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Ting Ho vs Teng Gui

GR No. 130115 July 16, 2008

G.R No. 149615, Date: August 29, 2006


Felix Ting Ho, Jr., Merla Ting Ho Braden, Juana Ting Ho and Lydia Ting Ho
Belenzo against their brother, respondent Vicente Teng Gui. The controversy

FC 91

revolves around a parcel of land, and the improvements which should form part of

CASE: YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: This petition for review on certiorari assails the

the estate of their deceased father, Felix Ting Ho, and should be partitioned

February 26, 2001 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 59321

equally among each of the siblings. Petitioners alleged that their father Felix Ting
Ho died intestate on June 26, 1970, and left upon his death an estate. According
to petitioners, the said lot and properties were titled and tax declared under trust
in the name of respondent Vicente Teng Gui for the benefit of the deceased Felix
Ting Ho who, being a Chinese citizen, was then disqualified to own public lands

affirming with modification the August 12, 1996 Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 86 in Civil Case No. Q-94-21862, which terminated
the regime of absolute community of property between petitioner and respondent,
as well as the Resolution dated August 13, 2001 denying the motion for

in thePhilippines; and that upon the death of Felix Ting Ho, the respondent took
possession of the same for his own exclusive use and benefit to their exclusion
FACTS: Petitioner Elena Buenaventura Muller and respondent Helmut Muller

and prejudice.

were married in Hamburg, Germany on September 22, 1989. The couple resided
in Germany at a house owned by respondents parents but decided to move and

Whether or not the sale was void

reside permanently in the Philippines in 1992. By this time, respondent had

inherited the house in Germany from his parents which he sold and used the
proceeds for the purchase of a parcel of land in Antipolo, Rizal at the cost of

No, the sale was not void. Article 1471 of the Civil Code has provided that if the
price is simulated, the sale is void, but the act may be shown to have been in
reality a donatin, or some other act or contract. The sale in this case, was

P528,000.00 and the construction of a house amounting to P2,300,000.00. The

Antipolo property was registered in the name of petitioner under Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 219438 5 of the Register of Deeds of Marikina, Metro

however valid because the sale was in fact a donation. The law requires positive
proof of the simulation of the price of the sale. But since the finding was based on
a mere assumption, the price has not been proven to be a simulation.

Due to incompatibilities and respondents alleged womanizing, drinking,

and maltreatment, the spouses eventually separated. On September 26, 1994,
respondent filed a petition for separation of properties before the Regional Trial

Supreme Court : First Division


Respondents: HELMUT MULLER

Court of Quezon City.

On August 12, 1996, the trial court rendered a decision which

HELD: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED.

terminated the regime of absolute community of property between the petitioner

The Decision dated February 26, 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.

and respondent. It also decreed the separation of properties between them and

59321 ordering petitioner Elena Buenaventura Muller to reimburse respondent

ordered the equal partition of personal properties located within the country,

Helmut Muller the amount of P528,000 for the acquisition of the land and the

excluding those acquired by gratuitous title during the marriage. With regard to

amount of P2,300,000 for the construction of the house in Antipolo City, and the

the Antipolo property, the court held that it was acquired using paraphernal

Resolution dated August 13, 2001 denying reconsideration thereof, are

funds of the respondent. However, it ruled that respondent cannot recover his

REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The August 12, 1996 Decision of the Regional Trial

funds because the property was purchased in violation of Section 7, Article XII of

Court of Quezon City, Branch 86 in Civil Case No. Q-94-21862 terminating the

the Constitution.

regime of absolute community between the petitioner and respondent, decreeing a

separation of property between them and ordering the partition of the personal
properties located in the Philippines equally, is REINSTATED.

Thus However, pursuant to Article 92 of the Family Code, properties acquired

DISCUSSION: Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution states:

by gratuitous title by either spouse during the marriage shall be excluded from
the community property. The real property, therefore, inherited by petitioner in
Germany is excluded from the absolute community of property of the herein
spouses. Necessarily, the proceeds of the sale of said real property as well as the
personal properties purchased thereby, belong exclusively to the petitioner.
However, the part of that inheritance used by the petitioner for acquiring the
house and lot in this country cannot be recovered by the petitioner, its acquisition
being a violation of Section 7, Article XII of the Constitution which provides that
"save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or
conveyed except to individuals, corporations or associations qualified to acquire or
hold lands of the public domain." The law will leave the parties in the situation
where they are in without prejudice to a voluntary partition by the parties of the

Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or

conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire
or hold lands of the public domain.
Aliens, whether individuals or corporations, are disqualified from acquiring lands
of the public domain. Hence, they are also disqualified from acquiring private
lands. The primary purpose of the constitutional provision is the conservation of
the national patrimony.

said real property.

In the case of Krivenko v. Register of Deeds, 10 the Court held: Under section 1 of
Article XIII of the Constitution, "natural resources, with the exception of public
Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered the assailed

agricultural land, shall not be alienated," and with respect to public agricultural

decision modifying the trial courts Decision. It held that respondent merely

lands, their alienation is limited to Filipino citizens. But this constitutional

prayed for reimbursement for the purchase of the Antipolo property, and not

purpose conserving agricultural resources in the hands of Filipino citizens may

acquisition or transfer of ownership to him. It also considered petitioners

easily be defeated by the Filipino citizens themselves who may alienate their

ownership over the property in trust for the respondent. As regards the house,

agricultural lands in favor of aliens. It is partly to prevent this result that section

the Court of Appeals ruled that there is nothing in the Constitution which

5 is included in Article XIII, and it reads as follows:

prohibits respondent from acquiring the same.

ISSUE: Is respondent entitled to reimbursement of the amount used to purchase

the land as well as the costs for the construction of the house?

"Sec. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land will

be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations
qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines."

who comes into equity must come with clean hands. Thus, in the instant case,
This constitutional provision closes the only remaining avenue through which
agricultural resources may leak into aliens hands. It would certainly be futile to
prohibit the alienation of public agricultural lands to aliens if, after all, they may

respondent cannot seek reimbursement on the ground of equity where it is clear

that he willingly and knowingly bought the property despite the constitutional

be freely so alienated upon their becoming private agricultural lands in the hands
of Filipino citizens.

Further, the distinction made between transfer of ownership as opposed

to recovery of funds is a futile exercise on respondents part. To allow
reimbursement would in effect permit respondent to enjoy the fruits of a property

If the term "private agricultural lands" is to be construed as not including

residential lots or lands not strictly agricultural, the result would be that "aliens
may freely acquire and possess not only residential lots and houses for

which he is not allowed to own.


themselves but entire subdivisions, and whole towns and cities," and that "they
may validly buy and hold in their names lands of any area for building homes,


factories, industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools, health and vacation

resorts, markets, golf courses, playgrounds, airfields, and a host of other uses
and purposes that are not, in appellants words, strictly agricultural." (Solicitor

Pres. Aquino signed E. O. No. 1 establishing Philippine Truth Commission of 2010

Generals Brief, p. 6.) That this is obnoxious to the conservative spirit of the
Constitution is beyond question.

(PTC) dated July 30, 2010.PTC is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of
the President with the primary task to investigate reports of graft and corruption

Respondent was aware of the constitutional prohibition and expressly

admitted his knowledge thereof to this Court. He declared that he had the
Antipolo property titled in the name of petitioner because of the said prohibition.
His attempt at subsequently asserting or claiming a right on the said property
cannot be sustained.

committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-principals,

accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and to submit
its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the
Ombudsman. PTC has all the powers of an investigative body. But it is not a

The Court of Appeals erred in holding that an implied trust was created
and resulted by operation of law in view of petitioners marriage to respondent.
Save for the exception provided in cases of hereditary succession, respondents
disqualification from owning lands in the Philippines is absolute. Not even an
ownership in trust is allowed. Besides, where the purchase is made in violation of
an existing statute and in evasion of its express provision, no trust can result in
favor of the party who is guilty of the fraud. To hold otherwise would allow
circumvention of the constitutional prohibition.

quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render

awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and
assess evidence of graft and corruption and make recommendations. It may have
subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order
their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such

Invoking the principle that a court is not only a court of law but also a
court of equity, is likewise misplaced. It has been held that equity as a rule will
follow the law and will not permit that to be done indirectly which, because of
public policy, cannot be done directly. He who seeks equity must do equity, and he

facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our

courts of law.Petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to

event, the Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of 1987, PD No. 141616 (as

enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. They argued that:

amended), R.A. No. 9970 and settled jurisprudence, authorize the President to

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the

create or form such bodies.

Congress to create a public office and appropriate funds for its operation. (b) The

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because

provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987

there is no appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by

cannot legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to


structurally reorganize the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the

and efficiency does not include the power to create an entirely new public office

Ombudsman and the DOJ, because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-

which was hitherto inexistent like the Truth Commission.(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally

judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latters

amended the Constitution and statutes when it vested the Truth Commission


with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it

the Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the DOJ created

was validly created for laudable purposes.

under the Administrative Code of 1987.


(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for

1. WON the petitioners have legal standing to file the petitions and question E. O.

investigation and prosecution officials and personnel of the previous

No. 1;

administration as if corruption is their peculiar species even as it excludes those

2. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the

of the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable.

powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies

Respondents, through OSG, questioned the legal standing of petitioners and

and commissions;

argued that:

3. WON E. O. No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress because the Presidents

4. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause.

executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to


conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any

The power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an

actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person

benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the avails

challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the subject

of the suit.

act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial

Difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff

interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a

who asserts a public right in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so

result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at

as a representative of the general public. He has to show that he is entitled to

the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis

seek judicial protection. He has to make out a sufficient interest in the vindication

mota of the case.

of the public order and the securing of relief as a citizen or taxpayer.

1. The petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a

The person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and

body to which they belong as members. To the extent the powers of Congress are

substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct

impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office confers a right

injury as a result. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogos assertion that

to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.

the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of

Legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and

jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which

privileges vested by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they

deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and

are allowed to question the validity of any official action which, to their mind,

weight as precedents

infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.

The Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully

With regard to Biraogo, he has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of

executed. The powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers

sustaining, any personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of

under the Constitution. One of the recognized powers of the President granted

E. O. No. 1.

pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc

Locus standi is a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. In

committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if

private suits, standing is governed by the real-parties-in interest rule. It

laws have been faithfully executed. The purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating

provides that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the

bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled

real party in interest. Real-party-in interest is the party who stands to be

to know so that he can be properly advised and guided in the performance of his

public bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar

duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.

manner. The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person

2. There will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing

within a states jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination,

funds already appropriated. There is no usurpation on the part of the Executive

whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution

of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. There is no need to specify the

through the states duly constituted authorities.

amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because, whatever

There must be equality among equals as determined according to a valid

funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very

classification. Equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification,

source of the funds for the commission. The amount that would be allocated to

however, to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. The test has four

the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations so there is no

requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane

impropriety in the funding.

to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) It

3. PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective

applies equally to all members of the same class.

powers. If at all, the investigative function of the commission will complement

The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are

those of the two offices. The function of determining probable cause for the filing

not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed.

of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and

Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection

the Ombudsman. PTCs power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts so that it

clause. The clear mandate of truth commission is to investigate and find out the

can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the

truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous

execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.

administration only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain,

4. Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No.

patent and manifest.

1 in view of its apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in

Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past

Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.

administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be

similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause

treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires

cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label

shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint

the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution.
Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.
The PTC must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least,
have the authority to investigate all past administrations.
The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which

before the Commission" and ordering Simon, et. al. to appear before the CHR. On
the basis of the sworn statements submitted by Fermo, et. al. on 31 July 1990, as
well as CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 Simon,
et. al. carried out the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari stores and
carinderia, the CHR, in its resolution of 1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement
of financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of Fermo, et. al. to
purchase light housing materials and food under the Commission's supervision
and again directed Simon, et. al. to "desist from further demolition, with the
warning that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and

all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights

arrest." A motion to dismiss, dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's

determined and all public authority administered. Laws that do not conform to

postponement, arguing that the motion to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had

the Constitution should be stricken down for being unconstitutional.

courts. In an Order, dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited Simon, et. al. in

jurisdiction. During the 12 September 1990 hearing, Simon, et. al. moved for
yet to be resolved, and likewise manifested that they would bring the case to the
contempt for carrying out the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby

declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection
clause of the Constitution.
Simon vs. Commission on Human Rights
[GR 100150, 5 January 1994]
En Banc, Vitug (J): 12 concur
Facts: A "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo in his
capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers
Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received
by, the Roque Fermo, et. al. (being the officers and members of the North Edsa
Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, Fermo, et. al. were given a
grace-period of 3 days (up to 12 July 1990) within which to vacate the premises of
North EDSA. Prior to their receipt of the demolition notice, Fermo, et. al. were
informed by Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give way to the
"People's Park". On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque Fermo,
filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against Brigido R. Simon, Carlos Quimpo,
Carlito Abelardo, and Generoso Ocampo, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary
Concepcion Bautista for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Simon of Quezon
City to stop the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari stores, and
carinderia along North EDSA (CHR Case 90-1580). On 23 July 1990, the CHR
issued an Order, directing Simon, et. al. "to desist from demolishing the stalls and

carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each
of them. On 1 March 1991, the CHR issued an Order, denying Simon, et.al.'s
motion to dismiss and supplemental motion to dismiss. In an Order, dated 25
April 1991, Simon, et. al.'s motion for reconsideration was denied. Simon, et. al.
filed the petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and
preliminary injunction, questioning the extent of the authority and power of the
CHR, and praying that the CHR be prohibited from further hearing and
investigating CHR Case 90 1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."
Issue: Whether the CHR has the power to issue the order to desist against the
demolition of Fermo, et. al.s stalls, and to cite Mayor Simon, et. al. for contempt
for proceeding to demolish said stalls despite the CHR order.
Held: Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision empowering
the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by
any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights."
Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, it is readily
apparent that the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that
would focus its attention to the more severe cases of human rights violations;
such areas as the "(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of
prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of
disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed
against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to have
any preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is,
nonetheless, significant for the tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not
apparently take comfort in peremptorily making a conclusive delineation of the

CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to resolve,

his district], or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. A

instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of human rights

writ of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a

that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its

pending principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and

recommendation." Herein, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished

interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose."

are the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties,
erected by Fermo, at. al. on a land which is planned to be developed into a
"People's Park." More than that, the land adjoins the North EDSA of Quezon City
which, the Court can take judicial notice of, is a busy national highway. The
consequent danger to life and limb is thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is
indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that
cannot, in the first place, even be invoked, if its is not, in fact, extant. Be that as it
may, looking at the standards vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining herein, the
Court not prepared to conclude that the order for the demolition of the stalls,
sari-sari stores and carinderia of Fermo, et. al. can fall within the compartment of
"human rights violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the
Constitution. On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to
"adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR
acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to cite or
hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate
penalties in accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the
Rules of Court." That power to cite for contempt, however, should be understood
to apply only to violations of its adopted operational guidelines and rules of
procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the power
to cite for contempt could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate
with the said body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline
to honor summons, and the like, in pursuing its investigative work. The "order to
desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order) herein, however, is not
investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative power that it does
not possess. As held in Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on
Human Rights, "The constitutional provision directing the CHR to 'provide for
preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human
rights have been violated or need protection' may not be construed to confer
jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction
for, it that were the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so.
'Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by law'. It is never derived by
implication. Evidently, the 'preventive measures and legal aid services' mentioned
in the Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of
preliminary injunction) which the CHR may seek from the proper courts on behalf
of the victims of human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR
itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may
only be issued `by the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within

Cario v. CHR, 204 SCRA 483 (1991)

FACTS: On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public
school teacher, among them the 8 herein private respondents who were members
of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook mass concerted actions to dramatize and
highlight their plight resulting from the alleged failure of the public authorities to
act upon grievances that had time and again been brought to the latters
The respondents were preventively suspended by the Secretary of Education. They
complained to CHR.
ISSUE: WON CHR has the power to adjudicate alleged human rights violations
The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine
with the character of finality and definiteness, the same issues which have been
passed upon and decided by the Secretary of Education and subject to appeal to
CSC, this Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared that the teachers
affected may take appeals to the CSC on said matter, if still timely.
The threshold question is whether or not the CHR has the power under the
constitution to do so; whether or not, like a court of justice or even a quasijudicial agency, it has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to try
and decide, or dear and determine, certain specific type of cases, like alleged
human rights violations involving civil or political rights.
The Court declares that the CHR to have no such power, and it was not meant by
the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country,
or duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative
power is that it may investigate, i.e. receive evidence and make findings of fact as
regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But factfinding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to judicial function of a court of
justice, or even a quasi judicial agency or official. The function of receiving
evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial
function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving
evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied
by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the

controversy be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitely, subject

to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to
repeat, the Commission does not have.
Hence it is that the CHR having merely the power to investigate, cannot and not
try and resolve on the merits (adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking
Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it means to do; and cannot
do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings
against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their
human rights, or civil or political rights had been transgressed.

prohibiting the CHR from continuing the case. Nevertheless, CHR continued trial
and issued a subpoena to Secretary Cario.
ISSUE: Whether or not CHR has the power to try and decide and determine
certain specific cases such as the alleged human rights violation involving civil
and political rights.
HELD: No. The CHR is not competent to try such case. It has no judicial power. It

On September 17, 1990, some 800 public school teachers in Manila did not
attend work and decided to stage rallies in order to air grievances. As a result
thereof, eight teachers were suspended from work for 90 days. The issue was then
investigated, and on December 17, 1990, DECS Secretary Isidro Cario ordered
the dismissal from the service of one teacher and the suspension of three others.
The case was appealed to the Commission on Human Rights. In the meantime,
the Solicitor General filed an action for certiorari regarding the case and

can only investigate all forms of human rights violation involving civil and political
rights but it cannot and should not try and decide on the merits and matters
involved therein. The CHR is hence then barred from proceeding with the trial.