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Rules on Succession - Doctrine of Condonation


Rules on Succession

1) Talaga v COMELEC (G.R. No. 196804, October 9, 2012)


MAYOR BARBARA RUBY C. TALAGA, Petitioner, vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RODERICK A. ALCALA, Respondents.

PHILIP M. CASTILLO, Petitioner, vs.


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, BARBARA RUBY TALAGA and RODERICK A. ALCALA,
Respondents. (G.R. No. 197015)

FACTS:
On November 26, 2009 and December 1, 2009, Ramon Talaga (Ramon) and Philip M.
Castillo (Castillo) respectively filed their certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for the
position of Mayor of Lucena City to be contested in the scheduled May 10, 2010
national and local elections.

Ramon, the official candidate of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, declared in his CoC that he
was eligible for the office he was seeking to be elected to. Four days later, or on
December 5, 2009, Castillo filed with the COMELEC a petition denominated as In the
Matter of the Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy of
Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. as Mayor for Having Already Served Three (3) Consecutive Terms
as a City Mayor of Lucena, which was docketed as SPA 09-029 (DC). He alleged
therein that Ramon, despite knowing that he had been elected and had served three
consecutive terms as Mayor of Lucena City, still filed his CoC for Mayor of Lucena City
in the May 10, 2010 national and local elections.

Except the preventive suspension imposed upon Ramon from 13 October 2005 to 14
November 2005 and from 4 September 2009 to 30 October 2009 pursuant to
Sandiganbayan 4th Division Resolution in Criminal Case No. 27738 dated 3 October
2005, the public service as city mayor of the respondent is continuous and
uninterrupted under the existing laws and jurisprudence

Ramon countered that the Sandiganbayan had preventively suspended him from
office during his second and third terms; and that the three-term limit rule did not
then apply to him pursuant to the prevailing jurisprudence7 to the effect that an
involuntary separation from office amounted to an interruption of continuity of service
for purposes of the application of the three-term limit rule.

On December 23, 2009, the Court promulgated the ruling in Aldovino, Jr. v.
Commission on Elections, holding that preventive suspension, being a mere
temporary incapacity, was not a valid ground for avoiding the effect of the three-term
limit rule. Thus, on December 30, 2009, Ramon filed in the COMELEC a Manifestation
with Motion to Resolve, taking into account the intervening ruling in Aldovino.

Acting on Ramons Manifestation with Motion to Resolve, the COMELEC First Division
issued a Resolution on April 19, 2010,10 disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED.


Accordingly, Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. is hereby declared DISQUALIFIED to run for
Mayor of Lucena City for the 10 May 2010 National and Local Elections.
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SO ORDERED.

Initially, Ramon filed his Verified Motion for Reconsideration against the April 19, 2010
Resolution of the COMELEC First Division. Later on, however, he filed at 9:00 a.m. of
May 4, 2010 an Ex-parte Manifestation of Withdrawal of the Pending Motion for
Reconsideration. At 4:30 p.m. on the same date, Barbara Ruby filed her own CoC
for Mayor of Lucena City in substitution of Ramon, attaching thereto the
Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) issued by Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the
party that had nominated Ramon.

On May 5, 2010, the COMELEC En Banc, acting on Ramons Ex parte Manifestation of


Withdrawal, declared the COMELEC First Divisions Resolution dated April 19, 2010
final and executory. On election day on May 10, 2010, the name of Ramon remained
printed on the ballots but the votes cast in his favor were counted in favor of Barbara
Ruby as his substitute candidate, resulting in Barbara Ruby being ultimately credited
with 44,099 votes as against Castillos 39,615 votes.

Castillo promptly filed a petition in the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) seeking the
suspension of Barbara Rubys proclamation.

On July 26, 2010, Roderick Alcala (Alcala), the duly-elected Vice Mayor of Lucena City,
sought to intervene,23 positing that he should assume the post of Mayor because
Barbara Rubys substitution had been invalid and Castillo had clearly lost the
elections.

COMELEC in its Resolution maintained that A close perusal of the petition filed
by Castillo in SPA 10-029 (Dc) shows that it was actually for the
disqualification of Ramon for having served three consecutive terms, which
is a ground for his disqualification under the Constitution in relation to
Section 4(b)3 of Resolution 8696. There was no mention therein that Ramon
has committed material representation that would be a ground for the
cancellation or denial of due course to the CoC of Ramon under Section 78
of the Omnibus Election Code Having been disqualified only, the doctrine laid
down in Miranda v. Abaya is not applicable. Ramon was rightly substituted by Ruby.
As such, the votes for Ramon cannot be considered as stray votes but should be
counted in favor of Ruby since the substituted and the substitute carry the same
surname Talaga, as provided in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 9006.

ISSUE: 1) W/N Barbara Ruby can validly substitute her husband, Ramon, as candidate
for the position of Mayor of Lucena City.
2) Ancillary to the core issue is the determination of who among the contending
parties should assume the contested elective position.

HELD:
1) NO. Existence of a valid CoC is a condition sine qua non (indispensable) for a valid
substitution. There are two remedies available to prevent a candidate from
running in an electoral race. One is through a petition for disqualification and the
other through a petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy.

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Considering that a cancelled CoC does not give rise to a valid candidacy, there can be
no valid substitution of the candidate under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code.
It should be clear, too, that a candidate who does not file a valid CoC may not be
validly substituted, because a person without a valid CoC is not considered a
candidate in much the same way as any person who has not filed a CoC is not at all a
candidate.

Section 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal. If


after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate
of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for
any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political
party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died,
withdrew or was disqualified

Likewise, a candidate who has not withdrawn his CoC in accordance with Section 73
of the Omnibus Election Code may not be substituted. A withdrawal of candidacy can
only give effect to a substitution if the substitute candidate submits prior to the
election a sworn CoC as required by Section 73 of the Omnibus Election Code.

It is underscored, however, that a Section 78 petition should not be interchanged or


confused with a Section 68 petition (i.e., prohibited acts of candidates, and the fact of
a candidates permanent residency in another country when that fact affects the
residency requirement of a candidate). The remedies under the two sections are
different, for they are based on different grounds, and can result in different
eventualities. A person who is disqualified under Section 68 is prohibited to
continue as a candidate, but a person whose CoC is cancelled or denied due
course under Section 78 is not considered as a candidate at all because his
status is that of a person who has not filed a CoC. Miranda v. Abaya has
clarified that a candidate who is disqualified under Section 68 can be validly
substituted pursuant to Section 77 because he remains a candidate until disqualified;
but a person whose CoC has been denied due course or cancelled under Section 78
cannot be substituted because he is not considered a candidate.

To be sure, the cause of Ramons ineligibility (i.e., the three-term limit) is enforced
both by the Constitution and statutory law. Article X, Section 8 of the 1987
Constitution provides:

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials,
which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall
serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the
office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

Section 43 of the Local Government Code reiterates the constitutional three-term


limit for all elective local officials, to wit:

Section 43. Term of Office. (a) x x x

(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive
terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length
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of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service
for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.

The objective of imposing the three-term limit rule was "to avoid the evil of a single
person accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a
result of a prolonged stay in the same office."

To accord with the constitutional and statutory proscriptions, Ramon was absolutely
precluded from asserting an eligibility to run as Mayor of Lucena City for the fourth
consecutive term. Resultantly, his CoC was invalid and ineffectual ab initio for
containing the incurable defect consisting in his false declaration of his
eligibility to run. The invalidity and inefficacy of his CoC made his situation even
worse than that of a nuisance candidate because the nuisance candidate may remain
eligible despite cancellation of his CoC or despite the denial of due course to the CoC
pursuant to Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code. Ramon himself specifically
admitted his ineligibility when he filed his Manifestation with Motion to Resolve on
December 30, 2009 in the COMELEC. That sufficed to render his CoC invalid,
considering that for all intents and purposes the COMELECs declaration of his
disqualification had the effect of announcing that he was no candidate at all.

We stress that a non-candidate like Ramon had no right to pass on to his


substitute.

2) Elected Vice-Mayor should succeed in this case.

Castillo submits that the doctrine on the rejection of the second-placer espoused in
Labo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections should not apply to him because Ramons
disqualification became final prior to the elections. Instead, he cites Cayat v.
Commission on Elections, where the Court said:

x x x In Labo there was no final judgment of disqualification before the


elections. The doctrine on the rejection of the second placer was applied in
Labo and a host of other cases because the judgment declaring the
candidates disqualification in Labo and the other cases had not become final
before the elections. To repeat, Labo and the other cases applying the doctrine
on the rejection of the second placer have one common essential condition
the disqualification of the candidate had not become final before the elections.
This essential condition does not exist in the present case.

The law expressly declares that a candidate disqualified by final judgment


before an election cannot be voted for, and votes cast for him shall not be
counted. This is a mandatory provision of law.

Relying on the pronouncement in Cayat case, Castillo asserts that he was entitled to
assume the position of Mayor of Lucena City for having obtained the highest number
of votes among the remaining qualified candidates. Yet, we cannot agree with
Castillos assertion that with Ramons disqualification becoming final prior to the May
10, 2010 elections, the ruling in Cayat was applicable in his favor. Barbara Rubys
filing of her CoC in substitution of Ramon significantly differentiated this case from
the factual circumstances obtaining in Cayat. Indeed, Castillo could not assume the
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office for he was only a second placer. The case of Labo, Jr. should be applied. There,
the Court emphasized that the candidate obtaining the second highest number of
votes for the contested office could not assume the office despite the disqualification
of the first placer because the second placer was "not the choice of the sovereign
will.

The only time that a second placer is allowed to take the place of a disqualified
winning candidate is when two requisites concur, namely: (a) the candidate who
obtained the highest number of votes is disqualified; and (b) the electorate was
fully aware in fact and in law of that candidates disqualification as to bring
such awareness within the realm of notoriety but the electorate still cast the plurality
of the votes in favor of the ineligible candidate. Under this sole exception, the
electorate may be said to have waived the validity and efficacy of their votes by
notoriously misapplying their franchise or throwing away their votes, in which case
the eligible candidate with the second highest number of votes may be deemed
elected. But the exception did not apply in favor of Castillo simply because the
second element was absent. The electorate of Lucena City were not the least aware
of the fact of Barbara Rubys ineligibility as the substitute. In fact, the COMELEC En
Banc issued the Resolution finding her substitution invalid only on May 20, 2011, or a
full year after the decisions.

On the other hand, the COMELEC En Banc properly disqualified Barbara Ruby
from assuming the position of Mayor of Lucena City. To begin with, there was
no valid candidate for her to substitute due to Ramons ineligibility. Also, Ramon did
not voluntarily withdraw his CoC before the elections in accordance with Section 73 of
the Omnibus Election Code. Lastly, she was not an additional candidate for the
position of Mayor of Lucena City because her filing of her CoC on May 4, 2010 was
beyond the period fixed by law. Indeed, she was not, in law and in fact, a candidate.

A permanent vacancy in the office of Mayor of Lucena City thus resulted,


and such vacancy should be filled pursuant to the law on succession defined
in Section 44 of the LGC, to wit:

Section 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice-Governor,


Mayor, and Vice-Mayor. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the
governor or mayor, the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become
the governor or mayor. x x x

Roderick Alcala, elected vice-mayor, was ruled to assume position of mayor.

2) Gamboa v. Aguirre (G.R. No. 134213, 20 July 1999)

FACTS: In the 1995 elections, Rafael Coscolluela, petitioner Romeo Gamboa and
respondents Marcelo Aguirre, Jr. and Juan Araneta were leveled Negros Occidental
Governor, Vice-Governor and SP members, respectively. Sometime in August
1995, the governor designated as Acting Governor for the duration of the former's
official trip abroad until his return. When the Sangguniang Panlalawigan held its
regular session, respondents questioned the authority of petitioner to preside
therein in view of his designation as acting governor and asked him to vacate the
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Chair. The latter, however, refused to do so. In another session, seven members of
the SP voted to allow petitioner to continue presiding while four others voted
against it. Respondents filed before the lower court a petition for declaratory relief
and prohibition. In the meantime, the governor re-assumed his office. The trial
court rendered a decision and declared petitioner as temporarily legally
incapacitated to preside over the sessions of the SP during the period that he is
the acting governor. Petitioner filed a petition for review.

ISSUE: Whether or not Gamboa, while serving as acting governor, temporarily


relinquished the powers, fictions, duties and responsibilities of the Vice-Governor,
including the power to preside over the sessions of the SP.

HELD: YES. The Local Government Code provides that the vice governor shall be
the presiding officer of the SP. In addition to such function, he becomes the
governor and assumes the higher office for the unexpired term of his predecessor,
in case of permanent vacancy. When the vacancy however is merely temporary,
the vice governor shall automatically exercise the powers (subject to certain
limitations) and perform the duties and functions of the governor.

When the vice governor exercises the powers and duties of governor, he does not
assume the latter's office. He only acts as the governor but does not become the
governor. His assumption of powers of the provincial chief executive does not
create a permanent vacancy in his position as vice governor. Thus, he does not
relinquish not abandon his position and title by merely becoming an acting
governor.

A vice governor who is concurrently an acting governor is actually a quasi-


governor. This means, that for purposes of exercising his legislative prerogatives
and powers, he is deemed considered as a non member of the SP for the time
being. The offices of provincial governor and vice governor are essentially
executive in nature, whereas plain members of the provincial board perform
functions partaking of a legislative character. This is clear from the law when it
provides that local legislative power shall be vested in the SP, which is the
legislative body of the province.

The governor is not included in the SP members and thus, local executive power is
vested alone in the governor. Art. 49(b) of the Local Government Code provides
that in the event of the inability of the regular presiding officer to toe side at the
sangguniang session, the members present and constituting a quorum shall elect
among themselves a temporary presiding officer. Therefore, the vice governor
who became an acting governor cannot continue to simultaneously exercise the
duties of the office, since the nature of it calls for a full-time occupant to discharge
them.

Disciplinary Actions

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1) Rodolfo Ganzon vs Court of Appeals
200 SCRA 271 Political Law Control Power Local Government

FACTS: Rodolfo Ganzon was the then mayor of Iloilo City. 10 complaints were filed against him on
grounds of misconduct and misfeasance of office. The Secretary of Local Government issued
several suspension orders against Ganzon based on the merits of the complaints filed against him
hence Ganzon was facing about 600 days of suspension. Ganzon appealed the issue to the CA
and the CA affirmed the suspension order by the Secretary. Ganzon asserted that the 1987
Constitution does not authorize the President nor any of his alter ego to suspend and remove local
officials; this is because the 1987 Constitution supports local autonomy and strengthens the
same. What was given by the present Constitution was mere supervisory power.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government, as the Presidents alter ego, can
suspend and or remove local officials.

HELD: Yes. Ganzon is under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere
supervisory powers, which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her
control, which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because
legally, supervision is not incompatible with disciplinary authority.

The SC had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the
President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over
executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and
supervision, are two different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. In
administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that
subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may
take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties.

Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of set aside
what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for that of the latter. But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably
inferred that the power of supervision of the President over local government officials does not
include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires.

The Secretary of Local Government, as the alter ego of the president, in suspending Ganzon is
exercising a valid power. He however overstepped by imposing a 600 day suspension.

2) Joson v Executive Secretary Torres (G.R. No. 131255. May 20, 1998)

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FACTS: A complaint against petitioner Governor Joson before the Office of the
President for belligerently barging into the session hall of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan in the company of armed men. The case was endorsed to the DILG. For
failure to file an answer after three (3) extensions, petitioner was declared in default
and ordered the petitioner 60-day preventive suspension. Petitioner later Motion to
Conduct Formal Investigation. DILG denied the motion declaring that the submission
of position papers substantially complies with the requirements of procedural due
process in administrative proceedings. Later, the Executive Secretary, by authority of
the President, adopted the findings and recommendation of the DILG Secretary. The
former imposed on petitioner the penalty of suspension from office for six (6) months
without pay.

ISSUES
Whether or not:
(a) Preventive suspension is proper;
(b) Procedural due process is violated;
(c) The resolution of DILG Secretary is invalid on the ground of undue delegation; that
it is the President who is the Disciplining Authority, not the Secretary of DILG;

RULING
(a) Yes. Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Disciplining Authority at any
time (a) after the issues are joined; (b) when the evidence of guilt is strong; and (c)
given the gravity of the offense, there is great probability that the respondent, who
continues to hold office, could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety
and integrity of the records and other evidence. The act of respondent in allegedly
barging violently into the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the
company of armed men constitutes grave misconduct. The allegations of
complainants are bolstered by the joint-affidavit of two (2) employees of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Respondent who is the chief executive of the province is
in a position to influence the witnesses. Further, the history of violent confrontational
politics in the province dictates that extreme precautionary measures be taken.

(b) Yes. The rejection of petitioners right to a formal investigation denied him
procedural due process. Section 5 of A. O. No. 23 provides that at the preliminary
conference, the Investigating Authority shall summon the parties to consider whether
they desire a formal investigation. This provision does not give the Investigating
Authority the discretion to determine whether a formal investigation would be
conducted. The records show that petitioner filed a motion for formal investigation.
There is nothing in the Local Government Code and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations nor in A.O. No. 23 that provide that administrative cases against elective
local officials can be decided on the basis of position papers. A.O. No. 23 states that
the Investigating Authority may require the parties to submit their respective
memoranda but this is only after formal investigation and hearing.

(c) No. The DILG resolution is valid. The President remains the Disciplining
Authority. What is delegated is the power to investigate, not the power to discipline.
The power to discipline evidently includes the power to investigate. As the
Disciplining Authority, the President has the power derived from the Constitution itself
to investigate complaints against local government officials. A. O. No. 23, however,
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delegates the power to investigate to the DILG or a Special Investigating Committee,
as may be constituted by the Disciplining Authority. This is not undue delegation,
contrary to petitioner Josons claim.

Under the doctrine of qualified political agency which recognizes the establishment
of a single executive, all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of
the Executive Department, the heads of the various executive departments are
assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief
Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person or the exigencies of
the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and
administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the
executive departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such departments,
performed and promulgated in the regular course of business, are, unless
disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive presumptively the acts of the Chief
Executive.

This doctrine is corollary to the control power of the President provided in the
Constitution. Control is said to be the very heart of the power of the presidency. As
head of the Executive Department, the President, however, may delegate some of his
powers to the Cabinet members except when he is required by the Constitution to act
in person or the exigencies of the situation demand that he acts personally. The
members of Cabinet may act for and in behalf of the President in certain matters
because the President cannot be expected to exercise his control (and supervisory)
powers personally all the time. Each head of a department is, and must be, the
Presidents alter ego in the matters of that department where the President is
required by law to exercise authority.

3) Salalima v. Guingona
GR No. 117589-92, May 22 1996

FACTS: This Supreme Court case involves four administrative complaints filed against Albay
Governor Salalima and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay. The complaints
seek to hold the petitioners liable for a) wanton disregard of law amounting to abuse of authority in
OP case 5470; b) grave abuse of authority under Section 60 (e) of the Local Government Code in
OP cae 5649; c) oppression and abuse of authority under Section 60 (c) and (e) of the Local
Government Code in OP case 5471 and d) abuse of authority and negligence in OP case 5450.
Relevant to our discussion on whether or not LGUs can hire private lawyers in cases filed against
it is OP case 5469.

The Province of Albay imposed real property tax against the National Power Corporation. The
latter, claiming that it is tax exempt, refused to pay the said tax liability. Due to its refusal to pay,
the Province of Albay took over the properties of NPC and sold them in an auction sale. The
Province was the sole bidder. Upon the failure of NPC to redeem the property, the Province
sought the issuance of a writ of possession from the Regional Trial Court. The NPC challenged

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this in a petition filed with the Supreme Court. The Province, through its legal office Atty. Ricaforte,
filed its comment on the said petition on May 17, 1989.

On June 2, 1989, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan issued Resolution No. 129-89, authorizing
Salalima to engage the services of a Manila-based law firm to handle the case. As such, on
August 25, 1989, Atty. Jesus Carnago entered his appearance with the SC as a collaborating
counsel. On November 14, 1989, Atty. Antonio Jose Cortes of Cortes and Reyna Law Firm sent a
letter to Salalima, informing him that Atty. Carnago had filed a memorandum in the SC. He then
proposed that his law firm and that of Atty. Carnago enter into a retainer agreement with the
Province in connection with the case. He charged 50, 000 as acceptance fee and a contingency
fee of 18%. In response to this, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed Resolution No. 01-90
authorizing Salalima to sign a retainer contract with Cortes and Reyna Law Firm.

On June 4, 1990, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Province. The latter then paid the
lawyers amounting to around 7 million. However, on May 31, 1993, the Provincial Auditor informed
the Province that COA had disallowed the payments for lack of prior written conformity of the
Solicitor General and a written concurrence of COA. An administrative complaint was later on filed
against the petitioners with the Office of the President.

The OP found that the petitioners incurred administrative liability in hiring private lawyers to defend
it in the NPC case.
OPs RATIO

Section 481 of the LGC states that the legal officer of the province has the duty to represent the
LGU in all civil actions and special proceedings wherein the LGU or any official thereof, in his
official capacity, is a party.

In the case Municipality of Bocaue v. Manotok, the Supreme Court ruled that the LGU cannot be
represented by private lawyers and it is solely the Provincial legal officer or provincial fiscal who
can represent it. A private lawyer has no standing in such a case.
Sec. 481 and Municipality of Bocaue v. Manotok are applicable in this case. In hiring the private
lawyers, the petitioners violated the LGC and the doctrine laid down by the Supreme court.
Moreover, the transaction was also full of irregularities.

The disbursement of 7M as payment was disallowed by COA for failure to comply with the
prerequisite conformity from the SolGen and the COA. Resolution 01-90 authorized Salalima to
contract with Cortes and Reyna Law Firm and NOT with Atty. Carnago. Salalima exceeded the
authority given to him in doing so. Only Atty. Carnago appeared as counsel in the NPC case. It
appears that Cortes and Reyna did not render any form of legal service in relation thereto.

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The provincial legal officer had already filed a comment in the SC. What Carnago filed was merely
a memorandum. The total attorneys fees of 38 Million is clearly unconscionable.

Because of these findings, the OP imposed the penalty of suspension for 6 months against Gov.
Salalima and Vice governor Azana, while the members of the SP were suspended for 4 months.
The petitioners appealed the case to the SC. In the meantime, the 1992 elections took place
wherein the petitioners were reelected.

ISSUE: WON the petitioners incurred administrative liabilities in hiring private lawyers to represent
the Province

HELD: Whether or not they incurred liabilities, they can no longer be held to answer for these in
view of the fact that they have already been reelected. Their reelection operates as condonation of
any misconduct committed in their prior term.

RATIO: In Pascual v. Pascual, the SC ruled that offenses committed or acts done in a previous
term are generally held not to furnish a cause for removal in the current term of office. This is
because each term is separate from other terms and that the reelection operates as a
condonation of the officers previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him
therefore. Such a rule is founded on the theory that an officials reelection expresses the
sovereign will of the electorate to forgive or condone any act or omission constituting a ground for
administrative discipline which was committed during the previous term. Also, sound policy
dictates such a rule. A contrary rule would open the floodgates to exacerbating endless partisan
contests between reelected officials and their political enemies who may not stop to hound the
former during his new term with administrative cases for acts alleged to have been committed
during his previous term.

RULING: OP Decision imposing penalties is reversed and set aside.

4) Berces, Jr. vs. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 112099. February 21,1995)
ACHILLES C. BERCES, SR., petitioner, vs.
HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., CHIEF PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL
COUNSEL ANTONIO CARPIO and MAYOR NAOMI C. CORRAL OF TIWI, ALBAY, respondents

FACTS: Petitioner filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan two administrative cases against
respondent incumbent Mayor and obtained favorable decision suspending the latter. Respondent
Mayor appealed to the Office of the President questioning the decision and at the same time
prayed for the stay of execution in accordance with Sec. 67(b) of the Local Government Code
(LGC). The Office of the President thru the Executive Secretary directed stay of execution.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was dismissed. Petitioner filed a petition for
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certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court with prayer for mandatory
preliminary injunction, assailing the Orders of the Office of the President as having been issued
with grave abuses of discretion. Petitioner argued that Sec. 68 of LGC (1991) impliedly repealed
Section 6 of Administrative Order No. 18 (1987).

ISSUE: Whether or not Sec. 68 of R.A. No. 7160 repealed Sec. 6 of Administrative Order No. 18.

HELD: NO. Petition was dismissed. Stay of execution applied.

RATIO: The first sentence of Section 68 merely provides that an appeal shall not prevent a
decision from becoming final or executory. As worded, there is room to construe said provision as
giving discretion to the reviewing officials to stay the execution of the appealed decision. There is
nothing to infer therefrom that the reviewing officials are deprived of the authority to order a stay of
the appealed order. If the intention of Congress was to repeal Section 6 of Administrative Order
No. 18, it could have used more direct language expressive of such intention.

An implied repeal predicates the intended repeal upon the condition that a substantial conflict
must be found between the new and prior laws. In the absence of an express repeal, a
subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior law unless an irreconcilable
inconsistency and repugnancy exists in the terms of the new and old laws.

5) Malinao v Reyes (G.R. No. 117618, March 29, 1996)


VIRGINIA MALINAO vs. HON. LUISITO REYES, in his capacity as Governor of the Province of
Marinduque, SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF MARINDUQUE and WILFREDO RED, in his
capacity as Mayor of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque

FACTS: Malinao filed an administrative case against Mayor Red for abuse of authority and denial
of due process with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque. On August 12, 1994,
members of the Sanggunian, by a vote of 5 to 3, found Red guilty, vote signed only by presiding
chairman. On September 5, the Sanggunian, voting 7 to 2, acquitted Red of the charges against
him. This vote was embodied in a Decision which was signed by all the members. Malinao argued
that the First Sanggunian decision had already become final and executory for failure of Red to
appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the second Decision is valid.

HELD: Yes, the second decision of acquittal is valid. In any case, this issue is already moot and
academic as a result of the expiration of Reds term during which the act complained of was
allegedly committed, and further proceedings are barred by his reelection. [Sec 66(b) LGC].
Reelection abates any administrative disciplinary proceedings against the local elective official.
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[Under Sec. 66 (b) of the LGC, the penalty of suspension cannot exceed the unexpired term of the
official and any administrative disciplinary proceeding against said official is abated if in the
meantime he is re-elected because such re-election is a condonation of whatever misconduct he
might have committed during his previous term. In order to render a decision in an administrative
case involving elected local officials, the decision of the Sanggunian must be in writing, stating
clearly the facts and the reasons for such a decision.

6) Sangguniang Barangay of Don Marcos v Punong Barangay Martinez

DOCTRINE: The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) or Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP)


cannot order the removal of an erring elective barangay official from office,
as the courts (RTC) are exclusively vested with this under Section 60 of the
LGC.

Thus, if the acts allegedly committed by the barangay official are of a grave nature
and, if found guilty, would merit the penalty of removal from office, the case should
be filed with the regional trial court. The most extreme penalty that the Sanggunian
may impose is suspension.

FACTS:
December 2004 Severino Martinez, Punong Barangay of Barangay Don Mariano
Marcos (Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya) was administratively charged with
Dishonesty, Misconduct in Office and violation of the Anti-Graft and Practices Act
by petitioner (Sanggunian Barangay) through the filing of a verified complaint
before the Sangguniang Bayan.
Pursuant to Section 61 of the LGC, the SB is the disciplining authority over
elective barangay officials.
Charges, among others (6 in all) were for failure to submit and fully remit to the
Barangay Treasurer the income of their solid waste management project
particularly the sale of fertilizer and recyclable materials derived from composting
and garbage collection. There was also a charge for failure to liquidate his
travelling expenses for the 2003 Lakbay-aral.
Martinez failed to file an Answer, thus was declared by SB in default,
July 2005 - the Sangguniang Bayan rendered its Decision which imposed the
penalty of removal from office.
August 2005 - The Decision was conveyed to the Municipal Mayor (Severino
Bagasao) for its implementation. Mayor issued a Memorandum, stating that SB is
not empowered to order Martinezs removal from service. However, the Decision
remains valid until reversed and must be executed by him.
Martinez filed a Special Civil Action for Certiorari with a prayer for TRO and
Preliminary Injunction before the trial court against SB and Mayor.
TC - Order of SB null and void. The proper courts, and not the petitioner, are
empowered to remove an elective local official from office, in accordance with
Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

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Note: Although Martinezs term as Punong Baranggay expired in 2007 and, thus,
rendering this petition moot and academic, the Court will nevertheless settle a legal
question that is capable of repetition yet evading review.

ISSUE/HELD: WON the Sangguniang Bayan may remove Martinez, an elective local
official, from office. NO. SC affirmed RTC. PETITION DENIED.

RATIO:

1. Textual
Section 60 of the Local Government Code conferred upon the courts the power to
remove elective local officials from office: Section 60. Grounds for Disciplinary
Actions.An elective local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from
office on any of the following grounds:
An elective local official may be removed from office on the grounds
enumerated above by order of the proper court.

2. Legislative Intent Only RTC


During the deliberations of the Senate on the LGC, the legislative intent to confine
to the courts, i.e., RTCs, the Sandiganbayan and the appellate courts, jurisdiction
over cases involving the removal of elective local officials was evident.

In Salalima v. Guingona, Jr., the Court en banc categorically ruled that the Office of
the President is without any power to remove elected officials. Court invalidated
Article 125, Rule XIX of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local
Government Code of 1991 (which provides that An elective local official may be
removed from office by order of the proper court or the disciplining authority
whichever first acquires jurisdiction to the exclusion of the other.

3. Ratio for making it an exclusive judicial prerogative


The Sanggunian Brgy contends that administrative cases involving elective
barangay officials may be filed with, heard and decided by the SP or SB concerned,
which can, thereafter, impose a penalty of removal from office. It further claims
that the courts are merely tasked with issuing the order of removal, after the SP or
SB finds that a penalty of removal is warranted.

This would counter the rationale for making the removal of elective officials an
exclusive judicial prerogative.
Pablico v. Villapando: It is beyond cavil, therefore, that the power to remove erring
elective local officials from service is lodged exclusively with the courts. The law
on suspension or removal of elective public officials must be strictly construed and
applied, and the authority in whom such power of suspension or removal is vested
must exercise it with utmost good faith, for what is involved is not just an ordinary
public official but one chosen by the people through the exercise of their
constitutional right of suffrage. Their will must not be put to naught by the
caprice or partisanship of the disciplining authority.

The rule is intended as a check against any capriciousness or partisan


activity by the disciplining authority.

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It must not be tainted with partisan politics and used to defeat the will of the
voting public. Congress itself saw it fit to vest that power in a more impartial
tribunal, the court. Furthermore, LGUs are not deprived of the right to discipline
local elective officials; rather, they are prevented from imposing the extreme
penalty of dismissal.

4. Courts not merely an implementing arm of SB


Argument of Sanggunian is an unmistakable breach of the doctrine on separation
of powers, thus placing the courts under the orders of the legislative bodies of
local governments. The courts would be stripped of their power of review, and
their discretion in imposing the extreme penalty of removal from office is thus left
to be exercised by political factions which stand to benefit from the removal from
office of the local elective official concerned, the very evil which Congress sought
to avoid when it enacted Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

Congress clearly meant that the removal of an elective local official be done only
after a trial before the appropriate court, where court rules of procedure and
evidence can ensure impartiality and fairness and protect against political
maneuverings. Elevating the removal of an elective local official from office from
an administrative case to a court case may be justified by the fact that such
removal not only punishes the official concerned but also, in effect, deprives the
electorate of the services of the official for whom they voted.

5. Power of the Sanggunian


As the law stands, Section 61 of the Local Government Code provides for the
procedure for the filing of an administrative case against an erring
elective barangay official before the SP or SB. However, the Sangguniang
cannot order the removal of an erring elective barangay official from
office, as the courts are exclusively vested with this power under Section
60 of the Local Government Code.

Thus, if the acts allegedly committed by the barangay official are of a


grave nature and, if found guilty, would merit the penalty of removal
from office, the case should be filed with the regional trial court. Once the
court assumes jurisdiction, it retains jurisdiction over the case even if it would be
subsequently apparent during the trial that a penalty less than removal from office
is appropriate. On the other hand, the most extreme penalty that the
Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan may impose on the
erring elective barangay official is suspension; if it deems that the
removal of the official from service is warranted, then it can resolve that
the proper charges be filed in court.

1. Exhaustion of administrative remedies is not inflexible


As a general rule, no recourse to courts can be had until all administrative
remedies have been exhausted. However, this rule is not applicable where the
challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction
and where the question or questions involved are essentially judicial.

In this case, it is apparent that the SB acted beyond its jurisdiction when it issued
the assailed Order removing Martinez from office. Such act was patently illegal
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and, therefore, Martinez was no longer required to avail himself of an
administrative appeal in order to annul the said Order of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Thus, his direct recourse to regular courts of justice was justified.
7) Hagad v. Gozo-Dadole (G.R. No. 108072, December 12, 1995)

FACTS: On July 22, 1992, criminal and administrative complaints were filed against Mayor
Ouano, Vice Mayor Canete and Councilor Mayol, all public officials of Mandaue City by Councilors
Dionson, Baricede. There respondents were charged with having violated R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), as amended,Articles 170 (falsification of legislative documents)
and 171 (falsification by public officers) of the Revised Penal Code; and R.A. No. 6713 (Code of
Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officers). The respondent officials were allegedly
causing alteration of Ordinance No. 018/92 by increasing the allotted appropriation from P3.5M to
P7M without authority from Sangguniang Panlungsod of Mandaue.

The respondent officials prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the
Ombudsman supposedly was bereft of jurisdiction to try, hear and decide the administrative case
filed against them since, under Section 63 of the Local Government Code of 1991, the power to
investigate and impose administrative sanctions against said local officials, as well as to effect
their preventive suspension, had now been vested with the Office of the President. On September
1992, a TRO against Hagad was filed and granted to the petitioners by RTC Mandaue to restrain
him from enforcing suspension.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ombudsman under RA 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1898) has been
divested of his authority to conduct administrative investigations over local elective official by
virtue of subsequent enactment of RA 7160.

HELD: No. The authority of the Ombudsman over local officials pursuant to RA 6770 is not
removed by LG Code of 1991.

There is nothing in the Local Government Code to indicate that it has repealed, whether expressly
or impliedly, the pertinent provisions of the Ombudsman Act. The two statutes on the specific
matter in question are not so inconsistent, let alone irreconcilable, as to compel us to only uphold
one and strike down the other . Well settled is the rule that repeals of laws by implication are not
favored, 16 and that courts must generally assume their congruent application. The two laws must
be absolutely incompatible, and a clear finding thereof must surface, before the inference of
implied repeal may be drawn. The rule is expressed in the maxim, interpretare et concordare
legibus est optimus interpretendi, i.e., every statute must be so interpreted and brought into
accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. The fundament is that the
legislature should be presumed to have known the existing laws on the subject and not to have
enacted conflicting statutes. Hence, all doubts must be resolved against any implied repeal, and
all efforts should be exerted in order to harmonize and give effect to all laws on the subject.

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The authority to conduct administrative investigation and to impose preventive suspension over
elective provincial or city officials was at that time entrusted to the Minister of Local Government
until it became concurrent with the Ombudsman upon the enactment of R.A. No. 6770, specifically
under Sections 21 and 24 thereof, to the extent of the common grant. The Local Government
Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), in fine, did not effect a change from what already prevailed, the
modification being only in the substitution of the Secretary (the Minister) of Local Government by
the Office of the President.

8) OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, petitioner, vs.


ROLSON RODRIGUEZ, respondent. G.R. No. 172700, July 23, 2010

CARPIO, J.:

SUMMARY: Two complaints for abuse of authority, dishonesty, misconduct, and neglect were filed
against P/B Rodriguez, one in the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental,
and another in the Ombudsman. The complaint before the Ombudsman was filed on Aug. 26,
2003; complaint in the SB was filed Sept. 1. SB served notice on Rodriguez on Sept. 8, while
Ombudsman did so on Sept. 10. After several motions filed, [allegation of forum shopping, motion
to dismiss filed by Rodriguez] the complainants eventually withdrew the SB complaint so they
could focus on the complaint with the Ombudsman. In the Ombudsman proceeding, Rodriguez
filed MTD, claiming that the SB still had jurisdiction because he never received a decision or
resolution dismissing that complaint. Complainants argued that the case was dismissed after the
Vice-Mayor granted their motion to withdraw. Rodriguez replied that the dismissal was invalid
because only the vice-mayor signed it. Later, Ombudsman rendered a decision dismissing
Rodriguez from his position, disqualifying him from public office, and forfeiting his benefits and
CSC eligibility. On appeal, CA reversed, holding that SB still had jurisdiction because it was the
first to serve notice on Rodriguez. On appeal by the Ombudsman, SC reversed CA and affirmed
the Ombudsman decision, ruling that the Ombudsman had concurrent jurisdiction with the SB
under RA 8749 and the LGC, because Rodriguez is a punong barangay (SG 14). Contrary to CA
conclusion and Rodriguez contention that jurisdiction is acquired by service of summons [thus SB
acquired jurisdiction first], in cases of 2 agencies exercising concurrent jurisdiction, the body in
w/c the complaint is filed first, and which opts to take cognizance of the case, acquires jurisdiction
to the exclusion of other tribunals exercising concurrent jurisdiction, and the jurisdiction continues
until the case is terminated. CAB: Complaint with the Ombudsman was filed first, so when it took
of cognizance of [opted to assume jurisdiction over] the case, jurisdiction had already vested, to
the exclusion of the SB. Ombudsman decision was thus rendered with jurisdiction and should be
upheld.

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DOCTRINE: Under LGC 60, the sangguniang bayan has no power to remove an elective
barangay official. Apart from the Ombudsman, only a proper court may do so. Unlike the
sangguniang bayan, the powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory. The
Ombudsman is clothed with authority to directly remove an erring public official other than
members of Congress and the Judiciary who may be removed only by impeachment.
Ombudsman has concurrent jurisdiction with the sangguniang bayan over administrative cases
against elective barangay officials with salary grade below 27, e.g., punong barangay. The rule
against forum shopping applies only to judicial cases or proceedings, not to administrative cases.

NATURE: Petition for review under ROC 45. Administrative complaint filed with the Ombudsman.

FACTS
Aug. 26, 2003 Ombudsman for Visayas (OMB) received a complaint against P/B Rolson
RODRIGUEZ of Sto. Rosario, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. The complaint alleged
abuse of authority, dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, and neglect of duty.
Sep. 1, 2003 Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Binalbagan, through Vice-Mayor Jose G.
YULO, received a similar complaint against Rodriguez. [no statement as to who the
complainants were]
Sep. 8, 2003 Yulo issued a notice ordering Rodriguez to file an answer within 15 days
from receipt of such notice.
Sep, 10, 2003 OMB required Rodriguez to file his answer.
Sep. 23, 2003 Rodriguez moved to dismiss the complaint in the SB for being baseless in
fact and in law. He also argued that the complainants violated the rule against forum
shopping.
Oct. 24, 2003 Rodriguez moved to dismiss the OMB complaint on the grounds of litis
pendentia and forum shopping, arguing that the SB had acquired jurisdiction on Sep. 8.
Complainants, through counsel, moved to withdraw the SB complaint to prioritize the OMB
complaint.
o Rodriguez insisted that the SB complaint be dismissed on the ground of forum
shopping
o Complainants admitted to forum shopping (LOL) and claimed that they were not
assisted by counsel when they filed the complaint.
Nov. 4, 2003 Yulo dismissed the SB complaint.
Jan. 29, 2004 OMB ordered both parties to file position papers. Rodriguez filed MR,
citing pendency of his MTD.
o MR denied. MTD is a prohibited pleading under AO 17, Rule III, Sec.5(g). OMB:
Magfile ka ng position paper.
o Rodriguez: Sige fa-file ako. SB still had jurisdiction over his person because he has
not received any resolution or decision indicating the dismissal of the SB case.

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o Complainants: There was no more complaint in the SB because Vice-Mayor Yulo
granted their motion to withdraw.
o Rodriguez rejoinder: Dismissal not valid because only the Vice-Mayor signed it.
Sep. 21, 2004 OMBUDSMAN DECISION
o Found Rodriguez GUILTY of dishonesty and oppression
o Rodriguez dismissed from service, w/ forfeiture of all benefits and civil service
eligibilites, and disqualification from public office.
o Rodriguez filed MR.
Jan 12, 2005 OMB directed the Mayor of Binalbagan to dismiss Rodriguez.
Rodriguez filed a petition for review with the CA.
May 8, 2006 CA DECISION
o OMB decision set aside for lack of jurisdiction
o Directed SB to continue hearing the case, as it acquired primary jurisdiction over
Rodriguez, to the exclusion of the OMB.
o BASIS: RoC 46, Sec. 4. SB was the first to serve notice on Rodriguez.
o OMB filed the present petition
OMB: Jurisdiction over the person is acquired once a body vested with jurisdiction takes
cognizance of the complaint. OMB was first to take cognizance of the complaint because
the SB complaint was filed later. Summons or notices do not vest jurisdiction over the
person in an administrative case. Consistent with the rule on concurrent jurisdiction, OMB
exercise of jurisdiction must be to the exclusion of the SB.
Rodriguez: When a competent body has acquired jurisdiction over a complaint and over
the person of the respondent, other bodies are excluded from exercising jurisdiction over
the same complaint. LGC IRR, Art. 124 provides that an elective official may be removed
by the proper court or by disciplining authority whichever acquires jurisdiction first to the
exclusion of the other. SB acquired jurisdiction first. Jurisdiction in administrative cases is
acquired by service of summons or other compulsory processes. Complainants committed
forum shopping when they filed two identical complaints in two disciplining authorities
exercising concurrent jurisdiction.

ISSUES (HELD)
1) W/N the complainants violated the rule against forum shopping when they filed in the
Ombudsman and the sangguniang bayan identical complaints against Rodriguez (NO)
2) Who acquired jurisdiction first - the sangguniang bayan or the Ombudsman? (Ombudsman)

RATIO
1) FORUM SHOPPING NOT APPLICABLE IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASES
The facts in this case are analogous to those in Laxina, Sr. v. Ombudsman, which likewise
involved identical administrative complaints filed in both the Ombudsman and the sangguniang
panlungsod against a punong barangay for grave misconduct. The Court held therein that the

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rule against forum shopping applied only to judicial cases or proceedings, not to
administrative cases. Thus, even if complainants filed in the Ombudsman and the sangguniang
bayan identical complaints against [Rodriguez], they did not violate the rule against forum
shopping because their complaint was in the nature of an administrative case.

2) OMBUDSMAN HAS CONCURRENT JURISDICTION WITH SB BUT COMPLAINT WAS FIRST


FILED WITH OMBUDSMAN
Constitution, Art. XI, Sec. 13(1): The Ombudsman shall have the following powers,
functions, and duties: (1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any
act or omission of any public official, employee, office, or agency, when such act or
omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.
Ombudsman Act, Sec. 15: The Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions,
and duties: (1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person,
any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or
omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction
over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary
jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of Government,
the investigations of such cases.
LGC 61(c): Form and Filing of Administrative Complaints. - A verified complaint against any
erring elective official shall be prepared as follows: (c) A complaint against any elective
barangay official shall be filed before the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang
bayan concerned whose decision shall be final and executory.
Primary jurisdiction of Ombudsman applies only in cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan.
In cases cognizable by the regular courts, Ombudsmans jurisdiction is concurrent with
other investigative agencies.
RA 8749 limits cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan to public officials with positions
salary grade 27 and higher. Punong barangay is salary grade 14, so no jurisdiction.
From the applicable laws, it is clear that the Ombudsman has concurrent jurisdiction with
the sangguniang bayan over administrative cases against elective barangay officials with
salary grade below 27, such as Rodriguez.
In administrative cases involving concurrent jurisdiction of 2 or more disciplining
authorities, the body in w/c the complaint is filed first, and which opts to take cognizance of
the case, acquires jurisdiction to the exclusion of other tribunals exercising concurrent
jurisdiction.
CAB: Since the complaint was filed first in the Ombudsman, and it opted to assume
jurisdiction over the complaint, the Ombudsmans exercise of jurisdiction is to the exclusion
of the sangguniang bayan.
Jurisdiction is a matter of law. Once acquired, it is not lost upon the instance of the parties
but continues until the case is terminated. CAB: When complainants filed their case

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before the Ombudsman, jurisdiction was already vested. Jurisdiction could no longer be
transferred to the sangguniang bayan by virtue of a subsequent complaint filed by the
same complainants.
Under LGC 60, the sangguniang bayan has no power to remove an elective barangay
official. Apart from the Ombudsman, only a proper court may do so. Unlike the
sangguniang bayan, the powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory. The
Ombudsman is clothed with authority to directly remove an erring public official other than
members of Congress and the Judiciary who may be removed only by impeachment.

DISPOSITION: Petition granted. Ombudsman decision upheld.

9) Talaga Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, et al.


G.R. No. 169888, Nov. 11, 2008

FACTS: Elan Recreation, Inc. filed criminal and administrative complaints against Mayor Ramon
Talaga Jr. The complaints "alleged that petitioner, in his capacity as mayor of the City of Lucena,
had unlawfully granted favors to a third party with respect to the operation of bingo games in the
city, to the damage and prejudice of the complainants".

The administrative case was dismissed but the criminal charges were retained and filed by the
Office of the Special Prosecutor. Three informations were filed against Talaga Jr. in violation of the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or R.A. 3019. Later, only one of the informations was retained
which alleges that Talaga Jr. gave "unwarranted benefits to Jose Sy Bang by approving an
ordinance granting to Sy Bang a local franchise to operate bingo games in the city". The
prosecution moved for the petitioner's preventive suspension for ninety (90) days in accordance
with Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019. The Sandiganbayan granted the motion. The petitioner, then,
filed the present Petition for Certiorari with an urgent application for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

Petitioner contends, among other things, that the information do not constitute an offense. He
claims that under R.A. No. 3019, the law which he allegedly violated, the information must allege
that the acts in question "caused injury to any party, whether the government or private party."

ISSUE: Whether or not the information filed against the petitioner is complete and constitutes the
offense to which he is being charged of.

HELD: Yes. Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, under which petitioner is charged, provides:

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Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers
already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public
officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
xxx
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party
any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative
or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
This provision shall apply to officers and employees charged with the grant of licenses or permits
or other concessions.

Contrary to the argument of petitioner, the law does not require that the information must allege
that the acts in question "caused injury to any party, whether the government or private party." The
presence of the word "or" clearly shows that there are two acts which can be prosecuted under
Section 3: First, causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, and, Second,
giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantages or preference. Moreover, in Quibal
v. Sandiganbayan,30 the Court ruled that violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 requires proof
of the following facts:

1. His action caused undue injury to the Government or any private party, or gave any party any
unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to such parties.

Section 9, Rule 110, Rules of Court provides the guideline for the determination of the validity or
sufficiency of allegations in an information, to wit:

SECTION 9. Cause of the Accusation. - The acts or omissions complained of as constituting


the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and
concise language and not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to
enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its
qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.

The test is whether the crime is described in intelligible terms with such particularity as to appraise
the accused, with reasonable certainty, of the offense charged. The raison d'etre of the rule is to
enable the accused to suitably prepare his defense.

Based on the foregoing test, the Information sufficiently apprises petitioner of the charges against
him. The Information charged the petitioner of evident bad faith and manifest partiality when as
Mayor of Lucena City, petitioner, in conspiracy with the City Council, gave unwarranted benefits to
Jose Sy Bang. Moreover, it states the specific act which constituted the giving of unwarranted
benefits, namely, granting unto the said Jose Sy Bang a local franchise to operate a bingo
business in Lucena City in violation of existing laws. These allegations are clear enough for a
layman to understand.
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Doctrine of Condonation

1) AGUINALDO vs. SANTOS, G.R. No. 94115, August 21, 1992

Pertinent provision of the Local Government Code: Section 60 Grounds for


Disciplinary Actions - In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
mandatory injunction and/or restraining order, petitioner Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo assails
the decision of respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March 19,1990 in
Adm. Case No. P-10437-89 dismissing him as Governor of Cagayan.

FACTS: Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan, having
been elected to said position during the local elections held on January 17, 1988, to
serve a term of four (4) years therefrom. On December 7, 1989, a sworn complaint
for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was filed
by Veronico Agatep, Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep, respectively the mayors of
the municipalities of Gattaran, Tuao and Lasam, all in Cagayan, against petitioner for
acts the latter committed during the coup. Petitioner was required to file a verified
answer to the complaint. In his letter, petitioner denied being privy to the
planning of the coup or actively participating in its execution, though he admitted
that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers.

Respondent Secretary considered petitioner's reply letter as his answer to the


complaint of Mayor Veronico Agatep and others. On the basis thereof, respondent
Secretary suspended petitioner from office for sixty (60) days from notice,
pending the outcome of the formal investigation into the charges against him. During
the hearing conducted on the charges against petitioner, complainants presented
testimonial and documentary evidence to prove the charges. Petitioner neither
presented evidence nor even cross-examined the complainant's witnesses, choosing
instead to move that respondent Secretary inhibit himself from deciding the case,
which motion was denied. Thereafter, respondent Secretary rendered the
questioned decision finding petitioner guilty as charged and ordering his
removal from office.

While this case was pending before this Court, petitioner filed his certificate of
candidacy for the position of Governor of Cagayan for the May 11, 1992 elections. As
petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections, the resolution paved the
way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan.

One of the three grounds petitioner relies on for this petition is that: the alleged act
of disloyalty committed by petitioner should be proved by proof beyond reasonable
doubt, and not be a mere preponderance of evidence, because it is an act punishable
as rebellion under the Revised Penal Code.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner should be removed from office on the ground of
disloyalty to the Republic.

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HELD: NO. Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has
rendered the administration case pending before the Court moot and
academic. It appears that after the canvassing of votes, petitioner garnered the most
number of votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan province. The rule is
that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed
during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the
officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him
therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminal cases pending
against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup.
Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or
removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is
charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and
penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner is not being
prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but
administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected
Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the
quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence.

WHEREFORE, petitioner is hereby GRANTED and the decision of public respondent


Secretary of Local Government dated March 19, 1990 in Adm. Case No. P-10437-89,
dismissing petitioner as Governor of Cagayan, is hereby REVERSED.

2) Atty. Salumbides, Jr. & Ara v. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.


G.R. No. 180917 : April 23, 2010

ATTY. VICENTE E. SALUMBIDES, JR., and GLENDA ARA, Petitioners, v. OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN, RICARDO AGON, RAMON VILLASANTA, ELMER DIZON,SALVADORADUL,
and AGNES FABIAN, Respondents.

FACTS:
Salumbides and Glenda were appointed as Municipal Legal Officer/Administrator and
Municipal Budget Officer, respectively, of Tagkawayan, Quezon. On May 13, 2002,
herein respondentsRicardo Agon, Ramon Villasanta, Elmer Dizon, Salvador Adul and
Agnes Fabian,all members of theSangguniang Bayanof Tagkawayan, filed withthe
Office of the Ombudsman a complaintagainst Salumbides and Glenda (hereafter
petitioners), the mayor, Coleta, Jason and Aquino. The administrative aspect of the
case charged petitionerset al. with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of
Duty, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and violation of the
Commission on Audit (COA) Rules and the Local Government Code. The Office of the
Ombudsman denied the prayer to place petitionerset al. under preventive suspension
pending investigation. By Order datedFebruary 1, 2005, approved onApril 11, 2005, it
denied the motion for reconsideration butdropped the mayor and Coleta, both
elective officials, as respondents in the administrative case, the 2004 elections
having mooted the case. The Office of the Ombudsman approved the September 9,
2005 Memorandumabsolving Jason and Aquino, and finding petitioners guilty of
Simple Neglect of Duty.

ISSUE: Whether or not the doctrine of condonation is applicable in this case.

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HELD: Court of Appeals decision is affirmed.

POLITICAL LAW: doctrine of condonation


The reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officers previous misconduct
to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor.The Court should never
remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office.To do
otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers.When the
people elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge
of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or
misconduct, if he had been guilty of any.It is not for the court, by reason of such faults
or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.Contrary to petitioners
asseveration, the non-application of the condonation doctrine to appointive officials
does not violate the right to equal protection of the law.The electorates condonation
of the previous administrative infractions of the reelected official cannot be extended
to that of the reappointed coterminous employees, the underlying basis of the rule
being to uphold the will of the people expressed through the ballot.In other words,
there is neither subversion of the sovereign will nor disenfranchisement of the
electorate to speak of, in the case of reappointed coterminous employees.It is the will
of the populace, not the whim of one person who happens to be the appointing
authority, that could extinguish an administrative liability.Since petitioners hold
appointive positions, they cannot claim the mandate of the electorate.The people
cannot be charged with the presumption of full knowledge of the life and character of
each and every probable appointee of the elective official ahead of the latters actual
reelection.

Moreover, as correctly observed by respondents, the lack of conspiracy cannot be


appreciated in favor of petitioners who were found guilty of simple neglect of duty, for
if they conspired to act negligently, their infraction becomes intentional. There can
hardly be conspiracy to commit negligence. Petitioners fell short of the reasonable
diligence required of them, for failing to exercise due care and prudence in
ascertaining the legal requirements and fiscal soundness of the projects before
stamping their imprimatur and giving their advice to their superior.

The appellate court correctly ruled that as municipal legal officer, petitioner
Salumbides failed to uphold the law and provide a sound legal assistance and support
to the mayor in carrying out the delivery of basic services and provisions of adequate
facilities when he advised the mayor to proceed with the construction of the subject
projects without prior competitive bidding. As pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor
General, to absolve Salumbides is tantamount to allowing with impunity the giving of
erroneous or illegal advice, when by law he is precisely tasked to advise the mayor on
matters related to upholding the rule of law. Indeed, a legal officer who renders a
legal opinion on a course of action without any legal basis becomes no different from
a lay person who may approve the same because it appears justified.

As regards petitioner Glenda, the appellate court held that the improper use of
government funds upon the direction of the mayor and prior advice by the municipal
legal officer did not relieve her of liability for willingly cooperating rather than
registering her written objection as municipal budget officer. Aside from the lack of
competitive bidding, the appellate court, pointing to the improper itemization of the
expense, held that the funding for the projects should have been taken from the
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capital outlays that refer to the appropriations for the purchase of goods and services,
the benefits of which extend beyond the fiscal year and which add to the assets of
the local government unit.It added that current operating expenditures like
MOOE/RMF refer to appropriations for the purchase of goods and services for the
conduct of normal local government operations within the fiscal year.

DENIED.

3) CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES, IN HER CAPACITY AS THE


OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS (SIXTH DIVISION) AND JEJOMAR ERWIN
S. BINAY, JR., Respondents.

Facts:
A complaint/affidavit was filed by Atty. Renato L. Bondal and Nicolas "Ching" Enciso VI
before the Office of the Ombudsman against Binay, Jr. and other public officers and
employees of the City Government of Makati (Binay, Jr., et al), accusing them of
Plunder11 and violation of Republic Act No. (RA) 3019, 12 otherwise known as "The Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act," in connection with the five (5) phases of the procurement
and construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building (Makati Parking Building).
The Ombudsman constituted a Special Panel of Investigators 14 to conduct a fact-finding
investigation, submit an investigation report, and file the necessary complaint, if warranted
(1st Special Panel). the 1st Special Panel filed a complaint 16 (OMB Complaint) against
Binay, Jr., et al, charging them with six (6) administrative cases 17 for Grave Misconduct,
Serious Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and six (6)
criminal cases18 for violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019, Malversation of Public Funds,
and Falsification of Public Documents (OMB Cases).
Binays First Term:
o Binay, Jr. issued the Notice of Award 21 for Phase III, IV and V of the Makati Parking
Building project to Hilmarc's Construction Corporation (Hilmarc's), and
consequently, executed the corresponding contract without the required publication
and the lack of architectural design,24 and approved the release of funds therefor.
Binays Second Term:
o Binay, Jr. approved the release of funds for the remaining balance of contract with
Hilmarc's for Phase V of the Makati Parking Building project; and
o Approved the release of funds for the remaining balance of the contract 48 with
MANA Architecture & Interior Design Co. (MANA) for the design and architectural
services covering the Makati Parking Building.
Before Binay, Jr., et al.'s filing of their counter-affidavits, the Ombudsman, the subject
preventive suspension order, placing Binay, Jr., et al. under preventive suspension for not
more than six (6) months without pay, during the pendency of the OMB Cases. 53 The
Ombudsman ruled that the requisites for the preventive suspension of a public officer are
present,54 finding that:
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o (a) the evidence of Binay, Jr., et al.'s guilt was strong given that
(1) the losing bidders and members of the Bids and Awards Committee of
Makati City had attested to the irregularities attending the Makati Parking
Building project;
(2) the documents on record negated the publication of bids; and
(3) the disbursement vouchers, checks, and official receipts showed the
release of funds; and
o (b) (1) Binay, Jr., et al. were administratively charged with Grave Misconduct,
Serious Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service;
o (2) said charges, if proven to be true, warrant removal from public service under the
Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS), and
o (3) Binay, Jr., et al.'s respective positions give them access to public records and
allow them to influence possible witnesses; hence, their continued stay in office may
prejudice the investigation relative to the OMB Cases filed against them.
Proceedings Before the Court of Appeals:
o Binay contends: that he could not be held administratively liable for any
anomalous activity attending any of the five (5) phases of the Makati Parking
Building project since: (a) Phases I and II were undertaken before he was elected
Mayor of Makati in 2010; and (b) Phases III to V transpired during his first term and
that his re-election as City Mayor of Makati for a second term effectively
condoned his administrative liability therefor, if any, thus rendering the
administrative cases against him moot and academic. 61In any event, Binay, Jr.
claimed that the Ombudsman's preventive suspension order failed to show
that the evidence of guilt presented against him is strong, maintaining that he
did not participate in any of the purported irregularities. 62 In support of his prayer for
injunctive relief, Binay, Jr. argued that he has a clear and unmistakable right to hold
public office, having won by landslide vote in the 2010 and 2013 elections, and that,
in view of the condonation doctrine, as well as the lack of evidence to sustain the
charges against him, his suspension from office would undeservedly deprive the
electorate of the services of the person they have conscientiously chosen and voted
into office.
At noon of the same day, the CA issued a Resolution 65 (dated March 16, 2015), granting
Binay, Jr.'s prayer for a TRO, 66 notwithstanding Pena, Jr.'s assumption of duties as Acting
Mayor earlier that day.
o The OMB manifested71 that the TRO did not state what act was being restrained
and that since the preventive suspension order had already been served and
implemented, there was no longer any act to restrain
Proceedings before the SC:
o In view of the CA's supervening issuance of a WPI pursuant to its April 6, 2015
Resolution, the Ombudsman filed a supplemental petition 99 before this Court,

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arguing that the condonation doctrine is irrelevant to the determination of whether
the evidence of guilt is strong for purposes of issuing preventive suspension orders.
The Ombudsman also maintained that a reliance on the condonation doctrine is a
matter of defense, which should have been raised by Binay, Jr. before it during the
administrative proceedings, and that, at any rate, there is no condonation because
Binay, Jr. committed acts subject of the OMB Complaint after his re-election in
2013.

Issues:
1. Whether or not the CA has subject matter jurisdiction to issue a TRO and/or WPI
enjoining the implementation of a preventive suspension order issued by the
Ombudsman;
2. Whether or not the CA gravely abused its discretion in issuing the TRO and
eventually, the WPI in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 enjoining the implementation of the
preventive suspension order against Binay, Jr. based on the condonation doctrine

Held:
1. YES
o OMB contends that the CA has no jurisdiction to issue any provisional injunctive writ
against her office to enjoin its preventive suspension orders. As basis, she invokes the
first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 in conjunction with her office's independence
under the 1987 Constitution. She advances the idea that "[i]n order to further ensure [her
office's] independence, [RA 6770] likewise insulated it from judicial
157
intervention," particularly, "from injunctive reliefs traditionally obtainable from the
courts,"158 claiming that said writs may work "just as effectively as direct harassment or
political pressure would."

A. The concept of Ombudsman independence.

Section 5, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the independence of the Office of
the Ombudsman:
o Section 5. There is hereby created the independent Office of the Ombudsman,
composed of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan, one overall Deputy and
at least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas[,] and Mindanao. A separate Deputy
for the military establishment may likewise be appointed.
Gonzales III v. Office of the President is the first case which grappled with the meaning of
the Ombudsman's independence vis-a-vis the independence of the other constitutional
bodies. the concept of Ombudsman's independence covers three (3) things:

First: creation by the Constitution, which means that the office cannot be abolished, nor

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its constitutionally specified functions and privileges, be removed, altered, or modified by
law, unless the Constitution itself allows, or an amendment thereto is
made;cralawlawlibrary

Second: fiscal autonomy, which means that the office "may not be obstructed from [its]
freedom to use or dispose of [its] funds for purposes germane to [its] functions; 168hence, its
budget cannot be strategically decreased by officials of the political branches of
government so as to impair said functions; and

Third: insulation from executive supervision and control, which means that those
within the ranks of the office can only be disciplined by an internal authority.

Evidently, all three aspects of independence intend to protect the Office of the Ombudsman
frompolitical harassment and pressure, so as to free it from the "insidious tentacles of
politics."

That being the case, the concept of Ombudsman independence cannot be invoked
as basis to insulate the Ombudsman from judicial power constitutionally vested
unto the courts. Courts are apolitical bodies, which are ordained to act as impartial
tribunals and apply even justice to all. Hence, the Ombudsman's notion that it can
be exempt from an incident of judicial power - that is, a provisional writ of injunction
against a preventive suspension order - clearly strays from the concept's rationale
of insulating the office from political harassment or pressure.

B. The first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 in light of the powers of Congress and the
Court under the 1987 Constitution.

The first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770 textually prohibits courts from extending
provisional injunctive relief to delay any investigation conducted by her office. Despite the
usage of the general phrase "[n]o writ of injunction shall be issued by any court," the
Ombudsman herself concedes that the prohibition does not cover the Supreme Court.

Despite the ostensible breach of the separation of powers principle, the Court is not
oblivious to the policy considerations behind the first paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770, as
well as other statutory provisions of similar import. Thus, pending deliberation on whether
or not to adopt the same, the Court, under its sole prerogative and authority over all
matters of procedure, deems it proper to declare as ineffective the prohibition against
courts other than the Supreme Court from issuing provisional injunctive writs to enjoin
investigations conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman, until it is adopted as part of the
rules of procedure through an administrative circular duly issued therefor.

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Hence, with Congress interfering with matters of procedure (through passing the first
paragraph of Section 14, RA 6770) without the Court's consent thereto, it remains that the
CA had the authority to issue the questioned injunctive writs enjoining the implementation
of the preventive suspension order against Binay, Jr. At the risk of belaboring the point,
these issuances were merely ancillary to the exercise of the CA's certiorari jurisdiction
conferred to it under Section 9 (1), Chapter I of BP 129, as amended, and which it had
already acquired over the main CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 case.

A. Subject matter of the CA's iniunctive writs is the preventive suspension order.

By nature, a preventive suspension order is not a penalty but only a preventive measure.
Its purpose is to prevent the official to be suspended from using his position and the
powers and prerogatives of his office to influence potential witnesses or tamper with
records which may be vital in the prosecution of the case against him
The law sets forth two (2) conditions that must be satisfied to justify the issuance of an
order of preventive suspension pending an investigation, namely:

(1) The evidence of guilt is strong; and

(2) Either of the following circumstances co-exist with the first requirement:
(a) The charge involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in
the performance of duty;cralawlawlibrary

(b) The charge would warrant removal from the service; or

(c) The respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against
him.

B. The basis of the CA's injunctive writs is the condonation doctrine.

Examining the CA's Resolutions in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 would, however, show that the
Ombudsman's non-compliance with the requisites provided in Section 24, RA 6770 was not the
basis for the issuance of the assailed injunctive writs.

The Ombudsman contends that it was inappropriate for the CA to have considered the
condonation doctrine since it was a matter of defense which should have been raised and passed
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upon by her office during the administrative disciplinary proceedings. 243 However, the Court
agrees with the CA that it was not precluded from considering the same given that it was material
to the propriety of according provisional injunctive relief in conformity with the ruling in Governor
Garcia, Jr., which was the subsisting jurisprudence at that time. Thus, since condonation was duly
raised by Binay, Jr. in his petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, 244 the CA did not err in passing upon
the same. Note that although Binay, Jr. secondarily argued that the evidence of guilt against him
was not strong in his petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453, 245 it appears that the CA found that the
application of the condonation doctrine was already sufficient to enjoin the implementation of the
preventive suspension order. Again, there is nothing aberrant with this since, as remarked in the
same case of Governor Garcia, Jr., if it was established that the acts subject of the administrative
complaint were indeed committed during Binay, Jr.'s prior term, then, following the condonation
doctrine, he can no longer be administratively charged. In other words, with condonation having
been invoked by Binay, Jr. as an exculpatory affirmative defense at the onset, the CA deemed it
unnecessary to determine if the evidence of guilt against him was strong, at least for the purpose
of issuing the subject injunctive writs.

With the preliminary objection resolved and the basis of the assailed writs herein laid down, the
Court now proceeds to determine if the CA gravely abused its discretion in applying the
condonation doctrine.

D. Testing the Condonation Doctrine.

Pascual's ratio decidendi may be dissected into three (3) parts:

First, the penalty of removal may not be extended beyond the term in which the public officer was
elected for each term is separate and distinct:

Offenses committed, or acts done, during previous term are generally held not to furnish
cause for removal and this is especially true where the constitution provides that the penalty in
proceedings for removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and disqualification
from holding office for the term for which the officer was elected or appointed.

The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms x x x.

Second, an elective official's re-election serves as a condonation of previous misconduct, thereby


cutting the right to remove him therefor; and

[T]hat the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the
extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor.

Third, courts may not deprive the electorate, who are assumed to have known the life and
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character of candidates, of their right to elect officers:

As held in Conant vs. Grogan, the Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior
to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect
their officers. When the people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they
did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his
faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such
faults or misconduct to practically overrule the will of the people.

The doctrine of condonation is actually bereft of legal bases.

To begin with, the concept of public office is a public trust and the corollary requirement of
accountability to the people at all times, as mandated under the 1987 Constitution, is plainly
inconsistent with the idea that an elective local official's administrative liability for a misconduct
committed during a prior term can be wiped off by the fact that he was elected to a second term of
office, or even another elective post. Election is not a mode of condoning an administrative
offense, and there is simply no constitutional or statutory basis in our jurisdiction to support the
notion that an official elected for a different term is fully absolved of any administrative liability
arising from an offense done during a prior term. In this jurisdiction, liability arising from
administrative offenses may be condoned bv the President in light of Section 19, Article VII of
the 1987 Constitution which was interpreted in Llamas v. Orbos293 to apply to administrative
offenses:

Also, it cannot be inferred from Section 60 of the LGC that the grounds for discipline enumerated
therein cannot anymore be invoked against an elective local official to hold him administratively
liable once he is re-elected to office. In fact, Section 40 (b) of the LGC precludes condonation
since in the first place, an elective local official who is meted with the penalty of removal could not
be re-elected to an elective local position due to a direct disqualification from running for such
post. In similar regard, Section 52 (a) of the RRACCS imposes a penalty of perpetual
disqualification from holding public office as an accessory to the penalty of dismissal from service.

To compare, some of the cases adopted in Pascual were decided by US State jurisdictions
wherein the doctrine of condonation of administrative liability was supported by either a
constitutional or statutory provision stating, in effect, that an officer cannot be removed by a
misconduct committed during a previous term, 294 or that the disqualification to hold the office
does not extend beyond the term in which the official's delinquency occurred. 295 In one
case,296 the absence of a provision against the re-election of an officer removed - unlike Section
40 (b) of the LGC-was the justification behind condonation. In another case, 297 it was deemed that
condonation through re-election was a policy under their constitution - which adoption in this
jurisdiction runs counter to our present Constitution's requirements on public accountability. There

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was even one case where the doctrine of condonation was not adjudicated upon but only invoked
by a party as a ground;298 while in another case, which was not reported in full in the official series,
the crux of the disposition was that the evidence of a prior irregularity in no way pertained to the
charge at issue and therefore, was deemed to be incompetent. 299Hence, owing to either their
variance or inapplicability, none of these cases can be used as basis for the continued adoption of
the condonation doctrine under our existing laws. At best, Section 66 (b) of the LGC prohibits the
enforcement of the penalty of suspension beyond the unexpired portion of the elective local
official's prior term, and likewise allows said official to still run for re-election.

Equally infirm is Pascual's proposition that the electorate, when re-electing a local official, are
assumed to have done so with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or
forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. Suffice it to state that no such
presumption exists in any statute or procedural rule. 302 Besides, it is contrary to human experience
that the electorate would have full knowledge of a public official's misdeeds. The Ombudsman
correctly points out the reality that most corrupt acts by public officers are shrouded in secrecy,
and concealed from the public.Misconduct committed by an elective official is easily covered up,
and is almost always unknown to the electorate when they cast their votes. 303 At a conceptual
level, condonation presupposes that the condoner has actual knowledge of what is to be
condoned. Thus, there could be no condonation of an act that is unknown.

It should, however, be clarified that this Court's abandonment of the condonation doctrine should
beprospective in application for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws
or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. 305 Unto
this Court devolves the sole authority to interpret what the Constitution means, and all persons are
bound to follow its interpretation. Hence, while the future may ultimately uncover a doctrine's error,
it should be, as a general rule, recognized as "good law" prior to its abandonment. Consequently,
the people's reliance thereupon should be respected.

E. Consequence of ruling.

As for this section of the Decision, the issue to be resolved is whether or not the CA committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
assailed injunctive writs.

It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal can only be considered as with grave abuse of
discretion when such act is done in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or
to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion and hostility. 311 It has also been held that "grave abuse of

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discretion arises when a lower court or tribunal patently violates the Constitution, the law
or existing jurisprudence."312

As earlier established, records disclose that the CA's resolutions directing the issuance of the
assailed injunctive writs were all hinged on cases enunciating the condonation doctrine. To
recount, the March 16, 2015 Resolution directing the issuance of the subject TRO was based on
the case of Governor Garcia, Jr., while the April 6, 2015 Resolution directing the issuance of the
subject WPI was based on the cases of Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor Garcia, and again, Governor
Garcia, Jr. Thus, by merely following settled precedents on the condonation doctrine, which at that
time, unwittingly remained "good law," it cannot be concluded that the CA committed a grave
abuse of discretion based on its legal attribution above. Accordingly, the WPI against the
Ombudsman's preventive suspension order was correctly issued.

With this, the ensuing course of action should have been for the CA to resolve the main petition
forcertiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 139453 on the merits. However, considering that the Ombudsman,
on October 9, 2015, had already found Binay, Jr. administratively liable and imposed upon him the
penalty of dismissal, which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding
public office, for the present administrative charges against him, the said CA petition appears to
have been mooted.313 As initially intimated, the preventive suspension order is only an ancillary
issuance that, at its core, serves the purpose of assisting the Office of the Ombudsman in its
investigation. It therefore has no more purpose - and perforce, dissolves - upon the termination of
the office's process of investigation in the instant administrative case.

F. Exceptions to the mootness principle.

This notwithstanding, this Court deems it apt to clarify that the mootness of the issue regarding
the validity of the preventive suspension order subject of this case does not preclude any of its
foregoing determinations, particularly, its abandonment of the condonation doctrine. As explained
in Belgica, '"the moot and academic principle' is not a magical formula that can automatically
dissuade the Court in resolving a case. The Court will decide cases, otherwise moot, if: first,
there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation
and the paramount public interest is involved; third, when the constitutional issue raised requires
formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth, the
case is capable of repetition yet evading review." 314 All of these scenarios obtain in this case:

First, it would be a violation of the Court's own duty to uphold and defend the Constitution if it
were not to abandon the condonation doctrine now that its infirmities have become apparent. As
extensively discussed, the continued application of the condonation doctrine is simply
impermissible under the auspices of the present Constitution which explicitly mandates that public
office is a public trust and that public officials shall be accountable to the people at all times.

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Second, the condonation doctrine is a peculiar jurisprudential creation that has persisted as a
defense of elective officials to escape administrative liability. It is the first time that the legal
intricacies of this doctrine have been brought to light; thus, this is a situation of exceptional
character which this Court must ultimately resolve. Further, since the doctrine has served as a
perennial obstacle against exacting public accountability from the multitude of elective local
officials throughout the years, it is indubitable that paramount public interest is involved.

Third, the issue on the validity of the condonation doctrine clearly requires the formulation of
controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public. The issue does not only involve
an in-depth exegesis of administrative law principles, but also puts to the forefront of legal
discourse the potency of the accountability provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The Court owes it
to the bench, the bar, and the public to explain how this controversial doctrine came about, and
now, its reasons for abandoning the same in view of its relevance on the parameters of public
office.

And fourth, the defense of condonation has been consistently invoked by elective local officials
against the administrative charges filed against them. To provide a sample size, the Ombudsman
has informed the Court that "for the period of July 2013 to December 2014 alone, 85 cases from
the Luzon Office and 24 cases from the Central Office were dismissed on the ground of
condonation. Thus, in just one and a half years, over a hundred cases of alleged misconduct -
involving infractions such as dishonesty, oppression, gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct -
were placed beyond the reach of the Ombudsman's investigatory and prosecutorial
powers."315 Evidently, this fortifies the finding that the case is capable of repetition and must
therefore, not evade review.

In any event, the abandonment of a doctrine is wholly within the prerogative of the Court. As
mentioned, it is its own jurisprudential creation and may therefore, pursuant to its mandate to
uphold and defend the Constitution, revoke it notwithstanding supervening events that render the
subject of discussion moot.

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