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Wilfred P.

Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Roberto A. Flores et. al. vs. Hon Franklin M. Drilon, Executive Secretary
and Richard Gordon; G.R. No. 104732. June 22, 1993.

Facts:

Petitioners, taxpayers and employees of the US facilities at Subic, challenges the


constitutionality of Section 13 (d) of the Bases Conversion and Development Act of
1992 which directs the President to appoint a professional manager as the administrator
of the SBMA, provided that “for the first year of it operations, the mayor of Olongapo
City (Richard Gordon) shall be appointed as chairman and CEO of the Subic Authority.

Issues:

(1) Whether or not the proviso violates the constitutional prescription against
appointment or designation of elective officials to other government posts.

(2) Whether or not the SBMA post are merely ex officio to the position of mayor of
Olongapo City and thus as expected circumstance.

(3) Whether or not the Constitutional provision allowing an elective official to receive
double compensation ( Section 8, Article IX-B) would be useless if no elective official
may be appointed to another post.

(4) Whether or not there is legislative encroachment on the appointing authority of the
President.

(5) Whether or not Mayor Richard Gordon may retain any and all per diems, allowances
and other emoluments which he may have received pursuant to his appointment.

Ruling:

On the first issue raised, the Court ruled that under Section 7 of Article IX-B of the 1987
Constitution provides: No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or
designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure. Unless
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otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive


official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any subdivision,
agency, or instrumentality thereof, including GOCCs and their subsidiaries.

To address the second issue, no, as the Congress did not contemplate making the
SBMA posts as automatically attached to the Office of the Mayor without need of
appointment. The phrase “shall be appointed” unquestionable shows the intent to make
the SBMA posts appointive and not merely adjunct to the post of Mayor of Olongapo
City.

As to the third issue, Section 8 does not affect the constitutionality of the subject
proviso. In any case, the Vice-President, for example, an elective official wmo may be
appointed to a cabinet post, may receive the compensation attached to the cabinet
position if specifically authorized by law.

Regarding the fourth issue raised, although Section 13 (d) itself vests in the President
the power to appoint the Chairman of SBMA, he really has no choice but to appoint the
mayor of Olongapo City. The power of choice is the heart of the power to appoint, which
involves an exercise of discretion of whom to appoint.

Hence, when Congress clothes the President with the power to appoint an officer, it
cannot at the same time limit the choice of the President to only one candidate. Such
enactment effectively eliminates the discretion of the appointing power to choose and
constitutes an irregular restriction on the power of appointment.

While it may be viewed that the proviso merely sets the qualifications of the officer
during the first year of operations of SBMA; he must be the mayor of Olongapo City, it is
manifestly an abuse of congressional authority to prescribe qualifications where only
one, and no other, can qualify.

Since the ineligibility of an elective official for appointment remains all throughout his
tenure or during his incumbency, he may however resign first from his elective post to
cast off the constitutionally-attached disqualification before he may be considered fit for
appointment.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Consequently, as long as he is an incumbent, an elective official remains ineligible for


appointment to another public office. Lastly, as incumbent elective official, Gordon is
ineligible for appointment to the position of Chairman and CEO of SBMA; hence, his
appointment cannot be sustained. He remains mayor of Olongapo City, and his acts as
SBMA official are not necessarily null and void; he may be considered a de facto officer,
and in accordance with jurisprudence, is entitled to such benefits.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Juan G. Frivaldo vs. Commission on Elections; G.R. No. 120295. June 28,
1996.

Facts:

On March 20, 1995, Petitioner Frivaldo filed a Certificate of Candidacy for the office of
Governor of Sorsogon in the May 8, 1995 elections. On March 23, 1995, Lee, another
candidate filed a petition with the COMELEC praying that Frivaldo be disqualified from
seeking or holding any public office or position by reason of not yet being a citizen of the
Philippines, and that his Certificate of Candidacy be cancelled.

On May 1, 1995, the Second Division of the COMELEC promulgated a resolution


granting the petition. The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Firvaldo remained unacted
upon until after the May 8, 1995 elections. So, his candidacy continued and he was
voted for during the elections held on said date. The Provincial Board of Canvassers
completed the canvass of the election returns and a Certificate of Votes was issued
showing that Frivaldo garnered the highest number of votes.

On June 9, 1995, Lee filed a petition praying for his proclamation as the duly-elected
Governor of Sorsogon. In an order dated June 21, 1995, but promulgated according to
the petition only on June 29, 1995, the COMELEC En Banc directed the Provincial
Board of Canvassers of Sorsogon to reconvene for the purpose of proclaiming
candidate Lee as the winning gubernatorial candidate in the province of Sorsogon.

On July 6, 1995, Frivaldo filed with the COMELEC a new petition, praying for the
annulment of the June 30, 1995 proclamation of Lee and for his own proclamation. He
alleged that on June 30, 1995, he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the
Philippines after his petition for repatriation under PD No. 725 which he filed with the
special Committee on Naturalization had been granted. As such, when the said order
was released and received by Frivaldo, there was no more legal impediment to the
proclamation of Frivaldo as governor. In the alternative, he averred that pursuant to the
Wilfred P. Alfeche

two cases of Labo vs. COMELEC, the Vice-Governor, not Lee should occupy said
position of governor.

On December 19, 1995, the COMELEC First Division promulgated a resolution holding
that Lee, not having garnered the highest number of votes, was not legally entitled to be
proclaimed as duly-elected governor; and that Frivaldo, having garnered the highest
number of votes, and having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation under the
provisions of PD No. 725 is qualified to hold the office of governor of Sorsogon. The
Commission granted the petition and the proclamation Lee as governor of Sorsogon is
hereby ordered annulled, being contrary to law, he not having garnered the highest
number of votes to warrant his proclamation.

Upon the finality of the annulment of the proclamation of Lee, the Provincial Board of
Canvassers is directed to immediately reconvene and, on the basis of the completed
canvass, proclaim petitioner Frivaldo as the duly elected governor of Sorsogon having
garnered the highest number of votes, and he having reacquired his Filipino citizenship
by repatriation on June 30, 1995 under the provisions of PD No. 725, and thus, qualified
to hold office of governor of Sorsogon. Conformably with Section 260 of the Omnibus
Election Code, the Clerk of the Commission is directed to notify His Excellency the
President of the Philippines, and the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the
Province of Sorsogon of this resolution immediately upon the due implementation
thereof.

Issue:

Whether or not Frivaldo’s repatriation was valid

Ruling:

Yes, the Local Government Code of 1991 expressly requires Philippine citizenship as a
qualification for elective local officials, including that of provincial governor, thus:

Section 39. Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the
Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province, or, in the
Wilfred P. Alfeche

case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or


sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at
least one (1) year immediately preceeding the day of the election; and able to read and
write Filipino or any other local language or dialect.

(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or member of the
sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or member of the sangguniang
panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least 23 years of age on election day.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Felimon Luego vs. Civil Service Commission and Felicula Tuozo; G.R. No.
L-69137. August 5, 1986

Facts:

Mayor Florentino Solon on February 18, 1983 appointed the petitioner Administrative II,
Office of the City Mayor, Cebu City. The appointment was described as permanent but
the Civil Service Commission approved it as temporary, subject to the final action taken
in the protest filed by the private respondent and another employee, and provided there
was no pending administrative case against the appointe, no pending protest against
the appointment nor any decision by competent authority that will adversely affect the
approval of the appointment. On March 22, 1984, after protracted hearings the legality
of which does not have to be decided here, the Civil Service Commission found the
private respondent better qualified than the petitioner for the contested position and,
accordingly, directed that Tuozo be appointed to the position of Administrative Officer II
in the Administrative Division, Cebu City, in place of Luego whose appointment as
Administrative Officer II is hereby revoked. The private respondent was so appointed on
June 28, 1984, by the new mayor, Ronald Duterte. The petitioner, invoking his earlier
permanent appointment, questions that order and the private respondent’s title.

Issue:

Whether or not the Civil Service Commission is authorized to disapprove a permanent


appointment on the ground that another person is better qualified than the appointee
and, on the basis of this finding, order his replacement.

Ruling:

No, the appointment of the petitioner was not temporary but permanent and was
therefore protected by the Constitution. The stamping of the words APPROVED as
TEMPORARY did not change the character of the appointment, which was clearly
Wilfred P. Alfeche

described as “Permanent” in the space provided for in Civil Service Form No. 33, dated
February 18, 1983. What was temporary was the approval of the appointment, not the
appointment itself and what made the approval temporary was the fact that it was made
to depend on the condition specified therein and on the verification of the qualifications
of the appointee to the position. The Civil Service Commission is not empowered to
determine the kind of nature of the appointment extended by the appointing officer, its
authority being limited to approving or reviewing the appointment in the light of the
requirements of the Civil Service Law. When the appointee is qualified and authorizing
the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no choice but to attest to
the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Laws. Appointment is an
essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it is
vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee should
possess the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be
faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been
preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the
appointing authority can decide. The appointing authority indicated that it was
permanent, as he had the right to do so, and it was not for the respondent CSC to
reverse him and call it temporary. Section 9 (h), Article V of the Civil Service Decree
provides that the Commission shall have inter alia the power to “..approve all
appointments, whether original or promotional, to positions in the civil service…and
disapprove those where the appointees do not possess appropriate eligibility or required
qualifications.” The CSC is not empowered to determine the kind of nature of the
appointment extended by the appointing officer, its authority being limited to approving
or reviewing the appointment in the light of the requirements of the CSC Law. When the
appointee is qualified, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the
Commission has no choice but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the CSC
Laws. CSC is without authority to revoke an appointment because of its belief that
another person was better qualified, which is an encroachment on the discretion vested
solely in the City Mayor.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Ma. J. Angelina G Matibag vs. Alfredo L. Benipayo et. al.; G.R. No. 149036.
April 2, 2002

Facts:

ON February 1999, petitioner Matibag was appointed Acting Director IV of the


COMELEC’s EID by then COMELEC Chairperson Harriet Demetriou in a temporary
capacity. On March 2001, respondent Benipayo was appointed COMELEC Chairman
together with other commissioners in an ad interim appointment. While on such ad
interim appointment, respondent Benipayo in his capacity as Chairman issued a
Memorandum address transferring petitioner to the Law Department. Petitioner
requested Benipayo to reconsider her relief as Director IV of the EID and her
reassignment to the Law Department. She cited Civil Service Commission
Memorandum Circular No. 7 dated April 10, 2001, reminding heads of government
offices that “transfer and detail of employees are prohibited during the election period.
Benipayo denied her request for reconsideration on April 18, 2001, citing COMELEC
Resolution No. 3300 dated November 6, 2000, exempting COMELEC from the
coverage of the said Memo Circular. Petitioner appealed the denial of her request for
reconsideration to the COMELEC En Banc. She also filed an administrative and criminal
complant against Benipayo, alleging that her reassignment violated Section 261 (h) of
the Omnibus Election Code, COMELEC Resolution No. 3258, Civil Service
Memorandum Circular No. 7, s. 001, and other pertinent administrative and civil service
laws, rules and regulations. During the pendency of her complaint before the Law
Department, petitioner filed the instant petition questioning the appointment and the
right to remain in the office of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, as Chairman and
Commissioners of the COMELEC, respectively. Petitioner claims that the ad interim
appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason violate the constitutional provisions on the
independence of the COMELEC.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Issue:

Whether or not the assumption of office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason on the basis of
the ad interim appointments issued by the President amounts to a temporary
appointment prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX – C of the Constitution.

Ruling:

The petitioner’s argument is without merit. An ad interim appointment is a permanent


appointment because it takes effect immediately and can no longer be withdrawn by the
President once the appointee has qualified into office. The fact that it is subject to
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not alter its permanent
character. The Constitution itself makes an ad interim appointment permanent in
character by making it effective until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments
or until the next adjournment of Congress. In the instant case, the President did in fact
appoint permanent Commissioners to fill the vacancies in the COMELEC, subject only
to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. Benipayo, Borra and Tuason were
extended permanent appointments during the recess of Congress. They were not
appointed or designated in a temporary of acting capacity, unlike Commissioner Haydee
Yorac in Brillantes vs Yorac and Solicitor General Felix Bautista in Nacionalista Party vs
Bautista. The ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are expressly
allowed by the Constitution which authorizes the President, during the recess of
Congress, to make appointments that take effect immediately. While the Constitution
mandates that the COMELEC shall be independent, this provision should be
harmonized with the President’s power to extend ad interim appointments. To hold that
the independence of the COMELEC requires the Commission on Appointments to first
confirm ad interim appointees before the appointees can assume office will negate the
President’s power to make ad interim appointments. This is contrary to the rule on
statutory construction to give meaning and effect to every provision of the law. It will
also run counter to the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officer

Reference: The Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Milton E. Springer; GR. No.
149036. April 2, 2002

Facts:

This is an original action of quo warranto brought in the name of the Government of the
Philippine Islands against three directors of the National Coal Company who were
elected to their positions by the legislative members of the committee.

Sometime in the 1900s, the National Coal Company (NCC) was created by the
Philippine Congress. The law created it (Act No. 2822) provides that: “The voting power
… shall be vested exclusively in a committee consisting of the Governor-General, the
President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

In November 1926, the Governor-General (Leonard Wood) issued E.O. No. 37 which
divested the voting rights of the Senate President and House Speaker in the NCC. The
EO emphasized that the voting right should be solely lodged in the Governor-General
who is the head of the government (President at that time was considered the head of
state but does not manage government affairs). A copy of the said EO was furnished to
the Senate President and the House Speaker.

However, in December 6, 1926, NCC held its elections and the Senate President as
well as the House Speaker, notwithstanding EO No. 37 and the objection of the
Governor-General, still elected Milton Springer and four others as Board of Directors of
NCC. Thereafter, a quo warranto proceeding in behalf of the government was filed
against Springer et al questioning the validity of their election into the Board of NCC.

Issue:

Whether or not the Senate President as well as the House Speaker can validly elect the
Board Members of NCC.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Ruling:

No. E.O. No 37 is valid. It is in accordance with the doctrine of separation of powers.


The Supreme Court emphasized that the legislature creates the public office but it has
nothing to do with designating the persons to fill the office. Appointing persons to a
public office is essentially executive. The NCC is a government owned and controlled
corporation. It was created by Congress. To extend the power of Congress into allowing
it, through the Senate President and the House Speaker, to appoint members of the
NCC is already an invasion of executive powers. The Supreme Court however notes
that indeed there are exceptions to this rule where the legislature may appoint persons
to fill public office. Such exception can be found in the appointment by the legislature of
persons to fill offices within the legislative branch – this exception is allowable because
it does not weaken the executive branch.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Emilio A. Gonzales III vs. Office of the President of the Philippines; G.R. No.
196231. January 28, 2014

Facts:

Sometime in 2008, a formal charge for Grave Misconduct was filed before the PNP-
NCR against Rolando Mendoza and four others. While said cases were still pending,
the Office of the Regional Director of the National Police Commission (NPC) turned
over, upon the request of petitioner Emilio A. Gonzales III, all relevant documents and
evidence in relation to said case to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for appropriate
administrative adjudication.

On February 16, 2009, upon the recommendation of petitioner Emilio Gonzales III, a
Decision finding Rolando Mendoza and his fellow police officers guilty of Grave
Misconduct was approved by the Ombudsman. They filed a Motion for Reconsideration.

On December 14, 2009, the pleadings mentioned and the records of the case were
assigned for review and recommendation to Graft Investigation and Prosecutor Officer
Dennis L. Garcia, who released a draft Order on April 5, 2010 for appropriate action by
his immediate superior, Director Eulogio S. Cecilio, who, in turn, signed and forwarded
said Order to petitioner Gonzalez's office on April 27, 2010.

Not more than ten (10) days after, more particularly on May 6, 2010, petitioner endorsed
the Order, together with the case records, for final approval by Ombudsman Merceditas
N. Gutierrez, in whose office it remained pending for final review and action when
Mendoza hijacked a bus-load of foreign tourists on that fateful day of August 23, 2010 in
a desperate attempt to have himself reinstated in the police service.

In the aftermath of the hostage-taking incident, a public outcry against the blundering of
government officials prompted the creation of the Incident Investigation and Review
Committee (IIRC). It was tasked to determine accountability for the incident through the
conduct of public hearings and executive sessions. However, petitioner, as well as the
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Ombudsman herself, refused to participate in the IIRC proceedings on the assertion that
the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional body.

The IIRC eventually identified petitioner Gonzales to be among those in whom


culpability must lie. It recommended that its findings with respect to petitioner Gonzales
be referred to the Office of the President (OP) for further determination of possible
administrative offenses and for the initiation of the proper administrative proceedings.

On October 15, 2010, the OP instituted a Formal Charge against petitioner. Petitioners
asseverate that the President has no disciplinary jurisdiction over them considering that
the Office of the Ombudsman to which they belong is clothed with constitutional
independence and that they, as Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor therein,
necessarily bear the constitutional attributes of said office.

This case stems from the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the President
of the Court’s September 4, 2012 decision which ruled on the petitions filed by Deputy
Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III and Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit. Their
petitions challenged the constitutionality of Section 8 (2) of Republic Act (RA) No. 6770.

In the challenged Decision, the Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 8 (2) of RA
No. 6770 and ruled that the President has disciplinary jurisdiction over a Deputy
Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor. The Court, however, reversed the Office of the
President’s ruling that: (i) it found Gonzales guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty and Grave
Misconduct constituting betrayal of public trust; and (ii) imposed on him the penalty of
dismissal.

In view of the Court's ruling, the OP filed the present motion for reconsideration through
the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Issue:

Whether or not, the Office of the President has constitutional or valid statutory authority
to subject the any of the deputies or staff of the Ombudsman to an administrative
investigation and to thereafter order his removal as Deputy Ombudsman.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Ruling:

On motion for reconsideration and further reflection, the Court votes to grant Gonzales'
petition and to declare Section 8 (2) of RA No. 6770 unconstitutional with respect to the
Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman's broad investigative and disciplinary powers include all acts of
malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance of all public officials, including Members
of the Cabinet and key Executive officers, during their tenure. To support these broad
powers, the Constitution saw it fit to insulate the Office of the Ombudsman from the
pressures and influence of officialdom and partisan politics and from fear of external
reprisal by making it an "independent" office.

The kind of independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman cannot be inferior
— but is similar in degree and kind — to the independence similarly guaranteed by the
Constitution to the Constitutional Commissions since all these offices fill the political
interstices of a republican democracy that are crucial to its existence and proper
functioning.

Subjecting the Deputy Ombudsman to discipline and removal by the President, whose
own alter egos and officials in the Executive Department are subject to the
Ombudsman's disciplinary authority, cannot but seriously place at risk the independence
of the Office of the Ombudsman itself.

The Office of the Ombudsman, by express constitutional mandate, includes its key
officials, all of them tasked to support the Ombudsman in carrying out her mandate.
Unfortunately, intrusion upon the constitutionally-granted independence is what Section
8 (2) of RA No. 6770 exactly did. By so doing, the law directly collided not only with the
independence that the Constitution guarantees to the Office of the Ombudsman, but
inevitably with the principle of checks and balances that the creation of an Ombudsman
office seeks to revitalize.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

What is true for the Ombudsman must be equally and necessarily true for her Deputies
who act as agents of the Ombudsman in the performance of their duties . The
Ombudsman can hardly be expected to place her complete trust in her subordinate
officials who are not as independent as she is, if only because they are subject to
pressures and controls external to her Office.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Miriam Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan; G.R. No. 128055. April 18, 2001

Facts:

The case arose from complaints filed by a group of employees of the Commission of
Immigration and Deportation against petitioner, then CID Commissioner, for alleged
violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On Oct 1988, Santiago approved the application for legalization of the stay of about 32
aliens. Her act was said to be illegal and was tainted with bad faith. Two other criminal
cases, one for violation of the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 46 and the other for
libel, were also filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila.

Pursuant to the information filed with the Sandiganbayan, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena issued an order for the arrest of petitioner, fixing the bail at Fifteen
Thousand Pesos. Petitioner posted a cash bail without need for physical appearance as
she was then recuperating from injuries sustained in a vehicular accident.

The Sandiganbayan granted her provisional liberty until 5 June 1991 or until her
physical condition would warrant her physical appearance in court. After a long series
of appeals and court battles between Santiago and Sandiganbayan, in 1995 the latter
moved for the suspension of Santiago from office who was already a senator by then,.

Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate president (Maceda) to suspend Santiago from


office for 90 days.

Issue:

Whether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the Senate


without violating the Constitution.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Ruling:

The doctrine of separation of powers by itself may not be deemed to have effectively
excluded members of Congress from Republic Act No. 3019 nor from its sanctions. The
maxim simply recognizes each of the three co-equal and independent, albeit coordinate,
branches of the government — the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary — has
exclusive prerogatives and cognizance within its own sphere of influence and effectively
prevents one branch from unduly intruding into the internal affairs of either branch.

It would appear, indeed, to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue an order of


suspension upon determination of the validity of the information filed before it. Once the
information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court is bound to issue
an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be "no ifs and buts
about it.

In issuing the preventive suspension of petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely adhered


to the clear and unequivocal mandate of the law, as well as the jurisprudence in which
the Court has, more than once, upheld Sandiganbayan's authority to decree the
suspension of public officials and employees indicted before it.

Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 does not state that the public officer concerned
must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts
with which he has been charged. Thus, it has been held that the use of the word “office”
would indicate that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and
not only the particular office under which he stands accused.

The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct from the power
of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Teodulo V. Largo vs. The Court of Appeals; GR. No. 177244. November 20,
2007

Facts:

December 17, 1997, petitioner Teodulo V. Largo, Section Chief, Administrative/General


Services of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in Angat River Hydroelectric Power
Plant (ARHEP), Norzagaray, Bulacan, was administratively charged with grave
misconduct. For violating NPC Circular No. 97- 66 which prohibits personnel from
carrying firearms inside the NPC premises.

The NPC investigation revealed that on October 30, 1997, petitioner and Olandesca
attended a birthday party where petitioner claimed to have been humiliated by the latter.

At around 5:05 in the afternoon of the same day, petitioner went to the quarters of
Olandesca at ARHEP shouting invectives and threatening to kill Olandesca. Petitioner
proceeded to the dirty kitchen at the back of the quarters where he met Olandesca's
wife.

While they were conversing, a dog suddenly appeared and barked at petitioner.
Claiming to have been frightened by the incessant barking of the dog which was about
to attack him, petitioner fired two shots. Unable to find Olandesca Petitioner
subsequently left the compound.

Meanwhile, petitioner retired from service effective January 1, 1998.

On March 19, 1998, the NPC Regional Board of Inquiry & Discipline conducted a
prehearing conference. The formal investigation was then transferred to the Board of
Inquiry and Discipline of the NPC Head Office, which recommended that petitioner be
held liable for simple misconduct.

On petitioner's motion for reconsideration, NPC President Jesus N. Alcordo reduced the
penalty to one year suspension, taking into consideration that this was petitioner's first
offense, the absence of physical harm caused by the shots he fired, his 21 years of
Wilfred P. Alfeche

service, his consistent very satisfactory performance, and Olandesca's act of humiliating
him prior to the incident.

Petitioner appealed to the CSC which on July 4, 2003, affirmed the finding of the NPC
that petitioner was guilty of grave misconduct but modified the penalty to dismissal from
service.

Issues:

(1) Whether the retirement of petitioner rendered moot the resolution of the instant
administrative case; and

(2) Whether petitioner was validly dismissed for serious misconduct.

Ruling:

On the first issue, Cessation from office by reason of resignation, death, or retirement
does not warrant the dismissal of the administrative case filed against a public officer
while he or she was still in the service, or render the said case academic.

The jurisdiction of the disciplining authority attaches at the time of the filing of the
administrative complaint and is not lost by the mere fact that the respondent public
official had ceased to be in office during the pendency of his case.

This rule applies to all employees in the civil service, mindful of the constitutional
precept that public office is a public trust for which all government employees and
officials are accountable to the people.

The retirement of petitioner effective January 1, 1998, did not render moot the instant
case. The filing of the administrative complaint against petitioner on December 17,
1997, prior to his retirement, effectively conferred upon the NPC, the CSC, and this
Court, the jurisdiction to resolve the case until its conclusion. Hence, the guilt or
innocence of petitioner can be validly addressed by the Court in the instant
administrative case.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

On the second issue, the Court Ruled that the complained acts of petitioner constitute
the administrative offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, which
need not be related or connected to the public officer's official functions.

As long as the questioned conduct tarnished the image and integrity of his/her public
office, the corresponding penalty may be meted on the erring public officer or employee.

It found petitioner guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, which
under Section 52 of Rule IV of Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 19,
series of 1999, is classified as a grave administrative offense punishable by suspension
of six (6) months and 1 day to one (1) year if committed for the first time.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Office of the Ombudsman vs. Gertrudes Madriaga; G.R. No. 164316.
September 27, 2006

Facts:

The San Juan School Club filed a letter-complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman,
charging the respondents with violation of Section 1 of Rule IV and Section 1 of Rule VI
of the Rules Implementing RA 6713 a.k.a. Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees.

After the respondents replied, the Graft Investigation Officer found respondents guilty of
Section 5 (a) of RA 6713 reading: all public officials and employees shall, within 15
working days from receipt hereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of
communications sent by the public.

Another GIO penalized them with six months suspension.

Respondents' motion for reconsideration was denied, so they elevated the case to CA
via petition for certiorari, questioning the authority of the Ombudsman to impose
administrative sanctions over public officials, and the nature of the functions of the
Ombudsman.

CA declared that the penalty imposed by the Ombudsman is merely "recommendatory",


it having "only the power to investigate possible misconduct of a government official or
employee in the performance of his functions, and thereafter recommend to the
disciplining authority the appropriate penalty to be meted out; and that it is the
disciplining authority that has the power or prerogative to impose such penalty.” Hence,
the present petition.

Issue:

Whether or not the Ombudsman has the authority to impose administrative sanctions
over public officials.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Ruling:

Petition is with merit. Article IX, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution:

(1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any
public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be
illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient, and x x x x

(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or
employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or
prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.

Section 15 of RA 6770 echoes the above mentioned provision. In fine, petitioner's


authority to impose administrative penalty and enforce compliance therewith is not
merely recommendatory. It is mandatory within the bounds of the law. The
implementation of the order imposing the penalty is, however, to be coursed through the
proper officer.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Salvacion A. Monsanto vs. Fulgencio S. Factoran, JR.; G.R. No. 78239.
February 9, 1989

Facts:

Salvacion A. Monsanto, then Assistant Treasurer of Calbayog City, was convicted by the
Sandiganbayan for the crime of Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents.
Monsanto was sentenced to jail and asked to indemnify the Government. The Supreme
Court affirmed the decision against Salvacion Monsanto.

Monsanto filed a Motion for Reconsideration but during the pendency of the motion,
President Ferdinand Marcos extended an absolute pardon which she accepted [during
this time, clemency can be given prior to conviction]. Because of the presidential pardon
extended, Monsanto wrote to the Calbayog Treasurer’s Office and asking that she be
reinstated to her post as Assistant Treasurer, considering it is still vacant.

Her communications were sent to the Ministry of Finance. The Finance Minister decided
that she be reinstated to her former position, without the need for the issuance of a new
appointment not earlier than the date the pardon was given.

Petitioner contends that the absolute pardon extended by President Marcos had erased
her crime, equating the argument that her service in government was never interrupted,
hence her date of reinstatement should retroact to the date of her preventive
suspension. Furthermore, she contends that she is entitled to backpay for the duration
of her suspension and that she should not be required anymore to pay indemnifications
to the Government.

The Office of the President, through Deputy Executive Secretary Factoran, denied her
request stating that Monsanto needs a new appointment and that the absolute pardon
does no reinstate her to her pre-suspension position.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Issue:

Whether or not Salvacion Monsanto is entitled to backwages and reinstatement due to


the absolute pardon extended by the President?

Ruling:

A pardon is defined as an act of grace proceeding from the power entrusted with the
execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the
punishment the law inflicts for a crime he committed. It is the private, though official act
of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended,
and not communicated officially to the Court.

While a pardon has generally been regarded as blotting out the existence of guilt so that
in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as though he never committed the
offense, it does not operate for all purposes. The very essence of a pardon is a
forgiveness or remission of guilt. Pardon implies guilt. It does not erase the fact of the
commission of the crime and the conviction thereof. It does not wash out the moral
stain. It involves forgiveness not forgetfulness.

A pardon looks to the future. It is not retrospective. It makes no amends for the past. It
affords no relief for what has been suffered by the offender. It does not impose upon the
government any obligation to make reparation for what has been suffered. “Since the
offense has been established by judicial proceedings, that which has been done or
suffered while they were in force is presumed to have been rightfully done and justly
suffered, and no satisfaction for it can be required.” This would explain why petitioner,
though pardoned, cannot be entitled to receive backpay for lost earnings and benefits.

The pardon granted to petitioner has resulted in removing her disqualification from
holding public employment but it cannot go beyond that. To regain her former post as
assistant city treasurer, she must re-apply and undergo the usual procedure required for
a new appointment.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr. vs. House of Representatives; GR. No. 160261.
November, 2003

Facts:

In July 2002, the Committee on Justice was directed by the House of Representatives,
by adopting a Resolution, asking the committee to conduct an investigation in aid of
legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice on
the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

Former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint (first


impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for “culpable violation of the Constitution,
betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes” on June 2003.

The complaint was endorsed by House Representatives, and was referred to the House
Committee on Justice on 5 August 2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of
the Constitution. The House Committee on Justice ruled on 13 October 2003 that the
first impeachment complaint was “sufficient in form,” but voted to dismiss the same on
22 October 2003 for being insufficient in substance.

The following day or on 23 October 2003, the second impeachment complaint was filed
with the Secretary General of the House by House Representatives against Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry
initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. The second impeachment complaint
was accompanied by a “Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment” signed by at least
1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives.

Various petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus were filed with the Supreme
Court against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that
the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the
provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that “[n]o impeachment
Wilfred P. Alfeche

proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of
one year.”

Issue:

Whether or not the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario Davide
can prosper.

Ruling:

This issue is a non-justiciable political question which is beyond the scope of the judicial
power of the Supreme Court under Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. Any
discussion of this issue would require the Court to make a determination of what
constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a determination is a purely political question
which the Constitution has left to the sound discretion of the legislation. Such an intent
is clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.

The Rule of Impeachment adopted by the House of Congress is unconstitutional.


Section 3 of Article XI provides that “The Congress shall promulgate its rules on
impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section.” Clearly, its power to
promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited by the phrase “to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section.” Hence, these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of the
Constitution which said rules were intended to effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3
of Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on its power to make rules.

It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental
law. If as alleged Congress had absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary
implication have the power to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution without
need of referendum.

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment
complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken
thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an
impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be
Wilfred P. Alfeche

filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5)
of the Constitution.

Considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this
Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5,
2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro,
Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates
the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against
the same impeachable officer within a one-year period.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez vs. House of Representatives; G.R. No.


193459. February 15, 2011

Facts:

On 22 July 2010, Baraquel, et al. filed an impeachment complaint (First Complaint)


against Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez (petitioner) based on betrayal of
public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

On 3 August 2010, a Second Complaint was filed by Reyes, et al. against the same
respondent also based on betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the
Constitution.On 11 August 2010, the two complaints were referred by the House Plenary
to the Committee on Justice at the same time.

On 1 September 2010, the Committee on Justice found the First and Second
Complaints sufficient in form. On 7 September 2010, the Committee on Justice, found
the First and Second Complaints were sufficient in form.

On 13 September 2010, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the
Supreme Court seeking to enjoin the Committee on Justice from proceeding with the
impeachment proceedings. The petition prayed for a temporary restraining order.

Petitioner invokes the Court’s expanded certiorari jurisdiction to "determine whether or


not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."

Public Respondent argues that the petition is premature and not yet ripe for adjudication
since petitioner has at her disposal a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the course
of the proceedings before public respondent.

Public respondent argues that when petitioner filed the present petition on September
13, 2010, it had not gone beyond the determination of the sufficiency of form and
substance of the two complaints. Hence, certiorari is unavailing.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

The following day, during the en banc morning session of 14 September 2010, the
majority of the Court voted to issue a status quo ante order suspending the
impeachment proceedings against petitioner. Section 3(5), Article XI of the 1987
Constitution provides that "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the
same official more than once within a period of one year."

Issues:

(1) Does the Supreme Court have the power to determine whether public
respondent committed a violation of the Constitution in the exercise of its discretion
relating to impeachment proceeding?

(2) When is an impeachment complaint deemed initiated?

Ruling:

On the first issue, the Court ruled in the affirmative. Under the doctrine of expanded
judicial review, the Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of impeachment to the
sole discretion of Congress.

Instead, it provided for certain well-defined limits, or in the language of Baker v. Carr,
judicially discoverable standards" for determining the validity of the exercise of such
discretion, through the power of judicial review.

There exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review
over impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily,
the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to
defeat another." Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence
and interdependence that insures that no branch of government act beyond the powers
assigned to it by the Constitution.

Indubitably, the Court is not asserting its ascendancy over the Legislature in this
instance, but simply upholding the supremacy of the Constitution as the repository of
the sovereign will.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

On the Second Issue, There are two components of the act of initiating the complaint:
the filing of the impeachment complaint and the referral by the House Plenary to the
Committee on Justice. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated meaning,
filed and initiated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same
official within a one year period.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Bonifacio Sanz Maceda vs. Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez; G.R. No.
102781. April 22, 1993

Facts:

Respondent Napoleon Abiera of Public Attorney’s Office filed a complaint before the
Office of the Ombudsman against petitioner RTC Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda. He
alleged that petitioner Maceda has falsified his certificate of service by certifying that all
civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision for a period of 90 days
have been determined and decided on or before January 31, 1989, when in truth and in
fact, petitioner Maceda knew that no decision had been rendered in 5 civil and 10
criminal cases that have been submitted for decision.

Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner Maceda also falsified his certificates of
service in 1989 and 1990. Maceda filed an ex-parte motion to refer the case to the
Supreme Court. The Ombudsman, however, denied the same. A motion for
reconsideration was likewise denied. Thus, Maceda filed a petition for certiorari with
prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order with the Supreme
Court.

Maceda contends that he had been granted by this Court an extension of ninety (90)
days to decide the aforementioned cases. He also contends that the Ombudsman has
no jurisdiction over said case since the offense charged arose from the judge's
performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the
Supreme Court. Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an
encroachment into the Supreme Court's constitutional duty of supervision over all
inferior courts.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Issue:

Whether the Office of the Ombudsman could entertain a criminal complaint for the
alleged falsification of a judge's certification submitted to the Supreme Court, and
assuming that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the Supreme Court.

Ruling:

The office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate offenses committed by a


judge even if the charged is unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his
certificate of service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious
misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and
criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

However, in the absence of any administrative action taken against him by this Court
with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the
Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative supervision over all
courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court
administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel. By virtue of this power, it
is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's
compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they
commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this
power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.

The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it
by the Constitution, for such a justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate
of the Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts
and their personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary.

Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service
to this Court for determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his
pending case load, as the Court has the necessary records to make such a
determination.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court employee arises from
their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and
refer the same to this Court for determination whether said Judge or court employee
had acted within the scope of their administrative duties.

The Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches of
government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to testify on this matter, as
suggested by public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint.

The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively,
the question before Us is this: should a judge, having been granted by this Court an
extension of time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of
service? As this question had not yet been raised with, much less resolved by, this
Court, how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal complaint that requires
the resolution of said question.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officer

Reference: Hon. Armand Fabella vs. Court of Appeals; G.R. No. 110379, November
28, 1997.

Facts:

On September 17, 1990, DECS Secretary Carino issued a return-to-work order to all
public school teachers who had participated in walk-outs and strikes on various dates
during the period of September to October 1990. The mass action had been staged to
demand payment of 13th month pay, allowances and passage of debt cap bill in
Congress. On October 1990, Secretary Carino filed administrative cases against
respondents, who are teachers of Mandaluyong High School.

The charge sheets required respondents to explain in writing why they should not be
punished for having taken part in the mass action in violation of civil service laws.
Administrative hearings started on December 1990. Respondents,
through counsel assailed the legality of the proceedings on the following due process
grounds: first, they were not given copies of the guidelines adopted by the committee for
the investigation and denied access to evidence; second, the investigation placed the
burden of proof on respondents to prove their innocence; third, that the investigating
body was illegally constituted, their composition and appointment violated Sec.9 of the
Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.

Pending the action assailing the validity of the administrative proceedings, the
investigating committee rendered a decision finding the respondents guilty and ordered
their immediate dismissal.

The Court is in full accord with petitioners contention that Rep. Act No. 4670 otherwise
known as the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers is the primary law that governs
the conduct of investigation in administrative cases filed against public school teachers,
with Pres. Decree No. 807 as its supplemental law. Respondents erred in believing and
contending that Rep. Act. No. 4670 has already been superseded by the applicable
provisions of Pres. Decree No. 807 and Exec. Order No. 292. Under the Rules of
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Statutory Construction, a special law, Rep. Act. No. 4670 in the case at bar, is not
regarded as having been replaced by a general law, Pres. Decree No. 807, unless the
intent to repeal or alter the same is manifest. A perusal of Pres. Decree No. 807 reveals
no such intention exists, hence, Rep. Act No. 4670 stands. In the event that there is
conflict between a special and a general law, the former shall prevail since it evidences
the legislators intent more clearly than that of the general statute and must be taken as
an exception to the General Act. The provision of Rep. Act No. 4670 therefore prevails
over Pres. Decree No. 807 in the composition and selection of the members of the
investigating committee. Consequently, the committee tasked to investigate the charges
filed against petitioners was illegally constituted, their composition and appointment
being violative of Sec. 9 of Rep. Act. No. 4670 hence all acts done by said body
possess no legal color whatsoever.

Issue:

Whether or not private respondents were denied due process?

Ruling:

YES. In administrative proceedings, due process has been recognized to include the
following: (1) the right to actual or constructive notice of the institution of proceedings
which may affect a respondent’s legal rights; (2) a real opportunity to be heard
personally or with the assistance of counsel, to present witnesses and evidence in one’s
favor, and to defend one’s rights; (3) a tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and so
constituted as to afford a person charged administratively a reasonable guarantee of
honesty as well as impartiality; and (4) a finding by said tribunal which is supported by
substantial evidence submitted for consideration during the hearing or contained in the
records or made known to the parties affected.

The legislature enacted a special law, RA 4670 known as the Magna Carta for Public
School Teachers, which specifically covers administrative proceedings involving public
schoolteachers. Section 9 of said law expressly provides that the committee to hear
Wilfred P. Alfeche

public schoolteachers’ administrative cases should be composed of the school


superintendent of the division as chairman, a representative of the local or any existing
provincial or national teachers’ organization and a supervisor of the division. In the
present case, the various committees formed by DECS to hear the administrative
charges against private respondents did not include “a representative of the local or, in
its absence, any existing provincial or national teacher’s organization” as required by
Section 9 of RA 4670. Accordingly, these committees were deemed to have no
competent jurisdiction. Thus, all proceedings undertaken by them were necessarily void.

They could not provide any basis for the suspension or dismissal of private
respondents. The inclusion of a representative of a teachers’ organization in
these committees was indispensable to ensure an impartial tribunal. It was this
requirement that would have given substance and meaning to the right to be heard.
Indeed, in any proceeding, the essence of procedural due process is embodied in the
basic requirement of notice and a real opportunity to be heard. Other minor issues:
Petitioners allege that Sec 9 of RA 4670 was complied with because the respondents
are members of Quezon City Teachers Federation.

We disagree. Mere membership of said teachers in their respective teachers’


organizations does not ipso facto make them authorized representatives of such
organizations as contemplated by Section 9 of RA 4670. Under this section, the
teachers’ organization possesses the right to indicate its choice of representative to be
included by the DECS in the investigating committee. Such right to designate cannot be
usurped by the secretary of education or the director of public schools or their
underlings. In the instant case, there is no dispute that none of the teachers appointed
by the DECS as members of its investigating committee was ever designated or
authorized by a teachers’ organization as its representative in said committee. Sec 9 of
RA 4670 was repealed by PD 807. Statutory construction principle, a subsequent
general law cannot repeal a previous specific law, unless there is an express stipulation.
Always interpret laws so as to harmonize them.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Lacson vs. Executive Secretary; GR. No. 128096; January 20, 1999

Facts:

Eleven persons believed to be members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang,


an organized crime syndicate involved in bank robberies, were slain by elements of the
Anti-Bank Robbery andIntelligence Task Group (ABRITG). Among those included in the
ABRITG were petitioners and petitioner-intervenors.

Acting on a media expose of SPO2 Eduardo delos Reyes, a member of the Criminal
Investigation Command, that what actually transpired was a summary execution and not
a shoot-out between the Kuratong Baleleng gang members and the ABRITG,
Ombudsman Aniano Desiertoformed a panel of investigators to investigate the said
incident. Said panel found the incident as a legitimate police operation. However, a
review board modified the panel’s finding and recommended the indictment for multiple
murder against twenty-six respondents including herein petitioner, charged as principal,
and herein petitioner-intervenors, charged as accessories. After a reinvestigation, the
Ombudsman filed amended informations before the Sandiganbayan, where petitioner
was charged only as an accessory.

The accused filed separate motions questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,
asserting that under the amended informations, the cases fall within the jurisdiction of
the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 2 of R.A. 7975. They contend that the said
law limited the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to cases where one or ore of the
“principal accused” are government officals with Salary Grade 27 or higher, or PNP
officials with rank of Chief Superintendent or higher. Thus, they did not qualify under
said requisites. However, pending resolution of their motions, R.A. 8249 was approved
amending the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by deleting the word “principal” from the
phrase “principal accused” in Section 2 of R.A. 7975.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Petitioner questions the constitutionality of Section 4 of R.A. 8249, including Section 7


which provides that the said law shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which
trial has not begun as of the approval hereof.

Issues:

(1) Whether or not Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate the petitioners’ right to due
process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution as the provisions
seemed to have been introduced for the Sandiganbayan to continue to acquire
jurisdiction over the Kuratong Baleleng case.

(2) Whether or not said statute may be considered as an ex-post facto statute.

(3) Whether or not the multiple murder of the alleged members of the Kuratong
Baleleng was committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP officers which is
essential to the determination whether the case falls within the Sandiganbayan’s or
Regional Trial Court’s jurisdiction.

Ruling:

Petitioner and intervenors’ posture that Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate their right
to equal protection of the law is too shallow to deserve merit. No concrete evidence and
convincing argument were presented to warrant such a declaration. Every classification
made by the law is presumed reasonable and the party who challenges the law
must present proof of arbitrariness. The classification is reasonable and not arbitrary
when the following concur: (1) it must rest on substantial distinction; (2) it must be
germane to the purpose of the law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only,
and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same class; all of which are present in
this case.

Paragraph a of Section 4 provides that it shall apply “to all cases involving” certain
public officials and under the transitory provision in Section 7, to “all cases pending in
any court.” Contrary to petitioner and intervenors’ argument, the law is not particularly
Wilfred P. Alfeche

directed only to the Kuratong Baleleng cases. The transitory provision does not only
cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in “any court.”

There is nothing ex post facto in R.A. 8249. Ex post facto law, generally, provides
retroactive effect of penal laws. R.A. 8249 is not apenal law. It is a substantive law on
jurisdiction which is not penal in character. Penal laws are those acts of the Legislature
which prohibit certain acts and establish penalties for their violations or those that define
crimes and provide for their punishment. R.A. 7975, as regards the Sandiganbayan’s
jurisdiction, its mode of appeal and other procedural matters, has been declared by the
Court as not a penal law, but clearly a procedural statute, one which prescribes rules of
procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly administer justice. Not
being a penal law, the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 cannot be challenged as
unconstitutional.

In People vs. Montejo, it was held that an offense is said to have been committed in
relation to the office if it is intimately connected with the office of the offender and
perpetrated while he was in the performance of his official functions. Such intimate
relation must be alleged in the information which is essential in determining the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. However, upon examination of the amended
information, there was no specific allegation of facts that the shooting of the victim by
the said principal accused was intimately related to the discharge of their official duties
as police officers. Likewise, the amended information does not indicate that the said
accused arrested and investigated the victim and then killed the latter while in their
custody. The stringent requirement that the charge set forth with such particularity as
will reasonably indicate the exact offense which the accused is alleged to have
committed in relation to his office was not established.

Consequently, for failure to show in the amended informations that the charge of murder
was intimately connected with the discharge of official functions of the accused PNP
officers, the offense charged in the subject criminal cases is plain murder and, therefore,
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court and not the
Sandiganbayan.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Law on Public Officers

Reference: Miguel Cuenco vs. Marcelo B. Fernan; A.C. No. 3135. February 17, 1988

Facts:

Complainant Cuenco filed an untitled pleading which the Supreme Court treated as
a consolidation of 3 actions: (1) a second Motion for Reconsideration of the decision
dated July 23, 1987 – said decision became final and executor thus, MoR invalid; (2) a
Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s En Banc Resolution of February 17, 1988 –
said MoR was for an administrative case for disbarment filed by Cuencoagainst Justice
Fernan which was dismissed by the Court for utter lack of merit; (3) Compliance with
the directive in aforesaid Resolution of Feb 17, 1988 – requires
complainant Cuenco to show why he should not be administratively dealt with for having
made unfounded and serious accusations against Justice Fernan.

Issues:

Whether or not Cuenco should be administratively liable for having made


serious accusations against Justice Fernan.

Ruling:

Yes. Cuenco has not only declined to prove the accusations he has made against Mr.
Justice Fernan but has also chosen to make additional statements and charges so
extravagant and so clearly uninformed as to require no discussion. Because the Court
cannot assume the complainant Cuenco is totally unaware of the nature and gravity of
the charges he has made against Justice Fernan and which he has completely failed to
support with anything but his own bare assertion. The Court is compelled to conclude
that those accusations were in bad faith.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

There is another reason why the complaint for disbarment here must be dismissed.
Members of the Supreme Court must, under Article VIII (7) (1) of the Constitution, be
members of the Philippine Bar and may be removed from office only by impeachment.
To grant a complaint for disbarment of a Member of the Court during the Member's
incumbency, would in effect be to circumvent and hence to run afoul of the constitutional
mandate that Members of the Court may be removed from office only by impeachment
for and conviction of certain offenses listed in Article XI (2) of the Constitution. Precisely
the same situation exists in respect of the Ombudsman and his deputies, a majority of
the members of the Commission on Elections, and the members of the Commission on
Audit who are not certified public accountants, all of whom are constitutionally required
to be members of the Philippine Bar.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

Topic: Power of the Ombudsman

Reference: Hagad vs Dadole; G.R. No. 108072; December 12, 1995

Facts:

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

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

Issue:

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

Ruling:

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

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

The authority to conduct administrative investigation and to impose preventive


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

Respondent officials, nevertheless, claim that petitioner committed grave abuse of


discretion when he caused the issuance of the preventive suspension order without any
hearing.
Wilfred P. Alfeche

The contention is without merit. The records reveal that petitioner issued the order of
preventive suspension after the filing (a) by respondent officials of their opposition on
the motion for preventive suspension and (b) by Mayor Ouano of his memorandum in
compliance with the directive of petitioner. Be that, as it may, we have heretofore held
that, not being in the nature of a penalty, a preventive suspension can be decreed on an
official under investigation after charges are brought and even before the charges are
heard. Naturally, such a preventive suspension would occur prior to any finding of guilt
or innocence.