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[G.R. No. 144412.

November 18, 2003] Tagbilaran City Branch

b) April, 1982 to May, 1984
Lapulapu City Branch
c) June, 1984
GALANIDA, respondents. d) July, 1984 to April, 1986
Tagbilaran City Branch
DECISION e) May, 1986 to May, 1987
Dumaguete City Branch
CARPIO, J.: f) June, 1987 to August, 1987
Carbon Branch, Cebu City
g) September, 1987 to Sept. 1989
Lapulapu City Branch, Cebu
The Case
h) October, 1989 to Sept. 1992
Carbon Branch, Cebu City
Before the Court is a petition for review[1] assailing the Decision[2] of 27 April 2000 and the i) October 1992 to Sept. 1994
Resolution of 8 August 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51451. The Court of Appeals Jakosalem Regional Branch,
upheld the Decision[3] of 18 September 1998 and the Resolution of 24 December 1998 of the National Cebu City (Rollo, p. 47)
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC Case No. V-000180-98. The NLRC modified the
Decision dated 23 December 1997 of Labor Arbiter Dominador A. Almirante (Labor Arbiter) in NLRC Effecting a rotation/movement of officers assigned in the Cebu homebase, petitioner listed
Case No. RAB VII-05-0545-94 holding that Allied Banking Corporation (Allied Bank) illegally respondent as second in the order of priority of assistant managers to be assigned outside
dismissed Potenciano L. Galanida (Galanida). The NLRC awarded Galanida separation pay, of CebuCity having been stationed in Cebu for seven years already. Private respondent manifested
backwages, moral and exemplary damages, and other amounts totaling P1,264,933.33. his refusal to be transferred to Bacolod City in a letter dated 19 April 1994 citing as reason parental
obligations, expenses, and the anguish that would result if he is away from his family. He then filed a
complaint before the Labor Arbiter for constructive dismissal.
Antecedent Facts
Subsequently, petitioner bank informed private respondent (Rollo, p. 86) that he was to report to the
Tagbilaran City Branch effective 23 May 1994. Private respondent refused. In a letter dated 13 June
For a background of this case, we quote in part from the Decision of the Court of Appeals: 1994, petitioner warned and required of private respondent as follows:

Private respondent Potenciano Galanida was hired by petitioner Allied Banking Corporation on 11 There is no discrimination in your transfer. In fact, among the officers mentioned, only you have
January 1978 and rose from accountant-book(k)eeper to assistant manager in 1991. His appointment refused the new assignment citing difficulty of working away from your family as if the other officers
was covered by a Notice of Personnel Action which provides as one of the conditions of employment concerned do not suffer the same predicament. To exempt you from the officer transfer would result in
the provision on petitioners right to transfer employees: favoritism in your favor and discrimination as against the other officers concerned.

REGULAR APPOINTMENT: xxx It is understood that the bank reserves the right to transfer or assign In furtherance of maintaining a smooth and uninterrupted service to the public, and in accordance
you to other departments or branches of the bank as the need arises and in the interest of with the Banks order of priority of rotating its accountants places of assignments, you are well aware
maintaining smooth and uninterrupted service to the public. that Roberto Isla, AM/Accountant, assigned in Cebu for more than ten (10) years, was, on February
14, 1994, reassigned to Iligan City Branch and then to Cagayan de Oro City Branch on June 8,
1994. Hence, your objection on the ground of your length of service is without merit.
Private respondent was promoted several times and was transferred to several branches as follows:
a) January, 1978 to March, 1982
As discussed, your refusal to follow instruction concerning your transfer and reassignment to Bacolod forfeited in accordance with 04, V Administrative Penalties, page 6 of the Banks EDPP which provides
City and to Tagbilaran City is penalized under Article XII of the Banks Employee Discipline Policy and as follows:
Procedure [which] provides:
04. Dismissal.
XII Transfer and Reassignment Dismissal is a permanent separation for cause xxx
Refusal to follow instruction concerning transfers and reassignments. Notice of termination shall be issued by the Investigation Committee subject to the confirmation of the
President or his authorized representative as officer/employee who is terminated for cause shall not
First and subsequent offenses be eligible to receive any benefit arising from her/his employment with the Bank or to termination pay.
The penalty may range from suspension to dismissal as determined by management. The employee
shall be required to comply with the order of transfer and reassignment, if the penalty is not It is understood that the termination of your service shall be without prejudice to whatever legal
termination of employment. remedies which the Bank may have already undertaken and/or will undertake against you.

In view of the foregoing, please explain in writing within three (3) days from receipt hereof why no Please be guided accordingly. (Emphasis supplied)[8]
disciplinary action should be meted against you for your having refused to follow instructions
concerning the foregoing transfer and reassignment. xxx[4]
The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter
On 16 June 1994, Galanida replied that (w)hether the banks penalty for my refusal be
Suspension or Dismissal xxx it will all the more establish and fortify my complaint now pending at
NLRC, RAB 7.[5] In the same letter, he charged Allied Bank with discrimination and favoritism in After several hearings, the Labor Arbiter held that Allied Bank had abused its management
ordering his transfer, thus: prerogative in ordering the transfer of Galanida to its Bacolod and Tagbilaran branches. In ruling that
Galanidas refusal to transfer did not amount to insubordination, the Labor Arbiter misquoted this
xxx What I cannot decipher now under the headship of Mr. Olveda is managements discriminatory act Courts decision in Dosch v. NLRC,[9]thus:
of transferring only the long staying accountants of Cebu in the guise of its exercise of management
prerogative when in truth and in fact, the ulterior motive is to accommodate some new officers who As a general rule, the right to transfer or reassign an employee is recognized as an employers
happen to enjoy favorable connection with management. How can the bank ever justify the transfer of exclusive right and the prerogative of management (Abbott Laboratories vs. NLRC, 154 SCRA 713
Melinda T. Co, a new officer who had experienced being assigned outside of Cebu for more than a [1987]).
year only to Tabunok Branch? If the purpose is for check and balance, is management implying that
Melinda Co can better carry out such function over Mr. Larry Sabelino, who is a seasoned and The exercise of this right, is not however, absolute. It has certain limitations. Thus, in Helmut Dosch
experienced accountant or any of the Metro Cebu accountants for that matter? Isnt this act of vs. NLRC, et al. 123 SCRA 296 (1983), the Supreme Court, ruled:
management an obvious display of favoritism? xxx[6]
While it may be true that the right to transfer or reassign an employee is an employers exclusive right
On 5 October 1994, Galanida received an inter-office communication [7] (Memo) dated 8 and the prerogative of management, such right is not absolute. The right of an employer to freely
September 1994 from Allied Banks Vice-President for Personnel, Mr. Leonso C. Pe. The Memo select or discharge his employee is limited by the paramount police power xxx for the relations
informed Galanida that Allied Bank had terminated his services effective 1 September 1994. The between capital and labor are not merely contractual but impressed with public interest. xxx And
reasons given for the dismissal were: (1) Galanidas continued refusal to be transferred from the neither capital nor labor shall act oppressively against each other.
Jakosalem, Cebu City branch; and (2) his refusal to report for work despite the denial of his
application for additional vacation leave. The salient portion of the Memo reads:
Refusal to obey a transfer order cannot be considered insubordination where employee cited reason
for said refusal, such (sic) as that of being away from the family.[10] (Underscoring supplied by the
Therefore, your refusal to follow instruction concerning your transfer and reassignment Labor Arbiter)
to Bacolod City and to Tagbilaran City is without any justifiable reason and constituted violations of
Article XII of the Banks EDPP xxx
The Labor Arbiter reasoned that Galanidas transfer was inconvenient and prejudicial because
Galanida would have to incur additional expenses for board, lodging and travel. On the other hand,
In view of the foregoing, please be informed that the Bank has terminated your services the Labor Arbiter held that Allied Bank failed to show any business urgency that would justify the
effective September 1, 1994 and considered whatever benefit, if any, that you are entitled as transfer.
The Labor Arbiter also gave credence to Galanidas claim that Allied Bank gave Ms. Co special In this particular case, We view as impractical, unrealistic and no longer advantageous to both parties
treatment. The Labor Arbiter stated that Allied Bank deliberately left out Ms. Cos name from the list of to order reinstatement of the complainant. xxx For lack of sufficient basis, We deny the claim for 1994
accountants transferred to Cebu as contained in Allied Banks letter dated 13 June 1994. However, quarter bonus. Likewise, no attorneys fees is awarded as counsels for complainant-appellee are from
Mr. Regidor Olveda, Allied Banks Vice President for Operations Accounting, testified that the bank the City Prosecutors Office of Cebu.
transferred Ms. Co to the Tabunok, Cebu branch within the first half of 1994.
Still, the Labor Arbiter declined to award Galanida back wages because he was not entirely free WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated December 23, 1997 is
from blame. Since another bank had already employed Galanida, the Labor Arbiter granted Galanida hereby MODIFIED by increasing the award of separation pay and granting in addition thereto
separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiters Decision of 23 backwages, moral and exemplary damages. The respondent-appellant, ALLIED BANKING
December 1997 provides: CORPORATION, is thus ordered to pay to herein complainant-appellee, POTENCIANO L.
GALANIDA, the following amounts:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Allied
Banking Corporation to pay complainant the aggregate total amount of Three Hundred Twenty Four a) P336,000.00, representing separation pay
Thousand Pesos (P324,000.00) representing the following awards: b) P833,600.00, representing backwages
c) P 5,333.23 representing proportional 1994 13th month pay
d) P 20,000.00 representing refund of Provident Fund Contribution
a) Separation pay for P272,000.00; e) P 50,000.00 representing moral damages
b) Quarter bonus for 1994 P16,000.00; f) P 20,000.00 representing exemplary damages
c) 13th month pay for 1994 P16,000.00; ===========
d) Refund of contribution to Provident Fund - P20,000.00. P1,264,933.33 TOTAL AWARD

SO ORDERED.[11] All other claims are dismissed for lack of basis. The other respondents are dropped for lack of
sufficient basis that they acted in excess of their corporate powers.

The Ruling of the NLRC SO ORDERED.[12]

Allied Bank filed a motion for reconsideration which the NLRC denied in its Resolution of 24
On appeal, the NLRC likewise ruled that Allied Bank terminated Galanida without just cause. The December 1998.[13]
NLRC agreed that the transfer order was unreasonable and unjustified, considering the family
considerations mentioned by Galanida. The NLRC characterized the transfer as a demotion since Dissatisfied, Allied Bank filed a petition for review questioning the Decision and Resolution of the
the Bacolod and Tagbilaran branches were smaller than the Jakosalem branch, a regional office, and NLRC before the Court of Appeals.
because the bank wanted Galanida, an assistant manager, to replace an assistant accountant in the
Tagbilaran branch. The NLRC found unlawful discrimination since Allied Bank did not transfer several
junior accountants in Cebu. The NLRC also held that Allied Bank gave Ms. Co special treatment by
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
assigning her to Cebu even though she had worked for the bank for less than two years.
The NLRC ruled that Galanidas termination was illegal for lack of due process. The NLRC stated
that Allied Bank did not conduct any hearing. The NLRC declared that Allied Bank failed to send a Citing Dosch v. NLRC,[14] the Court of Appeals held that Galanidas refusal to comply with the
termination notice, as required by law for a valid termination. The Memo merely stated that Allied transfer orders did not warrant his dismissal. The appellate court ruled that the transfer from a
Bank would issue a notice of termination, but the bank did not issue any notice. regional office to the smaller Bacolod or Tagbilaran branches was effectively a demotion. The
appellate court agreed that Allied Bank did not afford Galanida procedural due process because there
The NLRC concluded that Allied Bank dismissed Galanida in bad faith, tantamount to an unfair was no hearing and no notice of termination. The Memo merely stated that the bank would issue a
labor practice as the dismissal undermined Galanidas right to security of tenure and equal protection notice of termination but there was no such notice.
of the laws. On these grounds, the NLRC promulgated its Decision of 18 September 1998, the
relevant portion of which states: The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the NLRC in its Decision of 27 April 2000, thus:

WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition is DISMISSED and the assailed Decision of public
respondent NLRC is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. [15] The Ruling of the Court

Allied Bank filed a motion for reconsideration which the appellate court denied in its Resolution
of 8 August 2000.[16] The petition is partly meritorious.

On 26 April 2001, Allied Bank appealed the appellate courts decision and resolution to the
Supreme Court. Allied Bank prayed that the Supreme Court: (1) issue a temporary restraining order
Preliminary Matter: Misquoting Decisions of the Supreme Court
or writ of preliminary injunction ex parte to restrain the implementation or execution of the questioned
Decision and Resolution; (2) declare Galanidas termination as valid and legal; (3) set aside the Court
of Appeals Decision and Resolution; (4) make permanent the restraining order or preliminary The memorandum prepared by Atty. Durano and, worse, the assailed Decision of the Labor
injunction; (5) order Galanida to pay the costs; and (6) order other equitable reliefs. Arbiter, both misquoted the Supreme Courts ruling in Dosch v. NLRC.The Court held in Dosch:

We cannot agree to Northwests submission that petitioner was guilty of disobedience and
The Issues insubordination which respondent Commission sustained. The only piece of evidence on which
Northwest bases the charge of contumacious refusal is petitioners letter dated August 28, 1975 to
R.C. Jenkins wherein petitioner acknowledged receipt of the formers memorandum dated August 18,
Allied Bank raises the following issues: 1975, appreciated his promotion to Director of International Sales but at the same time regretted that
1. WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS PRESENTED THERE IS LEGAL BASIS IN at this time for personal reasons and reasons of my family, I am unable to accept the transfer from the
PETITIONERS EXERCISE OF ITS MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVE. Philippines and thereafter expressed his preference to remain in his position, saying: I would,
therefore, prefer to remain in my position of Manager-Philippines until such time that my services in
2. WHETHER PRIVATE RESPONDENTS VIOLATIONS OF COMPANY RULES that capacity are no longer required by Northwest Airlines. From this evidence, We cannot discern
CONSTITUTE A GROUND TO WARRANT THE PENALTY OF DISMISSAL. even the slightest hint of defiance, much less imply insubordination on the part of petitioner.[19]
THAT ALLIED BANK AFFORDED PRIVATE RESPONDENT THE REQUIRED DUE The phrase [r]efusal to obey a transfer order cannot be considered insubordination where
PROCESS. employee cited reason for said refusal, such as that of being away from the family does not appear
anywhere in the Dosch decision. Galanidas counsel lifted the erroneous phrase from one of the
4. WHETHER UNDER THE FACTS, THERE IS LEGAL BASIS TO HOLD THAT PRIVATE italicized lines in the syllabus of Dosch found in the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA).
The syllabus of cases in official or unofficial reports of Supreme Court decisions or resolutions is
In sum, Allied Bank argues that the transfer of Galanida was a valid exercise of its management not the work of the Court, nor does it state this Courts decision. The syllabus is simply the work of the
prerogative. Allied Bank contends that Galanidas continued refusal to obey the transfer orders reporter who gives his understanding of the decision. The reporter writes the syllabus for the
constituted willful disobedience or insubordination, which is a just cause for termination under the convenience of lawyers in reading the reports. A syllabus is not a part of the courts decision. [20] A
Labor Code. counsel should not cite a syllabus in place of the carefully considered text in the decision of the Court.
On the other hand, Galanida defended his right to refuse the transfer order. The memorandum In the present case, Labor Arbiter Almirante and Atty. Durano began by quoting from Dosch, but
for Galanida filed with this Court, prepared by Atty. Loreto M. Durano, again misquoted the Courts substituted a portion of the decision with a headnote from the SCRA syllabus, which they even
ruling in Dosch v. NLRC, thus: underscored. In short, they deliberately made the quote from the SCRA syllabus appear as the words
of the Supreme Court. We admonish them for what is at the least patent carelessness, if not an
xxx His [Galanidas] refusal to transfer falls well within the ruling of the Supreme Court in Helmut outright attempt to mislead the parties and the courts taking cognizance of this case. Rule 10.02,
Dosch vs. NLRC, et. al., 123 SCRA 296 (1983) quoted as follows: Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall not knowingly
misquote or misrepresent the text of a decision or authority. It is the duty of all officers of the court to
cite the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Court accurately.[21]

Refusal to obey a transfer order cannot be considered insubordination where employee cited reason
for said refusal, such as that of being away from the family.[18] Whether Galanida was dismissed for just cause
We accord great weight and even finality to the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, the employees qualifications and competence, to rotate them in the various areas of its business
particularly when they affirm the findings of the NLRC or the lower courts.However, there are operations to ascertain where they will function with maximum benefit to the company.[31]
recognized exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are: (1) when the findings are grounded on
speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or Neither was Galanidas transfer in the nature of a demotion. Galanida did not present evidence
impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) when the showing that the transfer would diminish his salary, benefits or other privileges. Instead, Allied Banks
factual findings of the trial and appellate courts are conflicting; (5) when the Court of Appeals, in letter of 13 June 1994 assured Galanida that he would not suffer any reduction in rank or grade, and
making its findings, has gone beyond the issues of the case and such findings are contrary to the that the transfer would involve the same rank, duties and obligations. Mr. Olveda explained this
admissions of both appellant and appellee; (6) when the judgment of the appellate court is premised further in the affidavit he submitted to the Labor Arbiter, thus:
on a misapprehension of facts or when it has failed to consider certain relevant facts which, if properly
considered, will justify a different conclusion; (7) when the findings of fact are conclusions without 19. There is no demotion in position/rank or diminution of complainants salary, benefits and other
citation of specific evidence on which they are based; and (8) when the findings of fact of the Court of privileges as the transfer/assignment of branch officers is premised on the role/functions that they will
Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence but are contradicted by the evidence on record. assume in the management and operations of the branch, as shown below:
After a scrutiny of the records, we find that some of these exceptions obtain in the present case.
(a) The Branch Accountant, as controller of the branch is responsible for the proper discharge of the
The rule is that the transfer of an employee ordinarily lies within the ambit of the employers functions of the accounting section of the branch, review of documentation/proper accounting and
prerogatives.[23] The employer exercises the prerogative to transfer an employee for valid reasons and control of transaction. As such, the accounting functions in the branch can be assumed by any of the
according to the requirement of its business, provided the transfer does not result in demotion in rank following officers with the rank of: Senior Manager/Acctg.; Manager/ Acctg.; Senior Asst.
or diminution of the employees salary, benefits and other privileges. [24] In illegal dismissal cases, the Manager/Acctg.; Asst. Manager/Acctg.; Accountant or Asst. Accountant.
employer has the burden of showing that the transfer is not unnecessary, inconvenient and prejudicial
to the displaced employee.[25]
The constant transfer of bank officers and personnel with accounting responsibilities from one
branch to another is a standard practice of Allied Bank, which has more than a hundred branches 20. The transfer/assignment of branch officer from one branch, to another branch/office is lateral in
throughout the country.[26] Allied Bank does this primarily for internal control. It also enables bank nature and carries with it the same position/rank, salary, benefits and other privileges.The
employees to gain the necessary experience for eventual promotion. The Bangko Sentral ng assignment/transfer is for the officer to assume the functions relative to his job and NOT the
Pilipinas, in its Manual of Regulations for Banks and Other Financial Intermediaries, [27] requires the position/rank of the officer to be replaced.
rotation of these personnel. The Manual directs that the duties of personnel handling cash, securities
and bookkeeping records should be rotated and that such rotation should be irregular, unannounced
There is also no basis for the finding that Allied Bank was guilty of unfair labor practice in
and long enough to permit disclosure of any irregularities or manipulations. [28]
dismissing Galanida. Unfair labor practices relate only to violations of the constitutional right of
Galanida was well aware of Allied Banks policy of periodically transferring personnel to different workers and employees to self-organization [32] and are limited to the acts enumerated in Article 248 of
branches. As the Court of Appeals found, assignment to the different branches of Allied Bank was a the Labor Code, none of which applies to the present case. There is no evidence that Galanida took
condition of Galanidas employment. Galanida consented to this condition when he signed the Notice part in forming a union, or even that a union existed in Allied Bank.
of Personnel Action.[29]
This leaves the issue of whether Galanida could validly refuse the transfer orders on the ground
The evidence on record contradicts the charge that Allied Bank discriminated against Galanida of parental obligations, additional expenses, and the anguish he would suffer if assigned away from
and was in bad faith when it ordered his transfer. Allied Banks letter of 13 June 1994[30] showed that at his family.
least 14 accounting officers and personnel from various branches, including Galanida, were
The Court has ruled on this issue before. In the case of Homeowners Savings and Loan
transferred to other branches. Allied Bank did not single out Galanida. The same letter explained that
Association, Inc. v. NLRC,[33] we held:
Galanida was second in line for assignment outside Cebu because he had been in Cebu for seven
years already.The person first in line, Assistant Manager Roberto Isla, who had been in Cebu for
more than ten years, had already transferred to a branch in Cagayan de Oro City. We note that none The acceptability of the proposition that transfer made by an employer for an illicit or underhanded
of the other transferees joined Galanida in his complaint or corroborated his allegations of widespread purpose i.e., to defeat an employees right to self-organization, to rid himself of an undesirable worker,
discrimination and favoritism. or to penalize an employee for union activities cannot be upheld is self-evident and cannot be
gainsaid. The difficulty lies in the situation where no such illicit, improper or underhanded purpose can
As regards Ms. Co, Galanidas letter of 16 June 1994 itself showed that her assignment be ascribed to the employer, the objection to the transfer being grounded solely upon the personal
to Cebu was not in any way related to Galanidas transfer. Ms. Co was supposed to replace a certain inconvenience or hardship that will be caused to the employee by reason of the transfer. What then?
Larry Sabelino in the Tabunok branch. The employer has the prerogative, based on its assessment of
This was the very same situation we faced in Phil. Telegraph and Telephone Corp. v. Laplana. In (ii) A hearing or conference during which the employee concerned, with the assistance of
that case, the employee, Alicia Laplana, was a cashier at the Baguio City Branch of PT&T who was counsel if he so desires is given opportunity to respond to the charge, present his
directed to transfer to the companys branch office at Laoag City. In refusing the transfer, the evidence, or rebut the evidence presented against him.
employee averred that she had established Baguio City as her permanent residence and that such
transfer will involve additional expenses on her part, plus the fact that an assignment to a far place (iii) A written notice of termination served on the employee indicating that upon due
will be a big sacrifice for her as she will be kept away from her family which might adversely affect her consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been established to justify his
efficiency. In ruling for the employer, the Court upheld the transfer from one city to another within the termination.
country as valid as long as there is no bad faith on the part of the employer. We held then: The first written notice was embodied in Allied Banks letter of 13 June 1994. The first notice
required Galanida to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken against him for his refusal to
Certainly the Court cannot accept the proposition that when an employee opposes his employers comply with the transfer orders.
decision to transfer him to another work place, there being no bad faith or underhanded motives on
the part of either party, it is the employees wishes that should be made to prevail. On the requirement of a hearing, this Court has held that the essence of due process is simply
an opportunity to be heard. [42] An actual hearing is not necessary. The exchange of several letters, in
which Galanidas wife, a lawyer with the City Prosecutors Office, assisted him, gave Galanida an
Galanida, through counsel, invokes the Courts ruling in Dosch v. NLRC.[34] Dosch, however, is
opportunity to respond to the charges against him.
not applicable to the present case. Helmut Dosch refused a transfer consequential to a
promotion. We upheld the refusal because no law compels an employee to accept a promotion, and The remaining issue is whether the Memo dated 8 September 1994 sent to Galanida constitutes
because the position Dosch was supposed to be promoted to did not even exist at that time. [35] This the written notice of termination required by the Omnibus Rules. In finding that it did not, the Court of
left as the only basis for the charge of insubordination a letter from Dosch in which the Court found Appeals and the NLRC cited Allied Banks rule on dismissals, quoted in the Memo, that, Notice of
not even the slightest hint of defiance, much less xxx insubordination. [36] termination shall be issued by the Investigation Committee subject to the confirmation of the
President or his authorized representative.[43] The appellate court and NLRC held that Allied Bank did
Moreover, the transfer of an employee to an overseas post, as in the Dosch case, cannot be
not send any notice of termination to Galanida. The Memo, with the heading Transfer and
likened to a transfer from one city to another within the country, [37] which is the situation in the present
Reassignment, was not the termination notice required by law.
case. The distance from Cebu City to Bacolod City or from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City does not
exceed the distance from Baguio City to Laoag City or from Baguio City to Manila, which the Court We do not agree.
considered a reasonable distance in PT&T v. Laplana.[38]
Even a cursory reading of the Memo will show that it unequivocally informed Galanida of Allied
The refusal to obey a valid transfer order constitutes willful disobedience of a lawful order of an Banks decision to dismiss him. The statement, please be informed that the Bank has terminated
employer.[39] Employees may object to, negotiate and seek redress against employers for rules or your services effective September 1, 1994 and considered whatever benefit, if any, that you are
orders that they regard as unjust or illegal. However, until and unless these rules or orders are entitled [to] as forfeited xxx [44] is plainly worded and needs no interpretation. The Memo also
declared illegal or improper by competent authority, the employees ignore or disobey them at their discussed the findings of the Investigation Committee that served as grounds for Galanidas
peril.[40] For Galanidas continued refusal to obey Allied Banks transfer orders, we hold that the bank dismissal. The Memo referred to Galanidas open defiance and refusal to transfer first to
dismissed Galanida for just cause in accordance with Article 282 (a) of the Labor Code. [41] Galanida is the Bacolod City branch and then to the Tagbilaran City branch. The Memo also mentioned his
thus not entitled to reinstatement or to separation pay. continued refusal to report for work despite the denial of his application for additional vacation leave.
The Memo also refuted Galanidas charges of discrimination and demotion, and concluded that he
had violated Article XII of the banks Employee Discipline Policy and Procedure.
Whether Galanidas dismissal violated the The Memo, although captioned Transfer and Reassignment, did not preclude it from being a
requirement of notice and hearing notice of termination. The Court has held that the nature of an instrument is characterized not by the
title given to it but by its body and contents. [46] Moreover, it appears that Galanida himself regarded
the Memo as a notice of termination. We quote from the Memorandum for Private Respondent-
To be effective, a dismissal must comply with Section 2 (d), Rule 1, Book VI of the Omnibus Appellee, as follows:
Rules Implementing the Labor Code (Omnibus Rules), which provides:
The proceedings may be capsulized as follows:
For termination of employment based on just causes as defined in Article 282 of the Labor Code:
1. On March 13, 1994[47] Private Respondent-Appellee filed before the Region VII Arbitration Branch a
(i) A written notice served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds of termination, Complaint for Constructive Dismissal. A copy of the Complaint is attached to the Petition as Annex H;
and giving said employee reasonable opportunity within which to explain his side.
xxx Potenciano L. Galanida for the time his dismissal was ineffectual from 1 September 1994 until 4
October 1994.
5. On September 8, 1994, Petitioner-Appellant issued him a Letter of Termination. A copy of said Labor Arbiter Dominador A. Almirante and Atty. Loreto M. Durano are ADMONISHED to be more
letter is attached to the Petition as Annex N; careful in citing the decisions of the Supreme Court in the future.

6. Private Respondent-Appellee filed an Amended/ Supplemental Complaint wherein he alleged SO ORDERED.

illegal dismissal. A copy of the Amended/Supplemental Complaint is attached to the Petition as Annex
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Panganiban, Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
O; xxx [48] (Emphasis supplied)

The Memorandum for Private Respondent-Appellee refers to the Memo as a Letter of

Termination. Further, Galanida amended his complaint for constructive dismissal [49] to one for illegal
dismissal[50] after he received the Memo. Clearly, Galanida had understood the Memo to mean that EN BANC
Allied Bank had terminated his services.
G.R. No. 73002 December 29, 1986
The Memo complied with Allied Banks internal rules which required the banks President or his
authorized representative to confirm the notice of termination. The banks Vice-President for
Personnel, as the head of the department that handles the movement of personnel within Allied Bank, THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner,
can certainly represent the bank president in cases involving the dismissal of employees. vs.
Nevertheless, we agree that the Memo suffered from certain errors. Although the Memo stated ETC., respondents.
that Allied Bank terminated Galanidas services as of 1 September 1994, the Memo bore the date 8
September 1994. More importantly, Galanida only received a copy of the Memo on 5 October 1994,
or more than a month after the supposed date of his dismissal. To be effective, a written notice of D. Nacion Law Office for private respondent.
termination must be served on the employee.[51] Allied Bank could not terminate Galanida on 1
September 1994 because he had not received as of that date the notice of Allied Banks decision to
dismiss him. Galanidas dismissal could only take effect on 5 October 1994, upon his receipt of the
Memo. For this reason, Galanida is entitled to backwages for the period from 1 September 1994 to 4 NARVASA, J.:
October 1994.
Under the circumstances, we also find an award of P10,000 in nominal damages proper. Courts The Director of Lands has brought this appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Intermediate
award nominal damages to recognize or vindicate the right of a person that another has violated. Appellate Court affirming a decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, which ordered
The law entitles Galanida to receive timely notice of Allied Banks decision to dismiss him. Allied registration in favor of Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc. of five parcels of land measuring 481, 390
Bank should have exercised more care in issuing the notice of termination. square meters, more or less, acquired by it from Mariano and Acer Infiel, members of the Dumagat
WHEREFORE, the Decision of 27 April 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51451
upholding the Decision of 18 September 1998 of the NLRC in NLRC Case No. V-000180-98
is AFFIRMED, with the following MODIFICATIONS: The registration proceedings were for confirmation of title under Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No.
141 (The Public Land Act). as amended: and the appealed judgment sums up the findings of the trial
1) The awards of separation pay, moral damages and exemplary damages are hereby deleted court in said proceedings in this wise:
for lack of basis;
2) Reducing the award of backwages to cover only the period from 1 September 1994 to 4 1. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., represented by Mr. Rodolfo Nazario is a
October 1994; and corporation duly organized in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and
registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 23, 1959;
3) Awarding nominal damages to private respondent for P10,000.
This case is REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter for the computation, within thirty (30) days from 2. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., represented by Mr. Rodolfo Nazario can acquire
receipt of this Decision, of the backwages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits, due to real properties pursuant to the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation particularly on the
provision of its secondary purposes (paragraph (9), Exhibit 'M-l');
3. That the land subject of the Land Registration proceeding was ancestrally acquired by registration in favor of Acme Section 48, paragraphs (b) and (c), of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as
Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., on October 29, 1962, from Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel, amended, reads:
both members of the Dumagat tribe and as such are cultural minorities;
SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public
4. That the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines of 1935 is applicable as the sale domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not
took place on October 29, 1962; been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where
the land is located for confirmation of their claims, and the issuance of a certificate of title
5. That the possession of the Infiels over the land relinquished or sold to Acme Plywood & therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
Veneer Co., Inc., dates back before the Philippines was discovered by Magellan as the
ancestors of the Infiels have possessed and occupied the land from generation to generation xxx xxx xxx
until the same came into the possession of Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel;
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
6. That the possession of the applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., is continuous, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the
adverse and public from 1962 to the present and tacking the possession of the Infiels who public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, for at least thirty years
were granted from whom the applicant bought said land on October 29, 1962, hence the immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when
possession is already considered from time immemorial. prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed
all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title
7. That the land sought to be registered is a private land pursuant to the provisions of under the provisions of this chapter.
Republic Act No. 3872 granting absolute ownership to members of the non-Christian Tribes
on land occupied by them or their ancestral lands, whether with the alienable or disposable (c) Members of the National Cultural minorities who by themselves or through their
public land or within the public domain; predecessors-in-interest have been in open. continuous, exclusive and notorious possession
and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, whether disposable or
8. That applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., has introduced more than Forty-Five not, under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights
Million (P45,000,000.00) Pesos worth of improvements, said improvements were seen by the granted in subsection (b) hereof.
Court during its ocular investigation of the land sought to be registered on September 18,
1982; The Petition for Review does not dispute-indeed, in view of the quoted findings of the trial court which
were cited and affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court, it can no longer controvert before this
9. That the ownership and possession of the land sought to be registered by the applicant Court-the fact that Mariano and Acer Infiel, from whom Acme purchased the lands in question on
was duly recognized by the government when the Municipal Officials of Maconacon, Isabela, October 29, 1962, are members of the national cultural minorities who had, by themselves and
have negotiated for the donation of the townsite from Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., and through their progenitors, possessed and occupied those lands since time immemorial, or for more
this negotiation came to reality when the Board of Directors of the Acme Plywood & Veneer than the required 30-year period and were, by reason thereof, entitled to exercise the right granted in
Co., Inc., had donated a part of the land bought by the Company from the Infiels for the Section 48 of the Public Land Act to have their title judicially confirmed. Nor is there any pretension
townsite of Maconacon Isabela (Exh. 'N') on November 15, 1979, and which donation was that Acme, as the successor-in-interest of the Infiels, is disqualified to acquire and register ownership
accepted by the Municipal Government of Maconacon, Isabela (Exh. 'N-l'), during their of said lands under any provisions of the 1973 Constitution other than Section 11 of its Article XIV
special session on November 22, 1979. already referred to.

The Director of Lands takes no issue with any of these findings except as to the applicability of the Given the foregoing, the question before this Court is whether or not the title that the Infiels had
1935 Constitution to the matter at hand. Concerning this, he asserts that, the registration proceedings transferred to Acme in 1962 could be confirmed in favor of the latter in proceedings instituted by it in
have been commenced only on July 17, 1981, or long after the 1973 Constitution had gone into 1981 when the 1973 Constitution was already in effect, having in mind the prohibition therein against
effect, the latter is the correctly applicable law; and since section 11 of its Article XIV prohibits private private corporations holding lands of the public domain except in lease not exceeding 1,000 hectares.
corporations or associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain, except by lease not to
exceed 1,000 hectares (a prohibition not found in the 1935 Constitution which was in force in 1962 The question turns upon a determination of the character of the lands at the time of institution of the
when Acme purchased the lands in question from the Infiels), it was reversible error to decree registration proceedings in 1981. If they were then still part of the public domain, it must be answered
in the negative. If, on the other hand, they were then already private lands, the constitutional It is true that the language of articles 4 and 5 5 attributes title to those 'who may prove'
prohibition against their acquisition by private corporations or associations obviously does not apply. possession for the necessary time and we do not overlook the argument that this means may
prove in registration proceedings. It may be that an English conveyancer would have
In this regard, attention has been invited to Manila Electric Company vs. Castro-Bartolome, et recommended an application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it was not calculated
al, 1 where a similar set of facts prevailed. In that case, Manila Electric Company, a domestic to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in
corporation more than 60% of the capital stock of which is Filipino-owned, had purchased in 1947 two danger, if he had read every word of it. The words 'may prove' (acrediten) as well or better, in
lots in Tanay, Rizal from the Piguing spouses. The lots had been possessed by the vendors and, view of the other provisions, might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any
before them, by their predecessor-in-interest, Olimpia Ramos, since prior to the outbreak of the litigation. There are indications that registration was expected from all but none sufficient to
Pacific War in 1941. On December 1, 1976, Meralco applied to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, show that, for want of it, ownership actually gained would be lost. The effect of the proof,
Makati Branch, for confirmation of title to said lots. The court, assuming that the lots were public land, wherever made, was not to confer title, but simply to establish it, as already conferred by the
dismissed the application on the ground that Meralco, a juridical person, was not qualified to apply for decree, if not by earlier law. ...
registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act which allows only Filipino citizens or natural
persons to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect titles to public land. Meralco appealed, and a That ruling assumed a more doctrinal character because expressed in more categorical language,
majority of this Court upheld the dismissal. It was held that: in Susi:

..., the said land is still public land. It would cease to be public land only upon the issuance of .... In favor of Valentin Susi, there is, moreover, the presumption juris et de jure established in
the certificate of title to any Filipino citizen claiming it under section 48(b). Because it is still paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. 2874, amending Act No. 926, that all the necessary
public land and the Meralco, as a juridical person, is disqualified to apply for its registration requirements for a grant by the Government were complied with, for he has been in actual
under section 48(b), Meralco's application cannot be given due course or has to be and physical possession, personally and through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of
dismissed. the public domain openly, continuously, exclusively and publicly since July 26, 1984, with a
right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. So that
Finally, it may be observed that the constitutional prohibition makes no distinction between when Angela Razon applied for the grant in her favor, Valentin Susi had already acquired, by
(on the one hand) alienable agricultural public lands as to which no occupant has an operation of law not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not
imperfect title and (on the other hand) alienable lands of the public domain as to which an necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be
occupant has on imperfect title subject to judicial confirmation. sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is sufficient, under the provisions of section
47 of Act No. 2874. If by a legal fiction, Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a
Since section 11 of Article XIV does not distinguish, we should not make any distinction or grant of the State, it had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private
qualification. The prohibition applies to alienable public lands as to which a Torrens title may property, at least by presumption, of Valentin Susi, beyond the control of the Director of
be secured under section 48(b). The proceeding under section 48(b) 'presupposes that the Lands. Consequently, in selling the land in question of Angela Razon, the Director of Lands
land is public' (Mindanao vs. Director of Lands, L-19535, July 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 641, 644). disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title or control, and the sale thus made
was void and of no effect, and Angela Razon did not thereby acquire any right. 6
The present Chief Justice entered a vigorous dissent, tracing the line of cases beginning
with Carino in 1909 2 thru Susi in 1925 3 down to Herico in 1980, 4 which developed, affirmed and Succeeding cases, of which only some need be mentioned, likeof Lacaste vs. Director of
reaffirmed the doctrine that open, exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for Lands, 7 Mesina vs. Vda. de Sonza, 8 Manarpac vs. Cabanatuan, 9 Miguel vs. Court of
the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land, upon completion of the Appeals 10 and Herico vs. Dar, supra, by invoking and affirming the Susi doctrine have firmly rooted it
requisite period ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction, ceases to be public land in jurisprudence.
and becomes private property. That said dissent expressed what is the better and, indeed, the
correct, view-becomes evident from a consideration of some of the principal rulings cited therein, Herico, in particular, appears to be squarely affirmative:

The main theme was given birth, so to speak, in Carino involving the Decree/Regulations of June 25, .... Secondly, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 1942, which the respondent Court held
1880 for adjustment of royal lands wrongfully occupied by private individuals in the Philippine Islands. to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case, with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation
It was ruled that: for more than 30 years since 1914, by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest, title over
the land has vested on petitioner so as to segregate the land from the mass of public domain cannot defeat a right already vested before that law came into effect, or invalidate
land. Thereafter, it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. .... transactions then perfectly valid and proper. This Court has already held, in analogous circumstances,
that the Constitution cannot impair vested rights.
xxx xxx xxx
We hold that the said constitutional prohibition 14 has no retroactive application to the sales
As interpreted in several cases, when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision application of Binan Development Co., Inc. because it had already acquired a vested right to
are complied with, the possessor is deemed to have acquired, by operation of law, a right to a the land applied for at the time the 1973 Constitution took effect.
grant, a government grant, without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The land,
therefore, ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands That vested right has to be respected. It could not be abrogated by the new Constitution.
to dispose of. The application for confirmation is mere formality, the lack of which does not Section 2, Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution allows private corporations to purchase public
affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens agricultural lands not exceeding one thousand and twenty-four hectares. Petitioner'
title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. 12 prohibition action is barred by the doctrine of vested rights in constitutional law.

Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land xxx xxx xxx
which is of the character and duration prescribed by statute as the equivalent of an express grant
from the State than the dictum of the statute itself 13 that the possessor(s) "... shall be conclusively The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. 'A state may not impair
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled vested rights by legislative enactment, by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a
to a certificate of title .... " No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption, municipal ordinance, or by a change in the constitution of the State, except in a legitimate
confirmation proceedings would, in truth be little more than a formality, at the most limited to exercise of the police power'(16 C.J.S. 1177-78).
ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the required character and length of time; and
registration thereunder would not confer title, but simply recognize a title already vested. The xxx xxx xxx
proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land, but only confirm such a
conversion already affected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession
In the instant case, it is incontestable that prior to the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution the
became complete. As was so well put in Carino, "... (T)here are indications that registration was
right of the corporation to purchase the land in question had become fixed and established
expected from all, but none sufficient to show that, for want of it, ownership actually gained would be
and was no longer open to doubt or controversy.
lost. The effect of the proof, wherever made, was not to confer title, but simply to establish it, as
already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier law."
Its compliance with the requirements of the Public Land Law for the issuance of a patent had
the effect of segregating the said land from the public domain. The corporation's right to
If it is accepted-as it must be-that the land was already private land to which the Infiels had a legally
obtain a patent for the land is protected by law. It cannot be deprived of that right without due
sufficient and transferable title on October 29, 1962 when Acme acquired it from said owners, it must
process (Director of Lands vs. CA, 123 Phil. 919).<re||an1w> 15
also be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to make such acquisition, there being nothing in the
1935 Constitution then in force (or, for that matter, in the 1973 Constitution which came into effect
The fact, therefore, that the confirmation proceedings were instituted by Acme in its own name must
later) prohibiting corporations from acquiring and owning private lands.
be regarded as simply another accidental circumstance, productive of a defect hardly more than
procedural and in nowise affecting the substance and merits of the right of ownership sought to be
Even on the proposition that the land remained technically "public" land, despite immemorial
confirmed in said proceedings, there being no doubt of Acme's entitlement to the land. As it is
possession of the Infiels and their ancestors, until title in their favor was actually confirmed in
unquestionable that in the light of the undisputed facts, the Infiels, under either the 1935 or the 1973
appropriate proceedings under the Public Land Act, there can be no serious question of Acmes right
Constitution, could have had title in themselves confirmed and registered, only a rigid subservience to
to acquire the land at the time it did, there also being nothing in the 1935 Constitution that might be
the letter of the law would deny the same benefit to their lawful successor-in-interest by valid
construed to prohibit corporations from purchasing or acquiring interests in public land to which the
conveyance which violates no constitutional mandate.
vendor had already acquired that type of so-called "incomplete" or "imperfect" title. The only limitation
then extant was that corporations could not acquire, hold or lease public agricultural lands in excess
The Court, in the light of the foregoing, is of the view, and so holds, that the majority ruling
of 1,024 hectares. The purely accidental circumstance that confirmation proceedings were brought
in Meralco must be reconsidered and no longer deemed to be binding precedent. The correct rule, as
under the aegis of the 1973 Constitution which forbids corporations from owning lands of the public
enunciated in the line of cases already referred to, is that alienable public land held by a possessor, Indeed, it is worth noting that the majority opinion, as well as the concurring opinions of Chief Justice
personally or through his predecessors-in-interest, openly, continuously and exclusively for the Fernando and Justice Abad Santos, in Meralco rested chiefly on the proposition that the petitioner
prescribed statutory period (30 years under The Public Land Act, as amended) is converted to private therein, a juridical person, was disqualified from applying for confirmation of an imperfect title to public
property by the mere lapse or completion of said period, ipso jure. Following that rule and on the land under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Reference to the 1973 Constitution and its Article
basis of the undisputed facts, the land subject of this appeal was already private property at the time XIV, Section 11, was only tangential limited to a brief paragraph in the main opinion, and may, in that
it was acquired from the Infiels by Acme. Acme thereby acquired a registrable title, there being at the context, be considered as essentially obiter. Meralco, in short, decided no constitutional question.
time no prohibition against said corporation's holding or owning private land. The objection that, as a
juridical person, Acme is not qualified to apply for judicial confirmation of title under section 48(b) of WHEREFORE, there being no reversible error in the appealed judgment of the Intermediate Appellate
the Public Land Act is technical, rather than substantial and, again, finds its answer in the dissent Court, the same is hereby affirmed, without costs in this instance.
in Meralco:
6. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the
Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for Feria, Yap, Fernan, Alampay, Cruz, Paras and Feliciano, JJ., concur.
confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court
actions. Assuming that there was a technical error not having filed the application for
registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors, still it is
conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco
and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect
in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result G.R. No. 84850 June 29, 1989
of their application being granted, because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by
operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not RICARDO A. LLAMADO, petitioner,
be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in vs.
their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LEON GAW, respondents.
years dispose of it here and now. (See Francisco vs. City of Davao)
Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioner.
The ends of justice would best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for
confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original FELICIANO, J.:
persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title
that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and Petitioner Ricardo A. Llamado was Treasurer of Pan Asia Finance Corporation. Together with Jacinto
who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly N. Pascual, Sr., President of the same corporation, petitioner Llamado was prosecuted for violation of
qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 in Criminal Case No. 85-38653, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49.
to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. The two (2) had co-signed a postdated check payable to private respondent Leon Gaw in the amount
of P186,500.00, which check was dishonored for lack of sufficient funds.
There is also nothing to prevent Acme from reconveying the lands to the Infiels and the latter from
themselves applying for confirmation of title and, after issuance of the certificate/s of title in their In a decision dated 10 March 1987, the trial court convicted the petitioner alone, since jurisdiction
names, deeding the lands back to Acme. But this would be merely indulging in empty charades, over the person of Pascual, who had thoughtfully fled the country, had not been obtained. Petitioner
whereas the same result is more efficaciously and speedily obtained, with no prejudice to anyone, by was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of one (1) year of prision correccional and to pay a fine of
a liberal application of the rule on amendment to conform to the evidence suggested in the dissent P 200,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Petitioner was also required to
in Meralco. reimburse respondent Gaw the amount of P186,500.00 plus the cost of suit.

While this opinion seemingly reverses an earlier ruling of comparatively recent vintage, in a real On 20 March 1987, after the decision of the trial court was read to him, petitioner through counsel
sense, it breaks no precedent, but only reaffirms and re-established, as it were, doctrines the orally manifested that he was taking an appeal. Having been so notified, the trial court on the same
soundness of which has passed the test of searching examination and inquiry in many past cases. day ordered the forwarding of the records of the case to the Court of Appeals. On 9 July 1987,
petitioner through his counsel received from the Court of Appeals a notice to file his Appellant's Brief P.D. No. 968, known as the Probation Law of 1976, was promulgated on 24 July 1976. Section 4 of
within thirty (30) days. Petitioner managed to secure several extensions of time within which to file his this statute provided as follows:
brief, the last extension expiring on 18 November 1987. 1
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the court
Petitioner Llamado, even while his Appellant's Brief was being finalized by his then counsel of record, may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant and upon application at
sought advice from another counselor. On 30 November 1987, petitioner, with the assistance of his any time of said defendant, suspend the execution of said sentence and place the
new counsel, filed in the Regional Trial Court a Petition for Probation invoking Presidential Decree defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may
No. 968, as amended. The Petition was not, however, accepted by the lower court, since the records deem best.
of the case had already been forwarded to the Court of Appeals.
Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or
Petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals Manifestation and Petition for Probation" dated 16 a fine only. An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court, with notice to
November 1987, enclosing a copy of the Petition for Probation that he had submitted to the trial court. the appellate court if an appeal has been taken from the sentence of conviction.
Petitioner asked the Court of Appeals to grant his Petition for Probation or, in the alternative, to The filing of the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal, or the
remand the Petition back to the trial court, together with the records of the criminal case, for automatic withdrawal of a pending appeal.
consideration and approval under P.D. No. 968, as amended. At the same time, petitioner prayed that
the running of the period for the filing of his Appellant's Brief be held in abeyance until after the Court An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (Emphasis supplied)
of Appeals shall have acted on his Petition for Probation.
It will be noted that under Section 4 of P.D. No. 968, the trial court could grant an application for
In a "Manifestation and Motion" dated 3 March 1988 and filed with the Court of Appeals, petitioner probation "at any time" "after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant" and certainly after
formally withdrew his appeal conditioned, however, on the approval of his Petition for Probation. 2 "an appeal has been taken from the sentence of conviction." Thus, the filing of the application for
probation was "deemed [to constitute] automatic withdrawal of a pending appeal."
Complying with a Resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a
Comment stating that it had no objection to petitioner Llamado's application for probation. Private On 1 December 1977, Section 4 of P.D. No. 968 was amended by P.D. No. 1257 so as to read as
respondent-complainant, upon the other hand, sought and obtained leave to file a Comment on follows:
petitioner Llamado's application for probation, to which Comment, petitioner filed a Reply. Private
respondent then filed his "Comment" on the Office of the Solicitor General's Comment of 18 March Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the court may,
1988. senteafter it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant but before he begins to
serve his sentence and upon his application, suspend the execution of said sentence
In a Resolution dated 17 June 1988, the Court of Appeals, through Mr. Justice Magsino, denied the and place the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and
Petition for Probation. A dissenting opinion was filed by Mr. Justice Bellosillo while Mr. Justice conditions as it may deem best.
Santiago submitted a concurring opinion. Petitioner moved for reconsideration which Motion was
denied by the Court of Appeals on 23 August 1988, with another, briefer, dissenting opinion from Mr. The prosecuting officer concerned shall be notified by the court of the filing of the application for
Justice Bellosillo. probation and he may submit his comment on such application within ten days from receipt of the
Petitioner now asks this Court to review and reverse the opinion of the majority in the Court of
Appeals and, in effect, to accept and adopt the dissenting opinion as its own. Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or
a fine with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. An application for probation
The issue to be resolved here is whether or not petitioner's application for probation which was filed shall be filed with the trial court, with notice to the appellate court if an appeal has
after a notice of appeal had been filed with the trial court, after the records of the case had been been taken from the sentence of conviction. The filing of the application shall be
forwarded to the Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals had issued the notice to file Appellant's deemed a waiver of the right to appeal, or the automatic withdrawal of a pending
Brief, after several extensions of time to file Appellant's Brief had been sought from and granted by appeal. In the latter case, however, if the application is filed on or after the date of the
the Court of Appeals but before actual filing of such brief, is barred under P.D. No. 968, as amended.
judgment of the appellate court, said application shall be acted upon by the trial court an application for probation can no longer be filed once an appeal is perfected; there can, therefore,
on the basis of the judgment of the appellate court. (Emphasis supplied) be no pending appeal that would have to be withdrawn.

Examination of Section 4, after its amendment by P.D. No. 1257, reveals that it had established a In applying Section 4 in the form it exists today (and at the time petitioner Llamado was convicted by
prolonged but definite period during which an application for probation may be granted by the trial the trial court), to the instant case, we must then inquire whether petitioner Llamado had submitted
court. That period was: 'After [the trial court] shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant but his application for probation "within the period for perfecting an appeal." Put a little differently, the
before he begins to serve his sentence." Clearly, the cut-off time-commencement of service of question is whether by the time petitioner Llamado's application was filed, he had already "perfected
sentence-takes place not only after an appeal has been taken from the sentence of conviction, but an appeal" from the judgment of conviction of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
even after judgement has been rendered by the appellate court and after judgment has become final.
Indeed, in this last situation, Section 4, as amended by P.D. No. 1257 provides that "the application The period for perfecting an appeal from a judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court, under
[for probation] shall be acted upon by the trial court on the basis of the judgment of the appellate Section 39 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Section 19 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines for the
court"; for the appellate court might have increased or reduced the original penalty imposed by the Implementation of B.P. Blg. 129 and under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, or
trial court. It would seem beyond dispute then that had the present case arisen while Section 4 of the more specifically Section 5 of Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Court, is fifteen (15) days from the
statute as amended by P.D. No. 1257 was still in effect, petitioner Llamado's application for probation promulgation or notice of the judgment appealed from. It is also clear from Section 3 (a) of Rule 122
would have had to be granted. Mr. Llamado's application for probation was filed well before the cut-off that such appeal is taken or perfected by simply filing a notice of appeal with the Regional Trial Court
time established by Section 4 as then amended by P.D. No. 1257. which rendered the judgment appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the People of the
Philippines. As noted earlier, petitioner Llamado had manifested orally and in open court his intention
On 5 October 1985, however, Section 4 of the Probation Law of 1976 was once again amended. This to appeal at the time of promulgation of the judgment of conviction, a manifestation at least equivalent
time by P.D. No. 1990. As so amended and in its present form, Section 4 reads as follows: to a written notice of appeal and treated as such by the Regional Trial Court.

Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the trial court Petitioner urges, however, that the phrase "period for perfecting an appeal" and the clause "if the
may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction" found in Section 4 in its current
application by said defendant within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the form, should not be interpreted to refer to Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Court; and that the
execution of the sentence and place the defendant on probation for such period and "whereas" or preambulatory clauses of P.D. No. 1990 did not specify a period of fifteen (15) days for
upon such terms and conditions as it may deem best; Provided, That no application perfecting an appeal. 3 It is also urged that "the true legislative intent of the amendment (P.D. No.
for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected an appeal 1990) should not apply to petitioner who filed his Petition for probation at the earliest opportunity then
from the judgment of conviction. prevailing and withdrew his appeal." 4

Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or Petitioner invokes the dissenting opinion rendered by Mr. Justice Bellosillo in the Court of Appeals.
a fine only An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court. The filing of Petitioner then asks us to have recourse to "the cardinal rule in statutory construction" that "penal
the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal. laws [should] be liberally construed in favor of the accused," and to avoid "a too literal and strict
application of the proviso in P.D. No. 1990" which would "defeat the manifest purpose or policy for
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (Emphasis supplied) which the [probation law] was enacted-."

In sharp contrast with Section 4 as amended by PD No. 1257, in its present form, Section 4 We find ourselves unable to accept the eloquently stated arguments of petitioner's counsel and the
establishes a much narrower period during which an application for probation may be filed with the dissenting opinion. We are unable to persuade ourselves that Section 4 as it now stands, in
trial court: "after [the trial court] shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant and within the authorizing the trial court to grant probation "upon application by [the] defendant within the period for
period for perfecting an appeal ." As if to provide emphasis, a new proviso was appended to the perfecting an appeal" and in reiterating in the proviso that
first paragraph of Section 4 that expressly prohibits the grant of an application for probation "if the
defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction." It is worthy of note too that no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has
Section 4 in its present form has dropped the phrase which said that the filing of an application for perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction.
probation means "the automatic withdrawal of a pending appeal". The deletion is quite logical since
did not really mean to refer to the fifteen-day period established, as indicated above, by B.P. Blg. 129, application will surely follow, making, we might add, stability and continuity in the law much more
the Interim Rules and Guidelines Implementing B.P. Blg. 129 and the 1985 Rules on Criminal difficult to achieve:
Procedure, but rather to some vague and undefined time, i.e., "the earliest opportunity" to withdraw
the defendant's appeal. The whereas clauses invoked by petitioner did not, of course, refer to the . . . [w]here language is plain, subtle refinements which tinge words so as to give
fifteen-day period. There was absolutely no reason why they should have so referred to that period for them the color of a particular judicial theory are not only unnecessary but decidedly
the operative words of Section 4 already do refer, in our view, to such fifteen-day harmful. That which has caused so much confusion in the law, which has made it so
period. Whereas clauses do not form part of a statute, strictly speaking; they are not part of difficult for the public to understand and know what the law is with respect to a given
the operative language of the statute. 5 Nonetheless, whereas clauses may be helpful to the extent matter, is in considerable measure the unwarranted interference by judicial tribunals
they articulate the general purpose or reason underlying a new enactment, in the present case, an with the English language as found in statutes and contracts, cutting the words here
enactment which drastically but clearly changed the substantive content of Section 4 existing before and inserting them there, making them fit personal ideas of what the legislature ought
the promulgation of P.D. No. 1990. Whereas clauses, however, cannot control the specific terms of to have done or what parties should have agreed upon, giving them meanings which
the statute; in the instant case, the whereas clauses of P.D. No. 1990 do not purport to control or they do not ordinarily have cutting, trimming, fitting, changing and coloring until
modify the terms of Section 4 as amended. Upon the other hand, the term "period for perfecting an lawyers themselves are unable to advise their clients as to the meaning of a given
appeal" used in Section 4 may be seen to furnish specification for the loose language "first statute or contract until it has been submitted to some court for its interpretation and
opportunity" employed in the fourth whereas clause. "Perfection of an appeal" is, of course, a term of construction. 6
art but it is a term of art widely understood by lawyers and judges and Section 4 of the Probation Law
addresses itself essentially to judges and lawyers. "Perfecting an appeal" has no sensible meaning The point in this warning may be expected to become sharper as our people's grasp of English is
apart from the meaning given to those words in our procedural law and so the law-making agency steadily attenuated.
could only have intended to refer to the meaning of those words in the context of procedural law.
There is another and more fundamental reason why a judge must read a statute as the legislative
Turning to petitioner's invocation of "liberal interpretation" of penal statutes, we note at the outset that authority wrote it, not as he would prefer it to have been written. The words to be given meaning
the Probation Law is not a penal statute. We, however, understand petitioner's argument to be really whether they be found in the Constitution or in a statute, define and therefore limit the authority and
that any statutory language that appears to favor the accused in a criminal case should be given a discretion of the judges who must apply those words. If judges may, under cover of seeking the "true
"liberal interpretation." Courts, however, have no authority to invoke "liberal interpretation' or "the spirit spirit" and "real intent" of the law, disregard the words in fact used by the law-giver, the judges will
of the law" where the words of the statute themselves, and as illuminated by the history of that effectively escape the constitutional and statutory limitations on their authority and discretion. Once a
statute, leave no room for doubt or interpretation. We do not believe that "the spirit of law" may judge goes beyond the clear and ordinary import of the words of the legislative authority, he is
legitimately be invoked to set at naught words which have a clear and definite meaning imparted to essentially on uncharted seas. In a polity like ours which enshrines the fundamental notion of limiting
them by our procedural law. The "true legislative intent" must obviously be given effect by judges and power through the separation and distribution of powers, judges have to be particularly careful lest
all others who are charged with the application and implementation of a statute. It is absolutely they substitute their conceptions or preferences of policy for that actually projected by the legislative
essential to bear in mind, however, that the spirit of the law and the intent that is to be given effect are agency. Where a judge believes passionately that he knows what the legislative agency should have
to be derived from the words actually used by the law-maker, and not from some external, mystical or said on the particular matter dealt with by a statute, it is easy enough for him to reach the conclusion
metajuridical source independent of and transcending the words of the legislature. that therefore that was what the law-making authority was really saying or trying to say, if somewhat
ineptly As Mr. Justice Frankfurter explained:
The Court is not here to be understood as giving a "strict interpretation rather than a "liberal" one to
Section 4 of the Probation Law of 1976 as amended by P.D. No. 1990. "Strict" and "liberal" are Even within their area of choice the courts are not at large. They are confined by the
adjectives which too frequently impede a disciplined and principled search for the meaning which the nature and scope of the judicial function in its particular exercise in the field of
law-making authority projected when it promulgated the language which we must apply. That meaning interpretation. They are under the constraints imposed by the judicial function in our
is clearly visible in the text of Section 4, as plain and unmistakable as the nose on a man's face. The democratic society. As a matter of verbal recognition certainly, no one will gainsay
Court is simply reading Section 4 as it is in fact written. There is no need for the involved process of that the function in construing a statute is to ascertain the meaning of words used by
construction that petitioner invites us to engage in, a process made necessary only because the legislature. To go beyond it is to usurp a power which our democracy has lodged
petitioner rejects the conclusion or meaning which shines through the words of the statute. The first in its elected legislature. The great judges have constantly admonished their brethren
duty of a judge is to take and apply a statute as he finds it, not as he would like it to be. Otherwise, as of the need for discipline in observing the limitations A judge must not rewrite a
this Court in Yangco v. Court of First Instance of Manila warned, confusion and uncertainty in statute, neither to enlarge nor to contract it. Whatever temptations the statesmanship
of policy-making might wisely suggest, construction must eschew interpolation and ineffective. If Judge JR was not yet prepared to promulgate the decision as it was not yet printed, she
evisceration He must not read in by way of creation. He must not read out except to could have called the case later and have it printed. A party should not be left in the dark on what
avoid patent nonsense of internal contradictions. ... 7 issues to raise before the appellate court.

Petitioner finally argues that since under Section 4 of Probation Law as amended has vested in the It is a requirement of due process that parties to litigations be informed of how it was decided, with an
trial court the authority to grant the application for probation, the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. The court cannot
to entertain the same and should have (as he had prayed in the alternative) remanded instead the simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any
records to the lower court. Once more, we are not persuaded. The trial court lost jurisdiction over the justification whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why he lost so he may
case when petitioner perfected his appeal. The Court of Appeals was not, therefore, in a position to appeal to a higher court, if permitted, should he believe that the decision should be reversed. A
remand the case except for execution of judgment. Moreover, having invoked the jurisdiction of the decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the
Court of Appeals, petitioner is not at liberty casually to attack that jurisdiction when exercised parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is
adversely to him. In any case, the argument is mooted by the conclusion that we have reached, that unable to point the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal.
is, that petitioner's right to apply for probation was lost when he perfected his appeal from the
judgment of conviction. If judges were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond the boundaries within which they are required by
law to exercise the duties of their office, then the law becomes meaningless. A government of laws
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAGR No. 04678 is hereby AFFIRMED. No excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority.
pronouncement as to costs.
For having been found guilty of these charges, among others, Judge JR was declared unfit to
SO ORDERED. discharge her functions a judge and dismissed from the service.

Fernan (C.J.), Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985

Florencio Sebastian, Jr. vs. Julia A. Reyes, 600 SCRA, 345, LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON.
Judge JR read the judgment from a computer screen without giving the accused couple a written JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President ,
copy or computer print-out of the decision. She merely required the couple to read it from the MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and
computer screen in camera without the presence of their counsel. FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.

The couple raised on appeal that the trial court failed to comply with the mandate of Rule 120, or
the Rules of Court and Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution requiring that the decision must be
written and signed by the judge with a clear statement of the facts and the law on which the decision
is based. ESCOLIN, J.:

Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section
Complaint against Judge JR for gross misconduct, gross ignorance of the law, incompetence and 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be valid and
inefficiency. enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners
seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the
It is a violation of the Constitution. The judge could have simply printed and signed the decision. publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general
Offering to a partys counsel a diskette containing the decision when such counsel demands a written orders, proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
copy thereof, is unheard of in the judiciary. A verbal judgment is, in contemplation of law, in esse,
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought: prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners
are without the requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
234, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404,
406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation, board or person
594, 599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a
1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the
1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847. use a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with
155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant,
226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285- immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be done to
289, 291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, Protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the
362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant.
501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642,
665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149- Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right
1178,1180-1278. and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest
for their petition to be given due course.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to
1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606- a private individual only in those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be
1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737- subserved, or some particular right to be protected, independent of that which he holds with the public
1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, at large," and "it is for the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be
1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public
1839-1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876- right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are
1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986- regarded as the real party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are
2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244. instituted need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to
show that he is a citizen and as such interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431].
509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-
568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712- Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a proper
786, 788-852, 854-857. party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a special
election for the position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the proposition
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439. that the relator is a proper party to proceedings of this character when a public right is
sought to be enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think that it
would not be applicable to the case at bar for the reason 'that it is always dangerous
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed outright on the
to apply a general rule to a particular case without keeping in mind the reason for the
ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is
rule, because, if under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not
submitted that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected or
exist, the rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted upon by President of the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general
counsel for the respondent. The circumstances which surround this case are different applicability and legal effect, or which he may authorize so to be published. ...
from those in the United States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to
these proceedings no other person could be, as we have seen that it is not the duty The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice of the
of the law officer of the Government to appear and represent the people in cases of various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and
this character. publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It
would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in the of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by
petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the publication of laws
petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any taken so vital significance that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the President a
other person to initiate the same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass
generally empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this media of the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the diligent ones, ready
case. access to the legislative recordsno such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the
President. Thus, without publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement have actually been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific
for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus contents and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion
submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones,
they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su
point stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code: potestad. 5

Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be published in the
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ... Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative
duty. That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of said article. In a public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be
long line of decisions, 4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion
those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from such publication.
publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its
publication-but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect. The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is
mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall
with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of
the conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in persons such as administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that
the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by
acts and resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee
executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
general applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and
the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part
so published; [4] such documents or classes of documents as may be required so to of the law of the land, the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand
be published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the that the Official Gazette as the official government repository promulgate and publish
the texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so that the people may know But whatever their subject matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has
where to obtain their official and specific contents. ever been implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through
Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been [penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The
published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the cogency of this holding is apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation
possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those in their comment that "the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of
presidential decrees which were published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the criminal laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
question as to whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past
this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs. WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished
Baxter Bank 8 to wit: presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having
been found to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring SO ORDERED.
no rights and imposing no duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged
decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Relova, J., concurs.
Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as
to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. Aquino, J., took no part.
The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative fact
and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
be erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to
invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects-with respect to particular
conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have become vested, of
status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly, of G.R. No. L-17938 April 30, 1963
public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous
application, demand examination. These questions are among the most difficult of ESPERIDION TOLENTINO, plaintiff-appellant,
those which have engaged the attention of courts, state and federal and it is manifest vs.
from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute ADELA ONGSIAKO, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.
Esperidion Tolentino for and in his own behalf as plaintiff-appellant.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party Edmundo M. Reyes and Senen Ceniza for defendants-appellees.
under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in the

Appeal from the order of dismissal of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, in its Civil Case No.
Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly ignored.
The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
The plaintiff-appellant, Esperidion Tolentino, prays in the complaint that he filed with the lower court
on 20 May 1959, for the enforcement of the dissenting opinion rendered in the case entitled "Severo
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the presidential
Domingo, et al. vs. Santos Ongsiako, et al., G.R. No. 32776."
decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos.
1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither the
subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available.
The decision in said case (in favor of appellees' predecessors, and adverse to those of appellant) was should have been sought by appellants, if at all, in the Supreme Court, and not in the Court of First
promulgated by this Court on 4 December 1930, and, together with the dissenting opinion, appears in Instance.
Volume 55 of the Philippine Reports, starting on page 361. Unfortunately, the records of said case
were lost, or destroyed, during the war. In the Philippines, no court appears to have ever recognized such writ, the rule in this jurisdiction
being that public policy and sound practice demand that, at the risk of occasional errors, judgments of
The plaintiff-appellant claims to be the successor-interest of the late Severo Domingo, who died courts should become final and irrevocable at some definite date fixed by law.1 Interes rei publicae ut
without having received a copy of the decision, and alleges that plaintiff-appellant learned of the finis sit litium.
decision, only about a week before he filed the aforementioned complaint; that the decision of the
majority of the Court was erroneous and unjust; that the dissenting opinion is the correct view of the The order of dismissal appealed from is affirmed. Costs against the appellant.
case, and should be enforced. The court below, on motion of one of the several defendants,
dismissed the case, for lack of cause of action. Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Barrera, Paredes, Regala and Makalintal, JJ.,
Not satisfied, the plaintiff-appellant interposed the present appeal, and urges that the failure of service Padilla and Dizon, JJ., took no part.
of a copy of the decision upon the late Severo Domingo was a denial of due process, which
invalidates the decision, and asks that, on equitable grounds, the present case be heard as a
proceeding coram nobis.
G.R. No. 104037 May 29, 1992
Assuming the truth of the allegation that Severo Domingo, appellant's predecessor-in-interest, was
never furnished a copy of the decision in G.R. No. L-32776, it appears in the printed report of the REYNALDO V. UMALI, petitioner,
case (55 Phil. 361) that he was represented by Atty. Ramon Diokno. Being represented by counsel, vs.
service of the decision is made upon the latter by the clerk of the Supreme Court (Sec. 250, Act 190), HON. JESUS P. ESTANISLAO, Secretary of Finance, and HON. JOSE U. ONG, Commissioner of
and not upon the client (Palad vs. Cui, 28 Phil. 44); and the unrebutted presumption is that the said Internal Revenue, respondents.
official of this Court had regularly performed his duty (No. 14, Sec. 334, Act 190; Sec. 69 [m], Rule
123, Rules of Court). Appellant's alleged predecessor-in-interest was not, therefore, denied due G.R. No. 104069 May 29, 1992
process of law.
Appellant's position that the decision was erroneous and unjust is entirely untenable, because the BIENVENIDO T. JAMORALIN, JR., JOSE D. FLORES, JR., EVELYN G. VILLEGAS, DOMINGO T.
issue sought to be reopened is res judicata, aside from its having stood unchallenged for 30 years. LIGOT, HENRY E. LARON, PASTOR M. DALMACION, JR., and, JULIUS NORMAN C.
The ridiculous prayer to enforce a dissenting opinion requires no discussion, it being sufficient to state CERRADA, petitioners,
that there is nothing to enforce in a dissenting opinion, since it affirms or overrules no claim, right, or
obligation, and neither disposes of, nor awards, anything; it merely expresses the views of the vs
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove Rene B. Gorospe, Leighton R. Siazon, Manuel M. Sunga, Bienvinido T. Jamoralin, Jr and Paul D.
their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t Ungos for petitioners.

Lastly, the appellant's claim that "the lower court erred in not allowing plaintiff-appellant's cause as a
proceeding coram nobis", is devoid of merit. The ancient common law writ of error coram nobis, now
substantially obsolete even in common law jurisdictions (49 CJS 561), does not lie after affirmance of
a judgment on writ of error on appeal (49 CJS 562); nor can it be grounded on facts already in issue
and adjudicated on the trial (49 CJS 567). Moreover, the jurisdiction of a writ of error coram nobis lies
exclusively in the court which rendered the judgment sought to be corrected (49 CJS 568), so that it
These consolidated cases are petitions for mandamus and prohibition, premised upon the following Approved. 1
undisputed facts:
The said act was signed and approved by the President on 19 December 1991 and published on 14
Congress enacted Rep. Act 7167, entitled "AN ACT ADJUSTING THE BASIC PERSONAL AND January 1992 in "Malaya" a newspaper of general circulation.
THE POVERTY THRESHOLD LEVEL, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION 29, On 26 December 1991, respondents promulgated Revenue Regulations No. 1-92, the pertinent
PARAGRAPH (L), ITEMS (1) AND (2) (A) OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS portions of which read as follows:
AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES." It provides as follows:
Sec. 1. SCOPE Pursuant to Sections 245 and 72 of the National Internal Revenue
Sec. (1). The first paragraph of item (1), paragraph (1) of Section 29 of the National Code in relation to Republic Act No. 7167, these Regulations are hereby promulgated
Internal Revenue Code, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows: prescribing the collection at source of income tax on compensation income paid on or
after January 1, 1992 under the Revised Withholding Tax Tables (ANNEX "A") which
(1) Personal Exemptions allowable to individuals (1) Basic personal exemption as take into account the increase of personal and additional exemptions.
xxx xxx xxx
For single individual or married individual judicially decreed as legally
separated with no qualified dependents P9,000 Sec. 3. Section 8 of Revenue Regulations No. 6-82 is amended by Revenue
Regulations No. 1-86 is hereby further amended to read as follows:
For head of a family P12,000
Section 8. Right to claim the following exemptions. . . .
For married individual P18,000
Each employee shall be allowed to claim the following amount of
Provided, That husband and wife electing to compute their income tax separately exemption with respect to compensation paid on or after January 1,
shall be entitled to a personal exemption of P9,000 each. 1992.

Sec. 2. The first paragraph of item (2) (A), paragraph (1) of Section 29 of the same xxx xxx xxx
Code, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
Sec. 5. EFFECTIVITY. These regulations shall take effect on compensation
(2) Additional exemption. income from January 1, 1992.

(a) Taxpayers with dependents. A married individual or a head of family shall be On 27 February 1992, the petitioner in G.R. No. 104037, a taxpayer and a resident of Gitnang Bayan
allowed an additional exemption of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000) for each Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, filed a petition for mandamus for himself and in behalf all individual
dependent: Provided, That the total number of dependents for which additional Filipino taxpayers, to COMPEL the respondents to implement Rep. Act 7167 with respect to taxable
exemptions may be claimed shall not exceed four dependents: Provided, further, income of individual taxpayers earned or received on or after 1 January 1991 or as of taxable year
That an additional exemption of One Thousand Pesos (1,000) shall be allowed for ending 31 December 1991.
each child who otherwise qualified as dependent prior to January 1, 1980: Provided,
finally, That the additional exemption for dependents shall be claimed by only one of On 28 February 1992, the petitioners in G.R. No. 104069 likewise filed a petition for mandamus and
the spouses in case of married individuals electing to compute their income tax prohibition on their behalf as well as for those other individual taxpayers who might be similarly
liabilities separately. situated, to compel the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to implement the mandate of Rep. Act
7167 adjusting the personal and additional exemptions allowable to individuals for income tax
Sec. 3. This act shall take effect upon its approval. purposes in regard to income earned or received in 1991, and to enjoin the respondents from
implementing Revenue Regulations No. 1-92.
In the Court's resolution of 10 March 1992, these two (2) cases were consolidated. Respondents . . .: the) clause "unless it is otherwise provided" refers to the date of
were required to comment on the petitions, which they did within the prescribed period. effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which
cannot in any event be omitted. This clause does not mean that the
The principal issues to be resolved in these cases are: (1) whether or not Rep. Act 7167 took effect legislator may make the law effective immediately upon approval, or
upon its approval by the President on 19 December 1991, or on 30 January 1992, i.e., after fifteen on any other date without its previous publication.
(15) days following its publication on 14 January 1992 in the "Malaya" a newspaper of general
circulation; and (2) assuming that Rep. Act 7167 took effect on 30 January 1992, whether or not the Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in
said law nonetheless covers or applies to compensation income earned or received during calendar its discretion provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be
year 1991. shortened or extended. . . .

In resolving the first issue, it will be recalled that the Court in its resolution in Caltex (Phils.), Inasmuch as R.A. 6965 has no specific date for its effectivity and neither can it
Inc. vs. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. 97282, 26 June 1991 which is on all become effective upon its approval notwithstanding its express statement, following
fours with this case as to the first issue held: Article 2 of the Civil Code and the doctrine enunciated in Tanada, supra, R.A. 6965
took effect fifteen days after September 20, 1990, or specifically, on October 5, 1990.
The central issue presented in the instant petition is the effectivity of R.A. 6965
entitled "An Act Revising The Form of Taxation on Petroleum Products from Ad Accordingly, the Court rules that Rep. Act 7167 took effect on 30 January 1992, which is after fifteen
Valorem to Specific, Amending For the Purpose Section 145 of the National Internal (15) days following its publication on 14 January 1992 in the "Malaya."
Revenue Code, As amended by Republic Act Numbered Sixty Seven Hundred Sixty
Seven." Coming now to the second issue, the Court is of the considered view that Rep. Act 7167 should cover
or extend to compensation income earned or received during calendar year 1991.
Sec. 3 of R.A. 6965 contains the effectivity clause which provides. "This Act shall take
effect upon its approval" Sec. 29, par. (L), Item No. 4 of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, provides:

R.A. 6965 was approved on September 19, 1990. It was published in the Philippine Upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, the President shall
Journal, a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, on September 20, automatically adjust not more often than once every three years, the personal and
1990. Pursuant to the Act, an implementing regulation was issued by the additional exemptions taking into account, among others, the movement in consumer
Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Revenue Memorandum Circular 85-90, stating price indices, levels of minimum wages, and bare subsistence levels.
that R.A. 6965 took effect on October 5, 1990. Petitioner took exception thereof and
argued that the law took effect on September 20, 1990 instead. As the personal and additional exemptions of individual taxpayers were last adjusted in 1986, the
President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, could have adjusted the personal
Pertinent is Article 2 of the Civil Code (as amended by Executive Order No. 200) and additional exemptions in 1989 by increasing the same even without any legislation providing for
which provides: such adjustment. But the President did not.

Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the However, House Bill 28970, which was subsequently enacted by Congress as Rep. Act 7167, was
completion of their publication either in the official Gazette or in a introduced in the House of Representatives in 1989 although its passage was delayed and it did not
newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is become effective law until 30 January 1992. A perusal, however, of the sponsorship remarks of
otherwise provided. . . . Congressman Hernando B. Perez, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, on
House Bill 28970, provides an indication of the intent of Congress in enacting Rep. Act 7167. The
In the case of Tanada vs. Tuvera (L-63915, December 29, 1986, 146 SCRA 446, 452) pertinent legislative journal contains the following:
we construed Article 2 of the Civil Code and laid down the rule:
At the outset, Mr. Perez explained that the Bill Provides for increased personal
additional exemptions to individuals in view of the higher standard of living.
The Bill, he stated, limits the amount of income of individuals subject to income tax to The personal exemptions as increased by Rep. Act 7167 cannot be regarded as available in respect
enable them to spend for basic necessities and have more disposable income. of compensation income received during the 1990 calendar year; the tax due in respect of said
income had already accrued, and been presumably paid, by 15 April 1991 and by 15 July 1991, at
xxx xxx xxx which time Rep. Act 7167 had not been enacted. To make Rep. Act 7167 refer back to income
received during 1990 would require language explicitly retroactive in purport and effect, language that
Mr. Perez added that inflation has raised the basic necessities and that it had been would have to authorize the payment of refunds of taxes paid on 15 April 1991 and 15 July 1991:
three years since the last exemption adjustment in 1986. such language is simply not found in Rep. Act 7167.

xxx xxx xxx The personal exemptions as increased by Rep. Act 7167 cannot be regarded as available only in
respect of compensation income received during 1992, as the implementing Revenue Regulations
No. 1-92 purport to provide. Revenue Regulations No. 1-92 would in effect postpone the availability of
Subsequently, Mr. Perez stressed the necessity of passing the measure to mitigate
the increased exemptions to 1 January-15 April 1993, and thus literally defer the effectivity of Rep. Act
the effects of the current inflation and of the implementation of the salary
7167 to 1 January 1993. Thus, the implementing regulations collide frontally with Section 3 of Rep.
standardization law. Stating that it is imperative for the government to take measures
Act 7167 which states that the statute "shall take effect upon its approval." The objective of the
to ease the burden of the individual income tax filers, Mr. Perez then cited specific
Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in postponing through Revenue
examples of how the measure can help assuage the burden to the taxpayers.
Regulations No. 1-92 the legal effectivity of Rep. Act 7167 is, of course, entirely understandable to
defer to 1993 the reduction of governmental tax revenues which irresistibly follows from the
He then reiterated that the increase in the prices of commodities has eroded the
application of Rep. Act 7167. But the law-making authority has spoken and the Court can not refuse
purchasing power of the peso despite the recent salary increases and emphasized
to apply the law-maker's words. Whether or not the government can afford the drop in tax revenues
that the Bill will serve to compensate the adverse effects of inflation on the taxpayers.
resulting from such increased exemptions was for Congress (not this Court) to decide.
. . . (Journal of the House of Representatives, May 23, 1990, pp. 32-33).
WHEREFORE, Sections 1, 3 and 5 of Revenue Regulations No. 1-92 which provide that the
It will also be observed that Rep. Act 7167 speaks of the adjustments that it provides for, as
regulations shall take effect on compensation income earned or received from 1 January 1992 are
adjustments "to the poverty threshold level." Certainly, "the poverty threshold level" is the poverty
hereby SET ASIDE. They should take effect on compensation income earned or received from 1
threshold level at the time Rep. Act 7167 was enacted by Congress, not poverty threshold levels in
January 1991.
futuro, at which time there may be need of further adjustments in personal exemptions. Moreover, the
Court can not lose sight of the fact that these personal and additional exemptions are fixed
Since this decision is promulgated after 15 April 1992, the individual taxpayers entitled to the
amounts to which an individual taxpayer is entitled, as a means to cushion the devastating effects of
increased exemptions on compensation income earned during calendar year 1991 who may have
high prices and a depreciated purchasing power of the currency. In the end, it is the lower-income and
filed their income tax returns on or before 15 April 1992 (later extended to 24 April 1992) without the
the middle-income groups of taxpayers (not the high-income taxpayers) who stand to benefit most
benefit of such increased exemptions, are entitled to the corresponding tax refunds and/or credits,
from the increase of personal and additional exemptions provided for by Rep. Act 7167. To that
and respondents are ordered to effect such refunds and/or credits. No costs.
extent, the act is a social legislation intended to alleviate in part the present economic plight of the
lower income taxpayers. It is intended to remedy the inadequacy of the heretofore existing personal
and additional exemptions for individual taxpayers. SO ORDERED.

And then, Rep. Act 7167 says that the increased personal exemptions that it provides for shall be Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
available thenceforth, that is, after Rep. Act 7167 shall have become effective. In other words, these Romero, Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
exemptions are available upon the filing of personal income tax returns which is, under the National
Internal Revenue Code, done not later than the 15th day of April after the end of a calendar year.
Thus, under Rep. Act 7167, which became effective, as aforestated, on 30 January 1992, the
increased exemptions are literally available on or before 15 April 1992 (though not before 30 January
1992). But these increased exemptions can be available on 15 April 1992 only in respect of
compensation income earned or received during the calendar year 1991.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x



In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner V.C.

Ponce Company, Inc. assails the October 27, 2005 decision [1]and February 3, 2006 resolution[2] of the

Court of Appeals (CA) affirming the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 97084 and

the issuance of individual titles in favor of respondents by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay
V.C. PONCE COMPANY, INC., G.R. No. 171469
City, Branch 109.
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
- v e r s u s - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,* This case traces its history to a complaint filed by Eusebia de Leon vda. de Rodriquez against
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ. petitioner in the then Court of First Instance of Pasay City on January 3, 1963 docketed as Civil Case
BENJAMIN PENARANDA, JOSE SAMBO, No. 455-R. It sought the annulment of the sale of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 97084 she had
CEFERINO ARICHEA, DAVID BAQUIRIN, previously sold to petitioner. The subject property was already subdivided into smaller lots for which
CRESANCIO MARQUEZ, JR., ALEJANDRO individual TCTs were issued in petitioners name.
ROSAURO UMALI, CONRADO VILLAFRANCA On October 22, 1971, respondents filed a complaint-in-intervention in Civil Case No. 455-R.
Respondents executed contracts to sell with petitioner over individual lots comprising the area
covered by TCT No. 97084 prior to the institution of the case. Their complaint-in-intervention was
August 11, 2008

On July 17, 1989, Corazon Rodriguez (as administratrix of the estate of de Leon) and

The Pasay City RTCs December 6, 1989 decision was appealed by petitioner and it
petitioner entered into a compromise agreement. Petitioner paid Rodriguez P3,500,000 in exchange
eventually reached the Supreme Court. In a resolution dated October 21, 1991, respondents claims
for the release of the lis pendens annotation on the individual titles of the properties involved in Civil
were affirmed when we ruled in their favor.[4] Entry of judgment was made on December 9, 1991.
Case No. 455-R, and the dismissal of the case without costs. The court approved the compromise
It was at this point that respondents commenced the tedious process of trying to execute the
agreement, thereby terminating the case between petitioner and Rodriguez.
Pasay City RTCs December 6, 1989 decision.

Respondents, however, refused to compromise and the complaint-in-intervention was tried on

On October 2, 1992, the Pasay City RTC issued a writ of execution. Respondents consigned
the merits. In a decision dated December 6, 1989, the Pasay City RTC ruled in favor of
to the court their payments to petitioner under their respective contracts to sell, pursuant to the

respondents. The dispositive portion of the decision read: December 6, 1989 decision. But in view of petitioners obstinate refusal to comply with the October 2,
WHEREFORE, the Omnibus Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied and
accordingly, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the intervenors herein and 1992 writ of execution, the RTC again directed petitioner to deliver clean titles to respondents after
against defendant V.C. Ponce & Co., Inc. The Court hereby orders and declares:
payment and consignation.[5] Petitioner was likewise ordered to strictly obey the terms and conditions
1. The individual Contracts to Sell entered into between the
intervenors and the defendant are hereby declared valid,
of the December 6, 1989 decision with a stern warning that repeated non-compliance would be dealt
subsisting and binding on both parties, particularly the defendant
V.C. Ponce & Co., Inc. and the latter is hereby enjoined to abide
by the terms and conditions thereof subject to the modifications with severely. The RTC also ordered its clerk of court to receive respondents cash payments.
as [hereinafter] provided and under the same price originally
stated therein;
2. The individual intervenors are hereby ordered to pay On August 5, 1993, the clerk of court was ordered to receive from respondents counsel their
defendant V.C. Ponce & Co., Inc. the balance of the purchase
price within a period of twelve (12) months from finality of this cash payments to petitioner and deposit them in the Philippine National Bank. Petitioner was (again)
decision to be paid in twelve (12) equal monthly amortizations;
3. The defendant V.C Ponce & Co., Inc. is hereby given one ordered to comply with the December 6, 1989 decision within ten days from receipt of the order.
(1) year from finality of this decision within which to complete the
construction of the enumerated items in paragraph 5 of the Petitioner (once more) sought a deferment of the enforcement of the March 8, 1993 and
Contracts to Sell;
4. Defendant V.C. Ponce & Co., Inc. is ordered to deliver August 5, 1993 orders but the same was denied. In an order dated August 3, 1994, the Pasay City
clean titles to the individual intervenors upon full payment of the
purchase price; RTC cited petitioner in contempt for its refusal to abide by the March 8, 1993 order. The Registrar of
5. xxx
Deeds of Paraaque was likewise directed to cancel petitioners TCTs over the properties which were
already paid in full and to issue new titles in favor of respondents.
Hence, this petition.
Because of petitioners continued inaction, an alias writ of execution dated August 7, 1995

was issued by the Pasay City RTC to enforce the December 6, 1989 decision. Petitioner claims that the January 23, 2003 order for the nullification and cancellation of TCT

No. 97084 completely changed the tenor of the December 6, 1989 decision.
Respondents then filed an ex-parte motion for entry of judgment, praying that the Registrar of

Deeds of Paraaque be directed to divest petitioner of its titles and to issue new ones to them. The We deny the petition.

court ordered its clerk of court and ex-officio sheriff to execute deeds of conveyance in favor of
In general, the essential parts of a decision or order consist of the following: (1) a statement of the
respondents. The Registrar of Deeds of Paraaque, however, refused to register respondents deeds of
case; (2) a statement of the facts; (3) the issues or assignment of errors; (4) the court ruling; and (5)
conveyance because petitioner adamantly refused to surrender its owners duplicate TCTs. So, on
the dispositive portion.[6] In a civil case such as this, the dispositive portion should state whether the
January 11, 2002, the Pasay City RTC ordered the Registrar of Deeds of Paraaque to cancel
complaint or petition is granted or denied, the specific relief granted and the costs. [7]
petitioners duplicate TCTs. Petitioner sought a reconsideration but the same was denied in an order

dated September 13, 2002. The order of execution must substantially conform to the dispositive portion of the decision sought to

be executed.[8] In the event of variance, the dispositive portion of the final and executory decision
Respondents filed a manifestation and motion seeking a court order annulling the titles of
petitioner over the properties involved in the case. In response, the Pasay City RTC issued the

assailed order dated January 23, 2003 nullifying and canceling this time TCT No. 97084 (the mother The dispositive portion of the December 6, 1989 decision read in part:

title) and mandating the issuance of individual titles to respondents. Petitioners motion for WHEREFORE, the Omnibus Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied and
accordingly, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the intervenors herein and
reconsideration was likewise denied. against defendant V.C. Ponce & Co.[,] Inc. The Court hereby orders and declares:

1. xxx
Petitioner questioned the January 23, 2003 order (and that denying the motion for reconsideration) in 2. The individual intervenors are hereby ordered to pay defendant V.C.
Ponce & Co.[,] Ince. the balance of the purchase price within a period of
twelve (12) equal monthly amortizations;
the CA via a petition for certiorari. In denying relief to petitioner, the CA held that the cancellation of
3. xxx
4. Defendant V.C. Ponce & Co.[,] Inc. is ordered to deliver clean titles to
TCT No. 97084 (the mother title) was necessary to the execution of the trial courts decision,
the individual intervenors upon full payment of the purchase price; xxx
considering the refusal of the Registrar of Deeds to register the deeds of sale and issue clean
while the order dated January 23, 2003 stated in part:
individual titles to respondents.
[C]onsidering the affirmance of the decision of this Court dated December 6,
1989 by both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, for full satisfaction of the to complete the satisfaction of judgment/decision of th[e] [c]ourt partially executed. Reference to the
decision, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 97084, Register of Deeds, Rizal, the
original of which is presently on file with the Register of Deeds of Paraaque City, is partially executed decision simply stresses that the execution must conform to the December 6, 1989
hereby NULLIFIED and CANCELLED and considered of no value and effect
conformably with Section 107 of PD 1529 xxx decision.

In view of the foregoing, the Register of Deeds of Paraaque City is hereby

directed to issue individual titles to the Intervenors to complete the satisfaction of Petitioner admits that TCT No. 97084 is the mother title of the individual titles of respondents.
judgment/decision of this Court already partially executed.
However, it claims for the first time that TCT No. 97084 was the subject of another case and that it
The Intervenors are directed to coordinate with the Register of Deeds of
Paraaque City to further hasten the issuance of their individual titles.
was already cancelled by virtue of another court order or judgment. [10] Furthermore, TCT No. 97084
allegedly subsists only with respect to areas which are not involved in this case.

Petitioners claims are not only immaterial and undeserving of favorable consideration; they
The variance claimed by petitioner allegedly lies in the directive to the Register of Deeds of
were also never established with evidence of such alleged court order or judgment. Thus, there is no
Paraaque City to nullify and cancel TCT No. 97084. Petitioner insists that there was no such order in
way by which these allegations can be verified. Given petitioners propensity to manipulate legal
the dispositive portion of the December 6, 1989 decision.
procedures to defeat the just claims against it, such lapse is fatal to its cause.

Petitioner is wrong.
The Pasay City RTC was well within its powers when it issued the January 23, 2003 order. It

It is a cardinal rule that the dispositive portion of an order or judgment prevails over the is the ministerial duty of the court to order the execution of its final judgment. It has the inherent

discussion or the body of the said decision or order. In this case, the dispositive portion of the January power to control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial offices, and of all other

23, 2003 order merely reiterated the directive for the issuance of individual titles to respondents by persons in any manner connected with a case before it, in every manner appertaining thereto. [11]

the Registrar of Deeds.

Section 10, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court [12] and Section 107 of PD 1529[13] provide the

Nevertheless, even if we analyze and compare the body of the January 23, 2003 order and procedure to be followed in case of a refusal by the owner to surrender the duplicate copy of his TCT.

that of the December 6, 1989 decision, no substantial variance exists between them. On its face, the
A considerable length of time has passed. It is time to end this litigation and write finis to this
January 23, 2003 order is in harmony with the dispositive portion of the December 6, 1989 decision.
case. Enough is enough.
The Registrar of Deeds of Paraaque City is being directed to issue individual titles to respondents
Section 14
We remind petitioners counsel, Atty. Candice Marie T. Bandong, that she is an officer of the Velarde vs. Social Justice Society , GR 159357, April 28, 2004
The Petition prayed for the resolution of the question "whether or not the act of a religious leader like
court who must see to it that the orderly administration of justice must never be unduly impeded, not any of herein respondents, in endorsing the candidacy of a candidate for elective office or in urging or
requiring the members of his flock to vote for a specified candidate, is violative of the letter or spirit of
even by her client. Her oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to her duty to her client; its the constitutional provisions .They alleged that the questioned Decision did not contain a statement of
facts and a dispositive portion.
primacy is indisputable.[14] In this light, we are sternly warning her (or any other counsel who might
ISSUE: What is the standard form of a Decision? Did the challenge Decision comply with the
take over this case) of disciplinary action for any further delay in the execution of the decision of the aforesaid form?

Pasay City RTC. RULING:

The decision shall be in writing, personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and
That TCT No. 97084 has been subdivided into smaller lots and that derivative titles have distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, signed by the issuing magistrate, and filed with
the clerk of court. In general, the essential parts of a good decision consist of the following: (1)
been issued therefor are of no moment. The fact remains that, for more than 15 years, petitioner has statement of the case; (2) statement of facts; (3) issues or assignment of errors; (4) court ruling, in
which each issue is, as a rule, separately considered and resolved; and, finally, (5) dispositive portion.
been consistently refusing to surrender its owners duplicate originals of the derivative TCTs, contrary The ponente may also opt to include an introduction or a prologue as well as an epilogue, especially
in cases in which controversial or novel issues are involved.
to lawful orders and in evident bad faith. We are therefore ordering the cancellation and nullification of
No. Counsel for SJS has utterly failed to convince the Court that there are enough factual and legal
bases to resolve the paramount issue. On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General has
TCT No. 97084 and its derivative titles. Let new certificates of title be issued (a) in the name of the
sided with petitioner insofar as there are no facts supporting the SJS Petition and the assailed
Decision. The Petition failed to state directly the ultimate facts that it relied upon for its claim. During
individual respondents for the lots covered by their respective fully-paid contracts to sell and (b) in the
the Oral Argument, counsel for SJS candidly admitted that there were no factual allegations in its
Petition for Declaratory Relief. Neither were there factual findings in the assailed Decision. At best,
name of petitioner for those portions not covered by the claims of respondents.
SJS merely asked the trial court to answer a hypothetical question. In effect, it merely sought an
advisory opinion, the rendition of which was beyond the courts constitutional mandate and
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The October 27, 2005 decision and February jurisdiction.
Indeed, the assailed Decision was rendered in clear violation of the Constitution, because it made no
3, 2006 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 77783 are hereby AFFIRMED with findings of facts and final disposition.

MODIFICATION. Parts of a Decision

The Registrar of Deeds of Paraaque City is ordered to cancel TCT No. 97084 and the In general, the essential parts of a good decision consist of the following: (1) statement of the
case; (2) statement of facts; (3) issues or assignment of errors; (4) court ruling, in which each issue
derivative titles of the lots covered by respondents respective contracts to sell (with petitioner) and is, as a rule, separately considered and resolved; and, finally, (5) dispositive
portion. The ponente may also opt to include an introduction or a prologue as well as an epilogue,
issue clean individual titles to them. especially in cases in which controversial or novel issues are involved. [98]
Treble costs against petitioner.
An introduction may consist of a concise but comprehensive statement of the principal factual or
legal issue/s of the case. In some cases -- particularly those concerning public interest; or involving
complicated commercial, scientific, technical or otherwise rare subject matters -- a longer introduction
or prologue may serve to acquaint readers with the specific nature of the controversy and the issues
involved. An epilogue may be a summation of the important principles applied to the resolution of the There are different ways of relating the facts of the case. First, under the objective or reportorial
issues of paramount public interest or significance. It may also lay down an enduring philosophy of method, the judge summarizes -- without comment -- the testimony of each witness and the contents
law or guiding principle. of each exhibit. Second, under the synthesis method, the factual theory of the plaintiff or prosecution
and then that of the defendant or defense is summarized according to the judges best light. Third, in
Let us now, again for the guidance of the bench and the bar, discuss the essential parts of a the subjective method, the version of the facts accepted by the judge is simply narrated without
good decision. explaining what the parties versions are. Finally, through a combination of objective and subjective
means, the testimony of each witness is reported and the judge then formulates his or her own
1. Statement of the Case version of the facts.

The Statement of the Case consists of a legal definition of the nature of the action. At the first In criminal cases, it is better to present both the version of the prosecution and that of the
instance, this part states whether the action is a civil case for collection, ejectment, quieting of title, defense, in the interest of fairness and due process. A detailed evaluation of the contentions of the
foreclosure of mortgage, and so on; or, if it is a criminal case, this part describes the specific charge -- parties must follow. The resolution of most criminal cases, unlike civil and other cases, depends to a
quoted usually from the accusatory portion of the information -- and the plea of the accused. Also large extent on the factual issues and the appreciation of the evidence. The plausibility or the
mentioned here are whether the case is being decided on appeal or on a petition for certiorari, the implausibility of each version can sometimes be initially drawn from a reading of the facts. Thereafter,
court of origin, the case number in the trial court, and the dispositive portion of the assailed decision. the bases of the court in arriving at its findings and conclusions should be explained.

In a criminal case, the verbatim reproduction of the criminal information serves as a guide in On appeal, the fact that the assailed decision of the lower court fully, intelligently and correctly
determining the nature and the gravity of the offense for which the accused may be found resolved all factual and legal issues involved may partly explain why the reviewing court finds no
culpable. As a rule, the accused cannot be convicted of a crime different from or graver than that reason to reverse the findings and conclusions of the former. Conversely, the lower courts patent
charged. misappreciation of the facts or misapplication of the law would aid in a better understanding of why its
ruling is reversed or modified.
Also, quoting verbatim the text of the information is especially important when there is a question
on the sufficiency of the charge, or on whether qualifying and modifying circumstances have been In appealed civil cases, the opposing sets of facts no longer need to be presented. Issues for
adequately alleged therein. resolution usually involve questions of law, grave abuse of discretion, or want of jurisdiction; hence,
the facts of the case are often undisputed by the parties. With few exceptions, factual issues are not
entertained in non-criminal cases.Consequently, the narration of facts by the lower court, if exhaustive
To ensure that due process is accorded, it is important to give a short description of the
and clear, may be reproduced; otherwise, the material factual antecedents should be restated in the
proceedings regarding the plea of the accused. Absence of an arraignment, or a serious irregularity
words of the reviewing magistrate.
therein, may render the judgment void, and further consideration by the appellate court would be
futile. In some instances, especially in appealed cases, it would also be useful to mention the fact of
the appellants detention, in order to dispose of the preliminary query -- whether or not they have In addition, the reasoning of the lower court or body whose decision is under review should be
abandoned their appeal by absconding or jumping bail. laid out, in order that the parties may clearly understand why the lower court ruled in a certain way,
and why the reviewing court either finds no reason to reverse it or concludes otherwise.
Mentioning the court of origin and the case number originally assigned helps in facilitating the
consolidation of the records of the case in both the trial and the appellate courts, after entry of final 3. Issues or Assignment of Errors
Both factual and legal issues should be stated. On appeal, the assignment of errors, as
Finally, the reproduction of the decretal portion of the assailed decision informs the reader of how mentioned in the appellants brief, may be reproduced in toto and tackled seriatim, so as to avoid
the appealed case was decided by the court a quo. motions for reconsideration of the final decision on the ground that the court failed to consider all
assigned errors that could affect the outcome of the case. But when the appellant presents repetitive
issues or when the assigned errors do not strike at the main issue, these may be restated in clearer
2. Statement of Facts
and more coherent terms.
Though not specifically questioned by the parties, additional issues may also be included, if
deemed important for substantial justice to be rendered. Note that appealed criminal cases are
given de novo review, in contrast to noncriminal cases in which the reviewing court is generally limited WILSON ONG CHING KIAN CHUNG and THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL
to issues specifically raised in the appeal. The few exceptions are errors of jurisdiction; questions not LIBRARY, petitioners, vs. CHINA NATIONAL CEREALS OIL AND FOODSTUFFS IMPORT AND
raised but necessary in arriving at a just decision on the case; or unassigned errors that are closely EXPORT CORP., CEROILFOOD SHANDONG CEREAL AND OILS and BENJAMIN IRAO,
related to those properly assigned, or upon which depends the determination of the question properly JR., respondents.
4. The Courts Ruling
This part contains a full discussion of the specific errors or issues raised in the complaint,
petition or appeal, as the case may be; as well as of other issues the court deems essential to a just This is an appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
disposition of the case. Where there are several issues, each one of them should be separately Procedure of the Decision[1] in Civil Case No. 94-68836 dated November 20, 1997 of the Regional
addressed, as much as practicable. The respective contentions of the parties should also be Trial Court, Branch 33, Manila, which rendered a judgment on the pleadings against herein
mentioned here. When procedural questions are raised in addition to substantive ones, it is better to petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads:
resolve the former preliminarily.
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs, and against
5. The Disposition or Dispositive Portion defendant:

In a criminal case, the disposition should include a finding of innocence or guilt, the specific "1. Decreeing the cancellation or annulment of the Copyrighted Registration No. 0-
crime committed, the penalty imposed, the participation of the accused, the modifying circumstances 93-491 of defendant WILSON ONG;
if any, and the civil liability and costs. In case an acquittal is decreed, the court must order the
immediate release of the accused, if detained, (unless they are being held for another cause) and "2. Directing defendant Director of the National Library to effect the cancellation or
order the director of the Bureau of Corrections (or wherever the accused is detained) to report, within annulment of the Copyrighted Registration No. 0-93-491 of defendant WILSON ONG;
a maximum of ten (10) days from notice, the exact date when the accused were set free. and

In a civil case as well as in a special civil action, the disposition should state whether the "Damages cannot be awarded to Plaintiffs as no evidence was presented to
complaint or petition is granted or denied, the specific relief granted, and the costs. The following test substantiate their claims.
of completeness may be applied. First, the parties should know their rights and
obligations. Second, they should know how to execute the decision under alternative "With costs against defendant WILSON ONG.
contingencies. Third, there should be no need for further proceedings to dispose of the
issues. Fourth, the case should be terminated by according the proper relief. The proper relief usually "SO ORDERED."[2]
depends upon what the parties seek in their pleadings. It may declare their rights and duties,
command the performance of positive prestations, or order them to abstain from specific acts. The The antecedent facts are undisputed.
disposition must also adjudicate costs.
On September 16, 1993, petitioner Wilson Ong Ching Kian Chuan, doing business under the firm
The foregoing parts need not always be discussed in sequence. But they should all be present name of C.K.C. Trading, filed a Complaint for Infringement of Copyright with prayer for writ of
and plainly identifiable in the decision. Depending on the writers character, genre and style, the injunction before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94 of Quezon City (hereinafter Quezon City Court)
language should be fresh and free-flowing, not necessarily stereotyped or in a fixed form; much less against Lorenzo Tan, doing business under the firm name Mcmaster International Sales, and
highfalutin, hackneyed and pretentious.At all times, however, the decision must be clear, concise, docketed as Q-93-17628. On the same day, said court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
complete and correct. the defendant, his distributors and retailers from selling vermicelli (sotanghon) "using the plaintiffs
copyrighted cellophane wrapper with the two-dragons designed label, and setting the hearing of the ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, although the prayer for dismissal of the complaint in
injunctive relief for September 21, 1993." Manila may be pursued before said court during the proceedings."

On October 13, 1993, the Quezon City Court issued a Resolution which granted a writ of preliminary In the same Decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the case was dismissible on grounds of litis
injunction in favor of the petitioner, denied therein defendants application for a writ of preliminary pendentia, multiplicity of suits, and forum shopping.
injunction and, issues having been joined, set the case for pre-trial on November 12, 1993. On
December 15, 1993, the Quezon City Court denied defendants motion for dissolution of the writ of On September 5, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied respondents motion for reconsideration. [8] The
preliminary injunction. Court of Appeals Decision became final on October 3, 1994. Entry of Judgment [9]was made on
November 15, 1994.
On January 5, 1994, the China National Cereals Oils & Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation
(CEROILFOOD SHANDONG), and Benjamin Irao, Jr., as representative and attorney-in-fact of On November 21, 1994, petitioner filed a motion [10] praying for the dismissal of the Manila case on the
CEROILFOOD SHANDONG, herein respondents, filed a complaint [3] for Annulment/Cancellation of strength of the findings of the Court of Appeals, particularly on "forum shopping." In an Order [11] dated
Copyrighted Certificate No. 0-93-491 and damages with prayer for restraining order/writ of preliminary March 8, 1995, the Manila Court held in abeyance the resolution of the motion to dismiss until further
injunction before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, (hereinafter Manila Court) against Wilson Ong reception of evidence, stating therein that the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision did
Ching Kian Chuan, doing business under the firm name and style C.K.C. Trading and the Director of not order the dismissal of the case. In the meantime, respondents filed a motion to declare petitioners
the National Library, docketed as Civil Case No. 94-68836. in default for failing to file an Answer despite the March 8 Order, which motion was opposed by
petitioners, there being at that time a pending motion to dismiss which the court a quo refused to
On January 7, 1994, Judge Rodolfo G. Palattao of the Manila Court issued a temporary restraining resolve on the merits.
order[4] enjoining petitioner from using his copyrighted labels and selling his vermicelli products which
is similar to that of respondents. On January 14, 1994, petitioner filed a motion to dissolve temporary In an Order[12] dated July 19, 1996, the Manila court denied the motion to declare petitioners in
restraining order[5] praying that the complaint be dismissed on the following grounds: 1.) litis default, admitted motu proprio the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner as its answer, and directed the
pendentia, 2.) the issue involved is one of copyright under PD No. 49 and does not involve parties to submit their respective pre-trial briefs.
trademarks under Republic Act 166, 3.) courts of co-equal and coordinate jurisdiction cannot interfere
with the orders of other courts having the same power and jurisdiction, 4.) plaintiff CEROILFOOD On September 17, 1996, petitioner filed a "Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of Execution" [13] praying
SHANDONG, being a foreign corporation and with no license to do business in the Philippines, has that a motion for execution dismissing the Manila case be issued, and citing Atty. Benjamin Irao, Jr.,
no legal capacity to sue, and 5.) courts should not issue injunctions which would in effect dispose of counsel of CEROILFOOD SHANDONG and his co-counsel, Atty. Antonio Albano, guilty of forum
the main case without trial. shopping, pursuant to the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. No. 33178.

On January 27, 1994, the Manila Court issued an Order [6] granting a writ of preliminary injunction in On January 23, 1997, respondents filed before the Manila court a Supplement To Motion For
favor of respondents and denying petitioners motion to dismiss. Judgment On The Pleadings, claiming that petitioner failed to tender an issue. [14]

On January 31, 1994, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari docketed as On November 20, 1997, Judge Rodolfo G. Palattao of the Manila Court rendered a Judgment on the
CA - G.R. SP No. 33178, seeking for the annulment of the January 27, 1994 Order of the Manila Pleadings in favor of respondents, and ruled that litis pendentia, multiplicity of suits, and forum
Court. shopping were not present in the case.

On July 22, 1994, after the parties have expounded their respective positions by way of their Hence, the present appeal on pure questions of law.
comment, reply and rejoinder, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision, [7]the dispositive portion of
which reads:
Petitioners raise the following issues:

"WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED, and as prayed for by

petitioner, the Order dated January 27, 1994 issued in Civil Case 94-68836 by
Branch 33, Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Manila, is hereby
Whether or not the legal pronouncements of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 33178 he is defending and complaining substantively the same rights and interests in both
that the Manila case is dismissible on grounds of litis pendentia, multiplicity of suits and forum cases, and in effect there is identity of parties representing the same interests. While
shopping constitute the "Law of the Case." it is against TAN with whom the QC RTC issued an injunction, that writ should also
apply to CEROILFOOD SHANDONG, as Tan is its exclusive and sole distributor in
II the Philippines, as private respondent corporation does business in the Philippines
through TAN who imports his vermicelli wholly from said foreign corporation. And
Whether or not the Regional Trial Judge of Branch 33, Manila erred in not applying the law of most importantly, TAN asserts rights to the trademark PAGODA, also allegedly
the case. owned by CEROILFOOD between TAN and CEROILFOOD SHANDONG that he is
its corporate distributor. Also in 93-17628, petitioners prayer for injunction is based on
his registered copyright certificate, while TAN averred in his answer thereon that
petitioners copyright should be annulled and cancelled, and also prayed for
injunction. In 94-68836, private respondent CEROILFOOD SHANDONG, as plaintiff,
Whether or not the court a quo can review the legal conclusions of an appellate court in the
same case, on issues squarely submitted to and passed upon by the appellate court under
identical set of facts and circumstances obtaining in the court a quo.
ORDER/WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION. As can well be seen from those
pertinent allegations/averments/prayers in both cases, they are identical with each
IV other. They involved one and the same CERTIFICATE OF COPYRIGHT
REGISTRATION. Though the first case is for INFRINGEMENT of copyright
Whether or not the court a quo erred in motu proprio considering a motion to dismiss as the registration, while the second is for ANNULMENT AND CANCELLATION of the same
answer to the complaint and, thereafter, render a judgment on the pleadings on the ground copyright, since the first involves a breach, infraction, transgression, and the second
that the motion to dismiss did not tender an issue. [15] for invalidation, discontinuance, termination and suppression of the same copyright
certificate, what the first seeks to preserve is the exclusive use of the copyright, and
In support thereof, petitioners quote the ruling of the Court of Appeals on the issue of whether there the second seeks to terminate the very use of the same copyright by the
was litis pendentia and multiplicity of suits in the present case, as follows: registrant/owner. Though the quest of petitioner and private respondents in the two
cases are aimed towards different ends - the first to uphold the validity and
"The Manila court should have considered also that Civil Case Q-93-17628 involves effectiveness of the same copyright, the second is merely a consequence of the first,
practically the same parties, same subject-matter and same relief as in Civil Case 0- - the real matter in controversy can be fully determined and resolved before the
94-68836. Petitioner filed the first case on September 16, 1993, for INFRINGEMENT Quezon City court, and would render the Manila case a surplus age and also
OF HIS REGISTERED COPYRIGHT, which covers the cellophane wrapper that he constitutes multiplicity of suits and dismissible on that ground, although such
uses in packaging the vermicelli which he imports from the CHINA NATIONAL dismissal should be considered as without prejudice to the continuance of the
CEREALS OILS & FOODSTUFFS IMPORT AND EXPORT CORPORATION BASED proceedings before the Quezon City court. (pp. 8-10, CA Decision, Annex "B" of the
IN BEIJING, CHINA, the main or principal of private respondent CEROILFOOD Petition)"
SHANDONG, the latter being the branch of CEROILFOOD in Quingdao, China, and
of which in Civil Case Q-93-17628, LORENZO TAN avers in his answer he is the On the issue of forum shopping, the Court of Appeals ruled further, thus:
exclusive and sole distributor. In Civil Case 94-68836 subsequently filed in Manila, on
January 5, 1994, LORENZO TAN admitted that he is the sole distributor of plaintiff "Finally, the Manila court should also have considered forum shopping as a third
China National Cereals Oil and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation of the drawback to private respondents cause. It is a term originally used to denominate a
latters PAGODA BRAND vermicelli products. Atty. Benjamin Irao, Jr., the attorney of litigants privilege of choosing the venue of his action where the law allows him to do
private respondents, also the attorney-in-fact of Ceroilfood Shandong, admitted that so, or of an election of remedies of one of two or more co-existing rights. In either of
his principal does not do business in the Philippines, and named LORENZO TAN as which situations, the litigant actually shops for a forum of his action. However, instead
his principals exclusive distributor of said product in the Philippines. Thus, Lorenzo of making a choice of the forum of their actions, litigants through the encouragement
Tan in both Civil Cases Q-93-17628 and 94-68836 appears as principal defendant in of their lawyers, file their actions on all available courts, or invoke irrelevant remedies
the first, and as sole distributor of Cereal Food Shandong, in the second. Indicatively, simultaneously, or even file actions one after the other, a practice which had not only
resulted conflicting adjudications among different courts, confusion inimical to an 11 SCRA 333 which ruled that the deficiencies in the dispositive part of the decision cannot be
orderly administration of justice and created extreme inconvenience to some of the supplied by any finding or opinion found in the body of the decision. Respondents also allege that
parties to the action. And thus it has been held in Villanueva vs. Andres, 172 SCRA while petitioner Wilson Ong had belatedly faulted the Court below in considering his motion to dismiss
876, that forum shopping applies whenever as a result of an adverse opinion in one as his answer, he never questioned the correctness of the findings of the court a quo in the assailed
forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari), in decision.
another forum. xxx
After a review of the records of the case and an examination of the pleadings filed by the parties, the
"Observedly, Attys. IRAO and ALBANO, who are TANs lawyers in Quezon City, are Court finds the petition to be meritorious.
also private respondents lawyers in Manila. ATTY. IRAO who entered his appearance
as counsel for private respondents in the Manila case, is also the authorized Being interrelated, the first, second and third issues shall be discussed jointly.
representative and attorney-in-fact of private respondent corporation in the Manila
case. While Atty. Irao withdrew as counsel of TAN in the Quezon City, that did not Indeed, the court a quo erred in not resolving the petitioners motion to dismiss in accordance with the
remove the case filed in Manila outside the sphere of the rule on forum shopping." decision of the Court of Appeals which found that "The Manila court should have considered also that
(pp. 10-11, CA Decision, Annex "B" of the Petition) Civil Case Q-93-17628 involves practically the same parties, same subject-matter and same relief as
in Civil Case 94-68836"; that "the real matter in controversy can be fully determined and resolved
Petitioners contend that the foregoing conclusions of fact and law of the Court of Appeals are correct before the Quezon City court and would render the Manila case a surplusage and also constitutes
and should not be disturbed, especially since the decision of the Court of Appeals had already multiplicity of suits and dismissible on that ground, although such dismissal should be considered as
become final and entered in the Books of Judgment; that the parties to the case and the Regional without prejudice to the continuance of the proceedings before the Quezon City court"; and that "the
Trial Judge in Branch 33, Manila are bound by the said conclusions of fact and law and the same Manila court should also have considered forum shopping as a third drawback to private respondents
should not be reopened on remand of the case; and that it is not within the Trial Judges discretion to cause."
take exception to, much less overturn, any factual or legal conclusions laid down by the Court of
Appeals in its verdict and to dispose of the case in a manner diametrically opposed thereto, citing the While the Court of Appeals stated in the dispositive portion of its decision that "the prayer for
case of PNB vs. Noahs Ark Sugar Refinery, 226 SCRA 36, 48. dismissal of the complaint in Manila may be pursued before said court during the proceedings," it is
clear from the body of the Court of Appeals Decision that the case before the Manila court should be
Petitioners further allege that the acts of the trial judge suffer from procedural infirmity: and that it dismissed on grounds of litis pendentia, and forum shopping.
makes no sense for the trial judge to refuse to resolve the motion to dismiss on the merits; to motu
proprio consider the motion to dismiss as the answer to the complaint; and to later rule that the While the general rule is that the portion of a decision that becomes the subject of execution is that
motion to dismiss did not tender an issue and, therefore, a judgment on the pleadings is in order. ordained or decreed in the dispositive part thereof, there are exceptions to this rule.
Petitioners also aver that a motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading (citing Prudence Realty
Development Corporation vs. CA, 231 SCRA 379); that at the time the trial judge considered the
The exceptions where the dispositive part of the judgment does not always prevail over the body of
motion to dismiss to be the answer to the complaint, he knew very well, or at least should have known
the opinion are:
that the motion to dismiss did not tender an issue for indeed, it is not within the province of the motion
to admit or deny the allegations of the complaint, and there being no legitimate answer and no real
(a)....where there is ambiguity or uncertainty, the body of the opinion may be referred
joinder of issues, the rendition of the subject Judgment on the Pleadings becomes suspect. According
to for purposes of construing the judgment because the dispositive part of a decision
to petitioners, in deviating from the usual procedure, the court a quo gave undue benefit and
must find support from the decisions ratio decidendi;[16]
advantage to the respondents at the expense of herein petitioners; and that the explanation given by
the trial judge that the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision did not expressly order him
to dismiss the case is flimsy and untenable. (b)....where extensive and explicit discussion and settlement of the issue is found in
the body of the decision.[17]
On the other hand, respondents assert that the doctrine of law of the case is not applicable to the
present case because the Court of Appeals never ordered the dismissal of the case and that the Considering the circumstances of the instant case, the Court finds that the exception to the general
Order of the Manila Court dated January 27, 1994 was annulled and set aside only insofar as the rule applies to the instant case. Since the statement of the Court of Appeals regarding the prayer for
preliminary injunction is concerned. Respondents cite the case of Magdalena Estate, Inc. vs. Caluag, the dismissal of the case seemingly gave the Manila court the discretion to dismiss or not to dismiss
Civil Case No. 94-68836, the Manila court should have referred to the body of the decision for Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
purposes of construing the issue of whether or not the complaint should be dismissed, because the
dispositive part of a decision must find support from the decisions ratio decidendi. Findings of the
court are to be considered in the interpretation of the dispositive portion of the judgment. [18] Moreover,
extensive and explicit discussion and settlement of the issues are found in the body of the Court of
Appeals decision so that it is grave error for the court a quo to rule again, as it did, on the issues
of litis pendentia and forum shopping in its decision, and to overturn that of the Court of Appeals,
thus: ATTY. RONALDO P. LEDESMA, G.R. No. 161629
"The argument of Defendant Ong in his motion for execution that the case at bench Present:
should now be dismissed on the grounds of forum shopping and litis pendentia as Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman),
allegedly ruled by the Court of Appeals, does not impress this Court. For while the
appellate court urged this Court to consider litis pendentiaand forum shopping in the - versus - Quisumbing,
trial resolution of the case at bench, nowhere in its (CA) decision could it be deduced
that this Court is mandated to dismiss the case on these precise grounds. The Ynares-Santiago,
dispositive portion of the decision does not contain such a mandate." [19] Carpio, and

In Viva Productions, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals,[20] this Court set aside the decision of the Makati court Azcuna, JJ.
and declared null and void all orders of the RTC of Makati after ruling that:

"Thus, we find grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Makati court, being a mere ANIANO A. DESIERTO, in his
co-equal of the Paraaque court, in not giving due deference to the latter before which
capacity as Ombudsman, HON.
the issue of the alleged violation of the sub-judice rule had already been raised and
submitted. In such instance, the Makati court, if it was wary of dismissing the ABELARDO L. APORTADERA, in
action outrightly under administrative Circular No. 04-94, should have, at least
ordered the consolidation of its case with that of the Paraaque court, which his capacity as Assistant Ombudsman,
had first acquired jurisdiction over the related case in accordance with Rule 31
and Ombudsmans Fact Finding and
of the Revised Rules of Court."(emphasis ours.)
Intelligence Bureau, represented by Promulgated:
The Quezon City court and the Manila court have concurrent jurisdiction over the case. However,
when the Quezon City court acquired jurisdiction over the case, it excluded all other courts of Director AGAPITO ROSALES,
concurrent jurisdiction from acquiring jurisdiction over the same. The Manila court is, therefore, devoid Respondents. July 29, 2005
of jurisdiction over the complaint filed resulting in the herein assailed decision which must perforce be
declared null and void. To hold otherwise would be to risk instances where courts of concurrent x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
jurisdiction might have conflicting orders.[21]

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 33 in Civil Case
No. 94-68836 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Said case is ordered dismissed without prejudice to the DECISION
continuance of the proceedings before the Quezon City court where Civil Case No. Q-93-17628 is

The complaint against petitioner, Caronongan and Ang alleged the following illegal acts: (a) irregularly
granting TRVs beyond the prescribed period; and (b) using recycled or photocopied applications for a
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the decision [1] dated August 28,
TRV extension without the applicants affixing their signatures anew to validate the correctness and
[2] [3]
2003 and the resolution dated January 15, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58264 truthfulness of the information previously stated therein. Specifically, petitioner and Caronongan
which affirmed with modification public respondents (1) Joint Resolution dated January 22, 1999, allegedly signed the Memorandum of Transmittal to the Board of Commission (BOC) of the BID,

which ordered, among other things, petitioners suspension for one (1) year for conduct prejudicial to forwarding the applications for TRV extension of several aliens whose papers were questionable.

the service; and (2) Order dated February 8, 2000, as reiterated in a Memorandum dated March 17,

2000, which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration but reduced his suspension to nine (9)
In a Joint Resolution[5] dated January 22, 1999, Graft Investigation Officer Marlyn M. Reyes resolved
months without pay. The Court of Appeals modified the above issuances by further reducing the administrative cases filed against petitioner, Caronongan and Ang, as follows:
petitioners suspension from nine (9) months to six (6) months and one (1) day without pay.[4]

WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, it is respectfully recommended that:

Petitioner Atty. Ronaldo P. Ledesma is the Chairman of the First Division of the Board of Special
Inquiry (BSI) of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID). In a letter-complaint filed by
1. Respondent ATTY. RONALDO P. LEDESMA be SUSPENDED from the
Augusto Somalio with the Fact Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FIIB) of the Office of the service for one (1) year for Conduct Prejudicial to the Interest of the
Ombudsman, an investigation was requested on alleged anomalies surrounding the extension of the Service;

Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) of two (2) foreign nationals. The FIIB investigation revealed seven 2. The instant case against ATTY. ARTHEL B. CARONONGAN be
DISMISSED, the same having been rendered moot and academic;
(7) other cases of TRV extensions tainted with similar irregularities.

3. The instant case against respondent MA. ELENA P. ANG be DISMISSED

for lack of sufficient evidence.
As a result, the FIIB, as nominal complainant, filed before the Administrative Adjudication Bureau
(AAB) of the Office of the Ombudsman a formal complaint against herein petitioner. Also charged
administratively were Atty. Arthel Caronongan and Ma. Elena P. Ang, Board Member and Executive
Assistant, respectively, in petitioners division. With respect to petitioner, the complaint was treated as
both a criminal and an administrative charge and docketed as OMB-0-98-0214 (criminal aspect), for
Respondent Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo L. Aportadera, Jr. reviewed the Joint Resolution which
nine (9) counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for falsification of public
was approved by respondent Ombudsman Desierto on December 29, 1999. [7]
documents, and OMB-ADM-0-98-0038 (administrative aspect), for nine (9) counts of Dishonesty,
Grave Misconduct, Falsification of Public Documents and Gross Neglect of Duty.
In the meantime, on July 9, 1999, respondent Ombudsman approved a Resolution [8] dated
June 22, 1999 of Graft Investigation Officer Marilou B. Ancheta-Mejica, dismissing AND MATTERS WHICH, IF PROPERLY CONSIDERED, WOULD HAVE JUSTIFIED
the criminal charges against petitioner for insufficiency of evidence. [9]

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration [10] in the administrative case alleging that the BOC which
reviews all applications for TRVs extension, approved the TRVs in question, hence, petitioner argued
that it effectively declared the applications for extension regular and in order and waived any infirmity
thereon. II.


In an Order[11] dated February 8, 2000, Graft Officer Reyes recommended the denial of the motion for THE FINDING OF THE OMBUDSMAN IS NOT MERELY ADVISORY ON THE
reconsideration which was approved by respondent Ombudsman on March 24, 2000 but reduced the BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION (BI) IS CONTRARY TO THE PERTINENT PROVISION
period of suspension from one (1) year to nine (9) months without pay.

On April 13, 2000, petitioner filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, which included a
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary prohibitory mandatory injunction and/or temporary
restraining order to enjoin public respondents from implementing the order of suspension. The Court RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ALSO FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT
of Appeals issued the TRO on April 19, 2000.

In its Decision dated August 28, 2003, the Court of Appeals affirmed petitioners suspension but
reduced the period from nine (9) months to six (6) months and one (1) day without pay.[12] The petition lacks merit.

With the denial of his motion for reconsideration, petitioner filed the instant petition for review on the

following grounds: Petitioner insists that it was the BOC which approved the questioned applications for the extension of
the TRVs. He denies that he misled or deceived the BOC into approving these applications and
argues that the BOC effectively ratified his actions and sanctioned his conduct when it approved the
subject applications. Petitioner adds that he acted in good faith and the government did not suffer any Equally untenable is the contention that the BOCs approval of the defective applications for TRV
damage as a result of his alleged administrative lapse. extension cured any infirmities therein and effectively absolved petitioners administrative lapse. The
instant administrative case pertains to the acts of petitioner as Chairman of the First Division of the
BSI in processing nine (9) defective applications, independent of and without regard to the action
We are not persuaded. In his attempt to escape liability, petitioner undermines his position in the BID taken by the BOC. It does not impugn the validity of the TRV extensions as to encroach upon the
and his role in the processing of the subject applications. But by his own admission, [14] it appears that authority of the BID on immigration matters. The main thrust of the case is to determine whether
the BSI not only transmits the applications for TRV extension and its supporting documents, but more petitioner committed any misconduct, nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance in the performance
importantly, it interviews the applicants and evaluates their papers before making a recommendation of his duties.
to the BOC. The BSI reviews the applications and when it finds them in order, it executes a
Memorandum of Transmittal to the BOC certifying to the regularity and propriety of the applications.
Anent the second and third grounds, petitioner essentially puts in issue the import of the
Ombudsmans findings. Petitioner questions the Court of Appeals pronouncement that the findings of
In Arias v. Sandiganbayan,[15] we stated that all heads of offices have to rely to a reasonable the Ombudsman may not be said to be merely recommendatory upon the Immigration Commissioner.
extent on their subordinates. Practicality and efficiency in the conduct of government business dictate He argues that to uphold the appellate courts ruling expands the authority granted by the Constitution
that the gritty details be sifted and reviewed by the time it reaches the final approving authority. In the to the Office of the Ombudsman and runs counter to prevailing jurisprudence on the matter,
case at bar, it is not unreasonable for the BOC to rely on the evaluation and recommendation of the particularly Tapiador v. Office of the Ombudsman.[16] Petitioner submits that the Ombudsmans findings
BSI as it cannot be expected to review every detail of each application transmitted for its approval. that the TRV applications were illegal constitutes an indirect interference by the Ombudsman into the
Petitioner being the Chairman of the First Division of the BSI has direct supervision over its powers of the BOC over immigration matters.
proceedings. Thus, he cannot feign ignorance or good faith when the irregularities in the TRV
extension applications are so patently clear on its face. He is principally accountable for certifying the
regularity and propriety of the applications which he knew were defective. We do not agree. The creation of the Office of the Ombudsman is a unique feature of the 1987
Constitution.[17] The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, are mandated to act
promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against officers or employees of the Government,
Petitioner could not validly claim that he was singled out for prosecution. It is of record that or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
administrative cases were also filed against Caronongan and Ang, but extraneous circumstances corporations.[18] Foremost among its powers is the authority to investigate and prosecute cases
rendered the case against Caronongan moot while the case against Ang was dismissed because it involving public officers and employees, thus:
was proven that she merely implemented the approved decision of the BOC.

Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers,
functions, and duties:
The point of contention is the binding power of any decision or order that emanates from the
(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 Office of the Ombudsman after it has conducted its investigation. Under Section 13(3) of Article XI of
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.
the 1987 Constitution, it is provided:

Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers,
functions, and duties:
Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as The Ombudsman Act of 1989, was passed into law on

November 17, 1989 and provided for the structural and functional organization of the Office of the
Ombudsman. RA 6770 mandated the Ombudsman and his deputies not only to act promptly on

complaints but also to enforce the administrative, civil and criminal liability of government officers and (3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or
employees in every case where the evidence warrants to promote efficient service by the employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine,
censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith. (Emphasis
Government to the people.[19] supplied)

The authority of the Ombudsman to conduct administrative investigations as in the present

Petitioner insists that the word recommend be given its literal meaning; that is, that the
case is settled. Section 19 of RA 6770 provides:
Ombudsmans action is only advisory in nature rather than one having any binding effect,

SEC. 19. Administrative Complaints. The Ombudsman shall act on all citing Tapiador v. Office of the Ombudsman,[21] thus:
complaints relating, but not limited to acts or omissions which:
... Besides, assuming arguendo, that petitioner were administratively liable, the
(1) Are contrary to law or regulation; Ombudsman has no authority to directly dismiss the petitioner from the government
(2) Are unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminatory; service, more particularly from his position in the BID. Under Section 13,
(3) Are inconsistent with the general course of an agencys subparagraph (3), of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman can only
functions, though in accordance with law; recommend the removal of the public official or employee found to be at fault, to the
(4) Proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of public official concerned.[22]
(5) Are in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper
purpose; or For their part, the Solicitor General and the Office of the Ombudsman argue that the
(6) Are otherwise irregular, immoral or devoid of justification.
word recommend must be taken in conjunction with the phrase and ensure compliance therewith. The

proper interpretation of the Courts statement in Tapiador should be that the Ombudsman has the

authority to determine the administrative liability of a public official or employee at fault, and direct and
compel the head of the office or agency concerned to implement the penalty imposed. In other words,

it merely concerns the procedural aspect of the Ombudsmans functions and not its jurisdiction. We note that the proviso above qualifies the order to remove, suspend, demote, fine,

censure, or prosecute an officer or employee akin to the questioned issuances in the case at bar.

We agree with the ratiocination of public respondents. Several reasons militate against a That the refusal, without just cause, of any officer to comply with such an order of the Ombudsman to

literal interpretation of the subject constitutional provision. Firstly, a cursory reading penalize an erring officer or employee is a ground for disciplinary action, is a strong indication that the

of Tapiador reveals that the main point of the case was the failure of the complainant therein to Ombudsmans recommendation is not merely advisory in nature but is actually mandatory within the

present substantial evidence to prove the charges of the administrative case. The statement that bounds of law. This should not be interpreted as usurpation by the Ombudsman of the authority of the

made reference to the power of the Ombudsman is, at best, merely an obiter dictum and, as it is head of office or any officer concerned. It has long been settled that the power of the Ombudsman to

unsupported by sufficient explanation, is susceptible to varying interpretations, as what precisely is investigate and prosecute any illegal act or omission of any public official is not an exclusive authority

before us in this case. Hence, it cannot be cited as a doctrinal declaration of this Court nor is it safe but a shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged. [23] By stating therefore that the

from judicial examination. Ombudsman recommends the action to be taken against an erring officer or employee, the provisions

in the Constitution and in RA 6770 intended that the implementation of the order be coursed through

The provisions of RA 6770 support public respondents theory. Section 15 is substantially the the proper officer, which in this case would be the head of the BID.

same as Section 13, Article XI of the Constitution which provides for the powers, functions and duties

of the Ombudsman. We draw attention to subparagraph 3, to wit: It is likewise apparent that under RA 6770, the lawmakers intended to provide the Office of

the Ombudsman with sufficient muscle to ensure that it can effectively carry out its mandate as
SEC. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. The Office of the Ombudsman shall
have the following powers, functions and duties: protector of the people against inept and corrupt government officers and employees. The Office was

granted the power to punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. [24] It was given
disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the government and its subdivisions,
(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public instrumentalities and agencies (with the exception only of impeachable officers, members of
officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty
required by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, Congress and the Judiciary).[25] Also, it can preventively suspend any officer under its authority
or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority pending an investigation when the case so warrants. [26]
as provided in Section 21 of this Act: Provided, That the refusal by any officer without
just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote,
fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to
perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be a ground for disciplinary
action against said officer; (Emphasis supplied)
The foregoing interpretation is consistent with the wisdom and spirit behind the creation of the

Office of the Ombudsman. The records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission [27] reveal Yes, because we want to avoid what happened in 1973. I read the committee
report which recommended the approval of the 27 resolutions for the creation
the following: of the office of the Ombudsman, but notwithstanding the explicit purpose
enunciated in that report, the implementing law the last one, P.D. No.
MR. MONSOD: 1630did not follow the main thrust; instead it created the Tanodbayan, ...

Madam President, perhaps it might be helpful if we give the spirit and intendment of ...
the Committee. What we wanted to avoid is the situation where it
deteriorates into a prosecution arm. We wanted to give the idea of the MR. MONSOD: (reacting to statements of Commissioner Blas Ople):
Ombudsman a chance, with prestige and persuasive powers, and also a
chance to really function as a champion of the citizen. May we just state that perhaps the honorable Commissioner has looked at it
in too much of an absolutist position, The Ombudsman is seen as a civil
However, we do not want to foreclose the possibility that in the future, The Assembly, advocate or a champion of the citizens against the bureaucracy, not against
as it may see fit, may have to give additional powers to the Ombudsman; we the President. On one hand, we are told he has no teeth and he lacks other
want to give the concept of a pure Ombudsman a chance under the things. On the other hand, there is the interpretation that he is a competitor to
Constitution. the President, as if he is being brought up to the same level as the President.

MR. RODRIGO: With respect to the argument that he is a toothless animal, we would like to
say that we are promoting the concept in its form at the present, but we are
Madam President, what I am worried about is if we create a constitutional also saying that he can exercise such powers and functions as may be
body which has neither punitive nor prosecutory powers but only persuasive provided by law in accordance with the direction of the thinking of
powers, we might be raising the hopes of our people too much and then Commissioner Rodrigo. We did not think that at this time we should prescribe
disappoint them. this, but we leave it up to Congress at some future time if it feels that it may
need to designate what powers the Ombudsman need in order that he be
MR. MONSOD: more effective. This is not foreclosed.

I agree with the Commissioner. So, his is a reversible disability, unlike that of a eunuch; it is not an
irreversible disability. (Emphasis supplied)[29]

It is thus clear that the framers of our Constitution intended to create a stronger and more effective
MR. RODRIGO: Ombudsman, independent and beyond the reach of political influences and vested with powers that

Anyway, since we state that the powers of the Ombudsman can later on be are not merely persuasive in character. The Constitutional Commission left to Congress to empower
implemented by the legislature, why not leave this to the legislature? [28] the Ombudsman with prosecutorial functions which it did when RA 6770 was enacted. In the case

of Uy v. Sandiganbayan,[30] it was held:

should have certified the case to this Court as the penalty of thirty (30) years was already reclusion
perpetua, pursuant to the last paragraph of Sec. 13, Rule 124, [2] of the 2000 Rules of Criminal
Clearly, the Philippine Ombudsman departs from the classical Ombudsman Procedure.
model whose function is merely to receive and process the peoples complaints
against corrupt and abusive government personnel. The Philippine Ombudsman, as We cannot sustain the petition; we agree instead with the Court of Appeals.
protector of the people, is armed with the power to prosecute erring public officers
and employees, giving him an active role in the enforcement of laws on anti-graft and In denying the prayer of petitioner, the Court of Appeals correctly held that the provision of Sec.
corrupt practices and such other offenses that may be committed by such officers 13, Rule 124, relied upon by petitioner, was applicable only when the penalty imposed was reclusion
and employees. The legislature has vested him with broad powers to enable him to perpetua or higher as a single indivisible penalty, i.e., the penalty was at least reclusion
implement his own actions. ...[31] perpetua. Hence, the penalty imposed by the appellate court on the accused was clearly in
accordance with Sec. 14 of RA 6538, [3] which is not considered reclusion perpetua for purposes of
Sec. 13, Rule 124.[4]

In light of the foregoing, we hold that the Court of Appeals did not commit any error in finding the The Court of Appeals in its assailed resolution relied on People v. Omotoy[5] where the Regional
Trial Court found the accused guilty of arson and sentenced him to imprisonment ranging from twelve
petitioner guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service and reducing petitioners period of
(12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum, to reclusion perpetua. The case reached this
suspension to six (6) months and one (1) day without pay, taking into account the education and Court on automatic appeal. In Footnote 16 of the decision, it was observed -

length of service of petitioner. The appeal was taken directly to this Tribunal for the reason no doubt that the penalty of reclusion
perpetua is involved, albeit joined to prision mayor in its maximum period in accordance with the
Indeterminate Sentence Law. Actually, the appeal should have gone to the Court of Appeals since
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision dated August 28, 2003 and the strictly speaking, this Court entertains appeals in criminal cases only where the penalty imposed
is reclusion perpetua or higher (Sec. 5[2](d), Article VIII, Constitution), i.e., the penalty is at least
Resolution dated January 15, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58264 reclusion perpetua (or life imprisonment, in special offenses). The lapse will be overlooked so as not
to delay the disposition of the case. It is of slight nature, the penalty of reclusion perpetua having in
fact been imposed on the accused, and causes no prejudice whatsoever to any party.

Petitioner now asks whether the last paragraph of Sec. 13, Rule 124, of the 2000 Rules of
MARVIN MERCADO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Criminal Procedure is applicable to the instant case considering that the penalty imposed was
seventeen (17) years and four (4) months to thirty (30) years.
Article 27 of The Revised Penal Code states that the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be
BELLOSILLO, J.: from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years. While the thirty (30)-year period falls within
that range, reclusion perpetua nevertheless is a single indivisible penalty which cannot be divided into
MARVIN MERCADO, together with Rommel Flores, Michael Cummins, Mark Vasques and Enrile different periods. The thirty (30)-year period for reclusion perpetua is only for purposes of successive
Bertumen, was charged with and convicted of violation of R.A. 6538 or The Anti-Carnapping Act of service of sentence under Art. 70 of The Revised Penal Code.[6]
1972, as amended, for which he and his co-accused were sentenced to a prison term of twelve (12)
years and one (1) day as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion More importantly, the crime committed by petitioner is one penalized under RA 6538 or The Anti-
temporal as maximum.[1] Carnapping Act of 1972 which is a special law and not under The Revised Penal Code. Unless
otherwise specified, if the special penal law imposes such penalty, it is error to designate it with terms
The case before us concerns only the petition for review of accused Marvin Mercado where he provided for in The Revised Penal Code since those terms apply only to the penalties imposed by
assails his conviction, and arguing that the Court of Appeals having increased the penalty imposed by the Penal Code, and not to the penalty in special penal laws. [7] This is because generally, special laws
the court a quo to a prison term of seventeen (17) years and four (4) months to thirty (30) years,
provide their own specific penalties for the offenses they punish, which penalties are not taken from On the other hand, where the Court of Appeals imposes a penalty less than reclusion
nor refer to those in The Revised Penal Code.[8] perpetua, a review of the case may be had only by petition for review on certiorari under Rule
45[16] where only errors or questions of law may be raised.
The penalty of fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months under RA 6538 is essentially within the
range of the medium period of reclusion temporal. However, such technical term under The Revised Petitioner, in his Reply, also brings to fore the issue of whether there was indeed a violation
Penal Code is not similarly used or applied to the penalty for carnapping. Also, the penalty for of The Anti-Carnapping Act. This issue is factual, as we shall find hereunder.
carnapping attended by the qualifying circumstance of violence against or intimidation of any person
or force upon things, i.e., seventeen (17) years and four (4) months to thirty (30) years, does not In the evening of 26 May 1996 Leonardo Bhagwani parked the subject Isuzu Trooper in front of
correspond to that in The Revised Penal Code.[9] But it is different when the owner, driver or occupant his house at No. 7015-B Biac-na-Bato St., Makati City, Metro Manila. The vehicle was owned by
of the carnapped vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof, Augustus Zamora but was used by Bhagwani as a service vehicle in their joint venture. The following
since this is penalized with reclusion perpetua to death.[10] day the Isuzu Trooper was nowhere to be found prompting Bhagwani to report its disappearance to
the Makati Police Station and the Anti-Carnapping (ANCAR) Division which immediately issued an
Hence, it was error for the trial court to impose the penalty of x x x imprisonment of TWELVE Alarm Sheet.[17]
(12) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY as minimum to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS of
reclusion temporal as maximum.[11] For these reasons the use of the term reclusion temporal in the On 31 May 1996 Bhagwanis neighbor, fireman Avelino Alvarez, disclosed that he learned from
decretal portion of its decision is not proper. Besides, we see no basis for the trial court to set the his daughter, a common-law wife of accused Michael Cummins, that the accused Rommel Flores,
minimum penalty at twelve (12) years and one (1) day since RA 6538 sets the minimum penalty for Mark Vasques, Enrile Bertumen and Michael Cummins himself stole the Isuzu Trooper. Alvarezs
carnapping at fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months. daughter however refused to issue any statement regarding the incident. [18]

We see no error by the appellate court in relying on a Footnote in Omotoy[12] to affirm the In the evening of 31 May 1996 SPO3 Miling Flores brought to his house Michael Cummins, Mark
conviction of the accused. The substance of the Footnote may not be the ratio decidendi of the case, Vasques, Enrile Bertumen, Rommel Flores, and complaining witness Bhagwani. In that meeting,
but it still constitutes an important part of the decision since it enunciates a fundamental procedural Cummins, Vasques, Bertumen and Flores admitted that they took the vehicle and used it in going to
rule in the conduct of appeals. That this rule is stated in a Footnote to a decision is of no Laguna, La Union and Baguio.[19] They claimed however that it was with the knowledge and consent
consequence as it is merely a matter of style. of Bhagwani. They alleged that on the night they took the vehicle, they invited Bhagwani to join them
in their outing to Laguna. But when Bhagwani declined, they asked him instead if they could borrow
It may be argued that Omotoy is not on all fours with the instant case since the former involves the Isuzu Trooper. Bhagwani allegedly agreed and even turned over the keys to them. [20]
an appeal from the Regional Trial Court to the Supreme Court while the case at bar is an appeal from
the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. As enunciated in Omotoy, the Supreme Court entertains Petitioner Marvin Mercado was absent during that confrontasi in the house of SPO3 Miling
appeals in criminal cases only where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. The basis Flores but his co-accused narrated his participation in the crime. [21]
for this doctrine is the Constitution itself which empowers this Court to review, revise, reverse, modify
or affirm on appeal, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments of lower courts in all The Court of Appeals affirmed their conviction but increased the penalty imposed on the four (4)
criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher.[13] accused from a prison term of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum to seventeen (17) years
and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months
Where the Court of Appeals finds that the imposable penalty in a criminal case brought to it on to thirty (30) years.[22]
appeal is at least reclusion perpetua, death or life imprisonment, then it should impose such penalty,
refrain from entering judgment thereon, certify the case and elevate the entire records to this Court for Petitioner insists that the accused were more motivated by fun rather than theft in taking the
review.[14] This will obviate the unnecessary, pointless and time-wasting shuttling of criminal cases Isuzu Trooper, and that they merely took the vehicle for a joyride with no intention of stealing it. If they
between this Court and the Court of Appeals, for by then this Court will acquire jurisdiction over the were really thieves, according to petitioner, they would have sold the vehicle outright instead of simply
case from the very inception and can, without bothering the Court of Appeals which has fully abandoning it in Baguio.[23]
completed the exercise of its jurisdiction, do justice in the case. [15]
Petitioner apparently overlooks the fact that this is a petition for review on certiorari where only
questions of law, and not questions of fact, may be raised. The issue before us being factual, a
reevaluation of the facts and the evidence may not be entertained in this appeal. Besides, findings of Respondent Villadores is one of the accused in the amended informations in Criminal Cases
fact of the trial court, when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding upon the Supreme Court. Nos. 94-138744 and 94-138745 entitled, People of the Philippines v. Atty. Tomas Bernardo, Roque
This rule may be disregarded only when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to Villadores, Alberto Adriano and Rolando Advincula, for Falsification of Public Document before the
the findings and conclusions of the trial court, or are not supported by the evidence on record. But Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 41.
there is no ground to apply this exception to the instant case. This Court will not assess all over again
the evidence adduced by the parties particularly where as in this case the findings of both the trial It appears that petitioner Villanueva, Jr. filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against several
court and the Court of Appeals completely coincide.[25] parties, among them, IBC 13. When the labor arbiter [4] ruled in favor of petitioner Villanueva, Jr., IBC
13 appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). [5] As an appeal bond, IBC 13 filed
However, we disagree with the Court of Appeals on its imposition of the penalty. Republic Act No. Surety Bond No. G (16) 00136 issued by BF General Insurance Company, Inc. (BF) with the
6538 imposes the penalty of imprisonment for seventeen (17) years and four (4) months to thirty (30) Confirmation Letter dated September 20, 1993 supposedly issued by BFs Vice-President. However,
years when the carnapping is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, both documents were subsequently found to be falsified.
or force upon things. The evidence in this case shows that the accused broke a quarter window of the
Isuzu Trooper to gain access to it, thus demonstrating that force was used upon the vehicle; Thus, the two (2) complaints for falsification of public document were filed before the Manila City
nonetheless, we believe that this does not merit the imposition of the full penalty. With the application Prosecutors Office. The charges against respondent Villadores and Atty. Eulalio Diaz III were
of The Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty to be imposed may be reduced to an indeterminate dismissed by the City Prosecutors Office which, however, found probable cause against the other
prison term of seventeen (17) years and four (4) months to twenty-two (22) years. respondents. Nonetheless, on a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ), the latter
affirmed the dismissal against Diaz but ordered the inclusion of respondent Villadores as an accused
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals denying the Motion and in the two (2) criminal cases. Accordingly, the original informations were amended to include
Manifestation of petitioner Marvin Mercado dated 19 January 2001 is AFFIRMED with the respondent Villadores among those charged.
MODIFICATION that the penalty imposed is reduced to an indeterminate prison term of seventeen
(17) years and four (4) months to twenty-two (22) years. No costs. Following the arraignment of respondent Villadores, the private prosecutor, Rico and Associates,
filed anew a Motion to Admit Amended Informations alleging damages sustained by private
SO ORDERED. complainant, herein petitioner Villanueva, Jr., as a result of the crimes committed by the accused. The
incident was referred to the City Prosecutors Office by the trial court. In compliance, the fiscals office
Mendoza, Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur. submitted a Motion to Admit Amended Informations with the following amendment: to the prejudice of
Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr., and of public interest and in violation of public faith and destruction of
truth as therein proclaimed.

The Motion was granted by the trial court and the amended informations were admitted in an
Order dated October 10, 1997. Respondent Villadores subsequently filed a Manifestation and/or
FRANCISCO N. VILLANUEVA, JR., petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ROQUE Motion for Reconsideration but the same was denied in an Order dated October 24, 1997.
VILLADORES, respondents.
Thus, respondent Villadores interposed on November 26, 1997 a petition for certiorari with the
DECISION Court of Appeals. Said petition, which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 46103, sought to annul the
Order of the trial court dated October 10, 1997 which admitted the second amended informations, as
DE LEON, JR., J.: well as the Order dated October 24, 1997 denying his motion for reconsideration thereof. [6]

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated April In a Decision dated June 22, 1998, the appellate court, acting thru its Eleventh Division, found
12, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 50235 reversing the two (2) Orders dated August 27, 1998 [2] and that the trial court committed no grave abuse of discretion in admitting the amended informations and
December 4, 1998[3] of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 41, in Criminal Cases Nos. 94- dismissed the petition of respondent Villadores. [7] The decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 became
138744-45 which denied respondent Roque Villadoress motion for disqualification of Rico and final and executory on July 18, 1998.[8]
Associates as private prosecutor for petitioner Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr., and the motion for
reconsideration thereof, respectively.
Subsequently, before Branch 41 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, respondent Villadores Hence, this petition anchored on the following grounds: [17]
moved for the disqualification of Rico and Associates as private prosecutor for petitioner Villanueva,
Jr.,[9] in line with the following pronouncement of the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103, to wit: THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN ENJOINING RICO & ASSOCIATES
Incidentally, We are one with the petitioner when it argued that Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. is not the
offended party in these cases. It must be underscored that it was IBC 13 who secured the falsified THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE THAT THE
surety bond for the purpose of the appeal it had taken from an adverse judgment of the labor case MATTER OF WHETHER OR NOT FRANCISCO N. VILLANUEVA, JR. IS AN OFFENDED PARTY IN
filed by Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. himself and wherein the latter prevailed. We see no reason how CRIMINAL CASE NOS. 94-138744-45 HAD BEEN RESOLVED WITH FINALITY IN THE
Villanueva could have sustained damages as a result of the falsification of the surety appeal bond AFFIRMATIVE IN CA-G.R. SP NO. 46103 WHERE THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS UPHELD THE
and its confirmation letter when it could have even redounded to his own benefit if the appeal would AMENDMENT OF THE INFORMATIONS IN SAID CASES TO STATE THAT THE CRIMES WERE
be dismissed as a result of the forgery. If there be anyone who was prejudiced, it was IBC 13 when it COMMITTED TO THE PREJUDICE OF FRANCISCO N. VILLANUEVA, JR., AND PURSUANT TO
G.R. SP NO. 50235.
Rico and Associates opposed said motion on the ground that the above-quoted pronouncement of the
appellate court is a mere obiter dictum.[11] THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THE
In an Order[12] dated August 27, 1998 the trial court denied the motion for disqualification AN OFFENDED PARTY, AS A MERE OBITER DICTUM.
ratiocinating, thus:
A reading of the aforecited decision of the Court of Appeals clearly shows that the aforecited reason FRANCISCO N. VILLANUEVA, JR., WAS IN FACT AN AGGRIEVED PARTY.
for the motion is a mere obiter dictum. As held by the Supreme Court, an obiter dictumlacks force of
adjudication. It is merely an expression of an opinion with no binding force for purposes of res THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN ORDERING THE NAME OF FRANCISCO
judicata (City of Manila vs. Entote, June 28, 1974, 57 SCRA, 508-509). What is controlling is the N. VILLANUVEVA, JR., APPEARING AS THE OFFENDED PARTY BE STRICKEN FROM THE
dispositive portion of the subject decision of the Court of Appeals which denied due course and RECORDS, DESPITE THE FACT THAT IN CA-G.R. SP NO. 46103, IT UPHELD THE AMENDMENT
ordered dismissed the petition of the movant questioning the Order of this Court granting the Motion OF THE INFORMATIONS SO AS TO STATE THAT THE CRIMES CHARGED WERE COMMITTED
to Admit Informations and admitting the Amended Informations that include the name of Francisco N. TO THE PREJUDICE OF FRANCISCO N. VILLANUEVA, JR.
Villanueva, Jr. as the private offended party, which in effect upheld and/or affirmed the questioned
Order of this Court admitting the amended informations. All the foregoing issues boil down to the issue of whether or not the pronouncement of the
appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 to the effect that petitioner Villanueva, Jr. is not an offended
Reconsideration[13] was sought by respondent Villadores but the same was denied by the trial court in party in Criminal Cases Nos. 94-138744-45 is obiter dictum.
its Order dated December 4, 1998.[14]
An obiter dictum has been defined as an opinion expressed by a court upon some question of
Thus, on January 7, 1999, respondent Villadores filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of law which is not necessary to the decision of the case before it. It is a remark made, or opinion
Appeals, docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP No. 50235, seeking the annulment of the trial courts Order expressed, by a judge, in his decision upon a cause, by the way, that is, incidentally or collaterally,
dated August 27, 1998 denying the Motion for Disqualification as well as its subsequent Order dated and not directly upon the question before him, or upon a point not necessarily involved in the
December 4, 1998 denying reconsideration.[15] determination of the cause, or introduced by way of illustration, or analogy or argument. Such are not
binding as precedent.[18]
On April 12, 2000, the appellate court rendered its now challenged decision which reversed and
set aside the two (2) Orders of the trial court dated August 27, 1998 and December 4, 1998. The Based on the foregoing, the pronouncement of the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 is
appellate court directed that the name of petitioner Villanueva, Jr., appearing as the offended party in not an obiter dictum as it touched upon a matter clearly raised by respondent Villadores in his petition
Criminal Cases Nos. 94-138744-45 be stricken out from the records. [16] assailing the admission of the Amended Informations. Among the issues upon which the petition
for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 was anchored, was whether Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. is the Relative to the second instance, the primary consideration is whether the intended amendment is only
offended party.[19] Argument on whether petitioner Villanueva, Jr. was the offended party was, thus, as to matter of form and same could be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.
clearly raised by respondent Villadores. The body of the decision contains discussion on that point Substantial amendment as a consequence is proscribed. In essence, substantial matters in the
and it clearly mentioned certain principles of law. complaint or information is the recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of
the jurisdiction of the court. All other matters are merely of form [Almeda vs. Villaluz, 66 SCRA 38
It has been held that an adjudication on any point within the issues presented by the case cannot (1975); Teehankee vs. Madayag, supra].
be considered as obiter dictum, and this rule applies to all pertinent questions, although only
incidentally involved, which are presented and decided in the regular course of the consideration of In other words, even if the amendment is only as to matter of form, one other criteria must
the case, and led up to the final conclusion, and to any statement as to matter on which the decision accompany it for its admission, which is, that it should not be prejudicial to the accused. Conformably,
is predicated. Accordingly, a point expressly decided does not lose its value as a precedent because the test as to when the rights of an accused are prejudiced by the amendment of a complaint or
the disposition of the case is, or might have been, made on some other ground, or even though, by information is, when a defense under the complaint or information, as it originally stood, would no
reason of other points in the case, the result reached might have been the same if the court had held, longer be available after the amendment is made, and when any evidence the accused might have,
on the particular point, otherwise than it did. A decision which the case could have turned on is not would no longer be available after the amendment is made, and when any evidence the accused
regarded as obiter dictum merely because, owing to the disposal of the contention, it was necessary might have, would be inapplicable to the complaint or information as amended [People vs.
to consider another question, nor can an additional reason in a decision, brought forward after the Montenegro, 159 SCRA 236 (1988); Teehankee vs. Madayag, supra].
case has been disposed of on one ground, be regarded as dicta. So, also, where a case presents two
(2) or more points, any one of which is sufficient to determine the ultimate issue, but the court actually Given the above aphorisms, the inclusion of the name of Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. as the
decides all such points, the case as an authoritative precedent as to every point decided, and none of prejudiced complainant in the cases appears to be not substantial. It did not change, alter or modify
such points can be regarded as having the status of a dictum, and one point should not be denied the crime charged nor any possible defense. Likewise, any evidence the accused might have under
authority merely because another point was more dwelt on and more fully argued and considered, nor his defense in the original informations is still very much available to him and applicable to the
does a decision on one proposition make statements of the court regarding other propositions dicta.[20] amended informations. In sum, accused petitioner is not in any way prejudiced in his rights with such
amendment which, in Our considered opinion, is only a matter of form under the standards laid down
The decision of the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 allegedly show a conflict between in the cases above-cited.
the pronouncements in the body of the decision and the dispositive portion thereof. However, when
that decision is carefully and thoroughly read, such conflict is revealed to be more illusory than real. In What seems to be more crucial here is the fact that the crime charged in the two informations is
denying the petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103, the appellate court had this to say: falsification of public document committed by a private individual defined and penalized under Article
172, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly, the evil sought to be punished and
At the centerfold of this controversy is Section 14 of Rule 110, 1st paragraph, which is quoted sanctioned by the offense of falsification of public document is the violation of the public faith and the
hereunder: destruction of the trust as therein solemnly proclaimed [People vs. Pacana, 47 Phil 48, citing
Decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain of December 23, 1886; People vs. Mateo, 25 Phil. 324, Po
SEC. 14. Amendment. - The information or complaint may be amended, in substance or form, without Giok To, 96 Phil. 913; see Revised Penal Code, Luis B. Reyes, 13th Division, p. 211 and Aquino,
leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads, and thereafter and during the trial as to all 1976 ed., Vol. 2, p. 984]. Apropos, the crime of falsification of public document does not require for its
matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the same can be done without essential elements damage or intent to cause damage. In the final analysis. the inclusion of the name
prejudice to the rights of the accused. of Francisco N. Villanueva. Jr. would then be merely a superfluity in the information, a meaningless
surplusage therein. In fact. it is even highly doubted if civil damages may be awarded in such
Needless to state, amendment of a criminal charge sheet depends much on the time when the transgression of the law.
change is requested. If before arraignment it is a matter of right, no leave of court is necessary and
the prosecution is free to do so even in matters of substance and in form. On the other hand, the Viewed from the above ratiocinations, We find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the lower
more complicated situation involves an amendment sought after the accused had already been court in admitting the second amended informations albeit such amendment is totally irrelevant and
arraigned. This time amendment can only be made by a prior leave and at the discretion of the court, unnecessary to the crime charged. The mere fact that the court decides the question wrongly is
only as to matters of form when the same can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused utterly immaterial to the question of jurisdiction [Estrada vs. Sto Domingo, 28 SCRA 891 (1969)]. And
[Draculan vs. Donato; 140 SCRA 425 (1985); Teehankee vs. Madayag, 207 SCRA 134 (1992)]. writs of certiorari are issued only for the correction of errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction. It cannot be legally used for any other purpose [Silverio It is significant to mention that the intervention of petitioner Villanueva, Jr. in the criminal cases
vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 527 (1986)]. as an offended party is apparently predicated [23] on the reduction by the NLRC, in IBCs appeal of the
illegal dismissal case, of the monetary award to which he is entitled, despite finding the appeal as not
Incidentally, We are in one with the petitioner when it argued that Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. is not perfected due to the posting of the spurious appeal bond. [24]However, such alleged error should have
the offended party in these cases. It must be underscored that it was IBC 13 who secured the falsified been brought by petitioner Villanueva, Jr. to the appropriate forum, [25] and not raised in criminal cases
surety bond for the purpose of the appeal it had taken from an adverse judgment of the labor case before the trial court as a ground for his inclusion as a prejudiced party.
filed by Francisco N. Villanueva, Jr. himself and wherein the latter prevailed. We see no reason how
Villanueva could have sustained damages as a result of the falsification of the surety appeal bond In view of all the foregoing, the instant petition, being devoid of merit, must fail.
and its confirmation letter when it could have even redounded to his own benefit if the appeal would
be dismissed as a result of the forgery. If there be anyone who was prejudiced, it was IBC 13 when it WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED, and the Decision of the Court of Appeals
purchased a fake surety bond.[21] dated April 12, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 50235 is AFFIRMED. No costs.

Clearly then, while the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103 admitted that the addition of SO ORDERED.
petitioner Villanueva, Jr. as an offended party is not necessary, it held that the admission of the
amended informations due to the amendment to include petitioner Villanueva, Jr. did not by itself Bellosillo, J., (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.
amount to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Otherwise stated,
there is an error of judgment but such did not amount to an error of jurisdiction.

The special civil action for certiorari, which was availed of respondent Villadores, is a remedy
designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. When a court
exercised its jurisdiction an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the jurisdiction
being exercised when the error is committed. If it did, every error committed by a court would deprive
it of its jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. Thus, an error of
judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is not correctible through the
original special civil action of certiorari.[22] In effect, the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 46103
merely held that respondent Villadores chose the wrong remedy.
No. 2159 proposes; and RA 9009 would not have any retroactive effect insofar as the cityhood bills
are concerned. The conversion of a municipality into a city will only affect its status as a political unit,
but not its property as such, it added. The Court held that the favorable treatment accorded the
sixteen municipalities by the cityhood laws rests on substantial distinction.
The Court stressed that respondent LGUs were qualified cityhood applicants before the enactment of
League of Cities of the Philippines vs COMELEC
RA 9009. To impose on them the much higher income requirement after what they have gone through
would appear to be indeed unfair. Thus, the imperatives of fairness dictate that they should be given
During the 11th Congress, 57 bills seeking the conversion of municipalities into a legal remedy by which they should be allowed to prove that they have all the necessary
component cities were filed before the House of Representatives. However, Congress acted qualifications for city status using the criteria set forth under the LGC of 1991 prior to its amendment
only on 33 bills. It did not act on bills converting 24 other municipalities into cities. During the by RA 9009. (GR No. 176951, League of Cities of the Philippines v. COMELEC; GR No. 177499,
12thCongress, R.A. No. 9009 became effective revising Section 450 of the Local Government League of Cities of the Philippines v. COMELEC; GR No. 178056, League of Cities of the
Code. It increased the income requirement to qualify for conversion into a city from P20 Philippines v. COMELEC, December 21, 2009) NOTE: The November 18, 2008 ruling already
million annual income to P100 million locally-generated income. In the 13 th Congress, 16 of the became final and executory and was recorded in the SCs Book of Entries of Judgments on May 21,
24 municipalities filed, through their respective sponsors, individual cityhood bills. Each of 2009.)
the cityhood bills contained a common provisionexempting the particular municipality from
the 100 million income requirement imposed by R.A. No. 9009. Are the cityhood laws
August 24, 2010 Ruling
converting 16 municipalities into cities constitutional?

No. The SC (voting 7-6) granted the motions for reconsideration of the League of Cities of the
Philippines (LCP), et al. and reinstated its November 18, 2008 decision declaring unconstitutional the
Cityhood Laws or Republic Acts (RAs) converting 16 municipalities into cities. Undeniably, the 6-6
November 18, 2008 Ruling vote did not overrule the prior majority en banc Decision of 18 November 2008, as well as the prior
majority en banc Resolution of 31 March 2009 denying reconsideration. The tie-vote on the second
No. The SC (voting 6-5) ruled that the exemptions in the City Laws is unconstitutional motion for reconsideration is not the same as a tie-vote on the main decision where there is no prior
because sec. 10, Art. X of the Constitution requires that such exemption must be written into the LGC decision, the Court said. In the latest resolution, the Court reiterated its November 18, 2008 ruling
and not into any other laws. The Cityhood Laws violate sec. 6, Art. X of the Constitution because that the Cityhood Laws violate sec. 10, Art. X of the Constitution which expressly provides that no
they prevent a fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. The cityshall be createdexcept in accordance with the criteria established in the local government
criteria, as prescribed in sec. 450 of the LGC, must be strictly followed because such criteria code. It stressed that while all the criteria for the creation of cities must be embodied exclusively in
prescribed by law, are material in determining the just share of local government units (LGUs) in the Local Government Code, the assailed Cityhood Laws provided an exemption from the increased
national taxes. (League of Cities of the Philippines v. Comelec GR No. 176951, November 18, income requirement for the creation of cities under sec. 450 of the LGC. The unconstitutionality of
2008) the Cityhood Laws lies in the fact that Congress provided an exemption contrary to the express
language of the Constitution.Congress exceeded and abused its law-making power, rendering the
March 31, 2009 Ruling challenged Cityhood Laws void for being violative of the Constitution, the Court held.

No. The SC denied the first Motion for Reconsideration. 7-5 vote. The Court further held that limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities violates the
requirement that the classification must apply to all similarly situated. Municipalities with the same
April 28, 2009 Ruling income as the 16 respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities, while the 16 respondent
municipalities can. Clearly, as worded the exemption provision found in the Cityhood Laws, even if it
were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, would still be unconstitutional for violation
No. The SC En Banc, by a split vote (6-6), denied a second motion for reconsideration.
of the equal protection clause. (GR No. 176951,League of Cities of the Philippines v. Comelec;
GR No. 177499, League of Cities of the Philippines v. Comelec; GR No. 178056, League of
December 21, 2009 Ruling Cities of the Philippines v. Comelec, August 24, 2010)
February 15, 2011 Ruling
Yes. The SC (voting 6-4) reversed its November 18, 2008 decision and declared as
constitutional the Cityhood Laws or Republic Acts (RAs) converting 16 municipalities into cities. It said Yes, the laws are constitutional. The February 15, 2011 resolution is the fourth ruling since the High
that based on Congress deliberations and clear legislative intent was that the then pending cityhood Court first resolved the Cityhood case in 2008.
bills would be outside the pale of the minimum income requirement of PhP100 million that Senate Bill
April 12, 2011Ruling

Yes! Its final. The 16 Cityhood Laws are constitutional. We should not ever lose sight of the fact that
the 16 cities covered by the Cityhood Laws not only had conversion bills pending during the 11th
Congress, but have also complied with the requirements of the [Local Government Code] LGC
prescribed prior to its amendment by RA No. 9009. Congress undeniably gave these cities all the G.R. No. 191475 December 11, 2013
considerations that justice and fair play demanded. Hence, this Court should do no less by stamping
its imprimatur to the clear and unmistakable legislative intent and by duly recognizing the certain PHILIPPINE CARPET MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, PACIFIC CARPET MANUFACTURING
collective wisdom of Congress, the SC said. CORPORATION, MR. PATRICIO LIM and MR. DAVID LIM, Petitioners,
The Court stressed that Congress clearly intended that the local government units covered by the IGNACIO B. TAGYAMON,PABLITO L. LUNA, FE B. BADA YOS, GRACE B. MARCOS, ROGELIO
Cityhood Laws be exempted from the coverage of RA 9009, which imposes a higher income C. NEMIS, ROBERTO B. ILAO, ANICIA D. DELA CRUZ and CYNTHIA L.
requirement of PhP100 million for the creation of cities.
COMANDAO, Respondents.
The Court reiterated that while RA 9009 was being deliberated upon, the Congress was well
aware of the pendency of conversion bills of several municipalities, including those covered by the
Cityhood Laws. It pointed out that RA 9009 took effect on June 30, 2001, when the 12th Congress
was incipient. By reason of the clear legislative intent to exempt the municipalities covered by the PERALTA, J.:
conversion bills pending during the 11th Congress, the House of Representatives adopted Joint
Resolution No. 29 entitled Joint Resolution to Exempt Certain Municipalities Embodied in Bills Filed in The Case
Congress before June 30, 2001 from the coverage of Republic Act No. 9009. However, the Senate
failed to act on the said Joint Resolution. Even so, the House readopted Joint Resolution No. 29 as This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Court of
Joint Resolution No. 1 during the 12th Congress, and forwarded the same for approval to the Senate,
Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated July 7, 2009 and Resolution2 dated February 26, 2010 in CA-G.R. SP
which again failed to prove it. Eventually, the conversion bills of respondents were individually filed in
No. 105236. The assailed decision granted the petition for certiorari filed by respondents Ignacio B.
the Lower House and fellesters.blogspot.com were all unanimously and favorably voted upon. When
forwarded to the Senate, the bills were also unanimously approved. The acts of both Chambers of Tagyamon (Tagyamon), Pablito I. Luna (Luna), Fe B. Badayos (Badayos), Grace B. Marcos (Marcos),
Congress show that the exemption clauses ultimately incorporated in the Cityhood Laws are but the Rogelio C. Nemis (Nemis), Roberto B. Ilao (Ilao), Anicia D. Dela Cruz (Dela Cruz), and Cynthia L.
express articulations of the clear legislative intent to exempt the respondents, without exception, from Comandao (Comandao), the dispositive portion of which reads:
the coverage of RA No. 9009. Thereby, RA 9009, and, by necessity, the LCG, were amended, not by
repeal but by way of the express exemptions being embodied in the exemption WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The private respondent is hereby ordered to reinstate the
clauses.(http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/news/courtnews%20flash/2011/04/04141101.php) petitioners with full backwages less the amounts they received as separation pays. In case
reinstatement would no longer be feasible because the positions previously held no longer exist, the
The Court held that the imposition of the income requirement of P100 million from local sources under private respondent shall pay them backwages plus, in lieu of reinstatement, separation pays equal to
RA 9009 was arbitrary. While the Constitution mandates that the creation of local government units one (1) month pay, or one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In
must comply with the criteria laid down in the LGC, it cannot be justified to insist that the Constitution addition, the private respondent is hereby ordered to pay the petitioners moral damages in the
must have to yield to every amendment to the LGC despite such amendment imminently producing amount of P20,000.00 each.
effects contrary to the original thrusts of the LGC to promote autonomy, decentralization, countryside
development, and the concomitant national growth. (GR No. 176951, League of City of the
Philippines v. COMELEC; GR No. 177499, League of City of the Philippines v. COMELEC: GR
No. 178056, League of City of the Philippines v. COMELEC, April 12, 2011)
The Facts

Petitioner Philippine Carpet Manufacturing Corporation (PCMC) is a corporation registered in the

Philippines engaged in the business of manufacturing wool and yarn carpets and rugs. 4 Respondents
were its regular and permanent employees, but were affected by petitioners retrenchment and cause for dismissal. Petitioners also stressed that respondents belatedly filed their complaint as they
voluntary retirement programs. allowed almost three years to pass making the principle of laches applicable. Considering that
respondents accepted their separation pay and voluntarily executed deeds of release, waiver and
On March 15, 2004, Tagyamon,5 Luna,6 Badayos,7 Dela Cruz,8 and Comandao9 received a uniformly quitclaim, PCMC invoked the principle of estoppel on the part of respondents to question their
worded Memorandum of dismissal, to wit: separation from the service. Finally, as to Marcos, Ilao and Nemis, PCMC emphasized that they were
not dismissed from employment, but in fact they voluntarily retired from employment to take
This is to inform you that in view of a slump in the market demand for our products due to the un- advantage of the companys program.16
competitiveness of our price, the company is constrained to reduce the number of its workforce. The
long-term effects of September 11 and the war in the Middle East have greatly affected the viability of On August 23, 2007, Labor Arbiter (LA) Donato G. Quinto, Jr. rendered a Decision dismissing the
our business and we are left with no recourse but to reorganize and downsize our organizational complaint for lack of merit.17 The LA found no flaw in respondents termination as they voluntarily
structure. opted to retire and were subsequently re-employed on a contractual basis then regularized,
terminated from employment and were paid separation benefits. 18 In view of respondents belated
We wish to inform you that we are implementing a retrenchment program in accordance with Article filing of the complaint, the LA concluded that such action is a mere afterthought designed primarily for
283 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, and its implementing rules and regulations. respondents to collect more money, taking advantage of the 2006 Supreme Court decision. 19

In this connection, we regret to advise you that you are one of those affected by the said exercise, On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) sustained the LA decision.20 In addition
and your employment shall be terminated effective at the close of working hours on April 15, 2004. to the LA ratiocination, the NLRC emphasized the application of the principle of laches for
respondents inaction for an unreasonable period.
Accordingly, you shall be paid your separation pay as mandated by law. You will no longer be required
to report for work during the 30-day notice period in order to give you more time to look for alternative Still undaunted, respondents elevated the matter to the CA in a petition for certiorari. In reversing the
employment. However, you will be paid the salary corresponding to the said period. We shall process earlier decisions of the LA and the NLRC, the CA refused to apply the principle of laches, because the
your clearance and other documents and you may claim the payables due you on March 31, 2004. case was instituted prior to the expiration of the prescriptive period set by law which is four years. It
stressed that said principle cannot be invoked earlier than the expiration of the prescriptive
period.21 Citing the Courts decision in the Philcea case, the CA applied the doctrine of stare
Thank you for your services and good luck to your future endeavors. 10
decisis, in view of the similar factual circumstances of the cases. As to Ilao, Nemis and Marcos, while
acknowledging their voluntary resignation, the CA found the same not a bar to the illegal dismissal
As to Marcos, Ilao, and Nemis, they claimed that they were dismissed effective March 31, 2004,
case because they did so on the mistaken belief that PCMC was losing money.22 With the foregoing
together with fifteen (15) other employees on the ground of lack of market/slump in demand. 11 PCMC,
findings, the CA ordered that respondents be reinstated with full backwages less the amounts they
however, claimed that they availed of the companys voluntary retirement program and, in fact,
received as separation pay. In case of impossibility of reinstatement, the CA ordered PCMC to pay
voluntarily executed their respective Deeds of Release, Waiver, and Quitclaim. 12
respondents backwages and in lieu of reinstatement, separation pay equal to one month pay or
month pay for every year of service whichever is higher, plus moral damages. 23
Claiming that they were aggrieved by PCMCs decision to terminate their employment, respondents
filed separate complaints for illegal dismissal against PCMC, Pacific Carpet Manufacturing
The Issues
Corporation, Mr. Patricio Lim and Mr. David Lim. These cases were later consolidated. Respondents
primarily relied on the Supreme Courts decision in Philippine Carpet Employees Association
Aggrieved, petitioners come before the Court in this petition for review on certiorari based on this
(PHILCEA) v. Hon. Sto. Tomas (Philcea case),13 as to the validity of the companys retrenchment
ground, to wit:
program. They further explained that PCMC did not, in fact, suffer losses shown by its acts prior to
and subsequent to their termination.14 They also insisted that their acceptance of separation pay and
signing of quitclaim is not a bar to the pursuit of illegal dismissal case. 15 IN RENDERING ITS DISPUTED DECISION AND RESOLUTION, THE COURT A QUO HAS
PCMC, for its part, defended its decision to terminate the services of respondents being a necessary
management prerogative. It pointed out that as an employer, it had no obligation to keep in its employ
more workers than are necessary for the operation of his business. Thus, there was an authorized a) Res Judicata should not be followed if to follow it is to perpetuate error (Philippine Trust Co., and
Smith Bell & Co. vs. Mitchell, 59 Phil. 30, 36 (1933). The (Supreme) Court is not precluded from
rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn adherence to the doctrine of immutability of final As for equity which has been aptly described as a "justice outside legality," this is applied only in the
judgments would involve the sacrifice of justice for technicality (Heirs of Maura So vs. Obliosca, G.R. absence of, and never against, statutory law or, as in this case, judicial rules of procedure. Aequetas
No. 147082, January 28, 2008, 542 SCRA 406) nunguam contravenit legis. The pertinent positive rules being present here, they should preempt and
prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity.
b) Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. Waivers that represent a
voluntary and reasonable settlement of the laborers claims are legitimate and should be respected by Thus, where the claim was filed within the [four-year] statutory period, recovery therefore cannot be
the Court as the law between the parties (Gamogamo vs. PNOC Shipping and Transport Corp., G.R. barred by laches. Courts should never apply the doctrine of laches earlier than the expiration of time
No. 141707, May 2, 2002; Alcasero vs. NLRC, 288 SCRA 129) Where the persons making the waiver limited for the commencement of actions at law." 32
has done so voluntarily, with a full understanding thereof, and the consideration for the quitclaim is
credible and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as valid and binding undertaking An action for reinstatement by reason of illegal dismissal is one based on an injury to the
(Periquet vs. NLRC, 186 SCRA 724 [1990]; Magsalin vs. Coca Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc. vs. National complainants rights which should be brought within four years from the time of their dismissal
Organization of Working Men (N.O.W.M.], G.R. No. 148492, May 2, 2003).24 pursuant to Article 114633 of the Civil Code. Respondents complaint filed almost 3 years after their
alleged illegal dismissal was still well within the prescriptive period. Laches cannot, therefore, be
Petitioners contend that the Philcea case decided by this Court and relied upon by the CA in the invoked yet.34 To be sure, laches may be applied only upon the most convincing evidence of
assailed decision was based on erroneous factual findings, inapplicable financial statement, as well deliberate inaction, for the rights of laborers are protected under the social justice provisions of the
as erroneous analysis of such financial statements.25 They, thus, implore the Court to revisit the cited Constitution and under the Civil Code.35
case in order to dispense with substantial justice. 26 They explain that the Court made conclusions
based on erroneous information. Petitioners also insist that the doctrines of res judicata and law of Stare Decisis
the case are not applicable, considering that this case does not involve the same parties as
the Philcea case.27 They likewise point out that not all respondents were involuntarily separated on The main issue sought to be determined in this case is the validity of respondents dismissal from
the ground of redundancy as some of them voluntarily availed of the companys Voluntary Separation employment. Petitioners contend that they either voluntarily retired from the service or terminated
Program.28 They further contend that respondents are guilty not only of laches but also of estoppel in from employment based on an authorized cause. The LA and the NLRC are one in saying that the
view of their inaction for an unreasonable length of time to assail the alleged illegal dismissal and in dismissal was legal. The CA, however, no longer discussed the validity of the ground of termination.
voluntarily executing a release, quitclaim and waiver.29 Rather, it applied the Courts decision in the Philcea case where the same ground was thoroughly
discussed. In other words, the appellate court applied the doctrine of stare decisis and reached the
The Courts Ruling same conclusion as the earlier case.

Laches Under the doctrine of stare decisis, when a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a
certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts
Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. 36 Where the facts are essentially
to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier, thus, giving rise different, however, stare decisis does not apply, for a perfectly sound principle as applied to one set of
to a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. 30 It facts might be entirely inappropriate when a factual variant is introduced. 37
has been repeatedly31 held by the Court that:
The question, therefore, is whether the factual circumstances of this present case are substantially
x x x Laches is a doctrine in equity while prescription is based on law. Our courts are basically courts the same as the Philcea case.
of law not courts of equity. Thus, laches cannot be invoked to resist the enforcement of an existing
legal right. x x x Courts exercising equity jurisdiction are bound by rules of law and have no arbitrary We answer in the affirmative.
discretion to disregard them. In Zabat Jr. v. Court of Appeals x x x, this Court was more emphatic in
upholding the rules of procedure. We said therein: This case and the Philcea case involve the same period which is March to April 2004; the issuance of
Memorandum to employees informing them of the implementation of the cost reduction program; the
implementation of the voluntary retirement program and retrenchment program, except that this case
involves different employees; the execution of deeds of release, waiver, and quitclaim, and the If respondent Corporation were to be believed that it had to retrench employees due to the debilitating
acceptance of separation pay by the affected employees. slump in demand for its products resulting in severe losses, how could it justify the purchase
of P20,000,000.00 worth of machinery and equipment? There is likewise no justification for the hiring
The illegality of the basis of the implementation of both voluntary retirement and retrenchment of more than 100 new employees, more than the number of those who were retrenched, as well as
programs of petitioners had been thoroughly ruled upon by the Court in the Philcea case. It discussed the order authorizing full blast overtime work for six hours daily. All these are inconsistent with the
the requisites of both retrenchment and redundancy as authorized causes of termination and that intransigent claim that respondent Corporation was impelled to retrench its employees precisely
petitioners failed to substantiate them. In ascertaining the bases of the termination of employees, it because of low demand for its products and other external causes.
took into consideration petitioners claim of business losses; the purchase of machinery and
equipment after the termination, the declaration of cash dividends to stockholders, the hiring of 100 xxxx
new employees after the retrenchment, and the authorization of full blast overtime work for six hours
daily. These, said the Court, are inconsistent with petitioners claim that there was a slump in the That respondents acted in bad faith in retrenching the 77 members of petitioner is buttressed by the
demand for its products which compelled them to implement the termination programs. In arriving at fact that Diaz issued his Memorandum announcing the cost-reduction program on March 9, 2004,
its conclusions, the Court took note of petitioners net sales, gross and net profits, as well as net after receipt of the February 10, 2004 letter of the Union president which included the proposal for
income. The Court, thus, reached the conclusion that the retrenchment effected by PCMC is invalid additional benefits and wage increases to be incorporated in the CBA for the ensuing year. Petitioner
due to a substantive defect. We quote hereunder the Courts pronouncement in the Philcea case, to and its members had no inkling, before February 10, 2004, that respondent Corporation would
wit: terminate their employment. Moreover, respondent Corporation failed to exhaust all other means to
avoid further losses without retrenching its employees, such as utilizing the latter's respective forced
Respondents failed to adduce clear and convincing evidence to prove the confluence of the essential vacation leaves. Respondents also failed to use fair and reasonable criteria in implementing the
requisites for a valid retrenchment of its employees. We believe that respondents acted in bad faith in retrenchment program, and instead chose to retrench 77 of the members of petitioner out of the
terminating the employment of the members of petitioner Union. dismissed 88 employees. Worse, respondent Corporation hired new employees and even rehired the
others who had been "retrenched."
Contrary to the claim of respondents that the Corporation was experiencing business losses,
respondent Corporation, in fact, amassed substantial earnings from 1999 to 2003. It found no need to As shown by the SGV & Co. Audit Report, as of year end December 31, 2003, respondent
appropriate its retained earnings except on March 23, 2001, when it appropriated P60,000,000.00 to Corporation increased its net sales by more than P8,000,000.00. Respondents failed to prove that
increase production capacity. x x x there was a drastic or severe decrease in the product sales or that it suffered severe business losses
within an interval of three (3) months from January 2004 to March 9, 2004 when Diaz issued said
xxxx Memorandum. Such claim of a depressed market as of March 9, 2004 was only a pretext to retaliate
against petitioner Union and thereby frustrate its demands for more monetary benefits and, at the
The evidence on record belies the P22,820,151.00 net income loss in 2004 as projected by the same time, justify the dismissal of the 77 Union members.
SOLE. On March 29, 2004, the Board of Directors approved the appropriation of P20,000,000.00 to
purchase machinery to improve its facilities, and declared cash dividends to stockholders at P30.00 xxxx
per share. x x x
In contrast, in this case, the retrenchment effected by respondent Corporation is invalid due to a
xxxx substantive defect, non-compliance with the substantial requirements to effect a valid retrenchment; it
necessarily follows that the termination of the employment of petitioner Union's members on such
It bears stressing that the appropriation of P20,000,000.00 by the respondent Corporation on ground is, likewise, illegal. As such, they (petitioner Union's members) are entitled to reinstatement
September 16, 2004 was made barely five months after the 77 Union members were dismissed on with full backwages.38
the ground that respondent Corporation was suffering from "chronic depression." Cash dividends
were likewise declared on March 29, 2004, barely two weeks after it implemented its "retrenchment We find no reason to depart from the above conclusions which are based on the Courts examination
program." of the evidence presented by the parties therein. As the respondents here were similarly situated as
the union members in the Philcea case, and considering that the questioned dismissal from the
service was based on the same grounds under the same circumstances, there is no need to relitigate
the issues presented herein. In short, we adopt the Courts earlier findings that there was no valid "As a rule, deeds of release and quitclaim cannot bar employees from demanding benefits to which
ground to terminate the employees. they are legally entitled or from contesting the legality of their dismissal. The acceptance of those
benefits would not amount to estoppel."45 To excuse respondents from complying with the terms of
A closer look at petitioners arguments would show that they want the Court to re-examine our their waivers, they must locate their case within any of three narrow grounds: (1) the employer used
decision in the Philcea case allegedly on the ground that the conclusions therein were based on fraud or deceit in obtaining the waivers; (2) the consideration the employer paid is incredible and
erroneous interpretation of the evidence presented. unreasonable; or (3) the terms of the waiver are contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or
good customs or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law.46The instant case falls
Indeed, in Abaria v. National Labor Relations Commission,39 although the Court was confronted with under the first situation.
the same issue of the legality of a strike that has already been determined in a previous case, the
Court refused to apply the doctrine of stare decisis insofar as the award of backwages was concerned As the ground for termination of employment was illegal, the quitclaims are deemed illegal as the
because of the clear erroneous application of the law. We held therein that the Court abandons or employees consent had been vitiated by mistake or fraud. The law looks with disfavor upon
overrules precedents whenever it realizes that it erred in the prior decision. 40 The Courts quitclaims and releases by employees pressured into signing by unscrupulous employers minded to
pronouncement in that case is instructive: evade legal responsibilities.47 The circumstances show that petitioners misrepresentation led its
employees, specifically respondents herein, to believe that the company was suffering losses which
The doctrine though is not cast in stone for upon a showing that circumstances attendant in a necessitated the implementation of the voluntary retirement and retrenchment programs, and
particular case override the great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare eventually the execution of the deeds of release, waiver and quitclaim. 48
decisis, the Court is justified in setting it aside. For the Court, as the highest court of the land, may be
guided but is not controlled by precedent. Thus, the Court, especially with a new membership, is not It can safely be concluded that economic necessity constrained respondents to accept petitioners
obliged to follow blindly a particular decision that it determines, after re-examination, to call for a monetary offer and sign the deeds of release, waiver and quitclaim. That respondents are supervisors
rectification.41 and not rank-and-file employees does not make them less susceptible to financial offers, faced as
they were with the prospect of unemployment. The Court has allowed supervisory employees to seek
The Abaria case, however, is not applicable in this case.1wphi1 There is no reason to abandon the payment of benefits and a manager to sue for illegal dismissal even though, for a consideration, they
Courts ruling in the Philcea case. executed deeds of quitclaims releasing their employers from liability.49

Do we apply the aforesaid decision to all the respondents herein? Again, we answer in the affirmative. x x x There is no nexus between intelligence, or even the position which the employee held in the
company when it concerns the pressure which the employer may exert upon the free will of the
employee who is asked to sign a release and quitclaim. A lowly employee or a sales manager, as in
Just like the union members in the Philcea case, respondents Tagyamon, Luna, Badayos, Dela Cruz,
the present case, who is confronted with the same dilemma of whether [to sign] a release and
and Comandao received similarly worded memorandum of dismissal effective April 15, 2004 based
quitclaim and accept what the company offers them, or [to refuse] to sign and walk out without
on the same ground of slump in the market demand for the companys products. As such, they are
receiving anything, may do succumb to the same pressure, being very well aware that it is going to
similarly situated in all aspects as the union members. With respect to respondents Marcos, Nemis
take quite a while before he can recover whatever he is entitled to, because it is only after a
and Ilao, although they applied for voluntary retirement, the same was not accepted by petitioner.
protracted legal battle starting from the labor arbiter level, all the way to this Court, can he receive
Instead, it issued notice of termination dated March 6, 2004 to these same employees. 42 And while it
anything at all. The Court understands that such a risk of not receiving anything whatsoever, coupled
is true that petitioner paid them separation pay, the payment was in the nature of separation and not
with the probability of not immediately getting any gainful employment or means of livelihood in the
retirement pay. In other words, payment was made because of the implementation of the
meantime, constitutes enough pressure upon anyone who is asked to sign a release and quitclaim in
retrenchment program and not because of retirement. 43 As their application for availing of the
exchange of some amount of money which may be way below what he may be entitled to based on
companys voluntary retirement program was based on the wrong premise, the intent to retire was not
company practice and policy or by law.50
clearly established, or rather that the retirement is involuntary. Thus, they shall be considered
discharged from employment.44 Consequently, they shall be treated as if they are in the same footing
as the other respondents herein and the union members in the Philcea case. The amounts already received by respondents as consideration for signing the releases and
quitclaims should be deducted from their respective monetary awards. 51
Waivers, Releases and Quitclaims
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision Petitioners elevated the case to respondent Court of Appeals which on 28 May 1992 affirmed the
dated July 7, 2009 and Resolution dated February 26, 2010 in CA-G.R. SP No. 105236 decision of the trial court.[3]
Petitioners then came to us.[4] On 12 October 1992 however we denied the petition as the issues
raised therein were essentially factual. There was no showing that the findings of fact of respondent
court were not supported by substantial evidence and that it committed any reversible error in its
NICOLAS VELOSO, JR., CONCEPCION VELOSO PATALINGHUG, EDUARDO VELOSO, LIGAYA judgment.[5] On 15 March 1993 an order for the entry of judgment was issued. [6]
VELOSO and EMMANUEL VELOSO, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, REGIONAL On 20 September 1993 petitioners, undaunted by their reverses, sought annulment of the
TRIAL COURT, BR. 14, BAYBAY, LEYTE, CORSINI MIRAFLOR AVELLANA, AUREO decision of the trial court before respondent Court of Appeals.
MIRAFLOR, respondents. On 29 July 1994 respondent court likewise ruled against petitioners as it found that the
controversy had already been settled by this Court and that the contention that the trial court did not
DECISION have any power or authority to amend, alter or modify the decision of a co-equal court, the then Court
of First Instance of Leyte, Br. III and Br. VIII, should have been raised in the previous proceedings. [7]
The main issue is whether respondent court erred in refusing to declare the decision of the trial
This is a petition for review on certiorari through which petitioners seek a reversal of the decision court void for having been rendered allegedly in violation of the doctrines of res judicata and the law
of respondent Court of Appeals dismissing their petition to annul judgment rendered by the Regional of the case.
Trial Court of Baybay, Leyte, Branch 14, in Civil Case No. B-1043, for lack of merit. Petitioners claim
that the questioned decision of the trial court is inherently flawed because the issues raised therein Petitioners rely on the decision of 9 January 1951 in Civil Case No. R-205 [8] which has already
had already been resolved earlier in another case involving the same parties and subject matter, and become final and executory for lack of appeal by any of the parties, and on the decision of 29 July
that a trial court has no power to countermand a decision of a co-equal court. 1969 in Civil Case No. B-122[9] which was affirmed by respondent court on 11 November 1974 [10] and
executed on 9 July 1975. They allege that those decisions upheld their possession and ownership
There is however much more to their pious avowals than meets the eye. and of their parents Nicolas Veloso, Sr. and Emerenciana Pealosa over 3/5 portion of Lot No. 8422,
including the 1/5 portion representing the share of Crispina Pealosa Miraflor (Lot No. 8422-F) which
On 12 September 1988 respondents Corsini Miraflor Avellana, Aureo Pealosa Miraflor, Eddie she transferred to her parents by virtue of a deed of sale executed on 4 May 1948.Petitioners thus
Pealosa Miraflor and Douglas Pealosa Miraflor filed a complaint for quieting of title with damages claim that the trial court had absolutely no jurisdiction to amend, alter or modify those final and
against Nicolas Veloso, Sr. and petitioners Nicolas Veloso, Jr., Concepcion Veloso Patalinghug, executed decisions.
Eduardo Veloso, Ligaya Veloso Roa, Rafael Veloso, Emerenciana Veloso Cabigon, Domingo Veloso
and Emmanuel Veloso before the Regional Trial Court of Baybay, Leyte, docketed as Civil Case No. But we find no reversible error committed by respondent court.
B-1043.[1] The subject matter of the complaint was Lot No. 8422-F covered by TCT No. 22393 in the
name of Crispina Pealosa Miraflor, deceased mother of respondents. In Civil Case No. R-205, the plaintiff therein as administrator of the estate of Filomena Bermoy,
great grandmother of respondents, sought recovery of Lot No. 8422 from the children of spouses
On 31 August 1990 the trial court rendered judgment (a) finding TCT No. T-22393 authentic, Pedro de Veyra and Leopolda Valenzona. The trial court however dismissed the complaint on the
valid, indefeasible and entitled to all faith and credence under Act 496; (b) declaring respondents basis of its finding that Lot No. 8422 no longer formed part of the estate of Bermoy. Prior to her death,
absolute co-owners in fee simple of Lot No. 8422-F; (c) directing petitioners or anyone of them in Filomena Bermoy sold the land in question to a certain Gonzalo Varron who in turn disposed of it in
possession of Lot No. 8422-F to deliver to respondents the physical and material possession thereof favor of spouses Pedro de Veyra and Leopolda Valenzona, so that on 2 March 1936 OCT No. 16752
together with all the improvements thereon; and, (d) ordering petitioners in solidum to pay was issued in their name. Lot No. 8422 was later involved in Civil Case No. R-5 for partition among
respondents P5,000.00 as attorneys fees and P2,000.00 as reimbursement for litigation expenses. [2] their children. In the decision rendered in that case, Emerenciana P. Veloso, Lourdes P. Bibas,
Proculo Pealosa and Crispina P. Miraflor were declared absolute owners thereof. The trial court
however observed that on 4 May 1948 Crispina P. Miraflor disposed of her share and interest in the
property in favor of her sister, Emerenciana P. Veloso, and the latters husband, Nicolas Veloso, Sr.
On the other hand, in Civil Case No. B-122 Nicolas Veloso, et al., filed a complaint for Now under the guise of a petition for annulment of judgment, petitioners in effect are seeking a
reconveyance of a portion of Lot No. 8422 with partition and damages against Proculo Pealosa and second cycle of review regarding a subject matter which has already been fully and fairly
Lourdes P. Bibas. The trial court rendered judgment thereon against Proculo Pealosa. But the trial adjudicated. That cannot be allowed.
court also observed in passing that the share of Crispina P. Miraflor was already purchased by the
Veloso spouses in 1948. Contrary to the circuitous assertion of petitioners that the rulings in Civil Cases Nos. R-205 and
B-122 constitute res judicata or the law of the case to Civil Case No. B-1043, it is the holding in the
Both decisions were brought by petitioners to the attention of the trial court in Civil Case No. B- latter case which is now a bar to the present proceeding under the same doctrines invoked by
1043 which resolved the controversy thus them. Material facts or questions which were in issue in a former action and were there admitted or
judicially determined are conclusively settled by a judgment rendered therein and that such facts or
Upon the totality of the evidence, the plaintiffs and the defendants, indicating that what was sold by questions become res judicata and may not again be litigated in a subsequent action between the
Crispina P. Miraflor in May 1948 were/was not her share in Lot 8422, denominated as sub-lot 8422-F, same parties or their privies, regardless of the form the issue may take in the subsequent action,
are these firstly, her Deed of Sale in 1948 does not specifically state that what she was alienating was whether the subsequent action involves the same or a different form of proceeding, or whether the
her ideal share in Lot 8422; on the other hand, it specified/specifies that the subject of her share was second action is upon the same or a different cause of action, subject matter, claim or demand, as the
her share in the estate of Leopolda Valenzona, her mother, and her share in the estate of Filomena earlier action. In such cases, it is also immaterial that the two actions are based on different grounds,
Bermoy, her aunt (grandmother), located in Barrio Caridad, Baybay, Leyte; secondly, in Civil Case R- or tried on different theories, or instituted for different purposes, and seek different reliefs. [12] By the
205, where the Court-appointed administrator of the estate of Filomena Bermoy sought inclusion of same token, whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal principle or decision
Lot 8422 in the estate of the latter, the Court decided that Lot 8422 is not part of said estate, hereat continues to be the law of the case between the same parties in the same case, whether correct on
showing that Lot 8422 is different, separate and distinct from said estate of Filomena Bermoy and general principles or not, so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be
what was sold by Crispina P. Miraflor belonged to this separate estate; thirdly, the subdivision survey the facts of the case before the court.[13]
of Lot 8422, which gave way to the delineation of the share of Cristina P. Miraflor as sub-lot 8422-F
was not performed in deceit but as a matter of right on the part of a co-owner, at this instance co- WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals dated 29
owner Crispina Pealosa Miraflor; fourthly, much as the spouses Nicolas Veloso, Sr. and Emerenciana July 1994 is AFFIRMED.
Pealosa resided in Barrio Caridad, Baybay, Leyte or environs, no protest was raised against the
subdivision survey, it here stressed that licensed surveyors, as Engineer Besavilla was/is, as a SO ORDERED.
professional has not only his professional ethics but the presumption that he satisfied the
requirements of law in the premises when the subdivision survey was performed by him; fifthly, in Civil Padilla (Chairman), Vitug, Kapunan, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Case No. 122-R (B-122) which sought the recovery by the plaintiffs Veloso spouses of certain
portions of Lot 8422 as a consequence of the subdivision survey, only co-owners Proculo Pealosa
[G.R. No. 148126. November 10, 2003]
and Lourdes Pealosa Bibas were impleaded as defendants; conversely, Crispina Pealosa Miraflor
was not made a defendant, such that the decision was only against Proculo Pealosa, and did not
even include co-defendant Lourdes Pealosa Bibas, and recovered from Proculo Pealosa was only
FERNANDEZ, and their Respective Spouses, petitioners, vs. Spouses ANTONIO C.
some 5,455.4 square meters of Lot 8422; sixthly, plaintiffs evidence, that before the death in 1975 of
Crispina P. Miraflor her sister Emerenciana and the latters husband Nicolas Veloso, Sr. rendered
shares of the produce of her (Crispinas) share in Lot 8422, is buttressed (Exhibits T, T-1-a-1, T-1-a-2,
T-1-b, U, U-1, V, V-1-a), and these are not adequately rebutted by the defendants; and, seventhly, in DECISION
actions for quieting of title, the plaintiff(s) need not be in possession of the property involved (Article
477, Civil Code) if plaintiffs are not in possession of Lot 8422-F even only constructively.[11] PANGANIBAN, J.:

As aforestated, the above ruling of the trial court was affirmed both by respondent court and this Stare decisis simply means that a judgment reached in one case should be applied to
Court. successive ones in which the facts are substantially identical, even though the parties may be
different. Like cases ought to be decided alike.

The Case
Before this Court is a Petition for Review [1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the [petitioners], they have refused and failed without any justifiable ground to pay their respective equity.
May 9, 2001 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 58329. The decretal portion of In view of such failure to pay, the [petitioners] have forfeited their right to continue occupying the lots
the Decision reads as follows: in question. Formal demand letters were then sent by registered mail to the [petitioners], wherein they
were given a period of thirty (30) days from receipt within which to vacate and remove their houses
WHEREFORE, the judgment dated March 29, 2000 of Branch 56 of the RTC of Angeles City is from the subject lots. The period given to the [petitioners] lapsed on April 11, 1998, but up to the
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new judgment entered in favor of the petitioners, ordering present time, the [petitioners] refused and failed without any justifiable reason or ground to vacate
the respondents and all persons claiming rights under them to vacate from the subject lots and to and remove their houses from the said lots.
remove their houses and/or any other structures or constructions thereon. [3]
The [respondents] then prayed in their Complaint that the [petitioners] be ordered to vacate and
The overturned Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Angeles City, Branch 56,[4] affirmed remove their houses from the lots currently occupied; that each of the [petitioners] be ordered to pay
in toto the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Angeles City, Branch II.[5] the [respondents] P1,000.00 a month as reasonable rental for the use and occupation of the lots
starting from April 11, 1998 until they have finally vacated and removed their houses from said lots;
The Facts and that the [petitioners] jointly and severally pay the [respondents] P25,000.00 as actual and
compensatory damages, P2,000.00 as appearance fee per hearing, exemplary damages, and the
costs of the suit.
The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this wise:

In their answer with compulsory counter-claim filed on November 3, 1998, the [petitioners] countered
In a Complaint for Illegal Detainer with Damages filed on October 15, 1998, the [respondents] alleged
that the [respondents] have no cause of action to institute the present action, considering that the
that they are the owners of four (4) parcels of land designated as Lot Nos. 164, 165, 166, and 167 of
properties in question are under the community mortgage program implemented by the National
the Cadastral Survey of Angeles City, and covered, respectively, by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos.
Home Mortgage Finance Corporation. Moreover, the [petitioners] claimed that they are lawful tenants
83247, 83246, 83248 and 83249, all issued by the Register of Deeds of Angeles City. These four (4)
of the premises, and that they have been paying their equity to their originator, the Urban Land and
parcels of land have been consolidated and subdivided into several blocks and lots, and are now
Development Foundation[,] Inc. However, they were not issued the corresponding receipts evidencing
collectively designated as Bagong Silang Phase III-C. By mere permission and tolerance of the
payment and a copy of their contract. The [petitioners] further averred that they were willing to
[respondents], the [petitioners] have occupied and erected their homes on four (4) of the said lots, as
continue paying their equity until the same shall have been fully paid, but their originator, without
justifiable reason, refused to accept the tender of payment made by them. The [petitioners]
subsequently agreed with their originator that the payment of equity should be continued only upon
George T. Villena and wife = Block 5, Lot 14
the release of a Purchase Commitment Line (PCL).

Carlos N. Villena and wife = Block 5, Lot 13

In addition, the [petitioners] alleged that they are qualified beneficiaries under Republic Act No. 7279,
otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992; hence, they cannot be
Aurora M. Bondoc and husband = Block 2, Lot 4 summarily evicted and their dwelling houses demolished unless and until they have been relocated.
According to the [petitioners], they are also builders in good faith and should be indemnified for the
Ronnie C. Hernandez and wife = Block 3, Lot 5 improvements they constructed on the properties in question.

All the [petitioners] are members of the Bagong Silang Phase III-C Homeowners Association, Inc., The [petitioners] prayed in their answer that the complaint be dismissed; that they be declared lawful
with office address at Cutud, Angeles City. The [respondents] allowed the [petitioners] and other tenants and qualified beneficiaries under R.A. 7279; that the [respondents] be ordered to sell the lots
members of the said homeowners association to continue occupying the subject lots and ultimately to in question to them, and to pay attorneys fees and the costs of suit.
acquire ownership of the lots occupied, in consideration of a certain amount to be paid to the
[respondents] as equity. After the pre-trial conference, both parties submitted their position papers. On September 15, 1999,
MTC Branch II of Angeles City rendered a decision dismissing both the [respondents] complaint and
The [respondents] further alleged that the other members of the said homeowners association paid to the [petitioners] counter-claim, on the ground that the filing of an ejectment case based on the alleged
the [respondents] their respective equity for their right to continue occupying and ultimately acquiring violation of the parties agreement which has not yet been rescinded is premature, and that it is
ownership of the occupied lots. However, notwithstanding repeated demands made upon the
beyond the competence of the said court to act on the case, as rescission or specific performance is IV. Whether or not ejectment is proper in the case at bar;
beyond the jurisdiction of the said court.
V. Whether or not the absence of contractual relation[s] between the respondents and the petitioners
The [respondents] appealed such adverse judgment to the RTC of Angeles City, which appeal was bar[s] the filing of any action by the respondents against the petitioner.[9]
raffled to Branch 56 of the said court. On March 29, 2000, RTC Branch 56 of Angeles City rendered a
decision affirming in toto the MTC judgment.[6] The primordial issue to be resolved is whether unlawful detainer is the proper action to resolve
this case. If it is, then the MTC indeed had jurisdiction over the case, and the CA was correct in
Ruling of the Court of Appeals overturning the RTCs ruling that the MTC had no jurisdiction over the case.

The CA held that the right of petitioners to continue occupying the subject properties hinged on The Courts Ruling
their continued payment of the agreed amount as equity.[7] Even after formal letters of demand to
vacate the premises had been sent to them, however, they still did not make any effort to pay their The Petition is meritorious.
equity to protect their right to continue occupying those lots. Thus, the appellate court ruled that their
failure to pay made their occupancy unlawful, in consequence of which they became subject to Main Issue:
an ejectment suit.
Propriety of Unlawful Detainer
The CA rejected the contention of petitioners that they were protected by RA 7279. According to
the appellate court, there was no express declaration by the local government unit that the parcels of
The CA ruled that petitioners possession or occupancy of the subject premises was by mere
land owned by respondents were to be used for socialized housing. Neither was there proof of the
tolerance of respondents. Hence, once petitioners failed to pay the agreed amount as equity, their
allegation that they had applied therefor under the Community Mortgage Program of the National
right to continue occupying the lots was lost.
Home Mortgage Finance Corporation under Section 31 of RA 7279. Besides, even granting that
petitioners were protected under RA 7279, they were still liable to pay amortization or face eviction.
We disagree. Contradictory were the statements of the appellate court that, on the one hand,
there was no contract between the parties; and yet, on the other, that petitioners failed to pay
Likewise debunked was the allegation of petitioners that respondents were not the real parties in
the agreed equity. The fact that the CA found that there was failure to pay the equity was an indication
interest. Being the owners of the lots occupied by the former, the latter had a material interest in the
of an agreement. To be sure, petitioners possession of the subject premises was not by mere
suit and stood to be benefited or injured by any judgment affecting those parcels of land.
tolerance of respondents.

Hence, this Petition.[8]

In the Complaint[10] of respondents, filed before Branch II of
the Municipal Trial Court of Angeles City, they themselves alleged the presence of an agreement
The Issues between the parties as follows:

Petitioners raise the following issues for our consideration: 10. That in consideration of a certain amount to be paid to the [respondents] by each of the
[petitioners] as equity for their right to continue occupying and ultimately acquire ownership of the lots
I. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to that they occupy, the said homeowners association has made arrangements with the [respondents] to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in reversing and setting aside the Decisions of the Municipal Trial Court, allow the [petitioners] and other members of the said homeowners association to continue occupying
Branch II and of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 56 both of Angeles City[;] and ultimately acquire ownership of the lots that they occupy[.] [11]

II. Whether or not the Honorable Municipal Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case; Further, in the Special Power of Attorney [12] annexed to their Complaint, they constituted and
appointed Teodorico B. Sanchez and/or Arturo M. Yadan as their attorneys-in-fact to do, among
III. Whether or not the non-inclusion of the Bagong Silang Homeowners Association Inc., is fatal to others, the following:
respondents[] cause of action[;]
1. To collect and receive any amount or amounts as equity for the sale thereof to them from the Petitioners, on the other hand, denied any breach on their part and argued that the principal
occupants or any other interested buyer or buyers of any portion or portions of the following- issue was one of interpretation, enforcement and/or rescission of the contract. Under these
described parcels of land: circumstances, proof of violation of the provisions of the contract is a condition precedent to
resolution or rescission.[16] The contract can be declared rescinded only when its nature has been
xxx xxx xxx clarified and the eventual violation thereof, if any, has been established. Upon such rescission, in turn,
hinges a pronouncement that the possession of the realty has become unlawful. Thus, the basic issue
of which we are the absolute and exclusive owners, and which comprise the parcels of land being is not possession but interpretation, enforcement and/or rescission of the contract -- a matter that is
acquired by the members or beneficiaries of the BAGONG SILANG PHASE III-C HOMEOWNERS beyond the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court to hear and determine.
ASSOCIATION, at Brgy. Cutud, Angeles City[.][13]
An allegation of a violation of a contract or agreement in a detainer suit may be proved by the
Based on the admissions of respondents themselves, they entered into an agreement with presentation of competent evidence, upon which an MTC judge might make a finding to that effect.
petitioners. Necessarily, the latters occupancy of the lots in question was not based merely on But certainly, that court cannot declare and hold that the contract is rescinded, as such power is
the formers tolerance or permission. Thus, petitioners were not necessarily bound by an implied vested in the RTC.[17]
promise to vacate upon demand, failing which, a summary action for ejectment would have become
proper. The rescission of the contract is the basis of, and therefore a condition precedent for, the
illegality of a partys possession of a piece of realty.[18] Without judicial intervention and determination,
The MTCs findings of fact on this point are instructive: even a stipulation entitling one party to take possession of the land and building in case the other
party violates the contract cannot confer upon the former the right to take possession thereof, if that
move is objected to.[19]
About the only thing that the parties have met on a common ground is that: [Respondents] have
entered into an arrangement/agreement with Bagong Silang Homeowners Association, Inc. that
called for the payment of certain amounts as equity for [petitioners] right to continue occupying the To be sure, the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the complaint. [20] Thus, in
lots with the end in view of eventually becoming the owners thereof, that pursuant to such agreement ascertaining whether or not an action is one for unlawful detainerfalling within the exclusive
[petitioners] have paid certain amounts as acquisition fees or as equity but later discontinued making jurisdiction of the inferior courts, the averments of the complaint and the character of the relief sought
payments in view of the non-issuance of the so-called purchase commitment line/loan, and as a should be examined.
consequence, [respondents] are now accusing [petitioners] for violating the agreement and on the
basis of such breach of the agreement by [petitioners], demands for the latter to vacate the lots were Also, as correctly pleaded by petitioners, a similar case had been decided by the CA in CA-GR
made by [respondents].[14] SP No. 58679, in which it ruled that the proper action should have been a complaint for rescission or
specific performance, not for illegal detainer. In that case, the same plaintiffs filed the same charges
When respondents alleged that the Bagong Silang Phase III-C Homeowners Association made against a different but similarly situated set of defendants.
arrangements with them to allow petitioners and other members of the association to continue to
occupy and ultimately to acquire ownership of the lots in question, respondents explicitly admitted The appellate court ruled therein that there was an existing agreement or contract that
that a contract had indeed been entered into. The eventual transfer of ownership of real property determined the nature of the parties relationship. [21] Thus, it held that the proper action should have
evidenced that obligation. What is clear is that in their Complaint, respondents alleged that petitioners been for rescission of contract or specific performance, not unlawful detainer.[22] When the CA
had violated the stipulations of their agreement as follows: Decision was elevated, this Court denied the appeal for failure to show that a reversible error had
been committed by the appellate court. Thereafter, the Decision became final and executory on April
11. That the other members of the Ba[g]ong Silang Phase III-C Homeowners Association, Inc., paid to 23, 2002.[23]
the [respondents] their respective equity for their right to continue occupying and ultimately acquire
ownership of the lots that they occupy, but notwithstanding repeated demands made on them, up to Said the appellate court in the previous case:
the present time, the [petitioners] have refused and failed without any justifiable ground or reason to
pay their respective equity to the [respondents], and, in view of such refusal and failure, the Inasmuch as the relationship existing between the parties is not a lessor-lessee relationship but one
[petitioners] have forfeited their right to continue occupying and ultimately acquire ownership of the that emanated from the agreement between appellants and the Urban Land and Development
lots that they occupy[.][15] Foundation, Inc., the so-called originator of the Bagong Silang Homeowners Association, Inc., the
relief being sought then by appellants appears to be improper. If ever there was no payment of equity
as provided for under the said agreement, the same cannot be considered as non-payment of rentals. WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Thus, it cannot be a sufficient basis for filing an ejectment case against appellees, the proper remedy Appeals is OVERTURNED. Consequently, the Decisions of the MTC and the RTC of Angeles City
being an action for rescission of contract or specific performance. [24] are REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs.

We stress that when a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of SO ORDERED.
facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially
the same.[25] Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is Puno, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
settled. Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case
should be applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties
may be different.[26] It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful
countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. [27]

Having ruled that the MTC had indeed no jurisdiction to take cognizance of this case in the first
place, we see no more need to address the other issues raised by petitioners.