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Powers of the PCGG

E.O. 1 created PCGG, charging it to assist the President in the recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated
by the Marcoses, including sequestration and provisional takeover of all business enterprises owned by
them as well as conduct investigations, require submission of evidence by subpoena, administer oaths,
punish for contempt.

Freedom Constitution (Proc. No. 3) mandated the President to “…recover ill-gotten properties amassed by
the leaders and supporters of the previous regime….”

Quasi-Judicial Function

As can be readily seen, PCGG exercises quasi-judicial functions. In the exercise of quasi-judicial functions,
the Commission is a co-equal body with regional trial courts and “co-equal bodies have no power to control
the other.” However, although under B.P. 129, the CA has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final
judgment…of regional trial courts and quasi-judicial bodies, E.O. 14 specifically provides in section 2 that
"The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases, whether civil or criminal, with
the Sandiganbayan which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof." Necessarily, those who
wish to question or challenge the Commission's acts or orders in such cases must seek recourse in the
same court, the Sandiganbayan, which is vested with exclusive and original jurisdiction. The
Sandiganbayan's decisions and final orders are in turn subject to review on certiorari exclusively by this
Court.

Prohibition against Split Jurisdiction

The law and the courts frown upon split jurisdiction and the resultant multiplicity of actions. To paraphrase
the leading case of Rheem of the Phil., Inc. vs. Ferrer, et al.: to draw a tenuous jurisdiction line is to
undermine stability in litigations. A piecemeal resort to one court and another gives rise to multiplicity of
suits. To force the parties to shuttle from one court to another to secure full determination of their suit is a
situation gravely prejudicial to the administration of justice. The time lost, the effort wasted, the anxiety
augmented, additional expenses incurred, the irreparable injury to the public interest – are considerations
which weigh heavily against split jurisdiction.

In addition, the case against PCGG and its Commissioner is clearly barred by the immunity provision of
E.O. 1, as buttressed by section 4(b) thereof which further provides that: “No member or staff of the
Commission shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial, legislative or administrative
proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance.”

Executive Order No. 1 thus effectively withholds jurisdiction over cases against the Commission from all
lower courts, including the Court of Appeals, except the Sandiganbayan in whom is vested original and
exclusive jurisdiction and this Court. Early on, in special civil actions questioning challenged acts of the
Commission, its submittal that the cited Executive Order bars such actions in this Court was given short
shrift because this Court, as the third great department of government vested with the judicial power and
as the guardian of the Constitution, cannot be deprived of its certiorari jurisdiction to pass upon and
determine alleged violations of the citizens' constitutional and legal rights under the Rule of Law.

Primary Administrative Jurisdiction and Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

The Court recently had occasion to stress once more, in G.R. No. 82218, Reyes vs. Caneba March 17,
1988, that "(T)he thrust of the related doctrines of primary administrative jurisdiction and exhaustion of
administrative remedies is that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and
discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence. Acts of an
administrative agency must not casually be overturned by a court, and a court should as a rule not substitute
its judgment for that of the administrative agency acting within the perimeters of its own competence."
Applying these fundamental doctrines to the case at bar, the questions and disputes raised by respondents
seeking to controvert the Commission's finding of prima facie basis for the issuance of its sequestration
orders as well as the interjection of the claims of the predecessor of American Inter-fashion and De Soleil
Corporations, viz. Glorious Sun Phil., headed by Nemesis Co are all questions that are within the primary
administrative jurisdiction of the Commission that cannot be prematurely brought up to clog the court
dockets without first resorting to the exhaustion of the prescribed administrative remedies. The
administrative procedure and remedies for contesting orders of sequestration issued by the Commission
are provided for in its rules and regulations. Thus, the person against whom a writ of sequestration is
directed may request the lifting thereof, in writing; after due hearing or motu proprio for good cause shown,
the Commission may lift the writ unconditionally or subject to such conditions as it may deem necessary,
taking into consideration the evidence and the circumstances of the case. The resolution of the Commission
is appealable to the President of the Philippines. The Commission conducts a hearing, after due notice to
the parties concerned to ascertain whether any particular asset, property or enterprise constitutes ill-gotten
wealth. The Commission's order of sequestration is not final, at the proper time, the question of ownership
of the sequestered properties shall be exclusively determined in the Sandiganbayan, whose own decisions
in turn are subject to review exclusively by the Supreme Court.

It should be emphasized here, as again stressed by the Court in the recent case of Republic, et al. vs. De
los Angeles, et al., G.R. No. L-30240, March 25, 1988, that "it is well-recognized principle that purely
administrative and discretionary function may not be interfered with by the courts. In general, courts have
no supervising power over the proceedings and actions of the administrative departments of government.
This is generally true with respect to acts involving the exercise of judgment or discretion, and findings of
fact. There should be no thought of disregarding the traditional line separating judicial and administrative
competence, the former being entrusted with the determination of legal questions and the latter being
limited as a result of its expertise to the ascertainment of the decisive facts." This is specially true in
sequestration cases affected by the Commission for the recovery of the nation' s plundered wealth that may
affect the nation's very survival, in the light of the constitutional mandate that such sequestration or freeze
orders "shall be issued only upon showing of a prima facie case" and the settled principle that findings by
administrative or quasi-judicial agencies like the Commission are entitled to the greatest respect and are
practically binding and conclusive, like the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts, save where they
are patently arbitrary or capricious or are not supported by substantial evidence.

UP Board of Regents vs. CA


FACTS: Respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine enrolled in the doctoral program in
Anthropology of the UP CSSP Diliman. She already completed the units of course work required and
finished her dissertation and was ready for oral defense.

After going over her dissertation, Dr. Medina informed CSSP Dean Paz that she committed plagiarism.
However, respondent was allowed to defend her dissertation. Four out of the five panelists gave a passing
mark except Dr. Medina.

UP held meeting against her case and some of the panels indicated disapproval. Hence, she expressed
her disappointments over the CSSP administration and warned Dean Paz. However, Dean Paz request the
exclusion of Celine’s name from the list of candidates for graduation but it did not reach the Board of
Regents on time, hence Celine graduated.

Dr. Medina formally charged private respondent with plagiarism and recommended that the doctorate
granted to her be withdrawn. Dean Paz informed private respondent of the charges against her.

CSSP College Assembly unanimously approved the recommendation to withdraw private respondent's
doctorate degree.

The Board sent her a letter indicating that they resolved to withdraw her Doctorate Degree recommended
by the University Council.
She sought an audience with the Board of Regents and/or the U.P. President, which request was denied
by President

Hence, Celine then filed a petition for mandamus with a prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
and damages, alleging that petitioners had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without justification and without
affording her procedural due process.

ISSUE: Whether or not Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine was deprived of her right to substantive due
process.

RULING: No. Respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine was indeed heard several times.

Several committees and meetings had been formed to investigate the charge that private respondent had
committed plagiarism and she was heard in her defense.

In administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is simply the opportunity to explain one's side
of a controversy or a chance seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. A party who has
availed of the opportunity to present his position cannot tenably claim to have been denied due process.

In the case at bar, Celine was informed in writing of the charges against her and given opportunities to
answer them. She was asked to submit her written explanation which she submiited. She, as well, met with
the U.P. chancellor and the members of the Zafaralla committee to discuss her case. In addition, she sent
several letters to the U.P. authorities explaining her position.

It is not tenable for private respondent to argue that she was entitled to have an audience before the Board
of Regents. Due process in an administrative context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to those
in the courts of justice. It is noteworthy that the U.P. Rules do not require the attendance of persons whose
cases are included as items on the agenda of the Board of Regents.

Carino v. CHR
FACTS: On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public school teacher, among
them the 8 herein private respondents who were members of the Manila Public School Teachers
Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook “mass concerted actions” to
“dramatize and highlight” their plight resulting from the alleged failure of the public authorities to act upon
grievances that had time and again been brought to the latter’s attention.

The respondents were preventively suspended by the Secretary of Education. They complained to CHR.

ISSUE: WON CHR has the power to adjudicate alleged human rights violations

RULING: No.

The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with the character of finality
and definiteness, the same issues which have been passed upon and decided by the Secretary of
Education and subject to appeal to CSC, this Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared that the
teachers affected may take appeals to the CSC on said matter, if still timely.

The threshold question is whether or not the CHR has the power under the constitution to do so; whether
or not, like a court of justice or even a quasi-judicial agency, it has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over,
or the power to try and decide, or dear and determine, certain specific type of cases, like alleged human
rights violations involving civil or political rights.

The Court declares that the CHR to have no such power, and it was not meant by the fundamental law to
be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the functions of
the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may
investigate, i.e. receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations
involving civil and political rights. But fact-finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to judicial
function of a court of justice, or even a quasi judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence
and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be
considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must
be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the
controversy be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitely, subject to such appeals or
modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.

Hence it is that the CHR having merely the power to “investigate,” cannot and not “try and resolve on the
merits” (adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced
it means to do; and cannot do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings
against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or civil or political
rights had been transgressed.

Montemayor v. Bundalian
FACTS: An unverified letter-complaint was addressed by private respondent LUIS BUNDALIAN to the
Philippine Consulate General accusing petitioner, then OIC-Regional Director of the DPWH, of
accumulating unexplained wealth, in violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No. 3019. Private respondent
charged among others that petitioner and his wife purchased a house and lot in Los Angeles, California
and that petitioner’s in-laws who were living in California had a poor credit standing due to a number of
debts they could not have purchased such an expensive property for petitioner and his wife. Private
respondent also accused petitioner of amassing wealth from lahar funds and other public works projects.

The PCAGC conducted its own investigation of the complaint. Petitioner fully participated in the
proceedings. After the investigation, the PCAGC found that petitioner purchased a house and lot in
California, for US$195,000.00 evidenced by a Grant Deed. The body concluded that the petitioner could
not have been able to afford to buy the property on his annual income of P168,648.00 as appearing on his
Service Record. The PCAGC concluded that as petitioner’s acquisition of the subject property was
manifestly out of proportion to his salary, it has been unlawfully acquired. Thus, it recommended petitioner’s
dismissal from service pursuant to Section 8 of R.A. No. 3019.

The Office of the President, concurring with the findings and adopting the recommendation of the PCAGC,
issued Administrative Order No. 12,4 ordering petitioner’s dismissal from service with forfeiture of all
government benefits.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner was denied due process in the investigation before the PCAGC

HELD: NO. The essence of due process in administrative proceedings is the opportunity to explain one’s
side or seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. As long as the parties are given the
opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered, the demands of due process are sufficiently met. In
the case at bar, the PCAGC exerted efforts to notify the complainant of the proceedings but his Philippine
residence could not be located. Be that as it may, petitioner cannot argue that he was deprived of due
process because he failed to confront and cross-examine the complainant. Petitioner voluntarily submitted
to the jurisdiction of the PCAGC by participating in the proceedings before it. He was duly represented by
counsel. He filed his counter-affidavit, submitted documentary evidence, attended the hearings, moved for
a reconsideration of Administrative Order No. issued by the President and eventually filed his appeal before
the Court of Appeals. His active participation in every step of the investigation effectively removed any
badge of procedural deficiency, if there was any, and satisfied the due process requirement. He cannot
now be allowed to challenge the procedure adopted by the PCAGC in the investigation.

It is well to remember that in administrative proceedings, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not
strictly applied. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial
sense for it is enough that the party is given the chance to be heard before the case against him is decided.
This was afforded to the petitioner in the case at bar.