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On 15 December 2003, two Informations for the crime of rape and one

THIRD DIVISION
NILO HIPOS, SR. REPRESENTING DARRYL HIPOS,
BENJAMIN CORSIO REPRESENTING JAYCEE CORSIO,
and ERLINDA VILLARUEL REPRESENTING ARTHUR
VILLARUEL,
Petitioners,
- versus HONORABLE RTC JUDGETEODORO A. BAY,
Judge, RTC, Hall of Justice,Quezon City, Branch 86,
Respondent.

Presiding

Information for the crime of acts of lasciviousness were filed against petitioners
Darryl Hipos, Jaycee Corsio, Arthur Villaruel and two others before Branch 86 of
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, acting as a Family Court, presided by
G.R. Nos. 174813-15
respondent Judge Bay. The cases were docketed as Criminal Cases No. Q-03123284, No. Q-03-123285 and No. Q-03-123286. The Informations were signed
Present:
by Assistant City Prosecutor Ronald C. Torralba.
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
Chairperson,
On 23 February 2004, private complainants AAA[1] and BBB filed a
CARPIO, Motion for Reinvestigation asking Judge Bay to order the City Prosecutor of
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA,Quezon
and City to study if the proper Informations had been filed against petitioners
PERALTA and their co-accused. Judge Bay granted the Motion and ordered a reinvestigation
of the cases.
On 19 May 2004, petitioners filed their Joint Memorandum to Dismiss
Promulgated:
the Case[s] before the City Prosecutor. They claimed that there was no probable
cause to hold them liable for the crimes charged.
March 17, 2009

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

On 10 August 2004, the Office of the City Prosecutor issued a Resolution


on the reinvestigation affirming the Informations filed against petitioners and their
co-accused in Criminal Cases No. Q-03-123284-86. The Resolution was signed
by Assistant City Prosecutor Raniel S. Cruz and approved by City Prosecutor
Claro A. Arellano.

This is a Petition for Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court


seeking a reversal of the Order dated 2 October 2006 of respondent Judge Teodoro
A. Bay of Branch 86 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, which
denied the Motion to Withdraw Informations of the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Quezon City.

On 3 March 2006, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Lamberto C. de Vera,


treating the Joint Memorandum to Dismiss the Case as an appeal of the 10 August
2004 Resolution, reversed the Resolution dated 10 August 2004, holding that there
was lack of probable cause. On the same date, the City Prosecutor filed a Motion
to Withdraw Informations before Judge Bay.

DECISION

The facts of the case are as follows.

On 2 October 2006, Judge Bay denied the


Motion to Withdraw Informations in an Order of even
date.
Without moving for a reconsideration of the
above assailed Order, petitioners filed the present Petition
for Mandamus, bringing forth this lone issue for our
consideration:
CAN THE HON. SUPREME COURT
COMPEL RESPONDENT
JUDGE BAY TO
DISMISS
THE
CASE THROUGH A WRIT OF
MANDAMUS BY VIRTUE OF THE
RESOLUTION OF THE OFFICE OF
THE
CITY
PROSECUTOR
OF QUEZON CITY FINDING NO
PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST THE
ACCUSED AND SUBSEQUENTLY
FILING A MOTION TO WITHDRAW
INFORMATION?[2]

Mandamus is an extraordinary writ commanding


a tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person,
immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act
required to be done, when the respondent unlawfully
neglects the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office,
trust, or station; or when the respondent excludes another
from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which
the latter is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy
and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[3]
As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of
mandamus lies only to compel an officer to perform a
ministerial duty, not a discretionary one; mandamus will
not issue to control the exercise of discretion by a public
officer where the law imposes upon him the duty to
exercise his judgment in reference to any manner in
which he is required to act, because it is his judgment
that is to be exercised and not that of the court.[4]
In the case at bar, the act which petitioners pray
that we compel the trial court to do is to grant the Office
of the City Prosecutors Motion for Withdrawal of
Informations against petitioners. In effect, petitioners
seek to curb Judge Bays exercise of judicial discretion.

There is indeed an exception to the rule that


matters involving judgment and discretion are beyond the
reach of a writ of mandamus, for such writ may be issued
to compel action in those matters, when refused.
[5]
However, mandamus is never available to direct the
exercise of judgment or discretion in a particular way
or the retraction or reversal of an action already
taken in the exercise of either.[6] In other words, while a
judge refusing to act on a Motion to Withdraw
Informations can be compelled bymandamus to act on
the same, he cannot be compelled to act in a certain
way, i.e., to grant or deny such Motion. In the case at
bar, Judge Bay did not refuse to act on the Motion to
Withdraw Informations; he had already acted on it by
denying the same. Accordingly, mandamus is not
available
anymore. If
petitioners
believed
that Judge Bay committed grave abuse of discretion in
the issuance of such Order denying the Motion to
Withdraw Informations, the proper remedy of petitioners
should have been to file a Petition forCertiorari against
the assailed Order of Judge Bay.
Petitioners counter that the above conclusion,
which has been argued by the Solicitor General, is
contrary to a ruling of this Court, which allegedly states
that the proper remedy in such cases is a Petition
for Mandamus and not Certiorari. Petitioners cite the
following excerpt from our ruling in Sanchez v.
Demetriou[7]:
The appreciation of the evidence
involves the use of discretion on the
part of the prosecutor, and we do not
find in the case at bar a clear showing
by the petitioner of a grave abuse of
such discretion.
The decision of the prosecutor
may be reversed or modified by the
Secretary of Justice or in special cases
by the President of the Philippines. But
even this Court cannot order the
prosecution of a person against
whom the prosecutor does not find
sufficient evidence to support at least
a prima facie case. The courts try and
absolve or convict the accused but as a

rule have no part in the initial decision


to prosecute him.
The possible exception is
where there is an unmistakable
showing of grave abuse of discretion
that will justify a judicial intrusion
into
the
precincts
of
the
executive. But in such a case the
proper remedy to call for such
exception
is
a
petition
for mandamus, not certiorari or prohi
bition.[8] (Emphases supplied.)

Petitioners have taken the above passage way


out of its context. In the case of Sanchez, Calauan Mayor
Antonio Sanchez brought a Petition for Certiorari before
this Court, challenging the order of the respondent Judge
therein denying his motion to quash the Information filed
against him and six other persons for alleged rape and
homicide.One of the arguments of Mayor Sanchez was
that there was discrimination against him because of the
non-inclusion of two other persons in the
Information. We held that even this Court cannot order
the prosecution of a person against whom the prosecutor
does not find sufficient evidence to support at least
a prima facie case. However, if there was an
unmistakable showing of grave abuse of discretion on
the part of the prosecutors in that case, Mayor Sanchez
should have filed a Petition for Mandamus to compel
the filing of charges against said two other persons.
In the case at bar, the Petition for Mandamus is
directed not against the prosecution, but against the trial
court, seeking to compel the trial court to grant the
Motion to Withdraw Informations by the City
Prosecutors Office. The prosecution has already filed a
case against petitioners. Recently, in Santos v. Orda, Jr.,
[9]
we reiterated the doctrine we established in the leading
case of Crespo v. Mogul,[10] that once a criminal
complaint or an information is filed in court, any
disposition or dismissal of the case or acquittal or
conviction of the accused rests within the jurisdiction,
competence, and discretion of the trial court. Thus, we
held:
In Crespo v. Mogul, the Court
held that once a criminal complaint or

information is filed in court, any


disposition of the case or dismissal or
acquittal or conviction of the accused
rests within the exclusive jurisdiction,
competence, and discretion of the trial
court. The trial court is the best and
sole judge on what to do with the case
before it. A motion to dismiss the case
filed by the public prosecutor should be
addressed to the court who has the
option to grant or deny the
same. Contrary to the contention of the
petitioner, the rule applies to a motion
to withdraw the Information or to
dismiss the case even before or after
arraignment of the accused. The only
qualification is that the action of the
court must not impair the substantial
rights of the accused or the right of the
People or the private complainant to
due process of law. When the trial court
grants a motion of the public
prosecutor to dismiss the case, or to
quash the Information, or to withdraw
the Information in compliance with the
directive of the Secretary of Justice, or
to deny the said motion, it does so not
out of subservience to or defiance of
the directive of the Secretary of Justice
but in sound exercise of its judicial
prerogative.

Petitioners
also
claim
that
since Judge Bay granted a Motion for Reinvestigation, he
should have deferred to the Resolution of Asst. City
Prosecutor De Vera withdrawing the case. [11] Petitioners
cite the following portion of our Decision in People v.
Montesa, Jr.[12]:
In the instant case, the
respondent Judge granted the motion
for reinvestigation and directed the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Bulacan
to
conduct
the
reinvestigation. The
former
was,
therefore, deemed to have deferred to
the authority of the prosecution arm of
the Government to consider the socalled new relevant and material
evidence and determine whether the
information it had filed should stand.[13]

Like what was done to our ruling in Sanchez,


petitioners took specific statements from our Decision,

carefully cutting off the portions which would expose the


real import of our pronouncements. The Petition
for Certiorari in Montesa, Jr. was directed against a
judge who, after granting the Petition for Reinvestigation
filed by the accused, proceeded nonetheless to arraign the
accused; and, shortly thereafter, the judge decided to
dismiss the case on the basis of a Resolution of the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor recommending the
dismissal of the case. The dismissal of the case
in Montesa, Jr. was done despite the disapproval of the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutors Resolution by the
Provincial Prosecutor (annotated in the same Resolution),
and despite the fact that the reinvestigation the latter
ordered was still ongoing, since the Resolution of the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor had not yet attained
finality. We held that the judge should have waited for
the conclusion of the Petition for Reinvestigation he
ordered, before acting on whether or not the case should
be dismissed for lack of probable cause, and before
proceeding with the arraignment. Thus, the continuation
of the above paragraph of our Decision in Montesa,
Jr. reads:
Having done so, it behooved the
respondent Judge to wait for a final
resolution of the incident. In Marcelo
vs. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled:
Accordingly,
we rule that the trial
court in a criminal
case which takes
cognizance of an
accused's motion for
review
of
the
resolution of the
investigating
prosecutor or for
reinvestigation and
defers
the
arraignment
until
resolution of the said
motion must act on
the
resolution
reversing
the
investigating
prosecutor's finding
or on a motion to
dismiss based thereon
only upon proof that
such resolution is
already final in that

no appeal was taken


thereon
to
the
Department
of
Justice.
The resolution of Assistant
Provincial
Prosecutor
Rutor
recommending the dismissal of the
case never became final, for it was not
approved by the Provincial Prosecutor.
On the contrary, the latter disapproved
it. As a consequence, the final
resolution with respect to the
reinvestigation is that of the Provincial
Prosecutor, for under Section 4, Rule
112 of the Rules of Court, no complaint
or information may be filed or
dismissed by an investigating fiscal
without the prior written authority or
approval of the provincial or city fiscal
or chief state prosecutor. Also, under
Section l(d) of R.A. No. 5180, as
amended by P.D. No. 77 and P.D. No.
911.[14]

As can be clearly seen, the statement quoted by


petitioners from Montesa, Jr. is not meant to establish a
doctrine that the judge should just follow the
determination by the prosecutor of whether or not there is
probable cause. On the contrary, Montesa, Jr. states:
The rule is settled that once a
criminal complaint or information is
filed in court, any disposition thereof,
such as its dismissal or the conviction
or acquittal of the accused, rests in the
sound discretion of the court. While the
prosecutor retains the discretion and
control of the prosecution of the case,
he cannot impose his opinion on the
court. The court is the best and sole
judge on what to do with the
case. Accordingly, a motion to dismiss
the case filed by the prosecutor before
or after the arraignment, or after a
reinvestigation, or upon instructions of
the Secretary of Justice who reviewed
the records upon reinvestigation,
should be addressed to the discretion of
the court. The action of the court must
not, however, impair the substantial
rights of the accused or the right of the
People to due process of law.[15]

In a seemingly desperate attempt on the part of


petitioners counsel, he tries to convince us that a judge is
allowed to deny a Motion to Withdraw Informations from
the prosecution only when there is grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the prosecutors moving for such
withdrawal; and that, where there is no grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the prosecutors, the denial of the
Motion to Withdraw Informations is void. Petitioners
counsel states in the Memorandum:
6.10. Furthermore,
the
ORDER dated October 2, 2006 of
the Respondent Judge BAY consisting
of 9 pages which was attached to the
URGENT PETITION did not point out
any iota of grave abuse of discretion
committed by Asst. City Prosecutor De
Vera in issuing his Resolution in favor
of the sons of the Petitioners. Hence,
the ORDER issued by RJBAY is
NULL and VOID in view of the recent
ruling of the Hon. Supreme Court in
Ledesma vs. Court of Appeals, G.R.
No. 113216, September 5, 1997, 86
SCAD 695, 278 SCRA 657 which
states that:
In
the
absence of a finding
of grave abuse of
discretion, the courts
bare denial of a
motion to withdraw
information pursuant
to the Secretarys
resolution is void.
(Underscoring ours).
6.11.
It
is
therefore
respectfully submitted that the Hon.
Supreme Court disregard the argument
of the OSG because of its falsity.[16]

This statement of petitioners counsel is utterly


misleading. There is no such statement in our Decision
in Ledesma.[17] The excerpt from Ledesma, which appears
to have a resemblance to the statement allegedly quoted
from said case, provides:
No
Gr
ave
Ab

use
of
Dis
cret
ion
in
the
Res
olut
ion
of
the
Sec
reta
ry
of
Jus
tice
In the light of recent holdings
in Marcelo and Martinez;
and
considering that the issue of the
correctness of the justice secretary's
resolution has been amply threshed out
in petitioner's letter, the information,
the resolution of the secretary of
justice, the motion to dismiss, and even
the exhaustive discussion in the motion
for reconsideration - all of which were
submitted to the court - the trial judge
committed grave abuse of discretion
when it denied the motion to
withdraw the information, based
solely on his bare and ambiguous
reliance on Crespo. The trial court's
order is inconsistent with our
repetitive calls for an independent
and competent assessment of the
issue(s) presented in the motion to
dismiss. The trial judge was tasked to
evaluate
the
secretary's
recommendation finding the absence of
probable cause to hold petitioner
criminally liable for libel. He failed to
do so. He merely ruled to proceed with
the trial without stating his reasons for
disregarding
the
secretary's
recommendation.[18] (Emphasis
supplied.)

It very much appears that the counsel of


petitioners is purposely misleading this Court, in
violation of Rule 10.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which provides:

Rule 10.02 A lawyer shall not


knowingly misquote or misrepresent
the contents of a paper, the language or
the argument of opposing counsel, or
the text of a decision or authority, or
knowingly cite as law a provision
already rendered inoperative by repel
or amendment, or assert as a fact that
which has not been proved.

Counsels use of block quotation and quotation marks


signifies that he intends to make it appear that the
passages are the exact words of the Court. Furthermore,
putting the words Underscoring ours after the text
implies that, except for the underscoring, the text is a
faithful reproduction of the original. Accordingly, we are
ordering Atty. Procopio S. Beltran, Jr. to show cause why
he should not be disciplined as a member of the Bar.
To clarify, we never stated in Ledesma that a
judge is allowed to deny a Motion to Withdraw
Information from the prosecution only when there is
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutors
moving for such withdrawal. Neither did we rule therein
that where there is no grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the prosecutors, the denial of the Motion to
Withdraw Information is void. What we held therein is
that a trial judge commits grave abuse of discretion if he
denies a Motion to Withdraw Information without an
independent and complete assessment of the issues
presented in such Motion. Thus, the opening paragraph
of Ledesma states:
When confronted with a
motion to withdraw an information on
the ground of lack of probable cause
based on a resolution of the secretary
of justice, the bounden duty of the
trial court is to make an independent
assessment of the merits of such
motion. Having acquired jurisdiction
over the case, the trial court is not
bound by such resolution but is
required to evaluate it before
proceeding further with the trial. While
the secretary's ruling is persuasive, it is
not binding on courts. A trial court,
however, commits reversible error or
even grave abuse of discretion if it
refuses/neglects to evaluate such
recommendation and simply insists

on proceeding with the trial on the


mere pretext of having already
acquired jurisdiction over the
criminal
action.[19] (Emphases
supplied.)

Petitioners also try to capitalize on the fact that


the dispositive portion of the assailed Order apparently
states that there was no probable cause against
petitioners:
WHEREFORE, finding
no
probable cause against the herein
accused for the crimes of rapes and acts
of lasciviousness, the motion to
withdraw informations is DENIED.
Let the case be set for
arraignment and pre-trial on October
24, 2006 at 8:30 oclock in the morning.
[20]
(Underscoring ours.)

Thus, petitioners claim that since even the


respondent judge himself found no probable cause
against them, the Motion to Withdraw Informations by
the Office of the City Prosecutor should be granted.[21]
Even a cursory reading of the assailed Order,
however, clearly shows that the insertion of the word no
in the above dispositive portion was a mere clerical
error. The assailed Order states in full:
After a careful study of the
sworn statements of the complainants
and the resolution dated March 3,
2006 of 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor
Lamberto C. de Vera, the Court finds
that there was probable cause
against the herein accused. The
actuations of the complainants after the
alleged rapes and acts of lasciviousness
cannot be the basis of dismissal or
withdrawal of the herein cases. Failure
to shout or offer tenatious resistance
did
not
make
voluntary
the
complainants submission to the
criminal acts of the accused (People v.
Velasquez, 377 SCRA 214, 2002). The
complainants affidavits indicate that
the accused helped one another in
committing the acts complained
of. Considering that the attackers were

not strangers but their trusted


classmates who enticed them to go to
the house where they were molested,
the complainants cannot be expected to
react forcefully or violently in
protecting themselves from the
unexpected turn of events. Considering
also that both complainants were
fifteen (15) years of age and considered
children under our laws, the ruling of
the Supreme Court in People v.
Malones, G.R. Nos. 124388-90, March
11, 2004 becomes very relevant. The
Supreme Court ruled as follows:
Rape
victims,
especially
child victims, should
not be expected to act
the
way
mature
individuals
would
when placed in such
a situation. It is not
proper to judge the
actions of children
who have undergone
traumatic experience
by the norms of
behavior
expected
from adults under
similar
circumstances. The
range of emotions
shown by rape victim
is yet to be captured
even by calculus. It
is, thus, unrealistic to
expect
uniform
reactions from rape
victims (People v.
Malones, G.R. Nos.
124388-90, March
11, 2004).
The Court finds no need to
discuss in detail the alleged actuations
of the complainants after the alleged
rapes and acts of lasciviousness. The
alleged actuations are evidentiary in
nature and should be evaluated after
full blown trial on the merits. This is
necessary to avoid a suspicion of
prejudgment against the accused.[22]

As can be seen, the body of the assailed Order


not only plainly stated that the court found probable
cause against the petitioners, but likewise provided an

adequate discussion of the reasons for such


finding. Indeed, the general rule is that where there is a
conflict between the dispositive portion or the fallo and
the body of the decision, thefallo controls. However,
where the inevitable conclusion from the body of the
decision is so clear as to show that there was a mistake in
the dispositive portion, the body of the decision will
prevail.[23]
In sum, petitioners resort to a Petition
for Mandamus to compel the trial judge to grant their
Motion
to
Withdraw
Informations
is
improper. While mandamus is available to compel action
on matters involving judgment and discretion when
refused, it is never available to direct the exercise of
judgment or discretion in a particular way or the
retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the
exercise of either.[24] The trial court, when confronted
with a Motion to Withdraw an Information on the ground
of lack of probable cause, is not bound by the resolution
of the prosecuting arm of the government, but is required
to make an independent assessment of the merits of such
motion, a requirement satisfied by the respondent judge
in the case at bar.[25]
Finally, if only to appease petitioners who came
to this Court seeking a review of the finding of probable
cause by the trial court, we nevertheless carefully
reviewed the records of the case. After going through the
same, we find that we are in agreement with the trial
court that there is indeed probable cause against the
petitioners sufficient to hold them for trial. We decided to
omit a detailed discussion of the merits of the case, as we
are not unmindful of the undue influence that might
result should this Court do so, even if such discussion is
only intended to focus on the finding of probable cause.
WHEREFORE,
the
instant
Petition
for Mandamus is DISMISSED. Let the records of this
case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City for the resumption of the proceedings therein. The
Regional Trial Court is directed to act on the case with
dispatch.
Atty.
Procopio
S.
Beltran,
Jr.
is ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be

disciplined as a member of the Bar for his disquieting


conduct as herein discussed.
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 144412. November 18, 2003]

ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs.
COURT
OF
APPEALS
and
POTENCIANO
L.
GALANIDA, respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

The Case
Before the Court is a petition for
review[1] assailing
the
Decision[2] of 27
April
2000 and the Resolution of 8 August 2000 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51451. The
Court of Appeals upheld the Decision [3] of 18
September 1998 and the Resolution of 24
December 1998 of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) in NLRC Case No. V-00018098. The NLRC modified the Decision dated 23
December
1997 of
Labor
Arbiter
Dominador A. Almirante (Labor Arbiter) in NLRC
Case No. RAB VII-05-0545-94 holding that Allied
Banking Corporation (Allied Bank) illegally
dismissed Potenciano L. Galanida (Galanida). The
NLRC
awarded
Galanida
separation
pay,
backwages, moral and exemplary damages, and
other amounts totaling P1,264,933.33.

Antecedent Facts
For a background of this case, we quote in part
from the Decision of the Court of Appeals:

arises and in the interest of maintaining smooth and


uninterrupted service to the public.
Private respondent was promoted several times and was
transferred to several branches as follows:
a) January, 1978 to March, 1982
Tagbilaran City Branch
b) April, 1982 to May, 1984
Lapulapu City Branch
c) June, 1984
Mandaue City Branch
d) July, 1984 to April, 1986
Tagbilaran City Branch
e) May, 1986 to May, 1987
Dumaguete City Branch
f) June, 1987 to August, 1987
Carbon Branch, Cebu City
g) September, 1987 to Sept. 1989
Lapulapu City Branch, Cebu
h) October, 1989 to Sept. 1992
Carbon Branch, Cebu City
i) October 1992 to Sept. 1994
Jakosalem Regional Branch,
Cebu City (Rollo, p. 47)
Effecting a rotation/movement of officers assigned in
the Cebu homebase, petitioner listed respondent as
second in the order of priority of assistant managers to be
assigned outside of Cebu City having been stationed
in Cebu for seven years already. Private respondent
manifested his refusal to be transferred
to Bacolod City in a letter dated 19 April 1994 citing as
reason parental obligations, expenses, and the anguish
that would result if he is away from his family. He then
filed a complaint before the Labor Arbiter for
constructive dismissal.
Subsequently, petitioner bank informed private
respondent (Rollo, p. 86) that he was to report to the
Tagbilaran City Branch effective 23 May 1994. Private
respondent refused. In a letter dated 13 June 1994,
petitioner warned and required of private respondent as
follows:

Private respondent Potenciano Galanida was hired by


petitioner Allied Banking Corporation on 11 January
1978 and rose from accountant-book(k)eeper to assistant
manager in 1991. His appointment was covered by a
Notice of Personnel Action which provides as one of the
conditions of employment the provision on petitioners
right to transfer employees:

There is no discrimination in your transfer. In fact,


among the officers mentioned, only you have refused the
new assignment citing difficulty of working away from
your family as if the other officers concerned do not
suffer the same predicament. To exempt you from the
officer transfer would result in favoritism in your favor
and discrimination as against the other officers
concerned.

REGULAR APPOINTMENT: xxx It is understood that


the bank reserves the right to transfer or assign you to
other departments or branches of the bank as the need

In furtherance of maintaining a smooth and uninterrupted


service to the public, and in accordance with the Banks
order of priority of rotating its accountants places of

assignments, you are well aware that Roberto Isla,


AM/Accountant, assigned in Cebu for more than ten (10)
years, was, on February 14, 1994, reassigned to Iligan
City Branch and then to Cagayan de Oro City Branch on
June 8, 1994. Hence, your objection on the ground of
your length of service is without merit.
xxx
As discussed, your refusal to follow instruction
concerning your transfer and reassignment to Bacolod
City and to Tagbilaran City is penalized under Article XII
of the Banks Employee Discipline Policy and Procedure
[which] provides:

On 5 October 1994, Galanida received an


inter-office
communication[7] (Memo)
dated 8
September 1994 from Allied Banks Vice-President
for Personnel, Mr. Leonso C. Pe. The Memo
informed Galanida that Allied Bank had terminated
his services effective 1 September 1994. The
reasons given for the dismissal were: (1) Galanidas
continued refusal to be transferred from the
Jakosalem, Cebu City branch; and (2) his refusal to
report for work despite the denial of his application
for additional vacation leave. The salient portion of
the Memo reads:

XII Transfer and Reassignment


Refusal to follow instruction concerning transfers and
reassignments.

Therefore, your refusal to follow instruction concerning


your transfer and reassignment to Bacolod City and
to Tagbilaran City is without any justifiable reason and
constituted violations of Article XII of the Banks EDPP
xxx

First and subsequent offenses


The penalty may range from suspension to dismissal as
determined by management. The employee shall be
required to comply with the order of transfer and
reassignment, if the penalty is not termination of
employment.

In view of the foregoing, please be informed that the


Bank has terminated your services effective
September 1, 1994 and considered whatever benefit, if
any, that you are entitled as forfeited in accordance with
04, V Administrative Penalties, page 6 of the Banks
EDPP which provides as follows:

In view of the foregoing, please explain in writing within


three (3) days from receipt hereof why no
disciplinary action should be meted against you for your
having refused to follow instructions concerning the
foregoing transfer and reassignment. xxx[4]

04. Dismissal.
Dismissal is a permanent separation
for cause xxx
Notice of termination shall be issued by the Investigation
Committee subject to the confirmation of the President or
his authorized representative as officer/employee who is
terminated for cause shall not be eligible to receive any
benefit arising from her/his employment with the Bank or
to termination pay.

On 16 June 1994, Galanida replied that


(w)hether the banks penalty for my refusal be
Suspension or Dismissal xxx it will all the more
establish and fortify my complaint now pending at
NLRC, RAB 7.[5] In the same letter, he charged
Allied Bank with discrimination and favoritism in
ordering his transfer, thus:
xxx What I cannot decipher now under the headship
of Mr. Olveda is managements discriminatory act of
transferring only the long staying accountants of Cebu in
the guise of its exercise of management prerogative when
in truth and in fact, the ulterior motive is to accommodate
some new officers who happen to enjoy favorable
connection with management. How can the bank ever
justify the transfer of Melinda T. Co, a new officer who
had experienced being assigned outside of Cebu for more
than a year only to Tabunok Branch? If the purpose is for
check and balance, is management implying that Melinda
Co can better carry out such function over Mr. Larry
Sabelino, who is a seasoned and experienced accountant
or any of the Metro Cebu accountants for that
matter? Isnt this act of management an obvious display
of favoritism? xxx[6]

It is understood that the termination of your service shall


be without prejudice to whatever legal remedies which
the Bank may have already undertaken and/or will
undertake against you.
Please be guided accordingly. (Emphasis supplied)[8]

The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter


After several hearings, the Labor Arbiter held
that Allied Bank had abused its management
prerogative in ordering the transfer of Galanida to
its Bacolod and Tagbilaran branches. In ruling that
Galanidas refusal to transfer did not amount to
insubordination, the Labor Arbiter misquoted this
Courts decision in Dosch v. NLRC,[9] thus:
As a general rule, the right to transfer or reassign an
employee is recognized as an employers exclusive right

and the prerogative of management (Abbott Laboratories


vs. NLRC, 154 SCRA 713 [1987]).

d) Refund of contribution to Provident Fund


- P20,000.00.

The exercise of this right, is not however, absolute. It has


certain limitations. Thus, in Helmut Dosch vs. NLRC, et
al. 123 SCRA 296 (1983), the Supreme Court, ruled:

SO ORDERED.[11]

While it may be true that the right to transfer or reassign


an employee is an employers exclusive right and the
prerogative of management, such right is not absolute.
The right of an employer to freely select or discharge his
employee is limited by the paramount police power xxx
for the relations between capital and labor are not merely
contractual but impressed with public interest. xxx And
neither capital nor labor shall act oppressively against
each other.
Refusal to obey a transfer order cannot be considered
insubordination where employee cited reason for said
refusal, such (sic) as that of being away from the family.
[10]
(Underscoring supplied by the Labor Arbiter)
The Labor Arbiter reasoned that Galanidas
transfer was inconvenient and prejudicial because
Galanida would have to incur additional expenses
for board, lodging and travel. On the other hand, the
Labor Arbiter held that Allied Bank failed to show
any business urgency that would justify the transfer.
The Labor Arbiter also gave credence to
Galanidas claim that Allied Bank gave Ms. Co
special treatment. The Labor Arbiter stated that
Allied Bank deliberately left out Ms. Cos name from
the list of accountants transferred to Cebu as
contained in Allied Banks letter dated 13 June
1994. However, Mr. Regidor Olveda, Allied Banks
Vice President for Operations Accounting, testified
that the bank transferred Ms. Co to the
Tabunok, Cebu branch within the first half of 1994.
Still, the Labor Arbiter declined to award
Galanida back wages because he was not entirely
free from blame. Since another bank had already
employed Galanida, the Labor Arbiter granted
Galanida
separation
pay
in
lieu
of
reinstatement. The dispositive portion of the Labor
Arbiters Decision of 23 December 1997 provides:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered ordering respondent Allied Banking
Corporation to pay complainant the aggregate total
amount of Three Hundred Twenty Four Thousand Pesos
(P324,000.00) representing the following awards:
a) Separation pay for P272,000.00;
b) Quarter bonus for 1994 P16,000.00;
c) 13th month pay for 1994 P16,000.00;

The Ruling of the NLRC


On appeal, the NLRC likewise ruled that Allied
Bank terminated Galanida without just cause. The
NLRC agreed that the transfer order was
unreasonable and unjustified, considering the family
considerations mentioned by Galanida. The NLRC
characterized the transfer as a demotion since
the Bacolod and Tagbilaran branches were smaller
than the Jakosalem branch, a regional office, and
because the bank wanted Galanida, an assistant
manager, to replace an assistant accountant in the
Tagbilaran branch. The NLRC found unlawful
discrimination since Allied Bank did not transfer
several junior accountants in Cebu. The NLRC also
held that Allied Bank gave Ms. Co special treatment
by assigning her to Cebu even though she had
worked for the bank for less than two years.
The NLRC ruled that Galanidas termination
was illegal for lack of due process. The NLRC
stated that Allied Bank did not conduct any
hearing. The NLRC declared that Allied Bank failed
to send a termination notice, as required by law for
a valid termination. The Memo merely stated that
Allied Bank would issue a notice of termination, but
the bank did not issue any notice.
The NLRC concluded that Allied Bank
dismissed Galanida in bad faith, tantamount to an
unfair labor practice as the dismissal undermined
Galanidas right to security of tenure and equal
protection of the laws. On these grounds, the NLRC
promulgated its Decision of 18 September 1998, the
relevant portion of which states:
In this particular case, We view as impractical, unrealistic
and no longer advantageous to both parties to order
reinstatement of the complainant. xxx For lack of
sufficient basis, We deny the claim for 1994 quarter
bonus. Likewise, no attorneys fees is awarded as
counsels for complainant-appellee are from the City
Prosecutors Office of Cebu.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the
Labor Arbiter dated December 23, 1997 is hereby
MODIFIED by increasing the award of separation pay
and granting in addition thereto backwages, moral and
exemplary damages. The respondent-appellant, ALLIED
BANKING CORPORATION, is thus ordered to pay to

herein complainant-appellee, POTENCIANO L.


GALANIDA, the following amounts:
a) P336,000.00, representing separation pay
b) P833,600.00, representing backwages
c) P 5,333.23 representing proportional 1994
13th month pay
d) P 20,000.00 representing refund of
Provident Fund Contribution
e) P 50,000.00 representing moral damages
f) P 20,000.00 representing exemplary
damages
===========
P1,264,933.33 TOTAL AWARD
All other claims are dismissed for lack of basis. The
other respondents are dropped for lack of sufficient basis
that they acted in excess of their corporate powers.
SO ORDERED.[12]
Allied Bank filed a motion for reconsideration
which the NLRC denied in its Resolution of 24
December 1998.[13]
Dissatisfied, Allied Bank filed a petition for
review questioning the Decision and Resolution of
the NLRC before the Court of Appeals.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals


Citing Dosch v. NLRC,[14] the Court of Appeals
held that Galanidas refusal to comply with the
transfer orders did not warrant his dismissal. The
appellate court ruled that the transfer from a
regional office to the smaller Bacolod or Tagbilaran
branches was effectively a demotion. The appellate
court agreed that Allied Bank did not afford
Galanida procedural due process because there
was no hearing and no notice of termination. The
Memo merely stated that the bank would issue a
notice of termination but there was no such notice.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the
NLRC in its Decision of 27 April 2000, thus:
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition is
DISMISSED and the assailed Decision of public
respondent NLRC is AFFIRMED.

On 26 April 2001, Allied Bank appealed the


appellate courts decision and resolution to the
Supreme Court. Allied Bank prayed that the
Supreme Court: (1) issue a temporary restraining
order or writ of preliminary injunction ex parte to
restrain the implementation or execution of the
questioned Decision and Resolution; (2) declare
Galanidas termination as valid and legal; (3) set
aside the Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution;
(4) make permanent the restraining order or
preliminary injunction; (5) order Galanida to pay the
costs; and (6) order other equitable reliefs.

The Issues
Allied Bank raises the following issues:
1. WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS
PRESENTED THERE IS LEGAL
BASIS IN PETITIONERS EXERCISE
OF
ITS
MANAGEMENT
PREROGATIVE.
2. WHETHER PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
VIOLATIONS OF COMPANY RULES
CONSTITUTE
A GROUND
TO
WARRANT THE
PENALTY OF
DISMISSAL.
3. WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS
PRESENTED, THERE IS LEGAL
BASIS TO HOLD THAT ALLIED BANK
AFFORDED PRIVATE RESPONDENT
THE REQUIRED DUE PROCESS.
4. WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS,
THERE IS LEGAL BASIS TO HOLD
THAT
PRIVATE
RESPONDENT
CANNOT
RECOVER
ANY
MONETARY AWARD.[17]
In sum, Allied Bank argues that the transfer of
Galanida was a valid exercise of its management
prerogative. Allied Bank contends that Galanidas
continued refusal to obey the transfer orders
constituted willful disobedience or insubordination,
which is a just cause for termination under the
Labor Code.

SO ORDERED. [15]

On the other hand, Galanida defended his right


to refuse the transfer order. The memorandum for
Galanida filed with this Court, prepared by Atty.
Loreto M. Durano, again misquotedthe Courts
ruling in Dosch v. NLRC, thus:

Allied Bank filed a motion for reconsideration


which the appellate court denied in its Resolution
of 8 August 2000.[16]

xxx His [Galanidas] refusal to transfer falls well within


the ruling of the Supreme Court in Helmut Dosch vs.
NLRC, et. al., 123 SCRA 296 (1983) quoted as follows:

xxx
Refusal to obey a transfer order cannot be considered
insubordination where employee cited reason for said
refusal, such as that of being away from the family.[18]

The Ruling of the Court


The petition is partly meritorious.

Preliminary Matter: Misquoting Decisions of the


Supreme Court
The memorandum prepared by Atty. Durano
and, worse, the assailed Decision of the Labor
Arbiter, both misquoted the Supreme Courts ruling
in Dosch v. NLRC. The Court held inDosch:

syllabus is not a part of the courts decision. [20] A


counsel should not cite a syllabus in place of the
carefully considered text in the decision of the
Court.
In the present case, Labor Arbiter Almirante
and Atty. Durano began by quoting from Dosch, but
substituted a portion of the decision with a headnote
from the SCRA syllabus, which they even
underscored. In short, they deliberately made the
quote from the SCRA syllabus appear as the words
of the Supreme Court. We admonish them for what
is at the least patent carelessness, if not an outright
attempt to mislead the parties and the courts taking
cognizance of this case. Rule 10.02, Canon 10 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates
that a lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
misrepresent the text of a decision or authority. It is
the duty of all officers of the court to cite the rulings
and decisions of the Supreme Court accurately.[21]

Whether Galanida was dismissed for just cause


We cannot agree to Northwests submission that petitioner
was guilty of disobedience and insubordination which
respondent Commission sustained. The only piece of
evidence on which Northwest bases the charge of
contumacious refusal is petitioners letter dated August
28, 1975 to R.C. Jenkins wherein petitioner
acknowledged receipt of the formers memorandum dated
August 18, 1975, appreciated his promotion to Director
of International Sales but at the same time regretted that
at this time for personal reasons and reasons of my
family, I am unable to accept the transfer from the
Philippines and thereafter expressed his preference to
remain in his position, saying: I would, therefore, prefer
to remain in my position of Manager-Philippines until
such time that my services in that capacity are no longer
required by Northwest Airlines. From this evidence, We
cannot discern even the slightest hint of defiance, much
less imply insubordination on the part of petitioner.[19]
The phrase [r]efusal to obey a transfer order
cannot be considered insubordination where
employee cited reason for said refusal, such as that
of being away from the family does not appear
anywhere in the Dosch decision. Galanidas counsel
lifted the erroneous phrase from one of the italicized
lines in the syllabus of Dosch found in the
Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA).
The syllabus of cases in official or unofficial
reports of Supreme Court decisions or resolutions is
not the work of the Court, nor does it state this
Courts decision. The syllabus is simply the work of
the reporter who gives his understanding of the
decision. The reporter writes the syllabus for the
convenience of lawyers in reading the reports. A

We accord great weight and even finality to the


factual findings of the Court of Appeals, particularly
when they affirm the findings of the NLRC or the
lower courts. However, there are recognized
exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are: (1)
when the findings are grounded on speculation,
surmise and conjecture; (2) when the inference
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;
(3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the
appreciation of facts; (4) when the factual findings of
the trial and appellate courts are conflicting; (5)
when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings,
has gone beyond the issues of the case and such
findings are contrary to the admissions of both
appellant and appellee; (6) when the judgment of
the appellate court is premised on a
misapprehension of facts or when it has failed to
consider certain relevant facts which, if properly
considered, will justify a different conclusion; (7)
when the findings of fact are conclusions without
citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; and (8) when the findings of fact of the Court
of Appeals are premised on the absence of
evidence but are contradicted by the evidence on
record.[22] After a scrutiny of the records, we find that
some of these exceptions obtain in the present
case.
The rule is that the transfer of an employee
ordinarily lies within the ambit of the employers
prerogatives.[23] The
employer
exercises
the
prerogative to transfer an employee for valid
reasons and according to the requirement of its
business, provided the transfer does not result in

demotion in rank or diminution of the employees


salary, benefits and other privileges. [24] In illegal
dismissal cases, the employer has the burden of
showing that the transfer is not unnecessary,
inconvenient and prejudicial to the displaced
employee.[25]
The constant transfer of bank officers and
personnel with accounting responsibilities from one
branch to another is a standard practice of Allied
Bank, which has more than a hundred branches
throughout the country.[26] Allied Bank does this
primarily for internal control. It also enables bank
employees to gain the necessary experience for
eventual
promotion. The Bangko
Sentral
ng
Pilipinas, in its Manual of Regulations for Banks and
Other Financial Intermediaries,[27] requires the
rotation of these personnel. The Manual directs that
the duties of personnel handling cash, securities
and bookkeeping records should be rotated and that
such rotation should be irregular, unannounced and
long enough to permit disclosure of any
irregularities or manipulations.[28]
Galanida was well aware of Allied Banks policy
of periodically transferring personnel to different
branches. As the Court of Appeals found,
assignment to the different branches of Allied Bank
was a condition of Galanidas employment. Galanida
consented to this condition when he signed the
Notice of Personnel Action.[29]
The evidence on record contradicts the charge
that Allied Bank discriminated against Galanida and
was in bad faith when it ordered his transfer. Allied
Banks letter of 13 June 1994[30]showed that at least
14 accounting officers and personnel from various
branches, including Galanida, were transferred to
other branches. Allied Bank did not single out
Galanida. The same letter explained that Galanida
was
second
in
line
for
assignment
outside Cebu because he had been in Cebu for
seven years already. The person first in line,
Assistant Manager Roberto Isla, who had been
in Cebu for more than ten years, had already
transferred to a branch in Cagayan de Oro City. We
note that none of the other transferees joined
Galanida in his complaint or corroborated his
allegations of widespread discrimination and
favoritism.
As regards Ms. Co, Galanidas letter of 16 June
1994 itself
showed
that
her
assignment
to Cebu was not in any way related to Galanidas
transfer. Ms. Co was supposed to replace a certain
Larry Sabelino in the Tabunok branch. The
employer has the prerogative, based on its
assessment of the employees qualifications and
competence, to rotate them in the various areas of

its business operations to ascertain where they will


function with maximum benefit to the company.[31]
Neither was Galanidas transfer in the nature of
a demotion. Galanida did not present evidence
showing that the transfer would diminish his salary,
benefits or other privileges. Instead, Allied Banks
letter of 13 June 1994 assured Galanida that he
would not suffer any reduction in rank or grade, and
that the transfer would involve the same rank, duties
and obligations. Mr.Olveda explained this further in
the affidavit he submitted to the Labor Arbiter, thus:
19. There is no demotion in position/rank or diminution
of complainants salary, benefits and other privileges as
the transfer/assignment of branch officers is premised on
the role/functions that they will assume in the
management and operations of the branch, as shown
below:
(a) The Branch Accountant, as controller of the branch is
responsible for the proper discharge of the functions of
the accounting section of the branch, review of
documentation/proper accounting and control of
transaction. As such, the accounting functions in the
branch can be assumed by any of the following officers
with the rank of: Senior Manager/Acctg.; Manager/
Acctg.; Senior Asst. Manager/Acctg.; Asst.
Manager/Acctg.; Accountant or Asst. Accountant.
xxx
20. The transfer/assignment of branch officer from one
branch, to another branch/office is lateral in nature and
carries with it the same position/rank, salary, benefits and
other privileges. The assignment/transfer is for the officer
to assume the functions relative to his job and NOT the
position/rank of the officer to be replaced.
There is also no basis for the finding that Allied
Bank was guilty of unfair labor practice in dismissing
Galanida. Unfair labor practices relate only to
violations of the constitutional right of workers and
employees to self-organization[32] and are limited to
the acts enumerated in Article 248 of the Labor
Code, none of which applies to the present
case. There is no evidence that Galanida took part
in forming a union, or even that a union existed in
Allied Bank.
This leaves the issue of whether Galanida
could validly refuse the transfer orders on the
ground of parental obligations, additional expenses,
and the anguish he would suffer if assigned away
from his family.
The Court has ruled on this issue before. In the
case of Homeowners Savings and Loan
Association, Inc. v. NLRC,[33] we held:

The acceptability of the proposition that transfer made by


an employer for an illicit or underhanded purpose i.e., to
defeat an employees right to self-organization, to rid
himself of an undesirable worker, or to penalize an
employee for union activities cannot be upheld is selfevident and cannot be gainsaid. The difficulty lies in the
situation where no such illicit, improper or underhanded
purpose can be ascribed to the employer, the objection to
the transfer being grounded solely upon the personal
inconvenience or hardship that will be caused to the
employee by reason of the transfer. What then?
This was the very same situation we faced in Phil.
Telegraph and Telephone Corp. v. Laplana. In that case,
the employee, Alicia Laplana, was a cashier at the
Baguio City Branch of PT&T who was directed to
transfer to the companys branch office at Laoag City. In
refusing the transfer, the employee averred that she had
established Baguio City as her permanent residence and
that such transfer will involve additional expenses on her
part, plus the fact that an assignment to a far place will be
a big sacrifice for her as she will be kept away from her
family which might adversely affect her efficiency. In
ruling for the employer, the Court upheld the transfer
from one city to another within the country as valid as
long as there is no bad faith on the part of the
employer. We held then:
Certainly the Court cannot accept the proposition that
when an employee opposes his employers decision to
transfer him to another work place, there being no bad
faith or underhanded motives on the part of either party,
it is the employees wishes that should be made to prevail.
Galanida, through counsel, invokes the Courts
ruling in Dosch v. NLRC.[34] Dosch, however, is not
applicable
to
the
present
case.
Helmut
Dosch refused a transfer consequential to a
promotion. We upheld the refusal because no law
compels an employee to accept a promotion, and
because the position Dosch was supposed to be
promoted to did not even exist at that time. [35] This
left as the only basis for the charge of
insubordination a letter from Dosch in which the
Court found not even the slightest hint of defiance,
much less xxx insubordination.[36]
Moreover, the transfer of an employee to an
overseas post, as in the Dosch case, cannot be
likened to a transfer from one city to another within
the country,[37] which is the situation in the present
case. The
distance
from Cebu City to Bacolod City or
from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City does not exceed
the
distance
from Baguio City to Laoag City or
from Baguio City toManila,
which
the
Court
considered a reasonable distance in PT&T v.
Laplana.[38]

The refusal to obey a valid transfer order


constitutes willful disobedience of a lawful order of
an employer.[39] Employees may object to, negotiate
and seek redress against employers for rules or
orders that they regard as unjust or illegal. However,
until and unless these rules or orders are declared
illegal or improper by competent authority, the
employees ignore or disobey them at their peril.
[40]
For Galanidas continued refusal to obey Allied
Banks transfer orders, we hold that the bank
dismissed Galanida for just cause in accordance
with Article 282 (a) of the Labor Code.[41] Galanida is
thus not entitled to reinstatement or to separation
pay.

Whether Galanidas dismissal violated the


requirement of notice and hearing
To be effective, a dismissal must comply with
Section 2 (d), Rule 1, Book VI of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing the Labor Code (Omnibus Rules),
which provides:
For termination of employment based on just causes as
defined in Article 282 of the Labor Code:
(i) A

written notice served on the


employee specifying the ground or
grounds of termination, and giving
said
employee
reasonable
opportunity within which to explain
his side.

(ii) A hearing or conference during which


the employee concerned, with the
assistance of counsel if he so
desires is given opportunity to
respond to the charge, present his
evidence, or rebut the evidence
presented against him.
(iii) A written notice of termination served
on the employee indicating that upon
due consideration of all the
circumstances, grounds have been
established to justify his termination.
The first written notice was embodied in Allied
Banks letter of 13 June 1994. The first notice
required Galanida to explain why no disciplinary
action should be taken against him for his refusal to
comply with the transfer orders.
On the requirement of a hearing, this Court has
held that the essence of due process is simply an
opportunity to be heard.[42] An actual hearing is not
necessary. The exchange of several letters, in which

Galanidas wife, a lawyer with the City Prosecutors


Office, assisted him, gave Galanida an opportunity
to respond to the charges against him.
The remaining issue is whether the Memo
dated 8 September 1994 sent to Galanida
constitutes the written notice of termination required
by the Omnibus Rules. In finding that it did not, the
Court of Appeals and the NLRC cited Allied Banks
rule on dismissals, quoted in the Memo, that, Notice
of termination shall be issued by the Investigation
Committee subject to the confirmation of the
President or his authorized representative. [43] The
appellate court and NLRC held that Allied Bank did
not send any notice of termination to Galanida. The
Memo,
with
the
heading
Transfer
and
Reassignment, was not the termination notice
required by law.
We do not agree.
Even a cursory reading of the Memo will show
that it unequivocally informed Galanida of Allied
Banks decision to dismiss him. The statement,
please be informed that the Bank has terminated
your services effective September 1, 1994 and
considered whatever benefit, if any, that you are
entitled [to] as forfeited xxx[44] is plainly worded and
needs no interpretation.The Memo also discussed
the findings of the Investigation Committee that
served as grounds for Galanidas dismissal. The
Memo referred to Galanidas open defiance and
refusal to transfer first to the Bacolod City branch
and then to the Tagbilaran City branch. The Memo
also mentioned his continued refusal to report for
work despite the denial of his application for
additional vacation leave.[45] The Memo also refuted
Galanidas charges of discrimination and demotion,
and concluded that he had violated Article XII of the
banks Employee Discipline Policy and Procedure.
The Memo, although captioned Transfer and
Reassignment, did not preclude it from being a
notice of termination. The Court has held that the
nature of an instrument is characterized not by the
title given to it but by its body and contents.
[46]
Moreover, it appears that Galanida himself
regarded the Memo as a notice of termination. We
quote from the Memorandum for Private
Respondent-Appellee, as follows:
The proceedings may be capsulized as follows:
1. On March 13, 1994[47] Private Respondent-Appellee
filed before the Region VII Arbitration Branch a
Complaint for Constructive Dismissal. A copy of the
Complaint is attached to the Petition as Annex H;
xxx

5. On September 8, 1994, Petitioner-Appellant issued


him a Letter of Termination. A copy of said letter is
attached to the Petition as Annex N;
6. Private Respondent-Appellee filed an Amended/
Supplemental Complaint wherein he alleged illegal
dismissal. A copy of the Amended/Supplemental
Complaint is attached to the Petition as Annex O;
xxx[48] (Emphasis supplied)
The Memorandum for Private RespondentAppellee refers to the Memo as a Letter of
Termination. Further, Galanida
amended
his
complaint for constructive dismissal[49] to one for
illegal
dismissal[50] after
he
received
the
Memo. Clearly, Galanida had understood the Memo
to mean that Allied Bank had terminated his
services.
The Memo complied with Allied Banks internal
rules which required the banks President or his
authorized representative to confirm the notice of
termination. The
banks
Vice-President
for
Personnel, as the head of the department that
handles the movement of personnel within Allied
Bank, can certainly represent the bank president in
cases involving the dismissal of employees.
Nevertheless, we agree that the Memo
suffered from certain errors. Although the Memo
stated that Allied Bank terminated Galanidas
services as of 1 September 1994, the Memo bore
the date 8 September 1994. More importantly,
Galanida only received a copy of the Memo on 5
October 1994, or more than a month after the
supposed date of his dismissal. To be effective, a
written notice of termination must be served on the
employee.[51] Allied Bank could not terminate
Galanida on 1 September 1994 because he had not
received as of that date the notice of Allied Banks
decision to dismiss him. Galanidas dismissal could
only take effect on 5 October 1994, upon his receipt
of the Memo. For this reason, Galanida is entitled to
backwages for the period from 1 September
1994 to 4 October 1994.
Under the circumstances, we also find an
award
of P10,000
in
nominal
damages
proper. Courts award nominal damages to
recognize or vindicate the right of a person that
another has violated.[52] The law entitles Galanida to
receive timely notice of Allied Banks decision to
dismiss him. Allied Bank should have exercised
more care in issuing the notice of termination.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of 27 April 2000 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51451
upholding the Decision of 18 September 1998 of the
NLRC in NLRC Case No. V-000180-98
is AFFIRMED, with the following MODIFICATIONS:

1) The

awards of separation pay, moral


damages and exemplary damages are
hereby deleted for lack of basis;

2) Reducing the award of backwages to cover


only the period from 1 September
1994 to 4 October 1994; and
3) Awarding nominal damages
respondent for P10,000.

to

private

This case is REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter


for the computation, within thirty (30) days from
receipt of this Decision, of the backwages, inclusive
of allowances and other benefits, due to Potenciano
L. Galanida for the time his dismissal was
ineffectual from 1 September 1994 until 4 October
1994.
Labor Arbiter Dominador A. Almirante and Atty.
Loreto M. Durano are ADMONISHED to be more
careful in citing the decisions of the Supreme Court
in the future.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Panganiban,
Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 132365. July 9, 1998]

COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, petitioner,
vs. HON. TOMAS B. NOYNAY, Acting
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 23, Allen, Northern Samar, and
DIOSDADA F. AMOR, ESBEL CHUA, and
RUBEN MAGLUYOAN, respondents.
DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
The pivotal issue raised in this special civil
action for certiorari with mandamus is whether R.A.
No. 7691[1] has divested Regional Trial Courts of
jurisdiction over election offenses, which are
punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding six
(6) years.
The antecedents are not disputed.
In its Minute Resolution No. 96-3076 of 29
October 1996, the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) resolved to file an information for
violation of Section 261(i) of the Omnibus Election
Code against private respondents Diosdada Amor, a
public school principal, and Esbel Chua and Ruben
Magluyoan, both public school teachers, for having
engaged in partisan political activities. The
COMELEC authorized its Regional Director in
Region VIII to handle the prosecution of the cases.
Forthwith, nine informations for violation of
Section 261(i) of the Omnibus Election were filed
with Branch 23 of the Regional Trial Court of Allen,
Northern Samar, and docketed therein as follows:
a) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1439 and A1442, against private respondents
Diosdada Amor, Esbel Chua, and
Ruben Magluyoan.
b) Criminal Case No. A-1443, against
private respondents Esbel Chua and
Ruben Magluyoan.
c) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1444 and A1445, against private respondent
Esbel Chua only;
d) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1446 to A-1449,
against private respondent Diosdada
Amor only.

In an Order[2] issued on 25 August 1997,


respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay, as presiding
judge of Branch 23, motu proprio ordered the
records of the cases to be withdrawn and directed
the COMELEC Law Department to file the cases
with the appropriate Municipal Trial Court on the
ground that pursuant to Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129
as amended by R.A. No. 7691, [3] the Regional Trial
Court has no jurisdiction over the cases since the
maximum imposable penalty in each of the cases
does
not
exceed
six
years
of
imprisonment. Pertinent portions of the Order read
as follows:
[I]t is worth pointing out that all the accused are
uniformly charged for [sic] Violation of Sec. 261(i) of
the Omnibus Election Code, which under Sec. 264
of the same Code carries a penalty of not less than
one (1) year but not more than six (6) years of
imprisonment and not subject to Probation plus
disqualification to hold public office or deprivation of
the right of suffrage.
Sec. 31 [sic] of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of
1980 (B.P.) Blg. 129 as Amended by Rep. Act.
6691 [sic] (Expanded Jurisdiction) states: Sec. 32.
Jurisdiction Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in
Criminal Cases Except [in] cases falling within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Courts and the Sandiganbayan, the Municipal Trial
Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts and the Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all
violations of city or municipal
ordinance committed within their
respective territorial jurisdiction; and
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all
offenses punishable with an
imprisonment of not exceeding six
(6) years irrespective of the amount
or fine and regardless of other
imposable accessory and other
penalties including the civil liability
arising from such offenses or
predicated thereon, irrespective of
time [sic], nature, value and amount
thereof, Provided, However, that in
offenses including damages to
property through criminal
negligence, they shall have
exclusive original jurisdiction thereof.
In light of the foregoing, this Court has therefore, no
jurisdiction over the cases filed considering that the

maximum penalty imposable did not exceed six (6)


years.
The
two
motions[4] for
reconsideration
separately filed by the COMELEC Regional Director
of Region VIII and by the COMELEC itself through
its Legal Department having been denied by the
public respondent in the Order of 17 October 1997,
[5]
the petitioner filed this special civil action. It
contends that public respondent has erroneously
misconstrued the provisions of Rep. Act No. 7691 in
arguing that the Municipal Trial Court has exclusive
original jurisdiction to try and decide election
offenses because pursuant to Section 268 of the
Omnibus Election Code and this Courts ruling
in Alberto [sic] vs. Judge Juan Lavilles, Jr., Regional
Trial Courts have the exclusive original jurisdiction
over election offenses.
On 17 February 1998, we required the
respondents and the Office of the Solicitor General
to comment on the petition.
In its Manifestation of 5 March 1998, the Office
of the Solicitor General informs us that it is adopting
the instant petition on the ground that the
challenged orders of public respondent are clearly
not in accordance with existing laws and
jurisprudence.
In his Manifestation of 12 March 1998, public
respondent avers that it is the duty of counsel for
private respondents interested in sustaining the
challenged orders to appear for and defend him.
In their Comment, private respondents
maintain that R.A. No. 7691 has divested the
Regional Trial Courts of jurisdiction over offenses
where the imposable penalty is not more than 6
years of imprisonment; moreover, R.A. 7691
expressly provides that all laws, decrees, and
orders inconsistent with its provisions are deemed
repealed or modified accordingly. They then
conclude that since the election offense in question
is punishable with imprisonment of not more than 6
years, it is cognizable by Municipal Trial Courts.
We resolved to give due course to the petition.
Under Section 268 of the Omnibus Election
Code, Regional Trial Courts have exclusive original
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or
proceedings for violation of the Code except those
relating to the offense of failure to register or failure
to vote.[6] It reads as follows:
SEC. 268. Jurisdiction of courts. - The regional trial
court shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to
try and decide any criminal action or proceedings
for violation of this Code, except those relating to

the offense of failure to register or failure to vote


which shall be under the jurisdiction of the
metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From the
decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other
criminal cases.
Among the offenses punished under the
Election Code are those enumerated in Section 261
thereof. The offense allegedly committed by private
respondents is covered by paragraph (i) of said
Section, thus:
SEC. 261. Prohibited Acts. The following shall be
guilty of an election offense:
(i) Intervention of public officers and
employees. Any officer or employee in the civil
service, except those holding political offices; any
officer, employee, or member of the Armed Forces
ofthe Philippines, or any police forces, special
forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense
units and all other para-military units that now exist
or which may hereafter be organized who, directly
or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or
engages in any partisan political activity, except to
vote or to preserve public order, if he is a peace
officer.
Under Section 264 of the Code the penalty for
an election offense under the Code, except that of
failure to register or failure to vote, is imprisonment
of not less than one year but not more than six
years and the offender shall not be subject to
probation and shall suffer disqualification to hold
public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 as amended by
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691, provides as follows:
SEC. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in Criminal Cases. Except in cases falling
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional
Trial Court and of the Sandiganbayan, the
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts,
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations
of city or municipal ordinances committed within
their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses
punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6)
years irrespective of the amount of fine, and
regardless of other imposable accessory or other
penalties, including the civil liability arising from
such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of

kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided,


however, That in offenses involving damage to
property through criminal negligence, they shall
have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof.
We have explicitly ruled in Morales v. Court of
Appeals[7] that by virtue of the exception provided
for in the opening sentence of Section 32, the
exclusive original jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial
Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts does not cover those criminal cases
which by specific provisions of law fall within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial
Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, regardless of the
penalty prescribed therefor. Otherwise stated, even
if those excepted cases are punishable by
imprisonment of not exceeding six (6) years
(i.e., prision correccional, arresto mayor, or arresto
menor), jurisdiction thereon is retained by the
Regional Trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan, as the
case may be.
Among the examples cited in Morales as falling
within the exception provided for in the opening
sentence of Section 32 are cases under (1) Section
20 of B.P. Blg. 129; (2) Article 360 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended; (3) the Decree on
Intellectual Property;[8] and (4) the Dangerous Drugs
Act of 1972,[9] as amended.
Undoubtedly, pursuant to Section 268 of the
Omnibus Election Code, election offenses also fall
within the exception.
As we stated in Morales, jurisdiction is
conferred
by
the
Constitution
or
by
Congress. Outside the cases enumerated in Section
5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution, Congress has
the plenary power to define, prescribe, and
apportion
the
jurisdiction
of
various
courts. Congress may thus provide by law that a
certain class of cases should be exclusively heard
and determined by one court. Such law would be a
special law and must be construed as an exception
to the general law on jurisdiction of courts, namely,
the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, and the
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. R.A. No. 7691
can by no means be considered as a special law on
jurisdiction; it is merely an amendatory law intended
to amend specific sections of the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980. Hence, R.A. No. 7691
does not have the effect of repealing laws vesting
upon Regional Trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan
exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the
cases therein specified. That Congress never
intended that R.A. No. 7691 should repeal such
special provisions is indubitably evident from the
fact that it did not touch at all the opening sentence

of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the


exception.
It is obvious that respondent judge did not read
at all the opening sentence of Section 32 of B.P.
Blg. 129, as amended. It is thus an opportune time,
as any, to remind him, as well as other judges, of
his duty to be studious of the principles of law,[10] to
administer his office with due regard to the integrity
of the system of the law itself, [11] to be faithful to the
law, and to maintain professional competence.[12]
Counsel for petitioner, Atty. Jose P. Balbuena,
Director IV of petitioners Law Department, must
also be admonished for his utter carelessness in his
reference to the case against Judge Juan Lavilles,
Jr. In the motion for Reconsideration [13] he filed with
the court below, Atty. Balbuena stated:
As a matter of fact, the issue on whether the
Regional Trial Court has exclusive jurisdiction over
election offenses is already a settled issue in the
case of Alberto Naldeza vs- Judge Juan Lavilles,
Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-94-1009, March 5, 1996, where
the Supreme Court succinctly held:
A review of the pertinent provision of law would
show that pursuant to Sec. 265 and 267 of the
Omnibus Election Code, the COMELEC, has the
exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation
of all election offenses punishable under the Code
and the RTC shall have the exclusive original
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or
proceedings for violation of the same. The
Metropolitan, or MTC, by way of exception
exercises jurisdiction only on offenses relating to
failure to register or to vote. Noting that these
provisions stand together with the provisions that
any election offense under the code shall be
punishable with imprisonment of one (1) year to six
(6) years and shall not be subject to probation (Sec.
263, Omnibus Election Code), we submit that it is
the special intention of the Code to vest upon the
RTC jurisdiction over election cases as a matter of
exception to the general provisions on jurisdiction
over criminal cases found under B.P. 129 by RA
7691 does not vest upon the MTC jurisdiction over
criminal election offenses despite its expanded
jurisdiction. (Underscoring ours)
Also, in this petition, Atty. Balbuena states:
16. This Honorable Supreme Court, in the case of
Alberto -vs- Judge Juan Lavilles, Jr., 245 SCRA 286
involving the same issue of jurisdiction between the
lower courts and Regional Trial Court on election
offenses, has ruled, thus:

With respect to the other charges, a review of the


Pertinent Provision of Law would show that
pursuant to Section 265 and 267 of the Omnibus
Election Code the Comelec has the exclusive
power to conduct preliminary investigations all
election offenses punishable under the code and
the Regional Trial Court shall have the exclusive
original jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal
action or proceedings for violation of the same. The
Metropolitan Trial Court, by way of exception
exercise jurisdiction only on offenses relating to
failure to register or to vote. Noting that these
provisions stands together with the provision that
any election offense under the code shall be
punishable with imprisonment for one (1) year to six
(6) years and shall not be subject to probation
(Section 264, Omnibus Election Code). We submit
that it is the special intention of the code to vest
upon the Regional Trial Court jurisdiction over
election cases as matter of exemption to the
provisions on jurisdiction over criminal cases found
under B.P. Reg. 129, as amended. Consequently,
the amendment of B.P. Reg. 129 by Republic Act
No. 7691 does not vest upon the MTC jurisdiction
over criminal election offenses despite its expanded
jurisdiction.
If Atty. Balbuena was diligent enough, he would
have known that the correct name of the
complainant in the case referred to is
neither Alberto Naldeza as indicated in the motion
for reconsideration nor Alberto alone as stated in
the petition, but ALBERTO NALDOZA. Moreover,
the case was not reported in volume 245 of the
Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) as
falsely represented in the paragraph 16 of the
petition, but in volume 254 of the SCRA.

Worse, in both the motion for reconsideration


and the petition, Atty. Balbuena deliberately made it
appear that the quoted portions were our findings or
rulings, or, put a little differently, our own words. The
truth is, the quoted portion is just a part of the
memorandum of the Court Administrator quoted in
the decision.
Rule 10.02 of Canon 10 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility[14] mandates that a
lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent
the text of a decision or authority.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the
instant petition is GRANTED. The challenged orders
of public respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay of 25
August 1997 and 17 October 1997 in Criminal
Cases Nos. A-1439 and A-1442 to A-1449 are SET
ASIDE. Respondent Judge is DIRECTED to try and
decide said cases with purposeful dispatch and,
further, ADMONISHED to faithfully comply with
Canons 4 and 18 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics
and Rule 3.01, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct.
Atty. Jose P. Balbuena is ADMONISHED to be
more careful in the discharge of his duty to the court
as a lawyer under the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo,
Melo,
Puno,
Vitug,
Kapunan,
Mendoza,
Panganiban, Martinez, Quisumbing, and Purisima,
JJ., concur.