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Evangelista vs Jarencio

68 SCRA 99


Facts: Evalengista, petitioner, is head of the Presidential Agency on Reforms and Government
Operations (PARGO) created by Executive Order No. 4, which, among others, provides:
The agency is hereby vested with all the powers of an investigating committee under Sections
71 and 580 of the Revised Administrative Code, including the power to summon witnesses by
subpoena duces tecum, administer oaths, take testimony or evidence relevant to the
investigation.

Respondent Manalastas (Asst. City Public Service Officer of Manila) was issued a subpoena ad
testificandum commanding him to appear as witness at the office of the PARGO to testify in a certain
investigation pending therein. Instead of obeying it, he filed a petition with the CFI of Manila for
prohibition, certiorari and restraining order assailing its legality. Judge Jarencio issued a restraining
order. Hence, this action.

Issue: WON the PARGO enjoys the authority to issue subpoena in its conduct of fact-finding investigation

Held: YES
(1) Agency is with authority to enforce subpoenas issued. Rightly, administrative agencies may enforce
subpoenas issued in the course of investigations, WON adjudication is involved, and WON probable
cause is shown and even before the issuance of a complaint. It is enough that the investigation be for a
lawfully authorized purpose. The purpose of the subpoena is to discover evidence, not to prove a
pending charge, but upon which to make one if discovered evidence so justifies. Because judicial power
is reluctant if not unable to summon evidence until it is shown to be relevant to issues on litigations, it
does not follow that an administrative agency charged with seeing that the laws are enforced may not
have and exercise powers of original inquiry

(2) Authority delegated by statute. The administrative agency has the power of inquisition which is not
dependent upon a case of controversy in order to get evidence, but can investigate merely on suspicion
that the law is being violated or even just because it wants assurance that it is not. When investigative
and accusatory duties are delegated by statute to an administrative body, it too may take steps to
inform itself as to whether there is probable violation of the law.

In sum, it may be stated that the subpoena meets the requirements for enforcement if the inquiry is:
(a) within the authority of the agency
(b) the demand is not too indefinite
(c) the information is reasonable relevant

(3) Information sought reasonably relevant to the investigations. There is no doubt that the fact-finding
investigations being conducted by the PARGO upon sworn statements implicating certain public officials
of the City Govt of Manila in anomalous transactions fall within the PARGOs sphere of authority and
that the information sought to be elicited from respondent Manalastas of which he is claimed to be in
possession, is reasonably relevant to the investigations.