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G.R. No. 220617, January 30, 2017

G. GUATNO, JR., Respondent.



Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated March 26, 2015 and the
Resolution3 dated September 17, 2015 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 132686, which
affirmed the Decision4 dated May 30, 2013 and the Resolution5 dated August 30, 2013 of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) in LAC No. 02-000699-13/ NCR-03-04761-12, declaring petitioner Nestle
Philippines, Inc. (NPI), jointly and severally liable with Ocho de Septiembre, Inc. (ODSI) to respondents
Benny A. Puedan, Jr., Jayfer D. Limbo, Bradney N. Avila, Arthur C. Aquino, Ryan A. Miranda, Ronald R.
Alave, Johnny A. Dimaya, Marlon B. Delos Reyes, Angelita R. Cordova, Edgar S. Barruga, Camilo B. Cordova,
Jr., Jeffry B. Languisan, Edison U. Villapando, Jheirney S. Remolin, Mary Luz A. Macatalad, Jenalyn M.
Gamurot, Dennis G. Bawag, Raquel A. Abellera, and Ricandro G. Guatno, Jr. (respondents) for separation
pay, nominal damages, and attorney's fees.

The Facts

The instant case arose from an amended6 complaint7 dated July 6, 2012 for illegal dismissal, damages, and
attorney's fees filed by respondents against, inter alia, ODSI and NPI. Respondents alleged that on various
dates, ODSI and NPI hired them to sell various NPI products in the assigned covered area. After some time,
respondents demanded that they be considered regular employees of NPI, but they were directed to sign
contracts of employment with ODSI instead. When respondents refused to comply with such directives, NPI
and ODSI terminated them from their position.8 Thus, they were constrained to file the complaint, claiming
that: (a) ODSI is a labor-only contractor and, thus, they should be deemed regular employees of NPI; and
(b) there was no just or authorized cause for their dismissal.9

For its part, ODSI averred that it is a company engaged in the business of buying, selling, distributing, and
marketing of goods and commodities of every kind and it enters into all kinds of contracts for the acquisition
thereof. ODSI admitted that on various dates, it hired respondents as its employees and assigned them to
execute the Distributorship Agreement10 it entered with NPI,11 the relevant portions of which state:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

3.1 DISTRIBUTOR (ODSI) shall assign a sales force in his/her regular

employ, dedicated solely to the handling of NPI Grocery Retail
Products under this Agreement, and who shall exclusively cover
assigned areas/channels of distribution.
3.2 DISTRIBUTOR shall service the outlets within the Territory by re-
selling Products obtained exclusively from Nestle Philippines, Inc. and
not from any other source.
3.3 DISTRIBUTOR shall utilize booking and distribution salesmen to
undertake territory development. Booking done by DISTRIBUTOR
shall be delivered by its personnel. Collection of accounts shall be
taken cared (sic) of by DISTRIBUTOR, without prejudice to the
provisions of Clause 13 hereof.
3.4 DISTRIBUTOR's route salesmen shall exclusively cover assigned ex-
truck areas/channels of distribution.
3.5 DISTRIBUTOR shall also provide training to its staff or personnel
where necessary, to improve operations in servicing the requirements
of DISTRIBUTOR's customers. From time to time, NESTLE shall offer
to DISTRIBUTOR suggestions and recommendations to improve sales
and to further develop the market.
3.6 DISTRIBUTOR shall meet the sales, reach and distribution targets
agreed upon by NESTLE and DISTRIBUTOR. For purposes of this
clause, reach targets refer to the number of stores, dealers and/or
outlets which DISTRIBUTOR should cover or service within a
particular period. Distribution targets refer to the number of stock
keeping units and/or product lines covered by this Agreement.
In the event of DISTRIBUTOR's failure to meet NESTLE's sales
targets, NESTLE has the sole discretion of assigning another
distributor of the Products and/or reducing the Territory covered by
3.7 DISTRIBUTOR agrees to provide at its own cost and expense facilities
and other resources necessary for the distribution and sale of the
3.8 NESTLE's sales personnel may get orders for the Products distributed
by DISTRIBUTOR and pass on the said orders to DISTRIBUTOR.
3.9 NESTLE shall provide the necessary promotional and marketing
support for the Products through promotional materials, product
information literature, participation in trade fairs, and other market
development activities.
3.10 Should NESTLE manufacture and/or distribute other products not
subject of this Agreement, which, in NESTLE's opinion, should
likewise be extended to DISTRIBUTOR's outlets, such additional
products shall be included among those listed in Annex "A" hereof.
NESTLE shall deliver the Products to DISTRIBUTOR's warehouse(s) at
its own expenses. Immediately upon receipt of the Products,
DISTRIBUTOR shall carry out a visual inspection thereof. In the event
any quantity of the Products is found to be defective upon such visual
inspection, NESTLE shall replace such quantity of the Products at no
3.11 All costs for transportation and/or shipment of the Products from
DISTRIBUTOR's warehouse(s) to its outlets/customers shall be the
account of the DISTRIBUTOR.12
However, the business relationship between NPI and ODSI turned sour when the former's sales department
badgered the latter regarding the sales targets. Eventually, NPI downsized its marketing and promotional
support from ODSI which resulted to business reverses and in the latter's filing of a petition for corporate
rehabilitation and, subsequently, the closure of its Nestle unit due to the termination of the Distributorship
Agreement and the failure of rehabilitation. Under the foregoing circumstances, ODSI argued that
respondents were not dismissed but merely put in floating status. 13

On the other hand, NPI did not file any position paper or appear in the scheduled conferences. 14

The Labor Arbiter Ruling

In a Decision15 dated December 28, 2012, the Labor Arbiter (LA) dismissed the complaint for lack of merit,
but nevertheless, ordered, inter alia, ODSI and NPI to pay respondents nominal damages in the aggregate
amount of P235,728.00 plus attorney's fees amounting to ten percent (10%) of the total monetary
awards.16 The LA found that: (a) respondents were unable to prove that they were NPI employees; and (b)
respondents were not illegally dismissed as ODSI had indeed closed down its operations due to business
losses.17 As to the issue on the failure to give respondents a thirty (30)-day notice prior to such closure, the
LA concluded that all the impleaded respondents therein (i.e., including NPI) should be held liable for the
payment of nominal damages plus attorney's fees.18

Aggrieved, respondents appealed to the NLRC.19

The NLRC Ruling

In a Decision20 dated May 30, 2013, the NLRC reversed and set aside the LA ruling and, accordingly, ordered
ODSI and NPI to pay each of the respondents: (a) separation pay amounting to 1/2 month pay for every
year of service reckoned from the time they were employed until the finality of the Decision; and (b)
nominal damages in the amount of P30,000.00. The NLRC likewise ordered NPI and ODSI to pay
respondents attorney's fees amounting to ten percent (10%) of the monetary awards. 21

Contrary to the LA's findings, the NLRC found that while ODSI indeed shut down its operations, it failed to
prove that such closure was due to serious business losses as it did not present evidence, e.g., financial
statements, to corroborate its claims. As such, it ruled that respondents are entitled to separation pay. In
this relation, the NLRC also found that since ODSI failed to notify respondents of such closure, the latter are
likewise entitled to nominal damages.22

Further, the NLRC found ODSI to be a labor-only contractor of NPI, considering that: (a) ODSI had no
substantial capitalization or investment; (b) respondents performed activities directly related to NPI's
principal business; and (c) the fact that respondents' employment depended on the continuous supply of NPI
products shows that ODSI had not been carrying an independent business according to its own manner and
method.23 Consequently, the NLRC deemed NPI to be respondents' true employer, and thus, ordered it
jointly and severally liable with ODSI to pay the monetary claims of respondents. 24

Respondents moved for a partial reconsideration,25 arguing that since it was only ODSI that closed down
operations and not NPI and, considering the finding that the latter was deemed to be their true employer,
NPI should reinstate them, or if not practicable, to pay them separation pay equivalent to one (1) month
pay for every year of service. NPI also moved for reconsideration, 26 contending that: (a) it was deprived of
its right to participate in the proceedings before the LA and the NLRC; and (b) it had no employer-employee
relationship with respondents as ODSI was never its contractor, whether independent or labor-
only.27 However, the NLRC denied both motions in a Resolution 28 dated August 30, 2013, holding that: (a)
respondents' termination was due to the closure of ODSI's Nestle unit, an authorized cause and, thus, the
monetary awards in their favor were proper; (b) NPI was not deprived of its right to participate in the
proceedings as it was duly served with copies of the parties' respective pleadings, as well as the rulings of
both the LA and the NLRC; (c) assuming arguendo that NPI was indeed deprived of due process, its
subsequent filing of a motion for reconsideration before the NLRC cured the defect as it was able to argue its
position in the said motion; and (d) the circumstances surrounding the Distributorship Agreement between
ODSI and NPI showed that the former is indeed a labor-only contractor of the latter. 29

Dissatisfied, NPI filed a petition for certiorari30 before the CA, essentially insisting that: (a) it was deprived of
due process before the tribunals a quo; and (b) there was no employer-employee relationship between NPI
and respondents.31 Records reveal that no other party elevated the matter before the CA.

The CA Ruling

In a Decision32 dated March 26, 2015, the CA affirmed the NLRC ruling. Anent the issue on due process, the
CA held that NPI was not deprived of its opportunity to be heard as it was able to receive a copy of the
complaint and other pleadings, albeit it failed to respond thereto. 33 As regards the substantive issue, the CA
ruled that despite ODSI and NPI's contract being denominated as a "Distributorship Agreement," it
contained provisions demonstrating a labor-only contracting arrangement between them, as well as NPI's
exercise of control over the business of ODSI. Moreover, the CA pointed out that: (a) there was nothing in
the records which showed that ODSI had substantial capital to undertake an independent business; and (b)
respondents performed tasks essential to NPI's business. 34

Undaunted, NPI moved for reconsideration,35 which was, however, denied in a Resolution36 dated September
17, 2015; hence, this petition.

The Issues Before the Court

The essential issues for the Court's resolution are whether or not the CA correctly ruled that: (a) NPI was
accorded due process by the tribunals a quo; and (b) ODSI is a labor-only contractor of NPI, and
consequently, NPI is respondents' true employer and, thus, deemed jointly and severally liable with ODSI for
respondents' monetary claims.

The Court's Ruling

To justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, the petitioner must satisfactorily show that the
court or quasi-judicial authority gravely abused the discretion conferred upon it. Grave abuse of discretion
connotes a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment, done in a despotic manner by reason of passion
or personal hostility, the character of which being so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of law. 37

In labor disputes, grave abuse of discretion may be ascribed to the NLRC when, inter alia, its findings and
conclusions are not supported by substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. 38

Guided by the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the CA was correct in ruling that the labor
tribunals a quo gave NPI an opportunity to be heard. However, it erred in not ascribing grave abuse of
discretion on the NLRC's finding that ODSI is a labor-only contractor of NPI and, thus, the latter is the
respondents' true employer, and jointly and severally liable with ODSI for respondents' monetary claims. As
will be explained hereunder, such finding by the NLRC is not supported by substantial evidence.


The observance of fairness in the conduct of any investigation is at the very heart of procedural due process.
The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative proceedings, this means a fair
and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action
or ruling complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict
judicial sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of
procedure are not strictly applied.39 The Court's disquisition in Ledesma v. CA40 is instructive on this matter,
to wit:

Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type
proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an
opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving
reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the
minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as
applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side, or an opportunity to
seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.41 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In this case, NPI essentially claims that it was deprived of its right to due process when it was not notified of
the proceedings before the LA and did not receive copies and issuances from the other parties and the LA,
respectively.42 However, as correctly pointed out by the CA, NPI was furnished via courier of a copy of the
amended complaint filed by the respondents against it as shown by LBC Receipt No. 125158910840. 43It is
also apparent that NPI was also furnished with the respondents' Position Paper, Reply, and
Rejoinder.44 Verily, NPI was indeed accorded due process, but as the LA mentioned, the former chose not to
file any position paper or appear in the scheduled conferences.45

Assuming arguendo that NPI was somehow deprived of due process by either of the labor tribunals, such
defect was cured by: (a) NPI's filing of its motion for reconsideration before the NLRC; (b) the NLRC's
subsequent issuance of its Resolution dated August 30, 2013 wherein the tribunal considered all ofNPI's
arguments as contained in its motion; and (c) NPI's subsequent elevation of the case to the CA. In Gonzales
v. Civil Service Commission,46 the Court reiterated the rule that "[a]ny seeming defect in [the] observance
[of due process] is cured by the filing of a motion for reconsideration," and that "denial of due process
cannot be successfully invoked by a party who [was] afforded the opportunity to be heard x x x." 47 Similarly,
in Autencio v. Manara,48 it was held that defects in procedural due process may be cured when the party has
been afforded the opportunity to appeal or to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. 49

Evidently, the foregoing shows that NPI was not denied due process of law as it was afforded the fair and
reasonable opportunity to explain its side.


In holding NPI jointly and severally liable with ODSI for the monetary awards in favor of respondents, both
the NLRC and the CA held that based on the provisions of the Distributorship Agreement between them,
ODSI is merely a labor-only contractor of NPI.50 In this regard, the CA opined that the following stipulations
of the said Agreement evinces that NPI had control over the business of ODSI, namely, that: (a) NPI shall
offer to ODSI suggestions and recommendations to improve sales and to further develop the market; (b)
NPI prohibits ODSI from exporting its products (the No-Export provision); (c) NPI provided standard
requirements to ODSI for the warehousing and inventory management of the sold goods; and (d) prohibition
imposed on ODSI to sell any other products that directly compete with those of NPI. 51

However, a closer examination of the Distributorship Agreement reveals that the relationship of NPI and
ODSI is not that of a principal and a contractor (regardless of whether labor-only or independent), but that
of a seller and a buyer/re-seller. As stipulated in the Distributorship Agreement, NPI agreed to sell its
products to ODSI at discounted prices,52 which in turn will be re-sold to identified customers, ensuring in the
process the integrity and quality of the said products based on the standards agreed upon by the
parties.53 As aptly explained by NPI, the goods it manufactures are distributed to the market through various
distributors, e.g., ODSI, that in turn, re-sell the same to designated outlets through its own employees such
as the respondents. Therefore, the reselling activities allegedly performed by the respondents properly
pertain to ODSI, whose principal business consists of the "buying, selling, distributing, and marketing goods
and commodities of every kind" and "[entering] into all kinds of contracts for the acquisition of such goods
[and commodities]."54

Thus, contrary to the CA's findings, the aforementioned stipulations in the Distributorship Agreement hardly
demonstrate control on the part of NPI over the means and methods by which ODSI performs its business,
nor were they intended to dictate how ODSI shall conduct its business as a distributor. Otherwise stated, the
stipulations in the Distributorship Agreement do not operate to control or fix the methodology on how ODSI
should do its business as a distributor of NPI products, but merely provide rules of conduct or guidelines
towards the achievement of a mutually desired result 55 - which in this case is the sale of NPI products to the
end consumer. In Steelcase, Inc. v. Design International Selections, Inc.,56 the Court held that the
imposition of minimum standards concerning sales, marketing, finance and operations are nothing more
than an exercise of sound business practice to increase sales and maximize profits, to wit: ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Finally, both the CA and DISI rely heavily on the Dealer Performance Expectation required by Steelcase of
its distributors to prove that DISI was not functioning independently from Steelcase because the same
imposed certain conditions pertaining to business planning, organizational structure, operational
effectiveness and efficiency, and financial stability. It is actually logical to expect that Steelcase, being one
of the major manufacturers of office systems furniture, would require its dealers to meet several conditions
for the grant and continuation of a distributorship agreement. The imposition of minimum standards
concerning sales, marketing, finance and operations is nothing more than an exercise of sound
business practice to increase sales and maximize profits for the benefit of both Steelcase and its
distributors. For as long as these requirements do not impinge on a distributor's independence,
then there is nothing wrong with placing reasonable expectations on them. 57 (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
Verily, it was only reasonable for NPI - it being a local arm of one of the largest manufacturers of foods and
grocery products worldwide - to require its distributors, such as ODSI, to meet various conditions for the
grant and continuation of a distributorship agreement for as long as these conditions do not control the
means and methods on how ODSI does its distributorship business, as shown in this case. This is to ensure
the integrity and quality of the products which will ultimately fall into the hands of the end consumer.

Thus, the foregoing circumstances show that ODSI was not a labor only contractor of NPI; hence, the latter
cannot be deemed the true employer of respondents. As a consequence, NPI cannot be held jointly and
severally liable to ODSI's monetary obligations towards respondents.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated March 26, 2015 and the Resolution dated
September 17, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 132686 are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Accordingly, the Decision dated May 30, 2013 and the Resolution dated August 30, 2013 of the
National Labor Relations Commission in LAC No. 02-000699-13/NCR-03-04761-12
are MODIFIED, DELETING petitioner Nestle Philippines, Inc.'s solidary liability with Ocho de Septiembre,
Inc. (ODSI) for the latter's monetary obligations to respondents Benny A. Puedan, Jr., Jayfer D. Limbo,
Brodney N. Avila, Arthur C. Aquino, Ryan A. Miranda, Ronald R. Alave, Johnny A. Dimaya, Marlon B. Delos
Reyes, Angelito R. Cordova, Edgar S. Barruga, Camilo B. Cordova, Jr., Jeffry B. Languisan, Edison U.
Villapando, Jheimey S. Remolin, Mary Luz A. Macatalad, Jenalyn M. Gamurot, Dennis G. Bawag, Raquel A.
Abellera, and Ricandro G. Guatno, Jr.

SO ORDERED. chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

G.R. No. 213027, January 18, 2017


G.R. No. 213253




Before us are Petitions for Review on Certiorari2 assailing the Partial Summary Judgment3 dated 13 January
2014 and the Resolution4 dated 11 June 2014 rendered by the Sandiganbayan, Special Division, 5 in Civil
Case No. 0141. In the assailed Judgment and Resolution, the pieces of jewelry, known as the Malacañang
Collection, were labeled as ill-gotten and were consequently forfeited in favor of the Republic.


Civil Case No. 0141 is a forfeiture case entitled Republic of the Philippines v. Ferdinand E. Marcos,
(represented by his Estate/Heirs) and Imelda R. Marcos. It emanated from the Petition6 dated 17 December
1991 (1991 Petition) filed by the Republic through the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG), represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), pursuant to Republic Act No. (R.A.)
13797 in relation to Executive Order Nos. 1,8 2,9 1410 and 14-A.11 The 1991 Petition sought the recovery of
the assets and properties pertaining to the Marcoses, who acquired them directly or indirectly through, or as
a result of, the improper or illegal use of funds or properties owned by the government. 12 The properties,
subject of other pending forfeiture cases before the Sandiganbayan, were excluded; and the properties,
subject of the 1991 Petition, were specifically listed and accordingly clustered into 18 categories. 13

Some of the properties listed in the 1991 Petition were already adjudged as ill-gotten wealth and
consequently forfeited in favor of the government. In Republic v. Sandiganbayan14 (the Swiss deposits case)
the Court en banc in 2003 decreed that the deposits in various Swiss banks, referred to in the 1991 Petition
under paragraph 9 (18),15 were ill-gotten wealth and forfeited in favor of the State. 16 Likewise, in Marcos v.
Republic17 (the Arelma case), the Court's Second Division in 2012 declared that the funds, properties, and
interests of Arelma were also ill-gotten wealth and forfeited in favor of the State. 18
The present consolidated petitions emanated from the same Civil Case No. 0141, when the Republic filed a
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment19 dated 24 June 2009 with respect to another property listed in the
1991 Petition. By way of that motion, the Republic asked the Sandiganbayan to render judgment declaring
the pieces of jewelry, known as the Malacañang Collection and specifically mentioned under paragraph 9 (6)
of the 1991 Petition, as ill-gotten; and to subsequently cause this collection of jewelry to be declared
forfeited in favor of the Republic. 20 The latter categorized the pieces of jewelry recovered from the Marcoses
into three collections and singled out the Malacañang Collection as the object of the motion. 21 The estimated
values thereof were presented also in the motion as follows:

First, the so-called Hawaii Collection x x x mentioned in paragraph 9 (7) 22 of the x x x forfeiture petition x x
x seized by the United States Customs Service and x x x turned over to the Philippine Government.
Significantly, a ruling was made by the United States (U.S.) Hawaii District Court on December 18, 1992
that the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to the possession and control of the said collection. (Annex
"A")23 [The Sandiganbayan] had taken judicial notice of said ruling in its Resolution 24 dated October 25,

Second, the Roumeliotes Collection x x x referred to as "MIA Jewelry" x x x seized from Roumeliotes at
the Manila International Airport on March 1, 1986. Although not covered by this forfeiture proceeding,
respondents earlier sought their inclusion in then pending negotiations for settlement.

Third, the Malacañang Collection x x x seized from Malacañang after February 25, 1986 and transferred
to the Central Bank on March 1, 1986. As ruled by this Honorable Court in the said resolution (Annex
"B"),25 this collection is the object of this forfeiture proceeding.

This collection is itemized in ANNEX "C"26 hereof.

Based on the 1991 valuation of auction house Christie, Manson and Woods International, Inc., the
Roumeliotes, Malacañang and Hawaii collections were worth between US$5,313.575 (low estimate) to
US$7,112,879 (high estimate), at the time of the filing of the petition. (ANNEX "D") 27 The value of the
Malacañang collection by itself was US$110,055 (low estimate) to US$153,089 (high estimate). 28 (citations
supplied) ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

In support of the motion, the Republic cited the letter29 dated 25 May 2009 sent to the PCGG by Imelda
Marcos, through counsel, demanding "the immediate return of all her pieces of jewelry (i) taken by PCGG
from Malacañang Palace and (ii) those turned over to PCGG by the U.S. Government." 30 The Republic argued
that the letter proved the claim of the Marcoses that they owned the Malacañang Collection, including the
Hawaii Collection.31 It further argued that in the 1991 Petition, they were deemed to have admitted the
allegations regarding the pieces of jewelry. 32 The Republic said that the words or stock phrases they used in
their Answer33 dated 18 October 1993 had been declared by this Court in the Swiss deposits case as a
"negative pregnant" and, as such, amounted to an admission if not squarely denied. 34 Finally, it contended
that "the lawful income of the Marcoses during their incumbencies as public officials was grossly
disproportionate to the value of the pieces of jewelry." 35 Invoking the declaration of this Court in the Swiss
deposits case,36 the Republic stated that their lawful income amounting to USD 304,372.43 was grossly
disproportionate to the value of the pieces of jewelry in 1991. 37

On 3 July 2009, the Republic also filed a Request for Admission 38 addressed to the Estate of Ferdinand
Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Imelda Marcos-Manotoc, and Irene Marcos Araneta. It requested the admission
under oath of the truth of the following:

1. That the set of jewelry described as the "Malacañang Collection" subject of this petition and
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment dated June 24, 2009 had been acquired during the
incumbency of respondents Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos as public officials of
the Republic of the Philippines, particularly between 1966-1986.

2. That the said "Malacañang Collection" had been acquired from abroad, particularly during
respondents' travels to Asia, Europe and the United States.

3. That the acquisition costs of the "Malacañang Collection" more or less corresponds to the
values appraised by Christie's in 1998 as summarized in Annex F-2 of the Petition, also
Annex D of the Motion for Summary Judgment dated June 24, 2009.
4. That at the time of the recovery of the Collection in Malacañang, the pieces of jewelry were
in mint condition, and most of which has never been used by respondents. 39

The Republic also submitted a Supplement to Motion for Partial Summary Judgment 40 dated 14 July 2009. It
restated that the object of the motion covered only the Malacañang Collection, as the ownership of the two
other collections had been settled by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution 41 dated 25 October 1996.42 It also
attached the Aftidavit43 of J. Ermin Ernest Louie R. Miguel, director of the legal depm1ment of the PCGG,
which was the custodian of the official records pertaining to the cases filed for the recovery of the ill-gotten
wealth of the Marcoses.44 The Affidavit sought to prove the value of the Honolulu/PCGG Collection according
to the appraisal45 by Christie's at US Customs in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 28 and 29 September 1992; of the
Roumeliotes Collection according to the appraisal46 by Christie's at the Central Bank in Manila, Philippines,
on 7 March 1988; and of the Malacañang Collection according to the appraisal 47 by Christie's at the Central
Bank in Manila, Philippines, on 7 March 1988 and to the much higher acquisition costs indicated in the
Invoices48 transmitted by Gemsland to Imelda Marcos through Mrs. Gliceria Tantoco. 49

Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta filed their Manifestation and Preliminary Comments 50 dated 21 July
2009. They manifested therein that Imelda Marcos had indeed demanded the return of the jewelry to her
through a letter51 dated 25 May 2009 and that the PCGG had been unlawfully possessing the properties in
view of its failure to initiate the proper proceeding or to issue a sequestration or freeze order. 52 It was
further manifested that Imelda Marcos also wrote a letter53 dated 28 May 2009 to the Department of Justice
(DOJ), which had administrative supervision and control over the PCGG, through DOJ Secretary Raul M.
Gonzalez. In turn, he sent a letter 54 dated 4 June 2009 to the PCGG through Chairperson Camilo M. Sabio
ordering the latter to return the jewelry if there was no legal impediment. The PCGG, however, referred the
matter to the OSG through Solicitor General Agnes VST Devanadera in a letter 55dated 9 June 2009. The OSG
replied to the Marcoses' letter56 dated 25 May 2009 by way also of a letter57 dated 21 July 2009. It said that
according to the OSG in its letter58 to the PCGG dated 19 June 2009, the former pointed out that the fact the
jewelry collection was the subject of an action for forfeiture before the Sandiganbayan was a legal
impediment to their return.59

Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta then stated that the Republic's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment was filed to justify the possession by the PCGG of the pieces of jewelry, even if these were not
part of the forfeiture case - Civil Case No. 0141.60 They based their allegations on the pronouncements of
the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution61 dated 25 October 1996 and Order62 dated 19 November 2001 and on
the Republic's omission of the collection in the prayer63 of the 1991 Petition.64

The Marcoses further stated that the Request for Admission was inconsistent with the Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment and the Supplement thereto and further reserved their right to present additional
arguments or comments on the Motion and the Supplement. 65

Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta subsequently filed a Manifestation and Motion to Expunge 66 dated
25 July 2009. They specifically stated therein that they were adopting the same arguments raised in their
Comment,67 as well as in their Motion for Reconsideration68 dated 5 May 2009, which was filed after the
Sandiganbayan Decision69 dated 2 April 2009 granting the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the
Arelma account.70

In their Manifestation and Motion to Expunge, Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta claimed that the
filing of the Request for Admission was tantamounto an abdication of the earlier position of the Republic that
the case was ripe for summary judgment.71They argued that the Request for Admission entertained a
possibly genuine issue as to a material fact, which was needed for the grant of the motion for summary
judgment.72 They further argued that the filing of the Request for Admission was rather late, considering
that it was done after the Republic had filed its Motion for Summary Judgment in 2000 and after the case
was concluded in 2004.73 They then requested that all pleadings, motions and requests filed after the
termination of the case in 2004 be expunged.74 Pending a resolution of the motion to expunge, they
simultaneously asked for additional time to answer the Request for Admission and for permission to conduct
an ocular inspection of the subject jewelry, which had been in the Republic's possession for the past 22

Meanwhile, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. filed a Manifestation76 that he was adopting the Manifestation and Motion to
Expunge filed by Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta.77

The Republic filed its Opposition78 dated 24 August 2009, in which it said that the Manifestation and Motion
to Expunge of Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta argued on trivial matters, raised puerile arguments,
and failed to refute the contention that the collection was ill-gotten and subject to forfeiture. 79 It further
stated that the Request for Admission did not depart from the legal basis of the Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. Instead, the request merely sought to elicit details regarding the acquisition of the jewelry in
order to expedite the resolution of the motion.80 The Republic therefore claimed that by operation of law, the
failure of the Marcoses to respond resulted in their admission of the matters contained in the request. 81

In response to the Marcoses' Manifestation and Preliminary Comments, the Republic likewise filed its
Reply82 dated 24 August 2009. It insisted that while the Decision dated 2 April 2009 focused on the Arelma
assets, it had reservations regarding "other reliefs and remedies as may be just and equitable under the
premises."83 These reliefs and remedies included the prayer for the forfeiture of the Malacañang Collection
as part of the illgotten wealth of the Marcoses.84 Also, the Republic stated that the Request for Admission
was not inconsistent with its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, and that the filing of the request after
the motion was not prohibited by the Rules of Court. 85 It stressed that the Request for Admission was filed
and served on 3 July 2009.86 It said that instead of making an admission or a denial as a timely response to
the request within 15 days or until 18 July 2009, the Marcoses filed - and belatedly at that - a Manifestation
and Motion to Expunge on 25 July 2009.87 Thus, the Republic insisted that all the matters that were the
subject of the request be deemed admitted by the Marcoses. 88

A Rejoinder89 dated 7 September 2009 was filed by the Marcoses who alleged that the demand could not
have meant that the collection was part of the case, because the jewelry collection was "trivially mentioned"
in the statement of facts of the 1991 petition;90 was not specifically prayed for;91 was not subject of the
case, according to the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution92 dated 25 October 1996 and Order93 dated 19
November 2001.94 They also reiterated that the Request for Admission was inconsistent with the Republic's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.95

In a Resolution96 dated 2 August 2010, the Sandiganbayan denied the Marcoses' Manifestation and
Preliminary Comments and Manifestation and Motion to Expunge. It ruled that (1) the proceedings in this
case had not been terminated;97 (2) in filing their objection, respondents were not deemed to have admitted
the matters in the Request for Admission;98 and (3) the Republic's Request for Admission was not
inconsistent with the Motion for Summary Judgment.99 The Sandiganbayan further directed the Marcoses to
file and serve within 15 days their sworn answer to the Request for Admission, 100 but they failed to comply
with the directive.101

After the submission of the parties of their respective memoranda, 102 the Sandiganbayan issued a Partial
Summary Judgment103dated 13 January 2014 ruling that (1) the Malacañang Collection was part and subject
of the forfeiture petition;104 (2) the Motion for Summary Judgment was proper; 105 and (3) the forfeiture of
the Malacañang Collection was justified pursuant to R.A. 1379. 106

Motions for Reconsideration were filed by the Estate of Marcos on 29 January 2014 107 and by Imelda Marcos
and Irene Marcos Araneta on 30 January 2014.108 The Republic submitted its Consolidated
Opposition109 dated 25 February 2014, while Replies were submitted by the Estate of Marcos on 12 March
2014110 and by Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta on 31 March 2014.111 The Republic filed its
Consolidated Rejoinder112 on 23 April 2014.

In a Resolution113 dated 11 June 2014, the Sandiganbayan denied the Motions for Reconsideration for being
mere rehashes of the arguments of the Marcoses in their Comments and Opposition to the Republic's Motion
for Summary Judgment.114

Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta received the Resolution denying their Motion for Reconsideration
on 24 June 2014.115Within the 15-day period to file a petition, they submitted to this Court a Manifestation
with Entry of Appearance and Motion for Extension of Time, asking that they be given until 09 August 2014
to file their petition.116 Meanwhile, the Estate of Marcos filed a Motion for Extension of Time on 09 July 2014
and a Manifestation on 8 August 2014, saying that its other executor in solidum was no longer filing a
separate petition for review, but was adopting that which was filed by Imelda Marcos. 117

This Court issued a Resolution118 on 17 November 2014 in G.R. No. 213027 granting the Motion for
Extension and noting the Manifestation of the Estate of Marcos that the latter was adopting the petition for
review filed by Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta in G.R. No. 213253. This Court also issued a
Resolution119 on 17 November 2014 in G.R. No. 213253 noting the Manifestation of Imelda Marcos and Irene
Marcos Araneta's counsels, who were seeking the grant of their Motion for an Extension. 120 This Court
thereafter consolidated the petitions.121

The issues for this Court's resolution are as follows: (1) whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the
properties; (2) whether the Malacañang Collection can be the subject of the forfeiture case; (3) whether
forfeiture is justitied under R.A. 1379; (4) whether the Sandiganbayan correctly ruled that the Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment was not inconsistent with the Request for Admission; and (5) whether the
Sandiganbayan conectly declared that the forfeiture was not a deprivation of petitioners' right to due
process of law.122 chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary


We find no reversible error in the ruling of the Sandiganbayan.

The Sandiganbayan conectly acquired jurisdiction over the case. The properties are included in the 1991
Petition as found in subparagraph (6) of paragraph (9), which reads:

9. However, the other properties which had been identified so far by both the PCGG and the Solicitor
General (excluding those involved in the aforesaid civil cases) are approximated at US$5-B and which


(6) Paintings and silverware sold at public auction in the United States worth $17-M as shown by Annex "F"
hereof, aside from the jewelries, paintings and other valuable decorative arts found in Malacañang and
in the United States estimated to be about $23.9-M as listed and described in Annexes "F-
1",123"F-2",124 "F-2-a"125 and "F-3"126 hereto attached as integral parts hereof;127 (Emphasis
supplied) ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The Sandiganbayan correctly noted the Annexes, which were mentioned in subparagraph 6 and made an
integral part of the 1991 Petition, itemizing and enumerating the pieces ofjewelry with their estimated
values. It ultimately found that the 1991 Petition had categorically alleged that the Malacañang Collection
was included in the assets, monies and properties sought to be recovered.

With respect to the manner of making allegations in pleadings, the Rules of Court simply provides as

Section 1. In general. - Every pleading shall contain in a methodical and logical form, a plain, concise and
direct statement of the ultimate facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defense, as the case
may be, omitting the statement of mere evidentiary facts. If a defense relied on is based on law, the
pertinent provisions thereof and their applicability to him shall be clearly and concisely stated. 128 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

With respect to the determination of whether an initiatory pleading sufficiently states a cause of action, this
Court has ruled in this wise:

In determining whether an initiatory pleading states a cause of action, the test is as follows: admitting the
truth of the facts alleged, can the court render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer? To be taken
into account are only the material allegations in the complaint; extraneous facts and circumstances or other
matters aliunde are not considered. The court may consider - in addition to the complaint - the appended
annexes or documents, other pleadings of the plaintiff, or admissions in the records. 129 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The 1991 Petition is compliant with the requirements stated in law and jurisprudence. The sufficiency of its
allegations is thus established with respect to the pieces of jewelry. Not only were these listed in paragraph
9 (6)130 of that petition as part of the properties subject to forfeiture but these were also itemized in the
documents annexed thereto: Annexes "F-1,"131 "F- 2,"132 "F-2-a,"133 and "F-3."134 The 1991 Petition is more
than enough fulfillment of the requirement provided under Section 3 135(d) of R.A. 1379.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan correctly held that the forfeiture was justified and that the Malacañang
Collection was subject to forfeiture. The legitimate income of the Marcoses had been pegged at USD
304,372.43.136 We reiterate what we have already stated initially in Republic v. Sandiganbayan,137 and
subsequently in Marcos v. Republic:138 that "whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his
incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer
or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said
property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired."139 Petitioners failed to
satisfactorily show that the properties were lawfully acquired; hence, the prima facie presumption that they
were unlawfully acquired prevails.
The Sandiganbayan also properly ruled that there was no inconsistency or incongruity between Republic's
Request for Admission and Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Indeed, we have held that a request for
admission can be the basis for the grant of summary judgment. The request can be the basis therefor when
its subject is deemed to have been admitted by the party and is requested as a result of that party's failure
to respond to the court's directive to state what specifically happened in the case. 140 The resort to such a
request as a mode of discovery rendered all the matters contained therein as matters that have been
deemed admitted pursuant to Rule 26, Section 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. 141

On the basis of respondent Imelda Marcos's letter dated 25 May 2009; respondents' Answer to the 1991
Petition, which was considered to be a "negative pregnant" in Republic v. Sandiganbayan; and respondents'
failure to timely respond to petitioner's Request for Admission, the Sandiganbayan thus correctly granted
the Motion for Summary Judgment of the Republic.

A careful scrutiny of the three bases used by the Sandiganbayan in justifying the absence of a genuine issue
and eventually granting the Motion for Pmtial Summary Judgment leads us to no other course of action but
to affirm the ruling of the Sandiganbayan. The prima facie presumption on unlawfully acquired property
indeed finds application on the first basis. Section 2 of R.A. 1379 provides that "[w]henever any public
officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of
propmtion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income
from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully
acquired." And in this regard, the Sandiganbayan had taken judicial notice of the legitimate income of the
Marcoses during their incumbency as public officers for the period 1966-1986 which was pegged at USD

With respect to the second basis the Answer to the 1991 Petition the denial of the Marcoses cannot be
considered a specific denial because similar to their denial in the Arelma case, in which insisted that they
were not privy to the transactions, the Marcoses gave "the same stock answer to the effect that [they] did
not engage in any illegal activities, and that all their properties were lawfully acquired." 143 That they were
not privy to the actual data in the possession of the PCGG and the Solicitor General is simply a line of
defense which necessarily results in their failure to allege the lawfulness of the mode of acquiring the
property subject of forfeiture, considering the amount of their lawful income. 144 As in the Arelma case, the
Marcoses are deemed to have admitted that the Malacañang Collection itemized in the annexes were found
in the palace and subsequently proven to have been owned by Mrs. Marcos as she admitted in her letter
dated 25 May 2009.

In light of the third basis, the factual antecedents of the case bear restating. The Republic filed a Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment dated 24 June 2009, after which it filed and served a Request for Admission on 3
July 2009. Afterwards, it submitted a Supplement to Motion for Partial Summary Judgment dated 14 July
2009. On 28 July 2009, the Marcoses filed their Manifestation and Preliminary Comments. The
Sandiganbayan noted the objection they had raised in their Manifestation and Preliminary Comments. 145 In
that manner, rather than declaring that the matters raised in the Request for Admission were deemed
admitted, the Sandiganbayan instead ruled on the objection raised by the Marcoses. In short, it ruled that
the Request for Admission was not inconsistent with the motion for summary judgment. 146 The
Sandiganbayan reasoned that there was no inconsistency between the two. It said that a request for
admission may even complement a summary judgment in that the request for admission may be used as
basis for filing a motion for summary judgment.147 It then denied the Manifestation and Preliminary
Comments and Manifestation and Motion to Expunge filed by the Marcoses relative to the Republic's Request
for Admission. Thereafter, it required the Marcoses to file and serve their sworn answer to the Request for
Admission.148 The Marcoses filed numerous pleadings, but none of these was made in response to the
Request for Admission as required by Rule 26, Section 2149 of the Rules of Court until the Sandiganbayan
eventually issued the Partial Summary Judgment dated 13 January 2014 and the Resolution dated 11 June

The Sandiganbayan ruled that "a request for admission may even complement a summary judgment in that
the request for admission may be used as basis for filing a summary judgment" 150 citing three cases as
follows: Concrete Aggregates Corp. v. CA,151Diman v. Alumbres,152 and Allied Agri-Business v. CA.153 The first
case instructs that a request for admission "should set forth relevant evidentiary matters of fact, or
documents described in and exhibited with the request, whose purpose is to establish said party's cause of
action or defense."154

The second case, on the other hand, teaches the nature of modes of discovery in this wise:
Particularly as regards request for admission under Rule 26 of the Rules of Court, the law ordains that when
a party is served with a written request that he admit: (1) the genuineness of any material and relevant
document described in and exhibited with the request, or (2) the truth of any material and relevant matter
of fact set forth in the request, said party is bound within the period designated in the request, to file and
serve on the party requesting the admission a sworn statement either (10) denying specifically the matters
of which an admission is requested or (2) setting forth in details the reasons why he cannot truthfully either
admit or deny those matters. If the party served does not respond with such sworn statement, each of the
matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted.

In this case, the Dimans' request for admission was duly served by registered mail on Jose Lacalle on
February 6, 1995, and a copy thereof on his lawyers on February 4, 1995. Neither made any response
whatever within the reglementary period. Nor did either of them do so even after receiving copy of the
ADMISSION." dated March 28, 1995. On account thereof, in legal contemplation, the Heirs impliedly
admitted all the facts listed in the request for admission.


On the other hand, in the case of a summary judgment, issues apparently exist - i.e., facts are asserted in
the complaint regarding which there is as yet no admission, disavowal or qualification; or specific denials or
atllnnative defenses are in truth set out in the answer - but the issues thus arising from the pleadings are
sham, fictitious, not genuine, as shown by admissions, depositions or admissions.155 (Italics supplied) ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The third case demonstrates how failure to answer the request for admission within the period resulted in
the admission of the matters stated therein. The Court, in that case, specifically ruled:

The burden of affirmative action is on the party upon whom notice is served to avoid the admission rather
than upon the party seeking the admission. Hence, when petitioner failed to reply to a request to admit, it
may not argue that the adverse party has the burden of proving the facts sought to be admitted. Petitioners
silence is an admission of the facts stated in the request.

This Court finds that the motion for summary judgment filed by respondent CHERRY VALLEY on the ground
that there were no questions of fact in issue since the material allegations of the complaint were not
disputed was correctly granted by the trial court. It is a settled rule that summary judgment may be granted
if the facts which stand admitted by reason of a partys failure to deny statements contained in a request for
admission show that no material issue of fact exists. By its failure to answer the other partys request for
admission, petitioner has admitted all the material facts necessary for judgment against itself. 156

Petitioners claim that there has been a lack of observance of due process; that "there has been no trial or

hearing";158 and that "petitioners were shamefully never given an opportunity to show that the questioned
properties may have been lawfully acquired through other means." 159 We find the invocation of lack of
observance of due process at this stage of the proceedings rather belated, especially when it was never
invoked before the Sandiganbayan. Needless to say, the various pleadings petitioners have filed in this case
and in other cases involving the Marcos properties were countless occasions when they could have proven
that the Malacañang Collection had indeed been lawfully acquired as claimed. They allege that they were
denied due process by not being given any opportunity to prove their lawful acquisition of the Malacañang
Collection. This allegation cannot be given credence for being utterly baseless.

The complete records of Civil Case No. 0141 - a total of 35 volumes along with 2 envelopes containing
exhibits and 1 envelope containing the transcripts of stenographic notes - have been forwarded to this Court
by the Sandiganbayan. Pertinent parts of these documents annexed to the 1991 Petition, along with the
other pleadings filed before the Sandiganbayan relative to the present petitions, have also been extensively
quoted and reproduced verbatim in this resolution. The purpose is not only to provide a clearer statement of
the factual antecedents, but also to confirm the veracity of the reference to these documents and to equally
dispel any doubt regarding them.

All in all, in the absence of any compelling legal reason, there is no basis to overturn, or carve an exception
to, existing jurisprudence on the matters raised in the present case.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Partial Summary Judgment dated 13 January 2014 and
Resolution dated 11 June 2014 rendered by the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case No. 0141 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED. cralawlawlibrary
G.R. No. 237428, June 19, 2018


CALIDA,Petitioner, v. MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO, Respondent.



This resolution treats of the following motions:

1. Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno's (respondent) Ad Cautelam Motion for Reconsideration of this Court's
Decision1 dated May 11, 2018, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Quo Warranto is GRANTED. Respondent Maria Lourdes P. A.
Sereno is found DISQUALIFIED from and is hereby adjudged GUILTY of UNLAWFULLY
Respondent Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno is OUSTEDand EXCLUDED therefrom.

The position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is declared vacant and the Judicial
and Bar Council is directed to commence the application and nomination process.

This Decision is immediately executory without need of further action from the Court.

Respondent Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno is ordered to SHOW CAUSE within ten (10) days
from receipt hereof why she should not be sanctioned for violating the Code of Professional
Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub judice rule and for
casting aspersions and ill motives to the Members of the Supreme Court.


2. Respondent's Ad Cautelam Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply (to the Show Cause Order
dated 11 May 2018).

We first dispose of respondent's Motion for Reconsideration.

Respondent claims denial of due process because her case was allegedly not heard by an impartial tribunal.
She reiterates that the six (6) Justices ought to have inhibited themselves on the grounds of actual.bias, of
having personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts, and of having acted as a material witness in the
matter in controversy. Respondent also argues denial of due process when the Court supposedly took notice
of extraneous matters as corroborative evidence and when the Court based its main Decision on facts
without observing the mandatory procedure for reception of evidence.

She reiterates her arguments that the Court is without jurisdiction to oust an impeachable officer
through quo warranto; that the official acts of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and the President involves
political questions that cannot be annulled absent any allegation of grave abuse of discretion; that the
petition for quo warranto is time-barred; and that respondent was and is a person of proven integrity.

By way of Comment, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), seeks a denial of respondent's motion for reconsideration tor being pro forma. In any case, the OSG
argues that respondent's motion lacks merit as there was no denial of due process and that quo warranto is
the appropriate remedy to oust an ineligible impeachable officer. The OSG adds that the issue of whether
respondent is a person of proven integrity is justiciable considering that the decision-making powers of the
JBC are limited by judicially discoverable standards. Undeviating from its position, the OSG maintains that
the petition is not time-barred as Section II, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court does not apply to the State and
that the peculiar circumstances of the instant case preclude the strict application of the prescriptive period.

Disputing respondent's claims, the OSG reiterates that respondent's repeated failure to file her Statement of
Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and her non-submission thereof to the JBC which the latter required
to prove the integrity of an applicant affect respondent's integrity. The OSG concludes that respondent, not
having possessed of proven integrity, failed to meet the constitutional requirement for appointment to the

Carefully weighing the arguments advanced by both parties, this Court finds no reason to reverse its earlier

Respondent is seriously in error for claiming denial of due process. Respondent refuses to recognize the
Court's jurisdiction over the subject matter and over her person on the ground that respondent, as a
purported impeachable official, can only be removed exclusively by impeachment. Reiterating this argument,
respondent filed her Comment to the Petition, moved that her case be heard on Oral Argument, filed her
Memorandum, filed her Reply/Supplement to the OSG's Memorandum and now, presently moves for
reconsideration. All these representations were made ad cautelam which, stripped of its legal parlance,
simply means that she asks to be heard by the Court which jurisdiction she does not acknowledge. She
asked relief from the Court and was in fact heard by the Court, and yet she claims to have been denied of
due process. She repeatedly discussed the supposed merits of her opposition to the present quo
warranto petition in various social and traditional media, and yet she claims denial of due process. The
preposterousness of her claim deserves scant consideration.

Respondent also harps on the alleged bias on the part of the six (6) Justices and that supposedly, their
failure to inhibit themselves from deciding the instant petition amounts to a denial of due process.

Respondent's contentions were merely a rehash of the issues already taken into consideration and properly
resolved by the Court. To reiterate, mere imputation of bias or partiality is not enough ground for inhibition,
especially when the charge is without basis. Acts or conduct clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice
has to be shown.3 Verily, for bias and prejudice to be considered sufficient justification for the inhibition of a
Member of this Court, mere suspicion is not enough.

Moreover, as discussed in the main Decision, respondent's allegations on the grounds for inhibition were
merely based on speculations, or on distortions of the language, context and meaning of the answers given
by the concerned Justices as resource persons in the proceedings of the Committee on Justice of the House
of Representatives. These matters were squarely resolved by the Court in its main Decision, as well as in the
respective separate opinions of the Justices involved.

Indeed, the Members of the Court's right to inhibit are weighed against their duty to adjudicate the case
without fear of repression. Respondent's motion to require the inhibition of Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-De
Castro, Lucas P. Bersamin, Diosdado M. Peralta, Francis H. Jardeleza, Samuel R. Martires, and Noel Gimenez
Tijam, who all concurred to the main Decision, would open the floodgates to the worst kind of forum
shopping, and on its face, would allow respondent to shop for a Member of the Court who she perceives to
be more compassionate and friendly to her cause, and is clearly antithetical to the fair administration of

Bordering on the absurd, respondent alleges prejudice based on the footnotes of the main Decision which
show that the draft thereof was being prepared as early as March 15, 2018 when respondent has yet to file
her Comment. Respondent forgets to mention that the Petition itself was filed on March 5, 2018 where the
propriety of the remedy of quo warranto was specifically raised. Certainly, there is nothing irregular nor
suspicious for the Member-in-Charge, nor for any of the Justices for that matter, to have made a requisite
initial determination on the matter of jurisdiction. In professing such argument, respondent imputes fault on
the part of the Justices for having been diligent in the performance of their work.

Respondent also considers as irregular the query made by the Member-in-Charge with the JBC Office of the
Executive Officer (OEO) headed by Atty. Annaliza S. Ty-Capacite (Atty. Capacite). Respondent points out
that the same is not allowed and shows prejudice on the part of the Court.

For respondent's information, the data were gathered pursuant to the Court En Banc's Resolution dated
March 20, 2018 wherein the Clerk of Court En Banc and the JBC, as custodian and repositories of the
documents submitted by respondent, were directed to provide the Court with documents pertinent to
respondent's application and appointment as an Associate Justice in 2010 and as Chief Justice of the Court
in 2012 for the purpose of arriving at a judicious, complete, and efficient resolution of the instant case. In
the same manner, the "corroborative evidence" referred to by respondent simply refers to respondent's acts
and representations ascertainable through an examination of the documentary evidence appended by both
parties to their respective pleadings as well as their representations during the Oral Argument. Reference to
respondent's subsequent acts committed during her incumbency as Chief Justice, on the other hand, are
plainly matters of public record and already determined by the House of Representatives as constituting
probable cause for impeachment.


The Court reaffirms its authority to decide the instant quo warranto action. This authority is expressly
conferred on the Supreme Court by the Constitution under Section 5, Article VIII which states that:
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

1. Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers
and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto,
and habeas corpus.

x x x x (Emphasis ours)
Section 5 of Article VIII does not limit the Court's quo warranto jurisdiction only to certain public officials or
that excludes impeachable officials therefrom. In Sarmiento v. Mison,4 the Court ruled:
The task of the Court is rendered lighter by the existence of relatively clear provisions in the Constitution. In
cases like this, we follow what the Court, speaking through Mr. Justice (later, Chief Justice) Jose Abad
Santos stated in Gold Creek Mining Corp. v. Rodriguez, that:
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of the framers of the
organic law and of the people adopting it. The intention to which force is to be given is that which is
embodied and expressed in the constitutional provisions themselves.5(Emphasis ours)
The Constitution defines judicial power as a "duty" to be performed by the courts of justice. 6 Thus, for the
Court to repudiate its own jurisdiction over this case would be to abdicate a constitutionally imposed

As the Court pointed out in its Decision, this is not the first time the Court took cognizance of a quo
warranto petition against an impeachable officer. In the consolidated cases of Estrada v. Macapagal-
Arroyo7 and Estrada v. Desierto,8 the Court assumed jurisdiction over a quo warranto petition that
challenged Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's title to the presidency.

Arguing that the aforesaid cases cannot serve as precedent for the Court to take cognizance of this case,
respondent makes it appear that they involved a totally different issue, one that concerned Joseph E.
Estrada's immunity from suit, specifically: "Whether conviction in the impeachment proceedings is a
condition precedent for the criminal prosecution of petitioner Estrada. In the negative and on the
assumption that petitioner is still President, whether he is immune from criminal prosecution." 9

Respondent's allegation is utterly false and misleading. A cursory reading of the cases will reveal that
Estrada's immunity from suit was just one of the issues raised therein. Estrada in fact sought a quo
warranto inquiry into Macapagal-Arroyo's right to assume the presidency, claiming he was simply a
President on leave.

Respondent also asserts that Estrada cannot serve as precedent for the Court to decide this case because it
was dismissed, and unlike the instant petition, it was filed within the prescribed one (1)-year period under
Section 11, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court.10

The argument fails to persuade. Estrada was dismissed not because the Court had no jurisdiction over
the quo warranto petition but because Estrada's challenge to Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency had no merit.
In ruling upon the merits of Estrada's quo warranto petition, the Court has undeniably exercised its
jurisdiction under Section 5(1) of Article VIII. Thus, Estrada clearly demonstrates that the Court's quo
warranto jurisdiction extends to impeachable officers.

Furthermore, as will be discussed elsewhere in this Resolution, the filing of the instant petition was not time-
barred. The issue of prescription must be addressed in light of the public interest that quo warrantois meant
to protect.

Accordingly, the Court could, as it did in Estrada, assume jurisdiction over the instant quo warrantopetition
against an impeachable officer.

Quo warranto and impeachment are two distinct proceedings, although both may result in the ouster of a
public officer. Strictly speaking, quo warranto grants the relief of "ouster", while impeachment affords

A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine a person's right or title to a public office
and to oust the holder from its enjoyment.11 It is the proper action to inquire into a public officer's
eligibility12 or the validity of his appointment.13 Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a quo
warrantoproceeding involves a judicial determination of the right to the use or exercise of the office.

Impeachment, on the other hand, is a political process undertaken by the legislature to determine whether
the public officer committed any of the impeachable offenses, namely, culpable violation of the Constitution,
treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. 14 It does not ascertain
the officer's eligibility for appointment or election, or challenge the legality of his assumption of office.
Conviction for any of the impeachable offenses shall result in the removal of the impeachable official from

The OSG's quo warranto petition challenged respondent's right and title to the position of Chief Justice. He
averred that in failing to regularly disclose her assets, liabilities and net worth as a member of the career
service prior to her appointment as an Associate Justice of the Court, respondent could not be said to
possess the requirement of proven integrity demanded of every aspiring member of the Judiciary. The OSG
thus prayed that respondent's appointment as Chief Justice be declared void.

Clearly, the OSG questioned the respondent's eligibility for appointment as Chief Justice and sought to
invalidate such appointment. The OSG's petition, therefore, is one for quo warranto over which the Court
exercises original jurisdiction.

As the Court previously held, "where the dispute is on the eligibility to perform the duties by the person
sought to be ousted or disqualified a quo warranto is the proper action."16

Respondent harps on the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution for impeachable officers to be
removed only through impeachment.17 However, a circumspect examination of the deliberations of the 1986
Constitutional Commission will reveal that the framers presumed that the impeachable officers had duly
qualified for the position. Indeed, the deliberations which respondent herself cited 18 showed that the framers
did not contemplate a situation where the impeachable officer was unqualified for appointment or election.

Accordingly, respondent's continued reliance on the Court's pronouncement in Mayor Lecaroz v.

Sandiganbayan,19Cuenco v. Hon. Fernan,20In Re Gonzales,21Jarque v. Desierto22 and Marcoleta v.
Borra23 (Lecaroz etc.) is misplaced. Not one of these cases concerned the validity of an impeachable officer's
appointment. To repeat, Lecaroz involved a criminal charge against a mayor before the Sandiganbayan,
while the rest were disbarment cases filed against impeachable officers principally for acts done during their
tenure in public office. The officers' eligibility or the validity of their appointment was not raised before the
Court. The principle laid down in said cases is to the effect that during their incumbency, impeachable
officers cannot be criminally prosecuted for an offense that carries with it the penalty of removal, and if they
are required to be members of the Philippine Bar to qualify for their positions, they cannot be charged with
disbarment. The proscription does not extend to actions assailing the public officer's title or right to the
office he or she occupies. The ruling therefore cannot serve as authority to hold that a quo warranto action
can never be filed against an impeachable officer.

The Court's quo warranto jurisdiction over impeachable officers also finds basis in paragraph 7, Section 4,
Article VII of the Constitution which designates it as the sole judge of the qualifications of the President and
Vice President, both of whom are impeachable officers. With this authority, the remedy of quo warranto was
provided in the rules of the Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Respondent, however, argues that quo warranto petitions may be filed against the President and Vice-
President under the PET Rules "only because the Constitution specifically permits" them under Section 4,
Article VII. According to respondent, no counterpart provision exists in the Constitution giving the same
authority to the Court over the Chief Justice, the members of the Constitutional Commissions and the
Ombudsman. Respondent, thus, asserts that the Constitution made a distinction between elected and
appointive impeachable officials, and limited quo warranto to elected impeachable officials. For these
reasons, respondent concludes that by constitutional design, the Court is denied power to remove any of its

The Court is not convinced. The argument, to begin with, acknowledges that the Constitution in fact
allows quo warranto actions against impeachable officers, albeit respondent limits them to the President and
Vice-President. This admission refutes the very position taken by respondent that all impeachable officials
cannot be sued through quo warranto because they belong to a "privileged class" of officers who can be
removed only through impeachment.25 To be sure, Lecaroz, etc. did not distinguish between elected and
appointed impeachable officers.

Furthermore, that the Constitution does not show a counterpart provision to paragraph 7 of Section 4,
Article VII for members of this Court or the Constitutional Commissions does not mean that quo
warrantocannot extend to non-elected impeachable officers. The authority to hear quo warranto petitions
against appointive impeachable officers emanates from Section 5(1) of Article VIII which grants quo
warrantojurisdiction to this Court without qualification as to the class of public officers over whom the same
may be exercised.

Respondent argues that Section 5(1) of Article VIII is not a blanket authority, otherwise paragraph 7 of
Section 4, Article VII would be "superfluous." Superfluity, however, is not the same as inconsistency.
Section 4, Article VII is not repugnant to, and clearly confirms, the Court's quo warranto jurisdiction under
Section 5(1) of Article VIII. Respondent herself has not alleged any irreconcilability in these provisions.

Indeed, contrary to respondent's claim, Section 4 of Article VII is not meant to limit the Court's quo
warranto jurisdiction under Article VIII of the Constitution. In fact, We held that "[t]he power wielded by PET
is "a derivative of the plenary judicial power allocated to the courts of law, expressly provided in the
Constitution."26 Thus, the authority under Section 4 of Article VII to hear quo warranto petitions assailing the
qualifications of the President and Vice-President is simply a component of the Court's quo
warrantojurisdiction under Article VIII. This finds support in the nature of quo warranto as a remedy to
determine a person's right or title to a public office,27 which is not confined to claims of ineligibility but
extends to other instances or claims of usurpation or unlawful holding of public office as in the cases of Lota
v. CA and Sangalang,28Moro v. Del Castillo, Jr.,29Mendoza v. Allas,30Sen. Defensor Santiago v. Sen.
Guingona, Jr.31 and Estrada. It will be recalled that in Estrada, the Court took cognizance of, and ruled upon,
a quo warranto challenge to a vice-president's assumption of the presidency; the challenge was based, not
on ineligibility, but on therein petitioner's claim that he had not resigned and was simply a president on
leave. To sustain respondent's argument, therefore, is to unduly curtail the Court's judicial power and to
dilute the efficacy of quo warranto as a remedy against the "unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise
of power by one without color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto." 32 It bears to reiterate that:
While an appointment is an essentially discretionary executive power, it is subject to the limitation that the
appointee should possess none of the disqualifications but all the qualifications required by law. Where the
law prescribes certain qualifications for a given office or position, courts may determine whether
the appointee has the requisite qualifications, absent which, his right or title thereto may be
declared void.33 (Citations omitted and emphasis ours)
This Court has the constitutional mandate to exercise jurisdiction over quo warranto petitions. And
as Estrada and the PET Rules show, impeachable officers are not immune to quo warranto actions. Thus, a
refusal by the Court to take cognizance of this case would not only be a breach of its duty under the
Constitution, it would also accord respondent an exemption not given to other impeachable officers. Such
privilege finds no justification either in law, as impeachable officers are treated without distinction under the
impeachment provisions34 of the Constitution, or in reason, as the qualifications of the Chief Justice are no
less important than the President's or the Vice-President's.

Respondent's insistence that she could not be removed from office except through impeachment is
predicated on Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution. It reads:
Sec. 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the
Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other
high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from
office as provided by law, but not by impeachment. (Emphasis ours)
By its plain language, however, Section 2 of Article XI does not preclude a quo warranto action questioning
an impeachable officer's qualifications to assume office. These qualifications include age, citizenship and
professional experience - matters which are manifestly outside the purview of impeachment under the
above-cited provision.
Furthermore, Section 2 of Article XI cannot be read in isolation from Section 5(1) of Article VIII of the
Constitution which gives this Court its quo warranto jurisdiction, or from Section 4, paragraph 7 of Article
VII of the Constitution which designates the Court as the sole judge of the qualifications of the President and

In Civil Liberties Union v. The Executive Secretary,35 the Court held:

It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of the Constitution is to be
separated from all the others, to be considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing upon a particular
subject are to be brought into view and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the
instrument. Sections bearing on a particular subject should be considered and interpreted together as to
effectuate the whole purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by
any reasonable construction, the two can be made to stand together.

In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction
which will render every word operative, rather than one which may make the words idle and
nugatory.36 (Citations omitted)
Section 2 of Article XI provides that the impeachable officers may be removed from office on impeachment
for and conviction of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high
crimes, or betrayal of public trust. Lack of qualifications for appointment or election is evidently not among
the stated grounds for impeachment. It is, however, a ground for a quo warrantoaction over which this
Court was given original jurisdiction under Section 5(1) of Article VIII. The grant of jurisdiction was not
confined to unimpeachable officers. In fact, under Section 4, paragraph 7 of Article VII, this Court was
expressly authorized to pass upon the qualifications of the President and Vice President. Thus, the
proscription against the removal of public officers other than by impeachment does not apply to quo
warranto actions assailing the impeachable officer's eligibility for appointment or election.

This construction allows all three provisions to stand together and to give effect to the clear intent of the
Constitution to address not only the impeachable offenses but also the issue of qualifications of public
officers, including impeachable officers.

As this Court intoned in its Decision, to take appointments of impeachable officers beyond the reach of
judicial review is to cleanse them of any possible defect pertaining to the constitutionally prescribed
qualifications which cannot otherwise be raised in an impeachment proceeding.

To illustrate this, the Court cited the requirement that the impeachable officer must be a natural-born citizen
of the Philippines. We explained that if it turns out that the impeachable officer is in fact of foreign
nationality, respondent's argument will prevent this Court from inquiring into this important qualification
that directly affects the officer's ability to protect the interests of the State. Unless convicted of an
impeachable offense, the officer will continue in office despite being clearly disqualified from holding it. We
stressed that this could not have been the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

Respondent, however, contends that the above-cited defect will actually constitute a ground for
impeachment because the appointee's continued exercise of public functions despite knowledge of his
foreign nationality amounts to a culpable violation of the Constitution.

The argument is untenable. Citizenship is a qualification issue which this Court has the authority to resolve.
Thus, in Kilosbayan Foundation v. Exec. Sec. Ermita,37 where the appointment of Sandiganbayan Justice
Gregory S. Ong (Ong) to this Court was sought to be annulled for the latter's supposed failure to comply
with the citizenship requirement under the Constitution, We stated that:
Third, as to the proper forum for litigating the issue of respondent Ong's qualification for membership of this
Court. This case is a matter of primordial importance involving compl.iance with a Constitutional
mandate. As the body tasked with the determination of the merits of conflicting claims under the
Constitution, the Court is the proper forum for resolving the issue, even as the JBC has the initial
competence to do so.38 (Citation omitted and emphasis ours)
In the subsequent case of Topacio v. Assoc. Justice Gregory Santos Ong, et al.,39 Ong's citizenship was
raised anew, this time to prevent him from further exercising the office of a Sandiganbayan Associate
Justice. The Court held that the challenge was one against Ong's title to the office which must be raised in
a quo warranto proceeding, thus:
While denominated as a petition for certiorari and prohibition, the petition partakes of the nature
of a quo warranto proceeding with respect to Ong, for it effectively seeks to declare null and void
his appointment as an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan for being unconstitutional. While
the petition professes to be one for certiorari and prohibition, petitioner even adverts to a quo
warranto aspect of the petition.

Being a collateral attack on a public officer's title, the present petition for certiorari and prohibition must be

The title to a public office may not be contested except directly, by quo warrantoproceedings;
and it cannot be assailed collaterally, even through mandamus or a motion to annul or set aside order.
In Nacionalista Party v. De Vera, the Court ruled that prohibition does not lie to inquire into the validity of
the appointment of a public officer.
x x x [T]he writ of prohibition, even when directed against persons acting as judges or other judicial
officers, cannot be treated as a substitute for quo warranto or be rightfully called upon to perform
any of the functions of the writ. If there is a court, judge or officer de facto, the title to the office and the
right to act cannot be questioned by prohibition. If an intruder takes possession of a judicial office, the
person dispossessed cannot obtain relief through a writ of prohibition commanding the alleged intruder to
cease from performing judicial acts, since in its very nature prohibition is an improper remedy by which
to determine the title to an office.40(Citations omitted and emphasis ours)
Determining title to the office on the basis of a public officer's qualifications is the function of quo warranto.
For this reason, impeachment cannot be treated as a substitute for quo warranto.

Furthermore, impeachment was designed as a mechanism "to check abuse of power." 41 The grounds for
impeachment, including culpable violation of the Constitution, have been described as referring to "serious
crimes or misconduct"42 of the "vicious and malevolent" kind.43 Citizenship issues are hardly within the ambit
of this constitutional standard.

The Constitution must be construed in light of the object sought to be accomplished and the evils sought to
be prevented or remedied.44 An interpretation that would cause absurdity is not favored. 45

It thus bears to reiterate that even the PET Rules expressly provide for the remedy of election protest.
Following respondent's theory that an impeachable officer can be removed only through impeachment
means that a President or Vice-President against whom an election protest has been filed can demand for
the dismissal of the protest on the ground that it can potentially cause his/her removal from office through a
mode other than by impeachment. To sustain respondent's position is to render election protests under the
PET Rules nugatory. The Constitution could not have intended such absurdity since fraud and irregularities in
elections cannot be countenanced, and the will of the people as reflected in their votes must be determined
and respected.

The preposterousness of allowing unqualified public officials to continue occupying their positions by making
impeachment the sole mode of removing them was likewise aptly discussed by Our esteemed colleague
Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe when she stated that qualification should precede authority, viz:
Owing to both the "political" and "offense-based" nature of these grounds, I am thus inclined to believe that
impeachment is not the sole mode of "removing" impeachable officials as it be clearly absurd for any of
them to remain in office despite their failure to meet the minimum eligibility requirements, which failure
does not constitute a ground for impeachment. Sensibly, there should be a remedy to oust all our public
officials, no matter how high-ranking they are or criticial their functions may be, upon a determination that
they have not actually qualified for election or appointment. While I do recognize the wisdom of insulating
impeachable officials from suits that may impede the performance of vital public functions, ultimately, this
concern cannot override the basic qualification requirements of public office. There is no doubt that
qualification should precede authority. Every public office is created and conferred by law. x x
x.46 (Emphasis in the original)
Underlying all constitutional provisions on government service is the principle that public office is a public
trust.47 The people, therefore, have the right to have only qualified individuals appointed to public office. To
construe Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution as proscribing a quo warranto petition is to deprive the
State of a remedy to correct a public wrong arising from defective or void appointments. Equity, however,
will not suffer a wrong to be without remedy.48 It stands to reason, therefore, that quo warranto should be
available to question the validity of appointments especially of impeachable officers since they occupy the
upper echelons of government and are capable of wielding vast power and influence on matters of law and

Much noise and hysteria have been made that a sitting Chief Justice can only be removed by impeachment
and that quo warranto is an improper remedy not sanctioned by the Constitution. The wind of disinformation
was further fanned by respondent who claimed that her ouster was orchestrated by the President. This
campaign of misinformation attempted to conceal and obfuscate the fact that the main issue in the petition
which the Court is tasked to resolve is the qualification of respondent.

In the instant motion, respondent made mention of Senate Resolution No. 738, 49 which urges this Court to
review Our May 11, 2018 Decision as it sets a "dangerous precedent that transgresses the exclusive powers
of the legislative branch to initiate, try and decide all cases of impeachment." This Resolution was
supposedly aimed to express "the sense of the Senate to uphold the Constitution on the matter of removing
a Chief Justice from office." We have to remind the respondent, however, that while a majority of the
Senators - 14 out of the 23 members - signed the said Resolution, the same has not yet been adopted by
the Senate to date. In fact, the Court takes judicial notice that on May 31, 2018, the Senate adjourned its
interpellation without any conclusion as to whether the Resolution is adopted. 50 Without such approval, the
Senate Resolution amounts to nothing but a mere scrap of paper at present.

The Senate Resolution also appears to have been drafted, signed by some Senators, and interpellated on
while respondent's motion for reconsideration is still pending consideration by the Court. While the
concerned Members of the Senate insist on non-encroachment of powers, the Senate Resolution itself tends
to influence, if not exert undue pressure on, the Court on how it should resolve the pending motion for
reconsideration. The importance and high regard for the institution that is the Senate is undisputed. But the
Court, in the discharge of its Constitutional duty, is also entitled to the same degree of respect and

At any rate, and with due regard to the Members of the Senate, We emphasize that the judicial
determination of actual controversies presented before the courts is within the exclusive domain of the
Judiciary. "The separation of powers doctrine is the backbone of our tripartite system of government. It is
implicit in the manner that our Constitution lays out in separate and distinct Articles the powers and
prerogatives of each co-equal branch of govemment."51 Thus, the act of some of the Senators questioning
the Court's judicial action is clearly an unwarranted intrusion to the Court's powers and mandate.

To disabuse wandering minds, there is nothing violative or intrusive of the Senate's power to remove
impeachable officials in the main Decision. In fact, in the said assailed Decision, We recognized that the
Senate has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. We have extensively discussed
therein that the Court merely exercised its Constitutional duty to resolve a legal question referring to
respondent's qualification as a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We also emphasized that this Court's
action never intends to deprive the Congress of its mandate to make a determination on impeachable
officials' culpability for acts committed while in office. We even explained that impeachment and quo
warranto may proceed independently and simultaneously, albeit a ruling of removal or ouster of the
respondent in one case will preclude the same ruling in the other due to legal impossibility and mootness.

Quo warranto is not a figment of imagination or invention of this Court. It is a mandate boldly enshrined in
the Constitution52 where the judiciary is conferred original jurisdiction to the exclusion of the other branches
of the government. Quo warranto, not impeachment, is the constitutional remedy prescribed to adjudicate
and resolve questions relating to qualifications, eligibility and entitlement to public office. Those who chose
to ignore this fact are Constitutionally blind. US Supreme Court Justice Scalia once said: "If it is in the
Constitution, it is there. If it is not in the Constitution, it is not there." 53 There is nothing in Our Constitution
that says that impeachable officers are immuned, exempted, or excluded from quo warranto proceedings
when the very issue to be determined therein is the status of an officer as such. No amount of public
indignation can rewrite or deface the Constitution.


The plain issue in the instant case is whether respondent is eligible to occupy the position of Chief Justice.
To determine whether or not respondent is eligible, the primordial consideration is whether respondent met
the requisite Constitutional requirements for the position. Questions on eligibility therefore present a
justiciable issue, which can be resolved by juxtaposing the facts with the Constitution, as well as pertinent
laws and jurisprudence. In Kilosbayan Foundation,54 the Court affirmed its jurisdiction to resolve the issue on
the qualification for membership of this Court as the body tasked with the determination of the merits of
conflicting claims under the Constitution, even when the JBC has the initial competence to do so.55
True enough, constitutionally committed to the JBC is the principal function of recommending appointees to
the Judiciary. The function to recommend appointees carries with it the concomitant duty to screen
applicants therefor. The JBC's exercise of its recommendatory function must nevertheless conform with the
basic premise that the appointee possesses the non-negotiable qualifications prescribed by the Constitution.
While the JBC enjoys a certain leeway in screening aspiring magistrates, such remains to be tightly
circumscribed by the Constitutional qualifications for aspiring members of the Judiciary. 56 These
Constitutional prerequisites are therefore deemed written into the rules and standards which the JBC may
prescribe in the discharge of its primary function. The JBC cannot go beyond or less than what the
Constitution prescribes.

The surrender to the JBC of the details as to how these qualifications are to be determined is rendered
necessary and in keeping with its recommendatory function which is nevertheless made expressly subject to
the Court's exercise of supervision.

As an incident of its power of supervision over the JBC, the Court has the authority to insure that the JBC
performs its duties under the Constitution and complies with its own rules and standards. Indeed,
supervision is an active power and implies the authority to inquire into facts and conditions that renders the
power of supervision real and effective.57 Under its power of supervision, the Court has ample authority to
look into the processes leading to respondent's nomination for the position of Chief Justice on the face of the
Republic's contention that respondent was ineligible to be a candidate to the position to begin with.

Arguments were raised against the Court's assumption over the quo warranto petition on the premise that
the determination of the integrity requirement lies solely on the JBC's discretion and thus, a prior
nullification of the JBC's act on the ground of grave abuse of discretion through a certiorari petition is the
proper legal route.

The question of whether or not a nominee possesses the requisite qualifications is determined based on
facts and as such, generates no exercise of discretion on the part of the nominating body. Thus, whether a
nominee is of the requisite age, is a natural-born citizen, has met the years of law practice, and is of proven
competence, integrity, probity, and independence are to be determined based on facts and cannot be made
dependent on inference or discretion, much less concessions, which the recommending authority may make
or extend. To say that the determination of whether a nominee is of "proven integrity" is a task absolutely
contingent upon the discretion of the JBC is to place the integrity requirement on a plateau different from
the rest of the Constitutional requirements, when no such distinction is assigned by the Constitution. As
well, to treat as discretionary on the part of the JBC the question of whether a nominee is of "proven
integrity" is to render the Court impotent to nullify an otherwise unconstitutional nomination unless the
Court's jurisdiction is invoked on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. Such severely limiting course of
action would effectively diminish the Court's collegial power of supervision over the JBC.

To re-align the issue in this petition, the Republic charges respondent of unlawfully holding or exercising the
position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The contents of the petition pose an attack to respondent's
authority to hold or exercise the position. Unmoving is the rule that title to a public office may not be
contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings.58 As it cannot be assailed collaterally, certiorari is
an infirm remedy for this purpose. It is for this reason that the Court previously denied a certiorari and
prohibition petition which sought to annul appointment to the Judiciary of an alleged naturalized citizen. 59

Aguinaldo, et al. v. Aquino, et al.,60 settles that when it is the qualification for the position that is in issue,
the proper remedy is quo warranto pursuant to Topacio.61 But when it is the act of the appointing power that
is placed under scrutiny and not any disqualification on the part of the appointee, a petition
for certiorari challenging the appointment for being unconstitutional or for having been done in grave abuse
of discretion is the apt legal course. In Aguinaldo, the Court elucidated:
The Court recognized in Jardeleza v. Sereno that a petition for certiorari is a proper remedy to question the
act of any branch or instrumentality of the government on the ground of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by any branch or instrumentality of the government even if the
latter does not exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions.

In opposing the instant Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition, the OSG cites Topacio in which the Court
declares that title to a public office may not be contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings; and
it cannot be assailed collaterally, such as by certiorariand prohibition.

However, Topacio is not on all fours with the instant case. In Topacio, the writs of certiorariand prohibition
were sought against Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory S. Ong on the ground that he lacked the
qualification of Filipino citizenship for said position. In contrast, the present Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition puts under scrutiny, not any disqualification on the part of respondents Musngi and Econg, but
the act of President Aquino in appointing respondents Musngi and Econg as Sandiganbayan Associate
Justices without regard for the clustering of nominees into six separate shortlists by the JBC, which allegedly
violated the Constitution and constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. This would not be the first time that the Court, in the exercise of its expanded power of judicial
review, takes cognizance of a petition for certiorari that challenges a presidential appointment for being
unconstitutional or for having been done in grave abuse of discretion. x x x. 62 (Italics and citations omitted.)
A certiorari petition also lacks the safeguards installed in a quo warranto action specifically designed to
promote stability in public office and remove perpetual uncertainty in the title of the person holding the
office. For one, a certiorari petition thrives on allegation and proof of grave abuse of discretion. In a quo
warranto action, it is imperative to demonstrate that the respondent have usurped, intruded into or
unlawfully held or exercised a public office, position or franchise.

For another, certiorari may be filed by any person alleging to have been aggrieved by an act done with
grave abuse of discretion. In a quo warranto action, it is the Solicitor General or a public prosecutor, when
directed by the President or when upon complaint or when he has good reason to believe that the grounds
for quo warranto can be established by proof, who must commence the action. The only instance when an
individual is allowed to commence such action is when he or she claims to be entitled to a public office or
position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. In such case, it is incumbent upon the private
person to present proof of a clear and indubitable right to the office. If certiorari is accepted as the proper
legal vehicle to assail eligibility to public office then any person, although unable to demonstrate clear and
indubitable right to the office, and merely upon claim of grave abuse of discretion, can place title to public
office in uncertainty.

Tellingly also, the rules on quo warranto do not require that the recommending or appointing authority be
impleaded as a necessary party, much less makes the nullification of the act of the recommending authority
a condition precedent before the remedy of quo warranto can be availed of. The JBC itself did not bother to
intervene in the instant petition.

Under Section 6, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, when the action is against a person for usurping a public
office, position or franchise, it is only required that, if there be a person who claims to be entitled thereto,
his or her name should be set forth in the petition with an averment of his or her right to the office, position
or franchise and that the respondent is unlawfully in possession thereof. All persons claiming to be entitled
to the public office, position or franchise may be made parties and their respective rights may be
determined in the same quo warranto action. The appointing authority, or in this case the recommending
authority which is the JBC, is therefore not a necessary party in a quo warranto action.

Peculiar also to the instant petition is the surrounding circumstance that an administrative matter directly
pertaining to the nomination of respondent is pending before the Court. While the administrative matter
aims to determine whether there is culpability or lapses on the part of the JBC members, the factual
narrative offered by the latter are all extant on record which the Court can take judicial notice of. Thus,
considerations regarding the lack of due process on the part of the JBC present only a superficial resistance
to the Court's assumption of jurisdiction over the instant quo warranto petition.

In any case, the rules on quo warranto vests upon the Court ancillary jurisdiction to render such further
judgment as "justice requires."63 Indeed, the doctrine of ancillary jurisdiction implies the grant of necessary
and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate its jurisdiction and subject to existing laws and
constitutional provisions, every regularly constituted court has power to do all things that are reasonably
necessary for the administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction and for the enforcement of its
judgments and mandates.64 Accordingly, "demands, matters or questions ancillary or incidental to, or
growing out of, the main action, and coming within the above principles, may be taken cognizance of by the
court and determined, since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority over the principal matter, even though
the court may thus be called on to consider and decide matters which, as original causes of action, would
not be within its cognizance."65

This Court had likewise amply laid down the legal and factual bases for its ruling against the dismissal of the
instant petition on the ground of prescription. Our ruling on this matter is anchored upon the very purpose
of such prescriptive period as consistently held by this Court for decades and also upon consideration of the
unique underlying circumstances in this case which cannot be ignored.

In addition to the catena of cases cited in the assailed Decision, the Court, in Madrigal v. Prov. Gov.
Lecaroz,66 exhaustively explained the rationale behind the prescriptive period:
The unbending jurisprudence in this jurisdiction is to the effect that a petition for quo
warranto and mandamus affecting titles to public office must be filed within one (1) year from the date the
petitioner is ousted from his position. x x x The reason behind this being was expounded in the case
of Unabia v. City Mayor, etc., x x x where We said:

"x x x [W]e note that in actions of quo warranto involving right to an office, the action must be instituted
within the period of one year. This has been the law in the island since 1901, the period having been
originally fixed in Section 216 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Act No. 190). We find this provision to be
an expression of policy on the part of the State that persons claiming a right to an office of which
they are illegally dispossessed should immediately take steps to recover said office and that if
they do not do so within a period of one year, they shall be considered as having lost their right
thereto by abandonment. There are weighty reasons of public policy and convenience that demand the
adoption of a similar period for persons claiming rights to positions in the civil service. There must be
stability in the service so that public business may [not] be unduly retarded; delays in the
statement of the right to positions in the service must be discouraged. The following considerations
as to public officers, by Mr. Justice Bengzon, may well be applicable to employees in the civil service:
'Furthermore, constitutional rights may certainly be waived, and the inaction of the officer for one year
could be validly considered as waiver, i.e., a renunciation which no principle of justice may prevent, he
being at liberty to resign his position anytime he pleases.

'And there is good justification for the limitation period; it is not proper that the title to public office should
be subjected to continued uncertain[t]y, and the peoples' interest require that such right should be
determined as speedily as practicable.'
"Further, the Government must be immediately informed or advised if any person claims to be
entitled to an office or a position in the civil service as against another actually holding it, so that
the Government may not be faced with the predicament of having to pay the salaries, one, for the
person actually holding the office, although illegally, and another, for one not actually rendering
service although entitled to do so. x x x."67 (Citations omitted and emphasis ours)
The long line of cases decided by this Court since the 1900's, which specifically explained the spirit behind
the rule providing a prescriptive period for the filing of an action for quo warranto, reveals that such
limitation can be applied only against private individuals claiming rights to a public office, notagainst the

Indeed, there is no proprietary right over a public office. Hence, a claimed right over a public office may be
waived. In fact, even Constitutionally-protected rights may be waived. Thus, We have consistently held that
the inaction of a person claiming right over a public office to assert the same within the prescriptive period
provided by the rules, may be considered a waiver of such right. This is where the difference between a quo
warranto filed by a private individual as opposed to one filed by the State through the Solicitor General lies.
There is no claim of right over a public office where it is the State itself, through the Solicitor General, which
files a petition for quo warranto to question the eligibility of the person holding the public office. As We have
emphasized in the assailed Decision, unlike Constitutionally-protected rights, Constitutionally-required
qualifications for a public office can never be waived either deliberately or by mere passage of time. While a
private individual may, in proper instances, be deemed to have waived his or her right over title to public
office and/or to have acquiesced or consented to the loss of such right, no organized society would allow,
much more a prudent court would consider, the State to have waived by mere lapse of time, its right to
uphold and ensure compliance with the requirements for such office, fixed by no less than the Constitution,
the fundamental law upon which the foundations of a State stand, especially so when the government
cannot be faulted for such lapse.

On another point, the one-year prescriptive period was necessary for the government to be immediately
informed if any person claims title to an office so that the government may not be faced with the
predicament of having to pay two salaries, one for the person actually holding it albeit illegally, and another
to the person not rendering service although entitled to do so. It would thus be absurd to require the filing
of a petition for quo warranto within the one-year period for such purpose when it is the State itself which
files the same not for the purpose of determining who among two private individuals are entitled to the
office. Stated in a different manner, the purpose of the instant petition is not to inform the government that
it is facing a predicament of having to pay two salaries; rather, the government, having learned of the
predicament that it might be paying an unqualified person, is acting upon it head-on.

Most importantly, urgency to resolve the controversy on the title to a public office to prevent a hiatus or
disruption in the delivery of public service is the ultimate consideration in prescribing a limitation on when
an action for quo warranto may be instituted. However, it is this very same concern that precludes the
application of the prescriptive period when it is the State which questions the eligibility of the person holding
a public office and not merely the personal interest of a private individual claiming title thereto. Again, as
We have stated in the assailed Decision, when the government is the real party in interest and asserts its
rights, there can be no defense on the ground of laches or limitation, 68 otherwise, it would be injurious to
public interest if this Court will not act upon the case presented before it by the Republic and merely allow
the uncertainty and controversy surrounding the Chief Justice position to continue.

Worthy to mention is the fact that this is not the first time that this Court precluded the application of the
prescriptive period in filing a petition for quo warranto. In Cristobal v. Melchor,69 the Court considered
certain exceptional circumstances attending the case, which took it out of the rule on the one-year
prescriptive period. Also, in Agcaoili v. Suguitan,70 the Court considered, among others, therein petitioner's
good faith and the injustice that he suffered due to his forcible ouster from office in ruling that he is not
bound by the provision on the prescriptive period in filing his action for quo warranto to assert his right to
the public office. When the Court in several cases exercised liberality in the application of the statute of
limitations in favor of private individuals so as not to defeat their personal interests on a public position, is it
not but proper, just, reasonable, and more in accord with the spirit of the rule for this Court to decide
against the application of the prescriptive period considering the public interest involved? Certainly, it is
every citizen's interest to have qualified individuals to hold public office, especially that of the highest
position in the Judiciary.

From the foregoing disquisition, it is clear that this Court's ruling on the issue of prescription is not grounded
upon provisions of the Civil Code, specifically Article 1108(4) 71 thereof. Instead, the mention thereof was
intended merely to convey that if the principle that "prescription does not lie against the State" can be
applied with regard to property disputes, what more if the underlying consideration is public interest.

To be clear, this Court is not abolishing the limitation set by the rules in instituting a petition for quo
warranto. The one-year presciptive period under Section 11, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court still stands.
However, for reasons explained above and in the main Decision, this Court made distinctions as to when
such prescriptive period applies, to wit: (1) when filed by the State at its own instance, through the Solicitor
General,72 prescription shall not apply. This, of course, does not equate to a blanket authority given to the
Solicitor General to indiscriminately file baseless quo warranto actions in disregard of the constitutionally-
protected rights of individuals; (2) when filed by the Solicitor General or public prosecutor at the request
and upon relation of another person, with leave of court, 73 prescription shall apply except when established
jurisprudential exceptions74 are present; and (3) when filed by an individual in his or her own
name,75 prescription shall apply, except when established jurisprudential exceptions are present. In fine, Our
pronouncement in the assailed Decision as to this matter explained that certain circumstances preclude the
absolute and strict application of the prescriptive period provided under the rules in filing a petition for quo

Thus, this Court finds no reason to reverse its ruling that an action for quo warranto is imprescriptible if
brought by the State at its own instance, as in the instant case.

In any case, and as aptly discussed in the main Decision, the peculiarities of the instant case preclude strict
application of the one-year prescriptive period against the State. As observed by Justice Perlas-Bernabe in
her Separate Opinion, "x x x if there is one thing that is glaringly apparent from these proceedings, it is
actually the lack of respondent's candor and forthrightness in the submission of her SALNs." 76 Respondent's
actions prevented the State from discovering her disqualification within the prescriptive period. Most
certainly, thus the instant case is one of those proper cases where the one-year prescriptive period set
under Section 11, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court should not apply.


Respondent reiterates her argument that her case should be treated similarly as in Concerned Taxpayer v.
Doblada Jr.77

As extensively discussed in the main Decision, respondent, unlike Doblada, did not present contrary proof to
rebut the Certifications from U.P. HRDO that respondent's SALNs for 1986, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1999, 2000,
2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 are not in its possession and from the Ombudsman that based on its
records, there is no SALN filed by respondent except that for 1998. Being uncontroverted, these documents
suffice to support this Court's conclusion that respondent failed to file her SALNs in accordance with law.

In Doblada, the contrary proof was in the form of the letter of the head of the personnel of Branch 155 that
the SALN for 2000 exists and was duly transmitted and received by the Office of the Court Administrator as
the repository agency. In respondent's case, other than her bare allegations attacking the credibility of the
aforesaid certifications from U.P. HRDO and the Ombudsman, no supporting proof was presented. It bears to
note that these certifications from the aforesaid public agencies enjoy a presumption that official duty has
been regularly performed. These certifications suffice as proof of respondent's failure to file her SALN until
contradicted or overcome by sufficient evidence. Consequently, absent a countervailing evidence, such
disputable presumption becomes conclusive.78

As what this Court has stated in its May 11, 2018 Decision, while government employees cannot be required
to keep their SALNs for more than 10 years based from the provisions of Section 8, paragraph C(4) of
Republic Act No. 6713,79 the same cannot substitute for respondent's manifest ineligibility at the time of her
application. Verily, even her more recent SALNs, such as those in the years of 2002 to 2006, which in the
ordinary course of things would have been easier to retrieve, were not presented nor accounted for by

Respondent attempts to strike a parallelism with Doblada by claiming that she, too, religiously filed her
SALNs. The similarity however, ends there. Unlike in Doblada, respondent failed to present contrary proof to
rebut the evidence of non-filing. If, indeed, she never missed filing her SALNs and the same were merely
lost, or missing in the records of the repository agency, this Court sees nothing that would prevent
respondent from securing a Certification which would provide a valid or legal reason for the copies' non-


Respondent insists that the filing of SALNs bears no relation to the Constitutional qualification of integrity.
For her, the measure of integrity should be as what the JBC sets it to be and that in any case, the SALN
laws, being malum prohibitum, do not concern adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Respondent's argument, however, dangerously disregards that the filing of SALN is not only a requirement
under the law, but a positive duty required from every public officer or employee, first and foremost by the
Constitution.80 The SALN laws were passed in aid of the enforcement of the Constitutional duty to submit a
declaration under oath of one's assets, liabilities, and net worth. This positive Constitutional duty of filing
one's SALN is so sensitive and important that it even shares the same category as the Constitutional duty
imposed upon public officers and employees to owe allegiance to the State and the Constitution. 81 As such,
offenses against the SALN laws are not ordinary offenses but violations of a duty which every public officer
and employee owes to the State and the Constitution. In other words, the violation of SALN laws, by itself,
defeats any claim of integrity as it is inherently immoral to violate the will of the legislature and to violate
the Constitution.

Integrity, as what this Court has defined in the assailed Decision, in relation to a judge's qualifications,
should not be viewed separately from the institution he or she represents. Integrity contemplates both
adherence to the highest moral standards and obedience to laws and legislations. Integrity, at its minimum,
entails compliance with the law.

ln sum, respondent has not presented any convincing ground that would merit a modification or reversal of
Our May 11, 2018 Decision. Respondent, at the time of her application, lacked proven integrity on account
of her failure to file a substantial number of SALNs and also, her failure to submit the required SALNs to the
JBC during her application for the position. Although deviating from the majority opinion as to the proper
remedy, Justice Antonio T. Carpio shares the same finding:
Since respondent took her oath and assumed her position as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on 16
August 2010, she was required to file under oath her SALN within thirty (30) days after assumption of office,
or until 15 September 2010, and the statements must be reckoned as of her first day (lf service, pursuant to
the relevant provisions on SALN filing.

However, respondent failed to file a SALN containing sworn statements reckoned as of her first
day of service within thirty (30) days after assuming office. While she allegedly submitted an "entry
SALN" on 16 September 2010, it was unsubscribed and the statements of her assets, liabilities and net
worth were reckoned as of 31 December 2009, and not as of her first day of service, or as of 16 August
2010. x x x


The Constitution, law, and mles clearly require that the sworn entry SALN "must be reckoned as of his/her
first day of service" and must be filed "within thirty (30) days after assumption of office." Evidently,
respondent failed to file under oath a SALN reckoned as of her first day of service, or as of 16 August 2010,
within the prescribed period of thirty (30) days after her assumption of office. In other words,
respondent failed to file the required SALN upon her assumption of office, which is a clear violation
of Section 17, Article XI of the Constitution. In light of her previous failure to file her SALNs for several years
while she was a UP College of Law Professor, her failure to file her SALN upon assuming office in 2010 as
Associate Justice of this Court constitutes culpable violation of the Constitution, a violation committed while
she was already serving as an impeachable office.82 (Citation omitted and emphasis ours)
Having settled respondent's ineligibility and ouster from the position, the Court reiterates its directive to the
JBC to immediately commence the application, nomination and recommendation process for the position of
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

WHEREFORE, respondent Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno's Ad Cautelam Motion for Reconsideration

is DENIED with FINALITY for lack of merit. No further pleadings shall be entertained. Let entry of
judgment be made immediately.

The Court REITERATES its order to the Judicial and Bar Council to commence the application and
nomination process for the position of the Chief Justice without delay. The ninety-day (90) period 83 for filling
the vacancy shall be reckoned from the date of the promulgation of this Resolution.



[G.R. No. 159190. June 30, 2005]


and the HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents.


This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, with
application for temporary restraining order, seeks to nullify the Ombudsmans
disapproval of the memorandum[1] dated 03 November 1999 of Special
Prosecutor Jesus A. Micael of the Office of the Special Prosecutor
recommending the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 21654, as well as the
memorandum[2] dated 09 June 2003 denying petitioners motion for
The Facts

The instant petition stemmed from the report of Philippine National Bank
(PNB) Resident Auditor Alexander A. Tan, dated 15 October 1992, on his
investigation regarding an alleged unfunded withdrawal in the amount of P2.2
million by V&G Better Homes Subdivision (V&G) under Savings Account No.
The report, as summarized by Special Prosecution Officer III Jesus A.
Micael, is as follows:[3]

. . . [I]n the morning of 17 July 1992, Emilio P. Montesa (Bank Executive Officer of
PNB Cebu) handed a note to Jane Rita Jecong (Cashier) instructing her to include her
cash requisition for the day from Central Bank Cebu, the amount of P2.2 M at
P1,000.00 denomination; that on 20 July 1992 at about past 10:00 A.M., Juanito Mata
(Cashier III), upon the instruction of Cayetano A. Tejano Jr. (Vice President and
Branch Manager of PNB Cebu), took the P2.2 M from Ms. Jecong and delivered the
same to Mr. Tejano; that at about noontime of same day, Mr. Mara handed to Ms.
Jecong a pre-signed withdrawal slip against SA No. 365-535506-4 under the name of
V & G Better Homes for the same amount to replace the cash withdrawn and to serve
as cash-on-hand at the end of the days transaction; that the withdrawal slip was
approved by Mr. Tejano and was postdated 21 July 1992; that as of 20 July 1992 V &
G Better Homes SA No. 365-535506-4 has only P33,436.78; that in the afternoon of
20 July 1992 the amount of P2,336,563.32 (consisting of P2,200,000.00 in cash;
P100,000.00 in check; and P36,563.22 in withdrawal slip) was received by Teller
Mary Ann Aznar as payment for the loan of V & G Better Homes for which PNB
Official Receipt No. 952981E was issued; that the transaction was recognized as an
increase in PNB Cebu Branchs cash-on-hand and a decrease in the loan account of V
& G Better Homes; that the PNB Cebu Credit Committee approved the loan at the rate
of 23% lower than the 26% interest rate on its first renewal and 27% on its second
renewal; that the loan proceeds was credited to the account of V & G Better Homes on
21 July 1992, the same day that the withdrawal slip of P2.2 M was taken by Mr.
Montesa from Ms. Jecong and given to Irene Abellanosa to be taken as her transaction
for the day; and that upon the instruction of Montesa, Savings Account No. 365-
535506-4 of V & G Better Homes was debited and the withdrawal slip was validated
by Teller Abellanosa although no actual cash withdrawal was made.

The report of Resident Auditor Alexander A. Tan implicated Vice President

Cayetano A. Tejano, Jr., the petitioner herein, Executive Officer Emilio
Montesa, and Supervising Branch Teller Jane Rita Jecong, all of the PNB,
Cebu City Branch, including Juana dela Cruz and Vicente dela Cruz of V&G,
as persons involved in the irregular withdrawal of P2.2 million of PNB funds.
In an order dated 22 December 1992, the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for the Visayas ordered Tejano, Montesa, Jecong, Juana dela
Cruz and Vicente dela Cruz to file their respective counter-affidavits.[4]
In a resolution dated 29 March 1993, Graft Investigation Officer Edgardo
G. Canton recommended the filing of the proper information for violation of
Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, [5] as amended, against petitioner
Cayetano A. Tejano, Jr., Juana dela Cruz and Vicente dela Cruz of V&G. [6] The
case against Montesa and Jecong was dismissed for lack of evidence. The
resolution was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Arturo C. Mojica
and then Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez.
The resolution was thereafter referred for review to Special Prosecutor III
Orlando I. Ines of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
In a Memorandum[7] dated 25 October 1994, Ines affirmed the resolution of
Graft Investigation Officer Edgardo G. Canton.
On 28 October 1994, Deputy Special Prosecutor Jose De G. Ferrer
recommended the approval of the memorandum of Special Prosecution
Officer Ines.
On 08 November 1994, Aniano A. Desierto, then the Special Prosecutor,
concurred in the approval of Ferrer.[8] Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez
concurred thereto on 11 November 1994.
Subsequently, on 24 November 1994, an Information for violation of
Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, as amended, was filed before the
Sandiganbayan, and docketed as Criminal Case No. 21654.
On 08 December 1994, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan an Urgent
Motion for a Period of Time to File Motion for Reinvestigation.
In an order dated[9] 12 December 1994, the Sandiganbayan granted the
motion for reinvestigation.
On 22 December 1994, petitioner filed his motion for reinvestigation in the
Office of the Special Prosecutor.
On 20 April 1995, the Sandiganbayan ordered the Office of the Special
Prosecutor to conduct the reinvestigation.[10] The reinvestigation was assigned
to Special Prosecution Officer III Jesus Micael.
Convinced that no probable cause existed to indict petitioner Tejano, and
spouses Juana and Vicente dela Cruz, Special Prosecutor Micael, in a
memorandum[11] dated 03 November 1999, recommended the dismissal of the
case. The recommendation was approved by Deputy Special Prosecutor
Robert E. Kallos and concurred in by Special Prosecutor Leonardo P. Tamayo.
On 10 December 1999, Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, who earlier
participated in the initial preliminary investigation as Special Prosecutor,
disapproved the recommendation for the dismissal of the case with the
marginal note assign the case to another prosecutor to prosecute the case
On 02 February 2000, Special Prosecutor Micael filed a Manifestation, to
which was attached a copy of his memorandum, informing the Sandiganbayan
of the disapproval by Ombudsman Desierto of his recommendation to dismiss
the case.
On 10 February 2000, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
disapproval by Ombudsman Desierto of the recommendation of Micael.
Apparently, petitioners motion for reconsideration was not resolved on the
merits because on 27 June 2000, Special Prosecution Officer III Joselito R.
Ferrer filed a Motion to Set the Case for Arraignment alleging therein that the
prosecution did not give due course to the motion for reconsideration on the
ground that it was the second motion which is prohibited under the
Ombudsman Act of 1989. He added that the results of the reinvestigation
were already submitted to the respondent court before receiving the motion
for reconsideration.[12]
Petitioner manifested before the Sandiganbayan the Office of the Special
Prosecutors failure to resolve his motion for reconsideration. Thus, in a
resolution[13] dated 24 March 2003, the respondent court directed the Office of
the Ombudsman to resolve the said motion.
In a memorandum[14] dated 09 June 2003, Special Prosecutor Joselito R.
Ferrer recommended the denial of the motion for reconsideration filed by
petitioner. Deputy Special Prosecutor Robert E. Kallos changed his previous
position and recommended that the memorandum for the dismissal of the
motion for reconsideration be approved, with Special Prosecutor Dennis M.
Villa-Ignacio concurring in the denial.
On 14 July 2003, Ombudsman Simeon V. Marcelo, who succeeded
Ombudsman Desierto when he retired, approved Joselito Ferrers
memorandum recommending the denial of the motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner thus filed the instant petition with prayer for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from taking further
action in Criminal Case No. 21654.
On 25 August 2003, the First Division of this Court issued the temporary
restraining order prayed for.
On 28 July 2004, the instant petition was transferred to the Second
Division of this Court.


Petitioner raises the following issues:













Ruling of the Court

Quite apart from the above, we find a focal issue apparently glossed over
by the parties - whether or not Ombudsman Desierto committed grave abuse
of discretion in disapproving the 03 November 1999 memorandum of Special
Prosecutor Jesus Micael recommending the dismissal of Criminal Case No.
21654 against petitioner Tejano, and spouses Juana and Vicente dela Cruz of
V&G for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, where he had earlier
participated in the preliminary investigation of the said criminal case
recommending the filing of the information.
This Court has been consistent in holding that it will not interfere with the
Ombudsmans exercise of his constitutionally mandated investigatory and
prosecutory powers, and respect the initiative and independence inherent in
the Ombudsman who beholden to no one, acts as the champion of the people
and the preserver of the integrity of public service.[15] Such discretionary power
of the Ombudsman is beyond the domain of this Court to review, save in
cases where there is clear showing of grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction of the latter.
Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment on the part of the public officer concerned which is equivalent to an
excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason
of passion or hostility.[16]
Ombudsman Desierto, in this case, committed grave abuse of discretion.
Petitioner attributes partiality on the part of Ombudsman Desierto for having
participated in the reinvestigation of the instant case despite the fact that he
earlier participated in the initial preliminary investigation of the same when he
was a Special Prosecutor by concurring in the recommendation for the filing of
the information before the Sandiganbayan.
We agree with the petitioner. Steadfastly, we have ruled that the officer
who reviews a case on appeal should not be the same person whose decision
is under review. [17] In Zambales Chromite Mining Company v. Court of
Appeals,[18] the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources
was set aside by this Court after it had been established that the case
concerned an appeal of the Secretarys own previous decision, which he
handed down while he was yet the incumbent Director of Mines. We have
equally declared void a decision rendered by the Second Division of the
National Labor Relations Commission, because one of its members,
Commissioner Raul Aquino, participated in the review of the case which he
had earlier decided on as a former labor arbiter. [19] Likewise, this Court struck
down a decision of Presidential Executive Assistance Jacobo Clave over a
resolution of the Civil Service Commission, in which he, then concurrently its
Chairman, had earlier concurred.[20]
Having participated in the initial preliminary investigation of the instant
case and having recommended the filing of an appropriate information, it
behooved Ombudsman Desierto to recuse himself from participating in the
review of the same during the reinvestigation. He should have delegated the
review to his Deputies pursuant to Section 15 of Rep. Act No. 6770, which

Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the
following powers, functions and duties:


(10) Delegate to the Deputies, or its investigators or representatives such authority or

duty as shall ensure the effective exercise or performance of the powers, functions and
duties herein or hereinafter provided; . . .

In earlier recommending the filing of information, then Special Prosecutor

Desierto was already convinced, from that moment, that probable cause
exists to indict the accused. It becomes a farfetched possibility that in a
subsequent review of the same, Ombudsman Desierto would make a
turnabout and take a position contradictory to his earlier finding.
Due process dictates that one called upon to resolve a dispute may not
review his decision on appeal.[21] We take our bearings from Zambales
Chromite Mining Co. v. Court of Appeals[22] which succinctly explained that:

In order that the review of the decision of a subordinate officer might not turn out to
be farce, the reviewing officer must perforce be other than the officer whose decision
is under review; otherwise, there could be no different view or there would be no real
review of the case. The decision of the reviewing officer would be a biased view;
inevitably, it would be the same view since being human, he would not admit that he
was mistaken in his first view of the case.

Cojuangco, Jr. v. Presidential Commission on Good

Government concedes the applicability of the prohibition on the reviewing

officer to handle a case he earlier decided, thus:

Where the circumstances do not inspire confidence in the objectivity and impartiality
of the judge, such judge should inhibit voluntarily or if he refuses, he should be
prohibited from handling the case. A judge must not only be impartial but must also
appear impartial as an assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. His
actuation must inspire that belief. This is an instance when appearance is as important
as reality.

The same rule of thumb should apply to an investigating officer conducting a

preliminary investigation. This is the reason why under Section 1679 of the former
Revised Administrative Code, the Secretary of Justice, who has supervision over the
prosecution arm of the government, is given ample power to designate another
prosecutor to handle the investigation and prosecution of a case when the prosecutor
handling the same is otherwise disqualified by personal interest, or is unable or fails to
perform his duty. (Underlining supplied)

The fact that the motion for reconsideration of Ombudsman Desiertos

disapproval of the 03 November 1999 memorandum of Special Prosecutor
Jesus Micael recommending the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 21654 was
denied by another reviewing officer, Ombudsman Marcelo, does not cure the
infirmity of Ombudsman Desiertos actuation. As stressed in Singson v. NLRC:

. . . The infirmity of the resolution was not cured by the fact that the motion for
reconsideration of the petitioner was denied by two commissioners and without the
participation of Commissioner Aquino. The right of petitioner to an impartial review
of his appeal starts from the time he filed his appeal. He is not only entitled to an
impartial tribunal in the resolution of his motion for reconsideration. Moreover, his
right is to an impartial review of three commissioners. The denial of petitioners right
to an impartial review of his appeal is not an innocuous error. It negated his right to
due process. (Underlining supplied)

With the foregoing conclusion, we deem it unnecessary to discuss the

other issues raised by petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the Ombudsmans disapproval of the memorandum dated
03 November 1999, where Prosecutor Jesus A. Micael of the Office of the
Special Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 21654,
as well as the memorandum dated 09 June 2003, which denied petitioners
motion for reconsideration, are SET ASIDE. The case is remanded to the
Office of the Ombudsman for further proceedings. No costs.
U.S. Supreme Court
Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1966)

Sheppard v. Maxwell

No. 490

Argued February 28, 1966

Decided June 6, 1966

384 U.S. 333


Petitioner's wife was bludgeoned to death July 4, 1954. From the outset officials
focused suspicion on petitioner, who was arrested on a murder charge July 30 and
indicted August 17. His trial began October 18 and terminated with his conviction
December 21, 1954. During the entire pretrial period, virulent and incriminating publicity
about petitioner and the murder made the case notorious, and the news media
frequently aired charges and countercharges besides those for which petitioner was
tried. Three months before trial, he was examined for more than five hours without
counsel in a televised three-day inquest conducted before an audience of several
hundred spectators in a gymnasium. Over three weeks before trial, the newspapers
published the names and addresses of prospective jurors causing them to receive
letters and telephone calls about the case. The trial began two weeks before a hotly
contested election at which the chief prosecutor and the trial judge were candidates for
judgeships. Newsmen were allowed to take over almost the entire small courtroom,
hounding petitioner and most of the participants. Twenty reporters were assigned seats
by the court within the bar and in close proximity to the jury and counsel, precluding
privacy between petitioner and his counsel. The movement of the reporters in the
courtroom caused frequent confusion and disrupted the trial, and, in the corridors and
elsewhere in and around the courthouse, they were allowed free rein by the trial judge.
A broadcasting station was assigned space next to the jury room. Before the jurors
began deliberations they were not sequestered, and had access to all news media,
though the court made "suggestions" and "requests" that the jurors not expose
themselves to comment about the case. Though they were sequestered during the five
days and four nights of their deliberations, the jurors were allowed to make inadequately
supervised telephone calls during that period. Pervasive publicity was given to the case
throughout the trial, much of it involving incriminating matter not introduced at the trial,
and the jurors were thrust into the role of celebrities. At least some of the publicity
deluge reached the jurors. At the very inception

Page 384 U. S. 334

of the proceedings and later, the trial judge announced that neither he nor anyone else
could restrict the prejudicial news accounts. Despite his awareness of the excessive
pretrial publicity, the trial judge failed to take effective measures against the massive
publicity, which continued throughout the trial, or to take adequate steps to control the
conduct of the trial. The petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition contending that he did
not receive a fair trial. The District Court granted the writ. The Court of Appeals


1. The massive, pervasive, and prejudicial publicity attending petitioner's prosecution

prevented him from receiving a fair trial consistent with the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 384 U. S. 349-363.

(a) Though freedom of discussion should be given the widest range compatible with the
fair and orderly administration of justice, it must not be allowed to divert a trial from its
purpose of adjudicating controversies according to legal procedures based on evidence
received only in open court. Pp. 384 U. S. 350-351.

(b) Identifiable prejudice to the accused need not be shown if, as in Estes v. Texas, 381
U. S. 532, and even more so in this case, the totality of the circumstances raises the
probability of prejudice. Pp. 384 U. S. 352-355.

(c) The trial court failed to invoke procedures which would have guaranteed petitioner a
fair trial, such as adopting stricter rules for use of the courtroom by newsmen as
petitioner's counsel requested, limiting their number, and more closely supervising their
courtroom conduct. The court should also have insulated the witnesses; controlled the
release of leads, information, and gossip to the press by police officers, witnesses, and
counsel; proscribed extrajudicial statements by any lawyer, witness, party, or court
official divulging prejudicial matters, and requested the appropriate city and county
officials to regulate release of information by their employees. Pp. 384 U. S. 358-362.

2. The case is remanded to the District Court with instructions to release petitioner from
custody unless he is tried again within a reasonable time. P. 384 U. S. 363.

346 F.2d 707, reversed and remanded.