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EASTERN TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC.

and
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., petitioners, vs. INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNICATION CORPORATION, respondent.

FACTS:
International Communication Corporation, now known as Bayan Telecommunications
Corporation or Bayantel, applied and was given by the NTC a Provisional Authority (PA)
on March 3, 1995, to install, operate and provide local exchange service in Quezon City,
Malabon and Valenzuela, Metro Manila, and the entire Bicol region. Meanwhile, petitioner
Telecommunications Technologies Philippines, Inc. (TTPI), as an affiliate of petitioner
Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), was granted by the NTC a PA on
September 25, 1996, to install, operate and maintain a local exchange service in the
Provinces of Batanes, Cagayan Valley, Isabela, Kalinga-Apayao, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao,
Quirino, the cities of Manila and Caloocan, and the Municipality of Navotas, Metro Manila.
It appears, however, that before TTPI was able to fully accomplish its rollout obligation,
ICC applied for and was given a PA by the NTC on November 10, 1997, to install, operate
and maintain a local exchange service in Manila and Navotas,[6] two areas which were
already covered by TTPI under its PA dated September 25, 1996.

Aggrieved, petitioners filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals with application
for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction, docketed as CA-
G.R. SP No. 46047, arguing that the NTC committed grave abuse of discretion in granting
a provisional authority to respondent ICC to operate in areas already assigned to TTPI.

ISSUE:
Whether the NTC has the authority to grant a Provisional Authority to Bayantel to operate
LEC services in Manila and Navotas which are areas already assigned to petitioner TTPI
under a prior and subsisting PA?

RULING:
YES. The power of the NTC to grant a provisional authority has long been settled. As the
regulatory agency of the national government with jurisdiction over all
telecommunications entities, it is clothed with authority and given ample discretion to
grant a provisional permit or authority.[11] It also has the authority to issue Certificates of
Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the installation, operation, and
maintenance of communications facilities and services, radio communications systems,
telephone and telegraph systems, including the authority to determine the areas of
operations of applicants for telecommunications services.[12] In this regard, the NTC is
clothed with sufficient discretion to act on matters solely within its competence.[13]

In granting ICC the PA to operate a local exchange carrier service in the Manila and
Navotas areas, the NTC took into consideration ICCs financial and technical resources
and found them to be adequate. The NTC also noted ICCs performance in complying with
its rollout obligations under the previous PA granted to it, thus:
With the proven track record of herein applicant as one of the pacesetters in carrying out
its landlines commitment in its assigned areas, applicant can best respond to public
demand for faster installation of telephone lines in Manila and Navotas.

The grant of this application is, therefore, a fitting recognition that should be accorded to
any deserving applicant, such as herein applicant ICC whose remarkable performance in
terms of public service as mandated by Executive Order 109 and Republic Act No. 7925
has persuaded this Commission to affix the stamp of its approval.[14]

The Court will not interfere with these findings of the NTC, as these are matters that are
addressed to its sound discretion, being the government agency entrusted with the
regulation of activities coming under its special and technical forte.[15] Moreover,
the exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter that can
best be discharged by the government agency concerned, and not by the
courts.[16]
SPOUSES BERNYL BALANGAUAN & KATHERENE BALANGAUAN VS CA

FACTS:
Katherene was a Premier Customer Services Representative of HSBC where she
managed the account of Roger Dwayne York. When York inquired of his deposit in the
amount of P 2,500,000.00, the PCSR Representative who attended him, could not find
any record of said placement in the banks data base. So as not to ruin its name and
goodwill among its clients, respondent HSBC reimbursed York the P2,500,000.00.

Thus, HSBC filed a a criminal complaint for Estafa and/or Qualified Estafa, against its
employee petitioner-Spouses Bernyl Balangauan (Bernyl) and Katherene Balangauan
(Katherene). However, the Assistant City Prosecutor dismissed the complaint for lack of
probable cause which was affirmed by the DOJ.

Respondent HSBC then went to the Court of Appeals by means of a Petition for Certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court where it promulgated its Decision granting
respondent HSBCs petition, thereby annulling and setting aside the twin resolutions of
the DOJ.

The CA found fault in the DOJs failure to identify and discuss the issues raised by the
respondent HSBC in its Petition for Review filed therewith. And, in support thereof,
respondent HSBC maintains that it is incorrect to argue that it was not necessary for the
Secretary of Justice to have his resolution recite the facts and the law on which it was
based, because courts and quasi-judicial bodies should faithfully comply with Section 14,
Article VIII of the Constitution requiring that decisions rendered by them should state
clearly and distinctly the facts of the case and the law on which the decision is based.

ISSUE: Whether the preliminary investigation is a quasi-judicial proceeding?

RULING:
NO. It must be remembered that a preliminary investigation is not a quasi-judicial
proceeding, and that the DOJ is not a quasi-judicial agency exercising a quasi-judicial
function when it reviews the findings of a public prosecutor regarding the presence of
probable cause. In Bautista v. Court of Appeals,[34] this Court held that a preliminary
investigation is not a quasi-judicial proceeding, thus:

[T]he prosecutor in a preliminary investigation does not determine the guilt or innocence
of the accused. He does not exercise adjudication nor rule-making functions. Preliminary
investigation is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering the persons
who may be reasonably charged with a crime and to enable the fiscal to prepare his
complaint or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose
except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is
probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. While the fiscal makes that
determination, he cannot be said to be acting as a quasi-court, for it is the courts,
ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused, not the fiscal.
Though some cases[35] describe the public prosecutors power to conduct a preliminary
investigation as quasi-judicial in nature, this is true only to the extent that, like quasi-
judicial bodies, the prosecutor is an officer of the executive department exercising powers
akin to those of a court, and the similarity ends at this point.[36] A quasi-judicial body is
an organ of government other than a court and other than a legislature which affects the
rights of private parties through either adjudication or rule-making.[37] A quasi-judicial
agency performs adjudicatory functions such that its awards, determine the rights of
parties, and their decisions have the same effect as judgments of a court. Such is not the
case when a public prosecutor conducts a preliminary investigation to determine probable
cause to file an Information against a person charged with a criminal offense, or when the
Secretary of Justice is reviewing the formers order or resolutions. In this case, since
the DOJ is not a quasi-judicial body, Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution finds
no application. Be that as it may, the DOJ rectified the shortness of its first
resolution by issuing a lengthier one when it resolved respondent HSBCs motion
for reconsideration.
ODCHIGUE-BONDOC VS TAN TIONG BIO
By Marie Myrtle Paz L. Viva

FACTS:
Tan Tiong Bio (Respondent) filed a complaint for estafa against Fil-Estate officials
including its Corporate Secretary, Atty Alice Odchigue-Bondoc (petitioner). Petitioner
denies the allegations. I her counter-affidavit, she filed a complaint for perjury against
petitioner but it was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

The DOJ, by resolution signed by the Chief State Prosecutor for the Secretary of Justice,
motu proprio dismissed the petition on finding that there was no showing of any reversible
error.

The CA set aside the DOJ Secretary’s resolution holding that it committed grave abuse
of discretion in issuing its Resolution dismissing respondent’s petition for review without
therein expressing clearly and distinctly the facts on which the dismissal was based, in
violation of Sec. 14, Art. VIII of the Constitution (No decision shall be rendered by any
court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is
based).

Petitioner asserts in this present petition for review on certiorari that the requirement in
Sec. 14, Art. VIII of the Constitution applies only to decisions of “courts of justice”, and it
does not extend to decisions or rulings of executive departments such as the DOJ.

Respondent counters that the constitutional requirement is not limited to courts as it


extends to quasi-judicial and administrative bodies, as well as to preliminary
investigations conducted by these tribunals.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not a prosecutor exercises quasi-judicial power? NO
2. Whether or not the DOJ Secretary exercises quasi-judicial power? NO

RULING:
1. No. A prosecutor does not exercise adjudication or rule-making powers. A preliminary
investigation is not a quasi-judicial proceeding, but is merely inquisitorial since the
prosecutor does not determine the guilt of innocence of the accused. While the prosecutor
makes the determination whether a crime has been committed and whether there is
probable cause, he cannot be said to be acting as a quasi-court, for it is the courts,
ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused.

2. No. The Secretary of Justice in reviewing a prosecutor’s order or resolution via appeal
or petition for review cannot be considered a quasi-judicial proceeding since the DOJ is
not a quasi-judicial body. Sec 14, Art. VIII of the Constitution does not thus extend to
resolutions issued by the DOJ Secretary.
A preliminary investigation is not a quasi-judicial proceeding since "the prosecutor in a
preliminary investigation does not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused."

x x x [A prosecutor] does not exercise adjudication nor rule-making functions. Preliminary


investigation is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering the persons
who may be reasonably charged [of] a crime and to enable the [prosecutor] to prepare
his complaint or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose
except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is
probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. While the [prosecutor] makes
that determination, he cannot be said to be acting as a quasi-court, for it is the courts,
ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused, not the [prosecutor]. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

A preliminary investigation thus partakes of an investigative or inquisitorial power for the


sole purpose of obtaining information on what future action of a judicial nature may be
taken.

When the Secretary of Justice is convinced that a petition for review does not suffer any
of the infirmities laid down in Section 7, it can decide what action to take (i.e., reverse,
modify, affirm or dismiss the appeal altogether), conformably with Section 12. In other
words, Sections 7 and 12 are part of a two-step approach in the DOJ Secretary’s review
power.

As for respondent’s reliance on Adasa, it too fails for, unlike in the case of Adasa, herein
petitioner has not been arraigned as in fact no Information has been filed against her. In
the absence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of a public prosecutor who alone
determines the sufficiency of evidence that will establish probable cause in filing a criminal
information, courts will not interfere with his findings; otherwise, courts would be swamped
with petitions to review the exercise of discretion on his part each time a criminal
complaint is dismissed or given due course.
UP BOARD OF REGENTS VS COURT OF APPEALS AND AROKIASWAMY WILLIAM
MARGARET CELINE
By Marie Myrtle Paz L. Viva

FACTS:
Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine (private respondent) a citizen of India enrolled
doctoral program in UP CSSP Diliman QC. She is ready for oral defense with selected
panel members Drs. E. Arsenio Manuel, Serafin Quiason, Sri Skandarajah, Noel Teodoro,
and Isagani Medina, the last included as the dean’s representative.

Even though Dr. Medina noticed that there were portions of her dissertation that was lifted
from different sources without proper acknowledgement, she was still allowed to continue
to with her oral defense. Four (4) out five (5) give her a passing mark with condition to
incorporate the suggestion made by the panel members. Dr. Medina did not sign the
approval form. Dr. Teodoro also noted that a revision should be submitted.

On March 24, 1993, The CSSP College Faculty Assembly approved her graduation
pending the final revised copies of her dissertation. Private respondent submitted the
supposedly final revised copies although petitioners maintained that suggestions were
not incorporated. She left a copy for Dr. Teodoro and Dr. Medina and did not wait for their
approval relying to the Dean Paz remarks during previous meeting that a majority vote
was sufficient for her to pass. The supposedly revised copies were later disapproved by
Dr. Teodoro and Dr. Medina.

Private respondent was disappointed with the administration. She charged Dr. Diokno
and Medina with maliciously working for the disapproval of her dissertation and further
warned Dean Paz against encouraging perfidious act against her. Dean Paz attempts to
exclude the private respondent in the graduating list in a letter addressed to the Vice
Chancellor for Academic Affairs (Dr. Milagros Ibe), pending for clarification of her charges
against panel members and accusations relating to her dissertation. Unfortunately, the
letter did not reach on time and the respondent was allowed to graduate. Dean Paz wrote
a letter that she would not be granted an academic clearance unless she substantiated
the accusations. In a letter addressed to Dean Paz, Dr. Medina formally charged private
respondent with plagiarism and recommended for the withdrawal of her doctorate degree.
Dean Paz formed an ad-hoc committee (Ventura Committee) to investigate and
recommend to Chancellor Dr. Roman to withdraw her doctorate degree. Private
respondent was informed of the charges in a letter. Ventura Committee finds at 90
instances or portions of thesis lifted from other sources with no proper acknowledgement.
After it was unanimously approved and endorsed from the CSSP and Univ. Council the
recommendation for withdrawal was endorsed to Board of Regents who deferred its
actions to study further for legal implications. Private respondent was provided with a
copy of findings and in return she also submitted her written explanation. Another meeting
was scheduled to discuss her answer.
Zafaralla Committee was also created and recommends private respondent for
withdrawal of her degree after establishing the facts the there were massive lifting from
published sources and the private respondent also admits herself of being guilty of
plagiarism.

On the basis of the report and recommendation of the University Council, the Board of
Regents send a letter to inform private respondent that it was resolved by majority to
withdraw your doctorates degree.

On August 10, 1995, private respondent then filed a petition for mandamus with a prayer
for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and damages to RTC QC. She alleged that
petitioners had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without justification and without affording
her procedural due process. She prayed that petitioners be ordered to restore her degree
and to pay her P500, 000.00 as moral and exemplary damages and P1, 500,000.00 as
compensation for lost earnings. RTC dismissed for lack of merit. The Court of Appeals
reversed the lower court’s decision and ordered to restore her doctorates degree.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the degree conferred upon a student may be withdrawn. YES.

RULING:
The CA decisions was based on grounds that the private respondent was denied of due
process and that she graduated and no longer in the ambit of disciplinary powers of UP.

In all investigations held by the different committee assigned to investigate the charges,
the private respondent was heard on her defense. In fact she was informed in writing
about the charges and was provided with a copy from the investigating committee. She
was asked to submit her explanation which she forwarded. Private respondent also
discussed her case with the UP Chancellor and Zafaralla Committee during their
meetings. She was given the opportunity to be heard and explain her side but failed to
refute the charges of plagiarism against her.

The freedom of a university does not terminate upon the "graduation" of a student, as the
Court of Appeals held because the "graduation" of such a student that is in question. The
investigation began before graduation. She was able to graduate because there were
many investigations conducted before the Board finally decided that she should not have
been allowed to graduate.

The court held that academic freedom is guaranteed to institutions of higher learning by
Art XIV of the 1987 Constitution. This freedom includes deciding whom a university will
confer degrees on. If the degree is procured by error or fraud then the Board of Regents,
subject to due process being followed, may cancel that degree.
Art. XIV, Section 5 par. 2 of the Constitution provides that "academic freedom shall be
enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning."
It is a freedom granted to "institutions of higher learning" which is thus given "a wide
sphere of authority certainly extending to the choice of students." If such institution of
higher learning can decide who can and who cannot study in it, it certainly can also
determine on whom it can confer the honor and distinction of being its graduates.