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17 Mendiola v People TTL G f.

Notably, no public bidding for the construction was contemplated or


provided for.
Petitioners: Lorenzo Mendoza
3. Lorenzo Mendiola was then Municipal Planning and Development
Respondents: People of the Philippines & Sandiganbayan
Coordinator, Civil Registrar, and was concurrently Acting Building Official
of Angono. On 12 March 1987, he issued the Municipality a Building Permit
DOCTRINE: Kinds of Duties
relating to the construction of APM II. At the time of issuance of the
(1) Ministerial: duty is ministerial when it is absolute, certain and imperative
permit, he noted on APM IIs construction blue-print, He encircled the points
involving merely execution of a specific duty arising from fixed and
to be corrected to eliminate the encroachment. But of course, the market
designated facts. Where the officer or official body has no judicial power or
stalls encroached upon were that of Mendiolas relatives&friend
discretion as to the interpretation of the law, and the course to be pursued is
4. Aside from this, other conflicts arose:
fixed by law, their acts are ministerial only.
a. APM I stallholders demanded preference in the award or occupancy of
(2) Discretionary: Acts which necessarily require the exercise of reason in the
stalls in APM II.
adaptation of means to an end, and discretion in determining how or whether
b. APM I stallholders, acting under the name of, "Samahang Nagkakaisa
the act shall be done or the course pursued. When the law commits to any
sa Pamilihang Bayan ng Angono" ("Samahan") brought suit against
officer the duty of looking into facts and acting upon them, not in a way which
Miranda, the contractor and, APM II awardees, for a writ of preliminary
it specifically directs, but after a discretion in its nature, the function is
injunction to stop the construction of the new building (this was
discretionary (e.g. quasi-judicial acts).
denied).
Every public officer acting in discharge of his official duties is entitled to the 5. For some unstated reason, Mendiolas objection and change to the blue print
presumption that such acts are done in good faith\. was never changed and so in June, 1987, Miranda enacted Reso No. 42-
1987 (Reso 2), cancelling Mendiolas relatives&friends stallholders permits.
So long as the requirements to receive documents (IN THIS CASE: certificates of Miranda then ordered the contractor to demolish the their stalls.
partial occupancy) under the law are fullfilled/adhered to, the public officer has 6. The Feb 1988 local elections yielded another change in the Angono
the ministerial duty to issue whatever the document being requested government. The newly elected Municipal Council promptly assailed the
legality of Reso 1. The Rizal Provincial Board (Board) enacted Reso No. 88-
*there are other discussions and facts in the case, this is focused on the topic 71 (Reso 3) directing the new Municipal Council to hold Reso 1s
under the syllabus: Liability of PubOff, Kinds of Duties. implementation in abeyance, pending review of that Resolution, and "until
further notice by the Board."
FACTS: 7. Under the authority1 of Reso 2, and without prior hearing or a court order and
1. 1984: Following the fire that destroyed the Angono Public Market, the former without a demolition permit, APM IIs contractor, with the aid of the military,
stallholders including Zenaida Ortillada, Marlon Rosales, and Ruben demolished Mendiolas relatives&friends market stalls.
Blanco (Mendiolas relatives&friend) were issued temporary business 8. Mendiolas relatives&friends applied for authority to renovate their
permits and allowed to construct temporary market stalls on the grounds of demolished market stalls, to which Mendiola issued temporary renovation
the old market stood. The area of the old market was known Angono Public building, subject to the condition that should the courts or proper higher
Market Phase I (APM I). authority stop the them from renovating or reconstructing, the permits would
2. 1987: After a change of government, the Angono Municipal the Angono become ineffective.
Municipal Council, headed by Officer-in-Charge Nemesio Miranda, Sr., 9. After the demolition of the Phase I stalls the APM II contractor went on with
(Miranda) enacted Reso No. 7-1987 (Reso 1). Content: the contested construction. May 1988, the building contractor requested the
a. authorized the construction of Angono Public Market Phase II (APM District Engineer of Rizal to inspect the new building and to issue certificates
II) on a vacant lot adjacent to APM I. of partial occupancy. Mendiola was directed to issue the said certificates
b. FINANCING: a contract was entered between to APM II stall awardees. The certificates were to be issued under the
(1) a building contractor (b) National Building Codes IRR, which provides that the certificates maybe
(2) a Construction Committee representing the stall awardees of APM withheld if there are valid grounds for witholding, provided that In the event
II that there are still additional documents needed, the parties concerned
(3) Miranda signing on behalf of the Municipality of Angono, should be informed so they can submit them.
c. Each awardee would pay the contractor P20k for APM IIs construction 10. Mendiola did not immediately issue the certificates, and instead wrote to the
d. Sum paid was to be considered as advance stall rentals to the APM II awardees informing them of their incomplete submission and that
Municipality for 20yrs.
e. The Municipality shall own the market building upon turnover at
completion by contractor.
1 The demolition was not expressly mentioned. Remember that Miranda in a separate written
order, ordered the demolition of the stalls.
there were 5 requirements, still to be complied with, for issuance of the a. issued building permits for market stalls in favor of his relatives,
certificates. who are allegedly not legally entitled to receive permits
11. Mendiola also wrote to Regional Director Lagunilla that non-issuance of the b. refused to issue certificates of partial occupancy to awardees of
certificates of partial occupancy was grounded on: market stalls in APM II
a. AMP IIs contractor illegally demolishing market stalls, being done 18. OSG: The first charge should be dismissed and Mendiolas conviction
without any demolition order from the courts or the administrative thereof reversed and be acquitted. The renovation permits where issued in
authorities; good faith, only under a mistake of judgment.
b. the pendency of suits and counter-suits before the courts regarding the
construction of APM II; and ISSUE: Did Mendiola violate his ministerial duty to issue partial occupancy
c. refusal of the incumbent municipal officials to accept partial turnover, certificates when he refused to do so? NO. He had reasonable basis for
which turnover was said to run counter to the terms of Reso 1 refusing.
12. RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the contractor and APM
II awardees from continuing with the construction of the new building and HELD:
directing to maintain the status quo until the legality of Reso 1 was reviewed First charge: Mendiola acted in good faith in refusing to issue certificates.
by the Provincial Board of Rizal. Factors tending to show good faith:
13. The Phase II awardees took two (2) courses of action: first, they applied for a a. The renovation permits issued to Mendiolas relatives&friends were
certificate of partial occupancy with the Municipal Council, which was denied. temporary and were qualified by see fact #1.
The second recourse was to institute an administrative charge against b. Mendiolas relatives&friends were long-time stallholders, having been so
Mendiola and to appeal to the Secretary of Public Works and Highways. before the destruction of the old Angono Public Market, hence, not strangers
14. the Secretary, DPWH, upheld the contractor and Phase II awardeess to APM I.
position and directed Mendiola to issue "the partial occupancy certificate of c. Mendiolas relatives&friend had outstanding and paid-up municipal business
the completed portion or Market Phase II, after their application has been permits when Mendiola issued them the permits.
processed and the fees paid therefor." d. Mendiolas relatives&friends temporary stalls had been demolished without
15. September 1988, the Angono Municipal Council adopted another resolution prior hearing or a court order, or a demolition order from the authorized
warning the Phase II awardees from opening or doing business at their stalls building official which was petitioner Mendiola himself.
in the Phase II building,
16. Mendiola wrote the Secretary of DPWH stating his reasons for refusing to Thus, whether Mendiolas relatives&friends were legally entitled to the temporary
issue the certificates: renovation permits presented a substantial question of law and it is well to recall
a. No bldg. inspection sheet duly signed & accomplished by the that mistake on a doubtful or difficult question of law may be the basis of good
contractor; faith.
b. Fire safety inspection certificate issued without electrical
permit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library There are other factors, environmental in nature, tending to show good faith on
c. CEI [Certificate of Electrical Inspection] not for the electrical permit of Mendiolas part, which relate to Reso 1.
the completed portion of the building; a. Reso 1s validity was being litigated before the courts. The records shows
d. Electrical permit & sanitary, permit not yet issued by our office due to that there were at least 3 cases involving Reso 1s validity or enforceability.
questionable layout or plan," b. Sec DPWHs decision was not really final since the applicable statute itself
17. The Sandiganbayan convicted Mendiola, on two separate charges, of provided for an appeal by way a petition for review before the Office of the
violating provisions2 of RA 3019 Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act. President. Mendiola filed not only a MR with the Secretary but also a petition
Charges: for review with the Office of the President.
c. Among others not really relavant to topic.
2 Sec 3(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of
any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or Contrary to the OSGs submission: all the above factors support the claim of
advantage, or a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled." good faith in respect of both the first and second charges against Mendiola.
Sec 3(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private
party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross The question of validity and enforceability of Reso 1 was all pervasive and
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or inevitably affected both the entitlement of the three (3) Phase I stallholders to the
government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions."
(Emphasis supplied)
temporary renovation permits issued by petitioner Mendiola and the entitlement
of the contractor and Phase II awardees to a certificate of partial occupancy of
the admittedly incomplete new building. The facts or events surrounding the first Sandiganbayan apparently overlooked the circumstance that the Phase II
charge are so intertwined. awardees had in fact entered and occupied their respective stalls in the new
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, requires proof of "manifest partiality" building, without waiting for the certificate(s) of partial occupancy which they
or "evident bad faith or "gross inexcusable negligence." demanded from Mendiola and without paying heed to Reso 1 of the new
Municipal Council warning them not to open up their stalls in the still incomplete
The information for violation of Section 3(e) alleged only "evident bad faith." In new building.
the totality of the circumstances of this case, the prosecution failed to show
beyond reasonable doubt the presence of any of these 3 elements. The record strongly suggests that Mendiola had the misfortune of getting caught
in the middle of a heated controversy between two (2) local interest groups and
Indeed, it appears that the prosecution failed to overcome the presumption of between the outgoing OIC municipal officials and the incoming newly elected set
good faith to which every public official, acting in discharge of his official duties, is of municipal officials. In the course of requiring complete compliance with all
entitled. formal and documentary requirements for issuance of a certificate of occupancy
or partial occupancy, he was charged with violation of R.A. No. 3019 as
Mendiola, caught between 2 contending groups was constantly trying to specify amended, doubtless at the behest of the Phase II awardees, the contractor and
in writing the reasons for his acts. While one need not agree with all his acts or the old or OIC set of municipal officials.
stated reasons therefore or the wisdom thereof, one cannot say that they were so
obviously and palpably sham justifications for merely arbitrary and capricious Had he in fact issued the demanded certificate(s) of partial occupancy, he in all
acts as to warrant a finding of "evident bad faith." probability would have been charged criminally by the Samahan of Phase I
stallholders and the newly elected municipal officials, probably under the same
No one has claimed that he received any money for issuing the renovation statutory provisions.
permits or refraining from issuing the demanded certificate(s) of partial
occupancy. Under these circumstances, the filing of the two (2) criminal informations appears
quite unfortunate. MENDIOLA ACQUITTED.
There is also substantial doubt whether the element of "undue injury to any party"
required in Section 3(e) was adequately shown by the prosecution. The