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525 SCRA 11, Gr. No. 141309, December 23, 2008


CARLITO LACAP, 517 SCRA 255, Gr. No. 158253
1. US vs DORR, 2 Phil 339 March 2, 2007
Gr. No. 1051, May 19, 1903
13. LORNA MEDINA vs COA, 543 SCRA 684
2. BACANI vs NACOCO, 100 Phil 468 Gr. No. 176478, February 4, 2008
Gr. No. L-9657, November 29, 1956


Gr. No. L-33022, April 22, 1975 March 28, 2006


AUTHORITY, 21 SCRA 990, Gr. No. L-27275
November 18, 1967


Gr. No. 49705-09, February 8, 1979


CUSTOMS, 22 SCRA 622, Gr. No. L-19337, September 30,


Gr. No. 96754, June 22, 1995


192 SCRA 363, Gr. No. 95203-05
December 18, 1990


56 SCRA 154, Gr. No. L-31152, March 27, 1974


Gr. No. 166062, September 26, 2006

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2 Phil 339, Gr. No. 1051, May 19, 1903 100 Phil 468, Gr. No. L-9657, November 29, 1956

Facts: Facts:
The defendants were charged of scurrilous libel against Plaintiffs are court stenographers of the CFI of Manila.
the Government of the United States and the Insular Government of During the pendency of a civil case of said court, entitled Francisco
the Philippine Islands because of an editorial it published in the issue Sycip vs. NACOCO, Assistant Corporate Counsel Federico Alikpala,
of “Manila Freedom”. The defendants were convicted for said counsel for NACOCO, requested said stenographers for copies of the
offense basing upon Section 8 of Act. No. 292 of the Commission. transcript of the stenographic notes taken by them during the
Defendants then appealed for reversal of judgment made by the hearing.
lower courts. Plaintiffs complied with the request by delivering to
Counsel Alikpala the needed transcript containing 714 pages and
Issue: thereafter submitted to him their bills for the payment of their fees.
Whether or not the editorial published by the defendants The National Coconut Corporation paid the amount of P564 to
directed towards the Government of the United States and the Bacani and P150 to Matoto for said transcript at the rate of P1 per
Insular Government of the Philippine Islands. page.
Upon inspecting the books of this corporation, the Auditor
Held: General disallowed the payment of these fees and sought the
No, the editorial was not directed towards the recovery of the amounts paid.
government itself but towards the aggregate of individuals who The Auditor General required the Plaintiffs to reimburse
were administering the government at that time. said amounts on the strength of a circular of the Department of
Justice wherein the opinion was expressed that NACOCO, being a
“We understand, in modern political science, . . . by the government entity, was exempt from the payment of the fees in
term government, that institution or aggregate of institutions by question.
which an independent society makes and carries out those rules of The Auditor General issued an order directing the Cashier
action which are unnecessary to enable men to live in a social state, of the DOJ to deduct from the salary of Bacani the amount of P25
or which are imposed upon the people forming that society by those every payday and from the salary of Matoto the amount of P10
who possess the power or authority of prescribing them. every payday beginning March 30, 1954. To prevent deduction of
Government is the aggregate of authorities which rule a society. By these fees from their salaries and secure a judicial ruling that the
"administration, again, we understand in modern times, and NACOCO is not a government entity within the purview of section
especially in more or less free countries, the aggregate of those 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, this action was instituted in the
persons in whose hands the reins of government are for the time CFI of Manila.
being (the chief ministers or heads of departments)." (Bouvier, Law
Dictionary, 891.) But the writer adds that the terms "government" Issue:
and "administration" are not always used in their strictness, and that Whether or not NACOCO is a government entity within the
"government" is often used for "administration."” purview of section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917
and, hence, is exempted from paying the stenographers’ fees under
In this case, the editorial published by defendants where Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
directed towards the personnel of the Commission whom they
described as "notoriously corrupt and rascally, and men of no Held:
personal character". This as being ruled out by the Supreme Court No. It is not exempted from paying the stenographers’ fees
was an attack not to the government system but to the aggregate of under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
individuals by whom the government is being administered. Sec. 2 of the Revised Administrative Code defines the
scope of the term “Government of the Republic of the Philippines”.
The final judgment of the convictions of the defendants To begin with, we state that the term “Government” may
was reversed by the Supreme Court acquitting the defendants with be defined as “that institution or aggregate of institutions by which
costs against the officials. an independent society makes and carries out those rules of action
which are necessary to enable men to live in a social state, or which
are imposed upon the people forming that society by those who
possess the power or authority of prescribing them” (U.S. vs. Dorr, 2
Phil., 332). This institution, when referring to the national
government, has reference to what our Constitution has established
composed of three great departments, the legislative, executive,
and the judicial, through which the powers and functions of
government are exercised.

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These functions are twofold: constitute and ministrant. The former through which political authority is made effective whether they be
are those which constitute the very bonds of society and are provincial, municipal or other form of local government. These are
compulsory in nature; the latter are those that are undertaken only what we call municipal corporations. They do not include
by way of advancing the general interests of society, and are merely government entities which are given a corporate personality
optional. separate and distinct from the government and which are governed
The most important of the ministrant functions are: public by the Corporation Law. Their powers, duties and liabilities have to
works, public education, public charity, health and safety be determined in the light of that law and of their corporate
regulations, and regulations of trade and industry. The principles charters. They do not therefore come within the exemption clause
deter mining whether or not a government shall exercise certain of prescribed in section 16, Rule 130 of our Rules of Court.
these optional functions are: (1) that a government should do for
the public welfare those things which private capital would not
naturally undertake and (2) that a government should do these
things which by its very nature it is better equipped to administer for
the public welfare than is any private individual or group of
individuals. (Malcolm, The Government of the Philippine Islands, pp. CENTRAL BANK vs CA
19-20.) 63 SCRA 431, Gr. No. L-33022, April 22, 1975
From the above we may infer that, strictly speaking, there
are functions which our government is required to exercise to Facts:
promote its objectives as expressed in our Constitution and which Defendant Central Bank of the Philippines awarded to
are exercised by it as an attribute of sovereignty, and those which it private respondent Ablaza Construction the contract for the general
may exercise to promote merely the welfare, progress and construction of its various proposed regional offices, including the
prosperity of the people. To this latter class belongs the organization Central Bank regional office building in San Fernando, La Union.
of those corporations owned or controlled by the government to CB allowed the Ablaza to commence the contruction work
promote certain aspects of the economic life of our people such as without any formal, written contract.
the National Coconut Corporation. These are what we call CB then failed and refused to continue with the project
government-owned or controlled corporations which may take on unless the plans were modified and the agreed contruct price was
the form of a private enterprise or one organized with powers and lowered, contending that its action was in compliance with the
formal characteristics of a private corporation under the policy of fiscal restraint declared by then new president of the
Corporation Law. Philippines and with latter’s memorandum circular no. 1.
Ablaza sued for damages arising from breach of contract
before the CFI of Rizal, which ordered the CB to pay damages. It was
The question that now arises is: Does the fact that these also affirmed by the CA.
corporations perform certain functions of government make them CB claimed that there was no perfected contract in this
a part of the Government of the Philippines? case because there was no showing of compliance with a specific
requirement that there must be a certification of availability of funds
The answer is simple: they do not acquire that status for by the Auditor General.
the simple reason that they do not come under the classification of Section 607 of the Revised Administrative Code provides
municipal or public corporation. Take for instance the National that “Certificate showing appropriation to meet contract. — Except
Coconut Corporation. While it was organized with the purpose of in the case of a contract for personal service or for supplies to be
“adjusting the coconut industry to a position independent of trade carried in stock, no contract involving an expenditure by the
preferences in the United States” and of providing “Facilities for the National Government of three thousand pesos or more shall be
better curing of copra products and the proper utilization of coconut entered into or authorized until the Auditor General shall have
by-products”, a function which our government has chosen to certified to the officer entering into such obligation that funds have
exercise to promote the coconut industry, however, it was given a been duly appropriated for such purpose and that the amount
corporate power separate and distinct from our government, for it necessary to cover the proposed contract is available for
was made subject to the provisions of our Corporation Law in so far expenditure on account thereof. When application is made to the
as its corporate existence and the powers that it may exercise are Auditor General for the certificate herein required, a copy of the
concerned (sections 2 and 4, Commonwealth Act No. 518). It may proposed contract or agreement shall be submitted to him
sue and be sued in the same manner as any other private accompanied by a statement in writing from the officer making the
corporations, and in this sense it is an entity different from our application showing all obligations not yet presented for audit which
government. have been incurred against the appropriation to which the contract
To recapitulate, we may mention that the term in question would be chargeable; and such certificate, when signed
“Government of the Republic of the Philippines” used in section 2 of by the Auditor, shall be attached to and become a part of the
the Revised Administrative Code refers only to that government proposed contract, and the sum so certified shall not thereafter be
entity through which the functions of the government are exercised available for expenditure for any other purposes until the
as an attribute of sovereignty, and in this are included those arms Government is discharged from the contract in question.”

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Whether or not the CB is considered part of the National 21 SCRA 990, Gr. No. L-27275, November 18, 1967
Held: The main issue in this appeal is, whether or not the call for
No. Section 607 specifically refers to "expenditure(s) of the bids for the supply of steel and centrifugal cast iron pipes for the
National Government" and that the term "National Government" waterworks projects in Manila and suburbs, and in the cities of
may not be deemed to include the Central Bank. Davao and Iloilo, the National Waterworks & Sewerage Authority
Under the Administrative Code itself, the term "National (NAWASA) violated the provisions of Republic Act 912, section 1 of
Government" refers only to the central government, consisting of which provides as follows: Sec. 1. In construction or repair work
the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the undertaken by the Government, whether done directly or through
government, as distinguished from local governments and other contract awards, Philippine made materials and products, whenever
governmental entities and is not synonymous, therefore, with the available, practicable and usable, and will serve the purpose as
terms "The Government of the Republic of the Philippines" or equally well as foreign made products or materials, shall be used in
"Philippine Government", which are the expressions broad enough said construction or repair work, upon the proper certification of the
to include not only the central government but also the provincial availability, practicability, usability and durability of said materials or
and municipal governments, chartered cities and other government- products by the Director of the Bureau of Public Works and/or his
controlled corporations or agencies, like the Central Bank. assistants.
Central Bank is a government instrumentality. But it was San Pablo Waterworks System filed a complaint on 19 July
created as an autonomous body corporate to be governed by the 1965, alleging that the NAWASA had started to negotiate: for direct
provisions of its charter, Republic Act 265, "to administer the purchase of centrifugally cast iron pipes (CCI) for the improvement
monetary and banking system of the Republic." of the San Pablo Waterworks System in violation of the provisions of
(Sec. 1) As such, it is authorized "to adopt, alter and use a Republic Act 912 and the law on public biddings, excluding the C & C
corporate seal which shall be judicially noticed; to make contracts; Commercial. The court rendered a partial decision dismissing the
to lease or own real and personal property, and to sell or otherwise complaint insofar as the San Pablo Waterworks System was
dispose of the same; to sue and be sued; and otherwise to do and concerned and dissolving the preliminary injunction issued
perform any and all things that may be necessary or proper to carry thereunder. This partial decision has become final.
out the purposes of this Act. The Central Bank may acquire and hold Davao Metropolitan Waterworks, on 10 August 1965, the
such assets and incur such liabilities as result directly from plaintiff filed a (First) supplemental complaint seeking to restrain the
operations authorized by the provisions of this Act, or as are NAWASA from proceeding with the award of the project in Davao,
essential to the proper conduct of such operations." alleging that in specifying steel pipes for the project, which is
(Sec. 4) It has capital of its own and operates under a admittedly imported material, without giving preference to locally
budget prepared by its own Monetary Board and otherwise produced asbestos cement pressure pipes manufactured by the
appropriates money for its operations and other expenditures plaintiff, violates the provisions of Republic Act 912. The Court
independently of the national budget. It does not depend on the issued a writ of preliminary injunction.
National Government for the financing of its operations; it is the Iloilo Waterworks System, on 8 September 1965, almost
National Government that occasionally resorts to it for needed three (3) years after the date of the bidding, the C & C Commercial
budgetary accommodations. Co. filed a (Second) supplemental complaint; seeking to restrain the
Under Section 14 of the Bank's charter, the Monetary NAWASA from formalizing or implementing the award on the
Board may authorize such expenditures by the Central Bank as are in aforesaid Iloilo project for the supply of 18-inch steel pipes, alleging
the interest of the effective administration and operation of the that in specifying steel pipes for the particular project, the NAWASA
Bank." Its prerogative to incur such liabilities and expenditures is not has violated the provisions of Republic Act 912 which requires the
subject to any prerequisite found in any statute or regulation not purchase of Philippine made materials and products which
expressly applicable to it. are available, practicable and usable locally, like plaintiff's product
Relevantly to the issues in this case, it is not subject, like — asbestos cement pressure pipes — in construction and repair
the Social Security Commission, to Section 1901 and related undertaken by the government. The record is not clear when the
provisions of the Revised Administrative Code which require restraining order under the second supplemental complaint was
national government constructions to be done by or under the issued, although the NAWASA alleges that a restraining order was
supervision of the Bureau of Public Works. (Op. of the Sec. of Justice issued under date of 10 September 1965, which fact has not been
No. 92, Series of 1960) traversed by the plaintiff.
For these reasons, the provisions of the Revised Manila and Suburbs Waterworks System filed a
Administrative Code invoked by the Bank do not apply to it. The (Third) Supplemental complaint seeking to restrain the NAWASA and
contract entered into by the bank in this case, is not within the its representatives from holding the balding under the
contemplation of Sec 607 of the RAC, which clearly refers to an aforementioned notice to bid, averring identical facts as those
expenditure by the national government. alleged in the previous supplemental complaints, that the call for bid

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for steel pipes for the Manila project and suburbs violates the and in which, the returns in 1,966 out of 4,107 voting centers in the
provisions of Republic Act 912. whole region had already been canvassed showing partial results.
The court rendered a decision finding and concluding that A Supervening Panel headed by Commissioner of Election
the act of the NAWASA in specifying steel pipes for the project of Hon. Venancio S. Duque had conducted the hearings of the
the city of Manila and its suburbs, and in awarding the contracts for complaints of the petitioners therein of the alleged irregularities in
the supply of steel pipes in the cases of the Davao and Iloilo the election records of the mentioned provinces. On July 11, 1978,
Waterworks System, constituted a violation of the provisions of the Regional Board of Canvassers issued a resolution, over the
Republic Act 912. objection of the Konsensiya ng Bayan candidates, declaring all the
Appellant argued that the provisions of Republic Act 912 eight Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan candidates elected.
were applicable only to construction or repair works undertaken by Appeal was taken by the KB candidates to the Comelec.
the Government. That since the NAWASA, though a public On January 13, 1979, the Comelec issued its questioned resolution
corporation, is not a municipal corporation or agency of the State declaring seven KBL candidates and one KB candidate as having
empowered to regulate or administer the local affairs of a town or obtained the first eight places, and ordering the Regional Board of
city, nor one of the various arms of the government through which Canvassers to proclaim the winning candidates. The KB candidates
political authority is made effective in the Islands, consequently, the interposed the present petition.
NAWASA should not be included within the meaning of the term
"Government" as used in the law. Issue:
Whether or not respondent Comelec has committed grave
Issue: abuse of discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
Whether or not NAWASA should be included within the
meaning of the term government. Held:
No. While under the Constitution of 1935, "the decisions,
Held: orders and rulings of the Commission shall be subject to review by
Yes. The court ruled that the NAWASA, like any other the Supreme Court" (Sec. 2, first paragraph, Article X) and pursuant
corporation exercising proprietary or governmental functions should to the Rules of Court, the petition for "certiorari or review" shall be
be deemed embraced within the term "Government" found in on the ground that the Commission "has decided a question of
Republic Act 912, and in the repair or construction of their works or substance not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court, or has
projects or the purchase of materials therefor, local materials should decided it in a way not in accord with law or the applicable decisions
be given preference when available, practicable and usable. of the Supreme Court" (Sec. 3. Rule 43), and such provisions refer
Section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code defining the not only to election contests but even to pre-proclamation
term "Government" which is heavily relied upon by the appellant proceedings, the 1973 Constitution provides somewhat differently
recognizes an exception: "when a different meaning for the word or thus: "Any decision, order or ruling of the Commission may be
phrase is given a particular statute or is plainly to be collected from brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party
the context or connection where the term is used." In this context of within thirty days from his receipt of a copy thereof" (Section 11,
the law, the term "government" without any qualification as used in Article XII c), even as it ordains that the Commission shall "be the
Republic Act 912, should be construed in its implied sense and not in sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and
the strict signification of the term "Government of the Philippines" qualifications of all members of the National Assembly and elective
as the political entity through which political authority is exercised. provincial and city official" (Section 2(2).)
“As the Superior administrative body having control over
boards of canvassers, the Comelec may review the actuations of the
Regional Board of Canvassers, such as by extending its inquiry
beyond the election records of the voting centers in questions.”
The authority of the Commission is in reviewing such
ARATUC vs COMELEC actuations does not spring from any appellant jurisdiction conferred
88 SCRA 251, Gr. No. 49705-09, February 8, 1979 by any provisions of the law, for there is none such provision
anywhere in the election Code, but from the plenary prerogative of
Facts: direct control and supervision endowed to it by the provisions in
On 1978, election for the position of Representative to the Section 168. And in administrative law, it is a too well settled
Batasang Pambansa were held throughout the Philippines. The postulate to need any supporting citation here, that a superior body
cases at bar concern only the results of the elections in Region XII or office having supervision and control over another may do
which comprises the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, directly what the latter is supposed to do or ought to have done.
Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of In regard to the jurisdictional and due process points
Marawi, Iligan and Cotabato. raised by herein petitioner, it is of decisive importance to bear in
Tomatic Aratuc sought the suspension of the canvass then mind that under Section 168 of the Revised Election Code of 1978,
being undertaken by Regional Board of Canvassers in Cotabato City "the Commission (on Elections) shall have direct control and
supervision on over the board of canvassers" and that relatedly,

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Section 175 of the same Code provides that it "shall be the sole denying the claim for refund. Because of this judgment the
judge of all pre-proclamation controversies." While nominally, the petitioner appealed to the Commissioner of Customs who upheld
procedure of bringing to the Commission objections to the the decision of the Collector.
actuations of boards of canvassers has been quite loosely referred to Eventually, a petition for review was filed with the Court
in certain quarters, even by the Commission and by this Court, such of Tax Appeals which affirmed the decision of the Commissioner of
as in the guidelines of May 23,1978 quoted earlier in this opinion, as Customs.
an appeal, the fact of the matter is that the authority of the
Commission in reviewing such actuations does not spring from any Issue:
appellate jurisdiction conferred by any specific provision of law, for Whether or not interpretation or construction of an
there is none such provision anywhere in the Election Code, but ambiguous or uncertain statute by the Executive Department or
from the plenary prerogative of direct control and supervision other Administrative Agencies be given consideration, in the case at
endowed to it by the above-quoted provisions of Section 168. And in bar, the Bureau of Customs.
administrative law, it is a too well settled postulate to need any
supporting citation here, that a superior body or office having Held:
supervision and control over another may do directly what the latter Yes. Considering that the statutory provisions in question
is supposed to do or ought to have done. (Section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Actof 1909 and Sex. 105(x) of the
Tariff and Customs Code) have not been the subject of previous
judicial interpretation, then the application of the doctrine of
"judicial respect for administrative construction " would, initially, be
in order.
Only where the court of last resort has not previously
ASTURIA'S SUGAR CENTRAL vs COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS interpreted the statute is the rule applicable that courts will give
22 SCRA 622, Gr. No. L-19337, September 30, 1969 consideration to construction by administrative or executive
departments of the state.
Facts: Where the court of last resort has not previously
Asturias Sugar Central, Inc. was engaged in the production interpreted the statute, the rule is that courts will give consideration
and milling of centrifugal sugar for export, the produced sugar was to the construction by administrative or executive departments of
being placed in container known as jute bag which were not locally the state.
made. Thus, in 1957, it made two importations of jute bags. The formal or informal interpretation or practical
There were 44,800 jute bags in the first importation, and construction of an ambiguous or uncertain statute or law by the
75,200 in the second importation. These importations were made executive department or other agency charged with its
free of customs duties and special import tax upon the petitioner’s administration or enforcement is entitled to consideration and the
filing of Re-exportation and Special Import Tax Bond conditioned highest respect from the courts, and must be accorded appropriate
upon the exportation of jute bags within one year from date of weight in determining the meaning of the law especially when the
importation. construction or interpretation is long continued and uniform or is
The first was imported on January 8, 1957 and the second contemporaneous with the first workings of the statute, or when the
on February 8, 1957. But it only exported 33,647 out of 120,000 jute enactment of the statute was suggested by such agency.
bags that it imported. The remaining 86,353 jute bags were Considering that the Bureau of Customs is the office charged
exported after the expiration of the one-year period but within with implementing and enforcing the provisions of our Tariff and
three years from their importation contrary to the Administrative Customs Code, the construction placed by it thereon should be given
Order 66 and 389 issued by the Bureau of Customs. controlling weight.
Due to the petitioner’s failure to show proof of the In applying the doctrine or principle of respect for
exportation of the balance of 86,353 jute bags within one year from administrative or practical construction, the courts often refer to
their importation, the collector of Customs of Iloilo required it to pay several factors which may be regarded as bases of the principle, as
the amount of 28,629.42 representing the customs duties and factors leading the courts to give the principle controlling weight in
special import tax due thereon, which amount paid under protest. particular instances, or as independent rules in themselves. These
The petitioner demanded the refund of the amount it had factors are the respect due the governmental agencies charged with
paid, on the ground that its request for extension of the period of administration, their competence, expertness, experience, and
one year was filed on time, and that its failure to export the jute informed judgment and the fact that they frequently are the
bags within the required one-year period was due to delay in the drafters of the law they interpret; that the agency is the one on
arrival of the vessel on which they were to be loaded and to the which the legislature must rely to advise it as to the practical
picketing of the Central railroad line. working out of the statute, and practical application of the statute
Alternatively, it asked for refund of the same amount in presents the agency with unique opportunity and experiences for
the form of a draw back under section 106(b) in relation to section discovering deficiencies, inaccuracies, or improvements in the
105(x) of the Tariff and Custom Code. On June 21, 1960, the statute.
collector of Customs of Iloilo, after hearing, rendered judgment

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CHIONGBIAN ET. AL. vs ORBOS In conferring on the President the power "to merge the existing
245 SCRA 253, Gr. No. 96754, June 22, 1995 regions" following the establishment of ARMM, Congress merely
followed the pattern set in previous legislation dating back to the
Facts: initial organization of administrative regions in 1972 (as a result of
In 1968, RA 5435 was passed, "authorizing the President of RA 5345).
the Philippines, with the help of a Commission on Reorganization The choice of the President as delegate is logical because the
(Commission), to reorganize the different executive departments, division of the country into regions is intended to facilitate not only
bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the government, the administration of local governments but also the direction of
including banking or financial institutions and corporations owned or executive departments, which the law requires should have regional
controlled by it." offices.
The purpose was to promote "simplicity, economy and The regrouping is only done on paper and for administrative
efficiency in the government." purposes. A legislative standard need not be expressed. It may
Commission created under the law was required to submit simply be gathered or implied Nor need it be found in the law
an integrated reorganization plan to the President who was in turn challenged because it may be embodied in other statutes on the
required to submit the plan to Congress as the law provided that any same subject as that of the challenged legislation.
reorganization plan submitted would become effective only upon With respect to the power to “merge existing administrative
the approval of Congress. regions”, the standard is to be found in the same policy underlying
Commission prepared an integrated reorganization plan, the grant to the President in RA 5435: "To promote simplicity,
dividing the country into 11 administrative regions, which was economy and efficiency in the government to enable it to pursue
approved in 1972. programs consistent with national goals for accelerated social and
Congress passed RA 6734, the Organic Act for the economic development and to improve the service in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), calling for a transaction of the public business."
plebiscite – 13 provinces and 9 cities. 4 provinces voted for creating
Art. 19, Sec. 13 of RA 6734 states that the provinces and
cities that do not vote for inclusion in the ARMM shall remain in
existing administrative regions, provided, however, that the
President may merge existing regions MACEDA vs ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD
President Aquino passed EO 429, “Providing for the 192 SCRA 363, Gr. No. 95203-05
Reorganization of the Administrative Regions in Mindanao”. December 18, 1990
Petitioners contended the said EO and wrote to Aquino,
but the Reorganization went on as planned, which prompted the Facts:
petitioners to file the case in the SC. Upon the outbreak of the Persiqn Gulf conflict on August
1990, private respondents oil companies filed with the ERB their
Issue: respective applications on oil price increase. ERB then issued an
Whether or not the power to "merge" administrative order granting a provisional increase of 1.42 php per liter. Petitioner
regions is executive in character. Or Whether or not the President Maceda filed a petition for prohibition seeking to nullify said
may merge existing regions. increase.

Held: Issue:
Yes. The power to “merge” administrative regions has Whether or not the order of the Energy Regulatory Board
traditionally been logged with the President. Congress has provided is valid.
a sufficient standard to guide the President in the exercise of
aforementioned power. Held:
As this Court observed in Abbas, "while the power to merge Yes. Pursuant to Section 8 of E.O. No. 172, while hearing is
administrative regions is not expressly provided for in the indispensable, it does not preclude the Board from ordering a
Constitution, it is a power which has traditionally been lodged with provisional increase subject to final disposition of whether or not to
the President to facilitate the exercise of the power of general make it permanent or to reduce or increase it further or to deny the
supervision over local governments [Sec. 4, Art. 10 of the application. The provisional increase is akin to a temporary
Constitution]." restraining order, which are given ex-parte.
Also, there is no abdication by Congress of its legislative power The Court further noted the Solicitor General’s comments
in conferring on the President the power to merge administrative that “the ERB is not averse to the idea of a presidential review of its
regions. decision,” except that there is no law at present authorizing the
The creation and subsequent reorganization of administrative same. The Court suggested that it will be under the scope of the
regions by the President is pursuant to authority granted to her by legislative to allow the presidential review of the decisions of the
law. ERB since, despite its being a quasi-judicial body, it is still “ an

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administrative body under the Office of the President whose Issue:

decisions should be appealed to the President under the established Whether or not the preliminary investigation of charges
principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies,” especially on a for unfair labor practices is exclusive prerogative of the presiding
matter as transcendental as oil price increases which affect the lives judge.
of almost all Filipinos.
No. It is true that reference to the court in the law must be
construed to mean the Presiding Judge and not the court en banc
when the action contemplated is purely administrative in character,
but, precisely, the point missed is that, as already explained, the
Industrial Peace Act does not consider the investigation by the CIR,
UNIVERSITY OF NUEVA CACERES vs MARTINEZ either by itself or thru an agent, as an administrative matter but a
56 SCRA 154, Gr. No. L-31152, March 27, 1974 judicial one like the preliminary investigations in election and anti-
subversion cases.
Facts: Preliminary investigation of charges for unfair labor
Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with practices is not the exclusive prerogative of the presiding judge, but
preliminary injunction, relative to the orders of respondent belongs to the court itself.
Presiding Judge of the Court of Industrial Relations which in effect “Under the old IPA, preliminary investigatons
held that the determination of whether or not a charge of unfair conducted by the CIR are judicial in nature, unlike preliminary
labor practice, investigated by the Prosecution Division of said court, investigations conducted by prosecutors in criminal cases which are
should be dismissed outright because of any fatal defect of form or administrative in character.”
substance is the exclusive prerogative of said Presiding Judge, to the
exclusion of the court en banc, on the theory that the function
involved in such determination is not judicial but purely
administrative and hence entrusted to his exclusive administrative
authority as head of said court.
University of Nueva Caceres Guardians Union filed with
the Bicol branch of respondent Court of Industrial Relations (CIR) an PEREZ ET. AL. Vs SANDIGANBAYAN
unfair labor practice charge against petitioners accompanied by the Gr. No. 166062, September 26, 2006
joint affidavit of Benito de la Paz and George Offemaria.
At the hearing of said charge before the prosecutor of the Facts:
CIR, petitioners moved to dismiss the same on the grounds: (1) it is Municipal Mayor of San Manuel, Pangasinan, Salvador
not verified; (2) it does not specify the particular provisions of Perez and the municipal treasurer, Juanita Apostol conspired and
Section 4 (a) of the Industrial Peace Act, RA 875, as amended, confederated with one another, committed the crime charged in
supposed to have been violated, and (3) the supporting joint relation to and taking advantage of their official functions, and
affidavit contains "falsities, misstatements and improbabilities on through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
points otherwise material to the charge." negligence, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally
Respondent Presiding Judge denied the petition for cause the purchase of one (1) computer unit costing P120,000.00
reconsideration, admitted the amended charge and directed the acquisition by personal canvass which is in violation of Secs. 362 and
Court Prosecutor to set the said amended charge for preliminary 367 of R.A. 7160, thereby causing undue injury to the Municipality of
investigation. San Manuel, Pangasinan.
The present petition was filed charging said respondent The Office of the Special Prosecutor conducted a
with having acted in excess of jurisdiction in acting on a matter reinvestigation. Assistant Special Prosecutor Warlito Galisanao
addressed to and within the jurisdiction of the CIR en banc and of prepared a Memorandum. New Ombudsman Simeon V. Marcelo
grave abuse of discretion in not ordering the dismissal of the charge crossed out both actions. Supplemental Memorandum, Assistant
upon the grounds invoked by them. Special Prosecutor III Galisanao recommended an amendment of
Respondent Judge contended that the function of the Information, instead of a withdrawal thereof.
overseering the Prosecution Division of the CIR in its work of filing In the earlier memorandum, there is no unanimity of
and dismissing charges of unfair labor practice was purely conclusion as far as the reasonableness of the purchase price of the
administrative in nature and falls within his exclusive competence computer set is concern[ed]. However, the circumstances of its
was without merit. acquisition clearly indicate that the public officials involved gave the
supplier, Mobil Link Enterprises/Starlet Sales Center, a private party,
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence by
paying much more than the prevailing price for a comparable
computer set in the market.

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 8


This time around, Special Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio presidential type of government which we have adopted and
approved the Supplemental Memorandum and, pursuant thereto, considering the departmental organization established and
Assistant Special Prosecutor Galisanao filed a Motion for Leave to continued in force by paragraph 1, section 12, Article VII, of our
File Amended Information dated 12 March 2004. The Amended Constitution, all executive and administrative organizations are
Information, which again charges petitioners Perez and Apostol for adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various
violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019. executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief
The Sandiganbayan granted the motion in the first assailed Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief Executive is required
resolution. There having been no arraignment yet and the pre- by the Constitution or the law to act in person or the exigencies of
maturity of the amendment is of the prosecution’s risk, the motion the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious
to Amend the Information is granted. The Amended Information executive and administrative functions of the Chief Executive are
submitted by the prosecution is admitted. Petitioners filed a motion performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts
for reconsideration, but the same was denied. of the secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated
Petitioners alleged that the amendment of the in the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or
Information and the admission of the Amended Information was reprobated by the Chief Executive, presumptively the acts of the
premature, since the Ombudsman has not yet acted with finality on Chief Executive. “
the Memorandum. While we do not underestimate the quantity of work in
Respondent People’s alleged that compliance with the the hands of the Office of the Ombudsman, the same simply does
specific instructions of the Ombudsman was merely an internal not measure up to the workload of the Office of the President as to
matter and the alleged failure to heed the specific instructions of the necessitate having the Special Prosecutor as an alter ego of the
Ombudsman is speculative. Ombudsman. In any case, the Office of the Ombudsman could very
Petitioners countered that the doctrine of qualified well make a general delegation of powers to the Special Prosecutor,
political agency does not apply to the Office of the Ombudsman, if it is so desired. An examination of the office orders issued by the
since the latter was an apolitical agency, and was far different from Ombudsman, however, reveal that there had been no such intention
the bureaucracy to which said doctrine applies. to make a general delegation.
Indeed, a statute granting powers to an agency created by
Issue: the Constitution should be liberally construed for the advancement
Whether or not the petitioners are correct in countering of the purposes and objectives for which it was created. Yet, the
that the doctrine of qualified political agency does not apply to the Ombudsman would be severely hampered from exercising his power
Office of the Ombudsman. of control if we are to allow the Special Prosecutor to authorize the
filing of informations in the first instance. This is because while the
Held: Ombudsman has full discretion to determine whether or not a
Yes. Under the Administrative Code of 1987: “Supervision criminal case should be filed in the Sandiganbayan, once the case
and control shall include authority to act directly whenever a specific has been filed with said court, it is the Sandiganbayan, and no longer
function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the Ombudsman, which has full control of the case so much so that
the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, the informations may not be dismissed, without the approval of the
approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate said court
officials or units; determine priorities in the execution of plans and
programs; and prescribe standards, guidelines, plans and programs.
x x x”
Springing from the power of control is the doctrine of
qualified political agency, wherein the acts of a subordinate bears
the implied approval of his superior, unless actually disapproved by VINZONS-CHATO vs FORTUNE TOBACCO CORP.
the latter. Thus, taken with the powers of control and supervision, 525 SCRA 11, Gr. No. 141309, December 23, 2008
the acts of Department Secretaries in the performance of their
duties are presumed to be the act of the President, unless and until Facts:
the President alters, modifies, or nullifies the same. By arguing that On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which
"[w]hat is important is that the amended Information has not been provided that locally manufactured cigarettes which are currently
withdrawn, and or recalled by the Honorable Ombudsman, [a] clear classified and taxed at 55% shall be charged an ad valorem tax of
showing that the latter acknowledged/upheld the act of the Special “55% provided that the maximum tax shall not be less than Five
Prosecutor in signing the Amended Information," respondent People Pesos per pack.”
claims that the doctrine of qualified political agency should be Prior to effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued a rule,
applied as well to the relationship between the Ombudsman and the reclassifying “Champion,” “Hope,” and “More” (all manufactured
Special Prosecutor. by Fortune) as locally manufactured cigarettes bearing foreign brand
The doctrine of qualified political agency was adopted in subject to the 55% ad valorem tax. Thus, when RA 7654 was passed,
our system of government on the following pronouncement of this these cigarette brands were already covered.
Court in Villena v. The Secretary of the Interior: “…that under the

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 9


In a case filed against Liwayway with the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, DPWH, COA ET. AL. vs
RTC, Fortune contended that the issuance of the rule violated its CARLITO LACAP
constitutional right against deprivation of property without due 517 SCRA 255, Gr. No. 158253, March 2, 2007
process of law and the right to equal protection of the laws.
For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to dismiss Facts:
that respondent has no cause of action against her because she Case is a petition for certoriari, assailing the decision of the
issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her official function and Court of Appeals which affirmed, with modifications, ruling by the
within the scope of her authority. RTC granting the complaint for Specific Performance and damages
She claimed that she acted merely as an agent of the filed by Lacap against RP.
Republic and therefore the latter is the one responsible for her acts. Dist. Eng. Of Pampanga issued an invitation to bid dated
She also contended that the complaint states no cause of action for Jan 27, 1992 where Lacap and two other contractors were pre-
lack of allegation of malice or bad faith. qualified.
The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to Being the lowest bidder, Lacap won the bid for concreting
the CA, who dismissed the case on the ground that under Article 32, of a certain baranggay, and thereafter undertook the works and
liability may arise even if the defendant did not act with malice or purchased materials and labor in connection with.
bad faith. Hence this appeal. On Oct 29, 1992, Office of the Dist. Eng conducted final
investigation of end product and fount it 100% completed according
Issue: to specs. Lacap thereafter sought the payment of the DPWH.
Whether or not a public officer may be validly sued in DPWH withheld payment on the grounds that the CoA
his/her private capacity for acts done in connection with the disapproved final release of funds due to Lacap’s license as
discharge of the functions of his/her office. contractor having expired.
Dist. Eng sought the opinion of DPWH legal. Legal then
Held: responded to Dist. Eng that the Contractors License Law (RA 4566)
Yes. The general rule is that a public officer is not liable for does not provide that a contract entered into by a contractor after
damages which a person may suffer arising from the expiry of license is void and that there is no law that expressly
just performance of his official duties and within the scope of his prohibits or declares void such a contract.
assigned tasks. DPWH Legal Dept, through Dir III Cesar Mejia, issued First
An officer who acts within his authority to administer the Indorsement on July 20 1994 recommending that payment be made
affairs of the office which he/she heads is not liable for damages to Lacap. Despite such recommendation, no payment was issued.
that may have been caused to another, as it would virtually be a On July 3, 1995, respondent filed the complaint for Specific
charge against the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment for Performance and Damages against petitioner before the RTC.
monetary claims without its consent. On September 14, 1995, petitioner, through the Office of
However, a public officer is by law not immune from the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint
damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith on the grounds that the complaint states no cause of action and that
which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer the RTC had no jurisdiction over the nature of the action since
protected by the mantle of immunity for official actions. respondent did not appeal to the COA the decision of the District
Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, Auditor to disapprove the claim.
civil liability may arise where there is bad faith, malice, or Following the submission of respondent’s Opposition to
grossnegligence on the part of a superior public officer. And, under Motion to Dismiss,the RTC issued an Order dated March 11, 1996
Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil liability may arise where the denying the Motion to Dismiss. The OSG filed a Motion for
subordinate public officer’s act is characterized by willfulness Reconsideration18 but it was likewise denied by the RTC in its Order
or negligence. In Cojuangco, Jr. V. CA, a public officer who directly or dated May 23, 1996.
indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another, may be validly On August 5, 1996, the OSG filed its Answer invoking the
sued for damages under Article 32 ofthe Civil Code even if his acts defenses of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies and the
were not so tainted with malice or bad faith. doctrine of non-suability of the State.
Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may Petitioner contends that respondent’s recourse to judicial
be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done in the course action was premature since the proper remedy was to appeal the
of the performance of the functions of the office, where said public District Auditor’s disapproval of payment to the COA, pursuant to
officer: (1) acted with malice, bad faith, ornegligence; or (2) where Section 48, Presidential Decree No. 1445 (P.D. No. 1445), otherwise
the public officer violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff. known as the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines; that the
COA has primary jurisdiction to resolve respondent’s money claim
against the government under Section 2(1), Article IX of the 1987
Constitution and Section 26 of P.D. No. 1445; that non-observance
of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the
principle of primary jurisdiction results in a lack of cause of action.

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 10


Issue: under Section 48 of P.D. No. 1445, the administrative remedy

Whether or not exhaustion of administrative remedies available to respondent is an appeal of the denial of his claim by the
apply in this case. District Auditor to the COA itself, the Court holds that, in view of
exceptions (c) and (e) narrated above, the complaint for specific
Held: performance and damages was not prematurely filed and within the
Exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply, jurisdiction of the RTC to resolve, despite the failure to exhaust
because nothing of an administrative nature is to be or can be administrative remedies.
done. The issue does not require technical knowledge and
experience but one that would involve the interpretation and
application of law. Said question at best could be resolved
only tentatively by the administrative authorities. The final decision
on the matter rests not with them but with the courts of justice.
The general rule is that before a party may seek the
intervention of the court, he should first avail of all the means
afforded him by administrative processes.
The issues which administrative agencies are authorized to LORNA MEDINA vs COA
decide should not be summarily taken from them and submitted to 543 SCRA 684, Gr. No. 176478, February 4, 2008
a court without first giving such administrative agency the
opportunity to dispose of the same after due deliberation. Facts:
Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative The Commission on Audit (COA) audited the cash and accounts
remedies is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; that is, courts handled by Lorna Medina (Medina) as Municipal Treasurer of
cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite and the audit team, headed by
which is within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal prior to Eufrocina Mawak, discovered a total cash shortage of
the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where P4,080,631.36.
the question demands the exercise of sound administrative Medina was ordered to restitute the shortage but she failed to
discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services comply.
of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate COA filed an administrative case with the Deputy Ombudsman
matters of fact. charging Medina with grave misconduct and dishonesty.Medina
Nonetheless, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative filed a Counter-Affidavit and Position Paper raising affirmative
remedies and the corollary doctrine of primary jurisdiction, which defenses.
are based on sound public policy and practical considerations, are Deputy Ombudsman Victor C. Fernandez (Fernandez) approved
not inflexible rules. There are many accepted exceptions, such as: (a) the recommendation of the Graft Investigation and Prosecution
where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the Officer to dismiss petitioner from service; the decision noted
doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is patently Medina's supposed failure to file a counter-affidavit and position
illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is paper despite due notice.
unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably Later, Medina filed an urgent motion stating that she complied
prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is with the directive to file a counter-affidavit and position paper and
relatively small so as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) prayed that the decision be reversed based on her defenses.
where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have Fernandez denied the motion; he acknowledged he made a
to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention mistake in saying that Medina failed to file a counter-affidavit and
is urgent; (g) when its application may cause great and irreparable position paper but still affirmed the previous order because none of
damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) the defenses exculpate Medina from the cash shortages;
when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has furthermore, Medina’s failure to produce the cash shortage created
been rendered moot; (j) when there is no other plain, speedy and the presumption that she appropriated the funds for personal use.
adequate remedy; (k) when strong public interest is involved; and, (l) Medina sought reconsideration on the grounds of newly
in quo warranto proceedings. Exceptions (c) and (e) are applicable to discovered evidence consisting of her petition for reconsideration of
the present case. the audit report which petition was still pending with the audit team
Furthermore, whether a contractor with an expired license and letters to the provincial auditor of Cavite questioning the audit.
at the time of the execution of its contract is entitled to be paid for Fernandez denied the motion for reconsideration because the
completed projects, clearly is a pure question of law. It does not request for re-audit is not newly discovered evidence and he denied
involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence the request for a formal investigation on the ground that petitioner
presented by the parties. There is a question of law when the doubt was afforded due process when she filed her counter-affidavit and
or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, position paper.
and not as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts. On appeal, the CA held that Medina was not entitled to a
Thus, while it is undisputed that the District Auditor of the formal investigation and it affirmed the Fernandez's factual finding
COA disapproved respondent’s claim against the Government, and, that she was guilty of grave misconduct and dishonesty.

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 11


Petitioner, in invoking her right to due process, on one hand, Ombudsman, the latter governs in this case which involves an
insisted that she was entitled to a formal investigation, citing the administrative complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman
Administrative Code of 1987, Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Section 48 and which raises the question of whether petitioner is entitled to a
(2) and (3). formal investigation as a matter of right.
On the other hand, in support of its argument that the As correctly pointed out by the OSG, the denial of
propriety of conducting a formal investigation rests on the sound petitioner's request for a formal investigation is not tantamount to a
discretion of the hearing officer, respondent COA, through the Office denial of her right to due process. Petitioner was required to file a
of the Solicitor General (OSG), relied on Administrative Order No. 07, counter-affidavit and position paper and later on, was given a
as amended by Administrative Order No. 17, Rule III, Section chance to file two motions for reconsideration of the decision of the
5, governing the procedure in administrative cases filed before the deputy ombudsman. The essence of due process in administrative
Office of the Ombudsman. proceedings is the opportunity to explain one's side or seek a
The validity of Administrative Order No. 07, Rule III, reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. As long as the
Section 5 is not in dispute. However, petitioner argues that said parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is
provision is inferior to the provision in the Administrative Code rendered, the demands of due process are sufficiently met.
which entitles the respondent to a formal investigation if he so

Whether or not the A.O. No. 07 governs this case.

Yes. On various occasions, the Court has ruled on the
primacy of special laws and of their implementing regulations over INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES vs
the Administrative Code of 1987 in settling controversies specifically COMELEC
subject of these special laws. For instance, in Hon. Joson v. Exec. Sec. Gr. No. 159139, March 28, 2006
Torres, the Court held that the Local Government Code of 1991, the
Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of Facts:
1991, and Administrative Order No. 23 (A.O. No. 23) govern On February 14, 2006, this Court issued a Resolution
administrative disciplinary proceedings against elective local directing the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) "to SHOW
officials, whereas the Rules of Court and the Administrative Code of CAUSE why it should not be held in contempt of court for its failure
1987 apply in a suppletory character to all matters not provided in to fully comply with the Court's directive in the January 13, 2004
A.O. No. 23.The aforesaid ruling is based on the principle of Decision on the instant case, and to MANIFEST compliance with the
statutory construction that where there are two statutes applicable directive..."
to a particular case, that which is specially intended for the said case In compliance with that Resolution, the OMB filed,
must prevail. on February 24, 2 006, its Comment contending that it should not
More significantly, in Lapid v. Court of Appeals, the Court be held in contempt of court. It alleged that the statement: "Let a
explained that, “ There is no basis in law for the proposition that the copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Ombudsman
provisions of the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Local which shall determine the criminal liability, if any, of the public
Government Code on execution pending review should be applied officials (and conspiring private individuals, if any) involved in the
suppletorily to the provisions of the Ombudsman Act as there is subject Resolution and Contract," made by this Court in the Decision,
nothing in the Ombudsman Act which provides for such suppletory dated January 13, 2004, should be "plainly construed as a judicial
application. xxx xxx xxx And while in one respect, the Ombudsman 'referral' to the OMB of a matter falling within the investigatory and
Law, the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Local Government prosecutorial authority and jurisdiction of a constitutionally
Code are in pari materia insofar as the three laws relate or deal with independent body." It averred that being a constitutionally
public officers, the similarity ends there. It is a principle in statutory independent body, it had no duty to render reports on the status,
construction that where there are two statutes that apply to a eventual outcome and completion of its investigation on the
particular case, that which was specially designed for the said case Comelec-Mega Pacific Consortium controversy. It alleged that the
must prevail over the other. In the instant case, the acts attributed January 13, 2004 Decision did not specifically order it to make such
to petitioner could have been the subject of administrative reports.
disciplinary proceedings before the Office of the President under the OMB still repotted the actions it has taken pursuant to the
Local Government Code or before the Office of the Ombudsman January 13, 2004 Decision in this case. It stated: "On the basis of the
under the Ombudsman Act. Considering however, that petitioner Decision of this Honorable Court, then Tanodbayan (Ombudsman)
was charged under the Ombudsman Act, it is this law alone which Simeon V. Marcelo issued Office Order directing the then Fact-
should govern his case.” Finding and Intelligence Research Bureau (FIRO), now known as the
Thus, as between the Administrative Code of 1987 and Field Investigation Office (FIO), Office of the Ombudsman to conduct
Administrative Order No. 07, as amended, issued by the Office of the an in-depth investigation on the alleged anomalies surrounding the

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 12


award of the subject contract by the COMELEC to the MPC. i.e., CPL-C-04-1720 and later docketed before the Office of the
Meanwhile, the Resident Ombudsman for the COMELEC conducted Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon (OMB-L) as OMB-L-C-02-0922-J.
an initial investigation on the matter, and assigned to the same. "Upon recommendation by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
Subsequently, in a Memorandum dated 22 January 2004, the for Luzon's panel of investigators, OMB-C-C-04-0011-A, OMB-C-A-
Supervising Resident Ombudsman for the COMELEC requested the 04-0015-A (CPL-C-04-0089) and CPL-C-04-0060 were then set for
Preliminary Investigation, Administrative Adjudication and preliminary investigation and/or administrative adjudication.Thence,
Monitoring Office (PAMO), Office of the Ombudsman to consolidate the preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication
the. proceeded.
“On 21 January 2004, and while the FIRO was conducting "On 17 December 2004, the officers and incorporators of
its in-depth investigation in CPL-C-04-0060 and ORO-COM-MIM- MPel who were among the respondents in OMB-L-C-04-0922-J and
2004-01, Senator Aquilino Pimentel filed a complaint before the OMB-L-C-04-0983-J filed before the Office of the Deputy
Office of the Ombudsman charging the COMELEC Commissioners Ombudsman for Luzon a Motion to Suspend Proceedings which was
with [the] alleged violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019 denied in an Order dated 14 January 2005. Said respondents
in connection with the nullified transaction. x x x. The complaint was thereafter filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was also denied
initially assigned reference number CPL-C-0089 and subsequently in an Order dated 22 February 2005. Said respondents then assailed
docketed before the Office of the Ombudsman Central Office (OMB- the Orders dated 14 January 2005 and 22 February 2005 of the
C) as OMB-C-C-04-0011-A (for its criminal aspect) and OMB-C-A-04- Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, through a Petition for
0015-A (for its administrative aspect). Certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
“Thereafter, the said cases were referred for evaluation to Procedure, before the Honorable Court of Appeals.
the Preliminary Investigation, Administrative Adjudication and "Meanwhile, in a Resolution dated 18 January 2005 issued
Monitoring Office (PAMO), Office of the Ombudsman, which came in G.R. No. 159139, this Honorable Court (En Banc) directed the
up with a proposed Order dated 22 January 2004. In a Memorandum Ombudsman to file its Comment on the COMELEC's 'Most Respectful
dated 2 February 2004, of then Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Simeon Motion for Leave to Use the Automated Counting Machines in
V. Marcelo, the proposed Order of the PAMO was referred to the Custody of the Commission on Elections for Use in the 08 August
Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), Office of the Ombudsman for 2005 Elections in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao
exhaustive legal research on the issue of whether or not the (ARMM)'. On 11 February 2005, and in compliance with said
respondents in the said cases must first be impeached before they Resolution, the Ombudsman filed its Comment dated 10 February
can be criminally prosecuted. The OLA subsequently submitted a 2005 before this Honorable Court x x x.
Memorandum dated 12 February 2004. "In a Decision dated 26 September 2005 in CA-G.R. SP No.
“In a Memorandum dated 11 March 2004, then 88955, the Honorable Court of Appeals denied the petition filed by
Tanodbayan Marcelo inhibited himself from the said cases, and the officers and incorporators of MPel, and affirmed the Orders of
directed the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Victor Fernandez to act the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon denying the said
in his place. On 06 April 2004, and following the inhibition by then Motion to Suspend Proceedings in OMB-L-C-04-0922-J and OMB-L-C-
Tanodbayan Marcelo, Deputy Ombudsman Fernandez approved the 04-0983-J. The officers and incorporators of MPel filed a Motion for
Memorandum dated 12 February 2004 and the Order dated 22 Reconsideration from the Decision dated 26 September 2005 which
January 2004 in OMB-C-C-04-0011-A and OMB-C-A-04-0015-A (CPL- was denied by the Honorable Court of Appeals in a Resolution
C-04-0089). dated 08 December 2005. The aforementioned Decision and
“In an Indorsement dated 14 April 2004, Deputy Resolution of the Honorable Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
Ombudsman Fernandez forwarded the records of OMB-C-C-04- 88955 are now the subject of a Petition for Review before this
0011-A and OMB-C-A-04-0015-A to the Tanodbayan, through the Honorable Court, which is docketed as G.R. No. 170725 and entitled
Central Records Division. On 11 May 2004, the Central Records 'Willy U. Yu, et al vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.'”
Division forwarded the said case records to FIO for its appropriate Thus, the OMB asserts that it has "long acted on the
action. Thus, the FIO continued its fact-finding investigation relative referral, or complied with this Court's directive in this case, to its full
to CPL-C-04-0089. On 19 September 2004, Bantay Katarungan extent."
Foundation and Kilosbayan Foundation ('KILOSBAYAN' for brevity)
filed before the Office of the Ombudsman a complaint for violation Issue:
of R.A. 7080, (Anti-Plunder Law), violation of Section 3 (e), (g), (i) and Whether or not the OMB is correct in invoking its
(j) and violation of R.A. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards constitutionally mandated independence to shield itself from the
for Government Officials and Employees) against the 'COMELEC Court's contempt powers.
Commissioners who gave the award leading to the procurement of
Automated Counting Machines' and against 'conspiring private Held:
individuals'. No. The Court ruled that the reasoning was flawed.
"On 07 October 2004, and consistent with his inhibition, First. The power to punish for contempt, which is inherent
then Ombudsman Marcelo also forwarded the Kilosbayan complaint in all courts is essential to the preservation of order in judicial
to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. Consequently, proceedings; and to the enforcement of judgments, orders and
the Kilosbayan complaint was assigned a new reference number, mandates of the courts; and, consequently, to the due

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 13


administration of justice. There is thus, no excuse for disregarding or

disobeying an order of this Court, as this act would disturb the
orderly administration of justice.
Second. We sternly remind the OMB: this Court will not
hesitate to exercise its power of contempt against anyone (including
the OMB) who fails to observe due respect for its directives,
mandates, orders and judgments.
Third. The OMB's authority as a "competent investigatory
body" was not in any way interfered with by this Court, when it
ordered that a "copy of the January 13, 2004 Decision be furnished
to the [OMB] which shall determine the criminal liability, if any, of
the public officials (and conspiring private individuals, if any)
involved in the subject Resolution and Contract." To be sure, in
making that statement, this Court, recognized the constitutional
mandate of the OMB as "protector of the people" against erring and
abusive public officials.
We are, however, also mindful of die OMB's duty to "act
promptly on complaints x x x and x x x, in appropriate cases, notify
the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof."
Deference to this Court's simple order should have prompted the
OMB to act on its responsibility to inform us of its actions regarding
this case. Thus, we strongly remind it to be more prudent in
performing its basic constitutional duty and in following the
directives of this Court.
Fourth. The Decision of this Court, dated January 13, 2004,
contained a directive, not a referral. Note the use of the words "shall
determine," which are imbued with a mandatory tenor. The
hesitation and quibbling of the OMB over this simple matter
surprises this Court, considering that, even without this express
directive, the former should have taken it upon itself to conduct
a moto proprio investigation.

*Cases are also found in the book, “Administrative Law, Law on

Local Government and Election Law” by Atty. Benedicto Gonzales,

LEGIM DISCIPULO meikimouse 14