reprieve in his legal battle. The decision of the RTC
that (1) none of the elements of unfair competition are present in this
affirming the conviction of YAO palpably transgressed Section 14, Article
case; (2) he filed his appeal to the Court of Appeals within the
VIII of the Constitution, which states:
reglementary period; and (3) notwithstanding his filing of a notice of
appeal (instead of a petition for review), it was a mere procedural lapse, a
technicality which should not bar the determination of the case based on Sec. 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing
intrinsic merits. YAO then invokes the plethora of jurisprudence wherein therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.
the Supreme Court in the exercise of equity jurisdiction decided to
disregard technicalities; decided [the case] on merits and not on xxx
technicalities; found manifest in the petition strong considerations of
substantial justice necessitating the relaxing of the stringent application of Let us quote in full the RTC judgment:
technical rules, or heeded petitioners cry for justice because the basic
merits of the case warrant so, as where the petition embodies justifying This is an appeal from the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch
circumstances; discerned not to sacrifice justice to technicality; discovered 52, Kalookan City, in Crim. Case No. C-155713, the dispositive portion of
that the application of res judicata and estoppel by judgment amount to a which reads as follows:
denial of justice and or a bar to a vindication of a legitimate grievance.[17]
xxx
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General prays that the
petition should be dismissed for lack of merit. It maintains that although
the 25 April 1995 resolution did not specifically state that the appeal was But because the prosecution proved the guilt of the other accused,
being dismissed, the intent and import are clear and unequivocable. It George Yao; beyond reasonable doubt as principal under the said Article
asserts that the appeal was obviously dismissed because the RTC decision 189 (1) for Unfair Competition, he is convicted of the same. In the absence
has long become final and executory. YAO failed to challenge the RTC of any aggravating or mitigating circumstances alleged/proven, and
decision, within the reglementary period, by filing a petition for review of considering the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is
the same with the Court of appeals pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 42 of the sentenced to a minimum of four (4) months and twenty-one (21) days of
Rules of Court. Instead, he filed an ordinary appeal by way of a notice of arresto mayor to a maximum of one (1) year and five (5) months of prision
appeal. Hence, the period to file the correct procedural remedy had correccional.
lapsed.
31

xxx may be resorted to only in cases where the facts are in the main accepted
by both parties and easily determinable by the judge and there are no
After going over the evidence on record, the Court finds no cogent reason doctrinal complications involved that will require an extended discussion
to disturb the findings of the Metropolitan Trial Court. of the laws involved. The memorandum decision may be employed in
simple litigations only, such as ordinary collection cases, where the appeal
is obviously groundless and deserves no more than the time needed to
WHEREFORE, this Court affirms in toto the decision of the Metropolitan
dismiss it.
Trial Court dated October 20, 1993.

xxx
SO ORDERED.

Henceforth, all memorandum decisions shall comply with the


That is all there is to it.
requirements herein set forth both as to the form prescribed and the
We have sustained decisions of lower courts as having substantially occasions when they may be rendered. Any deviation will summon the
or sufficiently complied with the constitutional injunction notwithstanding strict enforcement of Article VIII, Section 14 of the Constitution and strike
the laconic and terse manner in which they were written and even if there down the flawed judgment as a lawless disobedience.
(was left) much to be desired in terms of (their) clarity, coherence and
comprehensibility provided that they eventually set out the facts and the Tested against these standards, we find that the RTC decision at bar
law on which they were based,[25] as when they stated the legal miserably failed to meet them and, therefore, fell short of the
qualifications of the offense constituted by the facts proved, the constitutional injunction. The RTC decision is brief indeed, but it is starkly
modifying circumstances, the participation of the accused, the penalty hallow, otiosely written, vacuous in its content and trite in its form. It
imposed and the civil liability;[26] or discussed the facts comprising the achieved nothing and attempted at nothing, not even at a simple
elements of the offense that was charged in the information, and summation of facts which could easily be done. Its inadequacy speaks for
accordingly rendered a verdict and imposed the corresponding itself.
penalty;[27] or quoted the facts narrated in the prosecutions memorandum
but made their own findings and assessment of evidence, before finally We cannot even consider or affirm said RTC decision as a
agreeing with the prosecutions evaluation of the case.[28] memorandum decision because it failed to comply with the measures of
validity laid down in Francisco v. Permskul. It merely affirmed in toto the
We have also sanctioned the use of memorandum decisions, [29] a MeTC decision without saying more. A decision or resolution, especially
specie of succinctly written decisions by appellate courts in accordance one resolving an appeal, should directly meet the issues for resolution;
with the provisions of Section 40, B.P. Blg. 129[30] on the grounds of otherwise, the appeal would be pointless.[33]
expediency, practicality, convenience and docket status of our courts. We
have also declared that memorandum decisions comply with the We therefore reiterate our admonition in Nicos Industrial
constitutional mandate.[31] Corporation v. Court of Appeals,[34] in that while we conceded that brevity
in the writing of decisions is an admirable trait, it should not and cannot
In Francisco v. Permskul,[32] however, we laid down the conditions be substituted for substance; and again in Francisco v. Permskul,[35] where
for the of validity of memorandum decisions, thus: we cautioned that expediency alone, no matter how compelling, cannot
excuse non-compliance with the constitutional requirements.
The memorandum decision, to be valid, cannot incorporate the findings of
This is not to discourage the lower courts to write abbreviated and
fact and the conclusions of law of the lower court only by remote
concise decisions, but never at the expense of scholarly analysis, and more
reference, which is to say that the challenged decision is not easily and
significantly, of justice and fair play, lest the fears expressed by Justice
immediately available to the person reading the memorandum
Feria as the ponente in Romero v. Court of Appeals[36] come true, i.e., if an
decision. For the incorporation by reference to be allowed, it must provide
appellate court failed to provide the appeal the attention it rightfully
for direct access to the facts and the law being adopted, which must be
deserved, said court deprived the appellant of due process since he was
contained in a statement attached to the said decision. In other words,
not accorded a fair opportunity to be heard by a fair and responsible
the memorandum decision authorized under Section 40 of B.P. Blg. 129
magistrate. This situation becomes more ominous in criminal cases, as in
should actually embody the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the
this case, where not only property rights are at stake but also the liberty if
lower court in an annex attached to and made an indispensable part of
not the life of a human being.
the decision.
Faithful adherence to the requirements of Section 14, Article VIII of
It is expected that this requirement will allay the suspicion that no study the Constitution is indisputably a paramount component of due process
was made of the decision of the lower court and that its decision was and fair play.[37] It is likewise demanded by the due process clause of the
merely affirmed without a proper examination of the facts and the law on Constitution.[38] The parties to a litigation should be informed of how it
which it is based. The proximity at least of the annexed statement should was decided, with an explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led
suggest that such an examination has been undertaken. It is, of course, to the conclusions of the court. The court cannot simply say that judgment
also understood that the decision being adopted should, to begin with, is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any
comply with Article VIII, Section 14 as no amount of incorporation or justification whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know
adoption will rectify its violation. why he lost, so he may appeal to the higher court, if permitted, should he
believe that the decision should be reversed. A decision that does not
The Court finds necessary to emphasize that the memorandum decision clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves
should be sparingly used lest it become an addictive excuse for judicial the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is precisely prejudicial
sloth. It is an additional condition for the validity that this kind of decision to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the
court for review by a higher tribunal.[39] More than that, the requirement
32

is an assurance to the parties that, in reaching judgment, the judge did so to said Regional Trial Court for further proceedings and for the rendition
through the processes of legal reasoning. It is, thus, a safeguard against of judgment in accordance with the mandate of Section 14, Article VIII of
the impetuosity of the judge, preventing him from deciding ipse the Constitution.
dixit. Vouchsafed neither the sword nor the purse by the Constitution but
nonetheless vested with the sovereign prerogative of passing judgment on No costs.
the life, liberty or property of his fellowmen, the judge must ultimately SO ORDERED.
depend on the power of reason for sustained public confidence in the
justness of his decision.[40] Puno, Pardo, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Kapunan, J., on leave.
Thus the Court has struck down as void, decisions of lower courts
and even of the Court of Appeals whose careless disregard of the
constitutional behest exposed their sometimes cavalier attitude not only
to their magisterial responsibilities but likewise to their avowed fealty to
the Constitution.
[A.M. No. RTJ-96-1338. September 5, 1997]
Thus, we nullified or deemed to have failed to comply with Section
14, Article VIII of the Constitution, a decision, resolution or order
which: contained no analysis of the evidence of the parties nor reference
to any legal basis in reaching its conclusions; contained nothing more than ENGINEER FERNANDO S. DIZON, complainant, vs. JUDGE LILIA C. LOPEZ,
a summary of the testimonies of the witnesses of both Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, respondent.
parties;[41] convicted the accused of libel but failed to cite any legal
authority or principle to support conclusions that the letter in question DECISION
was libelous;[42] consisted merely of one (1) paragraph with mostly
sweeping generalizations and failed to support its conclusion of MENDOZA, J.:
parricide;[43] consisted of five (5) pages, three (3) pages of which were
quotations from the labor arbiters decision including the dispositive This is a complaint charging Judge Lilia C. Lopez of the Regional Trial
portion and barely a page (two [2] short paragraphs of two [2] sentences Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, with violation of the Constitution, serious
each) of its own discussion or reasonings[44]; was merely based on the misconduct, inefficiency, and falsification in connection with her decision
findings of another court sans transcript of stenographic notes;[45] or failed in Criminal Case No. 91-0716 entitled People of the Philippines v. Engineer
to explain the factual and legal bases for the award of moral damages.[46] Fernando S. Dizon.
In the same vein do we strike down as a nullity the RTC decision in It appears that on April 22, 1993, judgment was rendered,
question. convicting complainant of falsification of private document. The
In sum, we agree with YAO that he was denied due process but not promulgation of the judgment consisted of reading the dispositive portion
on the grounds he ardently invoked but on the reasons already extensively of the decision sentencing him to imprisonment, without serving a copy of
discussed above. While he indeed resorted to the wrong mode of appeal the decision on him. The accused and his counsel were told to return in a
and his right to appeal is statutory, it is still an essential part of the judicial few days for their copy of the decision, but although petitioner and his
system that courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a father by turns went to the court to obtain a copy of the decision they
party of the prerogative, but instead afford every party-litigant the were not able to do so. To protect his right, complainant filed a partial
amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, freed motion for reconsideration on May 5, 1993, expressly reserving his right to
from the constraints of technicalities.[47] submit a more elaborate one upon receipt of the decision. The hearing of
the motion for reconsideration was scheduled on May 12, 1993, but the
In the interest of substantial justice, procedural rules of the most case was not called as complainants counsel was told that the decision
mandatory character in terms of compliance, may be relaxed.[48] In other had not yet been finished. On November 29, 1994, complainant filed an
words, if strict adherence to the letter of the law would result in absurdity Omnibus Motion to Annul Promulgation of Sentence and to Dismiss the
and manifest injustice[49] or where the merit of a partys cause is apparent case. On December 16, 1994, the date set for hearing the motion,
and outweighs consideration of non-compliance with certain formal complainant was served a copy of the decision, dated April 22, 1993, the
requirements,[50]procedural rules should definitely be liberally construed. dispositive portion of which states:
A party-litigant is to be given the fullest opportunity to establish the
merits of his complaint or defense rather than for him to lose life, liberty, In view of all the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Fernando Dizon
honor or property on mere technicalities.[51] We therefore withhold legal guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Falsification of Private
approbation on the RTC decision at bar for its palpable failure to comply Document as defined and penalized under Art. 172, par. 2 in relation to
with the constitutional and legal mandates thereby denying YAO of his day Art. 171 par. 2 and 4 thereof and hereby sentences him to imprisonment
in court. We also remind all magistrates to heed the demand of Section 14, of Two (2) Years, Four (4) Months and One (1) Day to Six (6) Years and a
Article VIII of the Constitution. It is their solemn and paramount duty to fine of P5,000.00.
uphold the Constitution and the principles enshrined therein, lest they be
lost in the nitty-gritty of their everyday judicial work.
Complainant alleges that the failure of respondent judge to furnish
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition in this case is him a copy of the decision until almost one year and eight months after
GRANTED. The questioned 25 April 1995 resolution of the Court of the promulgation of its dispositive portion on April 22, 1993 constitutes a
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 16893 is hereby SET ASIDE and the 27 July 1994 violation of Art. VIII, 14 of the Constitution which prohibits courts from
decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 121 of Kalookan City rendered rendering decisions without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the
in its appellate jurisdiction is NULLIFIED. The records are hereby remanded facts and law on which they are based and 15 of the same Art. VIII, which
33

provides that in all cases lower courts must render their decisions within recommends that the other charges against her for violation of the
three months from the date of their submission. He alleges further that he Constitution, serious misconduct, and falsification be dismissed for lack of
was denied the right to a speedy trial in violation of Art. III, 14(2) of the merit.
Constitution and that Judge Lopez falsified her decision by antedating it
and including therein, as additional penalty, a fine of P5,000.00. The Court finds that respondent violated Art. VIII, 15(1) of the
Constitution which provides:
On December 26, 1994, complainant filed another motion for
reconsideration after receiving a copy of the full decision of the court. On All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be
January 3, 1995, he moved to disqualify respondent from hearing the decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission
motions for reconsideration which he had filed. Respondent judge for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve
responded by voluntarily inhibiting herself from further consideration of months for all lower collegiate courts and three months for all other lower
the case and ordered it forwarded to the Office of the Clerk of Court for courts.
re-raffle. The case was eventually assigned to Judge Manuel F. Dumatol of
Branch 113 of the Pasay City RTC.
Although respondent judge promulgated her decision within three
Judge Lopez claims that on April 22, 1993, when the judgment was months of the submission of the case for decision, the fact is that only the
promulgated with the reading of the dispositive portion, her decision was dispositive portion was read at such promulgation. She claims that on
already prepared, although to prevent leakage in the process of preparing April 22, 1993 the text of her decision, containing her findings and
it, she withheld its dispositive portion until the day of its discussion of complainants liability, had already been prepared although it
promulgation. Respondent judge states that after the dispositive portion had to be put in final form by incorporating the dispositive
had been read to complainant, respondent gave it to Ma. Cleotilde Paulo portion. However, the fact is that it took a year and eight months more
(Social Worker II, presently OIC of Branch 109) for typing and before this was done and a copy of the complete decision furnished the
incorporation into the text of the decision. The court found complainant complainant on December 16, 1994. Rule 120 of the Rules on Criminal
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of falsification of private document under Procedure provides:
Art. 172, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code. Respondent states that the
delay in furnishing complainant with a copy of the decision was 1. Judgment defined. - The term judgment as used in this Rule means the
unintentional. adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or is not guilty of the
offense charged, and the imposition of the proper penalty and civil liability
Respondent judge referred to difficulties she had in preparing her
provided for by law on the accused.
decision and to a series of personal problems which contributed to this
delay in the release of her decision, to wit: she has only two (2)
stenographers to attend to daily trials in her court, making it necessary for 2. Form and contents of judgment. - The judgment must be written in the
her to make use of the Social Worker assigned to her to type her official language, personally and directly prepared by the judge and signed
decisions. During the period January to December 1993 she had to dispose by him and shall contain clearly and distinctly a statement of the facts
of 285 cases, apart from the fact that there was an unusually big number proved or admitted by the accused and the law upon which the judgment
of criminal, civil, and land registration cases as well as special proceedings is based.
filed in her court which required the holding of hearings in the mornings
and in the afternoons. During the same period, she went through some 6. Promulgation of judgment. - The judgment is promulgated by reading
personal tragedies. She lost her niece, Gloria Lopez Roque, whom she had the same in the presence of the accused and any judge of the court in
raised from childhood, due to a hospital accident. This was followed by which it was rendered. However, if the conviction is for a light offense, the
the death on March 1, 1992 of her mother, Margarita Lopez, who had judgment may be pronounced in the presence of his counsel or
been under respondents care for the past eight years after suffering a representative. When the judge is absent or outside of the province or city,
stroke. On September 17, 1993, respondents father died of diabetes, renal the judgment may be promulgated by the clerk of court.
failure, pneumonia, and cardiac arrest.Respondent was the one who
single-handedly brought them in and out of the hospital because all her It is clear that merely reading the dispositive portion of the decision
able-bodied relatives are abroad. Respondent herself was found to be to the accused is not sufficient. It is the judgment that must be read to
suffering from diabetes and hypertension, necessitating her treatment him, stating the facts and the law on which such judgment is based. Since
and leave of absence from September 27, 1994 to December 12, 1994, in this was done only on December 16, 1994 when a copy of the complete
addition to her other leaves of absence. Aside from these, respondents decision was served on complainant, it is obvious that the respondent
family suffered financial reverses because of estafa committed against failed to render her decision within three months as required by Art. VIII,
them. 15 of the Constitution.
On February 19, 1996, Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo P. If indeed all that had to be done after the dispositive portion had
Abesamis submitted a memorandum, finding the charge of violation of the been read in open court on April 22, 1993 was to incorporate it in the text
Constitution to be without merit. He called attention to the written of the decision allegedly then already prepared, it is difficult to see why it
decision of respondent judge, which, albeit delivered to complainant late, took respondent judge one year and eight more months before she was
nonetheless states the facts and law on which it is based. He likewise finds able to do so. Respondent claims that she was prevented from putting out
the charge of serious misconduct and falsification to be without basis in her decision by a series of personal and other problems which leads the
view of the absence of malice. However, he finds the charge of inefficiency Court to believe that when she promulgated her sentence she had not
to be well founded on the basis of respondents failure to furnish finished the preparation of the entire decision. At all events, she could
complainant or his counsel a copy of the decision within a reasonable time have applied for extension of time to decide the case and put off the
after its promulgation. Hence, the Deputy Court Administrator believes promulgation of judgment until she had finished it.
that Judge Lopez should be given admonition for her negligence, but
34

What respondent did in this case was to render what is known as a niece and both her parents, financial reverses of the family, and poor
sin perjuicio judgment, which is a judgment without a statement of the health as a result of diabetes and hypertension.
facts in support of its conclusion to be later supplemented by the final
judgment.[1] That is why, in answer to complainants charge that the In Mangulabnan v. Tecson,[7] a joint decision in two criminal cases
dispositive portion of the judgment read to him did not impose a fine, was rendered by respondent judge on February 24, 1978, six months and
respondent contends that the addition of the fine of P5,000.00 was within eight days from submission of the case, and a copy was delivered to
her power to do even if no such fine had been included in the oral complainant on September 28, 1979, over 19 months after rendition of
sentence given on April 22, 1993. As respondent judge states, because the the decision. Two complaints were filed for violation of the constitutional
decision was not complete it could be modified and cites in support of her provision requiring submitted cases to be decided by lower courts within
contention the case of Abay, Sr. v. Garcia.[2] Respondent only succeeds in three months and for violation of complainants right to a speedy
showing that the judgment promulgated on April 22, 1993 was a sin trial. Respondent judge blamed the delay in deciding the cases on the fact
perjuicio judgment which was incomplete and needed a statement of the that his clerks had misfiled the records. As to the delay in furnishing
facts and law upon which the judgment was based. As early as 1923, this complainant with a copy of the decision, the judge attributed this to the
Court already expressed its disapproval of the practice of rendering sin mistake of his clerk who did not think complainant was entitled to receive
perjuicio judgments, what with all the uncertainties entailed because of the same. The judge was reprimanded. The reason for the delay in that
the implied reservation that it is subject to modification when the decision case was even less excusable than the difficulties experienced by
is finally rendered.[3] This Court has expressed approval of the practice of respondent Judge Lopez, i.e., deaths in respondents family, her own poor
some judges of withholding the dispositive portion from their opinions state of health, financial reverses suffered by her family, and the volume
until the very last moment of promulgation of their judgment in order to of work done within the period in question, which somewhat mitigate her
prevent leakage,[4] but that refers to the preparation of their decision, not liability. The Court believes that a similar penalty would be appropriate.
its promulgation. What must be promulgated must be the complete In view of the foregoing, respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED with
decision. There would be no more reason to keep the dispositive portion a WARNING that repetition of the same acts complained of will be dealt
secret at the stage of promulgation of judgment. with more severely.
However, the Court finds the other charges against respondent to SO ORDERED.
be without merit.
Romero, Puno, and Torres, Jr. JJ., concur.
First, the claim that complainant was deprived of his right to a Regalado, J., (Chairman), on leave.
speedy trial by reason of respondents failure to furnish him with a copy of
the decision until after one year and eight months is without basis. It
appears that despite the destruction of records by fire in the Pasay City
Hall on January 18, 1992 the parties were required to submit
simultaneously their memoranda on August 18, 1992. The delay, if any,
[G.R. No. 110263. July 20, 2001]
was not such vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delay[5] as to justify
finding a denial of the right to a speedy trial. The fact is that the reading of
the sentence on April 22, 1993, albeit not in compliance with the
requirement for promulgation of judgments, nonetheless put an end to
trial. ASIAVEST MERCHANT BANKERS (M) BERHAD, petitioner, vs. COURT OF
APPEALS and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION
Second, the delay in furnishing complainant a copy of the complete CORPORATION, respondents.
decision did not prejudice his right to appeal or file a motion for
reconsideration. It is true that an accused must be given a copy of the DECISION
decision in order to apprise him of the basis of such decision so that he
can intelligently prepare his appeal or motion for DE LEON, JR., J.:
reconsideration. However, in accordance with the ruling in Director of
Lands v. Sanz,[6] complainants period to appeal or file a motion for Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision [1] of
reconsideration did not begin to run until after he actually received a copy the Court of Appeals dated May 19, 1993 in CA-G.R. CV No. 35871
of the judgment on December 16, 1994. He therefore suffered no affirming the Decision[2] dated October 14, 1991 of the Regional Trial
prejudice. If at all, complainant suffered from the anxiety to refute a Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, Branch 168 in Civil Case No. 56368 which
conviction which he could not do for lack of a statement of the basis of the dismissed the complaint of petitioner Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M)
conviction. Berhad for the enforcement of the money judgment of the High Court of
Nonetheless, certain factors mitigate respondent judges Malaya in Kuala Lumpur against private respondent Philippine National
culpability. Except for this incident, respondents record of public service as Construction Corporation.
legal officer and agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, as State The petitioner Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad is a
Prosecutor, and later Senior State Prosecutor, of the Department of corporation organized under the laws of Malaysia while private
Justice for 17 years and as Regional Trial Judge for more than 13 years respondent Philippine National Construction Corporation is a corporation
now is unmarred by malfeasance, misfeasance or wrongdoing. This is the duly incorporated and existing under Philippine laws.
first time she is required to answer an administrative complaint against
her. Her failure to decide the case of complainant was brought about by It appears that sometime in 1983, petitioner initiated a suit for
factors not within her control, to wit, lack of stenographers and unusually collection against private respondent, then known as Construction and
big number of cases; and her personal loss as a result of the death of her Development Corporation of the Philippines, before the High Court of
Malaya in Kuala Lumpur entitled Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad v.
35

Asiavest CDCP Sdn. Bhd. and Construction and Development Corporation as the 2nd Defendant) to pay petitioner interest on the sums covered by
of the Philippines.[3] the said Judgment, thus:

Petitioner sought to recover the indemnity of the performance


SUIT NO. C638 OF 1983
bond it had put up in favor of private respondent to guarantee the
completion of the Felda Project and the non-payment of the loan it
extended to Asiavest-CDCP Sdn. Bhd. for the completion of Paloh Hanai Between
and Kuantan By-Pass Project.
Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad Plaintiffs
On September 13, 1985, the High Court of Malaya (Commercial
Division) rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner and against the
private respondent which is also designated therein as the And
2ndDefendant. The judgment reads in full:
1. Asiavest-CDCP Sdn. Bhd.
SUIT NO. C638 of 1983
2. Construction & Development
Between
Corporation of the Philippines Defendants
Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad Plaintiffs
BEFORE THE SENIOR ASSISTANT REGISTRAR
And CIK SUSILA S. PARAM
THIS 13th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 1985 IN CHAMBERS
1. Asiavest-CDCP Sdn. Bhd.
ORDER

2. Construction & Development


Upon the application of Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad, the
Plaintiffs in this action AND UPON READING the Summons in Chambers
Corporation of the Philippines Defendant
dated the 16th day of August, 1984 and the Affidavit of Lee Foong Mee
affirmed on the 14th day of August 1984 both filed herein AND UPON
JUDGMENT HEARING Mr. T. Thomas of Counsel for the Plaintiffs and Mr. Khaw Chay
Tee of Counsel for the 2nd Defendant abovenamed on the 26th day of
The 2nd Defendant having entered appearance herein and the Court December 1984 IT WAS ORDERED that the Plaintiffs be at liberty to sign
having under Order 14, rule 3 ordered that judgment as hereinafter final judgment against the 2nd Defendant for the sum of
provided be entered for the Plaintiffs against the 2nd Defendant. $5,108.290.23 AND IT WAS ORDEREDthat the 2nd Defendant do pay the
Plaintiffs the costs of suit at $350.00 AND IT WAS FURTHER ORDERED that
IT IS THIS DAY ADJUDGED that the 2nd defendant do pay the Plaintiffs the the plaintiffs be at liberty to apply for payment of interest AND upon the
sum of $5,108,290.23 (Ringgit Five million one hundred and eight application of the Plaintiffs for payment of interest coming on for hearing
thousand two hundred and ninety and Sen twenty-three) together with on the 1st day of August in the presence of Mr. Palpanaban Devarajoo of
interest at the rate of 12% per annum on: - Counsel for the Plaintiffs and Mr. Khaw Chay Tee of Counsel for the
2ndDefendant above-named AND UPON HEARING Counsel as aforesaid BY
CONSENT IT WAS ORDERED that the 2nd Defendant do pay the Plaintiffs
(i) the sum of $2,586,866.91 from the 2nd day of March 1983
interest at a rate to be assessed AND the same coming on for assessment
to the date of payment; and
this day in the presence of Mr. Palpanaban Devarajoo of Counsel for the
(ii) the sum of $2,521,423.32 from the 11th day of March Plaintiffs and Mr. Khaw Chay Tee of Counsel for the 2nd Defendant AND
1983 to the date of payment; and $350.00 (Ringgit Three UPON HEARING Counsel as aforesaid BY CONSENT IT IS ORDERED that the
Hundred and Fifty) costs. 2nd Defendant do pay the Plaintiffs interest at the rate of 12% per annum
on:
Dated the 13th day of September, 1985.
(i) the sum of $2,586,866.91 from the 2nd day of March 1983
to the date of payment; and
Senior Assistant Registrar,
(ii) the sum of $2,521,423.32 from the 11th day of March
High Court, Kuala Lumpur 1983 to the date of Payment.

This Judgment is filed by Messrs. Skrine & Co., 3rd Floor, Straits Trading Dated the 13th day of September, 1985.
Building, No. 4, Leboh Pasar, Besar, Kuala Lumpur, Solicitors for the
Plaintiffs abovenamed. (VP/Ong/81194.7/83)[4] Senior Assistant Registrar,

On the same day, September 13, 1985, the High Court of Malaya High Court, Kuala Lumpur.[5]
issued an Order directing the private respondent (also designated therein
36

Following unsuccessful attempts[6] to secure payment from private A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the
respondent under the judgment, petitioner initiated on September 5, country from which it comes, until a contrary showing, on the basis of a
1988 the complaint before Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, to presumption of regularity of proceedings and the giving of due notice in
enforce the judgment of the High Court of Malaya.[7] the foreign forum. Under Section 50(b),[16] Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of
Court, which was the governing law at the time the instant case was
Private respondent sought the dismissal of the case via a Motion to decided by the trial court and respondent appellate court, a judgment,
Dismiss filed on October 5, 1988, contending that the alleged judgment of against a person, of a tribunal of a foreign country having jurisdiction to
the High Court of Malaya should be denied recognition or enforcement pronounce the same is presumptive evidence of a right as between the
since on its face, it is tainted with want of jurisdiction, want of notice to parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title. The
private respondent, collusion and/or fraud, and there is a clear mistake of judgment may, however, be assailed by evidence of want of jurisdiction,
law or fact.[8] Dismissal was, however, denied by the trial court considering want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or
that the grounds relied upon are not the proper grounds in a motion to fact. In addition, under Section 3(n), Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of
dismiss under Rule 16 of the Revised Rules of Court.[9] Court, a court, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, enjoys the
On May 22, 1989, private respondent filed its Answer with presumption that it was acting in the lawful exercise of its
Compulsory Counterclaim[10] and therein raised the grounds it brought up jurisdiction. Hence, once the authenticity of the foreign judgment is
in its motion to dismiss. In its Reply[11] filed on June 8, 1989, the petitioner proved, the party attacking a foreign judgment, is tasked with the burden
contended that the High Court of Malaya acquired jurisdiction over the of overcoming its presumptive validity.
person of private respondent by its voluntary submission to the courts In the instant case, petitioner sufficiently established the existence
jurisdiction through its appointed counsel, Mr. Khay Chay of the money judgment of the High Court of Malaya by the evidence it
Tee. Furthermore, private respondents counsel waived any and all offered. Vinayak Prabhakar Pradhan, presented as petitioners sole witness,
objections to the High Courts jurisdiction in a pleading filed before the testified to the effect that he is in active practice of the law profession in
court. Malaysia;[17] that he was connected with Skrine and Company as Legal
In due time, the trial court rendered its Decision dated October 14, Assistant up to 1981;[18] that private respondent, then known as
1991 dismissing petitioners complaint. Petitioner interposed an appeal Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines, was sued
with the Court of Appeals, but the appellate court dismissed the same and by his client, Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad, in Kuala
affirmed the decision of the trial court in a Decision dated May 19, 1993. Lumpur;[19] that the writ of summons were served on March 17, 1983 at
the registered office of private respondent and on March 21, 1983 on Cora
Hence, the instant petition which is anchored on two (2) assigned S. Deala, a financial planning officer of private respondent for Southeast
errors,[12] to wit: Asia operations;[20] that upon the filing of the case, Messrs. Allen and
Gledhill, Advocates and Solicitors, with address at 24th Floor, UMBC
I
Building, Jalan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur, entered their conditional
appearance for private respondent questioning the regularity of the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MALAYSIAN service of the writ of summons but subsequently withdrew the same
COURT DID NOT ACQUIRE PERSONAL JURISDICTION OVER PNCC, when it realized that the writ was properly served;[21] that because private
NOTWITHSTANDING THAT (a) THE FOREIGN COURT HAD SERVED respondent failed to file a statement of defense within two (2) weeks,
SUMMONS ON PNCC AT ITS MALAYSIA OFFICE, AND (b) PNCC ITSELF petitioner filed an application for summary judgment and submitted
APPEARED BY COUNSEL IN THE CASE BEFORE THAT COURT. affidavits and documentary evidence in support of its claim; [22] that the
matter was then heard before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur in a series
II of dates where private respondent was represented by counsel; [23] and
that the end result of all these proceedings is the judgment sought to be
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING RECOGNITION AND enforced.
ENFORCEMENT TO (SIC) THE MALAYSIAN COURT JUDGMENT. In addition to the said testimonial evidence, petitioner offered the
following documentary evidence:
Generally, in the absence of a special compact, no sovereign is
bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a (a) A certified and authenticated copy of the Judgment
tribunal of another country;[13] however, the rules of comity, utility and promulgated by the Malaysian High Court dated
convenience of nations have established a usage among civilized states by September 13, 1985 directing private respondent to pay
which final judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are petitioner the sum of $5,108,290.23 Malaysian Ringgit
reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions plus interests from March 1983 until fully paid;[24]
that may vary in different countries.[14] (b) A certified and authenticated copy of the Order dated
In this jurisdiction, a valid judgment rendered by a foreign tribunal September 13, 1985 issued by the Malaysian High Court
may be recognized insofar as the immediate parties and the underlying in Civil Suit No. C638 of 1983;[25]
cause of action are concerned so long as it is convincingly shown that (c) Computation of principal and interest due as of January 31,
there has been an opportunity for a full and fair hearing before a court of 1990 on the amount adjudged payable to petitioner by
competent jurisdiction; that the trial upon regular proceedings has been private respondent;[26]
conducted, following due citation or voluntary appearance of the
defendant and under a system of jurisprudence likely to secure an (d) Letter and Statement of Account of petitioners counsel in
impartial administration of justice; and that there is nothing to indicate Malaysia indicating the costs for prosecuting and
either a prejudice in court and in the system of laws under which it is implementing the Malaysian High Courts Judgment;[27]
sitting or fraud in procuring the judgment.[15]
37

(e) Letters between petitioners Malaysian counsel, Skrine and there was no board resolution authorizing Allen and Gledhill to admit all
Co., and its local counsel, Sycip Salazar Law Offices, the claims of petitioner in the suit brought before the High Court of
relative to institution of the action in the Philippines;[28] Malaya,[40] though on cross-examination she admitted that Allen and
Gledhill were the retained lawyers of private respondent in Malaysia.[41]
(f) Billing Memorandum of Sycip Salazar Law Offices dated
January 2, 1990 showing attorneys fees paid by and due The foregoing reasons or grounds relied upon by private respondent
from petitioner;[29] in preventing enforcement and recognition of the Malaysian judgment
primarily refer to matters of remedy and procedure taken by the
(g) Statement of Claim, Writ of Summons and Affidavit of Malaysian High Court relative to the suit for collection initiated by
Service of such writ in petitioners suit against private petitioner. Needless to stress, the recognition to be accorded a foreign
respondent before the Malaysian High Court;[30] judgment is not necessarily affected by the fact that the procedure in the
(h) Memorandum of Conditional Appearance dated March 28, courts of the country in which such judgment was rendered differs from
1983 filed by counsel for private respondent with the that of the courts of the country in which the judgment is relied
Malaysian High Court;[31] on.[42] Ultimately, matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating
to the service of summons or court process upon the defendant, the
(i) Summons in Chambers and Affidavit of Khaw Chay Tee, authority of counsel to appear and represent a defendant and the formal
counsel for private respondent, submitted during the requirements in a decision are governed by the lex fori or the internal law
proceedings before the Malaysian High Court;[32] of the forum,[43] i.e., the law of Malaysia in this case.

(j) Record of the Courts Proceedings in Civil Case No. C638 of In this case, it is the procedural law of Malaysia where the judgment
1983;[33] was rendered that determines the validity of the service of court process
on private respondent as well as other matters raised by it. As to what the
(k) Petitioners verified Application for Summary Judgment
Malaysian procedural law is, remains a question of fact, not of law. It may
dated August 14, 1984;[34] and
not be taken judicial notice of and must be pleaded and proved like any
(l) Letter dated November 6, 1985 from petitioners Malaysian other fact. Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court
counsel to private respondents counsel in Malaysia.[35] provide that it may be evidenced by an official publication or by a duly
attested or authenticated copy thereof. It was then incumbent upon
Having thus proven, through the foregoing evidence, the existence private respondent to present evidence as to what that Malaysian
and authenticity of the foreign judgment, said foreign judgment enjoys procedural law is and to show that under it, the assailed service of
presumptive validity and the burden then fell upon the party who disputes summons upon a financial officer of a corporation, as alleged by it, is
its validity, herein private respondent, to prove otherwise. invalid. It did not. Accordingly, the presumption of validity and regularity
of service of summons and the decision thereafter rendered by the High
Private respondent failed to sufficiently discharge the burden that
Court of Malaya must stand.[44]
fell upon it to prove by clear and convincing evidence the grounds which it
relied upon to prevent enforcement of the Malaysian High Court judgment, On the matter of alleged lack of authority of the law firm of Allen
namely, (a) that jurisdiction was not acquired by the Malaysian Court over and Gledhill to represent private respondent, not only did the private
the person of private respondent due to alleged improper service of respondents witnesses admit that the said law firm of Allen and Gledhill
summons upon private respondent and the alleged lack of authority of its were its counsels in its transactions in Malaysia, [45] but of greater
counsel to appear and represent private respondent in the suit; (b) the significance is the fact that petitioner offered in evidence relevant
foreign judgment is allegedly tainted by evident collusion, fraud and clear Malaysian jurisprudence[46] to the effect that (a) it is not necessary under
mistake of fact or law; and (c) not only were the requisites for Malaysian law for counsel appearing before the Malaysian High Court to
enforcement or recognition allegedly not complied with but also that the submit a special power of attorney authorizing him to represent a client
Malaysian judgment is allegedly contrary to the Constitutional before said court, (b) that counsel appearing before the Malaysian High
prescription that the every decision must state the facts and law on which Court has full authority to compromise the suit, and (c) that counsel
it is based.[36] appearing before the Malaysian High Court need not comply with certain
pre-requisites as required under Philippine law to appear and compromise
Private respondent relied solely on the testimony of its two (2)
judgments on behalf of their clients before said court.[47]
witnesses, namely, Mr. Alfredo N. Calupitan, an accountant of private
respondent, and Virginia Abelardo, Executive Secretary and a member of Furthermore, there is no basis for or truth to the appellate courts
the staff of the Corporate Secretariat Section of the Corporate Legal conclusion that the conditional appearance of private respondents
Division, of private respondent, both of whom failed to shed light and counsel who was allegedly not authorized to appear and represent,
amplify its defense or claim for non-enforcement of the foreign judgment cannot be considered as voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the
against it. High Court of Malaya, inasmuch as said conditional appearance was not
premised on the alleged lack of authority of said counsel but the
Mr. Calupitans testimony centered on the following: that from
conditional appearance was entered to question the regularity of the
January to December 1982 he was assigned in Malaysia as Project
service of the writ of summons. Such conditional appearance was in fact
Comptroller of the Pahang Project Package A and B for road construction
subsequently withdrawn when counsel realized that the writ was properly
under the joint venture of private respondent and Asiavest
served.[48]
Holdings;[37] that under the joint venture, Asiavest Holdings would handle
the financial aspect of the project, which is fifty-one percent (51%) while On the ground that collusion, fraud and clear mistake of fact and
private respondent would handle the technical aspect of the project, or law tainted the judgment of the High Court of Malaya, no clear evidence
forty-nine percent (49%);[38] and, that Cora Deala was not authorized to of the same was adduced or shown. The facts which the trial court found
receive summons for and in behalf of the private respondent. [39]Ms. intriguing amounted to mere conjectures and specious observations. The
Abelardos testimony, on the other hand, focused on the following: that trial courts finding on the absence of judgment against Asiavest-CDCP Sdn.
38

Bhd. is contradicted by evidence on record that recovery was also sought RE: PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN.
against Asiavest-CDCP Sdn. Bhd. but the same was found
insolvent.[49] Furthermore, even when the foreign judgment is based on RESOLUTION
the drafts prepared by counsel for the successful party, such is not per
se indicative of collusion or fraud. Fraud to hinder the enforcement within PARDO, J.:
the jurisdiction of a foreign judgment must be extrinsic, i.e., fraud based
on facts not controverted or resolved in the case where judgment is
rendered,[50] or that which would go to the jurisdiction of the court or
The Case
would deprive the party against whom judgment is rendered a chance to
defend the action to which he has a meritorious defense. [51] Intrinsic fraud
is one which goes to the very existence of the cause of action is deemed
Submitted to the Court for consideration is a resolution of the Board
already adjudged, and it, therefore, cannot militate against the
of Governors, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter, the IBP)
recognition or enforcement of the foreign judgment.[52] Evidence is
recommending an inquiry into the causes of delays in the resolution of
wanting on the alleged extrinsic fraud. Hence, such unsubstantiated
incidents and motions and in the decision of cases pending before the
allegation cannot give rise to liability therein.
Sandiganbayan.
Lastly, there is no merit to the argument that the foreign judgment
is not enforceable in view of the absence of any statement of facts and
law upon which the award in favor of the petitioner was based. As The Antecedents
aforestated, the lex fori or the internal law of the forum governs matters
of remedy and procedure.[53] Considering that under the procedural rules
of the High Court of Malaya, a valid judgment may be rendered even On July 31, 2000, the IBP, through its National President, Arthur D.
without stating in the judgment every fact and law upon which the Lim, transmitted to the Court a Resolution[1] addressing the problem of
judgment is based, then the same must be accorded respect and the delays in cases pending before the Sandiganbayan (hereafter, the
courts in this jurisdiction cannot invalidate the judgment of the foreign Resolution).[2] We quote the Resolution in full:[3]
court simply because our rules provide otherwise.

All in all, private respondent had the ultimate duty to demonstrate WHEREAS, Section 16, Article III of the Constitution guarantees that, [a]ll
the alleged invalidity of such foreign judgment, being the party challenging persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before
the judgment rendered by the High Court of Malaya. But instead of doing all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies,
so, private respondent merely argued, to which the trial court agreed, that
the burden lay upon petitioner to prove the validity of the money WHEREAS, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for
judgment. Such is clearly erroneous and would render meaningless the Lawyers mandates that [a] lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it
presumption of validity accorded a foreign judgment were the party his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice;
seeking to enforce it be required to first establish its validity.[54]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the WHEREAS, it is the duty of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to
Court of Appeals dated May 19, 1993 in CA-G.R. CV No. 35871 sustaining undertake measures to assist in the speedy disposition of cases pending
the Decision dated October 14, 1991 in Civil Case No. 56368 of the before the various courts and tribunals;
Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 168 denying the enforcement of the
Judgment dated September 13, 1985 of the High Court of Malaya in Kuala WHEREAS, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has received numerous
Lumpur is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another in its stead is hereby complaints from its members about serious delays in the decision of cases
rendered ORDERING private respondent Philippine National Construction and in the resolution of motions and other pending incidents before the
Corporation to pay petitioner Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad the different divisions of the Sandiganbayan;
amounts adjudged in the said foreign Judgment, subject of the said case.
WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 requires all
Costs against the private respondent.
Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
SO ORDERED. Municipal Circuit Trial Courts to submit to the Supreme Court a bi-annual
report indicating the title of the case, its date of filing, the date of pre-trial
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza and Buena, JJ., concur. in civil cases and arraignment in criminal cases, the date of initial trial, the
Quisumbing, J., on official business. date of last hearing and the date that the case is submitted for decision,
and to post, in a conspicuous place within its premises, a monthly list of
cases submitted for decision;
m. Petition for Review/Motion for Reconsideration

n. Periods for deciding cases WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 has not been
made applicable to the Sandiganbayan;

WHEREAS, considering that the Sandiganbayan is also a trial court, the


[A. M. No. 00-8-05-SC. November 28, 2001] requirements imposed upon trial courts by Supreme Court Administrative
Circular No. 10-94 should also be imposed upon the Sandiganbayan;
39

NOW, THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Board of Governors of the period of time would suspend and delay the disposition of a case. Third,
Integrated Bar of the Philippines hereby resolves as follows: since the Sandiganbayan is a trial court, it is required to submit the same
reports required of Regional Trial Courts. Fourth, the Constitution[10]states
1. To recommend to the Supreme Court that Supreme Court that, all lower collegiate courts must decide or resolve cases or matters
Administrative Circular No. 10-94 be made applicable to the before it within twelve (12) months from date of submission; however,
Sandiganbayan in regard cases over which the Sandiganbayan has original the Sandiganbayan, as a trial court, is required to resolve and decide cases
jurisdiction; and within a reduced period of three (3) months like regional trial courts, or at
the most, six (6) months from date of submission.[11]
2. To recommend to the Supreme Court an inquiry into the causes of delay On November 21, 2000, the Court resolved to direct then Court
in the resolution of incidents and motions and in the decision of cases Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo (hereafter, the OCA) to conduct a
before the Sandiganbayan for the purpose of enacting measures intended judicial audit of the Sandiganbayan, especially on the cases subject of this
at avoiding such delays. administrative matter, and to submit a report thereon not later than 31
December 2000.[12]
Done in Los Baos, Laguna, this 29th day of July, 2000.
On December 4, 2000, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice,
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that the First Division of
On August 8, 2000, the Court required Sandiganbayan Presiding the Sandiganbayan[13] has a backlog of cases; that one
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena to comment on the letter of the IBP and to case[14] alone made the backlog of the First Division so large, involving 156
submit a list of all Sandiganbayan cases pending decision, or with motion cases but the same has been set for promulgation of decision on
for reconsideration pending resolution, indicating the dates they were December 8, 2000, which would reduce the backlog by at least fifty
deemed submitted for decision or resolution.[4] percent (50%).[15]
On September 27, 2000, complying with the order, Presiding Justice On January 26, 2001, the Court Administrator submitted a
Francis E. Garchitorena submitted a report[5] (hereafter, the compliance) memorandum to the Court[16] stating that the causes of delay in the
admitting a number of cases submitted for decision and motion for disposition of cases before the Sandiganbayan are:[17]
reconsideration pending resolution before its divisions. We quote:
(1) Failure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to submit
Cases Submitted W/ Motions For reinvestigation report despite the lapse of several years;

(2) Filing of numerous incidents such as Motion to Dismiss,


For Decision Reconsideration Motion to Quash, Demurrer to Evidence, etc. that remain
unresolved for years;
1st Division 341 None
(3) Suspension of proceedings because of a pending petition
for certiorari and prohibition with the Supreme Court;
2nd Division 5 None
(4) Cases remain unacted upon or have no further settings
despite the lapse of considerable length of time; and
3rd Division 12 None
(5) Unloading of cases already submitted for decision even if
4th Division 5 None the ponente is still in service.

We consider ex mero motu the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of


5th Division 52 1
the Philippines (IBP) as an administrative complaint against Presiding
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena for serious delays in the decision of cases
Total 415[6] and in the resolution of motions and other pending incidents before the
different divisions of the Sandiganbayan, amounting to incompetence,
Thus, the Sandiganbayan has a total of four hundred fifteen (415) inefficiency, gross neglect of duty and misconduct in office.
cases for decision remaining undecided long beyond the reglementary
We find no need to conduct a formal investigation of the charges in
period to decide, with one case submitted as early as May 24, 1990,[7] and
view of the admission of Justice Francis E. Garchitorena in his compliance
motion for reconsideration which has remained unresolved over thirty
of October 20, 2000, that there are indeed hundreds of cases pending
days from submission.[8]
decision beyond the reglementary period of ninety (90) days from their
On October 20, 2000, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E. submission. In one case, he not only admitted the delay in deciding the
Garchitorena submitted a schedule of cases submitted for decision, the case but took sole responsibility for such inaction for more than ten (10)
schedule indicating the number of detained prisoners, of which there are years that constrained this Court to grant mandamus to dismiss the case
(were) none.[9] against an accused to give substance and meaning to his constitutional
right to speedy trial.[18]
On October 26, 2000, the IBP submitted its reply to the compliance
stating: First, that it was not in a position to comment on the accuracy of
the compliance; nonetheless, it showed that there was much to be desired
with regard to the expeditious disposition of cases, particularly in the The Issues
Sandiganbayans First Division, where cases submitted for decision since
1990 remained unresolved. Second, the compliance did not include
pending motions, and it is a fact that motions not resolved over a long
40

The issues presented are the following: (1) What is the applies. For the second class of cases, the Sandiganbayan has the
reglementary period within which the Sandiganbayan must decide/resolve twelve-month reglementary period for collegiate courts.[33] We do not
cases falling within its jurisdiction? (2) Are there cases submitted for agree.
decision remaining undecided by the Sandiganbayan or any of its divisions
beyond the afore-stated reglementary period? (3) Is Supreme Court The law creating the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 1606[34] is clear on this
Administrative Circular No. 1094 applicable to the Sandiganbayan?[19] issue.[35] It provides:

Sec. 6. Maximum period for termination of cases As far as practicable, the


trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan once commenced shall be
The Courts Ruling continuous until terminated and the judgment shall be rendered within
three (3) months from the date the case was submitted for decision.

We resolve the issues presented in seriatim.


On September 18, 1984, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its own
1. Period To Decide/Resolve Cases.-- There are two views. The first rules,[36] thus:[37]
view is that from the time a case is submitted for decision or resolution,
the Sandiganbayan has twelve (12) months to decide or resolve it. [20] The Sec. 3 Maximum Period to Decide Cases The judgment or final order of a
second view is that as a court with trial function, the Sandiganbayan has division of the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months
three (3) months to decide the case from the date of submission for from the date the case was submitted for decision(underscoring ours).
decision.[21]

Article VIII, Section 15 (1) and (2), of the 1987 Constitution provides: Given the clarity of the rule that does not distinguish, we hold that
the three (3) month period, not the twelve (12) month period, to decide
cases applies to the Sandiganbayan. Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan
"Sec. 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this
presently sitting in five (5) divisions,[38] functions as a trial court. The term
Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four
trial is used in its broad sense, meaning, it allows introduction of evidence
months from date of submission to the Supreme Court, and, unless
by the parties in the cases before it.[39]The Sandiganbayan, in original
reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower
collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts. cases within its jurisdiction, conducts trials, has the discretion to weigh the
evidence of the parties, admit the evidence it regards as credible and
reject that which they consider perjurious or fabricated.[40]
(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or
resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief or
memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court
itself.[22] Compliance with its Own Rules

The above provision does not apply to the Sandiganbayan. The


In Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) v.
provision refers to regular courts of lower collegiate level that in the
Court of Appeals,[41] the Court faulted the DARAB for violating its own
present hierarchy applies only to the Court of Appeals.[23]
rules of procedure. We reasoned that the DARAB does not have
The Sandiganbayan is a special court of the same level as the Court unfettered discretion to suspend its own rules. We stated that the DARAB
of Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court of should have set the example of observance of orderly procedure.
justice,[24] with functions of a trial court.[25] Otherwise, it would render its own Revised Rules of Procedure uncertain
and whose permanence would be dependent upon the instability of its
Thus, the Sandiganbayan is not a regular court but a special own whims and caprices.
one.[26] The Sandiganbayan was originally empowered to promulgate its
own rules of procedure.[27] However, on March 30, 1995, Congress Similarly, in Cabagnot v. Comelec,[42] this Court held that the
repealed the Sandiganbayans power to promulgate its own rules of Commission on Elections ought to be the first one to observe its own
procedure[28] and instead prescribed that the Rules of Court promulgated Rules. Its departure from its own rules constitutes arrogance of power
by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with tantamount to abuse. Such inconsistency denigrates public trust in its
the Sandiganbayan.[29] objectivity and dependability. The Court reminded the Comelec to be
more judicious in its actions and decisions and avoid
Special courts are judicial tribunals exercising limited jurisdiction imprudent volte-face moves that undermine the public's faith and
over particular or specialized categories of actions. They are the Court of confidence in it.
Tax Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and the Sharia Courts.[30]
The ratio decidendi in the afore-cited cases applies mutatis
Under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution Rules of mutandis to the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan ought to be the first
procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective to observe its own rules. It cannot suspend its rules, or except a case from
unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. its operation.
In his report, the Court Administrator would distinguish between 2. Undecided Cases Beyond the Reglementary Period.-- We find
cases which the Sandiganbayan has cognizance of in its original that the Sandiganbayan has several cases undecided beyond the
jurisdiction,[31] and cases which fall within the appellate jurisdiction of the reglementary period set by the statutes and its own rules, some as long as
Sandiganbayan.[32] The Court Administrator posits that since in the first more than ten (10) years ago.
class of cases, the Sandiganbayan acts more as a trial court, then for that
classification of cases, the three (3) month reglementary period
41

According to the compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan, order. The compliance report shows that to this day, several cases that
three hundred and forty one (341) cases were submitted for decision but were reported pending by the Sandiganbayan on September 26, 2000, and
were undecided as of September 15, 2000. A number of the cases were likewise reported undecided by the OCA on January 26, 2001, have not
submitted for decision as far back as more than ten (10) years ago. As of been decided/resolved. We quote the compliance report:56
September 15, 2000, the following cases[43] had not been decided:[44]

First Division
First Division

BOXES
BOXES
Summary/Tally
The Sandiganbayan is a special court created in an effort to
maintain honesty and efficiency in the bureaucracy, weed out misfits and
undesirables in the government and eventually stamp out graft and Cases Assigned to Badoy, J. *** 11
corruption.45 We have held consistently that a delay of three (3) years in
deciding a single case is inexcusably long.46 We can not accept the excuses Cases Assigned to Estrada, J. 7
of Presiding Justice Sandiganbayan Francis E. Garchitorena that the court
was reorganized in 1997; that the new justices had to undergo an Cases Assigned to Chico-Nazario, J. 1
orientation and that the Sandiganbayan relocated to its present premises
which required the packing and crating of records; and that some boxes
No report/Unaccounted For 1
were still unopened.47

We likewise find unacceptable Presiding Justice Garchitorenas _________


excuse that one case alone48 comprises more that fifty percent (50%) of
the First Divisions backlog and that the same has been set for
Total 20
promulgation on December 8, 2000.49 As we said, a delay in a single
case cannot be tolerated, para muestra, basta un boton. (for an example,
one button suffices). It is admitted that there are several other cases 3. Applicability of SC Adm. Circular No. 10-94.-- Supreme Court
submitted for decision as far back as ten (10) years ago that have Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan.
remained undecided by the First Division, of which Justice Garchitorena is Administrative Circular 10-9457 directs all trial judges to make a
presiding justice and chairman. Indeed, there is even one case, which is a physical inventory of the cases in their dockets. The docket inventory
simple motion to withdraw the information filed by the prosecutor. This procedure is as follows:58
has remained unresolved for more than seven (7) years (since 1994). 50 The
compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan presiding justice incriminates
a. Every trial judge shall submit not later than the last week of February
him. The memorandum submitted by the Court Administrator likewise
and the last week of August of each year a tabulation of all pending cases
testifies to the unacceptable situation in the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, there
which shall indicate on a horizontal column the following data:
is a disparity in the reports submitted by the Sandiganbayan presiding
justice and the OCA. According to the Court Administrator, the cases
submitted for decision that were still pending promulgation 51 before the 1. Title of the case
five divisions of the Sandiganbayan are:52
2. Date of Filing

First Division 3. Date arraignment in criminal cases of Pre-trial in civil cases and

4. Date of initial trial


BOXES

We find that Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena failed to 5. Date of last hearing
devise an efficient recording and filing system to enable him to monitor
the flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely disposition. This 6. Date submitted for Decision
is his duty on which he failed.53
b. The tabulation shall end with a certification by the trial judge that
he/she has personally undertaken an inventory of the pending cases in
Memorandum of the Court Administrator his/her court; that he/she has examined each case record and initialled
the last page thereof. The judge shall indicate in his/her certification the
date when inventory was conducted.
On November 14, 2001, the Court required the Office of the Court
Administrator54 to update its report.55 c. The Tabulation and Certification shall be in the following form.

On November 16, 2001, OCA Consultant Pedro A. Ramirez (Justice,


Docket Inventory for the Period
Court of Appeals, Retired) submitted a compliance report with the Courts
42

January __ to June ___, ___/July anti-graft court must be the first to avert opportunities for graft, uphold
To December ___, ___ the right of all persons to a speedy disposition of their cases and avert the
(Indicate Period) precipitate loss of their rights.

Court and Station ________


Presiding Judge ________ Practice of Unloading Cases

Title of Date Pretrial/ Initial Date of Last Date submitted


Case Filed Hearing Hearing for Decision According to the memorandum submitted by the OCA, there is a
Arraignme practice in the first and third divisions of the Sandiganbayan of unloading
nt cases to other divisions despite the fact that these cases have been
submitted for decision before them. We cite relevant portions of the
memorandum:67

CERTIFICATION: Cases Submitted for Decision When Unloaded to the Fourth Division

I hereby certify that on (Date/Dates___), I personally conducted a physical


inventory of pending cases in the docket of this court, that I personally
examined the records of each case and initialled the last page thereof, and
BOXES
I certify that the results of the inventory are correctly reflected in the
above tabulation. We suggest a review of the practice of unloading cases that greatly
contributes to the backlog of undecided cases. When a case has been
_________. heard and tried before a division of the Sandiganbayan, it is ideal that the
same division and no other must decide it as far as practicable.
_______________ We further note that several cases which were earlier reported as
______ undecided by the Sandiganbayan and the OCA have been decided since
the reports of September 26, 2000 and January 26, 2001.Nonetheless, the
Presiding delay in deciding these cases is patent and merits reprobation. According
Judge to the compliance report submitted by the OCA on November 16, 2001,
there are several cases decided way beyond the reglementary period
Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that prescribed by law, even assuming without granting, a reglementary period
it is applicable to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its of twelve months from the time a case is submitted for decision.68
original and appellate jurisdiction. In a case brought before this Court, Presiding Justice Garchitorena
admitted fault and that the fault is exclusively his own, in failing to decide
the case, though submitted for decision as early as June 20, 1990.69 This
Mora Decidendi case was not even included among pending cases in the Sandiganbayan
report of September 26, 2000.

The following cases were decided, though beyond the prescribed


We reiterate the admonition we issued in our resolution of October
period:
10, 2000:59

This Court has consistently impressed upon judges (which includes justices)
to decide cases promptly and expeditiously on the principle that justice First Division
delayed is justice denied. Decision making is the primordial and most
important duty of the member of the bench.60 Hence, judges are enjoined
to decide cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross BOXES
inefficiency61 that warrants disciplinary sanction, including
fine,62 suspension63 and even dismissal.64 The rule particularly applies to
justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in the disposition of cases erode the
faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lower its standards, Relief of Presiding Justice
and bring it into disrepute.65 Delays cannot be sanctioned or tolerated
especially in the anti-graft court, the showcase of the nations
determination to succeed in its war against graft (underscoring ours). At this juncture, the Court cites the case of Canson v.
Garchitorena.70 In that case, we admonished respondent Presiding Justice
Francis E. Garchitorena. General Jewel F. Canson, Police Chief
In Yuchengco v. Republic,66 we urged the Sandiganbayan to
Superintendent, National Capital Region Command Director, complained
promptly administer justice. We stated that the Sandiganbayan has the
of deliberate delayed action of the Presiding Justice on the transfer of
inherent power to amend and control its processes and orders to make
Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
them conformable to law and justice. The Sandiganbayan as the nations
43

City, depriving complainant of his right to a just and speedy trial. Due to a (50%) of the backlog. We find this claim exaggerated. We cannot accept
finding of lack of bad faith on the part of respondent justice, we issued that a backlog of three hundred forty one (341) cases in the First Division
only a warning. However, the dispositive portion of the decision cautioned could be eliminated by the resolution of a single consolidated case of one
respondent justice that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future hundred fifty six (156) counts. A consolidated case is considered only as
shall be dealt with more severely.71 one case. The cases referred to were consolidated as Criminal Case Nos.
9812-9967, People v. Corazon Gammad-Leao, decided on December 8,
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena sits as the Chairman, First 2000. What about the one hundred eighty five (185) cases that
Division, with a backlog of cases pending decision. At least seventy-three unfortunately remained undecided to this date? Worse, the motion for
cases have been unassigned for the writing of the extended opinion, reconsideration of the decision in said cases, submitted as of January 11,
though submitted for decision. It may be the thinking of the Presiding 2001, has not been resolved to this date.82 The First Division has only
Justice, Sandiganbayan that an unassigned case is not counted in its thirty (30) days from submission to resolve the same. It is now ten (10)
backlog of undecided cases. This is not correct. It is the duty of the months from submission. The expediente and the motion were
Presiding Justice and the Chairmen of divisions to assign the ponente as transmitted to the ponente, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, on
soon as the case is declared submitted for decision, if not earlier. If he fails that date, but to this day the case remains unresolved.83 Unfortunately,
to make the assignment, he shall be deemed to be the ponente. even other divisions of the Sandiganbayan may be following his example. 84
The Constitution provides that a case shall be deemed submitted for In the first report of the Court Administrator, he indicated a total of
decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or one hundred ninety five (195) criminal cases and three (3) civil cases, or a
memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself. 72 In total of one hundred ninety eight (198) cases submitted for decision as of
Administrative Circular No. 28, dated July 3, 1989, the Supreme Court December 21, 2000.85 Almost a year later, as of November 16, 2001, there
provided that A case is considered submitted for decision upon the are still one hundred thirty eight (138) cases undecided submitted long
admission of the evidence of the parties at the termination of the ago. For almost one year, not one case was decided/resolved by the
trial. The ninety (90) days period for deciding the case shall commence to Presiding Justice himself.86
run from submission of the case for decision without memoranda; in case
the court requires or allows its filing, the case shall be considered
submitted for decision upon the filing of the last memorandum or the
expiration of the period to do so, whichever is earlier. Lack of transcript of Directive
stenographic notes shall not be a valid reason to interrupt or suspend the
period for deciding the case unless the case was previously heard by
another judge not the deciding judge in which case the latter shall have WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court resolves:
the full period of ninety (90) days from the completion of the transcripts
within which to decide the same.73 The designation of a ponente to a case (1) To IMPOSE on Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena a fine of
is not a difficult administrative task. twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), for inefficiency and gross
neglect of duty.
Administrative sanctions must be imposed. Mora reprobatur in
lege.74 Again, we reiterate the principle that decision-making is the most
important of all judicial functions and responsibilities. 75 In this area, (2) Effective December 1, 2001, to RELIEVE Presiding Justice Francis
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, as the ponente assigned to the E. Garchitorena of his powers, functions and duties as the Presiding
cases submitted for decision/resolution long ago, some as far back as Justice, Sandiganbayan, and from presiding over the trial of cases as
more than ten (10) years ago, has been remiss constituting gross neglect a justice and Chairman, First Division, so that he may DEVOTE
of duty and inefficiency.76 As we said in Canson,77 unreasonable delay of a himself exclusively to DECISION WRITING, until the backlog of cases
judge in resolving a case amounts to a denial of justice, bringing the assigned to him as well as cases not assigned to any ponente, of
Sandiganbayan into disrepute, eroding the public faith and confidence in which he shall be deemed the ponente in the First Division, are
the judiciary.78 finally decided. There shall be no unloading of cases to other
divisions, or to the First Division inter se.
Consequently, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena should be
relieved of all trial and administrative work as Presiding Justice and as In the interim, Associate Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario, as the
Chairman, First Division so that he can devote himself full timeto most senior associate justice, shall TAKE OVER and exercise the
decision-making until his backlog is cleared. He shall finish this assignment powers, functions, and duties of the office of the Presiding Justice,
not later than six (6) months from the promulgation of this resolution. Sandiganbayan, until further orders from this Court.
We have, in cases where trial court judges failed to decide even a
single case within the ninety (90) day period, imposed a fine ranging from (3) To DIRECT Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena and the
five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to the equivalent of their one months associate justices of the Sandiganbayan to decide/resolve the
salary.79 According to the report of the Sandiganbayan, as of September undecided cases submitted for decision as of this date, within three
26, 2000, there were three hundred forty one (341) cases submitted for (3) months from their submission, and to resolve motions for new
decision before its first division headed by the Presiding Justice. In the trial or reconsiderations and petitions for review within thirty (30)
memorandum of the OCA, there were one hundred ninety eight (198) days from their submission. With respect to the backlog of cases, as
cases reported submitted for decision before the First Division. 80 Even in hereinabove enumerated, the Sandiganbayan shall decide/resolve
the updated report, there are one hundred thirty eight (138) cases still all pending cases including incidents therein within six (6) months
undecided in the First Division. from notice of this resolution.

In fact, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that he


(4) To ORDER the Sandiganbayan to comply with Supreme Court
has a backlog.81 He claimed that one (1) case alone comprises fifty percent
Administrative Circular 10-94, effective immediately.
44

(5) To DIRECT the Sandiganbayan en banc to adopt not later than On 8 August 2000, the Court En Banc ordered an investigation and
December 31, 2001 internal rules to govern the allotment of cases designated Mme. Justice Carolina C. Griño-Aquino as Investigator and
among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them and other Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo as Prosecutor. An investigation
matters leading to the internal operation of the court, and then commenced on 22 August 2000 and continued until 16 November
thereafter to submit the said internal rules to the Supreme Court 2000.
for its approval.87
The Prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely, CSP Zuño, SP
This directive is immediately executory. Formaran III, Agnes P. Tuason, secretary of SP Formaran, III, and Jose H.
Afalla, an employee from the Office of Asst. CSP (ACSP) Leonardo Guiyab,
SO ORDERED. Jr. The defense on the other hand presented ten (10) witnesses:
respondent Justice Demetria, Asst. Chief State Prosecutor (ACSP) Severino
Gaña, Jr., Senior State Prosecutor (SSP) Romeo Dañosos, Go Teng Kok, Yu
o. Presidential Electoral Tribunal Yuk Lai, MTC Judge Orlando Siapno, Peter Young, Atty. Reinerio Paas,
lawyer of Go Teng Kok, Danilo J. Mijares, bodyguard of Go Teng Kok, and
p. Administrative powers Luisito Artiaga, official of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field
Association (PATAFA).
1. Supervision of lower courts

The facts as borne out by the evidence presented by the prosecution are
A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA March 27, 2001
quite clear. In an Information dated 9 December 1998, SP Formaran III
charged Yu Yuk Lai, together with her supposed nephew, a certain
IN RE: DEROGATORY NEWS ITEMS CHARGING COURT OF APPEALS Kenneth Monceda y Sy alias William Sy, before the RTC of Manila, Br.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DEMETRIO DEMETRIA WITH INTERFERENCE ON 18,5 with violation of Sec. 15, Art. III, RA 6425, as amended, for "conspiring,
BEHALF OF A SUSPECTED DRUG QUEEN: confederating and mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent
COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DEMETRIO G. and without authority of law . . . (to) willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
DEMETRIA, respondent. sell and deliver to a poseur-buyer three (3) kilograms, more or less, of
methylamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), which is a regulated
PER CURIAM: drug."6 Accused of non-bailable offense, both Yu Yuk Lai and Kenneth
Monceda were held at the detention cell of the PNP Narcotics Group in
Men and women of the courts must conduct themselves with honor, Camp Crame, Quezon City. On 25 June 1999, accused Yu Yuk Lai filed a
probity, fairness, prudence and discretion. Magistrates of justice must Petition for Bail on the ground that the evidence of her guilt was not
always be fair and impartial. They should avoid not only acts of strong.
impropriety, but all appearances of impropriety. Their influence in society
must be consciously and conscientiously exercised with utmost prudence On 10 November 1999, upon receiving information that the accused,
and discretion. For, theirs is the assigned role of preserving the especially Yu Yuk Lai, had been seen regularly playing in the casinos of
independence, impartiality and integrity of the Judiciary. Heritage Hotel and the Holiday Inn Pavilion, SP Formaran III filed
an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Transfer the Detention of the Accused to the
The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates a judge to "refrain from City Jail.7 On the same day, Judge Perfecto A. S. Laguio, Jr., granted the
influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending motion and ordered the immediate transfer of the two (2) accused to the
before another court or administrative agency."1 The slightest form of Manila City Jail.8
interference cannot be countenanced. Once a judge uses his influence to
derail or interfere in the regular course of a legal or judicial proceeding for On 18 January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., concluded that "the evidence
the benefit of one or any of the parties therein, public confidence in the standing alone and unrebutted, is strong and sufficient to warrant
judicial system is diminished, if not totally eroded. conviction of the two accused for the crime charged" and denied the
petition for bail of accused Yu Yuk Lai for lack of merit.9 Consequently,
Such is this administrative charge triggered by newspaper accounts which both accused filed a Joint Motion for Inhibition arguing that the trial
appeared on the 21 July 2000 issues of The Manila Standard, The Manila court's actuation "do not inspire the belief that its decision would be just
Times, Malaya, The Philippine Daily Inquirer and Today. The national and impartial."10 On 28 January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., believing that the
dailies collectively reported that Court of Appeals Associate Justice joint motion was utterly without merit but considering the gravity of the
Demetrio G. Demetria tried to intercede on behalf of suspected Chinese offense and for the peace of mind of the accused, inhibited himself. 11
drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, alias Sze Yuk Lai, who went in and out of prison to
play in a Manila casino.2 The case was re-raffled to Branch 53, presided by Judge Angel V. Colet.
Accused Yu Yuk Lai then filed a Motion to Order the Confinement of the
That same day, 21 July 2000, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., issued Accused in a Hospital. Before Judge Colet could resolve the motion, the
a Memorandum to Justice Demetria directing him to comment on the case was handled by the Branch's Pairing Judge Manuel T. Muro.
derogatory allegations in the news items.3 On 24 July 2000, Justice
Demetria submitted his Compliance. Subsequently, Chief State Prosecutor On 15 May 2000 Judge Muro granted accused Yu Yuk Lai's motion and
(CSP) Jovencito R. Zuño, who disclosed to the media the name of Justice allowed her to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital for a period not
Demetria, and State Prosecutor (SP) Pablo C. Formaran III, a member of exceeding seven (7) days,12 contrary to the recommendation of Dr. Jose
the Task Force on Anti-Narcotics Cases of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Estrada Rosal, Chief of the Health Services of the Manila City Jail, that Yu
prosecuting the case of the suspected Chinese drug queen, filed their Yuk Lai be confined at the Philippine General Hospital.13
respective Comments on the Compliance of Justice Demetria.4
45

On 5 June 2000 Judge Muro granted Yu Yuk Lai's Urgent Motion for Teng Kok. Apparently, prior to 18 July 2000, Go Teng Kok had already been
Extension of Medical Confinement "for a period of one (1) month, or until asking SP Formaran III to go slow in prosecuting accused Yu Yuk Lai. 19 SP
such time that she is fit to be discharged from the said hospital." 14 On 7 Formaran III at first politely declined the request. But later, "just to put an
July 2000 Judge Muro also granted Yu Yuk Lai's Motion for Leave of Court end to (the) conversation," 20 he told them that he would bring the
to File Demurrer to Evidence with Motion to Admit Demurrer to matter to CSP Zuño. "Iyon pala," Justice Demetria replied. The Justice then
Evidence.15 Soon, rumors circulated in the Manila City Hall that Judge stood up, bade good bye and left. Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok followed
Muro was partial towards accused Yu Yuk Lai. closely behind.21

The rumors did not end there. On 6 July 2000 unidentified employees of Thereafter, SP Formaran III went to see CSP Zuño and informed the latter
the RTC Manila calling themselves "CONCERNED COURT EMPLOYEES" of what had transpired. CSP Zuño replied, "No way!" SP Formaran III also
wrote the Secretary of Justice, copy furnished the Chief State Prosecutor, told ACSP Guiyab, Jr., who gave the same reply.22
the Ombudsman, and Judge Muro. The letter alleged that Judge Muro
ordered the hospitalization of Yu Yuk Lai "even if she (was) not sick and At around 3:00 o'clock that same afternoon, CSP Zuño received a call from
there (was) already a rumor circulating around the City Hall, that the Justice Demetria who requested him to instruct SP Formaran III to
notorious Judge had given the go signal to the counsel of the accused to withdraw the motion for inhibition of Judge Muro so that the Judge could
file the Motion to Quash, which (would) be granted for a consideration of already issue an order. "Pakisabi mo nga kay State Prosecutor Formaran
millions of pesos and the contact person (was) allegedly the daughter of na i-withdraw na iyong kanyang Motion to Inhibit para naman makagawa
the Judge, who is an employee in the said branch."16 na ng Order si Judge Muro," Justice Demetria was quoted as
saying.23 Politely, CSP Zuño said that he would see what he could do.
Accordingly on 14 July 2000, SP Formaran III filed a Motion for "Tingnan ko po kung ano ang magagawa ko."24
Inhibition praying that Judge Muro inhibit himself "from further handling
this case and/or from resolving the demurrer to evidence filed by the On 20 July 2000, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a "Supreme
accused Yu Yuk Lai as well as any other pending incidents therein."17 Court Justice . . . and an outspoken sports person and leader"25 had been
exerting "undue pressure" on the DOJ to go slow in prosecuting
On 16 July 2000, at around 7:30 o'clock in the morning, while she was re-arrested drug queen Yu Yuk Lai. That same afternoon, the names of
supposed to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital, accused Yu Yuk Justice Demetria and Mr. Go Teng Kok were disclosed to the media to
Lai was arrested inside the VIP room of the Casino Filipino at the Holiday clear the name of the Supreme Court justices who might have been
Inn Pavilion, Manila, while playing baccarat. She was unescorted at the affected by the erroneous news report. The following day, 21 July 2000,
time of her arrest. several newspapers named Justice Demetria and Go Teng Kok as "drug
lawyers."
On 18 July 2000, at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, the Motion for
Inhibition of Judge Muro was heard and submitted for resolution. Later, at Also on 20 July 2000 the DOJ received a copy of an Order dated 19 July
around 11:30 o'clock, when SP Formaran III arrived in his office from the 2000 of Judge Muro inhibiting himself from further hearing the case of Yu
hearing, he was informed by his secretary, Agnes Tuason, that the staff of Yuk Lai and Kenneth Monceda.26
Court of Appeals Justice Demetrio Demetria had called earlier and said
that the Justice wanted to speak with him. The caller requested for a Respondent Justice Demetria, for his part, vehemently denied having
return call. As requested, SP Formaran III immediately returned the call of interceded for Yu Yuk Lai. While he admitted that he indeed visited the
Justice Demetria but the Justice had already gone out for lunch. DOJ on 18 July 2000, he went there to "visit old friends" and his meeting
Go Teng Kok whom he did not know until that time was purely accidental.
Later in the afternoon, between 1:30 and 2:00 o'clock, Justice Demetria, Expectedly, Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok corroborated the claim of
PATAFA President Go Teng Kok and Atty. Reinerio Paas, lawyer of Go Teng respondent Justice.
Kok and a close friend of Justice Demetria, went to the office of SP
Formaran III in the DOJ which SP Formaran III shares with SP Albert Justice Demetria explained that he merely requested SP Formaran III "to
Fonacier. Apparently, Justice Demetria was not familiar with SP Formaran do something to help Go Teng Kok about the case" without ever specifying
III as he greeted SP Fonacier "Kamusta ka, Prosecutor Formaran?"18 the kind of "help" that he requested. He averred that it was purely on the
basis of erroneous impression and conjecture on the part of SP Formaran
Soon the visitors were seated. Go Teng Kok immediately pleaded with SP III that he impliedly asked him to withdraw the motion "because that is
Formaran III to withdraw his motion to inhibit Judge Muro as this would what Mr. Go Teng Kok was appealing and requesting." 27 Respondent
purportedly delay the resolution of the case. Go Teng Kok also expressed claimed that the "help" he was requesting could well be "within legal
his apprehension that if Judge Muro would inhibit, a new judge might bounds or line of duty."
convict his friend, accused Yu Yuk Lai, who was then already receiving bad
publicity. Justice Demetria claimed that if ever he said anything else during the
discussion between Go Teng Kok and SP Formaran III, such was not a form
Justice Demetria then asked about the status of the case. SP Formaran III of intervention. He only admonished Go Teng Kok "to cool it" when the
informed the Justice that a motion for inhibition has been submitted for discussion between the prosecutor and Go Teng Kok became heated.
resolution, one basis of which was the unsigned letter of the concerned While he asked about the status of the case this, he said, demonstrated
court employees. Justice Demetria opined that it was a bit dangerous to his lack of knowledge about the case and bolstered his claim that he could
anchor the inhibition of a judge on an unsigned, anonymous letter. The not have possibly interceded for Yu Yuk Lai.
Justice then advised Go Teng Kok who was becoming persistent to "keep
his cool" and asked SP Formaran III if he could do something to help Go
46

Respondent Justice likewise argued that the bases of his identification by logical follow-up. And no one could have made the call except respondent
CSP Zuño as the Justice exerting undue pressure on the DOJ were all Justice since it is not uncommon for anyone to believe that CSP Zuño
hearsay. Respondent submitted that CSP Zuño based his identification would recognize the voice of respondent Justice who was CSP Zuño's
from a newspaper account, from the statement of his secretary that it was former superior in the DOJ. Thus, the confident utterance "[p]akisabi mo
he (Justice Demetria) who was on the other end of the telephone and nga kay State Prosecutor Formaran na iwithdraw na iyong kanyang
from SP Formaran III when the latter consulted the Chief State Prosecutor Motion to Inhibit para naman makagawa ng Order si Judge Muro" could
about the visit of the Justice and Go Teng Kok impliedly asking him to not have come from anyone else but from respondent Justice who had
withdraw the motion. moral ascendancy over CSP Zuño, he being a Justice of the Court of
Appeals and a former Undersecretary and at one time Acting Secretary of
In defense of respondent Justice, Atty. Paas stated that it was actually he, the DOJ.
not Justice Demetria, who later called up CSP Zuño to inquire about the
latter's decision regarding the withdrawal of the motion to inhibit since SP Even the requested "help" for Go Teng Kok, whom respondent Justice
Formaran III had earlier told Go Teng Kok that the matter would be taken claims he did not know and met only that time, could not have meant any
up with his superiors. other assistance but the withdrawal of the motion to inhibit Judge Muro.
True, Justice Demetria never categorically asked SP Formaran III to
In fine, respondent Justice Demetria maintains that it is inconceivable for withdraw his Motion. But when respondent Justice Demetria asked the
him to ask SP Formaran III whom he just met for the first time to do state prosecutor at that particular time "to do something . . . to help Mr.
something for Go Teng Kok whom he claims he just likewise met for the Go Teng Kok," the latter was pleading for the withdrawal of the motion,
first time. Neither did he know Yu Yuk Lai, a claim Yu Yuk Lai herself and nothing else. That was the only form of "help" that Go Teng Kok
corroborated. It would be unthinkable for him to intercede in behalf of wanted. The subtle pressure exerted simply pointed to one particular act.
someone he did not know. Indeed respondent Justice asserted that his Thus, subsequently respondent Justice called CSP Zuño to ask for just that
meeting Go Teng Kok on 18 July 2000 at the DOJ was purely coincidence, if — the withdrawal of the motion to inhibit Judge Muro.
not accidental.
Justice Demetria also claimed that he, together with Atty. Paas, went to
So, did respondent Justice Demetria really intercede in behalf of the DOJ, first, to see Secretary Artemio Tuquero and seek assistance in the
suspected drug queen Yu Yuk Lai? appointment of Atty. Paas to the Court of Appeals, and second, to "visit
old friends,"32 and that the meeting with Go Teng Kok was purely
accidental. But respondent Justice never mentioned in his earlier
Investigating Justice Carolina C. Griño-Aquino believes so. In her Report
Compliance to the Memorandum of the Chief Justice that his primary
dated 5 January 2001, she found respondent Justice Demetria "guilty of
purpose in going to the DOJ was to see Sec. Tuquero, and since Sec.
violating Rule 2.04, Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct" and recommended
Tuquero was not in, he instead decided to see some officials/prosecutors
that "appropriate disciplinary action be taken against him by this
whom he had not visited for a long time.
Honorable Court."28

We find this assertion difficult to accept. For, even his very own witnesses
Only rightly so. The evidence is clear, if not overwhelming, and damning.
belied his alibi. ACSP Gaña, Jr. testified and confirmed that Justice
Thus, even the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, after a
Demetria only said "hi."33 SSP Dañosos, denied seeing him and claimed
hearing, found that "there was a conspiracy to commit the following
that it was only Atty. Paas who peeped into his room.34 Suspiciously, it was
offenses on the part of CA Associate Justice Demetrio Demetria and
really in the office of SP Formaran III, whom respondent Justice Demetria
PATAFA President Go Teng Kok and Miss Yu Yuk Lai: obstruction of justice
did not know, where Justice Demetria, Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok
punishable under PD No. 1829 and Article 3(a) of RA 3019, or the
decided to "stay a while."35
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act."29

Thus, as found by Mme. Justice Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, the Investigating


While Justice Demetria vehemently denied interfering with the criminal
Justice, Justice Demetria and company could not have been there to
case, his denial cannot stand against the positive assertions of CSP Zuño
exchange pleasantries with SPs Formaran III and Fonacier since they were
and SP Formaran III,30 which are consistent with natural human
not acquainted with each other. Prior to this incident, Justice Demetria did
experience. To accept the testimony of the defense witnesses that it was
not personally know either SP Formaran III or SP Fonacier, a fact
Atty. Paas who telephoned CSP Zuño, and not Justice Demetria, and that
corroborated by respondent himself.36
the "help" the respondent Justice was requesting SP Formaran III was
something "within legal bounds or line of duty" other than the withdrawal
of the motion is to strain too far one's imagination. All of these contradict and belie respondent Justice Demetria's
earlier Compliance to the Memorandum of the Chief Justice that
"[b]ecause Prosecutor Formaran is also a friend, we decided to drop by his
The testimony of CSP Zuño is plainly unambiguous and indubitably
office . . . (and) I stayed a while."37
consistent with the other facts and circumstances surrounding the case —

As pointed out by the Investigating Justice, respondent Justice was there


CSP Zuño: As far as I could recall Justice Demetria said, "Pakisabi mo nga
"to join forces with Go Teng Kok in arguing for the withdrawal of
kay State Prosecutor Formaran na iwithdraw na iyong kanyang Motion to
Formaran's Motion for Inhibition of Judge Muro, which was the real
Inhibit para naman makagawa ng Order si Judge Muro."31
purpose of their visit to SP Formaran and to the DOJ. The uncanny
coincidence in the timing of Justice Demetria's visit to SP Formaran's office,
In his discussion with Go Teng Kok and Justice Demetria, SP Formaran III and that of Go Teng Kok, could not have been 'accidental' but
said that he would consult his superiors regarding the proposal to pre-arranged."38 And, "visiting old friends" only came as an afterthought.
withdraw the motion. The timely telephone call to CSP Zuño was thus a The circumstances simply show that Justice Demetria and Atty. Paas,
47

together with Go Teng Kok, did not go to the DOJ to see Sec. Tuquero, but RE: LETTER OF PRESIDING A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA
to visit, if not "pressure," CSP Zuño and SP Formaran III. JUSTICE CONRADO M.
VASQUEZ, JR. ON CA-G.R. SP Present:
Justice Demetria also claimed that it is inconceivable for him to help Yu NO. 103692 [Antonio Rosete,
Yuk Lai and Go Teng Kok, both of whom he did not personally know, and et al. v. Securities and PUNO, C.J.,
more unthinkable that he would be asking help from SP Formaran III Exchange Commission, et al.] QUISUMBING,
whom he had just met for the first time. YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
The argument cannot be sustained. It is admitted that respondent is a very
CORONA,
close friend of Atty. Paas, lawyer of Go Teng Kok. And, it is not necessary
CARPIO MORALES,
that respondent Justice Demetria be acquainted with Go Teng Kok, Yu Yuk
AZCUNA,
Lai or SP Formaran III for him to intercede in behalf of the accused. It is
TINGA,
enough that he is a close friend of the lawyer of Go Teng Kok, who has
CHICO-NAZARIO,
been helping the accused, and that he wields influence as a former DOJ
VELASCO, JR.,
Undersecretary and later, Acting Secretary, and now, a Justice of the Court
NACHURA,
of Appeals.
REYES,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and
In sum, we find the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses convincing BRION, JJ.
and trustworthy, as compared to those of the defense which do not only
defy natural human experience but are also riddled with major Promulgated:
inconsistencies which create well-founded and overriding doubts.
September 9, 2008
The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged x-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with the heavy of --------------------x
responsibility. His at all times must be characterized with propriety and
must be above suspicion.39 His must be free of even a whiff of impropriety, DECISION
not only with respect to the performance of his judicial duties, but also his
behavior outside the courtroom and as a private individual.

PER CURIAM:
Unfortunately, respondent Justice Demetrio Demetria failed failed to live
up to this expectation. Through his indiscretions, Justice Demetria did not
only make a mockery of his high office, but also caused incalculable
damage to the entire Judiciary. The mere mention of his name in the The Judiciary, which is acclaimed as the firmest pillar of our democratic
national newspapers, allegedly lawyering for a suspected drug queen and institutions, is vested by the Constitution with the power to settle disputes
interfering with her prosecution seriously undermined the integrity of the
entire Judiciary. between parties and to determine their rights and obligations under the

law. For judicial decisions, which form part of the law of the land, to be
Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no
position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness and uprightness credible instruments in the peaceful and democratic resolution of conflicts,
tha a seat in the Judiciary.40 High ethical principles and a sense of
our courts must be perceived to be and, in fact be, impartial, independent,
propriety should be maintained, without which the faith of the people in
the Judiciary so indispensable in orderly society cannot be competent and just. To accomplish this end, it is imperative that members
preserved.41 There is simply no place in the Judiciary for those who cannot
meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity.42 of the Judiciary from its highest magistrates to its humblest employees

adhere to the strictest code of ethics and the highest standards of


WHEREFORE, we sustain the findings of the Investigating Justice and hold
propriety and decorum. Indeed, it is unfortunate that one of the countrys
Justice Demetrio G. Demetria GUILTY of violating Rule 2.04 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct. He is ordered DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture second highest courts, the Court of Appeals, should be presently
of all benefits and with prejudice to his appointment or reappointment to
any government office, agency or instrumentality, including any embroiled in scandal and controversy. It is this Courts bounden duty to
government owned or controlled corporation or institution.
determine the culpability or innocence of the members of the Judiciary

SO ORDERED. involved in the said controversy and to discipline any one whose conduct

has failed to conform to the canons of judicial ethics, which uphold


Davide, Jr., C .J ., Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr. integrity, independence, impartiality, competence and propriety in the
and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ ., concur. performance of official functions.
Puno, J ., abroad on official leave.
48

The present administrative matter arose from the Letter dated Meralco), filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari and

August 1, 2008 of Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction

Jr. (Presiding Justice Vasquez), referring to this Court for appropriate and temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Securities and

action the much publicized dispute and charges of impropriety among the Exchange Commission (SEC), Commissioner Jesus Enrique G. Martinez,

justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) involved in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 Commissioner Hubert B. Guevarra, and the Government Service Insurance

entitled Antonio Rosete, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, et System (GSIS). [3] Aside from the application for immediate issuance of a

al. TRO, petitioners prayed for the issuance of a preliminary injunction that

should thereafter be declared permanent, as well as a declaration of

To assist in its investigation of this sensitive matter, the Court in its nullity of the cease and desist and show cause orders issued by the SEC

Resolution dated August 4, 2008 constituted a three-person panel (the through Commissioner Martinez. The petition was received by the CA

Panel of Investigators) composed of retired Justices of the Court; namely, at 10:49 a.m. on May 29, 2008 and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.

Mme. Justice Carolina Grio-Aquino as Chairperson, Mme. Justice Flerida On the same day, petitioners simultaneously filed at 10:48 a.m. an urgent

Ruth P. Romero and Mr. Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. as Members. The motion for a special raffle. Presiding Justice Vasquez granted the motion in

Panel of Investigators was tasked to investigate the (a) alleged a handwritten note on the face of the urgent motion,[4] and CA-G.R. No.

improprieties of the actions of the Justices of the Court of Appeals in 103692 was raffled to Justice Vicente Q. Roxas (Justice Roxas). [5] At 3:10

CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 (Antonio V. Rosete, et al. v. SEC, et al.); and (b) p.m., the Office of Presiding Justice Vasquez received a letter from Atty.

alleged rejected offer or solicitation of bribe disclosed respectively by Mr. Estrella C. Elamparo (Atty. Elamparo), Chief Legal Counsel of the GSIS,

Justice Jose Sabio and Mr. Francis de Borja. requesting the re-raffling of the case in the presence of the parties in the

A narration of relevant events and facts, as found by the Investigating interest of transparency and fairness.[6] At 4:10 p.m. on that day, the GSIS

Panel, follows: filed an ex-parte motion to defer action on any incident in the petition

On April 15, 2008, Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes (Justice Reyes), pending the resolution of their motion for the re-raffle of the case.[7]

then Chairperson of the Ninth Division of the CA, filed an application for

leave from May 15, 2008 to June 5, 2008.[1] Atty. Elamparo, accompanied by Atty. Orlando P. Polinar, also of

the GSIS Law Office, personally filed the urgent motion to defer action on

In Office Order No. 149-08-CMV dated May 14, 2008 issued by the petition pending the resolution of their motion to re-raffle the

Presiding Justice Vasquez, Justice Jose C. Mendoza (Justice Mendoza) was case. Since the receiving clerk of the Court of Appeals could not assure

designated by the Raffle Committee as Acting Chairman of the Ninth them that the motion would be transmitted to the Court of Appeals

Division during the absence of Justice Reyes. Apart from his duties as Division, Attys. Elamparo and Polinar allegedly went to the office of Justice

regular senior member of the Fifth Division, Justice Mendoza was Roxas for the sole purpose of personally furnishing him a copy of the

authorized to act on all cases submitted to the Ninth Division for final motion.[8] They initially talked to a male clerk who referred them to one of

resolution and/or appropriate action, except ponencia, from May 15, the lawyers, who, however, told them that it was not possible for them to

2008 to June 5, 2008 or until Justice Reyes reports back for duty. The said personally hand a copy of the motion to Justice Roxas. Thus, Attys.

office order likewise applied to the other Division(s) where Justice Reyes Elamparo and Polinar left a copy of the motion to the staff but no one

had participated or took part as regular member or in an acting capacity.[2] wanted to sign and acknowledge receipt of the copy.[9]

On May 29, 2008, Antonio V. Rosete, Manuel M. Lopez, Felipe B.

Alfonso, Jesus P. Francisco, Christian S. Monsod, Elpidio L. Ibaez, and On May 30, 2008, Justice Reyes filed an application for the extension of his

Francis Giles B. Puno, as officers, directors and/or representatives of the leave until June 6, 2008.[10] In the meantime, Justice Mendoza, who had

Manila Electric Company (hereinafter to be collectively referred to as been designated to replace Justice Reyes during the latters absence,
49

informed Justice Roxas through a letter that he (Justice Mendoza) was

inhibiting from the case on the ground that he used to be a lawyer of the In his signed testimony,[17] which he read before the Panel of Investigators,

Meralco.[11] Hence, in an Emergency Request for Raffle, Justice Roxas Chairman Sabio narrated the circumstances of this call to his brother

informed the Raffle Committee about the inhibition.[12] on May 30, 2008. It appears to have been prompted by a call from a

member of the Board of Trustees of GSIS. To quote from Chairman Sabios

Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. (Justice Sabio) was assigned as Acting testimony:

Chairman of the Ninth Division by raffle, in lieu of Justice Mendoza. [13] At Last May 30, 2008 I was in Davao City Airport with my
11:30 a.m., the office of Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal (Justice wife, Marlene, waiting for our 1:25 P.M. PAL flight
to Manila. xxx xxx xxx.
Dimaranan-Vidal) received a notice of emergency deliberation with the
As we were boarding, I received a call from Atty.
new Acting Chairman of the Special Ninth Division, apparently sent by
Jesus I. Santos, a Member of the Board of Trustees of
Justice Roxas, stating that her presence and that of Justice Sabio, Jr. were GSIS. We had known each other and had become
friends since before Martial Law because as Chief
indispensable on account of the national interest involved in CA-G.R. SP Counsel of the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) we
No. 103692.[14] were opposing counsel in various cases in Bulacan.

Attorney Santos informed me that the dispute


between the GSIS and MERALCO was now in the
Meanwhile, Atty. Elamparo received a telephone call from somebody who
Court of Appeals; and, that as a matter of fact, my
did not identify herself but (who) said that she had important information brother, Justice Sabio, was chair of the Division to
which the case had been assigned. Being a Trustee,
regarding the Meralco case. The unidentified caller told Atty. Elamparo Attorney Santos requested me to help. I readily
that a TRO was already being prepared and that certain Meralco lawyers welcomed the request for help and thanked him.
There was no mystery about his having known of the
had in fact been talking to Justice Roxas. The caller warned Atty. Elamparo results of the raffle because the lawyers are notified
thereof and are present thereat. As a Trustee,
against Justice Roxas who had administrative cases and was very
Attorney Santos should be concerned and involved.
notorious, but when prodded, the caller would not disclose more As such it is his duty to seek assistance for the GSIS
where he could legitimately find it. He was right in
details.[15] seeking my assistance.

I was aware of the controversy between the GSIS and


At about 1:30 p.m. also on May 30, 2008, Justice Sabio received a MERALCO. In essence this was in fact a controversy
between the long suffering public and the mighty
telephone call in his chambers from his older brother, Chairman Camilo financially and politically controlling owners of
Sabio (Chairman Sabio) of the Presidential Commission on Good MERALCO. MERALCO is not only a public utility but
also a monopoly. Fortunately, GSIS had taken up the
Government (PCGG).[16] Chairman Sabio informed his brother that he cudgels for the long suffering public, who are at the
mercy of MERALCO.
(Justice Sabio) had been named the third member of the division to which

the MERALCO-GSIS case had been raffled. Justice Sabio was surprised as x x x x x x x x x.

he had not yet been officially informed about the matter. Chairman Sabio Immediately, I tried to contact Justice Sabio. But due
likewise informed him that a TRO had been prepared. Chairman Sabio to the noise I could not hear him. So I waited until we
would arrive in Manila.
then tried to convince Justice Sabio of the rightness of the stand of the
As we were leaving the Airport, I again got in touch
GSIS and the SEC, and asked his brother to help the GSIS, which represents
with Justice Sabio. After, he confirmed that he was in
the interest of the poor people. Justice Sabio told his brother that he fact in the Division to which the petition of MERALCO
had been raffled. I impressed upon him the character
would vote according to [his] conscience and that the most that he could and essence of the controversy. I asked him to help
do was to have the issuance of the TRO and the injunctive relief scheduled GSIS if the legal situation permitted. He said he would
decide according to his conscience. I said: of course.
for oral arguments, at which the respondents must be able to convince
x x x x x x x x x.
him that the TRO indeed had no legal basis.
50

On the same day, May 30, 2008, GSIS filed an urgent ex-parte the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction for 10:00 a.m. on June 23

motion to inhibit Justice Roxas from CA-G.R. No. SP 103692.[18] The Special and 24, 2008. In the same Resolution, parties were directed to file their

Cases Section of the Court of Appeals received a copy of the motion respective memorandum of authorities in connection with the application

at 11:58 a.m.[19] for a writ of preliminary injunction together with their

comments/reply. After the parties had filed their memorandum of

Claiming that the TRO was issued to pre-empt the hearing authorities relative to the application for a writ of preliminary injunction,

scheduled in the afternoon of that day before the SEC, the GSIS Law Office, the prayer for the said writ would be considered submitted for resolution

through Atty. Marcial C. Pimentel, Jr., set forth its reason for the motion forty five (45) days from promulgation of this Resolution. The SEC received

for inhibition as follows: a copy of the Resolution at 4:03 p.m. on that day.[23]

3. Unfortunately, reports have reached respondent


GSIS that the Honorable ponente has been in contact For Justice Roxas, the issuance of the TRO was an implied denial
with certain lawyers of MERALCO and has in fact of the motion for inhibition filed against him. There was no need to put in
already prepared a draft resolution granting the TRO
without affording respondents even a summary writing the action on the motion for inhibition.[24]
hearing. The records of this case was (sic), per
information, immediately transmitted to the
Honorable ponente upon his instructions. The At 3:00 p.m., the Special Cases Section of the Court of Appeals received
worries of the respondent were exacerbated when it
learned that there are supposedly two administrative the Urgent Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order and To Hold Its
cases pending against the Honorable ponente, both Enforcement in Abeyance filed by the GSIS.[25] Justice Roxas did not act on
of which involve allegations of bias and prejudice.
the Urgent Motion because he did not consider it meritorious.[26]

It turned out, however, that at that time, Justice Roxas had not
On May 31, 2008, Justice Sabio received a cellular phone call from Mr.
yet been officially notified by the Raffle Committee that the case was
Francis De Borja (Mr. De Borja), a person he had lost contact with for
raffled to him.[20] Moreover, contrary to the allegation of Atty. Elamparo
almost a year already.[27] Mr. De Borja greeted him with: Mabuhay ka,
that the raffle was rigged, Justice Roxas had no hand in the raffle
Justice. When Justice Sabio, Jr. asked Mr. De Borja why he said that, Mr.
proceeding, which was handled by the Division chaired by Justice Mariano
De Borja told him that the Makati Business Club was happy with his having
del Castillo with the use of a fool-proof Las Vegas tambiolo, like the lotto
signed the TRO, to which Justice Sabio retorted, I voted according to my
machine.[21]
conscience.

Justice Roxas brought to the office of Justice Sabio, for the latters
On June 5, 2008, the GSIS Law Office received a letter dated
signature, the TRO which he had prepared, already signed by himself and
June 2, 2008 of Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. informing GSIS Chief Legal
Justice Dimaranan-Vidal. Convinced of the urgency of the TRO, Justice
Counsel, Atty. Elamparo, that the Court of Appeals could not grant her
Sabio signed it on condition that the case will be set for oral arguments.
request for the re-raffling of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 in the presence of the

parties in the interest of transparency and fairness, as the case had been
Thus, at 2:08 p.m. on May 30, 2008,[22] the Special Ninth Division
raffled in accordance with the procedure under the IRCA.[28]
composed of Justices Sabio, Roxas, and Dimaranan-Vidal, issued the

Resolution granting the TRO prayed for by the petitioners and directing
On June 10, 2008, Justice B. L. Reyes reported back to work.[29]
the respondents to file their respective comments (not a motion to

dismiss) to the petition within ten days from notice, with the petitioners
On June 11, 2008, at 3:50 p.m.,[30] the Office of the Solicitor
given five days from receipt of that comment within which to file their
General (OSG), appearing for the SEC, filed a manifestation and motion
reply. The Special Ninth Division also set the hearing on the application for
51

praying for the admission of the comment (to the petition) attached On June 19, 2008, MERALCO filed an ex-parte manifestation

thereto, as well as the advance and additional copies of the memorandum together with their reply to the comment of the GSIS. [36] Meanwhile,

of authorities. Justice B. L. Reyes asked Atty. Custodio to report on what transpired

between her and Justice Sabio when she returned the cartilla. Teary-eyed,

On June 12, 2008, at 4:53 p.m., the GSIS filed its Atty. Custodio begged off from making a report.[37]

comment/opposition to the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692,[31] as well

as its memorandum of authorities. Justice Reyes decided to consult the Presiding Justice to avoid

an ugly confrontation with the Justices on the highly politicized case

On June 16, 2008, the Division Clerk of Court, Atty. Teresita involving giants of the Philippine society. He explained to the Presiding

Custodio (Atty. Custodio), delivered to Justice Reyes the cartilla of the Justice his understanding of the relevant IRCA rules and the actual practice

Meralco case, and informed him that a hearing on the prayer for the in similar situations in the past. The Presiding Justice promised to talk with

issuance of a preliminary injunction had been scheduled at 10:00 a.m. on Justice Sabio and, for the sake of transparency and future reference,

June 23 and 24, 2008.[32] However, on the same day, the Division Clerk of Justice Reyes requested permission to write an inquiry on the matter.[38]

Court came back to retrieve the cartilla upon instructions of Justice Sabio.

Justice Reyes instructed his staff to return the cartilla and when he asked On the same day, Justice Reyes wrote Presiding Justice Vasquez

the Division Clerk of Court why she was retrieving it, she said that Justice a letter[39] calling the attention of Justice Edgardo P. Cruz (Justice Cruz),

Sabio demanded that it be returned back to him. Personally affronted by Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, to the dilemma as to who

the domineering and superior stance of Justice Sabio, Justice Reyes read between him and Justice Sabio should receive CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.

and re-read Secs. 1, 2(d) & 5, Rule VI (Process of Adjudication) until he was Justice Reyes posed these questions before the Presiding Justice:
Will the case remain with Justice Jose Sabio, Jr. as
satisfied that he should sit as Division Chairman in the Meralco case.[33] Acting Chairman of the Special 9th Division and who
participated in the initial Resolution of the case?

On either June 17 or 18, 2008, Justice Sabio requested Will the case revert to the regular 9th Division with
the undersigned as Chairman?
the rollo of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 from Justice Roxas so that he could

study the case before the hearing.[34]Justice Roxas asked him whether
For Justice Reyes, the dilemma was engendered by this
Justice Reyes would preside over the hearing. Justice Sabio explained the
provision of Section 2 of Rule VI of the IRCA:
reason why he, not Justice Reyes, should preside. Justice Roxas promised
(2) When, in an original action or petition for review,
to instruct the Division Clerk of Court to send the rollo over to Justice any of these actions or proceedings, namely: (1)
giving due course; (2) granting writ of preliminary
Sabio. The next day, the Division Clerk of Court told Justice Sabio that injunction; (3) granting new trial; and (4) granting
the rollo was with Justice Reyes. When the rollo was eventually execution pending appeal have been taken, the case
shall remain with the Justice to whom the case is
transmitted to Justice Sabio, the Division Clerk of Court asked him assigned for study and report and the Justices who
participated therein, regardless of their transfer to
whether the rollo should be with Justice Reyes. Justice Sabio explained
other Divisions in the same station.
why the rollo should be with him.

The hearing on the application for preliminary injunction having been


On June 18, 2008, petitioners filed a motion for an extension of
scheduled for June 23 and 24, 2008, Justice Reyes considered it necessary
five days or until June 23, 2008 within which to file their consolidated
that the issues be resolved before that date. Moreover, the referral of the
memoranda of authorities and reply to the comment of the SEC.[35]
controversy to the Presiding Justice would give him sufficient time to

seriously study the case before the hearing.[40]


52

On June 20, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez referred the letter preside over the hearing of the case, and that the opinion of Justice Cruz,

of Justice Reyes to Justice Cruz, Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, who was junior to Justice Sabio was no better than his own opinion.[46]

noting some urgency involved as the hearing of the case is on Monday,

June 23, 2008.[41] It turned out that, upon receipt of a copy of the letter of Justice

Cruz, Justice Sabio told the Presiding Justice by telephone that he

On that same day, Justice Cruz wrote Justice Reyes a disagreed with the opinion of Justice Cruz because he did not sign in an

letter[42] quoting Section 2 (d), Rule VI of the IRCA and stating that the official capacity as Chairman of the Rules Committee, but in his personal

[i]ssuance of a TRO is not among the instances where the Justices who capacity and hence, the opinion of Justice Sabio was as good as his, as in

participated in the case shall remain therein. Hence, Justice Cruz opined fact I (Justice Sabio, Jr.) am even more senior than he. [47] Justice Sabio told

that [n]otwithstanding the issuance of the TRO (not writ of preliminary the Presiding Justice that he smelled something fishy about the move to

injunction), the case reverted to the regular Chairman (Justice Reyes) of transfer the case to the Ninth Division especially because Justice Reyes did

the Ninth Division upon his return. Justice Reyes received a copy of the not inform him about it despite the fact that they were seated together on

letter of Justice Cruz in the afternoon of that day.[43] three occasions.

During the hearings of this case, Justice Cruz explained his Justice Sabio smelled something fishy because a couple or so

opinion before the Panel. He opined that the motion to lift the TRO is not weeks ago, he attended a Chairpersons meeting regarding the leakage of

a motion for reconsideration because Rule 52 of the Rules of Court states the ponencia of Justice Bato, with Justice Reyes as Chairperson and Justice

that a motion for reconsideration may be filed with respect to a decision Jose Mendoza as senior member. The meeting was called because prior to

or a final resolution. A TRO is not a final resolution but an interlocutory the promulgation of the decision of Justice Bato, the losing party already

order. Moreover, since the subject of the hearing on June 23, 2008 was on filed a motion for the inhibition of the ponente. According to Justice Sabio

the application for preliminary injunction, Justice Sabio had no right to information on the decision could not have been leaked by Justice Bato

participate in the hearing because as an Acting Chairman, his authority but by a member of the Division.[48]

was only to act on the motion to lift the TRO. Under the IRCA, the position

of Justice Sabio invoked the exception to the general rule in the The Presiding Justice did not do anything anymore to prevent

IRCA. However, the settled principle is to construe a rule strictly against an unpalatable situation at the scheduled June 23, 2008 hearing,

the exception. The participation of Justice Sabio in the hearing on June 23, notwithstanding the conflicting opinions of Justices Reyes and Sabio. The

2008 was a passport to participation in the decision-making process, in personal view of the Presiding Justice was at the time with Justice Cruz but

violation of the IRCA.[44] Justice Sabio had a different interpretation. Neither did the Presiding

Justice suggest that the Rules Committee be convened because the

Justice Reyes having consulted with him, the Presiding Justice Committee then had only two members. He felt that it would be better if

referred the matter to Justice Sabio who in turn, opined that a temporary Justices Reyes and Sabio could settle it between themselves. The Presiding

restraining order is part of the injunctive relief or at least its initial action Justice was seeing the Justices practically everyday because he did not

such that he should be the one to chair the Division. [45] In his office after want these things to blow up. However, neither did it enter the mind of

that consultation with the Presiding Justice, Justice Reyes found that the the Presiding Justice that the hearing on June 23 could be reset. Had he

Division Clerk of Court had given him a copy of the cartilla just in case he known that there was a motion to inhibit Justice Roxas, he would have

would preside over the hearing. In the evening, the Presiding Justice called changed his position that it should be the Sabio group.[49]

up Justice Reyes to inform him that Justice Sabio insisted that he would
53

Also on June 20, 2008, the GSIS requested permission to At 9:50 a.m., the Office of the Division Clerk of Court called

conduct a power-point presentation during the hearing.[50] Likewise the Justice Reyes to inform him that the parties and their counsels were

SEC, through the OSG prayed that it be allowed the use of Microsoft already in the hearing room. Justice Reyes informed the caller that he

Powerpoint Application at the June 23 and 24, 2008 hearings. [51] Justice could not preside as Justice Sabio had apparently hardened his position

Roxas did not act on the motions. and he wanted to avoid an ugly spectacle. His name plate was displayed in

the hearing room but Justice Sabio moved to another hearing

On June 21, 2008, Justice Sabio came to know that it was the room.[57] Allegedly, the removal of the nameplate of Justice Reyes was the

Division chaired by Justice Reyes that would handle the case on account of talk of the Court of Appeals for weeks.[58]

the opinion of Justice Cruz.[52]

Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco entered its appearance as

In the morning of June 23, 2008, Justice Sabio consulted with counsel for Meralco.[59] At the hearing, Justice Sabio presided with Justices

Justice Martin Villarama, Jr. (Justice Villarama) who advised him, in no Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal in attendance. Justice Roxas, the ponente, did

uncertain terms, that his stand was correct and that he should remain in not ask a single question.[60] Not one of the Justices in attendance brought

the case.[53] Justice Villarama said that the case should remain with the up the motion for inhibition filed by the GSIS against Justice Roxas. [61] In

Special Ninth Division regardless of the transfer of the ponente to the open court, the parties in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 agreed to submit, within

Eighth Division because of the pending motion to lift TRO, which the 15 days, simultaneous memoranda on the injunctive relief prayed for by

Special Ninth Division should resolve following the general rule that when the petitioners, after which the application for preliminary injunction

a decision or resolution is rendered by a division, a motion for would be deemed submitted for resolution.[62]

reconsideration thereof should be acted upon by all the Members of that

division, whether regular or special, which participated in the rendition of On June 25, 2008, or about two days after the separate

the decision or resolution, except in case of death, retirement or conversations of Justice Villaram with Justices Sabio and Reyes, the

resignation of such Member.[54] Presiding Justice also consulted Justice Villarama about the letter-queries

of Justices Roxas and Reyes on which Division should resolve the matter of

That morning, Justice Roxas also consulted Justice Villarama. injunctive relief or issue the decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.[63]

The latter told the former that since there was a motion to lift the TRO,

Justice Roxas should first rule on the motion. He also advised Justice Roxas The Presiding Justice issued Office Order No. 196-08-CMV

to inhibit himself from the case, as there might be a problem (mag-inhibit reconstituting the Committee on Rules and designating Justice Cruz as the

ka baka magka-problema). Justice Roxas told Justice Villarama that he Chairperson, with Justices Rebecca De Guia-Salvador, Reyes, Hakim

would follow his suggestion.[55] Abdulwahid, and Noel G. Tijam, as members.[64] The Committee on Rules

was tasked to propose amendments to the IRCA on or before August 15,

Justice Reyes also went to the office of Justice Villarama to tell 2008 for submission and adoption of the Court en banc. (The office order

him of his strong conviction that the issuance of a TRO is not among the was later amended by Office Order No. 196-08-CMV on August 4, 2008 to

instances provided in Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI when the case shall remain with include as members Justices Mario L. Guaria III, Lucas P. Bersamin, and

those Justices who participated in the case regardless of their transfer to Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores.[65]) The Rules Committee used to be composed

other division(s). Justice Villarama told Justice Reyes that per his of only three members, namely: Justices Cruz, Abdulwahid, and Roberto

understanding and interpretation of said provision, x x x the case should Barrios, now deceased, as members, with Justice Cruz as chairperson.[66]

remain with the Special Ninth Division.[56]


54

At that point he mentioned the impasse


It was also on June 25, 2008 that Presiding Justice Vasquez between Justice Bienvenido Reyes and
issued Office Order No. 200-08-CMV stating that, in view of the retirement myself. He said: Alam naming may
problema kayo ni Justice Reyes tungkol sa
of Justices Enrique Lanzanas, Lucenito N. Tagle, Agustin S. Dizon, and chairmanship.
I was surprised how he came to know
Rodrigo Cosico, and the appointments of Justices Ruben C. Ayson and
about it, as this was an internal matter of
Edgardo L. delos Santos, the Divisions would have a new composition the Court of Appeals which only
happened fairly recently and many
effective July 4, 2008.[67] Under that office order, Justice Sabio became the associate justices of the CA were not even
Chairman of the Sixth Division, with Justice Dimaranan-Vidal as a member. aware of this. Just the same, I explained
my stand and why I could not relinquish
Justice Reyes became the Chairman of the Eighth Division, with Justices the chairmanship to Justice Reyes.
He then replied: Alam mo, Justice ang
Roxas and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. (Justice Bruselas) as members.
opinion dito ni Nonong Cruz ay i-challenge
ang stand mo. Kaya lang, mayroon
namang nagsabi na it might become
On June 29, 2008, Justice Reyes went on official leave of messy.
absence to use a business class airplane ticket to Sydney, Australia that he Then he bragged to me: Ako din ang
responsible sa pag-recommend at
had won in an APT Golf Tournament in January 2008. He was still on pag-hire ng Villaraza Law Firm.
Then he explained that he was there to
official leave when the reorganization of the Court of Appeals took place
offer me a win-win situation.
on July 4, 2008.[68] He said: Justice, mayroon kaming P10
million. Ready. Just give way to Justice
Reyes.
Then I said: Bakit ganun. Nakasisiguro sila
On July 1, 2008, Justice Roxas told Justice Sabio that he did not
sa kanya, sa akin hindi?
attend the Access to Courts (sic) summit on June 30 and July 1, 2008 at the He said: Mas komportable lang sila sa
kanya.
Court of Appeals Auditorium because he was busy with the Meralco case. At that point, I was shocked that he had a
Justice Sabio was taken aback because at that time the parties had not yet very low regard for me. He was treating
me like there was a price on my person. I
submitted their memoranda.[69] could not describe my feelings. I was
stunned. But at the same time, hindi ko
rin magawang bastusin siya because I had
That same afternoon, Mr. De Borja again called up Justice Sabio, known him since 1993 and this was the
first time that he had ever treated me like
seeking to meet with him for an important matter. Because Justice Sabio this, or shown that he believed I could be
had 6-8 p.m. classes at the Ateneo Law School, they agreed to meet after bought.
So I just told him: Francis, I cannot in
his classes but not for long because his wife and his daughter, Atty. Silvia conscience agree to that.
His answer was: Sabi ko nga sa kanila,
Jo Sabio who is an Attorney VI in the Office of the Chief Justice, [70] would
mahirap ka talaga papayag. Kasi may
be waiting for him.[71] According to Justice Sabio, the conversation at that anak iyang Opus Dei. Numerary pa.
At this point, I just wanted to leave, so I
meeting with Francis de Borja went as follows: told him I could not stay long. I told him
my wife and lawyer daughter were
17. By the time my class was finished at 8 pm, Mr. De waiting.
Borja was already waiting for me at the Lobby Lounge Even then, he was already insistent. His
of the 3rd Floor of the Ateneo Law School. His first parting words before I left were: Just
words to me were: Alam mo Justice kung sino ang think about it, Justice.[72]
kasama ko sa kotse? Si Manolo Lopez. Then he
said: Noong tinatawagan kita at sinabi kong
Mabuhay ka Justice, si Manolo Lopez ang katabi At that time, Mr. De Borja was carrying a sealed brown paper
ko noon. Nasa Amerika siya, kaya ako na lang ang
pumunta dito para makiusap sa yo. Alam mo, itong bag, which he was handling as if something important was inside.
kaso na ito is a matter of life and death for the However, Justice Sabio did not know if the bag contained P10 million. [73]
Lopezes. And alam mo naman what the Marcoses did
to them, which is being done now by the Arroyos. In his car, Justice Sabio told his wife and his daughter, Silvia Jo, about the

offer of Mr. De Borja for Meralco.[74]


55

Ateneo grade school. Mr. Lopez did not ask him (Mr. De Borja) to contact

In his affidavit submitted to the Panel of Investigators, Mr. De Justice Sabio. At a party where Mr. De Borja met Mr. Lopez, Mr. De Borja

Borja describes himself as a businessman, a deal maker, and project informed him that he knew Justice Sabio but Mr. Lopez did not say

packager. On July 1, 2008, he invited Justice Sabio for dinner to touch base anything.

and for chismis about the MERALCO-GSIS case. As the latter would have

evening classes at the Ateneo Law School, and his wife and daughter Mr. De Borja denied having offered P10 million to Justice Sabio.

would be waiting in their car after his classes, they just agreed to meet at Instead, he claimed that Justice Sabio informed him that the government

the lobby-lounge of the School. What Mr. De Borja knew about the has offered him (Justice Sabio) money and a promotion to the Supreme

MERALCO case allegedly came from news reports but he was interested in Court to favor GSIS. When Mr. De Borja asked what would it take for

the news because he is a confirmed free-enterpriser. Moreover, De Borja Justice Sabio to resist the governments offer, Justice Sabio allegedly

thought that there was [n]othing like hearing things directly from the replied: Fifty Million.[76] He alleged that it was Justice Sabio who called up

horses mouth.[75] after that July 1, 2008 meeting to feel his reaction to the P50 million

solicitation. Justice Sabio asked him: O, ano, kumusta, ano ang

When Mr. De Borja and Justice Sabio met, Mr. De Borja averred nangyayari.

he was indeed carrying a bag, not an expensive looking luggage. After

parking his car at the Rockwell basement, he took the escalator, intending Mr. De Borja admitted having given P300,000 to Justice Sabio,

to walk out of the mall. On his way, he passed by the Kenneth Cole shop some 15 years ago, as a balato because he came to value the friendship of

and, since it was still early, he looked in and saw a T-shirt he liked. He Justice Sabio that developed while the latter was helping the Roa family in

bought the T-shirt, which he brought before the Panel of Investigators in a business transaction. Mr. De Borja earned more than P25 million

the grey Kenneth Cole Reaction bag. The photographs of the bag and the although he received only P3 million as down payment out of the sale of

T-shirt costing P1,650.00 are marked Exhibits A-De Borja and A-1-De Borja 100 hectares of the Roa property. He gave the balato of 10% of the P3

and attached to the rollo of A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA, while the photograph of million to Justice Sabio in cash at the Roa-owned bank in Cagayan de Oro.

the receipt issued by the Kenneth Cole Boutique, marked as Exhibit A-2-De Since the Roas had a lot of legal problems, Justice Sabio rendered advice

Borja, shows that the purchase was made on July 1, 2008 at 19:47. He and consultation at the time that he was an RTC judge in Cagayan de Oro.

stressed the bag did not contain P10 million. After the promotion of Justice Sabio to the Court of Appeals, Mr. De Borja

invited him for dinner. They would see each other at get-togethers of the

Before the Panel, Justice Sabio claimed that the bag Mr. De Roas with whom Mr. De Borja is related, even at a gathering in the house

Borja brought during the hearing was not the bag that Mr. De Borja was of Mr. De Borjas mother.[77]

carrying when Justice Sabio saw him on July 1, 2008. What Mr. De Borja

allegedly brought with him to the lobby-lounge of On July 2, 2008, Justice Sabio that informed Presiding Justice

the Ateneo Law School was a brown bag with paper handle about 2/3 (of Vasquez that he (Justice Sabio) was offered a bribe (which he rejected) to

the Kenneth Cole bag) in size. Justice Sabio was told by the Panel that it have him ousted from the Meralco case. The news allegedly shocked the

could be the subject of rebuttal evidence but he did not present such Presiding Justice. Justice Sabio also went to Justice Villarama who was

evidence. both shocked and amused. Justice Sabio. did not tell them who the offeror

was. However, a day or two later, Justice Sabio found out that Mr. De

According to Mr. De Borja, Manolo Lopez (Mr. Lopez), the Borja had called their mutual friend, Mrs. Evelyn Clavano, who was also

owner of MERALCO whose wife was a member of Marthas Vineyard just shocked that Mr. De Borja had the gall to ask her to convince Justice Sabio

like Mr. De Borjas wife, was also an acquaintance of Mr. De Borja at the to accept the bribe.[78]
56

urgent motion for him to assume the chairmanship of the Division, which

Although Justice Sabio told the Presiding Justice that the offer shows on its face that the Urgent Motion dated July 10, 2008 was received

of P10 million to a Justice was, in the words of Justice Sabio, bastusan na by the Court of Appeals at 2:08 p.m. on July 10, 2008 and by Atty. Teresita

ito, and he knew that bribing a Justice is a criminal act, the Presiding C. Custodio on July 9, 2008. Justice Reyes expressed to the Presiding

Justice did nothing because he could not advise a fellow Justice on what to Justice his apprehension that should he fail to assume the chairmanship,

do the Justice would know what he should do. Neither did he think of he would face administrative liability for nonfeasance or dereliction of

consulting Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal on the chairmanship duty. The Presiding Justice suggested that the respondents in the case be

impasse.[79] required to comment on the Urgent Motion in a resolution to be issued by

the former 9th Division of Justice J.L. Sabio, Jr. since to allow the new

On July 3, 2008, to stop Mr. De Borja from pestering him with Division of Justice B.L. Reyes to issue the resolution x x x would render

phone calls and text messages, Justice Sabio called up Mr. De Borja who moot and academic the same motion. Justice Reyes agreed and told the

told him: Mabuti naman Justice tumawag ka, kasi malapit na ang deadline Presiding Justice that he would be sending over the records to him so that

ng submission ng memorandum. Pinag-isipan mo bang mabuti ang offer the Presiding Justice could place a note thereon as to what had been

namin? Kasi sayang din kung di mo tatanggapin, Kasi kahit aabot itong agreed upon. However, the records of the case did not reach the Presiding

kaso sa Supreme Court, matatalo ka din. Sayang lang yung P10 million. Justice.[80]

Baka sisihin ka pa ng mga anak mo. Shocked by what he heard, Justice

Sabio said No. Since Mr. De Borja did not seem to understand why he kept For Justice Roxas, the July 4, 2008 reorganization was

saying No, Justice Sabio explained to him: If I accept that, my conscience mandatory and the Meralco case followed him as its ponente to the Eighth

will bother me forever. How can I face my wife and two daughters? One a Division. By the reorganization, Justice Sabio was moved from the

lawyer and the other a Numerary member of Opus Dei? And besides, how disbanded Special Ninth Division to the Sixth Division, as the

can I reconcile my being a member of PHILJAs Ethics and Judicial Conduct reorganization did not spare any Justice.[81] Moreover, the IRCA does not

Department; being a lecturer of the MCLE; and being a pre-bar reviewer of require that the Justices that issued a TRO be the same Justices that will

the Ateneo Law School on Legal and Judicial Ethics? Mr. De Borja render the decision.[82] This is because the TRO does not appear in Section

retorted: Wala naman kaming pinapagawa sa iyo na illegal, eh. Then he 2 (d), Rule VII of the IRCA. Accordingly, only the issuance of a preliminary

added: You know Justice, after two or three weeks, makakalimutan na ito injunction could be an exception to the July 4, 2008 reorganization of the

ng mga tao. Meron naman diyang mga Atenista na tumatanggap. Justice CA.[83] He believes the IRCA does not require that the Justices who heard

Sabio said: I dont know about them, but I am different. Mr. De Borja then the case should also decide it because the CA is a court of record and

said: Well, if you will not accept, we will be forced to look for other Justices may rely on the transcript of stenographic notes. [84] And so, once

ways. To this, Justice Sabio said: But they will have to contend with me. In the three Justices have signed the decision, the ponente has the pressing

parting, Mr. De Borja said: Justice, no matter what, saludo talaga ako sa duty to promulgate the decision.[85]

iyo.

Since July 4, 2008, Justice Bruselas alleged that he acted on all

Mr. De Borja admitted that Justice Sabio called him up, but the ponencias of Justices Reyes and Roxas, just as they had acted on

denied the above conversation with Justice Sabio. his ponencias.[86]

On July 4, 2008, the reorganization of the Court of Appeals On July 7, 2008, the GSIS filed its memorandum.

became effective and brought Justices Reyes, Roxas and Bruselas to the

Eighth Division. Justice Reyes went to see the Presiding Justice about the
57

dignify such a foolish motion? They should file a


On or about July 8, 2008, Atty. Silvia Sabio, to help her father, motion for me to inhibit or recuse myself.
sought the advice of Atty. Jose Midas Marquez (Atty. Marquez) regarding → Why is it that Meralco actively participated in the
hearing on the 23rd and never raised any
the bribery attempt. Atty. Marquez advised that Justice Sabio should write question on the alleged irregularity of my having
presided over the hearing?
the Chief Justice about the incident, detailing not only the bribery attempt
→ Why do you insist on assuming the case? Are you
but all that has transpired relative to the chairmanship issue. Atty. Silvia not aware that several days after the issuance of
the TRO, respondents filed a motion for
Sabio immediately called her father and relayed Atty. Marquezs advice. inhibition of Justice Vicente Roxas and a motion
Later that date, Justice Sabio handed his daughter, Silvia, a handwritten to lift the TRO. Who then had the right to resolve
such motion?
letter for her to deliver to the Chief Justice. [87] The handwritten letter, in → Under the circumstances, anong iisipin ko sa yo?
Ano ang tingin ko ngayon sa iyo?
essence, requested permission for Justice Sabio to unburden himself
His feeble answer was: you. He then said he did not
before the Chief Justice on the Meralco case.[88] know of those pending motions. (Incidentally, these
motions were never resolved.) He also said, wala
talaga akong interest dito kundi ayaw ko lang ma
At around 2:30 p.m., Justice Reyes went to see Justice Sabio. charge ng non-feasance for failing to do my duty.
I answered him: Malayo yung non-feasance. Hindi ito
The conversation between them, as recalled by Justice Sabio, was as nonfeasance. I taught the subject for many years and
this is not one of them.
follows:
So I told him, I have made my decision on the
As soon as he came in, I said: Why did you stab me
matter. Bahala ka na. Then I stood up to show him to
behind my back? He said, Why, what did I do? I asked
the door. He was silent after that and before he left,
him Why is it that you have to resort to that strategy
he put his arm around me.
of seeking the opinion of Ed Cruz, in his personal
capacity, when we could have discussed the matter
with the PJ?
I reminded him that we were seated three times near For his part, Justice Reyes kept on repeating: Wala talaga ako dito, wala
each other on different occasions only recently and
akong interest kung di yun lang hindi ako ma non-feasance. Justice Sabio
he never mentioned to me about the plan to oust
me. thought otherwise.
He said: Perhaps that was my fault. I should have
talked to you.
I told him, that all the while I thought we were friends. Meanwhile, Justice Roxas brought to the office of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal
Why did you have to do these things behind my back
and not discuss the matter with me face to face? the final decision on the MERALCO case bearing his signature, which he
Then he said it just came about due to the urgent
gave to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for concurrence/dissent. According to
motion; that he was afraid Meralco would take action
against him for nonfeasance for not doing his job. Justice Dimaranan-Vidal, Justice Roxas explained to her the rationale for
It was then that I said: Are you aware that I was
offered 10M for me to give way to you? his conclusion. Justice Roxas went out for a while and returned with an
I further asked him the following: In the first place, expensive looking travelling bag from where he pulled out the purported
how was the Meralco emissary able to know that
there was an impasse between you and me when that final decision. Before the close of office hours, Justice Roxas returned to
was supposed to be an internal matter?
the chambers of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal to check if he (Justice Roxas) had
→ If you will now insist on assuming the chairmanship
after I told you of the 10Million offer, what will I signed his decision. When she replied that yes, he had signed it, Justice
think of you?
→ Are you a Trojan horse? Can you blame me if I Roxas said he would pick it up the next day.[89]
think you are part of this whole scheme or
shenanigan?
→ Does not the timing alone stink of corruption? Justice Dimaranan-Vidal signed the decision notwithstanding that on July 8,
After they failed to convince me of their offer,
2008 the Court of Appeals had been reorganized because she believed
now they will use you to oust me? Is it because
they are certain of your loyalty and they are that the Special Ninth Division was still existing on account of its having
uncertain with mine?
→ And why did they file this stupid urgent motion to issued the TRO.[90] She also concurred with the portion of the decision
assume? In my nine years in this court, I have recommending administrative sanctions against the GSIS lawyers because
never seen such an animal as this. This is a
cowardly act, and whoever advised this stupid she believed the OSG or the OGCC should have appeared for the GSIS.[91]
motion is also stupid. Why do you have to
58

6. However, when the parties were directed to


transfer to another Room of the Court of Appeals for
Also late that day, Justice Villarama told Justice Sabio that he had advised the oral arguments in the instant case, petitioners
saw that the name plates on the table for the justices
Justice Reyes to lay off the case and allow Justice Sabio to continue and to included that of Justice Sabio, Jr., together with that
(sic) of Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal.
resolve the urgent motion for Justice Reyes to assume the chairmanship.
Thereafter, Justice Sabio presided over the oral
Justice Villarama recalled that Justice Reyes repeatedly said: Wala talaga arguments as Chairman of the Special Ninth Division
of the Honorable Court. Petitioners were, thus, of the
ako dito Jun, Wala akong personal interest dito. impression that the regular Chairman of the Ninth
Division, Justice Reyes, was still on temporary leave
of absence.
After a careful and judicious study of the more than 56-page
7. Subsequently, it has come to the attention of the
decision of Justice Roxas, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal signed it. True to his
petitioners that Justice Reyes has already returned
word, Justice Roxas personally picked up the decision that day purportedly from his temporary leave of absence and has
resumed his duties as Chairman of the Ninth Division
for the action of the Acting Chairman, Justice Sabio, who was then on of the Honorable Court.
leave of absence until July 11, 200.[92] Notwithstanding the fact that the
8. Under the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals,
parties had not submitted their respective memoranda, Justice Justice Sabio, Jr. should now refrain from acting as
the chairman of the Division hearing the instant case
Dimaranan-Vidal signed the convincing ponencia, including three copies of
as he is already disqualified from acting as such upon
the signature page, because Justice Roxas was insistent of the urgency of the return of Justice Reyes.

the signing of the decision due to the impending lapse of the TRO on July 8.1. With due respect, Justice
Reyes cannot shirk from his bounden
29, 2008.[93] Justice Sabio thought otherwise.[94]
judicial responsibility of performing his
duties and functions as Chairman of the
Ninth Division of the Honorable Court.
However, Justice Roxas denied that the decision he gave to 8.2. Specifically, under Section 3
Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was the final decision. He denied that he gave it (d), Rule IV of the 2002 Internal Rules of
the Court of Appeals, a case can remain
to her for her signature. He said it was only for her to read because she with the justices who participated therein
only when any of the following actions
asked to read it. He said it was a mere draft as everything was unofficial
have been taken: (a) giving due course;
there was no rollo or logbook with it, it was not placed in an envelope, and (b) granting of a writ of preliminary
injunction; (c) granting of a new trial; or (d)
it did not have the special seal of Justice Roxas. It allegedly was thrown in granting of execution pending appeal:
the garbage can. x x x x x x x x x.

9. None of the foregoing instances apply


with respect to Justice Sabio, Jr.s continuing hold on
On July 9, 2008, the OSG filed the memorandum for the SEC.
the case. Although Justice Sabio, Jr. was one of the
Justices who issued the temporary restraining order
in favour of the petitioners in the instant case, this
On July 10, 2008, Meralco filed an urgent motion praying that circumstance is not among the grounds as
Justice Reyes assume the chairmanship of the Division, [95] alleging the above-quoted, when a justice of the Court of Appeals
may remain in the Division.
reasons for the urgent motion as follows:
5. At the scheduled oral arguments on 23 June 10. As above-quoted, the rule is categorical
2008 in the instant case, the parties were first that it is not the grant of a temporary restraining
directed to one of the Hearing Rooms of the Court of order but rather the grant of a writ of preliminary
Appeals. At the said room, the name plate of Justice injunction that sanctions a justices remaining with
Reyes was already placed on the table for the justices. the Division. Thus, the continued participation of
Thus, petitioners were of the impression that the Justice Sabio, Jr., in the instant case, considering the
leave of absence of Justice Reyes was over and that clear Rules of the Honorable Court, is not only
he would be presiding over the oral arguments as irregular but may lead one to conclude that he is
Chairman of the Ninth Division of the Honorable exhibiting undue interest in the instant case.
Court.
59

On this day, Justice Reyes reported back to work after his trip Reyes at the end of the decision pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the

to Australia.[96] Constitution.[102] Justice Reyes denied having seen it or having authorized

its transcription. Justice Bruselas did not sign any transcript of the

On July 11, 2008, Justice Sabio was on leave when Justice Roxas deliberation as he was not aware that a transcript was being taken. There

called him up for a meeting to discuss the case. Justice Sabio told him that was no stenographer present, as only the three of them, Justices Reyes,

he needed ample time to read the memoranda of the parties. Justice Roxas, and Bruselas were present at the deliberation. Neither was there a

Roxas promised to send to Justice Sabio the memoranda immediately.[97] recording machine. Justice Roxas admittedly prepared the transcript from

memory.[103]

At 4:00 p.m., Justice Reyes received from the Eighth Division

Clerk of Court a copy of Meralcos Urgent Motion for him to assume the The statement attributed to Justice Reyes in the transcript that

chairmanship of the Ninth Division. there were previous deliberations were really meetings, which they had

twice, in the office of Justice Reyes, according to Justice Roxas.[104]

On Monday, July 14, 2008 at the flag ceremony, Justice Sabio

requested Justice Roxas to meet with him as he had by then read the On July 15, 2008, when she felt that the timing was right, Atty.

memoranda of the parties. Justice Roxas initially agreed to the meeting Silvia Sabio testified that she handed her fathers letter to the Chief Justice

but he later informed Justice Sabio that he had another matter to attend through his private secretary, Ms. Jasmin Mateo.[105] A few days later,

to; neither was he available in the afternoon. Justice Roxas had become however, Presiding Justice Vasquez told Justice Sabio that the Chief Justice

scarce. Justice Sabio learned that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was also looking would no longer meet with him, as the Presiding Justice had apprised the

for Justice Roxas.[98] Chief Justice about the matter.[106]

Justice Sabio prepared a resolution on the motion for the According to Justice Reyes, at 2:00 p.m. that day, the Office of

reconsideration of the TRO and informed Justices Roxas and the Presiding Justice informed him that Justice Sabio was waiting for him

Dimaranan-Vidal that he wanted to discuss it with them. The resolution he in his office. As soon as Justice Reyes was seated, Justice Sabio berated

prepared never saw light.[99] him and accused him of orchestrating matters. Justice Sabio told him that

an emissary of MERALCO had offered him P10 million to drop off the case,

At 10 a.m., Justice Roxas, with his messenger, brought hence, he asked that if he was offered that much, how much could have

the rollo of CA G.R. SP No. 103692 to Justice Reyes, and told the latter that been offered to the principals?[107]

he and Justice Bruselas would be coming over to deliberate on the case.

Ten minutes later, the Eighth Division deliberated on the case.[100] After a On July 17, 2008, Justice Reyes went back to the office of the

cursory examination of the rollo, Justice Reyes found that the decision had Presiding Justice and informed him of the episode in the office of Justice

been signed by Justices Roxas and Bruselas but Justice Reyes asked for Sabio. He also went to ask Justice Villarama for his opinion as to who was

more time to study the case.[101] the rightful claimant to the chairmanship of the Division that should

decide the Meralco case. Justice Villarama allegedly replied that they were

A transcript of the Final Deliberation on July 14, 2008 is both correct.

attached to page 1926 of Volume III of the rollo of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692

and marked as Exh. 2- Roxas on page 279 of the rollo of A.M. No. On July 18, 2008, at the pre-launching meeting for the CA-CMIS,

08-8-11-CA. According to Justice Roxas, it was he who prepared the Justice Villarama had a brief chat with Justice Bruselas. The former told

transcript from memory to lend credence to the certification of Justice the latter that both Justices Sabio and Reyes are correct in the sense that
60

one (1) [of] them can properly assume chairmanship either under the

exception provided in Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI of the 2002 IRCA depending on Justice Reyes expressed doubts that the suggestion was most

the final disposition of the prayer for injunctive relief, or pursuant to the prudent, as the dispute revolves around the correct interpretation of the

general rule enshrined in Sec. 7 (b), Rule VI.[108] IRCA. He believed that since the question was purely internal, the CA

should not seek enlightenment from the litigants for it would only be

On July 21, 2008, Justice Roxas personally filed with the construed against its competence. He shared Justice Cruzs and Roxas

Presiding Justice[109] an Interpleader Petition[110] praying that Presiding interpretation of the IRCA. Hence, he urged the Presiding Justice to decide

Justice Vasquez decide which division Chairman (Justice Sabios Former the matter; otherwise, he would interpret the rules according to his best

Special 9th Division or Justice B. L. Reyes 8th Division) should sign the lights and act accordingly.

Preliminary Injunction or Decision.[111] Justice Roxas averred that [t]he

impasse between two Chairmen from two Divisions has to be resolved On July 23, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez asked for the rollo of

much earlier than July 30, 2008 because July 30, 2008 is the expiration CA G. R. No. SP No. 103692 so he could properly submit the requested

date of the TRO issued by the Special 9th Division (signed by Justice Jose L. opinion. It was then that he came across the unresolved motion praying

Sabio, Jr., Justice Vicente Q. Roxas [ponente] and Justice Myrna for the inhibition of Justice Roxas and the pending urgent motion to lift

Dimaranan-Vidal). He opined that the two Chairpersons differed in the the TRO or to hold its enforcement in abeyance. The Presiding Justice

interpretation of Sections 1 and 2 (d) in relation to Section 5 of Rule VI on considered the latter as a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution

Process of Adjudication of the Internal Rules of the Court of issuing the TRO.[117]

Appeals (IRCA).[112] His stand was that the IRCA should be strictly applied

because [w]hen the provisions are clear, there is no room for Meanwhile, at noon of that day, as Justice Reyes had not yet

interpretation. received any reaction from the Presiding Justice, he signed the decision as

well as the Certification. It was promulgated on the same day.

Justice Roxas endorsed his Interpleader Petition to Justice Reyes

for his signature or dissent to the finalized MERALCO Decision, which had The decision was promulgated without waiting for the Presiding

been in Justice Reyes possession since July 14, 2008.[113] He also gave Justices opinion on whether it was the Eighth or Special Ninth Division that

the rollo of the case to Justice Reyes.[114] should decide the case. Justice Roxas alleged that he did not expect the

Presiding Justice Vasquez allegedly told Justice Roxas that as Presiding Justice to answer or resolve the matter anyway.

Presiding Justice, he had no authority to rule on the Interpleader Petition,

which is not an administrative concern over which the Presiding Justice On July 24, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez issued his reply to

must intervene. Nevertheless, to avoid further discussion, the Presiding Justice Reyes letter and Justice Roxas Interpleader-Petition. The Presiding

Justice told Justice Roxas that he would study the matter.[115] Justice claimed having doubts on whether he possessed the authority to

decide the subject conflict simply because under the IRCA, the Presiding

On July 22, 2008, Justice Reyes wrote the Presiding Justice a Justice has control and supervision only over administrative affairs of the

letter on what was discussed between us last 17 July 2008 at around 3:30 Court. The controversy was certainly not an administrative matter but

p.m.[116] Apparently the Presiding Justice had suggested to endorse the Section 11 of Rule VIII of the IRCA provides that the Presiding Justice has

case and have the Special Ninth Division direct the respondents to file the authority to act on any matter not covered by the Rules although such

their simultaneous comments on the petitioners Urgent Motion (For action should be reported to the Court en banc.

Honorable BIENVENIDO L. REYES to Assume Chairmanship of the Division

in the Instant Case) dated 10 July 2008.


61

The Presiding Justice expressed in his letter the view that the would not know, his purported final Decision that he had asked her to sign

(Special Ninth) Division that issued the temporary restraining order should and which she signed after a judicious study of the records

continue resolving the injunctive prayer in the petition because it was the and rollo thereof. Justice Roxas gave the lame excuse that he had to

Division that issued the Resolution granting the TRO and setting the incorporate therein some ten pages which he forgot to include in his

hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary Decision.

injunction, aside from the fact that the parties did not contest the

authority of Justice Sabio as Division Chairman at the time, although Justice Dimaranan-Vidal expressed surprise and consternation

Justice Reyes had reported back to work. Moreover, the motion for when she learned on even date that a Decision in the case had been

inhibition and the urgent motion to lift the TRO have a bearing on the promulgated on July 23, 2008 by the Eighth Division chaired by Justice

application of Section 2 of Rule VI of the IRCA, especially because Section Reyes, with Justices Roxas and Bruselas as members. She said:
My deepest regret is that the undersigned
7 (b) of Rule VI[118] points to the retention of the case by the Special Ninth who already signed the supposed final draft of the
Division. Furthermore, the new Division headed by Justice Reyes may not Decision in the instant case which bears the signature
of the ponente, was not even informed by the latter
be allowed to resolve the pending incidents because two of its members, as a judicial courtesy at least, of the hurried easing
out of the undersigned from the case. This inevitably
Justices Reyes and Bruselas did not participate in the hearing on June 23,
posed even to an unprejudiced mind the following
2008. He did not believe that Justice Reyes would be charged with questions: under what basis was the case suddenly
transferred to the 8th Division and why is it that
dereliction of duty should he not assume the chairmanship. The Presiding neither the undersigned nor the Acting Chairman
Justice ended his letter with the hope that the matter would be laid to rest Justice SABIO, of the Special 9th Division not
consulted thereof? and, foremost, what happened to
and that whoever would be dissatisfied with its outcome may elevate the the Decision which the undersigned signed after
devoting her precious time and effort in carefully and
matter to the Supreme Court.
laboriously examining the voluminous records
and rollo of the case?

At 2:00 p.m. that day, Justice Sabio informed the Presiding Sad to say the circumstance obtaining herein
Justice that a decision had been promulgated in the Meralco case the constitute a flagrant violation of the provision of
Canon 5 particularly Sections 2 and 3 thereof of the
previous day. The Presiding Justice was surprised because Justices Roxas New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary (A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC).
and Reyes had asked him to resolve the impasse on the Division

chairmanship. Upon inquiry, the Presiding Justice found that the decision
On July 25, 2008, Justice Bruselas wrote the Presiding Justice a
had indeed been promulgated at 4:10 p.m. on July 23, 2008.[119]
letter,[122] which was prompted by a disturbing telephone call he received

from Justice Sabio in the morning of July 24, 2008. Justice Sabio informed
It was also on July 24, 2008 that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal
Justice Bruselas that, after the injunction hearing on June 23, 2008,
received a call from Justice Sabio, informing her that Meralco had offered
Meralco offered him P10 Million to either favor them or yield the chair to
him a bribe of P10 million in exchange for his voluntary stepping out from
Justice Reyes. Justice Sabio told Justice Bruselas that he had informed the
the Meralco case in order to give way to Justice B. L. Reyes, and that the
Presiding Justice of the bribery incident and that he was disgusted over
decision in the Meralco case had been promulgated by the Eighth
the turn of events because he should have remained chair of the Special
Division.[120] Shocked that Justice Roxas did not inform her as a matter of
9th Division that issued the TRO on the case. Justice Bruselas informed
judicial courtesy of the scrapping of the decision which she signed on July
Justice Sabio that it was the first time that he heard of the matter and that
8, 2008, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal wrote a letter to the Presiding Justice
he had participated in the deliberation on the case and concurred with
dated July 24, 2008,[121] bringing to his attention the apparent and obvious
the ponencia of Justice Roxas without such information ever being taken
irregularities in the handing of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692, and complaining
up. Justice Sabio told Justice Bruselas that he would not leave the matter
about Justice Roxas lack of judicial courtesy in discarding for reasons she
as it is because he would bring it up in the open, to media, etc. Justice
62

Sabio asked Justice Bruselas that if P10M was offered to him, how much collect the personal reaction, comment or view of the Justices on the

would have been offered to the others. matter.[125]

Troubled by the information, Justice Bruselas went to the In its closed door en banc session on July 31, 2008, after a torrid

Presiding Justice where Justice Dimaranan-Vidal, who had received the discussion of all the issues, the Court of Appeals decided, as follows:
(1) Refer the propriety of the actions of
same call from Justice Sabio, joined them. After that meeting with the the Justices concerned to the Supreme Court,
Presiding Justice, Justice Bruselas called up Justice Reyes who confirmed through the Office of the Court Administrator;

that he had heard about the bribe offer but that he did not reveal the (2) Leave the matter regarding the validity
of the decision rendered in the above-entitled case to
same to Justice Bruselas as it escaped his mind. The effort of Justice
the parties for them to take whatever legal steps they
Bruselas to get in touch with Justice Roxas proved futile. may deem appropriate in the usual course of
procedure; and

Allegedly prompted by the manner by which the decision x x x was arrived (3) Refer the conflict in the interpretation
of our Internal Rules to the Committee on Rules of
at, and how the decision was promulgated, and that unless an immediate the Court of Appeals in order to prevent the
recurrence of a similar situation.[126]
and thorough investigation thereon be undertaken by the Court of

Appeals, both the individual and institutional integrity of the justices and
After the en banc session, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal expressed in
of the Court of Appeals would undoubtedly be tarnished, Justice Sabio
a letter for the Presiding Justice[127] her strong reaction to the paper of
wrote on July 26, 2008 a letter[123] to the Presiding Justice, which
Justice Roxas falsely imputing to her grandstanding before the media or
precipitated the present investigation.
resorting to media-recourse instead of just filing an administrative

complaint before the Supreme Court, and taking exception to the equally
On July 28, 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer carried an
outrageous, revolting and baseless accusation that she is allegedly clinging
account of the letter of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal to the Presiding Justice,
to the case. She asserted that she never leaked a copy of her letter to
without her knowing how her confidential letter to the Presiding Justice
the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as her letter was only intended to bring to
leaked out.[124]
the attention of the Presiding Justice the impropriety done by Justice

Roxas in the MERALCO case that resulted in her having been eased out of
Before Justice Bruselas delivered his letter to the Presiding
the case notwithstanding that she carefully and judiciously examined
Justice, he received a copy of the letter of Justice Sabio and, through a
the ponencia with more than 50 pages, after devoting her precious time to
telephone call, reiterated his full agreement with his desired investigation.
such study, and affixing her concurrence thereto. Justice Dimaranan-Vidal

reiterated her prayer for an investigation of the matter.


The Presiding Justice called the Court of Appeals to an

emergency en banc session at 10:00 a.m. on July 31, 2008 at the Session
Meanwhile, on that day, Mr. De Borja, executed an affidavit
Hall to elicit the reaction of the Court and on the possible effect on the
admitting that he was the businessman referred to by Justice Sabio, Jr. in
decision rendered. The session was also called in order that the
his letter to Presiding Justice Vasquez. Mr. De Borja publicly claimed
predicament experienced in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 could be deliberated
having learned from the news that Justice Sabio was one of the justices in
upon by the Committee on Rules with a view to amending the IRCA on the
the case arising from the order of the SEC to nullify the proxies issued in
reorganization of the Court of Appeals. The Executive Justices of Cebu and
favor of the MERALCO management. He also alleged that Justice Sabio
Cagayan de Oro, Justices Antonio L. Villamor and Romulo V. Borja,
told him about the blandishments coming from the government side, that
respectively, were instructed to attend the en banc session to report to
he was being offered a promotion to the Supreme Court and money to
the other Justices in their stations what transpired at the session, and to
favor the GSIS position. Mr. De Borja asked Justice Sabio, Jr., What would
63

it take for you to resist the governments offer? and that the response of of bribe disclosed respectively by Mr. Justice Jose Sabio and Mr. Francis de

Justice Sabio, Jr. was Fifty Million. Borja.

Justice Sabio asked permission from the Presiding Justice to The Panel of Investigators held hearings from August

hold a press conference the next day on account of the publicized affidavit 8 to 23, 2008. Affidavits were submitted to the Panel to serve as

of Mr. De Borja. The Presiding Justice told Justice Sabio that this is a the parties direct testimonies upon which they were

matter of self-defense on his part, hence, the Presiding Justice cannot stop cross-examined by the Panel and the other parties.

him from doing so.

On September 4, 2008, the Panel of Investigators

Justice Sabio issued a signed statement as an initial response to submitted its Report of even date to the Court en banc.

the affidavit of Mr. De Borja, vehemently denying that Mr. De Borja asked

him what it would take for him to inhibit from the case, and that he never According to the Report, the investigation has revealed

asked for money from him.[128] irregularities and improprieties committed by the Court of Appeals

Justices in connection with the MERALCO case, CA-G.R. SP No. 103692,

On August 1, 2008, Justice Sabio called the press conference to which are detrimental to the proper administration of justice and

read a signed statement entitled My Reaction to Mr. Francis De Borjas damaging to the institutional integrity, independence and public respect

Affidavit dated July 31, 2008 on the Meralco-SEC Case. for the Judiciary.[130]

Findings regarding
Expressing anger at the filthy lie of Mr. De Borja, Justice Sabio the conduct of
decided to narrate almost word for word his conversations with Mr. De Associate Justice
Vicente Q. Roxas
Borja.
Justice Roxas
inexcusably failed to
In an affidavit dated August 1, 2008, which Evelyn
act on a number of
Clavano[129] executed in Davao City, she stated that - motions of the parties
prior to the
Francis de Borja requested me if I have the cell phone promulgation of the
number of Justice Jose L. Sabio Jr. He related that Decision.
because he was very close to the Lopezes of Meralco,
he wanted to call him regarding his possible
inhibition in a certain Meralco case, wherein he was As found by the Panel of Investigators, several motions were
designated as a substitute member of the division
vice a justice who was temporarily on leave by reason not resolved or acted upon by Justice Roxas. These were enumerated in
of sickness. He further said that the Lopezes desire
the Report as follows:
that the same Justice, with whom the Lopezes are
more comfortable, to sit in the division.
(a) The Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Defer
Action on any Incident of the Petition
So, I gave Francis de Borja the cell phone number of
Pending Resolution of Re-Raffle filed by
Justice Jose. L. Sabio, Jr. through business card.
GSIS on May 29, 2008 soon after this case
was filed on that date (Rollo, pp. 185-186).
x x x x x x x x x.
b) GSIS Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Inhibit Justice
Roxas, which was filed on May 30, 2008. As
On August 4, 2008, the Supreme Court constituted the Panel of the motion raised a prejudicial question,
Justice Roxas should have resolved it
Investigators to investigate (1) alleged improprieties of the actions of the
before issuing the TRO sought by Meralco,
Justices of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 (Antonio V. but he never did (Rollo, pp. 220-223).

Rosete, et al. v. SEC, et al.) and (2) the alleged rejected offer or solicitation
64

(c) GSIS Motion to Lift TRO which was filed on May 30,
2008 (Rollo, pp. 187-210) Even Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial

Conduct mandates that [j]udges shall perform all judicial duties, including
(d) GSIS Motion filed on June 18, 2008, praying that it
be allowed to use Power point at the the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable
hearing on June 23, 2008 . On June 20,
promptness. Thus, it has become well-settled in jurisprudence that even
2008, the SEC filed a similar motion. Both
motions were not acted upon by Justice just undue delay in the resolving pending motions or incidents within the
Roxas (Rollo, pp. 593-621,)
reglamentary period fixed by law is not excusable and constitutes gross
(e) Meralcos Motion for Extension of Time to file inefficiency.[132] With more reason, this Court finds suspicious and
their Consolidated Memorandum of
Authorities and Reply to Repondent SECs reprehensible the failure of Justice Roxas to act at all on pending motions
Comment filed on June 25, 2008 (Rollo, pp.
and incidents in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.
981- 987).
(f) Meralcos Urgent Motion for Honorable Justice
Bienvenido L. Reyes to Assume
Chairmanship of the Division in the Instant This is in fact not the first time that Justice Roxas has been cited
Case, which was filed on July 10, administratively for failure to resolve pending incidents in cases assigned
2008 (Rollo, pp. 1262-1274).[131] (emphasis
supplied) to him. In Orocio v. Roxas, A.M. Nos. 07-115-CA-J and CA-08-46-J, this

Court imposed a P15,000 fine on Justice Roxas for unwarranted delay in

We agree with the Panel of Investigators that by ignoring or refusing to act resolving two motions for reconsideration in another case and sternly

on the motion for his inhibition, Justice Roxas violated Rule V, Section 3, warned him that future commission any act of impropriety will be dealt

third paragraph of the IRCA, which provides that he should resolve such with more severely.

motion in writing with copies furnished the other members of the Division,
Justice Roxas is guilty
the Presiding Justice, the Raffle Committee, and the Division Clerk of Court. of gross dishonesty.
The pertinent portion of the said provision states:

Sec. 3. Motion to Inhibit a Division or a Justice. x x x Apart from Justice Roxas inexcusable inaction on pending
xxx incidents in the Meralco case, the Panel of Investigators found that he had
A motion for voluntary inhibition of a Justice shall be
acted upon by him alone in writing, copy furnished been dishonest and untruthful in relation to the said case. The Court
the other members of the Division, the Presiding
adopts the following findings of the Panel:
Justice, the Raffle Committee and the Division Clerk
of Court.
2. Justice Roxas was dishonest and untruthful.

(a) Justice Roxas admitted that the


This Court cannot agree with Justice Roxas proposition that the issuance Transcript of Final Decision, which is supposed to be a
transcript of the deliberation on July 14, 2008 of the
of the TRO constitutes an implied denial of the motion to inhibit since
Eighth Division on the final decision in the Meralco
under IRCA the obligation of the Justice to act on such a motion is case was not a true transcript of the minutes of the
meeting, but purely a transcript from memory
mandatory.
because no notes were taken, no stenographer was
present, and no tape recorder was used. It was in fact
a drama which he composed from my recollection to
Furthermore, the Court finds well-taken the Panels finding that comply with Sec. 9, Rule VI of the IRCA which
requires that minutes of the meeting, i.e.,
Justice Roxas failure to act on the other motions of the parties violated
deliberation, shall be kept. The so-called transcript is
Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the 1989 Code of Judicial Conduct (which applies in a a fabrication designed to deceive that there had
been compliance when actually there was none --
suppletory manner to the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine with the prerequisite of the IRCA that consultation
Judiciary) providing that: and/or deliberation among the members of the
Rule 3.05. A judge shall dispose of the courts business promptly Division must precede the drafting of a decision.
and decide cases within the required periods. (b) The statement in the transcript that it
was a recap from our previous deliberations was
65

another falsehood because there had been no service upon the commission of the first offense. On
previous deliberations. numerous occasions, the Court did not hesitate to
impose such extreme punishment on employees
(c) The reference in the transcript to a Final found guilty of these offenses.
Report of Justice Roxas was also false for Justice
Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave
Roxas admittedly did not submit a report as ponente,
offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from
as required by Sec. 9, Rule VI of the IRCA, for
the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits
deliberation by the Eighth Division on July 14,
except accrued leave credits, and perpetual
2008. The Final Report which he submitted was
disqualification for re-employment in the
admittedly the decision itself which he and Justice
government service. Dishonesty has no place in the
Bruselas, Jr. had already signed. The Final Report was
judiciary.[134]
merely the title of the page that served as the cover
of the decision. Hence, Justice B.L. Reyes supposed
closing statement in the transcript that -- We have Justice Roxas showed
covered every angle of the Final Report of Justice a lack of courtesy and
Roxas extensively is also false. Justice B.L. Reyes respect for his
testified at the investigation that he had not seen the colleagues in the
transcript until the copy in the rollo was shown to Court of Appeals.
him by Justice Callejo, Sr. during his
cross-examination of Justice B. L. Reyes on August 26,
2008.
The Panel of Investigators reported on this matter in this wise:
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
(e) Justice Roxas testimony that when he (f) Justice Roxas was thoughtlessly
brought the Meralco decision to Justice disrespectful to a colleague and a lady at that, when
Dimaranan-Vidal on July 8, 2008, it was only a draft he unceremoniously discarded, shredded, and
for her to read, because she asked if she may read it, burned the decision that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal had
not for her to sign it, is completely false. This signed, because he allegedly forgot that Justice
testimony was labelled by Justice Dimaranan-Vidal Dimaranan-Vidal and Justice Sabio, Jr. had already
as a lie, and she called Justice Roxas a liar, because been reorganized out of the Special Ninth Division as
she did not ask to borrow the decision for her reading of July 4, 2008, hence, out of the Meralco case. Out
pleasure, but Justice Roxas personally brought it to of courtesy, he should have explained to Justice
her office for her to sign as a member of the Special Dimaranan-Vidal the reason why he was not
Ninth Division. After poring over it the whole night, promulgating the decision which she had signed.
she signed it, as well as three (3) additional signature
pages which were to be attached to three (3) other The truth, it seems, is that Justice Roxas,
copies of the decision.[133] who had consulted Justice Villarama, Jr. on which
Division should decide the Meralco case, may have
xxx xxx xxx been convinced that it should be the Special Ninth
Division. That is why he brought his decision to
Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for her signature. However,
Indeed, the fabrications and falsehoods that Justice Roxas blithely somehow, somewhere, during the night, while Justice
proferred to the Panel in explanation/justification of his questioned Dimaranan-Vidal was patiently poring over his
decision, Justice Roxas was persuaded to bring his
handling of the Meralco case demonstrated that he lacks the qualification
decision to the Eighth Division (to which he and
of integrity and honesty expected of a magistrate and a member of the Justice B.L. Reyes belong after the July 4, 2008
appellate court. reorganization of the Court), it may have dawned on
him that if the case remained in the Special Ninth
Division, Justice Sabio, Jr. might dissent, requiring the
Presiding Justice to constitute a special division of
Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, dishonesty is considered a serious
five. If he (Justice Roxas) should fail to obtain a
offense that may warrant the penalty of dismissal from the service. Under majority of the Division on his side, he would lose
his ponencia; someone else would become
the Rule IV, Section 52 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the the ponente (perhaps Justice Sabio, Jr.). That may be
Civil Service, dishonesty is likewise considered a grave offense and the reason why he junked Justices Sabio, Jr. and
Dimaranan-Vidal (even if the latter concurred with his
warrants the penalty of dismissal even for the first offense. In the past, the decision) because he was unsure of Justice Sabio, Jr.
He chose to cast his lot with his companions in the
Court has had the occasion to rule that:
Eighth Division -- Justices B. L. Reyes and Bruselas, Jr.
dishonesty and falsification are considered grave -- with whom he and Meralco were comfortable.
offenses warranting the penalty of dismissal from
66

(g) J. Roxas was disrespectful to Presiding


Justice Vasquez, Jr. whose ruling on his Interpleader (d) Although the parties were given 15
Petition he sought on July 21, 2008, but he days after the hearing on June 23, 2008, or up to July
promulgated the Meralco decision two (2) days 8, 2008, to simultaneously submit their memoranda
later, on July 23, 2008, without waiting for Presiding and memoranda of authorities, and actually
Justice Vasquez, Jr.s ruling which came out on July 24, submitted:
2008, only three (3) days after the Interpleader On July 7, 2008 GSISs 39 page-
Petition was filed by him, and two (2) days after memorandum
Justice B.L. Reyes also reiterated in writing his On July 9, 2008 SECs 62
request for Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. to resolve page-memorandum
the same chairmanship issue raised in the On July 10, 2008 MERALCOs 555 page-
Interpleader. Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was memorandum (by messenger) with memorandum of
embarrassed and humiliated by Justices B.L. Reyes authorities
and Roxas lack of courtesy and respect for his
position as head of the Court. Justice Roxas prepared the decision before
the parties had filed their memoranda in the case and
xxx xxx xxx submitted it to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for her
signature on July 8, 2008. His rush to judgment was
indicative of undue interest and unseemly
There is an old adage which says to gain respect one must learn haste, according to J.Romero.

to give it. If judges and justices are expected to treat litigants, counsels He cheated the parties counsel of the time,
effort, and energy that they invested in the
and subordinates with respect and fairness, with more reason, that judges
preparation of their ponderous memoranda which, as
and justices should give their fellow magistrates the courtesy and it turned out, neither he nor the other members of
the Eighth Division bothered to read before signing
professional regard due to them as their colleagues in the Judiciary. Thus, his decision. He made a mockery of his own order for
in Canon 5, Section 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are the parties to submit memoranda, and rendered their
compliance a futile exercise.
expected to carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for
xxx xxx xxx
all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial
(underscoring supplied)
colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial

to the proper performance of such duties.


We agree with Mme. Justice Romeros observation that the rush to

judgment (even before the filing of the parties memoranda) was indicative

of Justice Roxas undue interest and unseemly haste, especially when


This Court cannot view lightly the discourteous manner that
taken together with other circumstances. This inexplicable haste in
Justice Roxas, in his apparent haste to promulgate his decision in the
resolving the case on the merits is likewise apparent in Justice Roxas
Meralco case, treated his colleagues in the Court of Appeals. It behooves
failure to resolve the several pending incidents and instead jumping ahead
the Court to remind all magistrates that their high office demands
to deciding the case on the merits; his rushing of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal
compliance with the most exacting standards of propriety and decorum.
into signing his draft Decision on July 8, 2008 when the parties

Justice Roxas memoranda have not yet all been filed with the CA; his precipitate
questionable handling
transfer of the case to the Eighth Division for promulgation of decision,
of the Meralco case
demonstrates his without notice to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal of the Special Ninth Division
undue interest
therein. who had already signed his draft Decision and despite the unresolved

Chairmanship dispute between Justice Reyes and Justice Sabio which he

(Justice Roxas) even submitted to the Presiding Justice for appropriate


In the Report, the Panel of Investigators observed that Justice Roxas in
action, just a few days before the promulgation.
fact began drafting his decision even prior to the submission of the parties

memoranda. As discussed in the Report:

xxx xxx xxx


67

A lawyer shall x x x refrain from any impropriety


We reiterate here that as the visible representation of the law and justice, which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of
judges are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that would influencing the Court.

enhance respect and confidence of the people in the judicial system. The

New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary mandates that As they were both members of the Bar, it is incomprehensible

judges must not only maintain their independence, integrity and to this Court how the brothers can justify their improper conversation

impartiality; but they must also avoid any appearance of impropriety or regarding the Meralco case. As the Panel observed in its Report:

partiality, which may erode the peoples faith in the judiciary. This
Ironically, both of them found nothing
standard applies not only to the decision itself, but also to the process by wrong with brother Camilos effort to influence his
younger brothers action in the Meralco case, because
which the decision is made.[135] This Court will not hesitate to sanction
both believe that our Filipino culture allows
with the highest penalty magistrates who exhibit manifest undue interest brother-to-brother conversation, even if the purpose
of one is to influence the other, provided the latter
in their assigned cases.[136] does not agree to do something illegal.[137]
In sum, this Court finds that Justice Roxas multiple violations of the canons

of the Code of Judicial Conduct constitute grave misconduct, compounded For the Panel, Justice Sabio violated Sections 1, 4, and 5, Canon 1 of
by dishonesty, undue interest and conduct prejudicial to the best interest the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, which
of the service, which warrant his DISMISSAL from the service. provide that
Sec. 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial function
Findings regarding independently x x x free from extraneous influence,
the conduct of inducement, pressure, threat or interference, direct
Associate Justice Jose or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.
L. Sabio, Jr.
xxx xxx xxx

In the Report, the Panel found that Justice Sabio likewise committed Sec. 4. Judges shall not allow family, social, or other
relationships to influence judicial conduct or
improprieties in relation to the Meralco case.
judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be
used or lent to advance the private interests of
The circumstances of others, nor convey or permit others to convey the
the telephone call of impression that they are in a special position to
Chairman Sabio to his influence the judge.
brother Justice Sabio
showed that Justice Sec. 5. Judges shall not only be free from
Sabio failed to uphold inappropriate connections with, and influence by,
the standard of the executive and legislative branches of
independence and government, but must also appear to be free
propriety expected of therefrom to a reasonable observer.
him as a magistrate of
the appellate court.

In the Investigators mind, although Justice Sabio signed the TRO


In his testimony before the Panel, Chairman Sabio admits that
in favour of Meralco contrary to his brothers advice, Justice Sabios
he called up Justice Sabio on May 30, 2008 from Davao City, in response to
unusual interest in holding on to the Meralco case, seemed to indicate
a resquest for help from a member of the Board of Trustees of Meralco.
that he may have been actually influenced by his brother to help GSIS. In
Notwithstanding the fact that Chairman Sabio called to relay to Justice
arriving at this conclusion, the Panel noted the following circumstances: (1)
Sabio the rightness of the GSIS cause and asked him to help GSIS and that
Justice Sabio adamantly refused to yield the chairmanship of the Special
Justice Sabio allegedly told his brother that he would act in accordance
Ninth Division although the regular chairman, Justice Reyes had returned
with his conscience, the same still constituted a violation of Canon 13 of
to duty on June 10, 2008; and, (2) Justice Sabio officiously prepared and
the Code of Professional Responsibility for lawyers, which provides that:
signed a resolution (a chore for the ponente Justice V. Roxas to perform),
68

Instead of telling off De Borja that he could


requiring the GSIS and the SEC to comment on Meralcos Motion for not, and would not, talk about the Meralco case,
Justice B. Reyes to Assume the Chairmanship of the 9 th Division, which he Justice Sabio, Jr. agreed to meet De Borja in the
lobby-lounge of the Ateneo Law School after his
probably intended to delay the decision on the preliminary injunction evening class in Legal Ethics in said school.
beyond the life of the TRO to the prejudice of Meralco and the advantage
Justice Sabio Jr.s action of discussing the
of the GSIS. Meralco case with De Borja was highly inappropriate
and indiscreet. First, in talks with his brother; the
second time in conversation with De Borja, Justice
Based on the facts on record, the Court is wary of declaring that Justice Sabio, Jr. broke the shield of confidentiality that
covers the disposition of cases in the Court in order
Sabio had been influenced by his brother by speculating that he would to preserve and protect the integrity and
independence of the Court itself. He ignored the
have favored GSIS had he been a part of the division which rendered the
injunction in Canon 1, Section 8 of the New Code of
decision in the Meralco case. However, we do find that it was improper for Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary that: Judges shall exhibit and promote high
Justice Sabio to hold on to the chairmanship of the Ninth Division the standards of judicial conduct (and discretion) in
despite the return of Justice Reyes, when Justice Sabios designation as order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary
which is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial
acting chairman was clearly only for the duration of Justice Reyes leave of independence.

absence. We likewise note with disfavor his stubborn insistence on his


It was during that meeting with De Borja in
own interpretation of the IRCA and hostile, dismissive attitude towards the lobby-lounge of the Ateneo Law School, that De
Borja allegedly offered him P10 million, in behalf of
equally well-reasoned positions of his colleagues on the proper Meralco, to step out of the case and allow Justice
Bienvenido Reyes to assume the chairmanship of the
interpretation of their rules. Such conduct on the part of Justice Sabio did
Special Ninth Division because Meralco was not
nothing to aid in the swift and amicable resolution of his dispute with comfortable with him (Justice Sabio, Jr.). He rejected
the bribe offer because he could not in conscience
Justice Reyes but rather fanned the flames of resentment between them. accept it.
We deem this sort of behavior unbecoming for a magistrate of his stature.
Justice Sabio, Jr. was allegedly shocked and
insulted that De Borja would think that he (Justice
Justice Sabios Sabio, Jr.) could be bribed or bought. The Panel is,
conversations with Mr. however, honestly perplexed why in spite of his
De Borja were outraged respectability, Justice Sabio, Jr. called up De
improper and Borja two (2) days later (on July 3, 2008), to tell De
indiscreet. Borja to stop pestering him with his calls. The Panel is
nonplussed because, normally, a person who has
been insulted would never want to see, much less
On this matter, the Court accepts the following findings in the speak again, to the person who had disrespected him.
He could have just shut off his cell phone to De Borjas
Report: calls. De Borja denied that he reiterated his offer of
P10 million to Justice Sabio, Jr. He denied saying that
Knowing the nature of De Borjas
even if the case should go up to the Supreme Court,
profession, Justice Sabio, Jr. should have been wary
GSIS would still lose, hence, saying lang yung P10
of the former. He should have foreseen that De Borja
million; baka sisihin ka pa ng mga anak mo. He
had the Meralco case on his mind when he called
testified that his reply to Justice Sabio, Jr.s call
Justice Sabio, Jr. True enough, De Borja mentioned
was deadma or indifference. Justice Sabio, Jr. blamed
the Meralco case and congratulated Justice Sabio, Jr.
that call of his to a lapse in judgment on his part.
for having signed the TRO in favour of Meralco.
Be that as it may, the Investigating Panel
But that was not the last time Justice Sabio,
finds more credible Justice Sabio, Jr.s story about De
Jr. would hear from De Borja. A month later, after
Borjas P10 million-bribe-offer on behalf of Meralco,
Justice Sabio, Jr. had presided at the hearing of
than De Borjas denial that he made such an offer.
Meralcos prayer for preliminary injunction on June 23,
Why does the Panel believe him, and not De Borja?
2008, and the case was ripening for decision or
resolution, De Borja again called up Justice Sabio, Jr.
First, because Justice Sabio, Jr. verbally
and asked to meet him over dinner to chit chat about
reported the rejected bribe offer to CA Presiding
the Meralco case.
Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. the next day a fact
admitted by Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr.
69

Second, even though Justice Sabio, Jr. did Justice Reyes and Justice Roxas did not withdraw their request for a ruling
not mention the bribe-offerors name in both his nor did either of them advise the Presiding Justice beforehand of their
verbal and written reports to Presiding Justice
Vasquez, Jr., De Borja identified himself to the media intention to proceed with the resolution of the Meralco case. Thus, when
as the person alluded to.
the Presiding Justice issued his ruling on the chairmanship dispute on July
Third, De Borjas allegation, that Justice 24, 2008, he was unaware of the promulgation of the Meralco decision
Sabio, Jr. wanted P50 million, not P10 million, is not
believable, for, if Justice Sabio, Jr. quoted P50 million on July 23, 2008, under the aegis of Justice Reyes Eighth Division. As found
as his price, he would not have reported the P10 by the Panel, Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was completely taken aback
million bribe offer to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. He
would have waited for Meralcos reply to his when he learned about it on July 24, 2008, the same day that he issued his
counter-offer.[138]
opinion on the chairmanship issue which by then had become functus
xxx xxx xxx
oficio. He felt belittled and humiliated by the discourtesy of the two

Indeed, the Court agrees with the Panel that the allegation of solicitation justices to him.

on the part of Justice Sabio is not credible. Nevertheless, the continued

communications between Justice Sabio and Mr. De Borja even after the It bears repeating here that under Canon 5, Section 3 of the

latters rejected bribery attempt is highly inappropriate and shows poor New Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are mandated to show the

judgment on the part of Justice Sabio who should have acted in appropriate consideration and respect for their colleagues in the Judiciary.

preservation of the dignity of his judicial office and the institution to which

he belongs. Thus, we adopt the finding of the Panel on this point and find

Justice Reyes guilty of simple misconduct, which is mitigated by the fact


Premises considered, this Court is of the view that Justice Sabios indiscreet
that he repeatedly asked Presiding Justice Vasquez to act on his request to
and imprudent conversations regarding the Meralco case with his brother
rule on the conflicting interpretation of the IRCA. However, Justice Reyes
and Mr. De Borja and his actuations in the chairmanship dispute with
should be reprimanded for taking part in the decision of the subject case
Justice Reyes constitute simple misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a
without awaiting the ruling of the Presiding Justice.
justice of the Court of Appeals which warrant the penalty of two (2)

months suspension without pay. Findings regarding


the conduct of Justice
Myrna
Findings regarding
Dimaranan-Vidal
the conduct of
Associate Justice The Court finds well-taken and adopts the findings of the Panel
Bienvenido L. Reyes.
of Investigators, to wit:

As previously discussed, Justice Reyes appealed to Presiding Justice Dimaranan-Vidal deviated from the
IRCA when she allowed herself to be rushed by
Justice Vazquez in a letter dated July 22, 2008, reiterating his (Justice
Justice Roxas to sign the Meralco decision on July 8,
Reyes) request that the Presiding Justice render an opinion which Division 2008, without reading the parties memoranda and
without the deliberation among members of the
of the Court of Appeals the Eighth Division with him as chairman, or the Division required by the IRCA. She knew that the TRO
would not expire until July 30, 2008 some three (3)
Special Ninth Division chaired by Justice Sabio should resolve the Meralco
weeks away from July 8, 2008 yet she allowed herself
case. This was in conjunction with an Interpleader filed by Justice Roxas on to believe Justice Roxas misrepresentation that
signing the decision was urgent. Her compliance with
the same issue with the Presiding Justice. Yet, despite the fact that the certain dissembling practices of other justices of the
Presiding Justice informed Justices Reyes and Roxas that he would study Court, in violation of the IRCA, showed weakness and
lack of independence on her part.[139]
the matter, Justices Reyes and Justice Roxas, together with Justice

Bruselas, promulgated the decision in the Meralco case on July 23, 2008.
70

in fact authorized to act on any matter involving the


The following sections of Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Court and its members? That Rule provides:
Conduct are instructive in this regard:
Sec. 11. x xx the Presiding Justice or any
one acting in his place is authorized to act
on any matter not covered by these Rules.
SEC. 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial function
Such action shall, however, be reported to
independently on the basis of their assessment of the the Court en banc.

facts and in accordance with a conscientious


He should have convened the Court en
understanding of the law, free of any extraneous banc as soon as the alleged bribery attempt on
Justice Sabio, Jr. was reported to him, for it was an
influence, inducement, pressure, threat or attempt to corrupt a member of the Court, calling for
interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or the protection and preservation of the integrity of
the judicial processes of the Court, hence, an
for any reason. administrative matter cognizable by the Court en
banc. Section 5 (c), Rule I of the IRCA, provides:

SEC. 2. In performing judicial duties, judges shall be Sec. 5. Matters cognizable by the Court en
banc.- The Court en banc
independent from judicial colleagues in respect of
shall, inter alia:
decisions which the judge is obliged to make (a) xxx
(b) Adopt uniform administrative
independently. measures, procedures, and policies for the
protection and preservation of the
integrity of the judicial processes, x x x.
Allowing a fellow justice to induce her to deviate from
Presiding Justice Vasquez admitted his lapses in
established procedure constitutes conduct unbecoming a justice for which
judgment.[140]
Justice Dimaranan-Vidal should be ADMONISHED to be more circumspect

in the performance of her judicial duties.


In the light of the foregoing observations of the Panel, this Court is of the

Findings regarding view that much of the trouble now being faced by the Court of Appeals
the conduct of could have been averted by timely, judicious and decisive action on the
Presiding Justice
Conrado M. Vasquez part of the Presiding Justice. Certainly, this unpleasant and trying episode

in failure to act in the early part of his tenure as Presiding Justice has

It is the view of the Panel of Investigators that Presiding Justice Vasquez indelibly impressed upon him what is required of him as leader of the

failed to provide the leadership expected of him as head of the Court of second highest court in the land. Nevertheless, Presiding Justice Vasquez

Appeals. The following quote from the Report summarizes the perceived is hereby severely reprimanded for his failure to act promptly and

lapses on the part of the Presiding Justice: decisively on the controversy as required of him by the IRCA.

Clearly, Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. had


Findings regarding
been indecisive in dealing with the turmoil arising
other personalities
from the Meralco case.
involved in the
He vacillated and temporized on resolving the
Meralco case
impasse between Justice Sabio, Jr. and Justice B. L.
Reyes over the chairmanship of the Division that
should hear and decide the Meralco case. He failed to
take action on the reported bribe-offer by Meralco to Although the Presiding Justice in his letter dated August 1, 2008 only
J. Sabio, Jr. He hesitated to assert his leadership of
the Court even when the parties repeatedly urged referred to this Court the propriety of the actions of the Justices
him to lay down the rule for them to follow. Was he concerned in the Meralco case, we cannot simply turn a blind eye to the
hampered by the fact that he has relatives two
daughters employed in the GSIS, and a sister who is a facts brought to light during the investigation that relate to potential
consultant thereof? He pleaded lack of authority.
liabilities of other personalities in the Meralco case.
Was he not aware then, or did he discover too
late, that under Section 11, Rule VIII of the IRCA, he is
71

With respect to Chairman Sabio, this Court has the power to discipline that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a more severe

members of the Bar and his attempt to influence a member of the penalty;

Judiciary, his brother at that, should be referred to the Bar Confidant for

appropriate action. (3) Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. is SEVERELY

REPRIMANDED for his failure to act promptly and decisively in order to

With respect to Mr. De Borja, the present investigation has given this avert the incidents that damaged the image of the Court of Appeals, with

Court reason to believe that Mr. De Borja may be criminally liable for his a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a

attempt to bribe a magistrate of the Court of Appeals. This matter should more severe penalty;

be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, this per

curiam decision was reached after deliberation of the Court en (4) Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes is found guilty of

banc. At the outset, the offer of three (3) members of the Court to recuse simple misconduct with mitigating circumstance and is REPRIMANDED,

themselves was denied by the Court. Except for two members of the Court with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will

who were allowed to inhibit themselves from the case, the Justices voted warrant a more severe penalty;

as follows: Twelve Justices voted for the dismissal from service of

Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas and one (1) voted for his suspension (5) Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal is found guilty of

from the service for six (6) months. Ten (10) Justices voted for two (2) conduct unbecoming a Justice of the Court of Appeals and is

month suspension from service without pay of Associate Justice Jose L. ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in the discharge of her judicial

Sabio, one (1) voted for six-month suspension, one (1) for reprimand only duties.

as he should be credited for being a whistle blower and one (1) for his

dismissal from the service. Eight (8) Justices voted to reprimand Associate (6) PCGG Chairman Camilo L. Sabios act to influence the

Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes and five (5) for his suspension from the service judgment of a member of the Judiciary in a pending case is hereby

for one (1) month. As to the rest, the voting was unanimous. referred to the Bar Confidant for appropriate action;

WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES as follows: (7) Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr.s charge against Mr. Francis R. De

Borja for attempted bribery of a member of the Judiciary is hereby

(1) Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas is found guilty of multiple referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.

violations of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, grave misconduct,

dishonesty, undue interest and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of This Decision shall take effect immediately.

the service, and is DISMISSED from the service, with FORFEITURE of all

benefits, except accrued leave credits if any, with prejudice to his SO ORDERED.

re-employment in any branch or service of the government including


2. Temporarily assign judges to other stations in
government-owned and controlled corporations;
public interest

3. Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid


(2) Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. is found guilty of simple miscarriage of justice

misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a justice of the Court of Appeals


G.R. No. L-35377-78 July 31, 1975
and is SUSPENDED for two (2) months without pay, with a stern warning
72

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, SO ORDERED.


vs.
CAMILO PILOTIN, VINCENT CRISOLOGO, ISIDRO PUGAL and ERNING Makalintal, C.J., Fernando, Barredo and Concepcion Jr., JJ., concur.
ABANO, defendants-appellants.
Antonio, J, took no part.
RESOLUTION
G.R. No. L-41313 November 6, 1975

ALIPIO MONDIGUING and ANDRES DUNUAN, petitioners,


AQUINO, J.: vs.
HON. FRANCISCO MEN ABAD, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Vincent Crisologo through counsel filed a verified motion praying for the Ifugao; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; MARIANO PACTIW, alias Bugbug;
transfer to the New Bilibid Prisons or, alternatively, to Camps Crame, DULMOG ABLUYEN and ANGELINA ABLUYEN, respondents..
Aguinaldo or Olivas, of the place of trial of Criminal Case No. 3949 of the
municipal court of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, wherein he, as sole defendant, is R E S O L U T I O N.
charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

As justificatory ground, he alleged that his life would be in jeopardy if he


were to be confined in the Vigan municipal jail during the trial because
AQUINO, J.:
there are many political enemies of the Crisologo family in that vicinity;
some of the adherents of the Crisologos had in fact been murdered in
Ilocos Sur, and his father, Congressman Floro Crisologo, was shot to death Alipio Mondiguing and Andres Dunuan are two of the ten defendants
while hearing mass at the Vigan cathedral. accused of double murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder in
Criminal Case No. 140 of the Court of First Instance of Ifugao Province
(People vs. George Bayucca et al.). That case was filed in connection with
Bluntly, he affirmed that inside that jail he would be a sitting duck for a
an ambuscade which was perpetuated on July 23, 1970 at Baag, Banaue,
gunwielder or grenade-thrower who wants to assassinate him. He could
Ifugao. As a result of that incident, Governor Gualberto Lumauig of Ifugao
even be lynched or shot to death on the specious pretext that he was
was wounded and his executive assistant and his driver were killed. Up to
trying to escape.
this time the accused in that case have not been arraigned. .

Asked to comment on the motion, the Provincial Fiscal of Ilocos Sur


On September 4, 1975 Mondiguing and Dunuan filed in this Court a
signified his conformity to the transfer of the venue of the trial to the New
petition to transfer the venue of the case to Baguio City or Quezon City.
Bilibid Prisons.
They claimed that they could not expect a fair and impartial trial in Lagawe,
Ifugao because Judge Francisco Men Abad of the Court of First Instance of
Section 5(4), Article X of the Constitution expressly empowers this Court that province is a protege' of Governor Lumauig and his brother, former
to "order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of Congressman Romulo Lumauig, and because their witnesses would be
justice". Here, what is involved is not merely a miscarriage of justice but afraid to testify for fear of harassment and reprisals. The petitioners
the personal safety of movant Crisologo, the accused. It would be absurd further claimed that, as may be inferred from previous incidents
to compel him to undergo trial in a place where his life would be recounted in the petition, their lives and the lives of their witnesses and
imperilled. lawyers would be in grave danger in Ifugao because of the tensions and
antagonisms spawned by the case and the political rivalry between the
Present hostile sentiment against the accused at the place of trial is a Lumauig and Mondiguing factions. (The accused, George Bayucca was
justification for transfer of venue (See State vs. Siers, 136 S. E. 503, 103, W. killed on October 28, 1970 and Alipio Mondiguing resigned as mayor of
Va. 30; 22 C.J.S. 310).1äwphï1.ñët Banaue and took refuge in Baguio City). .

We find Crisologo's motion to be meritorious. The change of venue The Acting Solicitor General interposed no objection to the change of
involves not merely the change of the place of hearing but also the venue but he invited the Court's attention to the suggestion of Governor
transfer of the expediente of Criminal Case No. 3949 to another court. Lumauig that the case may be transferred to the proper court in Isabela in
According to Crisologo's motion, the alleged evidence against him is in the view of its proximity to Ifugao. .
custody of the authorities at Camp Crame, Quezon City. The transfer of
Criminal Case No. 3949 to the City Court of Quezon City and the holding of Respondent Judge Francisco Men Abad in his comment disputed the
the trial at Camp Crame appear to be the most convenient arrangement. correctness or truth of the grounds relied upon for the change of venue
and prayed that the petition be dismissed. He said that, if there would be
WHEREFORE, the municipal court of Vigan is directed to transfer the bias on his part, he would be biased in favor of the People of the
record of Criminal Case No. 3949 to the City Court of Quezon City where it Philippines. He said that the crime charged was not "committed personally
should be re-docketed and raffled to any Judge thereof. The case may be against" Governor Lumauig. That statement is not correct since the
tried at Camp Crame. The usual precautions and security measures should governor is one of the victims mentioned in the information. .
be adopted in bringing defendant Crisologo to Camp Crame on the
occasion of the hearing. Judge Abad revealed that petitioner Dunuan sent to the court a letter
dated August 30, 1975 wherein he declined the services of Atty. Jose W.
73

Diokno (who filed the instant petition for transfer of venue). In view of
that disclosure, the petition herein should be regarded as having been
filed only by Alipio Mondiguing. . G.R. No. L-56158-64 March 17, 1981

The fact is that this Court in Paredes vs. Abad, L-36927-28, April 15, 1974, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
56 SCRA 522, 534, disqualified Judge Abad from trying the electoral vs.
protests filed by Crescencio Paredes and Venancio Uyan against Gualberto MAYOR PABLO SOLA, SANGGUNIANG BAYAN MEMBER FRANCISCO
Lumauig and John Langbayan. In that case it was alleged that Judge Abad (ECOT) GARCIA, RICARDO (CADOY) GARCIA, JOSE BETHOVEN (ATSONG)
was a political leader of Governor Lumauig and was recommended to his CABRAL, CAPTAIN FLORENDO BALISCAO, JOHN, PETER, OSCAR, OMAR,
present position by the Lumauig brothers. . JACK, RICHARD, JAMES, DONALD, WILLIAM, ROBERT, HOMER, JESSIE,
ANDY, PAUL, all surnamed DOES respondents.
The issue is whether Mondiguing's plea for a change of venue is justified.
A change of the place of trial in criminal cases should not be granted for
whimsical or flimsy reasons. "The interests of the public require that, to
secure the best results and effects in the punishment of crime, it is
FERNANDO, C.J.:
necessary to prosecute and punish the criminal in the very place, as near
as may be, where he committed his crime" (Manila Railroad Co. vs.
Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523, 562). . The power of this Tribunal, constitutionally mandated, 1 to order a change
of venue to avoid any miscarriage of justice as well as the procedure
ordained in the implementation of the right to bail 2 are involved in this
This Court is invested with the prerogative of ordering "a change of venue
petition which, even if not so denominated, partakes of the nature of a
or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice" (Sec. 5[4], Art. X of the
certiorari. It must have been the zeal of private prosecutors Francisco Cruz
Constitution). It "possesses inherent power and jurisdiction to decree that
and Renecio Espiritu, 3 no doubt under the conviction that there was no
the trial and disposition of a case pending in a Court of First Instance be
time to lose, that must have led them to devote less than that full
transferred to another Court of First Instance within the same district
measure of attention to certain fundamentals. They ignored the principle
whenever the interest of justice and truth so demand, and there are
that the responsibility for the conduct of the prosecution is with the public
serious and weighty reasons to believe that a trial by the court that
officials concerned. Nonetheless, the importance of the questions raised,
originally had jurisdiction over the case would not result in a fair and
the need for a change of venue and the cancellation of the bail bonds,
impartial trial and lead to a miscarriage of justice" (People vs. Gutierrez,
necessitated that further action be taken. Accordingly, in a resolution
L-32282-83, November 26, 1970, 36 SCRA 172, 185). .
dated February 12, 1981, one day after the filing of the petition, the Court
required the comment of the Solicitor General as well as of the private
A change of venue was ordered by this Court in a case where it was shown respondents, 4the accused in six pending criminal cases before the Court
that the accused might be liquidated by his enemies in the place where of First Instance of Negros Occidental.
the trial was originally scheduled to be held (People vs. Pilotin Vincent
Crisologo, movant, L-3537778, July 31, 1975).
On March 4, 1981, the Comment was submitted by Solicitor General
Estelito P. Mendoza. 5 It opened with this preliminary statement: "The
After a careful consideration of the circumstances recited in Mondiguing's present petition was filed by the private prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos.
petition to support his request for a change of the place of trial, we have 1700-1706, People v. Pablo Sola, et al., pending trial before the Court of
reached the conclusion that his petition is meritorious. . First Instance of Negros Occidental. Rightly, any petition before this
Honorable Court on behalf of the People of the Philippines can, under the
In the interest of a fair and impartial trial and to avoid a miscarriage of law, be instituted only by the Solicitor General. The assertion of the
justice and considering that his life would be in danger if he were to be petitioner private prosecutors that they are instituting the action 'subject
tried in Lagawe, Ifugao, he should be tried by the Circuit Criminal Court in to the control and supervision of the Fiscal' will not, therefore, improve
the City of Baguio. . their legal standing." 6 Nonetheless, it did not press the legal point but
instead adopted "the two-pronged trusts of the petition: 1. the setting
The other relief sought by Mondiguing, which is that he be transferred aside, by certiorari, of the order of the Municipal Court of Kabankalan,
from the Philippine Constabulary headquarters at Lagawe, Ifugao to Camp presided over by Judge Rafael Gasataya, granting bail to the accused in the
Crame should be submitted for the consideration of the Circuit Criminal criminal cases mentioned above, and 2. the petition for a change of venue
Court. . or place of trial of the same criminal cases to avoid a miscarriage of
justice. 7
WHEREFORE, the petition of Alipio Mondiguing for the transfer of the
venue of Criminal Case No. 140 of the Court of First Instance of Ifugao is The facts were therein narrated thus: "On September 15, 1980, acting on
granted. The said case should be transferred to the Circuit Criminal Court the evidence presented by the Philippine Constabulary commander at
of the Second Judicial District so that it may be heard in Baguio City. . Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, the Court of First Instance of that province
issued a search warrant for the search and seizure of tile deceased bodies
of seven persons believed in the possession of the accused Pablo Sola in
SO ORDERED. .
his hacienda at Sta. Isabel, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. * * * On
September 16, 1980 armed with the above warrant, elements of the of
Barredo (Actg. Chairman), Antonio, Concepcion, Jr. and Martin, JJ., concur. the 332nd PC/INP Company proceeded to the place of Sola. Diggings made
in a canefield yielded two common graves containing the bodies of
Fernando J., is on leave. Fernando Fernandez, Mateo Olimpos, Alfredo Perez, Custodio Juanica,
74

Arsolo Juanica, Rollie Callet and Bienvenido Emperado. On September 23 Constitution is quite explicit. The Supreme Court could order "a change of
and October 1, 1980, the PC provincial commander of Negros Occidental venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice." 10 The
filed seven (7) separate complaints for murder against the accused Pablo Constitutional Convention of 1971 wisely incorporated the ruling in the
Sola, Francisco Garcia, Ricardo Garcia, Jose Bethoven Cabral, Florendo landmark decision of People v. Gutierrez, 11 where Justice J. B. L. Reyes
Baliscao and fourteen (14) other persons of unknown names. The cases as ponente vigorously and categorically affirmed: "In the particular case
were docketed as Criminal Cases No. 4129, 4130, 4131, 4137, 4138, 4139 before Us, to compel the prosecution to proceed to trial in a locality
and 4140 of the Municipal Court of Kabankalan. After due preliminary where its witnesses will not be at liberty to reveal what they know is to
examination of the complainant's witnesses and his other evidence, the make a mockery of the judicial process, and to betray the very purpose for
municipal court found probable cause against the accused. It thus issued which courts have been established." 12 Why a change of venue is
an order for their a. rest. However, without giving the prosecution the imperative was made clear in the Comment of the Solicitor General. Thus:
opportunity to prove that the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, "The exercise by this Honorable Court of its above constitutional power in
the court granted them the right to post bail for their temporary release. this case will be appropriate. The witnesses in the case are fearful for their
The accused Pablo Sola, Francisco Garcia, and Jose Bethoven Cabral lives. They are afraid they would be killed on their way to or from
availed themselves of this right and have since been released from Himamaylan during any of the days of trial. Because of qqqts fear, they
detention. In a parallel development. the witnesses in the murder cases may either refuse to testify or testimony falsely to save their
informed the prosecution of their fears that if the trial is held at the Court lives. 13 Respondent Florendo Baliscao was not averse to such transfer, but
of First Instance branch in Himamaylan which is but 10 kilometers from his preference is for a court anywhere in Metro Manila. 14 Respondent
Kabankalan, their safety could be jeopardized. At least two of the accused Francisco Garcia confined his comment to the question of the cancellation
are officials with power and influence in Kabankalan and they have been of the bail bonds. Respondent Pablo Sola made clear that he had "no
released on bail. In addition, most of the accused remained at large. objection to the transfer. 15 It may be added that there may be cases
Indeed, there have been reports made to police authorities of threats where the fear, objectively viewed, may, to some individuals, be less than
made on the families of the witnesses." 8 The facts alleged argue strongly terrifying, but the question must always be the effect it has on the
for the remedies sought, namely a change of venue and the cancellation witnesses who will testify. The primordial aim and intent of the
of the bail bonds. Constitution must ever be kept in mind. In case of doubt, it should be
resolved in favor of a change of venue. As a matter of fact, there need not
On the very next day, March 15, 1981, this Court issued the following be a petition of this character filed before this Court. Such a plea could
resolution: "The Court Resolved to: (a) [Note] the comment of the Solicitor have been done administratively. In this particular case, however, there is
General on the urgent petition for change of venue and cancellation of justification for the procedure followed in view of the fact that along with
bail bonds, adopting the plea of the petition, namely, (1) the setting aside, the change of venue, the cancellation of the bail bonds was also sought.
by certiorari, of the order of the Municipal Court of Kabankalan, presided
over by Judge Rafael Gasataya, granting bail to the accused in Criminal 2. Equally so the cancellation of the bail bonds is more than justified. Bail
Cases Nos. 4129, 4130, 4131, 4137, 4138, 4139 and 4140, all entitled was granted to the accused in the Order of the Municipal Court without
"People of the Philippines v. Mayor Pablo Sola. et al."; (2) the petition for a hearing the prosecution That is to disregard the authoritative doctrine
change of venue or place of trial of the same criminal cases to avoid a enunciated in People v. San Diego. 16 As pointed out by Justice Capistrano,
miscarriage of Justice; (b) [Transfer] the venue of the aforesaid criminal speaking for the Court: "The question presented before us is, whether the
cases to Branch V of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental at prosecution was deprived of procedural due process. The answer is in the
Bacolod City, presided by Executive Judge Alfonso Baguio, considering that affirmative. We are of the considered opinion that whether the motion for
District Judge Ostervaldo Emilia of the Court of First Instance, Negros bail of a defendant who is in custody for a capital offense be resolved in a
Occidental, Branch VI at Himamaylan has an approved leave of absence summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial, the prosecution
covering the period from January 12 to March 12, 1981 due to a mild must be given an opportunity to present, within a reasonable time, all the
attack of cerebral thrombosis and that the said Branch V is the nearest evidence that it may desire to introduce before the court should resolve
court station to Himamaylan: and (c) [Await] the comment of respondents the motion for bail. If, as in the criminal case involved in the instant special
on the petition to cancel bail, without prejudice to the public officials civil action, the prosecution should be denied such an opportunity, there
concerned taking the necessary measures to assure the safety of the would be a violation of procedural due process, and the order of the court
witnesses of the prosecution." 9 Thus, the issue of a change of venue has granting bail should be considered void on that ground." 17 These words of
become moot and academic. The comments respectively submitted by Justice Cardozo come to mind: "The law, as we have seen, is sedulous in
respondent Florendo Baliscao on March 5, 1981, respondent Francisco maintaining for a defendant charged with crime whatever forms of
Garcia on March 11, 1981 and respondent Pablo Sola on March 16, 1981, procedure are of the essence of an opportunity to defend. Privileges so
dealt solely with the question of the cancellation of the bail bonds. Such fundamental as to be inherent in every concept of a fair trial that could be
comments were considered as answers, with the case thereafter deemed acceptable to the thought of reasonable men will be kept inviolate and
submitted for decision. inviolable, however crushing may be the pressure of incriminating proof.
But justice, though due to the accused, is due to the accuser also. The
The sole remaining issue of the cancellation of the bail bonds of concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament.
respondents, there being a failure to abide by the basic requirement that We are to keep the balance true." 18 This norm which is of the very
the prosecution be heard in a case where the accused is charged with a essence of due process as the embodiment of justice requires that the
capital offense, prior to bail being granted, must be decided in favor of prosecution be given the opportunity to prove that there is strong
petitioner. The bail bonds must be cancelled and the case remanded to evidence of guilt. It does not suffice, as asserted herein, that the questions
the sala of Executive Judge Alfonso Baguio for such hearing. So we rule. asked by the municipal judge before bail was granted could be
characterized as searching. That fact did not cure an infirmity of a
jurisdictional character. 19
1. It may not be amiss to say a few words on the question of transferring
the place of trial, in this case, from Himamaylan to Bacolod City. The
75

WHEREFORE, the assailed order of Judge Rafael Gasataya granting bail to subjected to administrative sanctions for making certain public
private respondents is nullified, set aside, and declared to be without statements.
force and effect. Executive Judge Alfonso Baguio of the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental, to whose sala the cases had been I
transferred by virtue of the resolution of this Court of March 5, 1981, is
directed forthwith to hear the petitions for bail of private respondents,
The pertinent facts are as follows:
with the prosecution being duly heard on the question of whether or not
the evidence of guilt against the respondents is strong. This decision is
immediately executory. No costs. Petitioner Zaldivar is one of several defendants in Criminal Cases Nos.
12159-12161 and 12163-12177 (for violation of the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act) pending before the Sandiganbayan. The Office of
Teehankee, Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, De
the Tanodbayan conducted the preliminary investigation and filed the
Castro and Melencio-Herrera JJ., concur.
criminal informations in those cases (originally TBP Case No. 86-00778).

Barredo and Abad Santos, JJ., are on leave.


On 10 September 1987, petitioner filed with this Court a Petition for
Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus (G.R. Nos. 79690-707) naming as
respondents both the Sandiganbayan and Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez.
Among other things, petitioner assailed: (1) the 5 February 1987
Resolution 1 of the "Tanodbayan" recommending the filing of criminal
informations against petitioner Zaldivar and his co-accused in TBP Case
No. 86-00778; and (2) the 1 September 1987 Resolution 2 of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Cases Nos. 12159-12161 and 1216312177
4. Appointment of officials and employees of entire
denying his Motion to Quash the criminal informations filed in those
judiciary
cases by the "Tanodbayan." In this respect, petitioner alleged that
5. Promulgate rules concerning the enforcement and respondent Gonzalez, as Tanodbayan and under the provisions of the
protection of constitutional rights 1987 Constitution, was no longer vested with power and authority
independently to investigate and to institute criminal cases for graft and
6. Promulgate Rules Concerning Pleading, Practice corruption against public officials and employees, and hence that the
and Procedure informations filed in Criminal Cases Nos. 12159-12161 and 12163-12177
were all null and void.
7. Admission to the Practice of Law

On 11 September 1987, this Court issued a Resolution, which read:


G.R. Nos. 79690-707 October 7, 1988

G.R. Nos. 79690-707 (Enrique A. Zaldivar vs. The Honorable


ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner,
Sandiganbayan and Honorable Raul M. Gonzalez, Claiming To Be and
vs.
Acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the 1987
THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and HONORABLE RAUL M.
Constitution ).—Acting on the special civil action for certiorari,
GONZALEZ, claiming to be and acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under
prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, with
the 1987 Constitution, respondents.
urgent motion for preliminary elimination injunction, the Court Resolved,
without giving due course to the petition, to require the respondents to
G.R. No. 80578 October 7, 1988 COMMENT thereon, within ten (10) days from notice.

ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner, The Court further Resolved to ISSUE a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER,
vs. effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court,
HON. RAUL M. GONZALEZ, claiming to be and acting as ordering respondent Sandiganbayan to CEASE and DESIST from hearing
Tanodbayan-Ombudsman ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution, and trying Criminal Cases Nos. 12159 to 12161 and 12163 to 12177
respondent. insofar as petitioner Enrique Zaldivar is concerned and from hearing and
resolving the Special Prosecutor's motion to suspend dated September 3,
1987.

PER CURIAM: The parties later filed their respective pleadings.

The following are the subjects of this Resolution: Petitioner Zaldivar filed with this Court a second Petition for certiorari
and Prohibition (G.R. No. 80578) on 19 November 1987, initially naming
1) a Motion, dated 9 February 1988, to Cite in Contempt filed by only Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez as respondent. That Petition assailed the 24
petitioner Enrique A. Zaldivar against public respondent Special September 1987 Resolution 3 of the "Tanodbayan" in TBP Case No. 87-
Prosecutor (formerly Tanodbayan) Raul M. Gonzalez, in connection with 01304 recommending that additional criminal charges for graft and
G.R. Nos. 79690-707 and G.R. No. 80578. and 2) a Resolution of this corruption be filed against petitioner Zaldivar and five (5) other individuals.
Court dated 2 May 1988 requiring respondent Hon. Raul Gonzalez to Once again, petitioner raised the argument of the Tanodbayan's lack of
show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and/or authority under the 1987 Constitution to file such criminal cases and to
76

investigate the same. Petitioner also moved for the consolidation of that Enrique Zaldivar can aggravate the thought that affluent persons "an
petition with G.R. No. 79690-707. prevent the progress of a trial."

In a Resolution dated 24 November 1987, 4 this Court, without giving due What I am afraid of (with the issuance of the order) is that it appears that
course to the second petition: (1) required respondent Gonzalez to submit while rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme
a comment thereon: and (2) issued a temporary restraining order Court, it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given
"ordering respondent Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez to CEASE and DESIST from due course. Gonzalez told the Daily Globe in an exclusive interview.
further acting in TBP Case No. 87-01394 ... and particularly, from filing the
criminal information consequent thereof and from conducting preliminary Gonzalez said the high tribunal's order '"eightens the people's
investigation therein." In a separate resolution of the same date, 5 G.R. apprehension over the justice system in this country, especially because
Nos. 79690-707 and G.R. No. 80578 were ordered consolidated by the the people have been thinking that only the small fly can get it while big
Court. fishes go scot-free."

In the meantime, however, on 20 November 1987 or four (4) days prior to Gonzalez was reacting to an order issued by the tribunal last week after
issuance by this Court of a temporary restraining order in G.R. No. 80578, Zaldivar petitioned the court to stop the Tanodbayan from investigating
the Office of the Tanodbayan instituted Criminal Case No. 12570 6 with the graft cases filed against him.
Sandiganbayan which issued on 23 November 1987 an Order of
Arrest 7 for petitioner Zaldivar and his co-accused in Criminal Case No.
Zaldivar had charged that Gonzalez was biased in his investigations
12570. Upon Motion 8 of petitioner Zaldivar, this Court issued the
because the latter wanted to help promote the political fortunes of a
following Resolution on 8 December 1987:
friend from Antique, lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan.

G.R. No. 80578 (Enrique A. Zaldivar vs. Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez and
Acting on Zaldivar's petition, the high court stopped Gonzalez from
Sandiganbayan). The motion filed by the Solicitor General for respondents
investigating a graft charge against the governor, and from instituting any
for an extension of thirty (30) days from the expiration of the original
complaint with the Sandiganbayan.
period within which to file comment on the petition for certiorari and
prohibition with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction or restraining
order is GRANTED. While President Aquino had been prodding me to prosecute graft cases
even if they involve the high and mighty, the Supreme Court had been
restraining me. Gonzalez said.
Acting on the manifestation with motion to treat the Sandiganbayan as
party-respondent, the Court Resolved to (a) Consider IMPLEADED the
Sandiganbayan as party respondent; and (b) In pursuance of and In accordance with the President's order, Gonzalez said he had filed graft
supplementing the Temporary Restraining Order of November 24, 1987 cases against two "very powerful" officials of the Aquino
"ordering respondent Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez to CEASE and DESIST from government-Commissioner Quintin Doromal of the Presidential
further acting in TBP Case No. 87-01304 entitled, "Commission on Audit vs. Commission on Good Government and Secretary Jiamil I.M. Dianlan of the
Gov. Enrique Zaldivar, et al." and particularly, from filing the criminal Office of Muslim Affairs and Cultural Communities.
information consequent thereof and from conducting preliminary
investigation therein" ISSUE a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER effective While I don't wish to discuss the merits of the Zaldivar petition before the
immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering Supreme Court, I am a little bit disturbed that (the order) can aggravate
respondents Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez and Sandiganbayan to CEASE and the thinking of some people that affluent persons can prevent the progress
DESIST from further acting in Criminal Case No. 12570, entitled, "People of of a trial, he said.
the Philippines vs. Enrique M. Zaldivar, et al." and from enforcing the order
of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan in said case. He disclosed that he had a talk with the Chief Executive over the weekend
and that while she symphatizes with local officials who are charged in
The Solicitor General filed a Comment 9 on the petition in G.R. No. 80578, court during election time, 'She said that it might be a disservice to the
and we required the petitioner to submit a Reply 10 thereto. people and the voters who are entitled to know their candidates.

On 9 February 1988, petitioner Zaldivar filed with the Court a Motion to Gonzalez said that while some cases filed against local officials during
Cite in Contempt 11 directed at respondent Gonzalez. The Motion cited as election time could be mere harassment suits, the Constitution makes it a
bases the acts of respondent Gonzalez in: (1) having caused the filing of right of every citizen to be informed of the character of tile candidate,
the information against petitioner in Criminal Case No. 12570 before the who should be subject to scrutiny. (Emphasis supplied)
Sandiganbayan; and (2) issuing certain allegedly contemptuous
statements to the media in relation to the proceedings in G.R. No. 80578. Acting on petitioner's Motion to Cite in Contempt, the Court on 16
In respect of the latter, petitioner annexed to his Motion a photocopy of a February 1988 required respondent Gonzalez "to COMMENT on aforesaid
news article, reproduced here in toto, which appeared in the 30 Motion within ten (10) days from notice." 12 On 27 April 1988, the Court
November 1987 issue of the "Philippine Daily Globe:" rendered its Decision 13 (per curiam) in the Consolidated Petitions. The
dispositive portion thereof read:
Tanod Scores SC for Quashing Graft Case
WHEREFORE, We hereby:
TANODBAYAN Justice Raul M. Gonzalez said yesterday the Supreme Court
order stopping him from investigating graft cases involving Antique Gov.
77

(1) GRANT the consolidated petitions filed by petitioner Zaldivar and (a) That the Court resolution in question is merely "an offshoot of the
hereby NULLIFY the criminal informations filed against him in the position he had taken that the SC Justices cannot claim immunity from suit
Sandiganbayan; and or investigation by government prosecutors or motivated by a desire to
stop him 'from investigating cases against some of their proteges or
(2) ORDER respondent Raul Gonzalez to cease and desist from conducting friends;"
investigations and filing criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan or
otherwise exercising the powers and functions of the Ombudsman. (b) That no less than six of the members of the Court "interceded for and
on behalf of persons with pending cases before the Tanodbayan," or
SO ORDERED. sought "to pressure him to render decisions favorable to their colleagues
and friends;"
A Motion for Reconsideration 14 was filed by respondent Gonzalez the
next day, 28 April 1988. In his Motion, respondent Gonzalez, after having (c) That attempts were made to influence him to go slow on Zaldivar and
argued the legal merits of his position, made the following statements not to be too hard on him and to refrain from investigating the
totally unrelated to any legal issue raised either in the Court's Decision or Commission on Audit report on illegal disbursements in the Supreme
in his own Motion: Court because it will embarass the Court;

1. That he "ha(d) been approached twice by a leading member of the (d) That there were also attempts to cause the dismissal of cases against
court ... and he was asked to 'go slow on Zaldivar and 'not to be too hard two Associate Justices; and
on him;' "
(e) That the Court had dismissed judges' without rhyme or reason' and
2. That he "was approached and asked to refrain from investigating the disbarred lawyers 'without due process.
COA report on illegal disbursements in the Supreme Court because 'it will
embarass the Court;" and 3. It further appearing that three (3) affidavits relative to the purpose of
and circumstances attendant upon the notes written to said public
3. That "(i)n several instances, the undersigned respondent was called respondent by three (3) members of the Court have since been submitted
over the phone by a leading member of the Court and was asked to to the Court and now form part of its official records, the Court further
dismiss the cases against (two Members of the Court)." Resolved to require the Clerk of Court to ATTACH to this Resolution copies
of said sworn statements and the annexes thereto appended, and to
DIRECT respondent Gonzalez also to comment thereon within the same
Respondent Gonzalez also attached three (3) handwritten notes 15 which
period of ten (10) days.
he claimed were sent by "some members of this Honorable Court,
interceeding for cases pending before this office (i.e., the Tanodbayan)."
He either released his Motion for Reconsideration with facsimiles of said 4. It finally appearing that notice of the Resolution of February 16, 1988
notes to the press or repeated to the press the above extraneous addressed to respondent Gonzalez was misdelivered and therefore not
statements: the metropolitan papers for the next several days carried long served on him, the Court Resolved to require the Clerk of Court to CAUSE
reports on those statements and variations and embellishments thereof SERVICE of said Resolution on the respondent and to REQUIRE the latter
On 2 May 1988, the Court issued the following Resolution in the to comply therewith.
Consolidated Petitions:
Respondent Gonzalez subsequently filed with this Court on 9 May 1988 an
G.R. No. 79690-707 (Enrique Zaldivar vs. The Hon. Sandiganbayan, et al. Omnibus Motion for Extension and Inhibition 16 alleging, among other
G.R. No. 80578 (Enrique A. Zaldivar vs. Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez, etc). things: that the above quoted 2 May 1988 Resolution of the Court
"appears to have overturned that presumption [of innocence] against
him:" and that "he gravely doubts whether that 'cold neutrality [of an
1. Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent Gonzalez
impartial judge] is still available to him" there being allegedly "at least 4
under date of April 28, 1988, the Court Resolved to REQUIRE the
members of this Tribunal who will not be able to sit in judgment with
petitioner to COMMENT thereon within ten (10) days from notice hereof.
substantial sobriety and neutrality." Respondent Gonzalez closed out his
pleading with a prayer that the four (4) Members of the Court Identified
2. It appearing that respondent Raul M. Gonzalez has made public and referred to there by him inhibit themselves in the deliberation and
statements to the media which not only deal with matters subjudice but resolution of the Motion to Cite in Contempt.
also appear offensive to and disrespectful of the Court and its individual
members and calculated, directly or indirectly, to bring the Court into
On 19 May 1988 17 after receipt of respondent's Supplemental Motion for
disrepute, discredit and ridicule and to denigrate and degrade the
Reconsideration. 18 this Court in an extended per
administration of justice, the Court Resolved to require respondent
curiam Resolution 19 denied the Motion and Supplemental Motion for
Gonzalez to explain in writing within ten (10) days from notice hereof, why
Reconsideration. That denial was made "final and immediately executory.
he should not be punished for contempt of court and/or subjected to
administrative sanctions for making such public statements reported in
the media, among others, in the issues of the "Daily Inquirer," the Respondent Gonzalez has since then filed the following pleadings of
"Journal," the "Manila Times," the "Philippine Star," the "Manila record:
Chronicle" the "Daily Globe" and the "Manila Standard" of April 29 and 30,
and May 1, 1988, to wit: 1. Manifestation with Supplemental Motion to Inhibition 20 dated 23 May
1988;
78

2. Motion to Transfer Administrative Proceedures to the Integrated Bar of misconduct which calls into play the disciplinary authority of the Supreme
the Philippines 21 dated 20 May 1988 Court. 35Where the respondent is a lawyer, however, the Supreme Court's
disciplinary authority over lawyers may come into play whether or not the
3. Urgent Motion for Additional Extension of Time to File Explanation Ex misconduct with which the respondent is charged also constitutes
Abundante Cautelam, 22 dated 26 May 1988; contempt of court. The power to punish for contempt of court does not
exhaust the scope of disciplinary authority of the Court over
lawyers. 36 The disciplinary authority of the Court over members of the Bar
4. Urgent Ex-Parte Omnibus Motion
is but corollary to the Court's exclusive power of admission to the Bar. A
lawyer is not merely a professional but also an officer of the court and as
(a) For Extension of Time such, he is called upon to share in the task and responsibility of dispensing
justice and resolving disputes in society. Any act on his part which visibly
(b) For Inhibition and tends to obstruct, pervert, or impede and degrade the administration of
justice constitutes both professional misconduct calling for the exercise of
(c) For Transfer of Administrative Proceedings to the IBP, Under Rule disciplinary action against him, and contumacious conduct warranting
139-B 23 dated 4 June 1988 (with Annex "A;" 24 an anonymous letter dated application of the contempt power.
27 May 1988 from the alleged Concerned Employees of the Supreme
Court and addressed to respondent): It is sometimes asserted that in the exercise of the power to punish for
contempt or of the disciplinary authority of the Court over members of
5. Ex-Parte Manifestation 25 dated 7 June 1988; the Bar, the Court is acting as offended party, prosecutor and arbiter at
one and the same time. Thus, in the present case, respondent Gonzalez
first sought to get some members of the Court to inhibit themselves in the
6. Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Reconsideration 26 1988; and
resolution of this case for alleged bias and prejudice against him. A little
later, he in effect asked the whole Court to inhibit itself from passing upon
7. Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation with Motion 27 member 1988. the issues involved in this proceeding and to pass on responsibility for this
matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, upon the ground that
In compliance with the 2 May 1988 Resolution of this Court quoted earlier, respondent cannot expect due process from this Court, that the Court has
respondent Gonzalez submitted on 17 June 1988 an Answer with become incapable of judging him impartially and fairly. Respondent
Explanation and Comment 28 offering respondent's legal arguments and Gonzalez misconceives the nature of the proceeding at bar as well as the
defenses against the contempt and disciplinary charges presently pending function of the members of the Court in such proceeding.
before this Court. Attached to that pleading as Annex "A" thereof was
respondent's own personal Explanation/Compliance 29 second explanation Respondent's contention is scarcely an original one. In In Re
called "Compliance," 30 with annexes, was also submitted by respondent Almacen, 37 then Associate (later Chief) Justice Fred Fruiz Castro had
on 22 July 1988. occasion to deal with this contention in the following lucid manner:

II xxx xxx xxx

We begin by referring to the authority of the Supreme Court to discipline It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to the exercise of our
officers of the court and members of the Bar. The Supreme Court, as authority in the premises, that, as Atty. Almacen would have it appear, the
regulator and guardian of the legal profession, has plenary disciplinary members of the Court are the 'complainants, prosecutors and judges' all
authority over attorneys. The authority to discipline lawyers stems from rolled up into one in this instance. This is an utter misapprehension, if not
the Court's constitutional mandate to regulate admission to the practice a total distortion, not only of the nature of the proceeding at hand but
of law, which includes as well authority to regulate the practice itself of also of our role therein.
law. 31 Quite apart from this constitutional mandate, the disciplinary
authority of the Supreme Court over members of the Bar is an inherent
Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the
power incidental to the proper administration of justice and essential to
present are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this
an orderly discharge of judicial functions. 32 Moreover, the Supreme Court
proceeding is not—and does not involve—a trial of an action or a suit, but
has inherent power to punish for contempt, to control in the furtherance
is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. Not
of justice the conduct of ministerial officers of the Court including lawyers
being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal
and all other persons connected in any manner with a case before the
prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor
Court. 33 The power to punish for contempt is "necessary for its own
therein. It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is its
protection against an improper interference with the due administration
primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or
of justice," "(it) is not dependent upon the complaint of any of the parties
not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such.
litigant. 34
Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls
upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the
There are, in other words, two (2) related powers which come into play in Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession
cases like that before us here; the Court's inherent power to discipline and the property and honest administration of justice by purging the
attorneys and the contempt power. The disciplinary authority of the Court profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves
over members of the Bar is broader than the power to punish for no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities
contempt. Contempt of court may be committee both by lawyers and pertaining to the office of an attorney. In such posture, there can thus be
non-lawyers, both in and out of court. Frequently, where the contemnor is no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.
a lawyer, the contumacious conduct also constitutes professional
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Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a certain degree, aggrieved its per curiam Decision dated 27 April 1988 in G.R. Nos. 79690-707 and
parties. Any tirade against the Court as a body is necessarily and 80578. That decision according to respondent Gonzalez, was issued as an
inextricably as much so against the individual members thereof But in the act of retaliation by the Court against him for the position he had taken
exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity separate and "that the (Supreme Court) Justices cannot claim immunity from suit or
distinct from the individual personalities of its members. Consistently with investigation by government prosecutors," and in order to stop
the intrinsic nature of a collegiate court, the individual members act not as respondent from investigating against "some of (the) proteges or friends
such individuals but only as a duly constituted court. The distinct (of some Supreme Court Justices)." The Court cannot, of course, and will
individualities are lost in the majesty of their office. So that, in a very real not debate the correctness of its Decision of 27 April 1988 and of its
sense, if there be any complainant in the case at bar, it can only be the Resolution dated 19 May 1988 (denying respondent Gonzalez Motion for
Court itself, not the individual members thereof—as well as the people Reconsideration) in the consolidated Zaldivar cases. Respondent Gonzalez,
themselves whose rights, fortunes and properties, nay, even lives, would and anyone else for that matter, is free intellectually to accept or not to
be placed at grave hazard should the administration of justice be accept the reasoning of the Court set out in its per curiam Decision and
threatened by the retention in the Bar of men unfit to discharge the Resolution in the consolidated Zaldivar cases. This should not, however,
solemn responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity. obscure the seriousness of the assault thus undertaken by respondent
against the Court and the appalling implications of such assault for the
Finally, the power to exclude persons from the practice of law is but a integrity of the system of administration of justice in our country.
necessary incident of the power to admit persons to said practice. By Respondent has said that the Court rendered its Decision and Resolution
constitutional precept, this power is vested exclusively in this Court. This without regard to the legal merits of the Zaldivar cases and had used the
duty it cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally renounce judicial process to impose private punishment upon respondent for
jurisdiction legally invested upon it. So that even if it be conceded that the positions he had taken (unrelated to the Zaldivar cases) in carrying out his
members collectively are in a sense the aggrieved parties, that fact alone duties. It is very difficult to imagine a more serious affront to, or a greater
does not and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of the power outrage upon, the honour and dignity of this Court than this. Respondent's
because public policy demands that they, acting as a Court, exercise the statement is also totally baseless. Respondent's statements were made in
power in all cases which call for disciplinary action. The present is such a complete disregard of the fact that his continuing authority to act
case. In the end, the imagined anomaly of the merger in one entity of the as Tanodbayan or Ombudsman after the effectivity of the 1987
personalities of complainant, prosecutor and judge is absolutely inexistent. Constitution, had been questioned before this Court as early as 10
September 1987 in the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus
filed against him in these consolidated Petitions 40 that is, more than seven
xxx xxx xxx. 38
(7) months before the Court rendered its Decision. Respondent also
ignores the fact that one day later, this Court issued a Temporary
It should not be necessary for the members of this Court expressly to Restraining Order effective immediately ordering the Sandiganbayan to
disclaim any bias or prejudice against the respondent that would prevent cease and desist from hearing the criminal cases filed against petitioner
them from acting in accordance with the exacting requirements of their Zaldivar by respondent Gonzalez. Respondent also disregards the fact that
oaths of office. It also appears to the Court that for all the members to on 24 November 1987, upon the filing of a second Petition for certiorari
inhibit themselves from sitting on this case is to abdicate the responsibility for Prohibition by Mr. Zaldivar, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining
with which the Constitution has burdened them. Reference of complaints Order this time requiring the respondent to cease and desist from further
against attorneys either to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or to the acting in TBP Case No. 87-0934. Thus, the decision finally reached by this
Solicitor General is not mandatory upon the Supreme Court; such Court in April 1988 on the constitutional law issue pending before the
reference to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or to the Solicitor Court for the preceding eight (8) months, could scarcely have been
General is certainly not an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule invented as a reprisal simply against respondent.
139-B of the Revised Rules of Court, especially where the charge consists
of acts done before the Supreme Court. There is no need for further
A second charge that respondent Gonzalez hurled against members of the
investigation of facts in the present case for it is not substantially disputed
Supreme Court is that they have improperly Id pressured" him to render
by respondent Gonzalez that he uttered or wrote certain statements
decisions favorable to their "colleagues and friends," including dismissal of
attributed to him. In any case, respondent has had the amplest
"cases" against two (2) members of the Court. This particularly deplorable
opportunity to present his defense; his defense is not that he did not
charge too is entirely baseless, as even a cursory examination of the
make the statements ascribed to him but that those statements give rise
contents of the handwritten notes of three (3) members of this Court
to no liability on his part, having been made in the exercise of his freedom
addressed to respondent (which respondent attached to his Motion for
of speech. The issues which thus need to be resolved here are issues of
Reconsideration of the Decision of this Court of 27 April 1988 in the
law and of basic policy and the Court, not any other agency, is compelled
consolidated Petitions) win show. It is clear, and respondent Gonzalez
to resolve such issues.
does not pretend otherwise, that the subject matters of the said notes
had no relation at all to the issues in G.R. Nos. 79690-707 and 80578. This
III charge appears to have been made in order to try to impart some
substance (at least in the mind of respondent) to the first accusation made
It is necessary to become very explicit as to what respondent Gonzalez by respondent that the Court had deliberately rendered a wrong decision
was saying in his statements set out above. Respondent has not denied to get even with respondent who had, with great fortitude, resisted
making the above statements; indeed, he acknowledges that the "pressure" from some members of the Court. Once again, in total effect,
newspaper reports of the statements attributed to him are substantially the statements made by respondent appear designed to cast the Court
correct. 39 into gross disrepute, and to cause among the general public scorn for and
distrust in the Supreme Court and, more generally, the judicial institutions
Respondent Gonzalez was in effect saying, firstly, that the Supreme Court of the Republic.
deliberately rendered an erroneous or wrong decision when it rendered
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Respondent Gonzalez has also asserted that the Court was preventing him (e) That respondent, "after having been castigated with such venom by
from prosecuting "rich and powerful persons," that the Court was in effect the entire Court in its decision denying the Motion for Reconsideration,
discrimination between the rich and powerful on the one hand and the does not have confidence in the impartiality of the entire Court" and that
poor and defenseless upon the other, and allowing "rich and powerful" he "funds it extremely difficult to believe that the members of this
accused persons to go "scot-free" while presumably allowing or affirming Tribunal can still act with unbiased demeanor towards him;" and
the conviction of poor and small offenders. This accusation can only be
regarded as calculated to present the Court in an extremely bad light. It (f) That "the Tribunal is determined to disbar [respondent] without due
may be seen as intended to foment hatred against the Supreme Court; it is process" and that a specified Member of the Court "has been tasked to be
also suggestive of the divisive tactics of revolutionary class war. the ponente, or at least prepare the decision." (Underscoring in the
original)
Respondent, finally, assailed the Court for having allegedly "dismissed
judges 'without rhyme or reason' and disbarred lawyers 'without due Thus, instead of explaining or seeking to mitigate his statements earlier
process.'" The Court notes that this last attack is not without relation to made, respondent sought to heap still more opprobrium upon the Court,
the other statements made by respondent against the Court. The total accusing it of being incapable of judging his acts and statements justly and
picture that respondent clearly was trying to paint of the Court is that of according to law. Once again, he paints this Court as a body not only
an "unjudicial" institution able and willing to render "clearly erroneous" capable of acting without regard to due process but indeed determined so
decisions by way of reprisal against its critics, as a body that acts arbitrarily to act. A grand design to hold up this Court to public scorn and disrespect
and capriciously denying judges and lawyers due process of law. Once as an unworthy tribunal, one obfuscated by passion and anger at
again, the purport of respondent's attack against the Court as an respondent, emerges once more. It is very difficult for members of this
institution unworthy of the people's faith and trust, is unmistakable. Had Court to understand how respondent Gonzalez could suppose that judges
respondent undertaken to examine the records 'of the two (2) judges and on the highest tribunal of the land would be ready and willing to violate
the attorney he later Identified in one of his Explanations, he would have their most solemn oath of office merely to gratify any imagined private
discovered that the respondents in those administrative cases had ample feelings aroused by respondent. The universe of the Court revolves
opportunity to explain their side and submit evidence in support around the daily demands of law and justice and duty, not around
thereof. 41 He would have also found that there were both strong reasons respondent nor any other person or group of persons.
for and an insistent rhyme in the disciplinary measures there administered
by the Court in the continuing effort to strengthen the judiciary and
Whether or not the statements made by respondent Gonzalez may
upgrade the membership of the Bar. It is appropriate to recall in this
reasonably be regarded by this Court as contumacious or as warranting
connection that due process as a constitutional precept does not, always
exercise of the disciplinary authority of this Court over members of the
and in all situations, require the trial-type proceeding, 42 that the essence
Bar, may best be assayed by examining samples of the kinds of statements
of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard
which have been held in our jurisdiction as constituting contempt or
and to submit any evidence one may have in support of one's
otherwise warranting the exercise of the Court's authority.
defense. 43 "To be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court;
one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard,
either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial 1. In Montecillo v. Gica, 45 Atty. Quirico del Mar as counsel for Montecillo,
of procedural due process. 44 who was accused in a slander case, moved to reconsider a decision of the
Court of Appeals in favor of the complainant with a veiled threat that he
should interpose his next appeal to the President of the Philippines. In his
As noted earlier, respondent Gonzalez was required by the Court to
Motion for Reconsideration, he referred to the provisions of the Revised
explain why he should not be punished for contempt and/or subjected to
Penal Code on "knowingly rendering an unjust judgment," and "judgment
administrative discipline for making the statements adverted to above. In
rendered through negligence" and implied that the Court of Appeals had
his subsequent pleadings where he asked the full Court to inhibit itself and
allowed itself to be deceived. Atty. del Mar was held guilty of contempt of
to transfer the administrative proceedings to the Integrated Bar of the
court by the Court of Appeals. He then sued the three (3) justices of the
Philippines, respondent made, among others, the following allegations:
Court of Appeals for damages before the Court of First Instance of Cebu,
seeking to hold them liable for their decision in the appealed slander case.
(a) That the Members of the Court "should inhibit [themselves] in the This suit was terminated, however, by compromise agreement after Atty.
contempt and administrative charges against the respondent, in the light del Mar apologized to the Court of Appeals and the justices concerned and
of the manifest prejudice and anger they hold against respondent as agreed to pay moral damages to the justices. Atty. del Mar some time
shown in the language of the resolution on the Motion for later filed with this Court a Petition for Review on certiorari of a decision
Reconsideration;" of the Court of Appeals in a slander case. This Court denied the Petition
for Review. Atty. del Mar then filed a Motion for Reconsideration and
(b) That "the entire membership of the court has already lost that 'cold addressed a letter to the Clerk of the Supreme Court asking for the names
neutrality of an impartial judge' [to] be able to allow fairness and due of the justices of this Court who had voted in favor of and those who had
process in the contempt citation as well as in the possible administrative voted against his Motion for Reconsideration. After his Motion for
charge; Reconsideration was denied for lack of merit, Atty. del Mar filed a
Manifestation in this Court saying:
(c) That "respondent honestly feels that this court as angry and prejudiced
as it is, respondent has no china man's chance to get fair hearing in the I can at this time reveal to you that, had your Clerk of Court furnished me
contempt and possible administrative charges;" with certified true copies of the last two Resolutions of the Supreme Court
confirming the decision of the Court of Appeals in the case
(d) That one must consider "the milieu before this Tribunal with, perhaps entitled Francisco M. Gica vs. Jorge Montecillo, I would have filed against
passion and obfuscation running riot;" the Justices supporting the same, civil and criminal suits as I did to the
81

Justices of the Court of Appeals who, rewarding the abhorent falsification allegation is that they acted with intent and malice, if not with gross
committed by Mr. Gica, reversed for him the decisions of the City Court ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of his client.
and the Court of First Instance of Cebu, not with a view to obtaining a
favorable judgment therein but for the purpose of exposing to the people xxx xxx xxx
the corroding evils extant in our Government, so that they may well know
them and work for their extermination. (60 SCRA at 240;emphasis
... To those who are in the practice of law and those who in the future will
supplied)
choose to enter this profession, We wish to point to this case as a reminder
for them to imprint in their hearts and minds that an attorney owes it to
Counsel was asked to explain why he should not be administratively dealt himself to respect the courts of justice and its officers as a fealty for the
with for making the above statements. In his additional explanation, Atty. stability of our democratic institutions. (60 SCRA at 242-247: emphasis
del Mar made the following statements: supplied)

... Graft, corruption and injustice are rampant in and outside of the 2. In Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel, 46 four (4) members of
Government. It is this state of things that convinced me that all human the bar, acting as counsel for MacArthur International Minerals Company
efforts to correct and/or reform the said evils will be fruitless and, as were required by this Court to explain certain statements made in
stated in my manifestation to you, I have already decided to retire from a MacArthur's third Motion for Reconsideration:
life of militancy to a life of seclusion, leaving to God the filling up
deficiencies. (60 SCRA at 242)
d. ...; and I the Supreme Court I has overlooked the applicable law due to
the mis-representation and obfuscation of the petitioners' counsel. (Last
The Court suspended Atty. del Mar, "until further orders," from the sentence, par. 1, Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968).
practice of law saying:
e. ... Never has any civilized democratic tribunal ruled that such a gimmick
... Respondent is utilizing what exists in his mind as state of graft, (referring to the "right to reject any and all bids") can be used by vulturous
corruption and injustice allegedly rampant in and outside of the executives to cover up and excuse losses to the public, a government
government as justification for his contemptuous statements. In other agency or just plain fraud ... and it is thus difficult, in the light of our
words, he already assumed by his own contemptuous utterances that upbringing and schooling, even under many of the incumbent justices,
because there is an alleged existence of rampant corruption, graft and that the Honorable Supreme Court intends to create a decision that in
injustice in and out of the government, We, by Our act in G.R. No. L-36800, effect does precisely that in a most absolute manner. (Second sentence,
are among the corrupt, the grafters and those allegedly committing par. 7, Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968). (31 SCRA
injustice. We are at a complete loss to follow respondent del Mar's logic ... at 6)

xxx xxx xxx They were also asked to explain the statements made in their Motion to
Inhibit filed on 21 September 1968 asking
To aged brethren of the bar it may appear belated to remind them
that second only to the duty of maintaining allegiance to the Republic of Mr. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro to
the Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey the laws of the inhibit themselves from considering, judging and resolving the case or any
Philippines, is the duty of all attorneys to observe and maintain the respect issue or aspect thereof retroactive to January 11, 1967. The motion
due to the courts of justice and judicial officers (Sec. 20 (b) Rule 138, Rules charges "It that the brother of the Honorable Associate Justice Castro is a
of Court). But We do remind them of said duty to emphasize to their vice-president of the favored party who is the chief beneficiary of the false,
younger brethren its paramount importance. A lawyer must always erroneous and illegal decision dated January 31, 1968" and
remember that he is an officer of the court exercising a high privilege and the ex-parte preliminary injunction rendered in the above-entitled case,
serving in the noble mission of administering justice. the latter in effect prejudging and predetermining this case even before
the joining of an issue. As to the Chief Justice, the motion states [t]hat the
xxx xxx xxx. son of the Honorable Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion was given a
significant appointment in the Philippine Government by the President a
As already stated, the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A G.R. No. short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was rendered in this case.
46504-R was based on its evaluation of the evidence on only one specific The appointment referred to was as secretary of the newly-created Board
issue. We in turn denied in G.R. No. L-36800 the petition for review on of Investments. The motion presents a lengthy discourse on judicial ethics,
certiorari of the decision because We found no reason for disturbing the and makes a number of side comments projecting what is claimed to be
appellate court's finding and conclusion. In both instances, both the Court the patent wrongfulness of the July 31, 1968 decision. It enumerates
of Appeals and this Court exercised judicial discretion in a case under their "incidents" which, according to the motion, brought about respondent
respective jurisdiction. The intemperate and imprudent act of respondent MacArthur's belief that unjudicial prejudice had been caused it and that
del Mar in resorting to veiled threats to make both Courts reconsider their there was 'unjudicial favoritism' in favor of 'petitioners, their appointing
respective stand in the decision and the resolution that spelled disaster for authority and a favored party directly benefited by the said decision
his client cannot be anything but pure contumely for aid tribunals. (31 SCRA at 6-7)

It is manifest that respondent del Mar has scant respect for the two Another attorney entered his appearance as new counsel for MacArthur
highest Court of the land when on the flimsy ground of alleged error in and filed a fourth Motion for Reconsideration without leave of court,
deciding a case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of both Courts by which Motion contained the following paragraphs:
claiming that they knowingly rendered unjust judgment. In short, his
82

4. The said decision is illegal because it was penned by the Honorable only were not free from the appearance of impropriety but did arouse
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion when in fact he was outside the borders suspicion that their relationship did affect their judgment. He points out
of the Republic of the Philippines at the time of the Oral Argument of the that courts must be above suspicion at all times like Ceasar's wife, warns
above-entitled case—which condition is prohibited by the New Rules of that loss of confidence for the Tribunal or a member thereof should not be
Court—Section 1, Rule 51, and we quote: "Justices; who may take allowed to happen in our country, 'although the process has already
part—... . Only those members present when any matter is submitted for begun.
oral argument will take part in its consideration and adjudication ... ." This
requirement is especially significant in the present instance because the xxx xxx xxx
member who penned the decision was the very member who was absent
for approximately four months or more. This provision also applies to the
What is disconcerting is that Atty. Santiago's accusations have no basis in
Honorable Justices Claudio Teehankee and Antonio Barredo.
fact and in law. The slur made is not limited to the Chief Justice and Mr.
Justice Castro. It sweepingly casts aspersion on the whole court. For,
xxx xxx xxx inhibition is also asked if, we repeated any other justices who have
received favors or benefits directly or indirectly from any of the
6. That if the respondent MacArthur International Minerals Company petitioners or any members of any board-petitioner or their agents or
abandons its quest for justice in the Judiciary of the Philippine principals, including the president.' The absurdity of this posture is at once
Government, it will inevitably either raise the graft and corruption of apparent. For one thing, the justices of this Court are appointed by the
Philippine Government officials in the bidding of May 12, 1965, required President and in that sense may be considered to have each received a
by the Nickel Law to determine the operator of the Surigao nickel deposits, favor from the President. Should these justices inhibit themselves every
to the World Court on grounds of deprivation of justice and confiscation of time a case involving the Administration crops up? Such a thought may
property and/or to the United States Government, either its executive or not certainly be entertained. The consequence thereof would be to
judicial branches or both, on the grounds of confiscation of respondent's paralyze the machinery of this Court. We would in fact, be wreaking havoc
proprietary vested rights by the Philippine Government without either on the tripartite system of government operating in this country. Counsel
compensation or due process of law and invoking the Hickenlooper is presumed to know this. But why the unfounded charge? There is the not
Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid and benefits to the too-well concealed effort on the part of a losing litigant's attorney to
Philippine Government, including the sugar price premium, amounting to downgrade this Court.
more than fifty million dollars annually, until restitution or compensation
is made. The mischief that stems from all of the foregoing gross disrespect is easy
(31 SCRA at 10-11) to discern. Such disrespect detracts much from the dignity of a court of
justice. Decidedly not an expression of faith, counsel's words are intended
Finding their explanations unsatisfactory, the Court, speaking through Mr. to create an atmosphere of distrust, of disbelief.
Justice Sanchez, held three (3) attorneys guilty of contempt:
xxx xxx xxx
1. We start with the case of Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. In his third motion
for reconsideration, we, indeed, find language that is not to be expected The precepts, the teachings, the injunctions just recited are not unfamiliar
of an officer of the courts. He pictures petitioners as 'vulturous to lawyers. and yet, this Court finds in the language of Atty. Santiago a
executives.' He speaks of this Court as a 'civilized, democratic tribunal,' but style that undermines and degrades the administration of justice. The
by innuendo would suggest that it is not. stricture in Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the Rules against improper conduct
tending to degrade the administration of justice is thus transgressed. Atty.
In his motion to inhibit, his first paragraph categorizes our decision of July Santiago is guilty of contempt of court.
31, 1968 as 'false, erroneous and illegal' in a presumptuous manner. He
then charges that the ex parte preliminary injunction we issued in this xxx xxx xxx
case prejudiced and predetermined the case even before the joining of an
issue. He accuses in a reckless manner two justices of this Court for being
Third. The motion contained an express threat to take the case to the
interested in the decision of this case: Associate Justice Fred Ruiz Castro,
World Court and/or the United States government. It must be
because his brother is the vice president of the favored party who is the
remembered that respondent MacArthur at that time was still trying to
chief beneficiary of the decision, and Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion,
overturn the decision of this Court of July 31, 1968. In doing so,
whose son was appointed secretary of the newly-created Board of
unnecessary statements were in ejected. More specifically, the motion
Investments, 'a significant appointment in the Philippine Government by
announced that McArthur 'will inevitably ... raise the graft and corruption
the President, a short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was
of the Philippine government officials in the bidding of May 12, 1965 ... to
rendered.' In this backdrop, he proceeds to state that 'it would seem that
the World Court' and would invoke 'the Hickenlooper Amendment
the principles thus established [the moral and ethical guidelines for
requiring the cutting off of all aid and benefits to the Philippine
inhibition of any judicial authority by the Honorable Supreme Court should
Government, including the sugar price premium, amount to more than
first apply to itself.' He puts forth the claim that lesser and further
fifty million dollars annually ...
removed conditions have been known to create favoritism, only to
conclude that there is no reason for a belief that the conditions obtaining
in the case of the Chief Justice and Justice Castro would be less likely to This is a clear attempt to influence or bend the blind of this Court to decide
engender favoritism and prejudice for or against a particular cause or the case' in its favor. A notice of appeal to the World Court has even been
party.' Implicit in this at least is that the Chief Justice and Justice Castro embodied in Meads return. There is a gross inconsistency between the
are insensible to delicadeza, which could make their actuation suspect. He appeal and the move to reconsider the decision. An appeal from a
makes it plain in the motion that the Chief Justice and Justice Castro not decision presupposes that a party has already abandoned any move to
83

reconsider that decision. And yet, it would appear that the appeal to the The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolized in paintings that can be found in
World Court is being dangled as a threat to effect a change of the decision all courts and government offices. We have added only two more symbols,
of this Court. Such act has no aboveboard explanation. that it is also deaf and dumb. Deaf in the sense that no members of this
Court has ever heard our cries for charity, generosity, fairness,
xxx xxx xxx understanding, sympathy and for justice; dumb in the sense, that inspire
of our beggings, supplications, and pleadings to give us reasons why our
appeals has been DENIED, not one word was spoken or given ... We refer
The dignity of the Court, experience teaches, can never be protected where
to no human defect or ailment in the above statement. We only described
infraction of ethics meets with complacency rather than punishment. The
the impersonal state of Things and nothing more.
people should not be given cause to break faith with the belief that a judge
is the epitome of honor amongst men. To preserve its dignity, a court of
justice should not yield to the assaults of disrespect. Punctilio of honor, we xxx xxx xxx
prefer to think, is a standard of behavior so desirable in a lawyer pleading
a cause before a court of justice. (31 SCRA at 13-23; emphasis supplied) As we have stated, we have lost our faith and confidence in the members
of this Court and for which reason we offered to surrender our lawyer's
3. In In re Almacen, supra, Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen, in protest against certificate, IN TRUST ONLY. Because what has been lost today may be
what he asserted was "a great injustice committed against his client by the regained tomorrow. As the offer was intended as our self-imposed
Supreme Court," filed a Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title. sacrifice, then we alone may decide as to when we must end our self-
He alleged that his client was deeply aggrieved by this Court's "unjust sacrifice. If we have to choose between forcing ourselves to have faith and
judgment," and had become "one of the sacrificial victims before the altar confidence in the members of the Court but disregard our Constitution and
of hypocrisy," saying that "justice as administered by the present to uphold the Constitution and be condemned by the members of this
members of the Supreme Court [was) not only blind, but also deaf and Court, there is no choice, we must uphold the latter. (31 SCRA at 572;
dumb." Atty. Almacen vowed to argue the cause of his client "in the emphasis supplied)
people's forum" so that "the people may know of this silent injustice
committed by this Court' and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs and was found by the Court to be "undignified and cynical" and rejected. The
injustices that were committed [may] never be repeated." Atty. Almacen Court indefinitely suspended Almacen from the practice of law holding,
released to the press the contents of his Petition and on 26 September through Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, that Almacen had exceeded the
1967, the "Manila Times" published statements attributed to him as boundaries of "fair criticism."
follows:
4. In Paragas V. Cruz, 47 Counsel, whose Petition for Ceriorari ran was
Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented petition, said he did not dismissed by this Court, made the following statements in his Motion for
expose the tribunal's'unconstitutional and obnoxious' practice of Reconsideration:
arbitrarily denying petitions or appeals without any reason.
The petitioner respectfully prays for a reconsideration of the resolution of
Because of the tribunal's 'short-cut justice.' Almacen deplored, his client this Honorable Court dated April 20,1966 on the ground that it constitutes
was condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing why he lost the case. a violation of Section 14 of Rule 11 2 of the Rules of Court promulgated by
this very Hon. Supreme Court, and on the further ground that it is
xxx xxx xxx likewise a violation of the most important right in the Bill of Rights of the
Constitution of the Philippines, a culpable violation which is a ground for
impeachment.
There is no use continuing his law practice, Almacen said in this
petition, 'where our Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused
to our pleas of justice, who ignore without reason their own applicable ... The rule of law in a democracy should always be upheld and protected
decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with by all means, because the rule of law creates and preserves peace and
impunity.' order and gives satisfaction and contentment to all concerned. But when
the laws and the rules are violated, the victims resort, sometimes, to
armed force and to the ways of the cavemen We do not want Verzosa and
xxx xxx xxx
Reyes repeated again and again, killed in the premises of the Supreme
Court and in those of the City Hall of Manila. Educated people should keep
He expressed the hope that by divesting himself of his title by which he their temper under control at all times! But justice should be done to all
earns his living, the present members of the Supreme Court 'will become concerned to perpetuate the very life of Democracy on the face of the
responsible to all cases brought to its attention without discrimination, earth. (14 SCRA at 810; emphasis supplied)
and will purge itself of those unconstitutional and obnoxious "lack of merit'
or "denied resolutions. (31 SCRA at 565566; emphasis supplied)
The Court considered the above statements as derogatory to the dignity
of the Court and required counsel to show cause why administrative
Atty. Almacen was required by this Court to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. Counsel later explained that he
action should not be taken against him. His explanation, which in part had merely related factual events (i.e., the killing of Verzosa and Reyes)
read: and to express his desire to avoid repetition of such acts. The Court,
through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, found these explanations unsatisfactory
xxx xxx xxx and the above statements contumacious.
84

... The expressions contained in the motion for reconsideration ... years, would tend necessarily to undermine the coincidence of the people
are plainly contemptuous and disrespectful, and reference to the recent in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court, and
killing of two employees is but a covert threat upon the members of the consequently to lower and degrade the administration of justice by this
Court. ... That such threats and disrespectful language contained in a Court. The Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the Constitution, the
pleading filed in courts are constitutive of direct contempt has been last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair to obtain relief for
repeatedly decided (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724; People vs. their grievances or protection of their rights when these are trampled
Venturanza, 52 Off. Gaz. 769; Medina vs. Rivera, 66 Phil. 151; De Joya vs. upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity
Court of First Instance of Rizal, 1, 9785, September 19,1956; Sison vs. of the members of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice
Sandejas L- 9270, April 29,1959; Lualhati vs. Albert, 57 Phil. 86). What therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their hands, and
makes the present case more deplorable is that the guilty party is a disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. As a member of the bar
member of the bar; for, as remarked in People vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 580- and an officer of the courts Atty. Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty
bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to which he owes
Counsel should conduct himself towards the judges who try his cases with fidelity according to the oath he has taken as such attorney, and not to
that courtesy all have a right to expect. As an officer of the court, it is his promote distrust in the administration of justice. Respect to the courts
sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high guarantees the stability of other institutions, which without such guaranty
esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the proper would be resting on a very shaky foundation. (82 Phil. at 601-602;
administration of justice. emphasis supplied)

It in light and plausible that an attorney in defending the cause and rights 6. In Salcedo v. Hernandez, 49 Atty. Vicente Francisco filed a Motion before
of his client, should do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is the Supreme Court which contained the following paragraph (in
capable, but it is not, and never will be so, for him to exercise said right by translation):
resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the propriety and respect
which the dignity of the courts require. (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, [In re We should like frankly and respectfully to make it of record that the
Francisco], 61 Phil. 729)' (1 4 SCRA at 811-812; emphasis supplied) resolution of this court, denying our motion for reconsideration, is
absolutely erroneous and constitutes an outrage to the rights of the
5. In In re Sotto, 48 a newspaper reporter, Mr. Angel Parazo, invoking the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at
Press Freedom Law, refused to divulge the source of the news item which the polls in the municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas. We wish to exhaust all the
carried his by-line and was sent to jail for so refusing. Atty. Vicente Sotto, means within our power in order that this error may be corrected by the
a senator and author of said law, caused the publication of the following very court which has committed it, because we should not want that some
item in a number of daily newspapers in Manila: citizen, particularly some voter of the municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas,
resort to the press publicly to denounce, as he has a right to do,
the judicial outrage of which the herein petitioner has been the victim,
As author of the Press Freedom Law (Republic Act No. 53), interpreted by
and because it is our utmost desire to safeguard the prestige of this
the Supreme Court in the case of Angel Parazo, reporter of a local daily,
honorable court and of each and every member thereof in the eyes of the
who now has to suffer 30 days imprisonment, for his refusal to divulge the
public. But, at the same time we wish to state sincerely that erroneous
source of a news published in his paper, I regret to say that our High
decisions like these, which the affected party and his thousands of voters
Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said law, but that it is once
will necessarily consider unjust, increase the proselytes of sakdalism and
more putting in evidence the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the
make the public lose confidence in the administration of justice. (61 Phil. at
majority of its members. In the wake of so many blunders and injustices
726; emphasis supplied)
deliberately committed during these last years, I believe that the only
remedy to put an end to so much evil, is to change the members of the
Supreme Court. To this effect, I announce that one of the first measures, When required by the Court to show cause why he should not be declared
which I will introduce in the coming congressional sessions, will have as its in contempt, Atty. Francisco responded by saying that it was not contempt
object the complete reorganization of the Supreme Court. As it is now to tell the truth. Examining the statements made above, the Court held:
constituted, the Supreme Court of today constitutes a constant peril to
liberty and democracy. It need be said loudly, very loudly, so that even the ... [they] disclose, in the opinion of this court, an inexcusable disrespect of
deaf may hear: The Supreme Court of today is a far cry from the the authority of the court and an intentional contempt of its dignity,
impregnable bulwark of Justice of those memorable times of Cayetano because the court is thereby charged with no less than having proceeded
Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other learned jurists who in utter disregard of the laws, the rights of the parties, and of the
were the honor and glory of the Philippine Judiciary. (82 Phil. at 597-598; untoward consequences, or with having abused its power and mocked and
emphasis supplied) flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's client, because the acts
of outraging and mocking from which the words 'outrage' and mockery'
In finding Atty. Sotto in contempt, despite his avowals of good faith and used therein are derived, means exactly the same as all these, according
his invocation of the constitutional guarantee of free speech and in to the Dictionary of the Spanish Language published by the Spanish
requiring him to show cause why he should not be disbarred, the Court, Academy (Dictionary of the Spanish Language, 15th ed., pages 132-513).
through Mr. Justice Feria, said-
The insertion of the phrases in question in said motion of Attorney Vicente
To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years J. Francisco, for many years a member of the Philippine bar, was neither
committing deliberately so many blunders and injustices that is to justified nor in the least necessary, because in order to call the attention
say, that it has been deciding in favor of one party knowing that the law of the court in a special way to the essential points relied upon in his
and justice is on the part of the adverse party and not on the one in whose argument and to emphasize the force thereof, the many reasons stated in
favor the decision was rendered, in many cases decided during the last his said motion were sufficient and the phrases in question were
85

superfluous. In order to appeal to reason and justice, it is highly improper 8) Cornejo v. Tan, 85 Phil. 772 (1950);
and amiss to make trouble and resort to threats, as Attorney Vicente J.
Francisco has done, because both means are annoying and good practice 9) People v. Carillon, 77 Phil. 572 (1946);
can ever sanction them by reason of their natural tendency to disturb and
hinder the free exercise of a serene and impartial judgment, particularly in
10) Intestate Estate of Rosario 0lba; Contempt Proceedings against
judicial matters, in the consideration of questions submitted for resolution.
Antonio Franco, 67 Phil. 312 (1939); and

There is no question that said paragraph of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's


11) Lualhati v. Albert, 57 Phil. 86 (1932).
motion contains a more or less veiled threat to the court because it is
insinuated therein, after the author shows the course which the voters of
Tiaong should follow in case he fails in his attempt, that they will resort to Considering the kinds of statements of lawyers discussed above which the
the press for the purpose of denouncing, what he claims to be a judicial Court has in the past penalized as contemptuous or as warranting
outrage of which his client has been the victim; and because he states in a application of disciplinary sanctions, this Court is compelled to hold that
threatening manner with the intention of predisposing the mind of the the statements here made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute
reader against the court, thus creating an atmosphere of prejudices contempt and call for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the
against it in order to make it odious in the public eye, that decisions of the Supreme Court. Respondent's statements, especially the charge that the
nature of that referred to in his motion to promote distrust in the Court deliberately rendered an erroneous and unjust decision in the
administration of justice and increase the proselytes of sakdalism a Consolidated Petitions, necessarily implying that the justices of this Court
movement with seditious and revolutionary tendencies the activities of betrayed their oath of office, merely to wreak vengeance upon the
which, as is of public knowledge, occurred in this country a few days respondent here, constitute the grossest kind of disrespect for the Court.
ago. This cannot mean otherwise than contempt of the dignity of the court Such statements very clearly debase and degrade the Supreme Court and,
and disrespect of the authority thereof on the part of Attorney Vicente J. through the Court, the entire system of administration of justice in the
Francisco, because he presumes that the court is so devoid of the sense of country. That respondent's baseless charges have had some impact
justice that, if he did not resort to intimidation, it would maintain its error outside the internal world of subjective intent, is clearly demonstrated by
notwithstanding the fact that it may be proven, with good reasons, that it the filing of a complaint for impeachment of thirteen (13) out of the then
has acted erroneously. fourteen (14) incumbent members of this Court, a complaint the
centerpiece of which is a repetition of the appalling claim of respondent
that this Court deliberately rendered a wrong decision as an act of reprisal
As a member of the bar and an officer of this court, Attorney Vicente J.
against the respondent.
Francisco, as any attorney, is in duty bound to uphold its dignity and
authority and to defend its integrity, not only because it had conferred
upon him the high privilege, not a right (Malcolm, Legal Ethics, 158 and IV
160), of being what he now is: a priest of justice (In re Thatcher, 80 Ohio
St., Rep., 492, 669), but also because in so doing, he neither creates nor The principal defense of respondent Gonzalez is that he was merely
promotes distrust in the administration of justice, and prevents anybody exercising his constitutional right of free speech. He also invokes the
from harboring and encouraging discontent which, in many cases, is the related doctrines of qualified privileged communications and fair criticism
source of disorder, thus undermining the foundation upon which rests in the public interest.
that bulwark called judicial power to which those who are aggrieved turn
for protection and relief (61 Phil. at 727-728; emphasis supplied) Respondent Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free
speech. No one seeks to deny him that right, least of all this Court. What
It should not be supposed that the six (6) cases above discussed exhaust respondent seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of
our case law on this matter. In the following cases, among others, the expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that
Supreme Court punished for contempt or administratively disciplined freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and
lawyers who had made statements not very different from those made in accommodated with the requirements of equally important public
the cases discussed above: interests. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of
the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There
1) In re Wenceslao Laureta, 148 SCRA 382 (1987); is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of
administering justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of
expression itself can be secured only within the context of a functioning
2) Borromeo v. Court of appeals, 87 SCRA 67 (1978);
and orderly system of dispensing justice, within the context, in other
words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which are
3) Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer, 20 SCRA 441 (1967); accepted by the general community. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter put it:

4) Malolos v. Reyes, 1 SCRA 559 (1961); ... A free press is not to be preferred to an independent judiciary, nor an
independent judiciary to a free press. Neither has primacy over the other;
5) De Joya, et al. v. Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasay City Branch, 99 both are indispensable to a free society. The freedom of the press in itself
Phil. 907 (1956); presupposes an independent judiciary through which that freedom may, if
necessary be vindicated. And one of the potent means for assuring judges
6) People v. Venturanza, et al., 98 Phil. 211 (1956); their independence is a free press. 50

7) In re Suzano A. Velasquez, per curiam Resolution (unreported), Mr. Justice Malcolm of this Court expressed the same thought in the
Promulgated 29 April 1955; following terms:
86

The Organic Act wisely guarantees freedom of speech and press. This and acts. 55 It is upon the other hand, not irrelevant to point out that
constitutional right must be protected in its fullest extent. The Court has respondent offered no apology in his two (2) explanations and exhibited
heretofore given evidence of its tolerant regard for charges under the Libel no repentance. 56
Law which come dangerously close to its violation. We shall continue in
this chosen path. The liberty of the citizens must be preserved in all of its Respondent Gonzalez also defends himself contending that no injury to
completeness. But license or abuse of liberty of the press and of the the judiciary has been shown, and points to the fact that this Court denied
citizens should not be confused with liberty ill its true sense. As important his Motion for Reconsideration of its per curiam Decision of 27 April 1988
as is the maintenance of an unmuzzled press and the free exercise of the and reiterated and amplified that Decision in its Resolution of 19 May
rights of the citizens is the maintenance of the independence of the 1988. In the first place, proof of actual damage sustained by a court or the
Judiciary. Respect for the Judiciary cannot be had if persons are privileged judiciary in general is not essential for a finding of contempt or for the
to scorn a resolution of the court adopted for good purposes, and if such application of the disciplinary authority of the Court. Insofar as the
persons are to be permitted by subterranean means to diffuse inaccurate Consolidated Petitions are concerned, this Court after careful review of
accounts of confidential proceedings to the embarassment of the parties the bases of its 27 April 1988 Decision, denied respondent's Motion for
and the courts. 51 (Emphasis supplied) Reconsideration thereof and rejected the public pressures brought to bear
upon this Court by the respondent through his much publicized acts and
Only slightly (if at all) less important is the public interest in the capacity of statements for which he is here being required to account. Obstructing
the Court effectively to prevent and control professional misconduct on the free and undisturbed resolution of a particular case is not the only
the part of lawyers who are, first and foremost, indispensable participants species of injury that the Court has a right and a duty to prevent and
in the task of rendering justice to every man. Some courts have held, redress. What is at stake in cases of this kind is the integrity of the judicial
persuasively it appears to us, that a lawyer's right of free expression may institutions of the country in general and of the Supreme Court in
have to be more limited than that of a layman. 52 particular. Damage to such institutions might not be quantifiable at a
given moment in time but damage there will surely be if acts like those of
It is well to recall that respondent Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and respondent Gonzalez are not effectively stopped and countered. The level
an officer of the court, is also a Special Prosecutor who owes duties of of trust and confidence of the general public in the courts, including the
fidelity and respect to the Republic and to this Court as the embodiment court of last resort, is not easily measured; but few will dispute that a high
and the repository of the judicial power in the government of the Republic. level of such trust and confidence is critical for the stability of democratic
The responsibility of the respondent "to uphold the dignity and authority government.
of this Court' and "not to promote distrust in the administration of
justice 53 is heavier than that of a private practicing lawyer. Respondent Gonzalez lastly suggests that punishment for contempt is not
the proper remedy in this case and suggests that the members of this
Respondent Gonzalez claims to be and he is, of course, entitled to criticize Court have recourse to libel suits against him. While the remedy of libel
the rulings of this Court, to point out where he feels the Court may have suits by individual members of this Court may well be available against
lapsed into error. Once more, however, the right of criticism is not respondent Gonzalez, such is by no means an exclusive remedy. Moreover,
unlimited. Its limits were marked out by Mr. Justice Castro in In re where, as in the instant case, it is not only the individual members of the
Almacen which are worth noting Court but the Court itself as an institution that has been falsely attacked,
libel suits cannot be an adequate remedy. 57
But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bonafide
and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm The Court concludes that respondent Gonzalez is guilty both of contempt
exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of of court in facie curiae and of gross misconduct as an officer of the court
courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair and member of the Bar.
criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a
misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND Atty. Raul M. Gonzalez
from the practice of law indefinitely and until further orders from this
The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is Court, the suspension to take effect immediately.
essential to the orderly administration of justice. Hence, in the assertion of
their clients' rights, lawyers even those gifted with superior intellect are Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Sandiganbayan, the
enjoined to rein up their tempers. Ombudsman, the Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General and the Court
of Appeals for their information and guidance.
xxx xxx xxx 54
Fernan C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras,
(Emphasis supplied) Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Griño-Aquino,
Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
The instant proceeding is not addressed to the fact that respondent has
criticized the Court; it is addressed rather to the nature of that criticism or Resolution March 18, 1954
comment and the manner in which it was carried out.
In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of Unsuccessful
Respondent Gonzalez disclaims an intent to attack and denigrate the Candidates of 1946 to 1953;
Court. The subjectivities of the respondent are irrelevant so far as ALBINO CUNANAN, ET AL., petitioners.
characterization of his conduct or misconduct is concerned. He will not,
however, be allowed to disclaim the natural and plain import of his words
87

Jose M. Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo, and Antonio Enrile Inton fraction, shall be considered as one and included as part of the next whole
for petitioners. number.
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag for respondent.
SEC. 2. Any bar candidate who obtained a grade of seventy-five per cent in
DIOKNO, J.: any subject in any bar examination after July fourth, nineteen hundred
and forty-six shall be deemed to have passed in such subject or subjects
In recent years few controversial issues have aroused so much public and such grade or grades shall be included in computing the passing
interest and concern as Republic Act No. 972, popularly known as the "Bar general average that said candidate may obtain in any subsequent
Flunkers' Act of 1953." Under the Rules of Court governing admission to examinations that he may take.
the bar, "in order that a candidate (for admission to the Bar) may be
deemed to have passed his examinations successfully, he must have SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
obtained a general average of 75 per cent in all subjects, without falling
below 50 per cent in any subject." (Rule 127, sec. 14, Rules of Court). Enacted on June 21, 1953, without the Executive approval.
Nevertheless, considering the varying difficulties of the different bar
examinations held since 1946 and the varying degree of strictness with
After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed
which the examination papers were graded, this court passed and
petitions for admission to the bar invoking its provisions, while others
admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an average of
whose motions for the revision of their examination papers were still
only 72 per cent in 1946, 69 per cent in 1947, 70 per cent in 1948, and 74
pending also invoked the aforesaid law as an additional ground for
per cent in 1949. In 1950 to 1953, the 74 per cent was raised to 75 per
admission. There are also others who have sought simply the
cent.
reconsideration of their grades without, however, invoking the law in
question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the court first
Believing themselves as fully qualified to practice law as those reviewed the motions for reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not
reconsidered and passed by this court, and feeling conscious of having they had invoked Republic Act No. 972. Unfortunately, the court has found
been discriminated against (See Explanatory Note to R.A. No. 972), no reason to revise their grades. If they are to be admitted to the bar, it
unsuccessful candidates who obtained averages of a few percentage must be pursuant to Republic Act No. 972 which, if declared valid, should
lower than those admitted to the Bar agitated in Congress for, and be applied equally to all concerned whether they have filed petitions or
secured in 1951 the passage of Senate Bill No. 12 which, among others, not. A complete list of the petitioners, properly classified, affected by this
reduced the passing general average in bar examinations to 70 per cent decision, as well as a more detailed account of the history of Republic Act
effective since 1946. The President requested the views of this court on No. 972, are appended to this decision as Annexes I and II. And to realize
the bill. Complying with that request, seven members of the court more readily the effects of the law, the following statistical data are set
subscribed to and submitted written comments adverse thereto, and forth:
shortly thereafter the President vetoed it. Congress did not override the
veto. Instead, it approved Senate Bill No. 371, embodying substantially the
(1) The unsuccessful bar candidates who are to be benefited by section 1
provisions of the vetoed bill. Although the members of this court
of Republic Act No. 972 total 1,168, classified as follows:
reiterated their unfavorable views on the matter, the President allowed
the bill to become a law on June 21, 1953 without his signature. The law,
which incidentally was enacted in an election year, reads in full as follows: 1946 (August) 206 121 18
1946 (November) 477 228 43
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972
1947 749 340 0

AN ACT TO FIX THE PASSING MARKS FOR BAR EXAMINATIONS FROM 1948 899 409 11
NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX UP TO AND INCLUDING NINETEEN 1949 1,218 532 164
HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE.
1950 1,316 893 26
1951 2,068 879 196
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
Philippines in Congress assembled: 1952 2,738 1,033 426
1953 2,555 968 284
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fourteen, Rule
TOTAL 12,230 5,421 1,168
numbered one hundred twenty-seven of the Rules of Court, any bar
candidate who obtained a general average of seventy per cent in any bar
examinations after July fourth, nineteen hundred and forty-six up to the Of the total 1,168 candidates, 92 have passed in subsequent examination,
August nineteen hundred and fifty-one bar examinations; seventy-one per and only 586 have filed either motions for admission to the bar pursuant
cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-two bar examinations; seventy-two to said Republic Act, or mere motions for reconsideration.
per cent in the in the nineteen hundred and fifty-three bar examinations;
seventy-three per cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-four bar (2) In addition, some other 10 unsuccessful candidates are to be benefited
examinations; seventy-four per cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-five by section 2 of said Republic Act. These candidates had each taken from
bar examinations without a candidate obtaining a grade below fifty per two to five different examinations, but failed to obtain a passing average
cent in any subject, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the in any of them. Consolidating, however, their highest grades in different
corresponding oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar: Provided, subjects in previous examinations, with their latest marks, they would be
however, That for the purpose of this Act, any exact one-half or more of a
88

sufficient to reach the passing average as provided for by Republic Act No. legal problem evolved by the times become more difficult. An adequate
972. legal preparation is one of the vital requisites for the practice of law that
should be developed constantly and maintained firmly. To the legal
(3) The total number of candidates to be benefited by this Republic Acts is profession is entrusted the protection of property, life, honor and civil
therefore 1,094, of which only 604 have filed petitions. Of these 604 liberties. To approve officially of those inadequately prepared individuals
petitioners, 33 who failed in 1946 to 1951 had individually presented to dedicate themselves to such a delicate mission is to create a serious
motions for reconsideration which were denied, while 125 unsuccessful social danger. Moreover, the statement that there was an insufficiency of
candidates of 1952, and 56 of 1953, had presented similar motions, which legal reading materials is grossly exaggerated. There were abundant
are still pending because they could be favorably affected by Republic Act materials. Decisions of this court alone in mimeographed copies were
No. 972, — although as has been already stated, this tribunal finds no made available to the public during those years and private enterprises
sufficient reasons to reconsider their grades had also published them in monthly magazines and annual digests.
The Official Gazette had been published continuously. Books and
magazines published abroad have entered without restriction since 1945.
UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972
Many law books, some even with revised and enlarged editions have been
printed locally during those periods. A new set of Philippine Reports began
Having been called upon to enforce a law of far-reaching effects on the to be published since 1946, which continued to be supplemented by the
practice of the legal profession and the administration of justice, and addition of new volumes. Those are facts of public knowledge.
because some doubts have been expressed as to its validity, the court set
the hearing of the afore-mentioned petitions for admission on the sole
Notwithstanding all these, if the law in question is valid, it has to be
question of whether or not Republic Act No. 972 is constitutional.
enforced.

We have been enlightened in the study of this question by the brilliant


The question is not new in its fundamental aspect or from the point of
assistance of the members of the bar who have amply argued, orally an in
view of applicable principles, but the resolution of the question would
writing, on the various aspects in which the question may be gleaned. The
have been easier had an identical case of similar background been picked
valuable studies of Messrs. E. Voltaire Garcia, Vicente J. Francisco, Vicente
out from the jurisprudence we daily consult. Is there any precedent in the
Pelaez and Buenaventura Evangelista, in favor of the validity of the law,
long Anglo-Saxon legal history, from which has been directly derived the
and of the U.P. Women's Lawyers' Circle, the Solicitor General, Messrs.
judicial system established here with its lofty ideals by the Congress of the
Arturo A. Alafriz, Enrique M. Fernando, Vicente Abad Santos, Carlos A.
United States, and which we have preserved and attempted to improve,
Barrios, Vicente del Rosario, Juan de Blancaflor, Mamerto V. Gonzales, and
or in our contemporaneous judicial history of more than half a century?
Roman Ozaeta against it, aside from the memoranda of counsel for
From the citations of those defending the law, we can not find a case in
petitioners, Messrs. Jose M. Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo and
which the validity of a similar law had been sustained, while those against
Antonio Enrile Inton, and of petitioners Cabrera, Macasaet and Galema
its validity cite, among others, the cases of Day (In re Day, 54 NE 646), of
themselves, has greatly helped us in this task. The legal researchers of the
Cannon (State vs. Cannon, 240 NW, 441), the opinion of the Supreme
court have exhausted almost all Philippine and American jurisprudence on
Court of Massachusetts in 1932 (81 ALR 1061), of Guariña (24 Phil., 37),
the matter. The question has been the object of intense deliberation for a
aside from the opinion of the President which is expressed in his vote of
long time by the Tribunal, and finally, after the voting, the preparation of
the original bill and which the postponement of the contested law
the majority opinion was assigned to a new member in order to place it as
respects.
humanly as possible above all suspicion of prejudice or partiality.

This law has no precedent in its favor. When similar laws in other
Republic Act No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to admit to
countries had been promulgated, the judiciary immediately declared them
the Bar, those candidates who suffered from insufficiency of reading
without force or effect. It is not within our power to offer a precedent to
materials and inadequate preparation. Quoting a portion of the
uphold the disputed law.
Explanatory Note of the proposed bill, its author Honorable Senator Pablo
Angeles David stated:
To be exact, we ought to state here that we have examined carefully the
case that has been cited to us as a favorable precedent of the law — that
The reason for relaxing the standard 75 per cent passing grade is the
of Cooper (22 NY, 81), where the Court of Appeals of New York revoked
tremendous handicap which students during the years immediately after
the decision of the Supreme court of that State, denying the petition of
the Japanese occupation has to overcome such as the insufficiency of
Cooper to be admitted to the practice of law under the provisions of a
reading materials and the inadequacy of the preparation of students who
statute concerning the school of law of Columbia College promulgated on
took up law soon after the liberation.
April 7, 1860, which was declared by the Court of Appeals to be consistent
with the Constitution of the state of New York.
Of the 9,675 candidates who took the examinations from 1946 to 1952,
5,236 passed. And now it is claimed that in addition 604 candidates be
It appears that the Constitution of New York at that time provided:
admitted (which in reality total 1,094), because they suffered from
"insufficiency of reading materials" and of "inadequacy of preparation."
They (i.e., the judges) shall not hold any other office of public trust. All
votes for either of them for any elective office except that of the Court of
By its declared objective, the law is contrary to public interest because it
Appeals, given by the Legislature or the people, shall be void. They shall
qualifies 1,094 law graduates who confessedly had inadequate
not exercise any power of appointment to public office. Any male citizen
preparation for the practice of the profession, as was exactly found by this
of the age of twenty-one years, of good moral character, and who
Tribunal in the aforesaid examinations. The public interest demands of
possesses the requisite qualifications of learning and ability, shall be
legal profession adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as
entitled to admission to practice in all the courts of this State. (p. 93).
89

According to the Court of Appeals, the object of the constitutional precept and with the Constitution itself in order to determine the present
is as follows: condition of the law on the subject. (p.89)

Attorneys, solicitors, etc., were public officers; the power of appointing xxx xxx xxx
them had previously rested with the judges, and this was the principal
appointing power which they possessed. The convention was evidently The Legislature has not taken from the court its jurisdiction over the
dissatisfied with the manner in which this power had been exercised, and question of admission, that has simply prescribed what shall be
with the restrictions which the judges had imposed upon admission to competent evidence in certain cases upon that question. (p.93)
practice before them. The prohibitory clause in the section quoted was
aimed directly at this power, and the insertion of the provision" expecting
From the foregoing, the complete inapplicability of the case of Cooper
the admission of attorneys, in this particular section of the Constitution,
with that at bar may be clearly seen. Please note only the following
evidently arose from its connection with the object of this prohibitory
distinctions:
clause. There is nothing indicative of confidence in the courts or of a
disposition to preserve any portion of their power over this subject, unless
the Supreme Court is right in the inference it draws from the use of the (1) The law of New York does not require that any candidate of Columbia
word `admission' in the action referred to. It is urged that the admission College who failed in the bar examinations be admitted to the practice of
spoken of must be by the court; that to admit means to grant leave, and law.
that the power of granting necessarily implies the power of refusing, and
of course the right of determining whether the applicant possesses the (2) The law of New York according to the very decision of Cooper, has not
requisite qualifications to entitle him to admission. taken from the court its jurisdiction over the question of admission of
attorney at law; in effect, it does not decree the admission of any lawyer.
These positions may all be conceded, without affecting the validity of the
act. (p. 93.) (3) The Constitution of New York at that time and that of the Philippines
are entirely different on the matter of admission of the practice of law.
Now, with respect to the law of April 7, 1860, the decision seems to
indicate that it provided that the possession of a diploma of the school of In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the admission,
law of Columbia College conferring the degree of Bachelor of Laws was suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law in the
evidence of the legal qualifications that the constitution required of practice of the profession and their supervision have been disputably a
applicants for admission to the Bar. The decision does not however quote judicial function and responsibility. Because of this attribute, its
the text of the law, which we cannot find in any public or accessible continuous and zealous possession and exercise by the judicial power
private library in the country. have been demonstrated during more than six centuries, which certainly
"constitutes the most solid of titles." Even considering the power granted
In the case of Cooper, supra, to make the law consistent with the to Congress by our Constitution to repeal, alter supplement the rules
Constitution of New York, the Court of Appeals said of the object of the promulgated by this Court regarding the admission to the practice of law,
law: to our judgment and proposition that the admission, suspension,
disbarment and reinstatement of the attorneys at law is a legislative
function, properly belonging to Congress, is unacceptable. The function
The motive for passing the act in question is apparent. Columbia College
requires (1) previously established rules and principles, (2) concrete facts,
being an institution of established reputation, and having a law
whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals. and (3)
department under the charge of able professors, the students in which
decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles;
department were not only subjected to a formal examination by the law
in effect, a judicial function of the highest degree. And it becomes more
committee of the institution, but to a certain definite period of study
undisputably judicial, and not legislative, if previous judicial resolutions on
before being entitled to a diploma of being graduates, the Legislature
the petitions of these same individuals are attempted to be revoked or
evidently, and no doubt justly, considered this examination, together with
modified.
the preliminary study required by the act, as fully equivalent as a test of
legal requirements, to the ordinary examination by the court; and as
rendering the latter examination, to which no definite period of We have said that in the judicial system from which ours has been derived,
preliminary study was essential, unnecessary and burdensome. the act of admitting, suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at
law in the practice of the profession is concededly judicial. A
comprehensive and conscientious study of this matter had been
The act was obviously passed with reference to the learning and ability of
undertaken in the case of State vs. Cannon (1932) 240 NW 441, in which
the applicant, and for the mere purpose of substituting the examination
the validity of a legislative enactment providing that Cannon be permitted
by the law committee of the college for that of the court. It could have
to practice before the courts was discussed. From the text of this decision
had no other object, and hence no greater scope should be given to its
we quote the following paragraphs:
provisions. We cannot suppose that the Legislature designed entirely to
dispense with the plain and explicit requirements of the Constitution; and
the act contains nothing whatever to indicate an intention that the This statute presents an assertion of legislative power without parallel in
authorities of the college should inquire as to the age, citizenship, etc., of the history of the English speaking people so far as we have been able to
the students before granting a diploma. The only rational interpretation of ascertain. There has been much uncertainty as to the extent of the power
which the act admits is, that it was intended to make the college diploma of the Legislature to prescribe the ultimate qualifications of attorney at
competent evidence as to the legal attainments of the applicant, and law has been expressly committed to the courts, and the act of admission
nothing else. To this extent alone it operates as a modification of has always been regarded as a judicial function. This act purports to
pre-existing statutes, and it is to be read in connection with these statutes
90

constitute Mr. Cannon an attorney at law, and in this respect it stands subject to legislative control. Perhaps the dominant thought of the
alone as an assertion of legislative power. (p. 444) framers of our constitution was to make the three great departments of
government separate and independent of one another. The idea that the
Under the Constitution all legislative power is vested in a Senate and Legislature might embarrass the judicial department by prescribing
Assembly. (Section 1, art. 4.) In so far as the prescribing of qualifications inadequate qualifications for attorneys at law is inconsistent with the
for admission to the bar are legislative in character, the Legislature is dominant purpose of making the judicial independent of the legislative
acting within its constitutional authority when it sets up and prescribes department, and such a purpose should not be inferred in the absence of
such qualifications. (p. 444) express constitutional provisions. While the legislature may legislate with
respect to the qualifications of attorneys, but is incidental merely to its
general and unquestioned power to protect the public interest. When it
But when the Legislature has prescribed those qualifications which in its
does legislate a fixing a standard of qualifications required of attorneys at
judgment will serve the purpose of legitimate legislative solicitude, is the
law in order that public interests may be protected, such qualifications do
power of the court to impose other and further exactions and
not constitute only a minimum standard and limit the class from which the
qualifications foreclosed or exhausted? (p. 444)
court must make its selection. Such legislative qualifications do not
constitute the ultimate qualifications beyond which the court cannot go in
Under our Constitution the judicial and legislative departments are fixing additional qualifications deemed necessary by the course of the
distinct, independent, and coordinate branches of the government. proper administration of judicial functions. There is no legislative power to
Neither branch enjoys all the powers of sovereignty which properly compel courts to admit to their bars persons deemed by them unfit to
belongs to its department. Neither department should so act as to exercise the prerogatives of an attorney at law. (p. 450)
embarrass the other in the discharge of its respective functions. That was
the scheme and thought of the people setting upon the form of
Furthermore, it is an unlawful attempt to exercise the power of
government under which we exist. State vs. Hastings, 10 Wis., 525;
appointment. It is quite likely true that the legislature may exercise the
Attorney General ex rel. Bashford vs. Barstow, 4 Wis., 567. (p. 445)
power of appointment when it is in pursuance of a legislative functions.
However, the authorities are well-nigh unanimous that the power to
The judicial department of government is responsible for the plane upon admit attorneys to the practice of law is a judicial function. In all of the
which the administration of justice is maintained. Its responsibility in this states, except New Jersey (In re Reisch, 83 N.J. Eq. 82, 90 A. 12), so far as
respect is exclusive. By committing a portion of the powers of sovereignty our investigation reveals, attorneys receive their formal license to practice
to the judicial department of our state government, under 42a scheme law by their admission as members of the bar of the court so admitting.
which it was supposed rendered it immune from embarrassment or Cor. Jur. 572; Ex parte Secombre, 19 How. 9,15 L. Ed. 565; Ex parteGarland,
interference by any other department of government, the courts cannot 4 Wall. 333, 18 L. Ed. 366; Randall vs. Brigham, 7 Wall. 53, 19 L. Ed. 285;
escape responsibility fir the manner in which the powers of sovereignty Hanson vs. Grattan, 48 Kan, 843, 115 P. 646, 34 L.R.A. 519; Danforth vs.
thus committed to the judicial department are exercised. (p. 445) Egan, 23 S. D. 43, 119 N.W. 1021, 130 Am. St. Rep. 1030, 20 Ann. Cas. 413.

The relation at the bar to the courts is a peculiar and intimate relationship. The power of admitting an attorney to practice having been perpetually
The bar is an attache of the courts. The quality of justice dispense by the exercised by the courts, it having been so generally held that the act of the
courts depends in no small degree upon the integrity of its bar. An court in admitting an attorney to practice is the judgment of the court,
unfaithful bar may easily bring scandal and reproach to the administration and an attempt as this on the part of the Legislature to confer such right
of justice and bring the courts themselves into disrepute. (p.445) upon any one being most exceedingly uncommon, it seems clear that the
licensing of an attorney is and always has been a purely judicial function,
Through all time courts have exercised a direct and severe supervision no matter where the power to determine the qualifications may reside. (p.
over their bars, at least in the English speaking countries. (p. 445) 451)

After explaining the history of the case, the Court ends thus: In that same year of 1932, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in
answering a consultation of the Senate of that State, 180 NE 725, said:
Our conclusion may be epitomized as follows: For more than six centuries
prior to the adoption of our Constitution, the courts of England, It is indispensible to the administration of justice and to interpretation of
concededly subordinate to Parliament since the Revolution of 1688, had the laws that there be members of the bar of sufficient ability, adequate
exercise the right of determining who should be admitted to the practice learning and sound moral character. This arises from the need of
of law, which, as was said in Matter of the Sergeant's at Law, 6 Bingham's enlightened assistance to the honest, and restraining authority over the
New Cases 235, "constitutes the most solid of all titles." If the courts and knavish, litigant. It is highly important, also that the public be protected
judicial power be regarded as an entity, the power to determine who from incompetent and vicious practitioners, whose opportunity for doing
should be admitted to practice law is a constituent element of that entity. mischief is wide. It was said by Cardoz, C.L., in People ex rel. Karlin vs.
It may be difficult to isolate that element and say with assurance that it is Culkin, 242 N.Y. 456, 470, 471, 162 N.E. 487, 489, 60 A.L.R. 851:
either a part of the inherent power of the court, or an essential element of "Membership in the bar is a privilege burden with conditions." One is
the judicial power exercised by the court, but that it is a power belonging admitted to the bar "for something more than private gain." He becomes
to the judicial entity and made of not only a sovereign institution, but an "officer of the court", and ,like the court itself, an instrument or agency
made of it a separate independent, and coordinate branch of the to advance the end of justice. His cooperation with the court is due
government. They took this institution along with the power traditionally "whenever justice would be imperiled if cooperation was withheld."
exercise to determine who should constitute its attorney at law. There is Without such attorneys at law the judicial department of government
no express provision in the Constitution which indicates an intent that this would be hampered in the performance of its duties. That has been the
traditional power of the judicial department should in any manner be history of attorneys under the common law, both in this country and
91

England. Admission to practice as an attorney at law is almost without California, 281 Pac. 1018; See Annotation on Power of Legislature
exception conceded to be a judicial function. Petition to that end is filed in respecting admission to bar, 65, A.L. R. 1512.
courts, as are other proceedings invoking judicial action. Admission to the
bar is accomplish and made open and notorious by a decision of the court On this matter there is certainly a clear distinction between the functions
entered upon its records. The establishment by the Constitution of the of the judicial and legislative departments of the government.
judicial department conferred authority necessary to the exercise of its
powers as a coordinate department of government. It is an inherent
The distinction between the functions of the legislative and the judicial
power of such a department of government ultimately to determine the
departments is that it is the province of the legislature to establish rules
qualifications of those to be admitted to practice in its courts, for assisting
that shall regulate and govern in matters of transactions occurring
in its work, and to protect itself in this respect from the unfit, those
subsequent to the legislative action, while the judiciary determines rights
lacking in sufficient learning, and those not possessing good moral
and obligations with reference to transactions that are past or conditions
character. Chief Justice Taney stated succinctly and with finality in Ex
that exist at the time of the exercise of judicial power, and the distinction
parte Secombe, 19 How. 9, 13, 15 L. Ed. 565, "It has been well settled, by
is a vital one and not subject to alteration or change either by legislative
the rules and practice of common-law courts, that it rests exclusively with
action or by judicial decree.
the court to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers, as an
attorney and counselor, and for what cause he ought to be removed."
(p.727) The judiciary cannot consent that its province shall be invaded by either of
the other departments of the government. — 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law,
p. 229.
In the case of Day and others who collectively filed a petition to secure
license to practice the legal profession by virtue of a law of state (In re Day,
54 NE 646), the court said in part: If the legislature cannot thus indirectly control the action of the courts by
requiring of them construction of the law according to its own views, it is
very plain it cannot do so directly, by settling aside their judgments,
In the case of Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall, 333, 18 L. Ed. 366, the court,
compelling them to grant new trials, ordering the discharge of offenders,
holding the test oath for attorneys to be unconstitutional, explained the
or directing what particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a
nature of the attorney's office as follows: "They are officers of the court,
judicial inquiry. — Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 192.
admitted as such by its order, upon evidence of their possessing sufficient
legal learning and fair private character. It has always been the general
practice in this country to obtain this evidence by an examination of the In decreeing the bar candidates who obtained in the bar examinations of
parties. In this court the fact of the admission of such officers in the 1946 to 1952, a general average of 70 per cent without falling below 50
highest court of the states to which they, respectively, belong for, three per cent in any subject, be admitted in mass to the practice of law, the
years preceding their application, is regarded as sufficient evidence of the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment — a judgment revoking
possession of the requisite legal learning, and the statement of counsel those promulgated by this Court during the aforecited year affecting the
moving their admission sufficient evidence that their private and bar candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly can revoke
professional character is fair. The order of admission is the judgment of these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that
the court that the parties possess the requisite qualifications as attorneys only this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may
and counselors, and are entitled to appear as such and conduct causes be so. Any attempt on the part of any of these departments would be a
therein. From its entry the parties become officers of the court, and are clear usurpation of its functions, as is the case with the law in question.
responsible to it for professional misconduct. They hold their office during
good behavior, and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained That the Constitution has conferred on Congress the power to repeal,
and declared by the judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard alter or supplement the rule promulgated by this Tribunal, concerning the
has been afforded. Ex parte Hoyfron, admission or their exclusion is not admission to the practice of law, is no valid argument. Section 13, article
the exercise of a mere ministerial power. It is the exercise of judicial VIII of the Constitution provides:
power, and has been so held in numerous cases. It was so held by the
court of appeals of New York in the matter of the application of Cooper for Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules
admission. Re Cooper 22 N. Y. 81. "Attorneys and Counselors", said that concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the
court, "are not only officers of the court, but officers whose duties relate admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts
almost exclusively to proceedings of a judicial nature; and hence their of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive
appointment may, with propriety, be entrusted to the court, and the latter, rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby
in performing his duty, may very justly considered as engaged in the repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the
exercise of their appropriate judicial functions." (pp. 650-651). power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress
shall have the power to repeal, alter, or supplement the rules concerning
We quote from other cases, the following pertinent portions: pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of
law in the Philippines. — Constitution of the Philippines, Art. VIII, sec. 13.
Admission to practice of law is almost without exception conceded
everywhere to be the exercise of a judicial function, and this opinion need It will be noted that the Constitution has not conferred on Congress and
not be burdened with citations in this point. Admission to practice have this Tribunal equal responsibilities concerning the admission to the
also been held to be the exercise of one of the inherent powers of the practice of law. the primary power and responsibility which the
court. — Re Bruen, 102 Wash. 472, 172 Pac. 906. Constitution recognizes continue to reside in this Court. Had Congress
found that this Court has not promulgated any rule on the matter, it
Admission to the practice of law is the exercise of a judicial function, and would have nothing over which to exercise the power granted to it.
is an inherent power of the court. — A.C. Brydonjack, vs. State Bar of Congress may repeal, alter and supplement the rules promulgated by this
92

Court, but the authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, prior to the passage of this act, or at any time thereafter, shall have held,
disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law and their supervision under the authority of the United States, the position of justice of the
remain vested in the Supreme Court. The power to repeal, alter and Supreme Court, judge of the Court of First Instance, or judge or associate
supplement the rules does not signify nor permit that Congress substitute judge of the Court of Land Registration, of the Philippine Islands, or the
or take the place of this Tribunal in the exercise of its primary power on position of Attorney General, Solicitor General, Assistant Attorney General,
the matter. The Constitution does not say nor mean that Congress may assistant attorney in the office of the Attorney General, prosecuting
admit, suspend, disbar or reinstate directly attorneys at law, or a attorney for the City of Manila, city attorney of Manila, assistant city
determinate group of individuals to the practice of law. Its power is attorney of Manila, provincial fiscal, attorney for the Moro Province, or
limited to repeal, modify or supplement the existing rules on the matter, if assistant attorney for the Moro Province, may be licensed to practice law
according to its judgment the need for a better service of the legal in the courts of the Philippine Islands without an examination, upon
profession requires it. But this power does not relieve this Court of its motion before the Supreme Court and establishing such fact to the
responsibility to admit, suspend, disbar and reinstate attorneys at law and satisfaction of said court.
supervise the practice of the legal profession.
The records of this court disclose that on a former occasion this appellant
Being coordinate and independent branches, the power to promulgate took, and failed to pass the prescribed examination. The report of the
and enforce rules for the admission to the practice of law and the examining board, dated March 23, 1907, shows that he received an
concurrent power to repeal, alter and supplement them may and should average of only 71 per cent in the various branches of legal learning upon
be exercised with the respect that each owes to the other, giving careful which he was examined, thus falling four points short of the required
consideration to the responsibility which the nature of each department percentage of 75. We would be delinquent in the performance of our duty
requires. These powers have existed together for centuries without to the public and to the bar, if, in the face of this affirmative indication of
diminution on each part; the harmonious delimitation being found in that the deficiency of the applicant in the required qualifications of learning in
the legislature may and should examine if the existing rules on the the law at the time when he presented his former application for
admission to the Bar respond to the demands which public interest admission to the bar, we should grant him license to practice law in the
requires of a Bar endowed with high virtues, culture, training and courts of these Islands, without first satisfying ourselves that despite his
responsibility. The legislature may, by means of appeal, amendment or failure to pass the examination on that occasion, he now "possesses the
supplemental rules, fill up any deficiency that it may find, and the judicial necessary qualifications of learning and ability."
power, which has the inherent responsibility for a good and efficient
administration of justice and the supervision of the practice of the legal But it is contented that under the provisions of the above-cited statute the
profession, should consider these reforms as the minimum standards for applicant is entitled as of right to be admitted to the bar without taking
the elevation of the profession, and see to it that with these reforms the the prescribed examination "upon motion before the Supreme Court"
lofty objective that is desired in the exercise of its traditional duty of accompanied by satisfactory proof that he has held and now holds the
admitting, suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at law is office of provincial fiscal of the Province of Batanes. It is urged that having
realized. They are powers which, exercise within their proper in mind the object which the legislator apparently sought to attain in
constitutional limits, are not repugnant, but rather complementary to enacting the above-cited amendment to the earlier statute, and in view of
each other in attaining the establishment of a Bar that would respond to the context generally and especially of the fact that the amendment was
the increasing and exacting necessities of the administration of justice. inserted as a proviso in that section of the original Act which specifically
provides for the admission of certain candidates without examination. It is
The case of Guariña (1913) 24 Phil., 37, illustrates our criterion. Guariña contented that this mandatory construction is imperatively required in
took examination and failed by a few points to obtain the general average. order to give effect to the apparent intention of the legislator, and to the
A recently enacted law provided that one who had been appointed to the candidate's claim de jure to have the power exercised.
position of Fiscal may be admitted to the practice of law without a
previous examination. The Government appointed Guariña and he And after copying article 9 of Act of July 1, 1902 of the Congress of the
discharged the duties of Fiscal in a remote province. This tribunal refused United States, articles 2, 16 and 17 of Act No. 136, and articles 13 to 16 of
to give his license without previous examinations. The court said: Act 190, the Court continued:

Relying upon the provisions of section 2 of Act No. 1597, the applicant in Manifestly, the jurisdiction thus conferred upon this court by the
this case seeks admission to the bar, without taking the prescribed commission and confirmed to it by the Act of Congress would be limited
examination, on the ground that he holds the office of provincial fiscal for and restricted, and in a case such as that under consideration wholly
the Province of Batanes. destroyed, by giving the word "may," as used in the above citation from
Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, or of any Act of Congress prescribing,
Section 2 of Act No. 1597, enacted February 28, 1907, is as follows: defining or limiting the power conferred upon the commission is to that
extent invalid and void, as transcending its rightful limits and authority.
Sec. 2. Paragraph one of section thirteen of Act Numbered One Hundred
and ninety, entitled "An Act providing a Code of Procedure in Civil Actions Speaking on the application of the law to those who were appointed to
and Special Proceedings in the Philippine Islands," is hereby amended to the positions enumerated, and with particular emphasis in the case of
read as follows: Guariña, the Court held:

1. Those who have been duly licensed under the laws and orders of the In the various cases wherein applications for the admission to the bar
Islands under the sovereignty of Spain or of the United States and are in under the provisions of this statute have been considered heretofore, we
good and regular standing as members of the bar of the Philippine Islands have accepted the fact that such appointments had been made as
at the time of the adoption of this code; Provided, That any person who, satisfactory evidence of the qualifications of the applicant. But in all of
93

those cases we had reason to believe that the applicants had been commend the study of law, either in a law or office or a law school or
practicing attorneys prior to the date of their appointment. college, shall be granted a license under this act notwithstanding any
subsequent changes in said rules". — In re Day et al, 54 N.Y., p. 646.
In the case under consideration, however, it affirmatively appears that the
applicant was not and never had been practicing attorney in this or any . . . After said provision there is a double proviso, one branch of which is
other jurisdiction prior to the date of his appointment as provincial fiscal, that up to December 31, 1899, this court shall grant a license of
and it further affirmatively appears that he was deficient in the required admittance to the bar to the holder of every diploma regularly issued by
qualifications at the time when he last applied for admission to the bar. any law school regularly organized under the laws of this state, whose
regular course of law studies is two years, and requiring an attendance by
In the light of this affirmative proof of his defieciency on that occasion, we the student of at least 36 weeks in each of such years, and showing that
do not think that his appointment to the office of provincial fiscal is in the student began the study of law prior to November 4, 1897, and
itself satisfactory proof if his possession of the necessary qualifications of accompanied with the usual proofs of good moral character. The other
learning and ability. We conclude therefore that this application for branch of the proviso is that any student who has studied law for two
license to practice in the courts of the Philippines, should be denied. years in a law office, or part of such time in a law office, "and part in the
aforesaid law school," and whose course of study began prior to
November 4, 1897, shall be admitted upon a satisfactory examination by
In view, however, of the fact that when he took the examination he fell
the examining board in the branches now required by the rules of this
only four points short of the necessary grade to entitle him to a license to
court. If the right to admission exists at all, it is by virtue of the proviso,
practice; and in view also of the fact that since that time he has held the
which, it is claimed, confers substantial rights and privileges upon the
responsible office of the governor of the Province of Sorsogon and
persons named therein, and establishes rules of legislative creation for
presumably gave evidence of such marked ability in the performance of
their admission to the bar. (p. 647.)
the duties of that office that the Chief Executive, with the consent and
approval of the Philippine Commission, sought to retain him in the
Government service by appointing him to the office of provincial fiscal, we Considering the proviso, however, as an enactment, it is clearly a special
think we would be justified under the above-cited provisions of Act No. legislation, prohibited by the constitution, and invalid as such. If the
1597 in waiving in his case the ordinary examination prescribed by general legislature had any right to admit attorneys to practice in the courts and
rule, provided he offers satisfactory evidence of his proficiency in a special take part in the administration of justice, and could prescribe the
examination which will be given him by a committee of the court upon his character of evidence which should be received by the court as conclusive
application therefor, without prejudice to his right, if he desires so to do, of the requisite learning and ability of persons to practice law, it could
to present himself at any of the ordinary examinations prescribed by only be done by a general law, persons or classes of persons. Const. art 4,
general rule. — (In re Guariña, pp. 48-49.) section 2. The right to practice law is a privilege, and a license for that
purpose makes the holder an officer of the court, and confers upon him
the right to appear for litigants, to argue causes, and to collect fees
It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the
therefor, and creates certain exemptions, such as from jury services and
practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by
arrest on civil process while attending court. The law conferring such
Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or as other authorities
privileges must be general in its operation. No doubt the legislature, in
say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license.
framing an enactment for that purpose, may classify persons so long as
the law establishing classes in general, and has some reasonable relation
The law in question, like those in the case of Day and Cannon, has been to the end sought. There must be some difference which furnishes a
found also to suffer from the fatal defect of being a class legislation, and reasonable basis for different one, having no just relation to the subject of
that if it has intended to make a classification, it is arbitrary and the legislation. Braceville Coal Co. vs. People, 147 Ill. 66, 35 N.E. 62; Ritchie
unreasonable. vs. People, 155 Ill. 98, 40 N.E. 454; Railroad Co. vs. Ellis, 165 U.S. 150, 17
Sup. Ct. 255.
In the case of Day, a law enacted on February 21, 1899 required of the
Supreme Court, until December 31 of that year, to grant license for the The length of time a physician has practiced, and the skill acquired by
practice of law to those students who began studying before November 4, experience, may furnish a basis for classification (Williams vs. People 121
1897, and had studied for two years and presented a diploma issued by a Ill. 48, II N.E. 881); but the place where such physician has resided and
school of law, or to those who had studied in a law office and would pass practiced his profession cannot furnish such basis, and is an arbitrary
an examination, or to those who had studied for three years if they discrimination, making an enactment based upon it void (State vs.
commenced their studies after the aforementioned date. The Supreme Pennyeor, 65 N.E. 113, 18 Atl. 878). Here the legislature undertakes to say
Court declared that this law was unconstitutional being, among others, a what shall serve as a test of fitness for the profession of the law, and
class legislation. The Court said: plainly, any classification must have some reference to learning, character,
or ability to engage in such practice. The proviso is limited, first, to a class
This is an application to this court for admission to the bar of this state by of persons who began the study of law prior to November 4, 1897. This
virtue of diplomas from law schools issued to the applicants. The act of class is subdivided into two classes — First, those presenting diplomas
the general assembly passed in 1899, under which the application is made, issued by any law school of this state before December 31, 1899; and,
is entitled "An act to amend section 1 of an act entitled "An act to revise second, those who studied law for the period of two years in a law office,
the law in relation to attorneys and counselors," approved March 28, 1884, or part of the time in a law school and part in a law office, who are to be
in force July 1, 1874." The amendment, so far as it appears in the enacting admitted upon examination in the subjects specified in the present rules
clause, consists in the addition to the section of the following: "And every of this court, and as to this latter subdivision there seems to be no limit of
application for a license who shall comply with the rules of the supreme time for making application for admission. As to both classes, the
court in regard to admission to the bar in force at the time such applicant conditions of the rules are dispensed with, and as between the two
94

different conditions and limits of time are fixed. No course of study is fact in no matter affect the power of the Legislature to select from the
prescribed for the law school, but a diploma granted upon the completion great body of the public an individual upon whom it would confer its
of any sort of course its managers may prescribe is made all-sufficient. Can favors.
there be anything with relation to the qualifications or fitness of persons
to practice law resting upon the mere date of November 4, 1897, which A statute of the state of Minnesota (Laws 1929, c. 424) commanded the
will furnish a basis of classification. Plainly not. Those who began the study Supreme Court to admit to the practice of law without examination, all
of law November 4th could qualify themselves to practice in two years as who had served in the military or naval forces of the United States during
well as those who began on the 3rd. The classes named in the proviso the World War and received a honorable discharge therefrom and who
need spend only two years in study, while those who commenced the next (were disabled therein or thereby within the purview of the Act of
day must spend three years, although they would complete two years Congress approved June 7th, 1924, known as "World War Veteran's Act,
before the time limit. The one who commenced on the 3rd. If possessed of 1924 and whose disability is rated at least ten per cent thereunder at the
a diploma, is to be admitted without examination before December 31, time of the passage of this Act." This Act was held |unconstitutional on
1899, and without any prescribed course of study, while as to the other the ground that it clearly violated the quality clauses of the constitution of
the prescribed course must be pursued, and the diploma is utterly useless. that state. In re Application of George W. Humphrey, 178 Minn. 331, 227
Such classification cannot rest upon any natural reason, or bear any just N.W. 179.
relation to the subject sought, and none is suggested. The proviso is for
the sole purpose of bestowing privileges upon certain defined persons.
A good summary of a classification constitutionally acceptable is explained
(pp. 647-648.)
in 12 Am. Jur. 151-153 as follows:

In the case of Cannon above cited, State vs. Cannon, 240 N.W. 441, where
The general rule is well settled by unanimity of the authorities that a
the legislature attempted by law to reinstate Cannon to the practice of
classification to be valid must rest upon material differences between the
law, the court also held with regards to its aspect of being a class
person included in it and those excluded and, furthermore, must be based
legislation:
upon substantial distinctions. As the rule has sometimes avoided the
constitutional prohibition, must be founded upon pertinent and real
But the statute is invalid for another reason. If it be granted that the differences, as distinguished from irrelevant and artificial ones. Therefore,
legislature has power to prescribe ultimately and definitely the any law that is made applicable to one class of citizens only must be based
qualifications upon which courts must admit and license those applying as on some substantial difference between the situation of that class and
attorneys at law, that power can not be exercised in the manner here other individuals to which it does not apply and must rest on some reason
attempted. That power must be exercised through general laws which will on which it can be defended. In other words, there must be such a
apply to all alike and accord equal opportunity to all. Speaking of the right difference between the situation and circumstances of all the members of
of the Legislature to exact qualifications of those desiring to pursue the class and the situation and circumstances of all other members of the
chosen callings, Mr. Justice Field in the case of Dent. vs. West Virginia, 129 state in relation to the subjects of the discriminatory legislation as
U.S. 114, 121, 9 S. Ct. 232, 233, 32 L. Ed. 626, said: "It is undoubtedly the presents a just and natural cause for the difference made in their liabilities
right of every citizen of the United States to follow any lawful calling, and burdens and in their rights and privileges. A law is not general
business or profession he may choose, subject only to such restrictions as because it operates on all within a clause unless there is a substantial
are imposed upon all persons of like age, sex, and condition." This right reason why it is made to operate on that class only, and not generally on
may in many respects be considered as a distinguishing feature of our all. (12 Am. Jur. pp. 151-153.)
republican institutions. Here all vocations are all open to every one on like
conditions. All may be pursued as sources of livelihood, some requiring
Pursuant to the law in question, those who, without a grade below 50 per
years of study and great learning for their successful prosecution. The
cent in any subject, have obtained a general average of 69.5 per cent in
interest, or, as it is sometimes termed, the "estate" acquired in them —
the bar examinations in 1946 to 1951, 70.5 per cent in 1952, 71.5 per cent
that is, the right to continue their prosecution — is often of great value to
in 1953, and those will obtain 72.5 per cent in 1954, and 73.5 per cent in
the possessors and cannot be arbitrarily taken from them, any more than
1955, will be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of
their real or personal property can be thus taken. It is fundamental under
office as members of the Bar, notwithstanding that the rules require a
our system of government that all similarly situated and possessing equal
minimum general average of 75 per cent, which has been invariably
qualifications shall enjoy equal opportunities. Even statutes regulating the
followed since 1950. Is there any motive of the nature indicated by the
practice of medicine, requiring medications to establish the possession on
abovementioned authorities, for this classification ? If there is none, and
the part of the application of his proper qualifications before he may be
none has been given, then the classification is fatally defective.
licensed to practice, have been challenged, and courts have seriously
considered whether the exemption from such examinations of those
practicing in the state at the time of the enactment of the law rendered It was indicated that those who failed in 1944, 1941 or the years before,
such law unconstitutional because of infringement upon this general with the general average indicated, were not included because the
principle. State vs. Thomas Call, 121 N.C. 643, 28 S.E. 517; see, also, The Tribunal has no record of the unsuccessful candidates of those years. This
State ex rel. Winkler vs. Rosenberg, 101 Wis. 172, 76 N.W. 345; State vs. fact does not justify the unexplained classification of unsuccessful
Whitcom, 122 Wis. 110, 99 N.W. 468. candidates by years, from 1946-1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955. Neither is
the exclusion of those who failed before said years under the same
conditions justified. The fact that this Court has no record of examinations
This law singles out Mr. Cannon and assumes to confer upon him the right
prior to 1946 does not signify that no one concerned may prove by some
to practice law and to constitute him an officer of this Court as a mere
other means his right to an equal consideration.
matter of legislative grace or favor. It is not material that he had once
established his right to practice law and that one time he possessed the
requisite learning and other qualifications to entitle him to that right. That To defend the disputed law from being declared unconstitutional on
account of its retroactivity, it is argued that it is curative, and that in such
95

form it is constitutional. What does Rep. Act 972 intend to cure ? Only in the aforesaid years. It decrees the admission to the Bar of these
from 1946 to 1949 were there cases in which the Tribunal permitted candidates, depriving this Tribunal of the opportunity to determine if they
admission to the bar of candidates who did not obtain the general average are at present already prepared to become members of the Bar. It obliges
of 75 per cent: in 1946 those who obtained only 72 per cent; in the 1947 the Tribunal to perform something contrary to reason and in an arbitrary
and those who had 69 per cent or more; in 1948, 70 per cent and in 1949, manner. This is a manifest encroachment on the constitutional
74 per cent; and in 1950 to 1953, those who obtained 74 per cent, which responsibility of the Supreme Court.
was considered by the Court as equivalent to 75 per cent as prescribed by
the Rules, by reason of circumstances deemed to be sufficiently justifiable. 2. Because it is, in effect, a judgment revoking the resolution of this Court
These changes in the passing averages during those years were all that on the petitions of these 810 candidates, without having examined their
could be objected to or criticized. Now, it is desired to undo what had respective examination papers, and although it is admitted that this
been done — cancel the license that was issued to those who did not Tribunal may reconsider said resolution at any time for justifiable reasons,
obtain the prescribed 75 per cent ? Certainly not. The disputed law clearly only this Court and no other may revise and alter them. In attempting to
does not propose to do so. Concededly, it approves what has been done do it directly Republic Act No. 972 violated the Constitution.
by this Tribunal. What Congress lamented is that the Court did not
consider 69.5 per cent obtained by those candidates who failed in 1946 to
3. By the disputed law, Congress has exceeded its legislative power to
1952 as sufficient to qualify them to practice law. Hence, it is the lack of
repeal, alter and supplement the rules on admission to the Bar. Such
will or defect of judgment of the Court that is being cured, and to
additional or amendatory rules are, as they ought to be, intended to
complete the cure of this infirmity, the effectivity of the disputed law is
regulate acts subsequent to its promulgation and should tend to improve
being extended up to the years 1953, 1954 and 1955, increasing each year
and elevate the practice of law, and this Tribunal shall consider these rules
the general average by one per cent, with the order that said candidates
as minimum norms towards that end in the admission, suspension,
be admitted to the Bar. This purpose, manifest in the said law, is the best
disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers to the Bar, inasmuch as a good
proof that what the law attempts to amend and correct are not the rules
bar assists immensely in the daily performance of judicial functions and is
promulgated, but the will or judgment of the Court, by means of simply
essential to a worthy administration of justice. It is therefore the primary
taking its place. This is doing directly what the Tribunal should have done
and inherent prerogative of the Supreme Court to render the ultimate
during those years according to the judgment of Congress. In other words,
decision on who may be admitted and may continue in the practice of law
the power exercised was not to repeal, alter or supplement the rules,
according to existing rules.
which continue in force. What was done was to stop or suspend them.
And this power is not included in what the Constitution has granted to
Congress, because it falls within the power to apply the rules. This power 4. The reason advanced for the pretended classification of candidates,
corresponds to the judiciary, to which such duty been confided. which the law makes, is contrary to facts which are of general knowledge
and does not justify the admission to the Bar of law students inadequately
prepared. The pretended classification is arbitrary. It is undoubtedly a
Article 2 of the law in question permits partial passing of examinations, at
class legislation.
indefinite intervals. The grave defect of this system is that it does not take
into account that the laws and jurisprudence are not stationary, and when
a candidate finally receives his certificate, it may happen that the existing 5. Article 2 of Republic Act No. 972 is not embraced in the title of the law,
laws and jurisprudence are already different, seriously affecting in this contrary to what the Constitution enjoins, and being inseparable from the
manner his usefulness. The system that the said law prescribes was used provisions of article 1, the entire law is void.
in the first bar examinations of this country, but was abandoned for this
and other disadvantages. In this case, however, the fatal defect is that the 6. Lacking in eight votes to declare the nullity of that part of article 1
article is not expressed in the title will have temporary effect only from referring to the examinations of 1953 to 1955, said part of article 1,
1946 to 1955, the text of article 2 establishes a permanent system for an insofar as it concerns the examinations in those years, shall continue in
indefinite time. This is contrary to Section 21 (1), article VI of the force.
Constitution, which vitiates and annuls article 2 completely; and because it
is inseparable from article 1, it is obvious that its nullity affect the entire
law.
RESOLUTION
Laws are unconstitutional on the following grounds: first, because they are
not within the legislative powers of Congress to enact, or Congress has
Upon mature deliberation by this Court, after hearing and availing of the
exceeded its powers; second, because they create or establish arbitrary
magnificent and impassioned discussion of the contested law by our Chief
methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles; and third,
Justice at the opening and close of the debate among the members of the
because their purposes or effects violate the Constitution or its basic
Court, and after hearing the judicious observations of two of our beloved
principles. As has already been seen, the contested law suffers from these
colleagues who since the beginning have announced their decision not to
fatal defects.
take part in voting, we, the eight members of the Court who subscribed to
this decision have voted and resolved, and have decided for the Court,
Summarizing, we are of the opinion and hereby declare that Republic Act and under the authority of the same:
No. 972 is unconstitutional and therefore, void, and without any force nor
effect for the following reasons, to wit:
1. That (a) the portion of article 1 of Republic Act No. 972 referring to the
examinations of 1946 to 1952, and (b) all of article 2 of said law are
1. Because its declared purpose is to admit 810 candidates who failed in unconstitutional and, therefore, void and without force and effect.
the bar examinations of 1946-1952, and who, it admits, are certainly
inadequately prepared to practice law, as was exactly found by this Court
96

2. That, for lack of unanimity in the eight Justices, that part of article 1 the charge against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyers oath on the
which refers to the examinations subsequent to the approval of the law, scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now.
that is from 1953 to 1955 inclusive, is valid and shall continue to be in
force, in conformity with section 10, article VII of the Constitution. Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law
and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet
a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections
Consequently, (1) all the above-mentioned petitions of the candidates
before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon,
who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952 inclusive are denied, and
Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the
(2) all candidates who in the examinations of 1953 obtained a general
MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the
average of 71.5 per cent or more, without having a grade below 50 per
Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of
cent in any subject, are considered as having passed, whether they have
Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as counsel
filed petitions for admission or not. After this decision has become final,
for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed
they shall be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of
the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan).
office as members of the Bar on the date or dates that the chief Justice
may set. So ordered. On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that
respondent is a municipal government employee, being a secretary of the
Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Labrador, Pablo, Padilla, and Reyes, Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not
JJ., concur. allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or administrative
body.

On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation,


complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty
[B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003] candidate George Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents
services. Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy
to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty candidate.

DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L. On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent
RANA, respondent. to take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from signing the Roll of
Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the same
resolution, the Court required respondent to comment on the complaint
DECISION against him.
CARPIO, J.: In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his specific
assistance to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent claims that he
decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who
The Case knows the law. Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that
objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains,
however, that he did not sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented
Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the himself as an attorney in the pleading.
requisite moral integrity for membership in the legal profession.
On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan,
Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than possession of
respondent claims that he submitted his resignation on 11 May 2001
legal learning. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the
which was allegedly accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of
morally fit. A bar candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even
the Certification of Receipt of Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001
if he passes the bar examinations.
signed by Vice-Mayor Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the
complaint is politically motivated considering that complainant is the
daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon,
The Facts Masbate. Respondent prays that the complaint be dismissed for lack of
merit and that he be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys.

Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondents
passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. Comment and refuted the claim of respondent that his appearance before
the MBEC was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant
On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a
successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent
Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against respondent a Petition for signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent
Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with appeared as counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his
unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and appearance on two grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a
grave misrepresentation. lawyer; and (2) he was an employee of the government.

The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents
Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative case is
International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that motivated mainly by political vendetta.
respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of
97

On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in
Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and recommendation. court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident
to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and
proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition,
conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for
OBCs Report and Recommendation
them in matters connected with the law,incorporation services,
assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a
The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC
creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC
proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship
proceedings show that respondent actively participated in the
have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and
proceedings. The OBC likewise found that respondent appeared in the
drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the
MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001.
determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and
The OBC believes that respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on
conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x
his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that
respondents unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his
admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore recommends that In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that practice of law means
respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar. any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice
On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a of law is to perform acts which are usually performed by members of the
law which respondent allegedly violated when he appeared as counsel for legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service
Bunan while he was a government employee. Respondent resigned as which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.
secretary and his resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was
authorized by Bunan to represent him before the MBEC. Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he
appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings,
without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of
unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called himself counsel knowing
The Courts Ruling fully well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as
counsel knowing that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has
shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar.[3]
We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that
respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is
deserve admission to the Philippine Bar. a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special
qualifications duly ascertained and certified.The exercise of this privilege
Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational
records show that respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 attainment, and even public trust[4] since a lawyer is an officer of the
May 2001, before respondent took the lawyers oath. In the pleading court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by
entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be
Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001, withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the
respondent signed as counsel for George Bunan. In the first paragraph of person seeking admission had practiced law without a license.[5]
the same pleading respondent stated that he was the (U)ndersigned
Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably
BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a candidate passed the bar examinations
authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him before the but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in
MBEC and similar bodies. contempt of court for practicing law even before his admission to the Bar.
Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages
On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also in the unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of
retained respondent as her counsel. On the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly court.[7]
D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been authorized
by REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the candidate True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took
of the said party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 the lawyers oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that
that he was entering his appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed
Emily Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001, the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only
respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before qualification to become an attorney-at-law.[8] Respondent should know
the MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be
candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. performed, namely: his lawyers oath to be administered by this Court and
his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.[9]
All these happened even before respondent took the lawyers
oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of law without being a On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the
member of the Philippine Bar. law does not allow respondent to act as counsel for a private client in any
court or administrative body since respondent is the secretary of the
In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava,[1] the Court elucidated Sangguniang Bayan.
that:
Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the
Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting
98

unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to and take whatever action it shall deem appropriate, including a
Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent
Bayan, respondent stated that he was resigning effective upon your member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken
acceptance.[10] Vice-Mayor Relox accepted respondents resignation should be submit by registered mail to the member and to the Secretary
effective 11 May 2001.[11] Thus, the evidence does not support the charge of the Chapter concerned.' On January 27, 1976, the Court required the
that respondent acted as counsel for a client while serving as secretary of respondent to comment on the resolution and letter adverted to above he
the Sangguniang Bayan. submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to
pay the membership fees due from him. On March 2, 1976, the Court
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to
shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to represent him as his Edillon's comment: On March 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply.
counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing,
misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice the parties were required to submit memoranda in amplification of their
law. oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth submitted for resolution." 3
WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the
Philippine Bar. Reference was then made to the authority of the IBP Board of Governors
to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent
SO ORDERED. member's name from the Roll of Attorneys as found in Rules of
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Court: 'Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to the provisions of
Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for six
Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur. months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar,
and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the
removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
8. Integration of the Bar Attorneys. 4

A.C. 1928 December 19, 1980 The submission of respondent Edillion as summarized in the aforesaid
resolution "is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a
MARCIAL A. EDILLION (IBP Administrative Case No. MDD-1), petitioner, pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be
a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a
consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization
to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of
the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution.
FERNANDO, C.J.: Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule
and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. 5 It was
The full and plenary discretion in the exercise of its competence to pointed out in the resolution that such issues was raised on a previous
reinstate a disbarred member of the bar admits of no doubt. All the case before the Court, entitled 'Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter
relevant factors bearing on the specific case, public interest, the integrity of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines, Roman
of the profession and the welfare of the recreant who had purged himself Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners.' The Court exhaustively considered all these
of his guilt are given their due weight. Respondent Marcial A. Edillon was matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar
disbarred on August 3, 1978, 1 the vote being unanimous with the late. of the Philippines, promulgated on January 9, 1973. 6The unanimous
conclusion reached by the Court was that the integration of the Philippine
Chief Justice Castro ponente. From June 5, 1979, he had repeatedly Bar raises no constitutional question and is therefore legally
pleaded that he be reinstated. The minute resolution dated October 23, unobjectionable, "and, within the context of contemporary conditions in
1980, granted such prayer. It was there made clear that it "is without the Philippine, has become an imperative means to raise the standards of
prejudice to issuing an extended opinion." 2 the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the
Bar to discharge its public responsibility fully and effectively." 7

Before doing so, a recital of the background facts that led to the
disbarment of respondent may not be amiss. As set forth in the resolution As mentioned at the outset, the vote was unanimous. From the time the
penned by the late Chief Justice Castro: "On November 29. 1975, the decision was rendered, there were various pleadings filed by respondent
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors, for reinstatement starting with a motion for reconsideration dated August
unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative case No. 19, 1978. Characterized as it was by persistence in his adamantine refusal
MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. to admit the full competence of the Court on the matter, it was not
Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of unexpected that it would be denied. So it turned out. 8 It was the
the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for 'stubborn refusal to pay his consensus that he continued to be oblivious to certain balic juridical
membership dues' to the IBP since the latter's constitution concepts, the appreciation of which does not even require great depth of
notwithstanding due notice. On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its intellect. Since respondent could not be said to be that deficient in legal
then President Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said resolution to the Court knowledge and since his pleadings in other cases coming before this
for consideration and approval,. Pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Tribunal were quite literate, even if rather generously sprinkled with
Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP, which. reads: ... Should the invective for which he had been duly taken to task, there was the
delinquency further continue until the following June 29, the Board shall impression that his recalcitrance arose from and sheer obstinacy.
promptly inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency
99

Necessary, the extreme penalty of disbarment visited on him was more


NAME POSITION
than justified.
Atty. Violeta Drilon President
Since then, however, there were other communications to this Court
where a different attitude on his part was discernible. 9 The tone of Atty. Bella Tiro Executive Vice-President
defiance was gone and circumstances of a mitigating character invoked —
the state of his health and his advanced age. He likewise spoke of the Atty. Salvador Lao Chairman, House of Delegates
welfare of former clients who still rely on him for counsel, their confidence
apparently undiminished. For he had in his career been a valiant, if at Atty. Renato F. Ronquillo Secretary, House of Delegates
times unreasonable, defender of the causes entrusted to him.
Atty. Teodoro Quicoy Treasurer, House of Delegates
This Court, in the light of the above, felt that reinstatement could be
Atty. Oscar Badelles Sergeant at Arms, House of Delegates
ordered and so it did in the resolution of October 23, 1980. It made
certain that there was full acceptance on his part of the competence of
Atty. Justiniano Cortes Governor & Vice-President for Northern Luz
this Tribunal in the exercise of its plenary power to regulate the legal
profession and can integrate the bar and that the dues were duly paid.
Atty. Ciriaco Atienza Governor & Vice-President for Central Luzo
Moreover, the fact that more than two years had elapsed during which he
war. barred from exercising his profession was likewise taken into account.
Atty. Mario Jalandoni Governor & Vice-President for Metro Manil
It may likewise be said that as in the case of the inherent power to punish
for contempt and paraphrasing the dictum of Justice Malcolm in Atty. Jose Aguilar Grapilon Governor & Vice-President for Southern Luz
Villavicencio v. Lukban, 10 the power to discipline, especially if amounting
to disbarment, should be exercised on the preservative and not on the Atty. Teodoro Almine Governor & Vice-President for Bicolandia
vindictive principle. 11
Atty. Porfirio Siyangco Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Visay
One last word. It has been pertinently observed that there is no
irretrievable finality as far as admission to the bar is concerned. So it is Atty. Ricardo Teruel Governor & Vice-President for Western Visa
likewise as to loss of membership. What must ever be borne in mind is
that membership in the bar, to follow Cardozo, is a privilege burdened Atty. Gladys Tiongco Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Mind
with conditions. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such
privilege if the gravity thereof warrant such drastic move. Thereafter a Atty. Simeon Datumanong Governor & Vice-President for Western Min
sufficient time having elapsed and after actuations evidencing that there
was due contrition on the part of the transgressor, he may once again be
The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July
considered for the restoration of such a privilege. Hence, our resolution of
4,1989, before the Supreme Court en banc. However,disturbed by the
October 23, 1980.
widespread reports received by some members of the Court from lawyers
who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse
The Court restores to membership to the bar Marcial A. Edillon. comments published in the columns of some newspapers about the
intensive electioneering and overspending by the candidates, led by the
Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad main protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely,
Santos, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur. Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged
use of government planes, and the officious intervention of certain public
Aquino, J., concurs in the result. officials to influence the voting, all of which were done in violation of the
IBP By-Laws which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Court en banc,
exercising its power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to
suspend the oath-taking of the IBP officers-elect and to inquire into the
veracity of the reports.
A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989
It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the
IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE voting and the canvassing of votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES. by the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno of the Court of
Appeals, was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to
be above board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device
safeguards to prevent tampering with, and marking of, the ballots.
PER CURIAM:
What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported
In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the electioneering and extravagance that characterized the campaign
Philippines (hereafter "IBP") held on June 3, 1989 at the Philippine conducted by the three candidates for president of the IBP.
International Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected by
the House of Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN.
alternates) and proclaimed as officers:
100

Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila the House of Delegates, and of the IBP officers, national, or regional, or
Standard, Sunday, June 17, 1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive chapter. The fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates and
columns: "The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) and "The governors would be chosen on the basis of professional merit and
Disintegrating Bar" (Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an willingness and ability to serve."
article, entitled "Pam-Pam" (The Philippines Free Press, July 8,1989), and
the editorial, entitled 'Wrong Forum" of the Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note
were unanimously critical of the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" that in connection with the election of members of the Board of
allegedly employed in the campaign by the three principal candidates: Governors and of the House of Delegates, there is a widespread belief,
Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo Paculdo and Ramon Nisce who reportedly based on reports carried by media and transmitted as well by word of
"poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the 120 IBP mouth, that there was extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates
delegates." for IBP positions as well as expenditure of considerable sums of money by
candidates, including vote-buying, direct or indirect."
Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a
disadvantage because Atty. Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus,
far-flung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing Bigay Puso donations, Jose B.L. Reyes, attended the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to
and she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor give counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court en banc on the
arbiters of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been one hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was
granted leaves of absence by her husband, the Labor Secretary) an informal one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal
campaigning for her. Jurado's informants alleged that there was rampant inquiry to determine whether the prohibited acts and activities
vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary enumerated in the IBP By-Laws were committed before and during the
Drilon's fraternity), as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, 1989 elections of IBP's national officers.
Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and Abello Law Office) where Mrs. Drilon is
employed, and that government positions were promised to others by the
The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate
office of the Labor Secretary.
Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R.
Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F. Sarmiento, and Carolina C.
Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition, Griño-Aquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court,
mentioned "talk of personnel of the Department of Labor, especially Atty. Daniel Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary.
conciliators and employers, notably Chinese Filipinos, giving aid and
comfort to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town
A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to
delegates in plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined
subpoenas issued by the Court to shed light on the conduct of the
continuously, womened and subjected to endless haggling over the price
elections. The managers of three five-star hotels the Philippine Plaza, the
of their votes x x x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000, and,
Hyatt, and the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and
on the day of the election, some twelve to twenty votes which were
Paculdo) allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they
believed crucial, appreciated to P50,000."
billeted their supporters were summoned. The officer of the Philippine
National Bank and the Air Transport Office were called to enlighten the
In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the Court on the charge that an IBP presidential candidate and the members
judiciary allegedly involved himself in IBP politics on election day by of her slate used PNB planes to ferry them to distant places in their
closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their election strategy campaign to win the votes of delegates. The Philippine Airlines officials
in a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center were called to testify on the charge that some candidates gave free air
where the convention/election were held) during a recess x x x." fares to delegates to the convention. Officials of the Labor Department
were also called to enable the Court to ascertain the truth of the reports
Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's that labor officials openly campaigned or worked for the election of Atty.
reports with some embellishments. Drilon.

II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE. The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil
Jurado were subpoenaed to determine the nature of their sources of
Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were based, they
dated June 15, 1989, directed the outgoing and incoming members of the said, on letters, phone calls and personal interviews with persons who
IBP Board of Governors, the principal officers and Chairman of the House claimed to have knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the
of Delegates to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock Press Freedom Law, refused to identify.
p.m., and there to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned
reports and to recommend, for the consideration of the Court, The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and
appropriate approaches to the problem of confirming and strengthening analyzing and assessing evidence given by such persons as were perceived
adherence to the fundamental principles of the IBP. to have direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; and the Court,
after deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same.
In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its III. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER IBP BY-LAWS.
organization and commencement of existence, is that the IBP shall be
non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly
campaigning in the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of non-political" character of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus:
101

"SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. — The Integrated Bar is strictly non-political, (1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for
and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is strictly prohibited president, executive vice-president, the officers of candidate the House of
and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer holding an elective, judicial, Delegates and Board of Governors.
quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political
subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be eligible for election or The three candidates for IBP President Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo began
appointment to any position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. travelling around the country to solicit the votes of delegates as early as
A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee of the Integrated Bar, or an April 1989. Upon the invitation of IBP President, Leon Garcia, Jr. (t.s.n.,
officer or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso July 13,1989, p. 4), they attended the Bench and Bar dialogues held in
facto resigned from his position as of the moment he files his certificate of Cotabato in April 1989 (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, p. 123), in Tagaytay City,
candidacy for any elective public office or accepts appointment to any Pampanga, and in Baguio City (during the conference of chapter
judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any presidents of Northern Luzon (t.s.n., July 3,1989, p. 113; t.s.n., July 10, p.
political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. "' 41; t.s.n., July 13, p. 47) where they announced their candidacies and met
the chapter presidents.
Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts relative to
IBP elections: Atty. Nisce admitted that he went around the country seeking the help of
IBP chapter officers, soliciting their votes, and securing their written
SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections. — The endorsements. He personally hand-carried nomination forms and
following acts and practices relative to election are prohibited, whether requested the chapter presidents and delegates to fill up and sign the
committed by a candidate for any elective office in the Integrated Bar or forms to formalize their commitment to his nomination for IBP President.
by any other member, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, by He started campaigning and distributing the nomination forms in March
himself or through another person: 1989 after the chapter elections which determined the membership of the
House of Delegates composed of the 120 chapter presidents (t.s.n., June
(a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign material; 29, 1989, pp. 82-86). He obtained forty (40) commitments. He submitted
photocopies of his nomination forms which read:
(b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material other than
a statement of the biodata of a candidate on not more than one page of a "Nomination Form
legal-size sheet of paper; or causing distribution of such statement to be
done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at
the elections;
I Join in Nominating
(c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an elective,
judicial, quasi-judicial or prosecutory office in the Government or any RAMON M. NISCE
political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof;
as
(d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of candidates, as
well as the advertisement thereof;
National President of the

(e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to withhold his


Integrated Bar of the Philippines
vote, or to vote for or against a candidate, (1) payment of the dues or
other indebtedness of any member; (2) giving of food, drink,
entertainment, transportation or any article of value, or any similar
consideration to any person; or (3) making a promise or causing an
expenditure to be made, offered or promised to any person." ______________ _______________

Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the Chapter Signature"
above rules:
Among those who signed the nomination forms were: Onofre P. Tejada,
(d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission of any of Candido P. Balbin, Jr., Conizado V. Posadas, Quirico L. Quirico Ernesto S.
the prohibited acts and practices defined in Section 14 prohibited Acts and Salun-at, Gloria C. Agunos, Oscar B. Bernardo, Feliciano F. Wycoco, Amor L.
Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws of the Integrated Bar shall be Ibarra, Jose M. Atienza, Jose N. Contreras, Romeo T. Mendoza, Leo C.
a ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his removal from office Medialdea, Jr., Paulino G. Clarin, Julius Z. Neil, Roem J. Arbolado
if elected, without prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any Democrito M. Perez, Abelardo Fermin, Diosdado B. Villarin, Jr., Daniel C.
erring member pursuant to the By-laws of the Integrated Bar. Macaraeg, Confesor R. Sansano Dionisio E. Bala, Jr., Emesto A. Amores,
Romeo V. Pefianco, Augurio C. Pamintuan, Atlee T. Viray, Ceferino C.
At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating Cabanas, Jose S. Buban, Diosdado Z. Reloj, Jr., Cesar C. Viola, Oscar C.
committee, the following violations were established: Fernandez, Ricardo B. Teruel Rodrigo R. Flores, Sixto Marella, Jr., Arsenio C.
Villalon, Renato F. Ronquillo, Antonio G. Nalapo Romualdo A. Din Jr., Jose
P. Icaonapo Jr., and Manuel S. Person.
102

Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms at the Hyatt Hotel based on Teodorico C. Almine, Jr. (Bicolandia), Ricardo B. Teruel (Western Visayas),
the commitments he had obtained (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-85). Porfirio P. Siyangco (Eastern Visayas), Jesus S. Anonat (Western Mindanao),
Unfortunately, despite those formal commitments, he obtained only 14 Guerrero A. Adaza, Jr. (Eastern Mindanao) (Exhibit M-Nisce).
votes in the election (t.s.n., June 29, 1 989, p. 86). The reason, he said, is
that. some of those who had committed their votes to him were The Drilon ticket consisted of. Violeta C. Drilon for President, Arturo Tiu
"manipulated, intimidated, pressured, or remunerated" (t.s.n., June for Executive Vice President, Salvador Lao for Chairman of the House of
29,1989, pp. 8695; Exhibit "M-4-Nisce," t.s.n., July 4, 1989, pp. 100-1 04). Delegates, and, for Governors: Basil Rupisan (Northern 'Luzon), Acong
Atienza (Central Luzon), Amy Wong (Metro Manila), Jose Grapilon
(2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign. (Southern Tagalog), Teodoro Almine (Bicolandia), Baldomero Estenzo
(Eastern Visayas), Joelito Barrera (Western Visayas), Gladys Tiongco
The records of the Philippine National Bank (Exhibit C-1-Crudo and Exhibit (Eastern Mindanao), Simeon Datumanong (Western Mindanao) (Exhibit
C-2-Crudo) show that Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. of the M-1-Nisce).
Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) borrowed a
plane from the Philippine National Bank for his Bicol CORD (Cabinet Atty. Ramon N. Nisce's line-up listed himself and Confessor B. Sansano
Officers for Regional Development) Assistant, Undersecretary Antonio Tria. Benjamin B. Bernardino, Antonio L. Nalapo Renato F. Ronquillo, Gloria C.
The plane manifest (Exh. C-2-Crudo) listed Atty. Violeta Drilon, Arturo Tusi Agunos, Mario Valderrama, Candido P. Balbin Jr., Oscar C. Fernandez,
(Tiu), Assistant Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Cesar G. Viola, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Vicente P. Tordilla, Jr., Jose S. Buban,
Tony Tria, Atty. Gladys Tiongco, and Amy Wong. Except for Tony Tria, the Joel A. Llosa, Jesus T. Albacite and Oscar V. Badelles.
rest of the passengers were IBP candidates.
(4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates.
Atty. Drilon admitted that she "hitched" a ride on a PNB plane. She said
that she was informed by Atty. Tiu about the availability of a PNB plane Atty. Nisce admitted having bought plane tickets for some delegates to
(t.s.n., July 3,1989, pp. 116-118). the convention. He mentioned Oscar Badelles to whom he gave four
round-trip tickets (worth about P10,000) from Iligan City to Manila and
Atty. Tiu, who ran for the position of IBP executive vice-president in the back. Badelles was a voting delegate. Nisce, however, failed to get a
Drilon ticket, testified that sometime in May 1989 he failed to obtain written commitment from him because Atty. Medialdea assured him
booking from the Philippine Airlines for the projected trip of his group to (Nisce) "sigurado na 'yan, h'wag mo nang papirmahin." Badelles won as
Bicol. He went to the DENR allegedly to follow up some papers for a client. sergeant-at-arms, not in Nisce's ticket, but in that of Drilon.
While at the DENR, he learned that Assistant Secretary Tria was going on
an official business in Bicol for Secretary Fulgencio Factoran and that he Badelles admitted that Nisce sent him three airplane tickets, but he
would be taking a PNB plane. As Assistant Secretary Tria is his fraternity Badelles said that he did not use them, because if he did, he would be
brother, he asked if he, together with the Drilon group, could hitch a ride committed to Nisce, and he Badelles did not want to be committed (t.s.n.,
on the plane to Bicol. His request was granted. Their purpose in going to July 4,1989, pp. 77-79, 95-96).
Bicol was to assess their chances in the IBP elections. The Drilon company
talked with the IBP chapter presidents in Daet, Naga, and Legaspi, and
Nisce also sent a plane ticket to Atty. Atilano, who was his candidate, and
asked for their support (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 549).
another ticket to Mrs. Linda Lim of Zamboanga. Records of the Philippine
Airlines showed that Atty. Nisce paid for the plane tickets of Vicente Real,
Assistant Secretary Antonio S. Tria confirmed the use of a PNB plane by Jr. (Exh. D-1-Calica), Romeo Fortes (Exh. D-1-Calica), Cesar Batica (Exh.
Atty. Drilon and her group. He recalled that on May 23,1989, DENR D-2-Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2-Calica), Delsanto Resuello (Exh.
Secretary Factoran instructed him to go to Bicol to monitor certain D-3- Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3-Calica).
regional development projects there and to survey the effect of the
typhoon that hit the region in the middle of May. On the same day, Atty.
In spite of his efforts and expense, only one of Nisce's candidates won:
Tiu, a fraternity brother (meaning that Tiu belongs to the Sigma Rho
Renato Ronquillo of Manila 4, as Secretary of the House of Delegates (t.s.n.
fraternity) went to the DENR office and requested the Secretary (Factoran)
July 3, p. 161).
if he (Tiu) could be allowed to hitch a ride on the plane. Assistant
Secretary Tria, together with the Drilon group which included Attorneys
Drilon, Grapilon, Amy Wong, Gladys Tiongco, and Tiu, took off at the (5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to
Domestic Airport bound for Naga, Daet and Legaspi. In Legaspi the Drilon delegates.
group had lunch with Atty. Vicente Real, Jr., an IBP chapter president
(t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 54-69). (a) ATTY. NEREO PACULDO

(3) Formation of tickets and single slates. Atty. Paculdo alleged that he booked 24 regular rooms and three suites at
the Holiday Inn, which served as his headquarters. The 24 rooms were to
The three candidates, Paculdo, Nisce and Drilon, admitted having formed be occupied by his staff (mostly ladies) and the IBP delegates. The three
their own slates for the election of IBP national officers on June 3, 1989. suites were to be occupied by himself, the officers of the Capitol Bar
Association, and Atty. Mario Jalandoni. He paid P150,000 for the hotel bills
of his delegates at the Holiday Inn, where a room cost P990 per day with
Atty. Paculdo's slate consisted of — himself for President; Bella D. Tiro, for
breakfast.
Executive Vice-President; and for Governors: Justiniano P. Cortez
(Northern Luzon), Oscar C. Fernandez (Central Luzon), Mario C.V.
Jalandoni (Greater Manila), Petronilo A. de la Cruz (Southern Luzon),
103

Those listed as guests of Atty. Paculdo at the Holiday Inn were: Emesto C.
(g) Alfonso Reyno 20,000
Perez, Tolomeo Ligutan Judge Alfonso Combong, Ricardo Caliwag, Antonio
Bisnar, Benedicto Balajadia, Jesus Castro, Restituto Villanueva, Serapio
(h) Cosme Rossel 15,300
Cribe Juanita Subia, Teodorico J. Almine, Rudy Gumban, Roem Arbolado,
Ricardo Teruel, Shirley Moises, Ramon Roco, Alberto Trinidad, Teodoro
Quicoy Manito Lucero, Fred Cledera Vicente Tordilla, Julian Ocampo, (t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4)
Francisco Felizmenio Marvel Clavecilla, Amador Capiral, Eufronio Maristela,
Porfirio Siyangco, William Llanes, Jr., Marciano Neri, Guerrero Adaza, Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been
Diosdado Peralta, Luis C. Formilleza, Jr., Democrito Perez, Bruno Flores, contributing money every time the IBP embarks on a project. This time,
Dennis Rendon, Judge Ceferino Chan, Mario Jalandoni, Kenneth Siruelo they contributed so that their partners or associates could attend the legal
Bella Tiro, Antonio Santos, Tiburcio Edano James Tan, Cesilo A. Adaza, aid seminar and the IBP convention too.
Francisco Roxas, Angelita Gacutan, Jesse Pimentel, Judge Jaime Hamoy,
Jesus Anonat, Carlos Egay, Judge Carlito Eisma, Judge Jesus Carbon, Joven
Zach, and Benjamin Padon. Atty. Drilon alleged that she did not know that Atty. Callanta had billeted
her delegates at the Philippine Plaza. She allegedly did not also know in
whose name the room she occupied was registered. But she did ask for a
Noel de Guzman, Holiday Inn's credit manager, testified that Atty. Paculdo room where she could rest during the convention. She admitted, however,
booked 52 (not 24) rooms, including the presidential suite, which was that she paid for her hotel room and meals to Atty. Callanta, through Atty.
used as the Secretariat. The group bookings were made by Atty. Gloria Loanzon (t.s.n. July 3,1989).
Paculdo, the wife of Nereo Paculdo (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 63-68). The
total sum of P227,114.89 was paid to Holiday Inn for the use of the rooms.
The following were listed as having occupied the rooms reserved by Atty.
Callanta at the Philippine Plaza: Violeta Drilon, Victoria A. Verciles, Victoria
(b) ATTY. VIOLETA C. DRILON
C. Loanzon, Leopoldo A. Consulto Ador Lao, Victoria Borra, Aimee Wong,
Callanta, Pena, Tiu, Gallardo, Acong Atienza, D. Bernardo, Amores, Silao
The delegates and supporters of Atty. Drilon were billeted at the Caingat, Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto
Philippine Plaza Hotel where her campaign manager, Atty. Renato Callanta, Marella, Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles, Antonio
booked 40 rooms, 5 of which were suites. According to Ms. Villanueva, Acyatan, Ildefonso C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula Array Corot,
Philippine Plaza banquet and conventions manager, the contract that Atty. Dimakuta Corot Romeo Fortes Irving Petilla, Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma,
Callanta signed with the Philippine Plaza was made in the name of the "IBP Danilo Deen, Delsanto, Resuello, Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad
c/o Atty. Callanta." Espina, Guerrero, Julius Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza,
Felix Macalag Mariano Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta.
Mrs. Lourdes Juco, a sales manager of the Philippine Plaza, recalled that it
was Mr. Mariano Benedicto who first came to book rooms for the IBP Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he is a
delegates. She suggested that he obtain a group (or discounted) rate. He senior partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the Philippine Plaza
gave her the name of Atty. Callanta who would make the arrangements so that some members of his law firm could campaign for the Drilon group
with her. Mr. Benedicto turned out to be the Assistant Secretary of the (t.s.n. July 5,1989, pp. 7678) during the legal aid seminar and the IBP
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). convention. Most of the members of his law firm are fraternity brothers of
Secretary Drilon (meaning, members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity). He
The total sum of P316,411.53 was paid by Atty. Callanta for the rooms, admitted being sympathetic to the candidacy of Atty. Drilon and the
food, and beverages consumed by the Drilon group, with an unpaid members of her slate, two of whom Jose Grapilon and Simeon
balance of P302,197.30. Per Attorney Daniel Martinez's last telephone Datumanong — are Sigma Rhoans. They consider Atty. Drilon as a "sigma
conversation with Ms. Villanueva, Atty. Callanta still has an outstanding rho sister," her husband being a sigma rhoan.
account of P232,782.65 at Philippine Plaza.
Atty. Antonio Carpio, also a Sigma Rhoan, reserved a room for the
Atty. Callanta admitted that he signed the contract for 40 rooms at the members of his own firm who attended the legal aid seminar and the
Philippine Plaza. He made a downpayment of P123,000. His "working convention. He made the reservation through Atty. Callanta to whom he
sheet' showed that the following persons contributed for that down