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De Jesus

When the aggrieved party to a dispute in an administrative agency goes directly to the Court for judicially review without utilizing the remedies available within the agency or from the higher authority of the department, the case will be dismissed by the court for lack of jurisdiction for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. A party must first seek the review of the decision within the agency or within the department, this is called the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. An aggrieved party should exhaust first the procedure or remedy is provided within the administrative for redress up to the conclusion of the case before seeking judicial review. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule is that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence ( Caballes v. Perez-Sison, G.R. No. 131759). The rationale for this doctrine is obvious. It entails lesser expenses and provides for the speedier resolution of controversies. Comity and

convenience also impel courts of justice to shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed (Estrada v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 137862). Within the administrative forum the law may provide for review of decisions by higher authorities. Before a party can be allowed to invoke the jurisdiction of the courts of justice, he is expected to have exhausted all means of administrative redress afforded him. There are both legal and practical reasons for this. The administrative process is intended to provide less expensive and more speedy solutions to disputes. Where the enabling statute indicates a

procedure for administrative review, and provides a system of administrative appeal, or reconsideration, the courts for reasons of law, comity and convenience, will not entertain a case unless the available administrative remedies have been resorted to and the appropriate authorities have been given oppurturity to act and correct the errors committed in the administrative forum (Teotico v. Agda, G.R.87437(1991), quoting Cortes, Irene, R., Philippine Administrative Law, Cases and Materials, Revised Second Ed., 1984, p. 394.) It is thus clear that any aggrieved party must see to it that he has exhausted all available remedy prescribed in the procedure before he may elevate the matter in court. Failing on this, the case will be dismissed for being premature and for failing to exhaust administrative remedies. The thrust of the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies is that the courts must allow the administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence. Reasons of law, comity and convenience prevent the courts from entertaining cases proper for determination by administrative agencies (Gonzales v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 106028). The failure to observe the doctrine of exhaustion administrative remedies does not affect the jurisdiction of the court. The only effect of non-compliance with the rules is that it will deprive the complainant a cause of action, which is a ground for a motion to dismiss. If not invoked at the proper time, this ground is deemed waived and the court can take cognizance of the case and try it. If the motion to dismiss on such ground is filed at the last stage of the proceedings where the remaining task left for the party who invoked it was to file a written offer of evidence, it came too late and the same is deemed waived (Agpalo, Ruben E. Administrative Law, Law on Public Officers and Election Law.(2005), citing Republic v. Sandiganbayan, 255 SCRA438(1996); Rosario v. CA 211 SCRA 384 (1992); Sunville Timber Products, Inc. v. Abad, 206 SCRA 482).

Failure of the a party to avail and exhaust the administrative remedy is a fatal defect that would mean dismissal of the case and failure on the part of the other party to raise an objection at the proper time will bar the party from the raising the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies. The party will be considered to have waived his right to raise the doctrine as a defense. The doctrine however is not absolute and does admit exceptions. In Laguna Cable Network v. Maraan, et. Al. (2002) where an employer seek the intervention of the Court of Appeals without exhausting available remedies with the Secretary of Labor, the Supreme restated the rule and its exceptions, it provides:
This Court, in a long line of cases, has consistently held that if a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before the courts judicial power can be sought. The party with an administrative remedy must not merely initiate the prescribed administrative procedure to obtain relief but also pursue it to its appropriate conclusion before seeking judicial intervention in order to give the administrative agency an opportunity to decide the matter itself correctly and prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the court. The underlying principle of the rule rests on the presumption that the administrative agency, if afforded a complete chance to pass upon the matter will decide the same correctly. Therefore, petitioner should have completed the administrative process by appealing the questioned Orders to the Secretary of Labor. Although this Court has allowed certain exceptions to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, such as: 1) when there is a violation of due process; 2) when the issue involved is a purely legal question; 3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; 4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned; 5) when there is irreparable injury; 6) when the respondent is a Department Secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears the implied and assumed approval of the latter; 7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable; 8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim; 9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings; 10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy, adequate remedy; 11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention; 12) when no administrative review is provided by law; 13) where the rule of qualified political agency applies; and 3

14) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot.

In Quisumbing v. Gumba (1991) where a Deped district supervisor seek the judicial intervention of the court without exhausting administrative, the Supreme Court had occasion to rule that:
Finally, the lower court did not err in taking cognizance of the case. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a hard and fact rule. It has been repeatedly held that the requiring previous exhaustion of administrative remedies is not applicable where the question in dispute is purely a legal one: where the controverted act is patently illegal or was performed without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction; where the respondent is a department secretary, whose acts as an alter ego of the President, bear the implied or assumed approval of the latter; where there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention; or where the respondent has acted in utter disregard of due process. The rule does not apply where insistence on its observance would result in nullification of the claim being asserted; and when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy.

The decision of the Supreme Court in UP v. Rasul (1991) restated the exception when irreparable injury will result when administrative remedy will be observed. It involves the reorganization of UP PGH where the incumbent director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) invoked security of tenure

notwithstanding the abolition of the said position by the University of the Philippines Board of Regents, the Court ruled:
Anent the issue regarding respondent Estrella's failure to exhaust all administrative remedies, We hold that this case has special circumstances that made it fall under the jurisprudentially accepted exceptions to the rule. As the facts show, respondent Dr. Estrella was about to be replaced by the Nomination Committee. He must have believed that airing his protest with the Board of Regents would only be fruitless and that unless he goes to the courts, irreparable damage or injury on his part will be caused by the implementation of the proposed reorganization.

While the party must pursue the case and exhaust administrative remedies up to the conclusion, however in Palma-Fernandez v. Dela Paz where the complaint of the petitioner remained unacted the Court ruled that it is covered by the recognized exception it ruled:
There was substantial compliance by petitioner with the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies since she had filed a letter-protest With the respondent Secretary of Health, with copies furnished the Commissioner of Civil Service, and the Chairman of the Government 4

Reorganization Commission, but the same remained unacted upon and proved an inadequate remedy. Besides, an action for quo warranto must be filed within one year after the cause of action accrues (Sec. 16, Rule 66, Rules of Court), and the pendency of administrative remedies does not operate to suspend the running of the one-year period (Cornejo vs. Secretary of Justice L-32818, June 24, 1974, 57 SCRA 663).

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedy is conceived to enable the litigants to seek redress immediately within the administrative machinery. It is a process whereby complaints may be acted upon speediously and to prevent cases which may be decided within the administrative process from reaching the court thereby preventing long litigations. The exceptions on the other hand are guard against violation of due process and justice and equity. It is a protection for both parties.