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ELISEO F. SORIANO versus MA. CONSOLIZA P. LAGUARDIA, ET AL. G.R. No.

164785 April 29, 2009 Facts: On August 10, 2004, at around 10:00 p.m., petitioner, as host of the program, Ang Dating Daan, aired on UNTV 37, made offensive utterances which prompted Jessie L. Galapon and other private respondents, all members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), to file complaintaffidavits against petitioner before the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). After notice of hearing and preliminary conference in which petitioner appeared, the MTRCB, by Order of August 16, 2004, preventively suspended the showing of Ang Dating Daan program for 20 days, in accordance with Section 3(d) of Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1986, creating the MTRCB, in relation to Sec. 3, Chapter XIII of the 2004 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of PD 1986 and Sec. 7, Rule VII of the MTRCB Rules of Procedure. The same order also set the case for preliminary investigation. Thereafter, petitioner sought reconsideration of the preventive suspension order but which was withdrawn after the filing of this petition for certiorari and prohibition to nullify the preventive suspension order by the MTRCB. On September 27, 2004, in Adm. Case No. 01-04, the MTRCB issued a decision finding respondent Soriano liable for his utterances and thereby imposing on him a penalty of three (3) months suspension from his program, Ang Dating Daan. It was the contention of petitioner that preventive suspensions imposed upon him are invalid inasmuch as PD 1986 does not expressly authorize the MTRCB to issue preventive suspension. Thus this present petition for certiorari and prohibition. Issue: Whether or not the MTRCB has the power to order preventive suspension. Ruling: Yes. MTRCB is expressly empowered by PD 1986, Section 3 (d), to regulate and supervise television programs to obviate the exhibition or broadcast of, among others, indecent or immoral materials and to impose sanctions for violations and, corollarily, to prevent further violations as it investigates. This authority stems naturally from, and is necessary for the exercise of, its power of regulation and supervision.

Well-settled is the rule that administrative agencies have the power to discipline and impose penalties and said power carries with it the power to investigate administrative complaints and, during such investigation, to preventively suspend the person subject of the complaint. Surely, the power to issue preventive suspension forms part of the MTRCBs express regulatory and supervisory statutory mandate and its investigatory and disciplinary authority subsumed in or implied from such mandate. Any other construal would render its power to regulate, supervise, or discipline illusory.