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For Joahna Gallardo vs. Tabamo, Jr.

January 29, 1993 218 SCRA 253 ANTONIO GALLARDO, ANTONIO AREVALO, CRESENCIO ECHAVEZ, EMMANUEL ARANAS, PALERMO SIA, RONNIE RAMBUYAN, PRIMO NAVARRO and NOEL NAVARRO, petitioners, vs. HON. SINFOROSO V. TABAMO, JR., in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Mambajao, Camiguin, and PEDRO P. ROMUALDO, respondents.

This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. Petitioners seek to prohibit, restrain and enjoin respondent Judge Tabamo from continuing with the proceedings in a petition for injunction, prohibition and mandamus with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and restraining order filed as a taxpayer s suit. At the time of filing both the special civil action and the instant petition, petitioner Antonio Gallardo was the incumbent Governor of the Province of Camiguin and was seeking re-election in the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections. Petitioners Arevalo, Echavez, Aranas, and Sia are the provincial treasurer, provincial auditor, provincial engineer, and provincial budget officer of Camiguin. Their co-petitioners Rambuyon, Primo and Noel Navarro are all government project laborers. On the other hand, the private respondent was the incumbent Congressman of the lone Congressional district of Camiguin, a candidate for the same office in the said synchronized elections and the Regional Chairman of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) in Region X.

FACTS: On April 10, 1992, private respondent filed his Petition (Special Civil Action No. 465) before the court a quo against petitioners to prohibit and restrain them from pursuing or prosecuting certain public works projects as it violates the 45-day ban on public works imposed by the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881) because although they were initiated few days before March 27, 1992, the date the ban took effect, they were not covered by detailed engineering plans, specifications or a program of work which are preconditions for the commencement of any public works project. The questioned projects are classified into two (2) categories: (a) those that are Locally-Funded, consisting of 29 different projects for the maintenance or concreting of various roads, the rehabilitation of the Katibawasan Falls and the construction of the Capitol Building, and (b) those designated as Foreign-Assisted, consisting of fifteen (15) projects which include the construction of Human Development Center, various Day Care cum Production Centers and waterworks systems; the extension and renovation of various buildings; the acquisition of hospital and laboratory equipment; and the rehabilitation of office and equipment. On the same day, respondent Judge issued the question TRO. In the same order, he directed the petitioners to file their Answer within 10 days from receipt of notice and set the hearing on the application for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction for April 24, 1992. Instead of filing the Answer, the petitioners filed the special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order. They contend that the case principally involves an alleged violation of the Omnibus Election Code thus the jurisdiction is exclusively vested in the Comelec, not the Regional Trial Court. ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of Special Civil Action No. 465.

The material operative facts alleged in the petition therein inexorably link the private respondent's principal grievance to alleged violations of paragraphs (a), (b), (v) and (w), Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881). There is particular emphasis on the last two (2) paragraphs which read:
Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

(a) Vote-buying and vote-selling. xxx xxx xxx (b) Conspiracy to bribe voters. xxx xxx xxx (v) Prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds. Any public official or employee including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, who, during forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election, releases, disburses or expends any public funds for: (1) Any and all kinds of public works, except the following: xxx xxx xxx (w) Prohibition against construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrants and similar devices. During the period of forty-five days preceding a regular election and thirty days before a special election, any person who (a) undertakes the construction of any public works, except for projects or works exempted in the preceding paragraph; or (b) issues, uses or avails of treasury warrants or any device undertaking future delivery of money, goods or other things of value chargeable against public funds.

The court ruled that Comelec has jurisdiction to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections. The 1987 Constitution implicitly grants the Commission the power to promulgate such rules and regulations as provided in Section 2 of Article IX-C. Moreover, the present Constitution also invests the Comission with the power to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election law, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices. It is not true that, as contended by the petitioners, the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court under the election laws is limited to criminal actions for violations of the Omnibus Election Code. The Constitution itself grants to it exclusive original jurisdiction over contests involving elective municipal officials. Neither can the Court agree with the petitioners' assertion that the Special Civil Action filed in the RTC below involves the prosecution of election offenses; the said action seeks some reliefs incident to or in connection with alleged election offenses; specifically, what is sought is the prevention of the further commission of these offenses which, by their alleged nature, are continuing. There is as well no merit in the petitioners' claim that the private respondent has no legal standing to initiate the filing of a complaint for a violation of the Omnibus Election Code. There is nothing in the law to prevent any citizen from exposing the commission of an election offense and from filing a complaint in connection therewith. On the contrary, under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, initiation of complaints for election offenses may be done motu propio by the Commission on Elections or upon written complaint by any citizen, candidate or registered political party or organization under the partylist system or any of the accredited citizens arms of the Commission. However, such written complaints should be filed with the "Law Department of the Commission; or with the offices of the Election Registrars, Provincial Election Supervisors or Regional Election Directors, or the State Prosecutor, Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal." As earlier intimated, the private respondent was not seriously concerned with the criminal aspect of his alleged grievances. He merely sought a stoppage of the public works projects because of their alleged adverse effect on his candidacy. Indeed, while he may have had reason to fear and may have even done the right thing, he committed a serious procedural misstep and invoked the wrong authority. The court, therefore, has no alternative but to grant this petition on the basis their resolution of the principal issue. Nevertheless, it must be strongly emphasized that in so holding that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of Special Civil Action No. 465


Case Digest on International School Alliance of Educators v. Quisumbing and International School G.R. No. 128845 (June 1, 2000)
November 10, 2010 International School (IS) pays its teachers who are hired from abroad, or foreign-hires, a higher salary than its local-hires, whether the latter are Filipino or not (most are Filipino, but some are American). It justifies this under the dislocation factor that foreigners must be given a higher salary both to attract them to teach here, and to compensate them for the significant economic disadvantages involved in coming here. The Teachers Union cries discrimination. HELD: Discrimination exists. Equal pay for equal work is a principal long honored in this jurisdiction, as it rests on fundamental norms of justice 1. Art. XIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution (Social Justice and Human Rights) exhorts Congress to give the highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and ennhance the right od all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalitites. The Constitution also provides that labor is entitled to humane conditions of work.. These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace, but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees. Lastly, the Constitution directs the State to promote equality of employment opportunities for all, regardless of sex, race, or creed. It would be an affront to both the spirit and the letter of these provisions if the State closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment. 2. International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination. General principles of law include principles of equity, i.e., fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international Conventions all embody the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.