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Judiciary

  • 1. Hacienda Luisita vs Parc

2.Malaga vs. Penachos

ID.; PROHIBITION OF ANY COURT FROM ISSUING INJUNCTION IN CASES INVOLVING INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS OF GOVERNMENT (P.D. 1818); POWER OF THE COURTS TO RESTRAIN APPLICATION.

In the case of Datiles and Co. v. Sucaldito, (186 SCRA 704) this Court interpreted a similar prohibition contained in P.D. 605, the law after which P.D. 1818 was patterned. It was there declared that the prohibition pertained to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders by courts against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. The Court observed that to allow the courts to judge these matters would disturb the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery. Justice Teodoro Padilla made it clear, however, that on issues definitely outside of this dimension and involving questions of law, courts could not be prevented by P.D. No. 605 from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts. We see no reason why the above ruling should not apply to P.D. 1818. There are at least two irregularities committed by PBAC that justified injunction of the bidding and the award of the project.

When a law prohibits courts from issuing injunction cases involving infrastructure projects of the government, such prohibition can only refer to administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. Outside of this dimension and on issues involving questions of law, the courts cannot be prevented from exercising their power. (Bernas pg. 950)

3.PACU vs Sec of Educ G.R. No. L-5279

The Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) assailed the constitutionality of Act No. 2706 as amended by Act No. 3075 and Commonwealth Act No. 180. These laws sought to regulate the ownership of private schools in the country. It is provided by these laws that a permit should first be secured from the Secretary of Education before a person may be granted the right to own and operate a private school. This also gives the Secretary of Education the discretion to ascertain standards that must be followed by private schools. It also provides that the Secretary of Education can and may ban certain textbooks from being used in schools. PACU contends that the right of a citizen to own and operate a school is guaranteed by the Constitution, and any law requiring previous governmental approval or permit before such person could exercise said right, amounts to censorship of previous restraint, a practice abhorrent to our system of law and government. PACU also avers that such power granted to the Secretary of Education is an undue delegation of legislative power; that there is undue delegation because the law did not specify the basis or the standard upon which the Secretary must exercise said discretion; that the power to ban books granted to the Secretary amounts to censorship.

ISSUE: Whether or not Act No, 2706 as amended is unconstitutional.

HELD: No. In the first place, there is no justiciable controversy presented. PACU did not show that it suffered any injury from the exercise of the Secretary of Education of such powers granted to him by the said law. Second, the State has the power to regulate, in fact control, the ownership of schools. The Constitution provides for state control of all educational institutions even as it enumerates certain fundamental objectives of all education to wit, the development of moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience and vocational efficiency, and instruction in the duties of citizenship. The State control of private education was intended by the organic law. Third, the State has the power to ban illegal textbooks or those that are offensive to Filipino morals. This is still part of the power of control and regulation by the State over all schools.

A constitutional question is ripe for adjudication when the governmental act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it. Thus, in PACU vs Sec of Ed where petitioner PACU challenged the validity of Section 3 of Act No. 2706 which provided that before a private school may be opened to the public it must first obtain permit from the Secretary of Education, the SC declined to pass judgment on the question because all of the petitioning schools had permit to operate and were actually operating and none of them claimed that the Secretary had threatened to revoke their permit. (Bernas pg. 971)

  • 4. Mariano vs Comelec ; Actual Controversy

R.A. No. 7854 is entitled, "An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Makati."

They argue that by providing that the new city shall acquire a new corporate existence, section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 restarts the term of the present municipal elective officials of Makati and disregards the terms previously served by them. In particular, petitioners point that section 51 favors the incumbent Makati Mayor, respondent Jejomar Binay, who has already served for two (2) consecutive terms. They further argue that should Mayor Binay decide to run and eventually win as city mayor in the coming elections, he can still run for the same position in 1998 and seek another three- year consecutive term since his previous three-year consecutive term as municipal mayor would not be counted. Thus, petitioners conclude that said section 51 has been conveniently crafted to suit the political ambitions of respondent Mayor Binay.

We cannot entertain this challenge to the constitutionality of section 51. The requirements before a litigant can challenge the constitutionality of a law are well delineated. They are: 1) there must be an actual case or controversy; (2) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself.5

Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events, i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections; that he would be re-elected in said elections; and that he would seek re-election for the same position in the 1998 elections. Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen, petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to an actual case or controversy. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction.

Petitioner Macasiano assails the constitutionality of Secs. 28 and 44 of RA 7279. He raised several grounds for claiming that the said provisions are unconstitutional (like depriving the State and private land owners of their property and that as consultant of DPWH he cannot do his job regarding demolition of illegal structures properly). He predicates his locus standi on his being a consultant of DPWH pursuant to a Contract of Consultancy on Operation for Removal of Obstructions and Encroachments on Properties of Public Domain (executed immediately after his retirement on 2 January 1992 from the Philippine National Police) and his being a taxpayer.

SC ruled to dismiss the petition for Macasiano’s failure to satisfy the requirement in order for the Court to take cognizance of the petition and to be able to rule upon the constitutionality of the assailed provisions.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT; JUDICIAL INQUIRY INTO CONSTITUTIONALITY OF A LAW; ESSENTIAL REQUISITES; CASE AT BAR. It is a rule firmly entrenched in our jurisprudence that the constitutionality of an act of the legislature will not be determined by the courts unless that question is properly raised and presented in appropriate cases and is necessary to a determination of the case, i.e., the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota presented. To reiterate, the essential requisites for a successful judicial inquiry into the constitutionality of a law are: (a) the existence of an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, (b) the constitutional question must be raised by a proper party, (c) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity, and (d) the resolution of the constitutional question must be necessary to the decision of the case. A proper party is one who has sustained or is in danger or sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the acts or measures complained of. It is easily discernible in the instant case that the first two (2) fundamental requisites are absent. There is no actual controversy. Moreover, petitioner does not claim that, in either or both of the capacities in which he is filing the petition, he has been actually prevented from performing his duties as a consultant and exercising his rights as a property owner because of the assertion by other parties of any benefit under the challenged sections of the said Act. Judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. Judicial power is the "right to determine actual controversies arising between adverse litigants.

TAXPAYER’S SUIT; SUPREME COURT NOT DEVOID OF DISCRETION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT SUIT SHOULD BE ENTERTAINED. Although the petitioner likewise anchors his locus standi on the fact that he is a taxpayer, it does not mean, however, that in each and every instance where such a ground is invoked, this Court is left with no alternative except to hear the parties. In Tan v. Macapagal, we clarified that "as far as a

taxpayer’s suit is concerned, this Court is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be entertained."

  • 6. J. Joya vs. PCGG; locus standi

Art lovers seek to enjoin the auction sale of European artworks and silverware, part of the objects recovered by the government after the ouster of Pres. Marcos, on the ground that these formed parts of the Filipino cultural heritage. Plaintiffs were deemed without standing to sue because they neither owned the properties involved nor had they been purchased with public funds. (Bernas pgs. 972-973)

For a court to exercise its power of adjudication, there must be an actual case of controversy one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution; the case must not be moot or academic or based on extra-legal or other similar considerations not cognizable by a court of justice. A case becomes moot and academic when its purpose has become stale, such as the case before us. Since the purpose of this petition for prohibition is to enjoin respondent public officials from holding the auction sale of the artworks on a particular date 11 January 1991 which is long past, the issues raised in the petition have become moot and academic.

  • 7. Legaspi vs. Civil Service Commission

Citizen Valentin Legaspi requested from the Civil Service Commission information on the civil service eligibilities of sanitarian employees in the Health Department of Cebu City. The Commission rejected the request, asserting that Legaspi was not entitled to the information. Legaspi instituted an action for mandamus from the Court to require that the information be provided.

But what is clear upon the face of the Petition is that the petitioner has firmly anchored his case upon the right of the people to information on matters of public concern, which, by its very nature, is a public right. It has been held that:

* * * when the question is one of public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are 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 * * * (Tanada et. al. vs. Tuvera, et. al., G.R. No. L- 63915, April 24, 1985, 136 SCRA 27, 36).

From the foregoing, it becomes apparent that when a mandamus proceeding involves the assertion of a public right, the requirement of personal interest is satisfied by the mere fact that the petitioner is a citizen, and therefore, part of the general "public" which possesses the right.

The Court had opportunity to define the word "public" in the Subido case, supra, when it held that even those who have no direct or tangible interest in any real estate transaction are part of the "public" to whom "(a)ll records relating to registered lands in the Office of the Register of Deeds shall be open * * *" (Sec. 56, Act No. 496, as amended). In the words of the Court:

* * * "Public" is a comprehensive, all-inclusive term. Properly construed, it embraces every person.

  • 8. Bankers Assoc. of the Philippines vs Comelec; Moot and academic

This was a petition for the issuance of a status quo to enjoin the implementation of the Money Ban Resolution issued by COMELEC. The said ban prohibits the withdrawal of cash encashment of checks and conversion of any monetary instrument into cash from May 8 -13, 2013 exceeding One

Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) or its equivalent in any foreign currency per day in banks, insurance companies

Petitioner Macasiano assails the constitutionality of Secs. 28 and 44 of RA 7279. He raised several

quasi/banks,

pawnshops, remittance companies and institutions performing similar functions. However

Petitioner Macasiano assails the constitutionality of Secs. 28 and 44 of RA 7279. He raised several

all other non/cash transactions are not covered. For

this purpose, the Bangko Sentral and other financial agencies of the government are hereby deputized to implement with utmost dispatch and ensure strict compliance with this resolution without violating the provisions of Republic Act No. 1405, as amended, and Republic Act No. 6426.

The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. The Court, as a rule, will decline to exercise jurisdiction over a case and proceed to dismiss it when the issues posed have been mooted by supervening events. Mootness intervenes when a ruling from the Court no longer has any practical value and, from this perspective, effectively ceases to be a justiciable controversy.13 "[W]ithout a justiciable controversy, the [petition would] become a [plea] for declaratory relief, over which the Supreme Court has no original jurisdiction."

While the Court has recognized exceptions in applying the "moot and academic" principle, these exceptions relate only to situations where: (1) there is a grave violation of the Constitution; (2) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved; (3) the

constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and (4) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.

9. Kilosbayan vs Guingona G.R. No. 113375May 5, 1994

Petitioners strongly opposed the setting up of the on-line lottery system on the basis of serious moral and ethical considerations.

The Court affirmed the right of petitioners to challenge the validity of the lotto contract of the PCSO on the argument that the case was of transcendental importance. (Bernas pg. 974)

The preliminary issue on the locus standi of the petitioners should, indeed, be resolved in their favor. A party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of the issues raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, this Court brushed aside this technicality because "the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. (Avelino vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821)." Insofar as taxpayers' suits are concerned, this Court had declared that it "is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be entertained," or that it "enjoys an open discretion to entertain the same or not."

  • 10. Tatad vs. Garcia Jr. 243 SCRA 436 GR 114222; Locus standi

Distinction with previous case:

Since DOTC shall operate the EDSA LRT III, it shall assume all the obligations and liabilities of a common carrier. For this purpose, DOTC shall indemnify and hold harmless private respondent from any losses, damages, injuries or death which may be claimed in the operation or implementation of the system, except losses, damages, injury or death due to defects in the EDSA LRT III on account of the defective condition of equipment or facilities or the defective maintenance of such equipment facilities (Revised and Restated Agreement, Secs. 12.1 and 12.2; Rollo, p.

68).

In sum, private respondent will not run the light rail vehicles and collect fees from the riding public. It will have no dealings with the public and the public will have no right to demand any services from it.

It is well to point out that the role of private respondent as lessor during the lease period must be distinguished from the role of the Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC) in the case of Kilosbayan Inc. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994). Therein, the Contract of Lease between PGMC and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was actually a collaboration or joint venture agreement prescribed under the charter of the PCSO. In the Contract of Lease; PGMC, the lessor obligated itself to build, at its own expense, all the facilities necessary to operate and maintain a nationwide on-line lottery system from whom PCSO was to lease the facilities and operate the same. Upon due examination of the contract, the Court found that PGMC's participation was not confined to the construction and setting up of the on-line lottery system. It spilled over to the actual operation thereof, becoming indispensable to the pursuit, conduct, administration and control of the highly technical and sophisticated lottery system. In effect, the PCSO leased out its franchise to PGMC which actually operated and managed the same.

Ruling on locus standi:

Respondents claimed that petitioners had no legal standing to initiate the instant action. Petitioners, however, countered that the action was filed by them in their capacity as Senators and as taxpayers.

The prevailing doctrines in taxpayer's suits are to allow taxpayers to question contracts entered into by the national government or government- owned or controlled corporations allegedly in contravention of the law (Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 [1994]) and to disallow the same when only municipal contracts are involved (Bugnay Construction and Development Corporation v. Laron, 176 SCRA. 240 [1989]).

For as long as the ruling in Kilosbayan on locus standi is not reversed, we have no choice but to follow it and uphold the legal standing of petitioners as taxpayers to institute the present action.

Dissenting:

Mendoza -Because I hold that petitioners do not have standing to sue, I join to dismiss the petition in this case. I write only to set forth what I understand the grounds for our decisions on the doctrine of standing are and, why in accordance with these decisions, petitioners do not have the rights to sue, whether as legislators, taxpayers or citizens. As members of Congress, because they allege no infringement of prerogative as legislators.1 As taxpayers because petitioners allege neither an unconstitutional exercise of the taxing or spending powers of Congress (Art VI, §§24-25 and 29)2 nor an illegal disbursement of public money.3 As this Court pointed out in Bugnay Const. and Dev. Corp. v. Laron,4 a party suing as taxpayer "must specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of the public."

  • 11. Oposa vs Factoran; Locus standi

This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as hereinafter expounded, considers the "rhythm and harmony of nature." Nature means the created world in its entirety.9 Such rhythm and harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration, development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future generations. 10 Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little differently, the minors' assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.

12.Kilosbayan vs. Morato 246 SCRA 540; Locus standi, real party- in- interest:

QUESTION WHETHER PETITIONERS HAVE STANDING TO QUESTION THE EQUIPMENT LEASE AGREEMENT (ELA), A LEGAL QUESTION. The question whether petitioners have standing to question the Equipment Lease Agreement or ELA is a legal question. As will presently be

shown, the ELA, which petitioners seek to declare invalid in this proceeding, is essentially different from the 1993 Contract of Lease entered into by the PCSO with the PGMC. Hence the determination in the prior case (G.R. No. 113375) that petitioners had standing to challenge the validity of the 1993 Contract of Lease of the parties does not preclude determination of their standing in the present suit.

RULE ON STANDING AND REAL PARTY-IN-INTEREST, DIFFERENTIATED. The difference between the rule on standing and real party-in-

interest has been noted by authorities thus: "It is important to note

that standing because of its constitutional and public policy underpinnings,

. . . is very different from questions relating to whether a particular plaintiff is the real party-in-interest or has capacity to sue. Although all three requirements are directed towards ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an action, standing restrictions require a partial consideration of the merits, as well as broader policy concerns relating to the proper role of the judiciary in certain areas. (FRIEDENTHAL, KANE AND MILLER, CIVIL PROCEDURE 328 [1985]) Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are brought not by parties who, have been personally injured by the operation of a law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest. Hence the question in standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." (Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 7 L. Ed. 2d 633 [1962])

On the other hand, the question as to "real party-in-interest" is whether he is "the party who would be benefitted or injured by the judgment, or

the ‘party entitled to the avails of the suit." ‘ (Salonga v. Warner Barnes & Co., Ltd., 88 Phil 125, 131 [1951])

REAL PARTIES-IN-INTEREST IN ANNULMENT OF CONTRACTS ARE PARTIES TO THE AGREEMENT. In actions for the annulment of contracts, such as this action, the real parties are those who are parties to the agreement or are bound either principally or subsidiarily or are prejudiced in their rights with respect to one of the contracting parties and can show the detriment which would positively result to them from the contract even though they did not intervene in it (Ibañez v. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, 22 Phil. 572 [1912]), or who claim a right to take part in a public bidding but have been illegally excluded from it. (See De la Lara Co., Inc. v. Secretary of Public Works and Communications, G.R. No. L- 13460, Nov. 28, [1958])

PARTIES WITH PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST; "PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST," CONSTRUED. These are parties with "a present substantial interest, as distinguished from a mere expectancy or future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential interest. The phrase ‘present substantial interest’ more concretely is meant such interest of a party in the subject matter of action as will entitle him, under the substantive law, to recover if the evidence is sufficient, or that he has the legal title to demand and the defendant will be protected in a payment to or recovery by him." (I MORAN, COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT 154-155 [1979])

PARTIES WITHOUT PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST IN THE EQUIPMENT LEASE AGREEMENT, NOT ENTITLED TO BRING SUIT FOR ANNULMENT; CASE AT BAR. But petitioners do not have such present substantial interest in the ELA as would entitle them to bring this suit. Denying to them the right to intervene will not leave without remedy any perceived illegality in the execution of government contracts. Questions as to the nature or validity of public contracts or the necessity for a public bidding before they may be made can be raised in an appropriate case before the Commission on Audit or before the Ombudsman. The Constitution requires that the Ombudsman and his deputies, "as protectors of the people shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof including government-owned or controlled corporations." (Art. XI, 12) In addition, the Solicitor General is authorized to bring an action for quo warranto if it should be thought that a government corporation, like the PCSO, has offended against its corporate charter or misused its franchise. (Rule 66, Sec. 2 [a] [d] For reasons set for, we hold that petitioner have no cause against respondents and therefore their petition should be dismissed.

  • 13. Atty. Oliver Lozano vs. Speaker Prospero Nograles, June 16, 2009

FACTS: The two petitions, filed by their respective petitioners in their capacities as concerned citizens and taxpayers, prayed for the nullification of House Resolution No. 1109 entitled “A Resolution Calling upon the Members of Congress to Convene for the Purpose of Considering Proposals to Amend or Revise the Constitution, upon a Three-fourths Vote of All the Members of Congress.” In essence, both petitions seek to trigger a justiciable controversy that would warrant a definitive interpretation by this Court of Section 1, Article XVII, which provides for the procedure for amending or revising the Constitution.

ISSUE: Do petitioners have legal standing?

RULING: No. In the present case, the fitness of petitioners’ case for the exercise of judicial review is grossly lacking. In the first place, petitioners have not sufficiently proven any adverse injury or hardship from the act complained of. In the second place, House Resolution No. 1109 only resolved that the House of Representatives shall convene at a future time for the purpose of proposing amendments or revisions to the Constitution. No actual convention has yet transpired and no rules of procedure have yet been adopted. More importantly, no proposal has yet been made, and hence, no usurpation of power or gross abuse of discretion has yet taken place. In short, House Resolution No. 1109 involves a quintessential example of an uncertain contingent future event that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all. The House has not yet performed a positive act that would warrant an intervention from this Court.

Neither can the lack of locus standi be cured by the claim of petitioners that they are instituting the cases at bar as taxpayers and concerned citizens. A taxpayer’s suit requires that the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation. It is undisputed that there has been no allocation or disbursement of public funds in this case as of yet.

To be sure, standing as a citizen has been upheld by this Court in cases where a petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental importance or when paramount public interest is involved.16 While the Court recognizes the potential far-reaching implications of the issue at hand, the possible consequence of House Resolution No. 1109 is yet unrealized and does not infuse petitioners with locus standi under the "transcendental importance" doctrine.

  • 14. League of Cities of the Phils vs COMELEC December 21, 2009

The basic issue tendered in this motion for reconsideration of the June 2, 2009 Resolution boils down to whether or not the required vote set forth in the aforesaid Sec. 4(2), Art. VIII is limited only to the initial vote on the petition or also to the subsequent voting on the motion for reconsideration where the Court is called upon and actually votes on the constitutionality of a law or like issuances

It ought to be clear that a deadlocked vote does not reflect the "majority of the Members" contemplated in Sec. 4 (2) of Art. VIII of the Constitution, which requires that:

All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, x x x shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. (Emphasis added.)

As may be noted, the aforequoted Sec. 4 of Art. VIII, as couched, exacts a majority vote in the determination of a case involving the constitutionality of a statute, without distinguishing whether such determination is made on the main petition or thereafter on a motion for reconsideration. This is as it should be, for, to borrow from the late Justice Ricardo J. Francisco: "x x x [E]ven assuming x x x that the constitutional requirement on the concurrence of the ‘majority’ was initially reached in the x x x ponencia, the same is inconclusive as it was still open for review by way of a motion for reconsideration."15

To be sure, the Court has taken stock of the rule on a tie-vote situation, i.e., Sec. 7, Rule 56 and the complementary A.M. No. 99-1-09- SC, respectively, providing that:

SEC. 7. Procedure if opinion is equally divided. Where the court en banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall again be deliberated on, and if after such deliberation no decision is reached, the original action commenced in the court shall be dismissed; in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and on all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied.

But since the instant cases fall under Sec. 4 (2), Art. VIII of the Constitution, the aforequoted provisions ought to be applied in conjunction with the prescription of the Constitution that the cases "shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the instant cases and voted thereon." To repeat, the last vote on the issue of the constitutionality of the cityhood bills is that reflected in the April 28, 2009 Resolution––a 6-6 deadlock.

On the postulate then that first, the finality of the November 18, 2008 Decision has yet to set in, the issuance of the precipitate16 entry of judgment notwithstanding, and second, the deadlocked vote on the second motion for reconsideration did not definitely settle the constitutionality of the cityhood laws, the Court is inclined to take another hard look at the underlying decision. Without belaboring in their smallest details the arguments for and against the procedural dimension of this disposition, it bears to stress that the Court has the power to suspend its own rules when the ends of justice would be served thereby.17 In the performance of their duties, courts should not be shackled by stringent rules which would result in manifest injustice. Rules of procedure are only tools crafted to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application must be eschewed, if they result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. Substantial rights must not be prejudiced by a rigid and technical application of the rules in the altar of expediency. When a case is impressed with public interest, a relaxation of the application of the rules is in order.18 Time and again, this Court has suspended its own rules or excepted a particular case from their operation whenever the higher interests of justice so require.19

The Court, by a vote of 6-4, grants the respondent LGUs’ motion for reconsideration of the Resolution of June 2, 2009, as well as their May 14, 2009 motion to consider the second motion for reconsideration of the November 18, 2008 Decision unresolved, and also grants said second motion for reconsideration.

15. Venancio Inonog vs. Judge Francisco Ibay, July 28 2009

Decision:

In the instant case, there was no defiance of authority on the part of the complainant when he parked his vehicle at the spot reserved for the respondent judge. The incident is too flimsy to be a basis of a contempt proceedings. At most, the act resulted to a minor inconvenience on the part of the respondent but it was unlikely that it delayed the administration of justice. Besides, it was not shown that complainant parked his vehicle at the spot intentionally to show disrespect to Judge Ibay. Respondent Judge Ibay acted precipitously in citing complainant in contempt of court in a manner which obviously smacks of retaliation rather than upholding of the courts honor.

The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts so as to preserve order in judicial proceedings as well as to uphold the administration of justice. The courts must exercise the power of contempt for purposes that are impersonal because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges but for the functions they exercise. Thus, judges have, time and again, been enjoined to exercise their contempt power judiciously, sparingly, with utmost restraint and with the end in view of utilizing the same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, not for retaliation or vindication. Respondent judges act of unceremoniously citing complainant in contempt is a clear evidence of his unjustified use of the authority vested upon him by law.

Besides possessing the requisite learning in the law, a magistrate must exhibit that hallmark of judicial temperament of utmost sobriety and self- restraint which are indispensable qualities of every judge. Respondent judge himself has characterized this incident as a petty disturbance and he should not have allowed himself to be annoyed to a point that he would even waste valuable court time and resources on a trivial matter.

16. Biraogo vs. PTC

  • 17. Atty. Romulo Macalintal vs. PET, November 23, 2010

Facts: Par 7, Sec 4, Art VII of the 1987 Constitution provides: “The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.” Sec 12, Art. VIII of the Constitution provides: The Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. The case at bar is a motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner of the SC’s decision dismissing the former’s petition and declaring the establishment of the respondent PET as constitutional. Petitioner argues that PET is unconstitutional on the ground that Sec 4, Art VII of the Constitution does not provide for the creation of the PET, and it violates Sec 12, Art VIII of the Constitution.

The Solicitor General maintains that the constitution of the PET is on firm footing on the basis of the grant of authority to the Supreme Court to be the sole judge of all election contests for the President or Vice-President under par 7, Sec 4, Art VII of the Constitution.

Issue:

Whether or not PET is constitutional. Whether or not PET exercises quasi-judicial power.

Held:

Yes. The explicit reference of the Members of the Constitutional Commission to a Presidential Electoral Tribunal, with Fr. Joaquin Bernas

categorically declaring that in crafting the last paragraph of Sec. 4, Art VII of the 1987 Constitution, they “constitutionalized what was statutory.”

Judicial power granted to the Supreme Court by the same Constitution is plenary. And under the doctrine of necessary implication, the additional jurisdiction bestowed by the last paragraph of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution to decide presidential and vice-presidential elections contests includes the means necessary to carry it into effect. No. The traditional grant of judicial power is found in Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution which provides that the power “shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” The set up embodied in the Constitution and statutes characterize the resolution of electoral contests as essentially an exercise of judicial power. When the Supreme Court, as PET, resolves a presidential or vice- presidential election contest, it performs what is essentially a judicial power.

  • 18. Bengzon vs. Drilon; Section 3; Fiscal autonomy

FACTS: On 15 Jan 1992, some provisions of the Special Provision for the Supreme Court and the Lower Court’s General Appropriations were vetoed by the President because a resolution by the Court providing for appropriations for retired justices has been enacted. The vetoed bill provided for the increase of the pensions of the retired justices of the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals as well as members of the Constitutional Commission.

ISSUE: Whether or not the veto of the President on that portion of the General Appropriations bill is constitutional.

HELD: The Justices of the Court have vested rights to the accrued pension that is due to them in accordance to Republic Act 1797. The president has no power to set aside and override the decision of the Supreme Court neither does the president have the power to enact or amend statutes promulgated by her predecessors much less to the repeal of existing laws. The veto is unconstitutional since the power of the president to disapprove any item or items in the appropriations bill does not grant the authority to veto part of an item and to approve the remaining portion of said item.

  • 19. Limketkai Sons Milling Inco. Vs. CA; Section 4; Composition

What petitioner bewails the most is the present composition of the Third Division which deliberated on private respondents’ motions for reconsideration and by a majority vote reversed the unanimous decision of December 1, 1995. More specifically, petitioner questions the assumption of Chief Justice Narvasa of the chairmanship of the Third Division and arrogantly rams its idea on how each Division should be chaired, i.e., the First Division should have been chaired by Chief Justice Narvasa, the Second Division by Mr. Justice Padilla, the next senior Justice, and the Third Division by Mr. Justice Regalado, the third in line. We need only to states that the change in the membership of the three divisions of the Court with inevitable by reason of Mr. Justice Feliciano’s retirement. Such reorganization is purely an internal matter of the Court to which petitioner certainly has no business at all. In fact, the current "staggered" set-up in the chairmanships of the Divisions is similar to that adopted in 1988. In the year, the Court’s Third Division was likewise chaired by then Chief Justice Fernan, while the First and Second Divisions were headed by the next senior Justices Narvasa and Melencio-Herrera, respectively.

  • 20. Drilon vs Lim 235 SCRA 135; Section 5 par.2(a)

The principal issue in this case is the constitutionality of Section 187 of the Local Government Code.

We stress at the outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of Section 187, this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law. Specifically, BP 129 vests in the regional trial courts jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation,4 even as the accused in a criminal action has the right to question in his defense the constitutionality of a law he is charged with violating and of the proceedings taken against him, particularly as they contravene the Bill of Rights. Moreover, Article X, Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts in all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act with the utmost circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences of a declaration of unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no less than on the doctrine of separation of powers. As the questioned act is usually the handiwork of the legislative or the executive departments, or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if only out of a becoming modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of this Court in the consideration of its validity, which is better determined after a thorough deliberation by a collegiate body and with the concurrence of the majority of those who participated in its discussion.5

It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is charged with the duty of a purposeful hesitation before declaring a law unconstitutional, on the theory that the measure was first carefully studied by the executive and the legislative departments and determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The presumption of constitutionality can be overcome only by the clearest showing that there was indeed an infraction of the Constitution, and only when such a conclusion is reached by the required majority may the Court pronounce, in the discharge of the duty it cannot escape, that the challenged act must be struck down.

  • 21. Larranaga v. CA 287 SCRA 581; Section 5

The original warrantless arrest of the petitioner was doubtless illegal. Nevertheless, the Regional Trial Court lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner by virtue of the warrant of arrest it issued on August 26, 1993 against him and the other accused in connection with the rape-slay cases. It was belated, to be sure, but it was nonetheless legal.

Even on the assumption that no warrant was issued at all, we find that the trial court still lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. The rule is that if the accused objects to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, he may move to quash the information, but only on that ground. If, as in this case, the accused raises other grounds in the motion to quash, he is deemed to have waived that objection and to have submitted his person to the jurisdiction of the court.

We hold, therefore, that petitioners detention at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center is legal in view of the information and the warrant of arrest against him. The absence of a preliminary investigation will not justify petitioners release because such defect did not nullify the information and the warrant of arrest against him.24 We ruled in Sanciangco, Jr. v. People:25cräläwvirtualibräry

The absence of preliminary investigations does not affect the courts jurisdiction over the case. Nor do they impair the validity of the information or otherwise render it defective; but, if there were no preliminary investigations and the defendants, before entering their plea, invite the attention of the court to their absence, the court, instead of dismissing the information, should conduct it or remand the case to the inferior court so that the preliminary investigation may be conducted.

  • 22. First Lepanto Ceramics Inc. vs. CA 237 SCRA 519; Section 5

REMEDIAL LAW; COURTS; WILL NOT INTERFERE IN MATTERS ADDRESSED TO THE SOUND DISCRETION OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ENTRUSTED WITH REGULATION OF ACTIVITIES COMING UNDER THEIR SPECIAL TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING; SHOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH BOI DECISION ALLOWING AMENDMENT OF CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION OF FIRST LEPANTO. The challenged decision of the appellate court, annulling the BOI decision in Case No. 92-005, is anchored mainly on the fact that the BOI did not hold in abeyance its action on First Lepanto’s application for amendment of its certificate of registration until after BOI Case No. 92-004 would have been finally resolved. It has described the grant by the BOI of First Lepanto’s application to be "premature" and "an exercise in facility" in the sense that" (i)f a decision is rendered in aforesaid BOI case (92-004) finding merit in the complaint, it is not farfetch that cancellation of (First Lepanto’s) certificate of registration may be ordered." It is unacceptable, in our view, for the appellate court to base its peremptory judgment on a conjecture, i.e., the

possibility that BOI Case No. 92-004 could be decided against petitioner, and to second-guess the BOI on what it would do in the event of such an adverse ruling. The appellate court itself has recognized that the final results of the controversy in BOI Case No. 92-004 cannot necessarily foreclose or circumscribe the action that may be had on First Lepanto’s application for amendment. Under Chapter II, Art. 7(8) of E.O. No. 226, the BOI need not cancel the certificate of a registrant found to have infringed the terms and conditions of its registration. The BOI is the agency tasked with evaluating the feasibility of an investment project and to decide which investment might be compatible with its development plans. The exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter that can best be discharged by the government agency concerned and not by the courts. BOI has allowed the amendment of First Lepanto’s product line because that agency "believes that allowing First Lepanto to manufacture wall tiles as well will give it the needed technical and market flexibility, a key factor, to enable the firm to eventually penetrate the world market and meet its export requirements." In Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. v. Deputy Executive Secretary, we have already said and now still

reiterate that ."

while the administration grapples with the complex and multifarious problems caused by unbridled exploitation of these

. . . resources, the judiciary will stand clear. A long line of cases establish the basic rule that the courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed

to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the special technical knowledge and training of such agencies."

SC Circular No. 1-91 which orders that appeals from decisions of administrative bodies shall now be filed with the CA, did not repeal EO 226, and did not diminish, increase or modify the substantive right to appeal. It merely transferred the venue of appeals from decisions of said agencies to the CA, and provide different period (15 days from notice), both of which are merely procedural in character. (Nachura pg. 390)

  • 23. Aruelo vs. CA 227 SCRA 311; Section 5

ID.; COMMISSION ON ELECTION; NO POWER TO PROHIBIT THE FILING OF CERTAIN PLEADINGS IN THE REGULAR COURTS. Constitutionally speaking, the COMELEC can not adopt a rule prohibiting the filing of certain pleadings in the regular courts. The power to promulgate rules concerning pleadings, practice and procedure in all courts is vested on the Supreme Court (Constitution, Art. VIII, Sec. 5 [5]).

  • 24. Javellana vs. DILG 212 SCRA 247; Section 5

SECTION 90 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991 AND DLG MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 90-81 DO NOT VIOLATE ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 5 OF THE CONSTITUTION; NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LAWYERS AND DOCTORS. — Petitioner’s contention that Section 90 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII, Section 5 of the Constitution is completely off tangent. Neither the statute nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme Court’s power and authority to prescribe rules on the practice of law. The Local Government Code and DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 simply prescribe rules of conduct for public officials to avoid conflicts of interest between the discharge of their public duties and the private practice of their profession, in those instances where the law allows it. Section 90 of the Local Government Code does not discriminate against lawyers and doctors. It applies to all provincial and municipal officials in the professions or engaged in any occupation. Section 90 explicitly provides that sanggunian members "may practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except during session hours." If there are some prohibitions that apply particularly to lawyers, it is because of all the professions, the practice of law is more likely than others to relate to, or affect, the area of public service.

  • 25. RE: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of the GSIS from payment of legal fees, AM No. 08-2-01-0, February 11, 2010

The GSIS urges the Court to show deference to Congress by recognizing the exemption of the GSIS under Section 39 of RA 8291 from legal fees imposed under Rule 141. Effectively, the GSIS wants this Court to recognize a power of Congress to repeal, amend or modify a rule of procedure promulgated by the Court. However, the Constitution and jurisprudence do not sanction such view.

The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent judiciary. Among others, it enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its Section 5(5), Article VIII provides:

x x x

x x x

x x x

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

x x x

x x x

x x x

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or

modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first time was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. The Court was also granted for the first time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987 Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this Court with Congress, more so with the Executive.

The separation of powers among the three co-equal branches of our government has erected an impregnable wall that keeps the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure within the sole province of this Court. The other branches trespass upon this prerogative if they enact laws or issue orders that effectively repeal, alter or modify any of the procedural rules promulgated by this Court. Viewed from this perspective, the claim of a legislative grant of exemption from the payment of legal fees under Section 39 of RA 8291 necessarily fails.

Congress could not have carved out an exemption for the GSIS from the payment of legal fees without transgressing another equally important institutional safeguard of the Court's independence -- fiscal autonomy.

  • 26. Maceda vs. Vasquez 221 SCRA 464; Section 6

Facts: Respondent Napoleon Abiera of PAO filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against petitioner RTC Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda. Respondent Abiera 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 alleged that petitioner Maceda falsified his certificates of service for 17 months.

Issue: Whether or not the investigation made by the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the SC’s constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts

Held: A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the SC for serious misconduct and under Sec. 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.

In the absence of any administrative action taken against him by the 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. (Nachura pgs. 396-7)

The Court Ruled that the Ombudsman may not investigate a judge independently of any administrative action of the Supreme Court:

Art. VIII, Sec. 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the SC administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the CA down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the SC 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. (Bernas pgs. 1012-13)

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 the SC for determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties.

  • 27. Raquiza vs. Judge Castenada Jr, 81 SCRA 235; Section 6

The ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be established beyond reasonable doubt. Such is the rule where the charge on which the removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful neglect, corruption, incompetency, etc. The general rules in regard to admissibility of evidence in criminal trials apply.

  • 28. Nitafan vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue 152 SCRA 284; Section 10

FACTS: Nitafan and some others, duly qualified and appointed judges of the RTC, NCR, all with stations in Manila, seek to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court, from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries.

They submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating that during their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased," even as it is anathema to the Ideal of an independent judiciary envisioned in and by said Constitution."

ISSUE: Whether or not members of the Judiciary are exempt from income taxes.

HELD: No. The salaries of members of the Judiciary are subject to the general income tax applied to all taxpayers. Although such intent was somehow and inadvertently not clearly set forth in the final text of the 1987 Constitution, the deliberations of the1986 Constitutional Commission negate the contention that the intent of the framers is to revert to the original concept of non-diminution´ of salaries of judicial officers. Justices and judges are not only the citizens whose income has been reduced in accepting service in government and yet subject to income tax. Such is true also of Cabinet members and all other employees.

  • 29. De La Llana vs. Alba 112 SCRA 294; Section 11

ACTS: De La Llana, et. al. filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and/or for Prohibition, seeking to enjoin the Minister of the Budget, the Chairman of the Commission on Audit, and the Minister of Justice from taking any action implementing BP 129 which mandates that Justices and judges of inferior courts from the CA to MTCs, except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the CTA, unless appointed to the inferior courts established by such act, would be considered separated from the judiciary. It is the termination of their incumbency that for petitioners justify a suit of this character, it being alleged that thereby the security of tenure provision of the Constitution has been ignored and disregarded.

ISSUES: W/N BP 129 is unconstitutional for impairing the security of tenure of the justices and judges in this case?

RULING: It is a well-known rule that valid abolition of offices is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents. Of course, if the abolition is void, the incumbent is deemed never to have ceased to hold office. The rule that the abolition of an office does not amount to an illegal removal of its incumbent is the principle that, in order to be valid, the abolition must be made in good faith.

Removal is to be distinguished from termination by virtue of valid abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise.

BP 129 was a valid reorganization law, and that, therefore, the abolition of then existing judicial offices did not violate security of tenure. (Nachura pg.

402)

Note: In view of the clear declaration of Sec. 2, Article VIII, the ruling in Dela Llana may be said to have been modified accordingly.

  • 30. People vs. Judge Gacott Jr. 246 SCRA 52; Section 11

Facts: For failure to check the citations of the prosecution, the order of respondent RTC Judge Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. dismissing a criminal case was annulled by the SC. The respondent judge was also sanctioned with a reprimand and a fine of P10,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law. The judgment was made by the Second Division of the SC.

Issue: Whether or not the Second Division of the SC has the competence to administratively discipline respondent judge

Held: A decision en banc is needed only where the penalty to be imposed is the dismissal of a judge, officer or employee of the Judiciary, disbarment of a lawyer, or either the suspension of any of them for a period of more than 1 year or a fine exceeding P10, 000.00 or both. Justice Regalado relied on his recollection of a conversation with former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion who was the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary of the 1986 Constitutional Commission of which Regalado was also a member. Regalado admitted that there were no records to support his recollection. He said, however, that to require more would contravene the desire of the Constitution for a speedy disposition of cases, which is one of the purposes for allowing the Court to rule in divisions. (Bernas pg. 1021)

  • 31. In Re; Manzano, 166 SCRA 246; Section 12; Prohibited designation

FACTS: Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, an Executive Judge in RTC in Bangui, Ilocos Norte was appointed as a member of Provincial Committee on Justice created pursuant to Presidential EO 856. Petitioner requested the Court to allow him to accept the appointment and to consider his membership in the committee as neither violative to his judicial function. He also added that his membership in the said Committee is still part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge.

Upon examination of EO 856 reveals that Provincial/City Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of detainees, particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating jail congestion and improving local jail conditions.

Issue:

Whether or not Judge Manzano can accept appointment as a member of INPCJ.

Held:

No. The committee was created by the executive branch of the government where its members discharge administrative functions. Though it may be quasi-judicial, it is still administrative in nature. Judge Manzano is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official, however eminent. His integrity in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. RTC Judges may only render assistance to the aforesaid committees when such assistance is reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial functions.

Thus, where a judge was designated member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice by the Provincial Governor where the function of the Committee was to receive complaints and make recommendations towards the speedy disposition of the cases of detainees, the designation was invalidated. The Court said that the functions involved the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as were devolved upon the administrative agency or by the organic law of existence. The functions were deemed covered by the prohibition under Section 12. (Bernas pg. 1025)

  • 32. Nicos Industrial Corp v CA 206 SCRA 127; Section 14

FACTS:

(1) The order is assailed by the petitioners on the principal ground that it violates the aforementioned constitutional requirement of Article 8 Section 14 of the Constitution. The petitioners claim that it is not a reasoned decision and does not clearly and distinctly explain how it was reached by the trial court. Petitioners complain that there was no analysis of their testimonial evidence or of their 21 exhibits, the trial court merely confining itself to the pronouncement that the sheriff's sale was valid and that it had no jurisdiction over the derivative suit. There was therefore no adequate factual or legal basis for the decision that could justify its review and affirmance by the Court of Appeals. (2) January 24, 1980, NICOS Industrial Corporation obtained a loan of P2,000,000.00 from private respondent United Coconut Planters Bank and to secure payment thereof executed a real estate mortgage on two parcels of land located at Marilao, Bulacan. The mortgage was foreclosed for the supposed non-payment of the loan, and the sheriff's sale was held on July 11, 1983, without re-publication of the required notices after the original date for the auction was changed without the knowledge or consent of the mortgagor. (3) CA decision: We hold that the order appealed from as framed by the court a quo while leaving much to be desired, substantially complies with the rules.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the trial court’s decision is unconstitutional

HELD:

WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE for lack of basis. This case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 10, for revision, within 30 days from notice, of the Order of June 6, 1986, conformably to the requirements of Article VIII, Section 14, of the Constitution, subject to the appeal thereof, if desired, in accordance with law.

RATIO:

(1) The questioned order is an over-simplification of the issues, and violates both the letter and spirit of Article VIII, Section 14, of the Constitution. (2) It is a requirement of due process that the parties to a litigation be informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. The court cannot simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any justification whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why he lost, so he may appeal to a higher court, if permitted, should he believe that the decision should be reversed. A decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal. (3) Brevity is doubtless an admirable trait, but it should not and cannot be substituted for substance. As the ruling on this second ground was unquestionably a judgment on the merits, the failure to state the factual and legal basis thereof was fatal to the order. (4) Kilometric decisions without much substance must be avoided, to be sure, but the other extreme, where substance is also lost in the wish to be brief, is no less unacceptable either. The ideal decision is that which, with welcome economy of words, arrives at the factual findings reaches the legal conclusions renders its ruling and having done so ends.

  • 33. Komatsu Industries (Phils) Inc. vs. CA 289 SCRA 604

It was held that when the Court, after deliberating on a petition and any subsequent pleadings, manifestations, comments or motions, decides to deny due course to a petition, and states---in a minute resolution--- that the questions raised are factual or no reversible error in the respondent court’s decision is shown or some other legal basis stated in the resolution, there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement. (Nachura pg.

399)

  • 34. Prudential Bank vs. Castro 158 SCRA 646; Section 14

No constitutional provision has been disregarded either in the Court’s Minute Resolution, dated January 12, 1988, denying the motion for

reconsideration "for lack of merit, the issues raised therein having been previously duly considered and passed upon." It bears repeating that this is

an administrative case so that the Constitutional mandate that "no

. . .

motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be

. . .

denied

without stating the legal basis therefor" is inapplicable. And even if it were, said Resolution stated the legal basis for the denial and, therefore, adhered faithfully to the Constitutional requirement. "Lack of merit," which was one of the grounds for denial, is a legal basis

  • 35. Oil and Natural Gas Commission vs. CA 293 SCRA 26; Section 14

FACTS:

This proceeding involves the enforcement of a foreign judgment rendered by the Civil Judge of Dehra Dun, India in favor of the petitioner, against the private respondent, PACIFIC CEMENT COMPANY, INCORPORATED. The petitioner is a foreign corporation owned and controlled by the Government of India while the private respondent is a private corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. The conflict between the petitioner and the private respondent rooted from the failure of the respondent to deliver 43,000 metric tons of oil well cement to the petitioner even it had already received payment and despite petitioner’s several demands. The petitioner then informed the private respondent that it was referring its claim to an arbitrator pursuant to Clause 16 of their contract which stipulates that he venue for arbitration shall be at Dehra dun. The chosen arbitrator, one Shri N.N. Malhotra, resolved the dispute in favour of the petitioner setting forth the arbitral award. To enable the petitioner to execute the above award, it filed a Petition before the Court of the Civil Judge in Dehra Dun. India praying that the decision of the arbitrator be made "the Rule of Court" in India. This was objected by the respondent but foreign court refused to admit the private respondent's objections for failure to pay the required filing fees. Despite notice sent to the private respondent of the foregoing order and several demands by the petitioner for compliance therewith, the private respondent refused to pay the amount adjudged by the foreign court as owing to the petitioner.

The petitioner filed a complaint with Branch 30 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Surigao City for the enforcement of the aforementioned judgment of the foreign court. The private respondent moved to dismiss the complaint. RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of a valid cause of action. The petitioner then appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. In its decision, the appellate court concurred with the RTC's ruling that the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction over the dispute between the parties, thus, the foreign court could not validly adopt the arbitrator's award. The petitioner filed this petition for review on certiorari,

ISSUE:

Whether or not the arbitrator had jurisdiction over the dispute between the petitioner and the private respondent under Clause 16 of the contract.

RULING:

The constitutional mandate that no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein dearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based does not preclude the validity of "memorandum decisions" which adopt by reference the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the decisions of inferior tribunals. Furthermore, the recognition to be accorded a foreign judgment is not necessarily affected by the fact that the procedure in the courts of the country in which such judgment was rendered differs from that of the courts of the country in which the judgment is relied on. If the procedure in the foreign court mandates that an Order of the Court becomes final and executory upon failure to pay the necessary docket fees, then the courts in this jurisdiction cannot invalidate the order of the foreign court simply because our rules provide otherwise.

  • 36. Atty. Alice Odchigue-Bondoc vs. Tan Tio Bio AKA Henry Tan, October 6, 2010; Section 14

Petitioner asserts that the requirement in Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution applies only to decisions of "courts of justice" ; that, citing Solid Homes, Inc. v. Laserna, the constitutional provision does not extend to decisions or rulings of executive departments such as the DOJ; and that Section 12(c) of the NPS Rule on Appeal allows the DOJ to dismiss a petition for review motu proprio, and the use of the word "outright" in the DOJ Resolution simply means "altogether," "entirely" or "openly."

In his Comment, respondent counters that the constitutional requirement is not limited to courts, citing Presidential Ad hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto, as it extends to quasi-judicial and administrative bodies, as well as to preliminary investigations conducted by these tribunals.

Further, respondent, citing Adasa v. Abalos, argues that the DOJ "muddled" the distinction between Sections 7 and 12 of the NPS Rule on Appeal and that an "outright" dismissal is not allowed since the DOJ must set the reasons why it finds no reversible error17cra1aw in an assailed resolution.

The petition is impressed with merit.

A preliminary investigation is not a quasi-judicial proceeding since "the prosecutor in a preliminary investigation does not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused."

x x x [A prosecutor] does not exercise adjudication nor rule-making functions. Preliminary investigation is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged [of] a crime and to enable the [prosecutor] to prepare his complaint or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. While the [prosecutor] makes that determination, he cannot be said to be acting as a quasi-court, for it is the courts, ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused, not the [prosecutor].19cra1aw (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

A preliminary investigation thus partakes of an investigative or inquisitorial power for the sole purpose of obtaining information on what future action of a judicial nature may be taken.

Balangauan v. Court of Appeals21cra1aw in fact iterates that even the action of the Secretary of Justice in reviewing a prosecutors order or resolution via appeal or petition for review cannot be considered a quasi-judicial proceeding since the "DOJ is not a quasi-judicial body."22cra1aw Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution does not thus extend to resolutions issued by the DOJ Secretary.

  • 37. Valdez vs. CA 194 SCRA 360; Section 14

An examination of the decision of the trial court dated April 9, 1986 shows that there are no findings of facts to serve as basis for its conclusions. 18 Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution mandates as follow:

"No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor." (Emphasis supplied.)

Section 1, Rule 36 of the Rules of Court also provides clearly as follows:

"SECTION 1.Rendition of judgments. All judgments determining the merits of cases shall be in writing personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, signed by him, and filed with the clerk of the court." (Emphasis supplied.)

That is the reason why this Court, through Administrative Circular No. 1 dated January 28, 1988. reminded all judges "to make complete findings of facts in their decisions, and scrutinize closely the legal aspects of the case in the light of the evidence presented. They should avoid the tendency to generalize and form conclusions without detailing the facts from which such conclusions are deduced."cralaw virtua1aw library

Of course, when a petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court is denied due course, or is otherwise denied, it is not necessary that such findings of facts be made. However, the denial must state the legal basis thereof.

In the present case, the three-paged decision of the trial court contained in the first two pages a statement of the allegations of the pleadings of the parties and enumerates the witnesses presented and the exhibits marked during the trial. Thereafter, the trial court arrived at the following conclusion:

"After considering the evidence on record, this Court finds that plaintiffs have failed to prove their case as against defendant Felicidad Viernes, but proved their case against defaulted defendants Antes. The Court finds that there is no sufficient proof of knowledge or bad faith on the part of defendant Vierneses, and on the basis of existing jurisprudence, a third person who in good faith purchases and registers a property cannot be deprived of his title as against plaintiff who had previously purchased same property but failed to register the same. 19

This is not what is contemplated under the Constitution and the Rules as a clear and distinct statement of the facts on the basis of which the decision is rendered. The foregoing one-paragraph statement constitute a mere conclusion of facts and of law arrived at by the trial court without stating the facts which serve as the basis thereof. Indeed the conclusion of fact therein that petitioners had not registered the sale to them is traversed by the records which show on the contrary, petitioners earlier registered the sale to them. The court statement in the decision that a party has proven his case while the other has not, is not the findings of facts contemplated by the Constitution and the rules to be clearly and distinctly stated.

Unfortunately, the appellate court overlooked this fatal defect in the appealed decision. It merely adopted the alleged findings of facts of the trial court. Although it made some findings on how the deed of assignment in favor of respondent Viernes came about, it is far from complete and is hardly a substantial compliance with the mandate aforestated.

As it is now, this Court has before it a challenged decision that failed to state clearly and distinctly the facts on which it is predicated. This Court has said again and again that it is not a trier of facts and that it relies, on the factual findings of the lower court and the appellate court which are

conclusive. But as it is, in this case, the Court has to wade through the records and make its own findings of facts, rather than further delay the disposition of the case by remanding the records for further proceedings.

Hence, the appealed decision should be struck down.