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1. G.R. No. 130866 September 16, 1998 February 6, 1995 to January 23, 1996, or a period of about one year; and
(3) in ruling that there was no employer-employee relationship between
ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOME, petitioner, him and petitioner.4
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and BIENVENIDO On June 13, 1997, the NLRC rendered a resolution setting aside the
ARICAYOS, respondents. questioned decision and remanding the case to the labor arbiter for
immediate appropriate proceedings.5 Petitioner then filed a motion for
REGALADO, J.: reconsideration which was denied by the NLRC in its resolution dated
August 18, 1997 for lack of merit,6 hence the present petition alleging that
The present petition for certiorari stemmed from a complaint for illegal the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion.7
dismissal filed by herein private respondent before the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC), Regional Arbitration Branch No. III, in San Before proceeding further into the merits of the case at bar, the Court
Fernando, Pampanga. Private respondent alleges that he started working feels that it is now exigent and opportune to reexamine the functional
as Operations Manager of petitioner St. Martin Funeral Home on February validity and systemic practicability of the mode of judicial review it has
6, 1995. However, there was no contract of employment executed long adopted and still follows with respect to decisions of the NLRC. The
between him and petitioner nor was his name included in the semi- increasing number of labor disputes that find their way to this Court and
monthly payroll. On January 22, 1996, he was dismissed from his the legislative changes introduced over the years into the provisions of
employment for allegedly misappropriating P38,000.00 which was Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 442 (The Labor Code of the Philippines and
intended for payment by petitioner of its value added tax (VAT) to the Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P. No.) 129 (The Judiciary Reorganization Act of
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 1 1980) now stridently call for and warrant a reassessment of that
procedural aspect.
Petitioner on the other hand claims that private respondent was not its
employee but only the uncle of Amelita Malabed, the owner of petitioner We prefatorily delve into the legal history of the NLRC. It was first
St. Martin's Funeral Home. Sometime in 1995, private respondent, who established in the Department of Labor by P.D. No. 21 on October 14,
was formerly working as an overseas contract worker, asked for financial 1972, and its decisions were expressly declared to be appealable to the
assistance from the mother of Amelita. Since then, as an indication of Secretary of Labor and, ultimately, to the President of the Philippines.
gratitude, private respondent voluntarily helped the mother of Amelita in
overseeing the business. On May 1, 1974, P.D. No. 442 enacted the Labor Code of the Philippines,
the same to take effect six months after its promulgation. 8 Created and
In January 1996, the mother of Amelita passed away, so the latter then regulated therein is the present NLRC which was attached to the
took over the management of the business. She then discovered that Department of Labor and Employment for program and policy coordination
there were arrears in the payment of taxes and other government fees, only.9 Initially, Article 302 (now, Article 223) thereof also granted an
although the records purported to show that the same were already paid. aggrieved party the remedy of appeal from the decision of the NLRC to the
Amelita then made some changes in the business operation and private Secretary of Labor, but P.D. No. 1391 subsequently amended said
respondent and his wife were no longer allowed to participate in the provision and abolished such appeals. No appellate review has since then
management thereof. As a consequence, the latter filed a complaint been provided for.
charging that petitioner had illegally terminated his employment.2
Thus, to repeat, under the present state of the law, there is no provision
Based on the position papers of the parties, the labor arbiter rendered a for appeals from the decision of the NLRC. 10 The present Section 223, as
decision in favor of petitioner on October 25, 1996 declaring that no last amended by Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715, instead merely provides that
employer-employee relationship existed between the parties and, the Commission shall decide all cases within twenty days from receipt of
therefore, his office had no jurisdiction over the case. 3 the answer of the appellee, and that such decision shall be final and
executory after ten calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties.
Not satisfied with the said decision, private respondent appealed to the
NLRC contending that the labor arbiter erred (1) in not giving credence to When the issue was raised in an early case on the argument that this
the evidence submitted by him; (2) in holding that he worked as a Court has no jurisdiction to review the decisions of the NLRC, and formerly
"volunteer" and not as an employee of St. Martin Funeral Home from of the Secretary of Labor, since there is no legal provision for appellate
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review thereof, the Court nevertheless rejected that thesis. It held that acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling
there is an underlying power of the courts to scrutinize the acts of such within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to
agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings.
review is given by statute; that the purpose of judicial review is to keep
the administrative agency within its jurisdiction and protect the substantial These provisions shall not apply to decisions and interlocutory
rights of the parties; and that it is that part of the checks and balances orders issued under the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the
which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and unjust Central Board of Assessment Appeals. 15
adjudications. 11
Subsequently, and as it presently reads, this provision was amended by
Pursuant to such ruling, and as sanctioned by subsequent decisions of this R.A. No. 7902 effective March 18, 1995, to wit:
Court, the remedy of the aggrieved party is to timely file a motion for
reconsideration as a precondition for any further or subsequent
Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Court of Appeals shall exercise:
remedy, 12 and then seasonably avail of the special civil action
of certiorari under Rule 65, 13 for which said Rule has now fixed the
reglementary period of sixty days from notice of the decision. Curiously, (1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus,
although the 10-day period for finality of the decision of the NLRC may prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and
already have lapsed as contemplated in Section 223 of the Labor Code, it auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate
has been held that this Court may still take cognizance of the petition jurisdiction;
for certiorari on jurisdictional and due process considerations if filed within
the reglementary period under Rule 65. 14 (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of
judgments of Regional Trial Courts; and
Turning now to the matter of judicial review of NLRC decisions, B.P. No.
129 originally provided as follows: (3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments,
decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts
Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or
exercise: commissions, including the Securities and Exchange Commission,
the Social Security Commission, the Employees Compensation
Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those falling
(1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus,
within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and
accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines
auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate
under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of
jurisdiction;
this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and
subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of Judiciary Act of 1948.
judgments of Regional Trial Courts; and
The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all acts
decisions, resolutions, orders, or awards of Regional Trial Courts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its
and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards, or original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and
commissions, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction conduct new trials or further proceedings. Trials or hearings in the
of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Court of Appeals must be continuous and must be completed
provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third within, three (3) months, unless extended by the Chief Justice.
paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of
Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
It will readily be observed that, aside from the change in the name of the
lower appellate court, 16 the following amendments of the original
The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have the power to try cases provisions of Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 were effected by R.A. No.
and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all 7902, viz.:
3

1. The last paragraph which excluded its application to the Labor Code of Appeals. However, because of the aforementioned amendment by
the Philippines and the Central Board of Assessment Appeals was deleted transposition, also supposedly excluded are cases falling within the
and replaced by a new paragraph granting the Court of Appeals limited appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Labor
powers to conduct trials and hearings in cases within its jurisdiction. Code. This is illogical and impracticable, and Congress could not have
intended that procedural gaffe, since there are no cases in the Labor Code
2. The reference to the Labor Code in that last paragraph was transposed the decisions, resolutions, orders or awards wherein are within
to paragraph (3) of the section, such that the original exclusionary clause the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or of any other court for
therein now provides "except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction that matter.
of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code
of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the A review of the legislative records on the antecedents of R.A. No. 7902
provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and persuades us that there may have been an oversight in the course of the
subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act deliberations on the said Act or an imprecision in the terminology used
of 1948." (Emphasis supplied). therein. In fine, Congress did intend to provide for judicial review of the
adjudications of the NLRC in labor cases by the Supreme Court, but there
3. Contrarily, however, specifically added to and included among the was an inaccuracy in the term used for the intended mode of review. This
quasi-judicial agencies over which the Court of Appeals shall have conclusion which we have reluctantly but prudently arrived at has been
exclusive appellate jurisdiction are the Securities and Exchange drawn from the considerations extant in the records of Congress, more
Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees particularly on Senate Bill No. 1495 and the Reference Committee Report
Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission. on S. No. 1495/H. No. 10452. 18

This, then, brings us to a somewhat perplexing impassè, both in point of In sponsoring Senate Bill No. 1495, Senator Raul S. Roco delivered his
purpose and terminology. As earlier explained, our mode of judicial review sponsorship speech 19 from which we reproduce the following excerpts:
over decisions of the NLRC has for some time now been understood to be
by a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. This is, of The Judiciary Reorganization Act, Mr. President, Batas Pambansa
course, a special original action limited to the resolution of jurisdictional Blg. 129, reorganized the Court of Appeals and at the same time
issues, that is, lack or excess of jurisdiction and, in almost all cases that expanded its jurisdiction and powers. Among others, its appellate
have been brought to us, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction was expanded to cover not only final judgment of
jurisdiction. Regional Trial Courts, but also all final judgment(s), decisions,
resolutions, orders or awards of quasi-judicial agencies,
It will, however, be noted that paragraph (3), Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 instrumentalities, boards and commissions, except those falling
now grants exclusive appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over all within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in
final adjudications of the Regional Trial Courts and the quasi-judicial accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of BP Blg. 129 and
agencies generally or specifically referred to therein except, among others, of subparagraph 1 of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 of
"those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
accordance with . . . the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential
Decree No. 442, as amended, . . . ." This would necessarily contradict Mr. President, the purpose of the law is to ease the workload of
what has been ruled and said all along that appeal does not lie from the Supreme Court by the transfer of some of its burden of review
decisions of the NLRC. 17 Yet, under such excepting clause literally of factual issues to the Court of Appeals. However, whatever
construed, the appeal from the NLRC cannot be brought to the Court of benefits that can be derived from the expansion of the appellate
Appeals, but to this Court by necessary implication. jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals was cut short by the last
paragraph of Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 which excludes
The same exceptive clause further confuses the situation by declaring that from its coverage the "decisions and interlocutory orders issued
the Court of Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction over decisions falling under the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board
within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with of Assessment Appeals.
the Constitution, the provisions of B.P. No. 129, and those specified cases
in Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. These cases can, of course, be Among the highest number of cases that are brought up to the
properly excluded from the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Supreme Court are labor cases. Hence, Senate Bill No. 1495
4

seeks to eliminate the exceptions enumerated in Section 9 and, Senator Roco. On page 2, line 5, after the line "Supreme Court in
additionally, extends the coverage of appellate review of the Court accordance with the Constitution," add the phrase "THE LABOR
of Appeals in the decision(s) of the Securities and Exchange CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES UNDER P.D. 442, AS AMENDED." So
Commission, the Social Security Commission, and the Employees that it becomes clear, Mr. President, that issues arising from the
Compensation Commission to reduce the number of cases elevated Labor Code will still be appealable to the Supreme Court.
to the Supreme Court. (Emphases and corrections ours)
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
xxx xxx xxx amendment is approved.

Senate Bill No. 1495 authored by our distinguished Colleague from Senator Roco. On the same page, we move that lines 25 to 30 be
Laguna provides the ideal situation of drastically reducing the deleted. This was also discussed with our Colleagues in the House
workload of the Supreme Court without depriving the litigants of of Representatives and as we understand it, as approved in the
the privilege of review by an appellate tribunal. House, this was also deleted, Mr. President.

In closing, allow me to quote the observations of former The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
Chief Justice Teehankee in 1986 in the Annual Report of amendment is approved.
the Supreme Court:
Senator Roco. There are no further Committee amendments, Mr.
. . . Amendatory legislation is suggested so as to relieve the President.
Supreme Court of the burden of reviewing these cases which
present no important issues involved beyond the particular fact Senator Romulo. Mr. President, I move that we close the period of
and the parties involved, so that the Supreme Court may wholly Committee amendments.
devote its time to cases of public interest in the discharge of its
mandated task as the guardian of the Constitution and the
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
guarantor of the people's basic rights and additional task expressly
amendment is approved. (Emphasis supplied).
vested on it now "to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. xxx xxx xxx

We used to have 500,000 cases pending all over the land, Thereafter, since there were no individual amendments, Senate Bill No.
Mr. President. It has been cut down to 300,000 cases 1495 was passed on second reading and being a certified bill, its
some five years ago. I understand we are now back to unanimous approval on third reading followed. 21 The Conference
400,000 cases. Unless we distribute the work of the Committee Report on Senate Bill No. 1495 and House Bill No. 10452,
appellate courts, we shall continue to mount and add to having theretofore been approved by the House of Representatives, the
the number of cases pending. same was likewise approved by the Senate on February 20,
1995, 22 inclusive of the dubious formulation on appeals to the Supreme
Court earlier discussed.
In view of the foregoing, Mr. President, and by virtue of all
the reasons we have submitted, the Committee on Justice
and Human Rights requests the support and collegial The Court is, therefore, of the considered opinion that ever since appeals
approval of our Chamber. from the NLRC to the Supreme Court were eliminated, the legislative
intendment was that the special civil action of certiorari was and still is the
proper vehicle for judicial review of decisions of the NLRC. The use of the
xxx xxx xxx
word "appeal" in relation thereto and in the instances we have noted could
have been a lapsus plumae because appeals by certiorari and the original
Surprisingly, however, in a subsequent session, the following Committee action for certiorari are both modes of judicial review addressed to the
Amendment was introduced by the said sponsor and the following appellate courts. The important distinction between them, however, and
proceedings transpired: 20 with which the Court is particularly concerned here is that the special civil
5

action of certiorari is within the concurrent original jurisdiction of this One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this
Court and the Court of Appeals; 23 whereas to indulge in the assumption case a propensity on the part of petitioner, and, for that
that appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court are allowed would not matter, the same may be said of a number of litigants who
subserve, but would subvert, the intention of Congress as expressed in the initiate recourses before us, to disregard the hierarchy of
sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. 1495. courts in our judicial system by seeking relief directly from this
Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower
Incidentally, it was noted by the sponsor therein that some quarters were courts in the exercise of their original or concurrent
of the opinion that recourse from the NLRC to the Court of Appeals as an jurisdiction, or is even mandated by law to be sought therein.
initial step in the process of judicial review would be circuitous and would This practice must be stopped, not only because of the
prolong the proceedings. On the contrary, as he commendably and imposition upon the precious time of this Court but also
realistically emphasized, that procedure would be advantageous to the because of the inevitable and resultant delay, intended or
aggrieved party on this reasoning: otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to
be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper
forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to
On the other hand, Mr. President, to allow these cases to be
resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We,
appealed to the Court of Appeals would give litigants the
therefore, reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not
advantage to have all the evidence on record be reexamined and
entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot
reweighed after which the findings of facts and conclusions of said
be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and
bodies are correspondingly affirmed, modified or reversed.
compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy within
and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.
Under such guarantee, the Supreme Court can then apply strictly
the axiom that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are final
WHEREFORE, under the foregoing premises, the instant petition
and may not be reversed on appeal to the Supreme Court. A
for certiorari is hereby REMANDED, and all pertinent records thereof
perusal of the records will reveal appeals which are factual in
ordered to be FORWARDED, to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action
nature and may, therefore, be dismissed outright by minute
and disposition consistent with the views and ruling herein set forth,
resolutions. 24
without pronouncement as to costs.

While we do not wish to intrude into the Congressional sphere on the


SO ORDERED.
matter of the wisdom of a law, on this score we add the further
observations that there is a growing number of labor cases being elevated
to this Court which, not being a trier of fact, has at times been constrained
to remand the case to the NLRC for resolution of unclear or ambiguous
factual findings; that the Court of Appeals is procedurally equipped for that
purpose, aside from the increased number of its component divisions; and
that there is undeniably an imperative need for expeditious action on labor
cases as a major aspect of constitutional protection to labor.

Therefore, all references in the amended Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 to


supposed appeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court are interpreted
and hereby declared to mean and refer to petitions for certiorari under
Rule 65. Consequently, all such petitions should hence forth be initially
filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the
hierarchy of courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired.

Apropos to this directive that resort to the higher courts should be made in
accordance with their hierarchical order, this pronouncement in Santiago
vs. Vasquez, et al. 25 should be taken into account:
6

2. G.R. No. L-62255 January 30, l986 The aforementioned 4-hectare landholding was originally worked on and
tenanted by Juan Bagsican, father of the herein petitioner Alfredo
ALFREDO BAGSICAN, petitioner, Bagsican. After Juan's death, his wife, assisted by the herein petitioner,
vs. continued tenanting the aforesaid landholding. Petitioner's mother on the
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, PEDRO AGOT and LECATEDRA other hand died in 1940, and from then on herein petitioner continued in
AGOT, respondents. working and tenanting the landholding in question thereby planting an
additional 267 coconut trees, bananas, fruit trees, cassava and other root
crops.
CUEVAS, J.:p
Severo Jonson died sometime in 1948. The big tract of land was then
partitioned among his children and the portion being worked on and
Petition for review of the Decision of the then Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
tenanted by the petitioner was alloted to Lecatedra Jonson Agot, the
No. 10054-CAR, entitled "Alfredo Bagsican, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. Pedro
herein appellee. After the partition, herein petitioner nevertheless
Agot and Lecatedra Agot, Defendants-Appellants", which reversed and set
continued with his occupation and tenancy of the questioned landholding
aside the decision of the defunct Court of Agrarian Relations-Branch 111,
thereby delivering to herein private respondent her share as an owner, on
Ozamis City, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
a 50-50 sharing basis, until September, 1973 when he was ejected
therefrom by the herein private respondent that culminated in the filing by
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment the petitioner of a complaint for Reinstatement with Damages, 1 against
is hereby rendered: herein private respondents before the Court of Agrarian Relations.

(1) Declaring the plaintiff herein, Alfredo Bagsican, the After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the petitioner with the
lawful tenant on the coconut landholding in question, disposition as herein earlier stated. From the aforesaid judgment, private
situated at Buntawan, Oroquieta City; respondents appealed to the defunct Court of Appeals which reversed and
set aside the decision appealed from. 2
(2) Ordering the defendants to reinstate immediately
plaintiff thereon; Petitioner now comes before Us through the instant petition contending
among other things, that (1) the Court of Appeals erred in adopting the
(3) Ordering the defendants to pay, as damages, to "preponderance of evidence rule" instead of the mere "substantial
plaintiff the following: evidence rule" in the resolution of the instant case, the same being an
agrarian case; (2) the Court of Appeals cannot disturb the findings of fact
(a) The sum of Eighty Pesos (P80.00) for the last quarter of the Court of Agrarian Relations on the mere issue of credibility of
of the year 1973 and P80.00 every quarter thereafter until witnesses; and (3) that the judgment of the Court of Appeals is based on a
reinstated; misapprehension of facts,

(b) the sum of Twenty-Five Pesos (P25.00) as actual We find merit in petitioner's submittal that in agrarian cases, all that is
expenses for transportation and meals. required is mere "substantial evidence". That has been the consistent
ruling of this Court in a long line of cases. 3 This substantial evidence rule
was later incorporated in P.D. 946 which took effect on June 17, 1976 and
(4) Dismissing all other claims and counterclaims for lack has been expressly made applicable to agrarian cases. Section 18 of the
of proof. said decree provides:

Subject matter of the instant controversy is a 4-hectare landholding The Court of Appeals shall affirm the decision or order or
situated at Buntawan, Oroquieta City. It forms part of a big tract of land the portions thereof appealed from if the findings ** of
consisting of 114 hectares, more or less, originally owned by the late fact in the said decision or order are supported by
Severo Jonson, father of private respondent Lecatedra Jonson Agot. substantial evidence as basis thereof, and the conclusions
stated therein are not clearly against the law and
jurisprudence. . .
7

Under this rule, all that the appellate court has to do, insofar as the now owned by the herein defendant Lecatedra Jonson Agot
evidence is concerned, is to find out if the decision is supported by which is not denied by the latter, and as testified to by
substantial evidence. 4 So much so that, the findings of fact of the Court Felicisima Jonson, brother of the defendant Lecatedra
of Agrarian Relations, if supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive Jonson Agot (tsn, p. 2, August 21, 1975).
on the appellate tribunal. 5
Such quantum of evidence cannot be washed away by a mere denial of the
Substantial evidence does not necessarily import preponderant evidence, existence of tenancy relationship as that set up by the private respondents
as is required in an ordinary civil case. It has been defined to be such who claimed that petitioner was never a tenant of theirs in the land folding
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to in question. The observation and conclusion of the trial court that said
support a conclusion and its absence is not shown by stressing that there cassava is bereft of merit appeared to be well taken, since the persons
is contrary evidence on record, direct or circumstantial, for the appellate who testified to be tenants on the said landholding, separately described
court cannot substitute its own judgment or criteria for that of the trial areas and boundaries different from that admitted by the parties 7 and
court in determining wherein lies the weight of evidence or what evidence more so when their individual description materially differs from each
is entitled to belief. 6 other. 8 The respondent court also took notice of said deficiency in private
respondent's evidence, but it rationalized its stand on this point in the
In the case at bar, the trial court ordered the reinstatement of the following manner:
petitioner on the basis of the following findings of fact:
The supposed discrepancies in the statement of boundaries
There is abundance of undenied evidence that the late are understandable. Various new acquisitions had been
Juan Bagsican, father of the herein plaintiff, during his made re: the share of the other heirs. At any rate, this will
lifetime, was a former tenant of a portion of the big tract indicate that the defense witnesses were not iii collusion
of land owned by the late Severo Jonson, defendant's with one another.
father.
Anent private respondent's assertion that it was Julio Lagamon and Brigido
The Court, after careful examination of the evidence on Lagamon, father and son, respectively, who had been tenanting the
record, lends more credence to plaintiff's undisturbed landholding in dispute, We find the trial court's finding on the said subject,
claim, substantially corroborated by his witness, that he which runs thus:
succeeded and is in continuous possesion and cultivation of
his parents' landholding. This started sometime in 1940, This confirm the belief of the court that these two tenants,
the year his mother died, who succeeded also as tenant on namely: Julio Lagamon and Brigido Lagamon, father and
the landholding after the death of her spouse, Juan son, respectively, are tenanting other portions of
Bagsican (plaintiff's father) who died earlier than his defendant's land other than the land in question. This is
mother. After his mother's death, he succeeded and buttressed by the fact that Julio Lagamon, father-in-law of
cultivated the landholding and was able to plant 267 coco the herein plaintiff became a tenant of the defendant only
trees, bananas, fruit trees, cassava, etc., but during the sometime in 1949 after the marriage of his daughter to the
lifetime of his mother, he had however, planted 30 coco herein plaintiff (now petitioner). It could be informed that
trees. When these trees became fruit bearing in 1948, this Julio Lagamon came to know of the defendant
which coincidentally was the year the big tract of land was Lecatedra Jonson Agot only after this marriage for prior to
partitioned among the heirs of the late Severo Jonson, this period, he was arriving in Buenavista, Pagadian City
plaintiff shared the harvest with the defendant Locatedra which is located in Zamboanga del Sur. (TSN, p. 38-40,
Jonson Agot at a 60-50 sharing ratio since he was the one Hearing of October 24, 1975).
who planted the coco trees (tsn, pp. 4-8, August 8, 1975;
and tsn, pp. 2-4, August 21, 1975). to be likewise supported by the evidence on record and very much in
accord with logic and ordinary human experience.
The records disclose that after the estate of the late
Severo Jonson was partitioned in 1948, the tenanted
landholding of the herein plaintiff became the share or is
8

Finally, with respect to petitioner's motive in filing the instant case, We


quote with approval the court's findings and observations on said issue.
And it runs thus:

The court cannot sustain defendants' view that plaintiff's


motive in filing this case is retaliatory in nature due to the
former's criminal complaint against the latter's son,
because, as so decided in Overo vs. Caret, et al., CA-G.R.
No. 43940-R, October 27, 1971, the plaintiff..... like any
man of ordinary intelligence, would not resort to filing an
action in Court for his reinstatement as a tenant had there
been no justifiable reason therefore. Man is presumed to
take ordinary care of his concerns. Indeed, it would be
contrary to human nature if the herein plaintiff would
venture on an expensive litigation, Poor as they are, and
face the rigors of trial if they have not been done any
wrong. Even if defendants' view were true, the same could
not defeat a right which is protected by law. Besides,
plaintiff has substantially shown that he was indeed
ejected by the herein defendants as testified to by
Felicisima Jonson (TSN, pp. 4-5, August 21, 1975).

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment of the


respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and that
of the Court of Agrarian Relations is hereby REINSTATED.

No pronouncement as to costs,

SO ORDERED.
9

5. G.R. No. 142571 May 5, 2006 of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies and lack of cause of action.
The RTC denied the motion and proceeded to trial.
NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION, Petitioner,
vs. In a decision dated February 27, 1998, the RTC rendered judgment for
LEONCIO C. ENCISO, Respondent. respondent, as plaintiff, holding petitioner, as defendant, liable, thus:

DECISION WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendant National


Irrigation Administration to pay plaintiff the sum of P259,154.01 with legal
GARCIA, J.: rate of interest of 12% per annum effective on 1 August 1985 until fully
paid; P50,000.00, as and for attorney’s fees; and the costs of suit.
The instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court seeks to nullify and set aside the Decision dated March 20, 2000 1 of SO ORDERED.
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 59681 affirming an earlier
decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 141, in its Both parties went up to the Court of Appeals (CA). For its part, petitioner
Civil Case No. 94-005, an action for a sum of money with damages thereat contended that the trial court erred in denying its motion to dismiss and
commenced by the respondent against the herein petitioner, its thereafter holding it liable to respondent. On the other hand, respondent
Administrator and its Assistant Administrator for Systems and Operations interposed that the trial court erred in failing to hold petitioner’s co-
and Equipment Management. defendants personally liable for damages and in adjudging petitioner NIA
solely liable based on the face value of the work accomplished in 1985.
Succinctly summarized by the Court of Appeals in the assailed decision are The CA, however, found no reversible error in the appealed decision and
the following undisputed facts: affirmed it as follows:1avvphil.net

Records show that in 1984, defendant-appellant [petitioner] National WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed decision which is
Irrigation Administration (NIA) commenced the widening of the Binahaan in accord with the evidence and jurisprudential principle on the matter, the
River in Brgy. Cansamada, Dagami, Leyte. This project was divided into same is hereby AFFIRMED.
small sections costing not more than P50,000.00 each so as not to require
public bidding. However, pre-bidding was nevertheless conducted by NIA SO ORDERED.
and participated in by different contractors to determine the possible
lowest bid which shall serve as the cost of the project. With this Only petitioner NIA came to this Court via this petition for review raising
arrangement, contractors are assigned to work on specific sections without the following issues for resolution:
formal contracts. When the works for the assigned sections are completed
to NIA’s satisfaction, NIA will then prepare the requisite contract and other
the court of appeals erred in affirming the ruling of the regional trial court
pertinent documents so that the contractor can collect payment.
denying petitioner’s motion to dismiss (annex "c" hereof) which averred,
among other things, that respondent failed to exhaust administrative
Plaintiff-appellant [respondent] Enciso, doing business as a contractor remedies available to him under the law.
under the name LCE Construction, worked on a portion of the river from
"station 16 + 400 to station 16 + 900". His first billing of P227,165.90 was
the court of appeals erred in declaring that petitioner is liable to
paid by NIA. However, his second and final billing of P259,154.01 was
respondent for the alleged work at petitioner’s project though the alleged
denied on the ground that the work done on the right side of the river was
assignment was done in violation of existing rules and regulations.
not accomplished. [Words in bracket supplied.]

The Court finds the petition meritorious.


Respondent finally instituted a complaint for collection of a sum of money
with damages and attorney’s fees with the RTC of Makati City, thereat
docketed as Civil Case No. 94-005 and eventually raffled to Branch 141 Petitioner raised the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies in
thereof. Petitioner and co-defendants filed a motion to dismiss on grounds its appeal before the CA, on account of respondent’s failure to file his claim
before the Commission on Audit (COA) prior to instituting a complaint for
10

collection of sum of money with the RTC. Instead of addressing the In the instant case, when determining the regularity of disbursement of
question, however, the CA discussed NIA’s separate and distinct corporate public funds by the petitioner NIA for the alleged services rendered by
personality from the government or the State, which is a non-issue. What respondent in the widening project involving a portion of Binahaan River in
the CA failed to rule upon is, given the fact that NIA is a government Barangay Cansamada, Dagami, Leyte more specifically, from station 16 +
entity vested with a separate corporate personality from the State, 400 to station 16 + 900 thereof, the accounting and auditing principles,
whether NIA, being a government entity disbursing public funds or tax- rules and regulations set by COA must be taken into consideration. In this
payers’ money is subject to the jurisdiction of COA such that any claim for light, it is highly doubtful whether respondent may compel petitioner NIA’s
collection of sum of money against it, specially in this instance where it is officers to release payment of his claims without any previously approved
not covered by any written contract, must be initially lodged before the contract for the supposed river-widening project in violation of existing
COA. COA rules and regulations, without subjecting said official to administrative
and/or personal liabilities and/or accountabilities.
The issue should have been resolved in the affirmative.
Be that as it may, for the supposed refusal or failure by the concerned
Among the powers vested upon COA as provided for in Section 26, public officials to act over respondent’s money claim or even the mere
Presidential Decree No. 1445, are the following: inaction for an unreasonable period, the proper and immediate remedy of
the respondent was to file his claim with the COA, such inaction or refusal
to pay being tantamount to disallowance of the claim. Only after COA has
SECTION 26. General jurisdiction. – The authority and powers of the
ruled on the claim, may the injured party invoke judicial intervention by
Commission shall extend to and comprehend all matters relating to
bringing the matter to this Court on petition for certiorari.
auditing procedures, systems and controls, the keeping of the general
accounts of the Government, the preservation of vouchers pertaining
thereto for a period of ten years, the examination and inspection of the Exhaustion of administrative remedies is a doctrine of long standing and
books, records, and papers relating to those accounts; and the audit and courts have clear guidelines on the matter. Paat vs. Court of
settlement of the accounts of all persons respecting funds or property Appeals3 wrote:
received or held by them in an accountable capacity, as well as the
examination, audit, and settlement of all claims of any sort due from or This Court in a long line of cases has consistently held that before a party
owing to the Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies and is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, it is a pre-condition that he
instrumentalities. The said jurisdiction extends to all government-owned or should have availed of all the means of administrative processes afforded
controlled corporations, including their subsidiaries, and other self- him. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be
governing boards, commissions, agencies of the Government, and as resorted to by giving the administrative officer concerned every
herein prescribed, including non-governmental entities subsidized by the opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction then
government, those funded by donations through the government, those such remedy should be exhausted first before court’s judicial power can be
required to pay levies or government share, and those for which the sought. The premature invocation of court’s intervention is fatal to one’s
government has put up a counterpart fund or those partly funded by the cause of action. Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver or estoppel the
government. [Emphasis supplied.] case is susceptible of dismissal for lack of cause of action. This doctrine of
exhaustion of administrative remedies was not without its practical and
COA, as one of the three (3) independent constitutional commissions, is legal reasons, for one thing, availment of administrative remedy entails
specifically vested with the power, authority and duty to examine, audit lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies. It
and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and is no less true to state that the courts of justice for reasons of comity and
expenditures or uses of funds and property owned or held in trust by the convenience will shy away from a dispute until the system of
government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities. To administrative redress has been completed and complied with so as to give
ensure the effective discharge of its functions, COA has been empowered, the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error
subject to the limitations imposed by Article IX(D) of the 1987 and to dispose of the case. However, we are not amiss to reiterate that the
Constitution, to define the scope of its audit and examination and establish principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies as tested by a battery of
the techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate accounting cases is not an ironclad rule. This doctrine is a relative one and its
and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and flexibility is called upon by the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual
disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or and circumstantial settings of a case. Hence, it is disregarded (1) when
unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties.2 there is a violation of due process, (2) when the issue involved is purely a
legal question, (3) when the administrative action is patently illegal
11

amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, (4) when there is estoppel on


the part of the administrative agency concerned, (5) when there is
irreparable injury, (6) when the respondent is a department secretary
whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears the implied and assumed
approval of the latter, (7) when to require exhaustion of administrative
remedies would be unreasonable, (8) when it would amount to a
nullification of a claim, (9) when the subject matter is a private land in
land case proceedings, (10) when the rule does not provide a plain,
speedy and adequate remedy, and (11) when there are circumstances
indicating the urgency of judicial intervention.

Petitioner had timely raised this ground to dismiss the action before the
RTC, and since there is no showing that respondent’s case falls under any
one of the accepted exceptions, petitioner’s motion to dismiss should have
been granted, forthwith dismissing the case for lack of cause of action.

Anent the second issue, the legality or regularity of petitioner’s payment of


respondent’s claim may be best addressed in a proper case before the
COA, considering that there might be factual matters involved therein,
which is definitely not within the province of the present petition for review
on certiorari.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The appealed decision is


hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and respondent’s Complaint before the
RTC is DISMISSED for lack of cause of action, with costs against
respondent.

SO ORDERED.
12

14. G.R. No. 139583 May 31, 2000 Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 163, by Conamor Broadcasting
Corporation (Conamor, for brevity), against Crusaders Broadcasting
CRUSADERS BROADCASTING SYSTEM, INC., petitioner, System, Inc. and of the issuance of an order of injunction by the said
vs. Court enjoining Crusaders from operating its radio station.
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISION and COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents. On July 14, 1997, the Commission issued a show-cause Order directing
Crusaders to explain: (1) Why its application for renewal of Temporary
PURISIMA, J.: Permit for station DWCD-FM should not be denied; (2) Why its station,
DWCD-FM, should not be ordered closed; and (3) Why its station DWCD-
At bar is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking FM assigned frequency should not be recalled.
to nullify the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision
of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC, for brevity) On August 5, 1997, Atty. Feline Ganal filed an "Urgent Motion For
denying petitioner's request for renewal of its temporary permit to operate Extension" for the filing of Crusaders' answer/explanation. Such motion
DWCD-FM, and recalling its assigned frequency. was followed by a second "Urgent Motion For Extension", dated August 15,
1997, and a third motion for extension, dated August 22, 1997.
Undisputed are the pertinent facts, to wit:
On August 28, 1997, for failure of Crusaders to submit a responsive
The petitioner, Crusaders Broadcasting System, Inc. (Crusaders, for pleading, the Commission issued an order declaring Crusaders in default,
short), was the grantee of Temporary Permit No. BSD-0459-92 to operate and, thereafter, handed down its decision recalling the assigned frequency
10-KW DWCD-FM at a frequency of 97.9 Mhz. of Crusaders.

On July 12, 1994, Mr. Cesar A. Dumlao, Chairman of Crusaders, sent to The following day, or on February 29, 1997, to be precise, Atty. Ganal filed
the Commission a letter (Exh. "A") requesting permission to stop the an Answer, averring that the show-cause order was served upon him and
broadcast of DWCD-FM for around a month starting July 12, 1994, so as to not upon his client Crusaders and therefore, it was only upon the filing of
renovate its 20-year old Broadcast Booth and the entire facilities of the its answer that Crusaders should be deemed to have voluntarily submitted
station. itself to the jurisdiction of the Commission. It was further alleged that
Crusaders is a grantee of a congressional franchise (RA No. 8091) but it
could not yet resume its operation because its transmitter was taken by
Subsequently, upon application of Crusaders, NTC renewed Temporary
Conamor by virtue of an order of injunction issued by the Regional Trial
Permit No. BSD-0814-94, dated December 14, 1994, covering the period
Court of Pasig City in Civil Case No. 64739; that it has already applied with
from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1996. Again, on December 12,
Commission for authority to acquire an additional transmitter; that the
1996, Crusaders applied for another renewal of its Temporary Permit.
said injunction was already lifted and set aside by the same trial court, in
an Order dated August 27, 1997; that it has mobilized its resources
Acting on subject application, the NTC caused the inspection of the radio towards the operation of its radio station and that it has, in fact, made a
station of Crusaders and per report of NTC-National Capital Region, which test broadcast.
conducted such ocular inspection on February 21, 1997, the station of
Crusaders was inoperative. Acting upon such finding, the Broadcast
On September 22, 1997, Crusaders filed an "urgent Motion for New Trial
Service Division of the NTC recommended the cancellation and revocation
and/or Reconsideration" praying for the lifting of the order of default,
of the permit of Crusaders and the recall of its frequency 97.9 Mhz.
setting aside of the decision, and for the reopening of the case.

Thus, on April 25, 1997 the Commission wrote Chairman Cesar A. Dumlao
After hearing, the Commission granted the motion for new trial and/or
of Crusaders, informing the latter of the denial of his application for the
reconsideration and declared the case reopened for reception of evidence
renewal of Crusaders' Temporary Permit.
by Crusaders in order to afford it ample opportunity to be heard and to
substantiate its defense as regards the show-cause order issued by the
Crusaders presented a motion for reconsideration, thru its counsel, Atty. Commission. The initial evidence presented in support of the motion for
Felino Canal, explaining that Crusaders was not able to resume its new trial and/or reconsideration was later adopted as Crusaders evidence
operations because of the institution of Civil Case No. 64739 before the in the main case.
13

Then, the Commission came out with its assailed decision, disposing thus: 3. In upholding the NTC decision under the so-called
"doctrine of primary jurisdiction."
WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, the Commission
believes and so holds that respondent's request for Crusaders likewise assigned some substantive and procedural errors on
renewal of its temporary permit to operate DWCD-FM the part of the NTC but the same were affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
should be, as it is, hereby DENIED.
Petitioner theorizes that the Court of Appeals gravely erred in affirming the
Consequently, respondent's assigned frequency, 97.9 Mhz, decision of NTC, which denied the renewal of its temporary permit to
is hereby withdrawn and recalled, the same to be assigned operate DWCD-FM and caused the withdrawal of its assigned frequency.
without reasonable delay to the best qualified applicant.
On the other hand, respondent NTC, through the Office of Solicitor General
SO ORDERED.2 (OSG), countered that the NTC was justified in denying petitioner's
application for renewal of temporary permit and in recalling its assigned
Crusaders' next step was to go to the Court of Appeals, which dismissed frequency. Anent the issue of the shifting of burden of proof, it alleges that
its petition for lack of merit. the show-cause order dated July 14, 1997 was based on the inspection
reports, dated February 21, 1997 and July 11, 1997, respectively, which
indicated that petitioner failed to rehabilitate its broadcast booth and other
Undaunted, Crusaders found its way to this Court via the present petition
facilities. Consequently, the burden of proof shifted to the petitioner.
for review.

Respondent also contends that subject inspection reports need not be


It is petitioner's submission that the NTC committed a grave reversible
authenticated and identified by competent witnesses, the same being
error in considering as untenable the temporary stoppage of Crusaders'
public documents; citing Section 23, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which
broadcast. Petitioner insists that were it not for the order of injunction
provides that "Documents consisting of entries in public records made in
issued by the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, which prohibited it from
the performance of a duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of
broadcasting, and caused the seizure of its transmitter, antenna, and other
the facts therein stated.
equipment, its station could have resumed operations.

Indeed, it appears decisively clear that the assailed NTC decision is


Petitioner contends further that had the NTC approved its application,
anchored on substantial evidence.
dated December 12, 1995, for the acquisition of a new transmitter, it could
have re-started to operate DWCD-FM despite the "Court's injunction order.
In short, petitioner maintains that its failure to operate is not unjustified The issue at bar may be encapsulated thus: Whether or not the NTC
because the stoppage of its broadcasting was not due to its own fault or properly denied the application for renewal of Crusaders' temporary permit
negligence. to operate DWCD-FM, and validly ordered the withdrawal of the latter's
assigned frequency.
It is likewise petitioner's stance that the Court of Appeals erred:
Sec. 1 of Act No. 38463 reads:
1. In upholding the finding of NTC that the "Programming
and Marketing Agreement" with Conamor Broadcasting Sec. 1. No person, firm, company, association or corporation shall
Corporation "to be one for a joint venture, which is a construct, install, establish, or operate a radio transmitting station,
flagrant violation of Radio laws in that it would allow a non- or a radio receiving station used for commercial purposes, or a
franchise grantee to operate a public utility; radio broadcasting station, without having first obtained a
franchise therefor from the Congress of the Philippines: . . .
2. In finding, in general terms, that "the findings of the
respondent NTC are supported by substantial evidence and, While Section 3 of the same Act provides:
therefore, should be "accorded respect and finality"; and
Sec. 3. The Secretary of Public Works and Communications is
hereby empowered, to regulate the construction or
14

manufacture, possession, control, sale and transfer of radio In order to settle the civil case, Crusaders and Conamor later entered into
transmitters or transceivers (combination transmitter-receiver) a "Compromise Agreement" which superseded the programming and
and the establishment, use, the operation of all radio stations marketing agreement. The Court approved compromise containing the
and of all form of radio communications and transmissions following conditions:
within the Philippines: In addition to the above he shall have
the following specific powers and duties: 1. Upon execution hereof, the parties hereby agree to jointly
operate DWCD-FM at its original office and Broadcasting Station at
(1) He may approve or disapprove any application for No. 209 Dela Paz Street, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila;
renewal of station or operator
license: Provided, however, That no application for 2. The parties shall equally share in the expenses as well as in the
renewal shall be disapproved without giving the licensee profits or losses, as the case may be, while they are jointly
a hearing. operating the radio station;

xxx xxx xxx 3. The plaintiff shall immediately return the radio station's official
transmitter, antenna system and other available equipment of
It should be noted that by virtue of Executive Order (E.O) No. 546, DWCD-FM from the Strata 200 Building, Emerald Avenue, Pasig
creating the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Transportation and City, Metro Manila to the above Mandaluyong City office of
Communications, the regulation of radio communications is a function defendant;
assigned to, and being performed by, the NTC.
4. The parties further agree that in the event the subject DWCD-
Petitioner does not deny and in fact, uses it as the reason for the stoppage FM would be sold or assigned to a third part, the written consent of
of its broadcast that, it was the filing of the aforementioned civil case the plaintiff shall be indispensably necessary to give effect and
against it (petitioner) which grounded DWCD-FM's broadcasting. It is not validity to any such sale, assignment or disposition of the said
disputed, either, that what prompted Conamor to bring a complaint radio station;
against petitioner was the latter's rescission of a "Programming and
Marketing Agreement", which gave Conamor the following rights and 5. In case of sale, assignment or any disposition of the subject
privileges akin to those of an owner, among others, to wit: radio station to any third party, 78.94% of the proceeds thereof
shall go to the defendant (3.57% of which shall be paid to Atty.
(a) The sole discretion to determine and implement whatever Feline Canal a s (sic) his attorney's fees) while the remaining
programs are deemed suitable to make the station 21.06% shall belong to the plaintiff. (Exhibit "J")
competitive;
The said compromise agreement speaks for itself. Conamor has been
(b) The full discretion to change the station call letters, name, given the right to operate and manage a radio station despite the clear
slogan or tagline and such other services that bear upon the mandate of the Radio Law that only holders of a legislative franchise can
station's identity to improve the station's market position; do so. Even on this ground alone, Crusaders can be prevented by the NTC
from broadcasting. That the said ground was not reflected in the show-
(c) The acquisition, at its expense, of a new transmitter, cause order does not mean that the same cannot be raised thereafter by
studio, broadcast equipment recording booth, including cost the NTC, as it has done in the present case, when it gleaned a basis
of construction; and therefor during the administrative proceedings, from the evidence
presented by the petitioner itself the substance of the agreement between
petitioner and Conamor. The said findings were not rebutted by petitioner
(d) A share in the net profit at the rate of 65%, leaving only
which kept on harping only on the alleged unfairness of NTC in the
35% to respondent, when the new facilities of Conamor
application of its procedures as well as on the existence of the said civil
became operational. (Exhibits "E-2" and "E-2-a")
case against it and on the refusal of NTC to approve its application for the
acquisition of a new transmitter.
It is uncontested as well, that under the said Agreement, Conamor was
free from any claim arising from employer-employee relationship.
15

On the matter of factual findings by the NTC as to the inoperativeness of The Court upholds the primary jurisdiction exercised by the NTC and
subject radio station, the Court agrees with the Court of Appeals that the quotes with approval the following opinion of the Court of Appeals, to wit:
said findings are supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence
is such relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as Moreover, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction prevents this Court
adequate to support a conclusion. As aptly stressed upon and ratiocinated from "arrogating unto itself" the authority to resolve a controversy
by the Court of Appeals: which falls under the jurisdiction of a tribunal possessed of a special
competence. (Paat v. Court of Appeals, 266 SCRA 167 [1997]). As
In the main, therefore, the findings of the respondent NTC are held in Villaflor v. Court of Appeals, 280 SCRA 297 [1997], which
supported by substantial evidence. As to whether or not it should reiterates the rulings in Ismael, Jr. and Co. v. Deputy Executive
have adopted a policy of leniency is a matter that is addressed Secretary, 90 SCRA 673 [1990] and Concerned Officials of MWSS
solely to its discretion. v. Vasquez, 240 SCRA 502 [1995]:

As in the case of other administrative agencies, the technical Courts cannot and will not resolve a controversy involving a question
matters involved are entrusted to NTC's expertise. In the matter of which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal,
issuance of licenses to operate radio stations, it is in a better especially where the question demands the exercise of sound
position than the courts to determine to whom such privilege should administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge,
be granted in order that public interest will be served. As long as its experience and services to determine technical and intricate matters
decisions are supported by substantial evidence, they are entitled to of fact. 5
respect from the courts.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) numbers and the petition for review under consideration is DENIED for lack of merit.
among those administrative agencies discharging specialized No pronouncement as to costs.
functions, in this case, the regulation of the nation's airwaves. As in
the case of other administrative tribunals, its findings of fact will be SO ORDERED.
accorded respect, and on occasion, even finality, by reason of their
acquired expertise on specific matters within their particular
jurisdiction. (Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corporation v.
National Labor Relations Commission, 269 SCRA 199 [1997];
Malonzo v. Commission on Elections, 269 SCRA 380 [1987] (sic);
Naguiat v. National Labor Relations Commission, 269 SCRA 564
[1997]). The only requirement is that its decisions must be
supported by substantial evidence, which need be neither
overwhelming nor preponderant (Manila Central Line Corporation v.
Manila Central Line Free Workers Union-National Federation of
Labor, 290 SCRA 690 [1998]).4

Neither can the Court find merit in the submission by petitioner that the
stoppage of its broadcast would not have happened were it not for the
case for injunction filed against it. In the first place, the said case could
not have been instituted had petitioner not entered into a programming
and marketing agreement with Conamor. What is more, it does not dispute
the finding of NTC that it (petitioner) could have resumed broadcasting
had it complied with the Order of RTC-Pasig to observe the formal
requirements for a motion to lift the order of injunction on the basis of a
counterbond. Such a simple step petitioner failed to take, and its failure to
put up a counterbond engendered the stoppage of its operations for three
years and rendered the stoppage of its operation justified.
16

5. G.R. No. L-107330 December 17, 1993 person to assume the position in question. Governor Bugnosen concurred
with petitioner's appointment.7
EDGAR N. RAPISORA, petitioner,
vs. On 3 April 1992, petitioner's appointment was approved by the Field
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, respondent. Officer of the respondent, Director E. Tadle-Herrera as TEMPORARY,
"(P)ending promulgation of the guidelines on who will be the appointing
PADILLA, J.: authority pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991."8

This petition for certiorari with mandamus seeks to set aside Resolution Petitioner appealed to respondent Commission, seeking reconsideration of
No. 92-1214 dated 3 September 1992 1 of the respondent Civil Service his appointment from temporary to permanent which was the appointment
Commission denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the extended to him by the Secretary of Health. Respondent instead set aside
Commission's Resolution No. 92-699 dated 26 May 1992 2 which the action of Director E. Tadle-Herrera and entirely disapproved
disapproved the permanent appointment of petitioner as Provincial Health petitioner's appointment on the ground that he did not possess a
Officer I, Integrated Provincial Health Office, Benguet Province. The Certificate/Master in Public Health/Hospital Administration which is the
dispositive part of Resolution No. 92-699 reads as follows: educational requirement for the position at the time of appointment, in
accordance with DOH qualification standards. Moreover, according to
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission resolves that: respondent, the Local Government Code of 1992 already took effect when
the appointment of Dr. Edgar N. Rapisora as Provincial Health petitioner assumed office on 2 January 1992, so that in accordance
Officer I, Integrated Provincial Health Office, Benguet be therewith, the Provincial Health Officer I should be appointed by the local
disapproved; and, the action of Director E. Tadle-Herrera of CSC- chief executive concerned with the concurrence of a majority of all the
DOH be set aside.3 members of the Sanggunian, subject to Civil Service Law.

Petitioner was the Chief of Hospital of the Kalamansig District Hospital in The issues raised in the present petition 9 may be simplified to whether or
the Province of Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, when he learned that the not respondent Civil Service Commission committed grave abuse of
position of Provincial Health Officer I of Benguet would become vacant. He discretion in disapproving petitioner's permanent appointment as
forthwith applied for the said position. A committee was created by the Provincial Health Officer I of Benguet Province.
Department of Health to screen applicants for the vacant positions in the
Department including the position applied for by petitioner.
We find the petition meritorious.

On 5 November 1991, then Secretary of Health, Honorable Alfredo R.A.


Petitioner was extended a permanent appointment even before the Local
Bengzon designated herein petitioner as officer-in-charge of the Office of
Government Code took effect, after he went through a rigid interview by
the Provincial Health Officer I, Integrated Provincial Health Office of
the Executive Committee created by the Department of Health to screen
Benguet. 4Thereafter, he was extended a permanent appointment, by
applicants for available positions in the Department. Under DOH
transfer with promotion, on 24 December 1991. 5Petitioner actually
qualification standards for the position of Provincial Health Officer I, the
assumed the duties of the position on 2 January 1992.
appointee must meet the following requirements.

When petitioner assumed office as Provincial Health Officer I on 2 January Education: Doctor of Medicine with a certificate/Master in Public
1992, the new Local Government Code had taken effect on 1 January Health/Hospital Administration
1992, for which reason respondent, through Director E. Tadle-Herrera, Experience: 5 years experience in planning, organizing, directing,
CSC-DOH, returned to the Secretary of Health petitioner's appointment coordinating and supervising various public health and medical
calling the Secretary's attention to Section 463, Chapter 2, Title IV of the activities.
Local Government Code of 1992. 6 Hence, the secretary of Health,
Honorable Antonio O. Periquet who had succeeded Secretary Alfredo R.A. Eligibility: RA 1080 (Physician) 10

Bengzon, wrote Benguet Governor Andres R. Bugnosen seeking his


concurrence in the appointment of petitioner and informing the Governor True enough, petitioner did not possess a Certificate/Master in Public
that the Department of health after a formal screening and evaluation by Health/Hospital Administration at the time of his appointment. Apparently,
its executive committee believed that petitioner was the most appropriate then Health Secretary Bengzon decided that petitioner's other
17

qualifications, such as, his training and experience in hospital other qualities required for successful performance. It is, thus, the
administration offset or made up for his deficiency in educational QS which provides for the considerations upon which the appointing
requirement. Prior to his appointment to the position in question, authority decides when the levels of education or experience may be
petitioner held the position of Chief of Hospital, Kalamansig District sufficient to offset each other. 11
Hospital, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. In addition, while in foreign
employment from 1976 to 1985, he served as officer-in-charge of two (2) As repeatedly ruled by the Court, the Civil Service Commission is not
general hospitals in Nigeria and attended seminars, symposia, workshops, empowered to determine or change the kind of nature of the appointment,
clinical conferences, and trained newly-graduated Nigerian physicians in for it is an essential discretionary power and must be performed by the
general surgery. These training and experience must have been taken into officer on whom its is vested according to his best lights, the only
account by Health Secretary Bengzon when he extended a permanent condition being that the appointee should possess the minimum
appointment to petitioner, which appointment his successors, Honorable qualification required by law. In the case at bench, then Secretary of
Antonio O. Periquet and the incumbent Honorable Juan M. Flavier, also Health, Honorable Alfredo R.A. Bengzon, and his successors, Honorable
recommended for approval by the Civil Service Commission. Antonio O. Periquet and Ho. Juan M. Flavier, believe that petitioner
possesses the necessary qualifications required by law for the position. It
Respondent finds untenable petitioner's contention that his deficiency in is worthy to note that respondent Commission had approved the
educational requirement (Master in Public Health/Hospital Administration) appointment of a former Public Health Officer I in Benguet, Dr. Emilio B.
can be offset by his training and experience. It maintains that petitioner Cadayona, who at the time of his appointment in 1988 did not also
should at least have earned for himself some units or started pursuing possess a Certificate/-Master's degree in Public Health/Hospital
such particular educational requirements as allegedly required by the rule Administration but, like petitioner, was a holder of the Degree of Doctor of
on substitution. Medicine. The Court suggests that respondent look more closely into its
own resolutions and be consistent in resolving the qualifications of
We do not agree. This rule cannot be strictly interpreted as to curtail an appointees.
agency's discretionary power to appoint as long as the appointee
possesses other qualifications required by law. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court sets aside Resolution No.
92-699, dated 26 May 1992, and Resolution No. 92-1214, dated 3
Recently, this Court held: September 1992 of respondent Civil Service Commission, and orders the
respondent Commission to approve petitioner's permanent appointment as
It would be appropriate to state at the outset that when necessary, Provincial Health Officer I, Integrated Provincial Health Office, Benguet
education, experience or training may be used interchangeably to Province.
offset deficiencies (in fact, the CSC issued Memorandum Circular No.
23 series of 1991 expressly allowing the offsetting of deficiencies
SO ORDERED.
except the required eligibility). The necessity exists if the
appointee's training or experience is of such a level that the same
would more than supplement the deficiency in education considering
the demands of the position in question. The converse holds true if
the appointee's deficiency is in the required training or experience.
The decision as to when the conditions give rise to a necessity to
interchange education with experience and vice-versa rests upon the
sound discretion of the appointing authority. This is not to be viewed
as an unbridled license given to the appointing authority to appoint
whomsoever he desires. This is rather a recognition of the fact that
the appointing authority is in the best position to determine the
needs of his department or agency and how to satisfy those needs.
Moreover, it is precisely the province of the QS to provide the gauge
by which the appointing authority shall exercise his discretion. The
QS has been defined in Section 20, PD 807 as expressing the
minimum requirements for a class of position in terms of education,
training and experience, civil service eligibility, physical fitness and
18

7. G.R. No. 129616 April 17, 2002


2. ANINO, RAMON 1st grade xxx 70

THE GENERAL MANAGER, PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY (PPA) 3. TEODOSIO, APRIL PD 907 (CPA) xxx 67
and RAMON ANINO, petitioners,
vs. 4. MORTOLA, DARIO CS Prof. xxx 67
JULIETA MONSERATE, respondent.
5. ESPINOSA, AMALIK Bar xxx 63.5
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
6. PERFECTO, RA 1080 xxx 59.5"
BASCOS
This petition for review on
certiorari1seeks to set aside the Decision dated
June 20, 1997 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 39670,2 declaring
null and void the Resolution No. 952043 dated March 21, 1995 and On February 1, 1988, Maximo Dumlao, Jr., then General Manager of the
Resolution No. 956640 dated October 24, 1995 of the Civil Service PPA, appointed5 respondent to the position of Manager II (Resource
Commission (CSC), and ordering the reinstatement of Julieta G. Monserate Management Division). On even date, respondent assumed office and
as Division Manager II of the Resources Management Division, Ports discharged the functions thereof. On July 8, 1988, the CSC, through
Management Office, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Iloilo City. Guillermo R. Silva (Assistant Director of the Civil Service Field Office-PPA)
approved her appointment.
The facts are:
Meanwhile, on April 18, 1988, petitioner Ramon Anino, who ranked second
Julieta Monserate, respondent, started her government service in to respondent per the Comparative Data Sheet earlier quoted, filed an
1977 as Bookkeeper II in the Port Management Office, PPA, Iloilo appeal/petition with the PPA Appeals Board, protesting against
City. Barely a year later, she was promoted to the position of respondent's appointment. The PPA Appeals Board, in a Resolution6 dated
Cashier II and then as Finance Officer (SG-16) in 1980.3 August 11, 1988, sustained the protest and rendered ineffective
respondent's appointment based on "(1) CSC MC No. 5, s. 1988, Par.
In the early part of 1988, when the PPA underwent a reorganization, 3;7 (2) CSC MC NO. 10, s. 1986, Par. A, 1.2 and Par. B;8 and (3) Civil
respondent applied for the permanent position of Manager II (SG-19) of Service Eligibility." These grounds were not explained or discussed in the
the Resource Management Division, same office. The Comparative Data Resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Sheet4accomplished by the PPA Reorganization Task Force shows the
ranking of the six (6) aspirants to the said position, thus: "WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Board upholds the
appointment of Ramon A. Anino as Resources Management
"COMPARATIVE DATA SHEET
Division Manager of the Port Management Office of Iloilo."
OFFICE: PMO ILOILO
On October 24, 1988, respondent was furnished a copy of PPA Special
DIVISION: RES. MANAGEMENT Order No. 479-889 (entitled "Creation of the PPA Manager's Pool"), dated
DIVISION September 28, 1988, issued by the new PPA General Manager, Mr. Rogelio
A. Dayan. That Special Order excluded the name of respondent from the
POSITION: DIVISION MANAGER pool-list and placed instead the name of petitioner as Manager II,
Resource Management Division. In effect, the Special Order implemented
REQUIRED CS ELIG.: CS PROF / RA 1080 the August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board. 1âwphi1.nêt

Aggrieved, respondent filed with the PPA General Manager an


appeal/request for clarification dated November 2, 1988.10 She questioned
CANDIDATES ELIGIBILITY xxx TOTAL her replacement under PPA Special Order No. 479-88, claiming that the
proceedings before the PPA Appeals Board were irregular because (1) she
1. MONSERATE, CS Prof. xxx 79.5 was not notified of the hearing before it; (2) she was not furnished a copy
JULIETA of the August 11, 1988 PPA Appeals Board Resolution or a copy of the
19

protest filed by petitioner Anino;11 (3) she was not informed of the reasons resolved is whether or not the appointee meets the qualification
behind her replacement; and (4) their Port Manager (in Iloilo City), who standard. x x x. The Commission will not disturb the choice of the
was then an official member of the Board, was not included in the said appointing authority as long as the appointee meets the
proceedings. qualification prescribed for the position in question."

On November 8, 1988, pending resolution of her appeal/request for Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied by
clarification, respondent received a copy of PPA Special Order No. 492- the CSC in its Resolution No. 95-6640 dated October 24, 1995.
8812 dated October 21, 1988, also issued by General Manager Dayan. This
PPA Order officially reassigned her to the position of Administrative Officer In due time, respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for
(SG-15) which was petitioner Anino's former position and was lower than review impleading as respondents the PPA General Manager and petitioner
her previous position as Finance Officer (SG 16) before she was appointed Anino.
as Division Manager.
On June 20, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision16 nullifying the
Apparently at a loss with the turn of events, coupled by the inaction of PPA twin Resolutions of the CSC. It ruled that the August 11, 1988 Resolution
General Manager Dayan on her earlier appeal/request for clarification, of the PPA Appeals Board was not supported by evidence and that the
respondent filed on November 25, 1988 a "precautionary appeal"13 with same was irregularly issued due to lack of proper notice to respondent
the CSC. She manifested that as of said date (November 25), she has not with respect to the Board's proceedings. It concluded that her
yet been furnished a certified copy of the PPA Appeals Board Resolution. reassignment from the position of Manager II, Resource Management
Division (SG-19), to the position of Administrative Officer (SG-15) was a
On January 2, 1989, respondent received a copy of her new appointment demotion violative of her constitutional right to security of tenure and due
as Administrative Officer dated October 1, 1988.14 It was also during this process. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision reads:
time when she learned that PPA General Manager Dayan had just issued
petitioner's appointment dated October 21, 1988 as Manager II in the "THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered
Resource Management Division effective February 1, 1988. declaring as null and void Resolution Nos. 952043 and 95640
(should be 956640) dated March 21 and October 21, 1988 (should
On January 16, 1989, respondent filed with the CSC an appeal formally be October 24, 1995), of the Civil service Commission; and
protesting against petitioner Anino's appointment and at the same time directing the reinstatement of the petitioner to the position of
questioning the propriety of the August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Resource Management Division Manager II.
Appeals Board. This appeal remained pending with the CSC for more than
six (6) years despite respondent's requests for early resolution. In the "SO ORDERED."
meantime, she assumed the position of Administrative Officer.
Thereupon, Ramon Anino and the PPA General Manager filed on August
Eventually, the CSC, in its Resolution No. 95-204315 dated March 21, 1995, 14, 1997 the present petition. On November 30, 1997, petitioner Anino
dismissed respondent's appeal, thus: retired from the government service.17

"It is well-established rule that an appointment, although approved Petitioners ascribe to the Court of Appeals the following errors:
by this Commission, does not become final until the protest filed
against it is decided by the agency or by the Commission.
I THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUISLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT
Although Monserate had already assumed the position of RMD
RESPONDENT MONSERATE WAS DEMOTED FROM RESOURCES
Manager II, the appointing authority may still withdraw the same if
MANAGEMENT DIVISION MANAGER TO ADMINISTRATIVE
a protest is seasonably filed. This is covered by Section 19, Rule VI
OFFICER, THUS VIOLATING HER RIGHT TO SECURITY OF TENURE.
of the Omnibus Rules implementing EO 292 x x x.

II THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT ALIGNING


"Monserate's claim that she is more qualified than Anino is not
ITSELF WITH THE WELL-NIGH RULE THAT RESPONDENT
relevant to the issue before this Commission. In cases of protest
MONSERATE'S APPOINTMENT AS RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
filed or appealed to the Commission, the main question to be
DIVISION MANAGER, ALTHOUGH APPROVED BY CSC, DOES NOT
20

BECOME FINAL UNTIL THE PROTEST FILED AGAINST HER IS choice subject only to the condition that the appointee should possess the
FAVORABLY DECIDED IN HER FAVOR BY THE AGENCY OR THE qualifications required by law. Consequently, "the CSC acted rightly when
CSC. it did not interfere in the exercise of discretion by the PPA appointing
authority, there being no evidence of grave abuse of discretion thereof or
III THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS ERROR OF violation of the Civil Service Law and Rules."
JUDGMENT IN IGNORING THAT IN CASES OF PROTEST FILED OR
APPEALED TO THE CSC, THE MAIN QUESTION TO BE RESOLVED IS The petition is unmeritorious.
WHETHER OR NOT THE APPOINTEE MEETS THE QUALIFICATION
STANDARD.18 In the first place, the PPA reorganization in 1988 has nothing to do with
respondent's demotion from the contested position of Manager II,
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not there was due process Resource Management Office (SG-19), to the lower position of
when respondent was replaced by petitioner Anino from her position as Administrative Officer (SG-15). Antithetically, it was precisely because of
Manager II, Resource Management Division, and demoted as the said reorganization that respondent applied to the higher position of
Administrative Officer. Division Manager II. In fact, the Comparative Data Sheet accomplished by
the PPA Reorganization Task Force itself shows that respondent ranked No.
Petitioners vehemently aver that respondent was never demoted since 1, while petitioner Anino ranked No. 2, from among the six (6) contenders
demotion, being in the nature of administrative penalty, presupposes a to the said post. Respondent was eventually issued a permanent
conviction in an administrative case. Here, respondent was not charged of appointment as such Division Manager on February 1, 1988 by then PPA
any administrative case. Rather, she was displaced from her position as an General Maximo Dumlao, Jr., during which time she actually assumed
"aftermath of the PPA reorganization, authorized by law, the office and discharged its functions. This appointment was later approved
implementation of which having been carried out with utmost good faith." on July 8, 1988 by the CSC, through Assistant Director Guillermo R. Silva
of the Civil Service Field Office-PPA.
Furthermore, the said displacement was just the necessary effect of the
August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board which sustained Clearly, it was only after the reorganization and upon the issuance of the
petitioner Anino's timely protest against respondent's appointment. August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board when respondent
Petitioners theorize that the appointment of respondent as Resource was demoted to the lower position of Administrative Officer. This is further
Management Division Manager did not become final until the protest filed shown by the following orders and appointments subsequently issued by
against her was favorably decided in her favor by the CSC. In support of then PPA General Manager Rogelio Dayan:
this contention, they cited Section 19, Rule VI of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the 1. PPA Special Order No. 479-88 dated September 28, 1988 which
Administrative Code of 1987), which provides inter alia: excluded respondent Monserate from the PPA Managers' pool-list;

"SEC 19. An appointment, though contested, shall take effect 2. Appointment of respondent, dated October 1, 1988, to the
immediately upon its issuance if the appointee assumes the duties position of Administrative Officer;
of the position and the appointee is entitled to receive the salary
attached to the position. However, the appointment, together with 3. PPA Special Order No. 492-88 dated October 21, 1988 which
the decision of the department head, shall be submitted to the officially reassigned respondent to the position of Administrative
Commission for appropriate action within 30 days from the date of Officer; and
its issuance, otherwise the appointment becomes ineffective
thereafter. Likewise, such appointment shall become
4. Appointment of petitioner Anino, dated October 21, 1988, to the
ineffective in case the protest is finally resolved against the
position of Manager II, Resource Management Division, effective
protestee, in which case, he shall be reverted to his former
February 1, 1988.
position."

Therefore, contrary to petitioners' claim, respondent was demoted, not by


Petitioners also contend that the head of an agency, being the appointing
reason of the PPA reorganization in 1988, but due to the PPA Appeals
authority, is the one most knowledgeable to decide who can best perform
the functions of the office. The appointing authority has a wide latitude of
21

Board Resolution dated August 11, 1988 sustaining petitioner Anino's "On eligibility, she has a Career Service Professional eligibility
protest against respondent's appointment. while the private respondent only has a First Grade Civil Service
Eligibility.
Unfortunately for petitioners, this Court cannot accord validity to the
August 11, 1988 Resolution of the PPA Appeals Board which "upholds the "She added that she was not aware of any proceeding on her
appointment of Ramon A. Anino as Resource Management Division demotion as a Division Manager. As a matter of fact, it was only
Manager." But how can it uphold his appointment when he was not yet upon her iniative sometime during the latter part of November,
appointed then? It bears stressing that he was appointed on a much later 1988 that she was able to obtain a copy of the August 11, 1988
date - October 21, 1988, or more than two (2) months after August Resolution of the Appeals Board. The resolution sustained the
11, 1998 when the PPA Appeals Board Resolution was private respondent's appointment as Division Manager even if on
issued. Stated differently, the PPA Appeals Board could not uphold an August 11, 1988, he was not yet extended any appointment. As a
appointment which was not yet existing. matter of fact, he was appointed only on October 1, 1988 (should
be October 21, 1988).
Equally questionable are the grounds for respondent's demotion stated in
the August 11, 1998 Resolution: "(1) CSC MC No. 5, s. 1988, Par. 3; (2) "Furthermore, she said that the resolution of the PPA Appeals
CSC MC NO. 10, s. 1986, Par. A, 1.2 and Par. B; and (3) Civil Service Board appears irregular, if not null and void. She was never
Eligibility." These grounds are incomprehensible for lack of discussion or notified of any proceeding; she was not furnished either a copy of
explanation by the Board to enable respondent to know the reason for her the resolution. What she received instead was a Special Order
demotion. dated September 29, 1988 already ordering her demotion. She
was not at all given the opportunity of defending herself before the
We uphold the Court of Appeals' finding that the August 11, 1998 PPA Appeals Board.
Appeals Board Resolution was void for lack of evidence and proper notice
to respondent. As aptly held by the Appellate Court: "x x x.

"In the August 11, 1988 Resolution by the PPA Appeals Board "In the case now before us, the petitioner did not receive or was
(Ibid., p. 46) upholding the appointment of the private respondent not given a copy of the August 11, 1988 Resolution of the Appeals
(Ramon Anino) as Division Manager, the grounds against Board. She did not even know that she was demoted until after
petitioner's (Julieta Monserate) appointment were: a) the CSC MC she received a copy of the of the Special Order No. 479-88."19
No. 5, s. 1988, Par 3; b) the CSC MC No. 10, 2. 1986, Par. A, 1.2
and Par. B; and c) Civil service eligibility. From all indications, it is indubitable that substantial and procedural
irregularities attended respondent's demotion from the position of Manager
"x x x II, Resource Management Division, to the lower position of Administrative
Officer. Indeed, her demotion, tantamount to a revocation of her
"To us, the August 11, 1988 Resolution by the PPA Appeals Board appointment as Manager II, is a patent violation of her constitutional
was not supported by evidence. Of the CSC MC No. 5, the rights to security of tenure and due process. In Aquino vs. Civil Service
petitioner had no pending administrative or criminal case at the Commission,20 this Court emphasized that "once an appointment is issued
time of her appointment as Manager. x x x. and the moment the appointee assumes a position in the civil service
under a completed appointment, he acquires a legal, not merely equitable,
right (to the position) which is protected not only by statute, but also by
"With respect to the CSC MC No. 10, Par. A (1.2) and Par. B, the
the constitution, and cannot be taken away from him either by revocation
processing, review, evaluation and recommendation of her
of the appointment, or by removal, except for cause, and with previous
appointment as Manager II, passed several committees created by
notice and hearing."
the PPA. x x x. Moreover, she had a 1.9 average performance
rating compared to the private respondent who only got 2.03. x x
x. Concededly, the appointing authority has a wide latitude of discretion in
the selection and appointment of qualified persons to vacant positions in
the civil service.21 However, the moment the discretionary power of
appointment is exercised and the appointee assumed the duties and
22

functions of the position, such appointment cannot anymore be revoked by In fine, the rule is that where there is a de jure officer, a de facto officer,
the appointing authority and appoint another in his stead, except for during his wrongful incumbency, is not entitled to the emoluments
cause. Here, no iota of evidence was ever established to justify the attached to the office, even if he occupied the office in good faith. This
revocation of respondent's appointment by demoting her. Respondent's rule, however, cannot be applied squarely on the present case in view of
security of tenure guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution [Article IX-B, its peculiar circumstances. Respondent had assumed under protest the
Section 2, par. (3)] should not be placed at the mercy of abusive exercise position of Administrative Officer sometime in the latter part of 1988,
of the appointing power.22 which position she currently holds. Since then, she has been receiving the
emoluments, salary and other compensation attached to such office. While
Parenthetically, when the Court of Appeals reinstated respondent to her her assumption to said lower position and her acceptance of the
legitimate post as Manager II in the Resource Management Division, it corresponding emoluments cannot be considered as an abandonment of
merely restored her appointment to the said position to which her right to her claim to her rightful office (Division Manager), she cannot recover full
security of tenure had already attached. To be sure, her position as backwages for the period when she was unlawfully deprived thereof. She
Manager II never became vacant since her demotion was void. In is entitled only to backpay differentialsfor the period starting from her
this jurisdiction, "an appointment to a non-vacant position in the civil assumption as Administrative Officer up to the time of her actual
service is null and void ab initio."23 reinstatement to her rightful position as Division Manager. Such backpay
differentials pertain to the difference between the salary rates for the
positions of Manager II and Administrative Officer. The same must be paid
We now delve on the backwages in favor of respondent.
by petitioner Anino corresponding from the time he wrongfully assumed
the contested position up to the time of his retirement on November 30,
The challenged Court of Appeals Decision ordered the reinstatement of 1997.1âwphi1.nêt
respondent without awarding backwages. This matter becomes
controversial because respondent assumed the lower position of
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The challenged Decision of the
Administrative Officer during the pendency of her protest against
Court of Appeals dated June 20, 1997
petitioner Anino's appointment to the contested position. Also, petitioner
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the sense that petitioner Ramon A.
Anino retired from the service on November 30, 1997.
Anino is ordered to pay respondent Julieta Monserate backpay differentials
pertaining to the period from the time he wrongfully assumed the
In this respect, while petitioner Anino's appointment to the contested contested position of Manager II up to his retirement on November 30,
position is void, as earlier discussed, he is nonetheless considered a de 1997.
facto officer during the period of his incumbency.24 A de facto officer is one
who is in possession of an office and who openly exercises its functions
SO ORDERED.
under color of an appointment or election, even though such appointment
or election may be irregular.25 In Monroy vs. Court of Appeals,26 this Court
ruled that a rightful incumbent of a public office may recover from a de
facto officer the salary received by the latter during the time of his
wrongful tenure, even though he (the de facto officer) occupied the office
in good faith and under color of title. A de facto officer, not having a good
title, takes the salaries at his risk and must, therefore, account to the de
jure officer for whatever salary he received during the period of his
wrongful tenure. In the later case of Civil Liberties Union vs. Executive
Secretary,27 this Court allowed a de facto officer to receive emoluments for
actual services rendered but only when there is no de
jure officer, thus:

"x x x in cases where there is no de jure officer, a de facto


officer who, in good faith, has had possession of the office and has
discharged the duties pertaining thereto, is legally entitled to the
emoluments of the office, and may in appropriate action recover
the salary, fees and other compensations attached to the office."
23

8. G.R. No. L-23258 July 1, 1967 And the decisions, orders and rulings of the Commission on these
administrative questions are reviewable only by the Supreme Court.3 Since
ROBERTO R. MONROY, petitioner, the powers of the Commission are limited to matters connected with the
vs. "conduct of elections," necessarily its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and FELIPE DEL ROSARIO, respondent. are likewise limited to controversies connected with the "conduct of
elections." This phrase covers all the administrative process of preparing
and operating the election machinery so that the people could exercise
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
their right to vote at the given time.4 All questions and controversies that
may arise therefrom are to be resolved exclusively by the Commission,
Petitioner Roberto Monroy was the incumbent Mayor of Navotas, Rizal, subject to review only by the Supreme Court.
when on September 15, 1961, his certificate of candidacy as
representative of the first district of Rizal in the forthcoming elections was
However, in this case there appears to be no decision, order or ruling of
filed with the Commission on Elections. Three days later, or on September
the Commission on any administrative question or controversy. There was
18, 1961, petitioner filed a letter withdrawing said certificate of candidacy.
no dispute before the Commission. Respondent never contested the filing
The Commission on Elections, per resolution,1 approved the withdrawal.
of petitioner's certificate of candidacy. Neither has he disputed before that
But on September 21, 1961, respondent Felipe del Rosario, then the vice-
body the withdrawal thereof. And even if there was a controversy before
mayor of Navotas, took his oath of office as municipal mayor on the theory
the Commission, the same did not and could not possibly have anything to
that petitioner had forfeited the said office upon his filing of the certificate
do with the conduct of elections. What the parties are actually
of candidacy in question.
controverting is whether or not petitioner was still the municipal mayor
after September 15, 1961. This purely legal dispute has absolutely no
Upon these facts, the Court of First Instance of Rizal, held in the suit for bearing or effect on the conduct of the elections for the seat of
injunction instituted by petitioner against respondents that (a) the former Congressman for the first district of Rizal. The election can go on
had ceased to be mayor of Navotas, Rizal, after his certificate of candidacy irrespective of whether petitioner is considered resigned from his position
was filed on September 15, 1961; (b) respondent del Rosario became of municipal mayor or not. The only interest and for that matter,
municipal mayor upon his having assumed office as such on September jurisdiction, of the Commission on Elections in this regard is to know who
21, 1961; (c) petitioner must reimburse, as actual damages, the salaries are the running candidates for the forthcoming elections, for that affects
to which respondent was entitled as Mayor from September 21, 1961 up to the conduct of election. So when petitioner withdrew the certificate
the time he can reassume said office; and (d) petitioner must pay announcing his candidacy for Congressman, as far as the Commission
respondent P1,000.00 as moral damages.1äwphï1.ñët could be concerned, petitioner was no longer interested in running for that
seat. The matter of his having forfeited his present position and the
This judgment was, on appeal by petitioner to the Court of Appeals, possible legal effect thereon by the withdrawal of his certificate was
affirmed in toto except for the award of moral damages which was completely out of the picture. Hence, that purely legal question properly
eliminated. The same Court reaffirmed its stand upon petitioner's filing a fell within the cognizance of the courts.
motion to reconsider. Hence, this petition for certiorari to review the ruling
of the Court of Appeals. Now the withdrawal of his certificate of candidacy did not restore petitioner
to his former position. Sec. 27 of the Rev. Election Code providing that —
Petitioner first argues that both the lower court and the Court of Appeals
had done what they had no jurisdiction to do — review a resolution of the Any elective provincial, municipal or city official running for an
Commission on Elections. The submission is without merit. office, other then the one which he is actually holding, shall be
considered resigned from his office from the moment of the filing
The Constitution empowers the Commission on Elections to of his certificate of candidacy,"

x x x decide, save those involving the right to vote, makes the forfeiture automatic and permanently effective upon the filing
all administrative questions affecting elections, including the of the certificate of for another office. Only the moment and act of filing
determination of the number and location of polling places, and are considered. Once the certificate is filed, the seat is forfeited forever
the appointment of election inspectors and of other election and nothing save a new election or appointment can restore the ousted
officials x x x . 2 (Emphasis supplied)
24

official. Thus, as We had occasion to remark, through Justice J.B.L. Reyes, by the incumbent occupant thereof and the claim to that office by the vice-
in Castro v. Gatuslao, 98 Phil, 94, 196: mayor because of the operation of Sec. 27 of the Rev. Election Code. The
established precedent invoked in the Rodriguez case can not therefore be
x x x The wording of the law plainly indicates that only the date of applied in this case.
filing of the certificate of candidacy should be taken into
account. The law does not make the forfeiture dependent upon It is the general rule then, i.e., "that the rightful incumbent of a public
future contingencies, unforeseen and unforeseeable since the office may recover from an officer de facto the salary received by the latter
vacating is expressly made as of the moment of the filing of the during the time of his wrongful tenure, even though he entered into the
certificate of candidacy x x x . (Emphasis supplied) office in good faith and under color of title"6 that applies in the present
case. The resulting hardship occasioned by the operation of this rule to
Petitioner's contention that the certificate of candidacy was filed without the de facto officer who did actual work is recognized; but it is far more
his knowledge and consent and, hence, the Commission's approval of its cogently acknowledged that the de facto doctrine has been formulated, not
withdrawal invalidated such certificate for all legal purposes, is untenable. for the protection of the de facto officer principally, but rather for the
It nowhere appears that the Commission's resolution expressly invalidated protection of the public and individuals who get involved in the official acts
the certificate. The withdrawal of a certificate of candidacy does not of persons discharging the duties of an office without being lawful
necessarily render the certificate void ab initio. Once filed, the permanent officers.7 The question of compensation involves different principles and
legal effects produced thereby remain even if the certificate itself be concepts however. Here, it is possession of title, not of the office, that is
subsequently withdrawn. Moreover, both the trial court and the Court of decisive. A de facto officer, not having good title, takes the salaries at his
Appeals expressly found as a fact that the certificate in question was risk and must therefore account to the de jure officer for whatever amount
filed with petitioner's knowledge and consent. And since the nature of the of salary he received during the period of his wrongful retention of the
remedy taken by petitioner before Us would allow a discussion of purely public office.8
legal questions only, such fact is deemed conceded.5
Wherefore, finding no error in the judgment appealed from, the same is,
Petitioner would next maintain that respondent Court of Appeals likewise as it is hereby, affirmed in toto. Costs against petitioner. So ordered.
erred in affirming a lower court judgment requiring petitioner to pay
respondent Del Rosario by way of actual damages the salaries he was
allegedly entitled to receive from September 21, 1961, to the date of
petitioner's vacation of his office as mayor. In support of this he relies
solely upon Rodriguez v. Tan, 91 Phil. 724, holding that a senator who had
been proclaimed and had assumed office but was later on ousted in an
election protest, is a de facto officer during the time he held the office of
senator, and can retain the emoluments received even as against the
successful protestant. Petitioner's factual premise is the appellate court's
finding that he was a de facto officer when he continued occupying the
office of mayor after September 15, 1961.

However, We agree with the Court of Appeals that the Rodriguez case is
not applicable here for absence of factual and legal similarities. The
Rodriguez case involved a senator who had been proclaimed as duly
elected, assumed the office and was subsequently ousted as a result of an
election contest. These peculiar facts called for the application of an
established precedent in this jurisdiction that the candidate duly
proclaimed must assume office notwithstanding a protest filed against him
and can retain the compensation paid during his incumbency. But the case
at bar does not involve a proclaimed elective official who will
be ousted because of an election contest. The present case for injunction
and quo warranto involves the forfeiture of the office of municipal mayor