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Topic: Earliest Opportunity Case: Umali vs.

Guingona, 305 SCRA 533 (1999) Brief Summary: The case is a case filed for the dismissal of the petition for Certiorari Prohibition and Injunction brought by petitioner against the respondents. It was on October 27, 1993 when Osmundo Umali was appointed as Regional Director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. The late President received a memorandum alleging against the petitioner in violation of internal revenue laws during the incumbency as Regional Director. On October 6, 1994, President Ramos issued an Administrative Order No. 152 dismissing the petitioner from service withforfeiture of retirement and all benefits provided by law. The petitioner moved forreconsideration but the Office of the President denied the motion forreconsideration. December 1, 1994, a petition is brought to the regional Trial Courtof Makati pertaining to Certiorari, Prohibition and Injunction of Administrative OrderNo. 152. Issues:(a) Whether or not administrative order no. 152 violated the petitioner's right tosecurity of tenure(b) Whether or not the petitioner was denied of due process in the issuance of administrative order no. 152(c) Whether the PCAGC is validly constituted government agency and whether thepetitioner can raise the issue of its constitutionality belated in its motion forreconsideration of the trial court's decision(d) Whether or not in the light of the ombudsman resolution dismissing the chargesagainst petitioner, there is still basis for petitioner's dismissal with forfeiture of benefits as ruled in administrative order no. 152 Ruling: (a) Whether or not administrative order no. 152 violated the petitioner's right tosecurity of tenure NO. Neither can it be said that there was a violation of what petitioner asserts as hissecurity of tenure. The petitioner claimed that as a Regional Director of Bureau of Internal revenue he is CESO eligible entitled to security of tenure however it is anemic of evidentiary support. But it was fatal that he wasn't able to providesufficient evidence on this matter. (b) Whether or not the petitioner was denied of due process in the issuance of administrative order no. 152 NO. The Court of Appeals ruled correctly on the first three issues to be sure, petitioner was not denied the right to due processes before the PCAGC. Records show that the petitioner filed his answer and other pleadings with respect to his alleged violations of internal revenue laws and regulations and he attended the hearings before the investigatory body. (c) Whether the PCAGC is validly constituted government agency and whether the petitioner can raise the issue of its constitutionality belated in its motion for reconsideration of the trial court's decision The constitutionality of PCAGC was only posed by the petitioner in his motion for reconsideration before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. It is too late to raise the said issue for the first time at such late stage of the proceedings below (d) Whether or not in the light of the ombudsman resolution dismissing the chargesagainst petitioner, there is still basis for petitioner's dismissal with forfeiture of benefits as ruled in administrative order no. 152 The administrative action against the petitioner was taken prior to the institution of the criminal case. Administrative Order No. 152 were based on the results of investigation conducted by the PCAGC and not on the criminal charges before theombudsman. Note: The petition is dismissible because the issues raised by the petitioner doesnot constitute any valid legal basis for overturning the findings and conclusions bythe Court of Appeals. However considering antecedent facts and circumstances, theCourt has decided to consider the dismissal and because the Commissioner of theBureau of Internal Revenue is no longer interested in pursuing the case. Finally theSolicitor General has no more basis to enact Administrative Order No. 152. Dispositive:Wherefore, in light of the foregoing effective and substantive supervening events,and in the exercise of its equity powers, the Court hereby GRANTS the petitionAccordingly Administrative order no 152 is considered LIFTED and petitioner can beallowed to retire with full benefits No pronouncement as to costs. ARCETA vs MANGROBANG facts: G.R. No. 152895 The City Prosecutor of Navotas, Metro Manila charged Ofelia V. Arceta with violating B.P. Blg. 22 in an Information, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 1599-CR. The accusatory portion of said Information reads: That on or about the 16th day of September 1998, in Navotas, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously make or draw and issue to OSCAR R. CASTRO, to apply on account or for value the check said accused well-knowing that at the time of issue Ofelia V. Arceta did not have sufficient funds or

credit with the drawee bank for the payment, which check when presented for payment within ninety (90) days from the date thereof was subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for reason "DRAWN AGAINST INSUFFICIENT FUNDS," and despite receipt of notice of such dishonor, the accused failed to pay said payee with the face amount of said check or to make arrangement for full payment thereof within five (5) banking days after receiving notice. On October 21, 2002, 4 Arceta was arraigned and pleaded "not guilty" to the charge. However, she manifested that her arraignment should be without prejudice to the present petition or to any other actions she would take to suspend proceedings in the trial court. Arceta then filed the instant petition. In G.R. No. 153151 the Office of the City Prosecutor of Caloocan filed a charge sheet against Gloria S. Dy for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law, docketed by the METC of Caloocan City as Criminal Case No. 212183. Dy allegedly committed the offense in this wise: That on or about the month of January 2000 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously make and issue Check No. 0000329230 drawn against PRUDENTIAL BANK in the amount of P2,500,000.00 dated January 19, 2000 to apply for value in favor of ANITA CHUA well knowing at the time of issue that she has no sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment which check was subsequently dishonored for the reason "ACCOUNT CLOSED" and with intent to defraud failed and still fails to pay the said complainant the amount of P2,500,000.00 despite receipt of notice from the drawee bank that said check has been dishonored and had not been paid. Like Arceta, Dy made no move to dismiss the charges against her on the ground that B.P. Blg. 22 was unconstitutional. Dy likewise believed that any move on her part to quash the indictment or to dismiss the charges on said ground would fail in view of the Lozano ruling. Instead, she filed a petition with this Court invoking its power of judicial review to have the said law voided for Constitutional infirmity. Issue: Both Arceta and Dy raise the following identical issues for our resolution: [a] Does section 1 really penalize the act of issuing a check subsequently dishonored by the bank for lack of funds? [b] What is the effect if the dishonored check is not paid pursuant to section 2 of BP 22? [c] What is the effect if it is so paid? [d] Does section 2 make BP 22 a debt collecting law under threat of imprisonment? [e] Does BP 22 violate the constitutional proscription against imprisonment for non-payment of debt? [f] Is BP 22 a valid exercise of the police power of the state? 6 Held: The instant petitions are DISMISSED for utter lack of merit. Ratio: Noteworthy, the instant petitions are conspicuously devoid of any attachments or annexes in the form of a copy of an order, decision, or resolution issued by the respondent judges so as to place them understandably within the ambit of Rule 65. What are appended to the petitions are only copies of the Informations in the respective cases, nothing else. Evidently, these petitions for a writ of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus do not qualify as the actual and appropriate cases contemplated by the rules as the first requisite for the exercise of this Court's power of judicial review. Simply put, they have ignored the hierarchy of courts outlined in Rule 65, Section 4 11 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Seeking judicial review at the earliest opportunity does not mean immediately elevating the matter to this Court. Earliest opportunity means that the question of unconstitutionality of the act in question should have been immediately raised in the proceedings in the court below. As we stressed in Lozano, it is precisely during trying times that there exists a most compelling reason to

strengthen faith and confidence in the financial system and any practice tending to destroy confidence in checks as currency substitutes should be deterred, to prevent havoc in the trading and financial communities. Further, while indeed the metropolitan trial courts may be burdened immensely by bouncing checks cases now, that fact is immaterial to the alleged invalidity of the law being assailed. The solution to the clogging of dockets in lower courts lies elsewhere. ICHONG vs HERNANDEZ Lao Ichong is a Chinese businessman who entered the country to take advantage of business opportunities herein abound (then) particularly in the retail business. For some time he and his fellow Chinese businessmen enjoyed a monopoly in the local market in Pasay. Until in June 1954 when Congress passed the RA 1180 or the Retail Trade Nationalization Act the purpose of which is to reserve to Filipinos the right to engage in the retail business. Ichong then petitioned for the nullification of the said Act on the ground that it contravened several treaties concluded by the RP which, according to him, violates the equal protection clause (pacta sund servanda). He said that as a Chinese businessman engaged in the business here in the country who helps in the income generation of the country he should be given equal opportunity. ISSUE: Whether or not a law may invalidate or supersede treaties or generally accepted principles. HELD: Yes, a law may supersede a treaty or a generally accepted principle. In this case, there is no conflict at all between the raised generally accepted principle and with RA 1180. The equal protection of the law clause does not demand absolute equality amongst residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced; and, that the equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. For the sake of argument, even if it would be assumed that a treaty would be in conflict with a statute then the statute must be upheld because it represented an exercise of the police power which, being inherent could not be bargained away or surrendered through the medium of a treaty. Hence, Ichong can no longer assert his right to operate his market stalls in the Pasay city market. TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY (23 SCRA 29) FACTS: Tijam filed for recovery of P1,908 + legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants filed a counter bond with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgement was in favour of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction. CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. ISSUE: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal.YES RATIO: SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse. : Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing - Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that

"the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties - In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court. The orders appealed from are affirmed.

ARCETA v. MANGROBANG FACTS: In this two consolidated cases, both Arceta and Dy (petitioners), were charged with violating BP Blg. 22, otherwise known as Bouncing Checks Law. Arceta did not move to have the charge against her dismissed or the information quashed on the ground that BP Blg 22 was unconstitutional. Like Arceta, Dy made no move to dismiss the charges against her on the ground that BP Blg 22 was unconstitutional, instead, she filed a petition with this Court invoking its power of judicial review to have the said law voided for Constitutional infirmity. ISSUE: WON petitioners can invoke the SC power of judicial review to have the said law voided for infirmity. HELD: NO. When the issue of unconstitutionality of a legislative act is raised, it is the established doctrine that the Court may exercise its power of judicial review only if the following requisites are present: (1) an actual and appropriate case and controversy exists; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question raised is the very lis mota of the case.7 Only when these requisites are satisfied may the Court assume jurisdiction over a question of unconstitutionality or invalidity of an act of Congress. With due regard to counsels spirited advocacy in both cases, we are unable to agree that the abovecited requisites have been adequately met. Seeking judicial review at the earliest opportunity does not mean immediately elevating the matter to this Court. Earliest opportunity means that the question of unconstitutionality of the act in question should have been immediately raised in the proceedings in the court below. Thus, the petitioners should have moved to quash the separate indictments or moved to dismiss the cases in the proceedings in the trial courts on the ground of unconstitutionality of B.P. Blg. 22. But the records show that petitioners failed to initiate such moves in the proceedings below. Needless

to emphasize, this Court could not entertain questions on the invalidity of a statute where that issue was not specifically raised, insisted upon, and adequately argued.12 Taking into account the early stage of the trial proceedings below, the instant petitions are patently premature. Nor do we find the constitutional question herein raised to be the very lis mota presented in the controversy below. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and to justify its nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, and not one that is doubtful, speculative or argumentative.13 We have examined the contentions of the petitioners carefully; but they still have to persuade us that B.P. Blg. 22 by itself or in its implementation transgressed a provision of the Constitution. Even the thesis of petitioner Dy that the present economic and financial crisis should be a basis to declare the Bouncing Checks Law constitutionally infirm deserves but scant consideration. As we stressed in Lozano, it is precisely during trying times that there exists a most compelling reason to strengthen faith and confidence in the financial system and any practice tending to destroy confidence in checks as currency substitutes should be deterred, to prevent havoc in the trading and financial communities. Further, while indeed the metropolitan trial courts may be burdened immensely by bouncing checks cases now, that fact is immaterial to the alleged invalidity of the law being assailed. The solution to the clogging of dockets in lower courts lies elsewhere. ICHONG vs HERNANDEZ FACTS: Lao Ichong is a Chinese businessman who entered the country to take advantage of business opportunities herein abound (then) particularly in the retail business. For some time he and his fellow Chinese businessmen enjoyed a monopoly in the local market in Pasay. Until in June 1954 when Congress passed the RA 1180 or the Retail Trade Nationalization Act the purpose of which is to reserve to Filipinos the right to engage in the retail business. Ichong then petitioned for the nullification of the said Act on the ground that it contravened several treaties concluded by the RP which, according to him, violates the equal protection clause (pacta sund servanda). He said that as a Chinese businessman engaged in the business here in the country who helps in the income generation of the country he should be given equal opportunity.

ISSUE: WON a law may invalidate or supersede treaties or generally accepted principles. HELD: Yes, a law may supersede a treaty or a generally accepted principle. In this case, there is no conflict at all between the raised generally accepted principle and with RA 1180. The equal protection of the law clause does not demand absolute equality amongst residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced; and, that the equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. For the sake of argument, even if it would be assumed that a treaty would be in conflict with a statute then the statute must be upheld because it represented an exercise of the police power which, being inherent could not be bargained away or surrendered through the medium of a treaty. Hence, Ichong can no longer assert his right to operate his market stalls in the Pasay city market. UMALI v GUINGONA FACTS: Umali, petitioner, was appointed by the then president Ramos as Regional Director of the BIR. The former president received a memorandum against the petitioner for alleged violations of the internal revenue laws, rules and regulations during the petitioners incumbency. The then president ordered the preventive suspension of the petitioner and immediately referred the complaint to the Presidential Commission on Anti-Graft and Corruption (PCAGC), for investigation. Upon the recommendation of the PCAGC, president Ramos issued an Administrative Order No. 152 dismissing the petitioner from service with forfeiture of retirement and all benefits provided by law. The petitioner moved for reconsideration but the Office of the President denied the motion for reconsideration. December 1, 1994, a petition is brought to the regional Trial Court of Makati pertaining to Certiorari, Prohibition and Injunction of Administrative Order No. 152. ISSUE: (a) Whether or not administrative order no. 152 violated the petitioner's right to security of tenure(b) Whether or not the petitioner was denied of due process in the issuance

of administrative order no. 152(c) Whether the PCAGC is validly constituted government agency and whether the petitioner can raise the issue of its constitutionality belated in its motion for reconsideration of the trial court's decision(d) Whether or not in the light of the ombudsman resolution dismissing the charges against petitioner, there is still basis for petitioner's dismissal with forfeiture of benefits as ruled in administrative order no. 152 HELD: (a) Whether or not administrative order no. 152 violated the petitioner's right to security of tenure NO. Neither can it be said that there was a violation of what petitioner asserts as his security of tenure. The petitioner claimed that as a Regional Director of Bureau of Internal revenue he is CESO eligible entitled to security of tenure however it is anemic of evidentiary support. But it was fatal that he wasn't able to provide sufficient evidence on this matter. (b) Whether or not the petitioner was denied of due process in the issuance of administrative order no. 152 NO. The Court of Appeals ruled correctly on the first three issues to be sure, petitioner was not denied the right to due processes before the PCAGC. Records show that the petitioner filed his answer and other pleadings with respect to his alleged violations of internal revenue laws and regulations and he attended the hearings before the investigatory body. (c) Whether the PCAGC is validly constituted government agency and whether the petitioner can raise the issue of its constitutionality belated in its motion for reconsideration of the trial court's decision The constitutionality of PCAGC was only posed by the petitioner in his motion for reconsideration before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. It is too late to raise the said issue for the first time at such late stage of the proceedings below (d) Whether or not in the light of the ombudsman resolution dismissing the charges against petitioner, there is still basis for petitioner's dismissal with forfeiture of benefits as ruled in administrative order no. 152 The administrative action against the petitioner was taken prior to the institution of the criminal case. Administrative Order No. 152 were based on the results of investigation conducted by the PCAGC and not on the criminal charges before the ombudsman. Note: The petition is dismissible because the issues raised by the petitioner does not constitute any valid legal basis for overturning the findings

and conclusions by the Court of Appeals. However considering antecedent facts and circumstances, the Court has decided to consider the dismissal and because the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue is no longer interested in pursuing the case. Finally the Solicitor General has no more basis to enact Administrative Order No. 152. Dispositive: Wherefore, in light of the foregoing effective and substantive supervening events, and in the exercise of its equity powers, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition. Accordingly Administrative order no 152 is considered LIFTED and petitioner can be allowed to retire with full benefits No pronouncement as to costs. TIJAM v SIBONGHANOY FACTS: Tijam filed for recovery of P1,908 + legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants filed a counter bond with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgement was in favour of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction. CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. ISSUE: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal. HELD: YES, SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to

do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse. : Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties - In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court. The orders appealed from are affirmed.